Irish clashes for La Rochelle and Toulouse, South Africans for Bordeaux
The Champions Cup and Challenge Cup draws were made on Tuesday. Five South African clubs are entering the competitions.
Ulster for the defending champion, La Rochelle, and a reunion with Munster for Toulouse: the draw for the next Champions Cup, carried out on Tuesday in Dublin, reserved two tempting Franco-Irish duels and historic trips to Africa from the South for Bordeaux-Bègles, Lyon and Clermont.
Winner of Leinster (24-21) in the final a month ago to win the first European title in its history, Stade Rochelais will face another Irish province, Ulster, from the group stage of the 2022 edition. 2023, in addition to the Northampton English.
Toulouse, the most successful club in the history of the competition, will find Munster for a rematch of their epic quarter-final this season, decided after a rare penalty shoot-out, along with the English of Sale. Montpellier, just crowned champion of France, received a more lenient draw with the London Irish and the Ospreys. His victim in the Top 14 final, Castres, will face his side Exeter and Edinburgh in his four group matches.
The final at Aviva Stadium
For the first time in the history of the competition, three South African franchises are involved. Clermont won the Cape Stormers, first winners of the United Rugby Championship (URC), bringing together the Irish, Welsh, Scottish, Italian and South African teams.
Winner last month of the European Challenge, Lyon will challenge the Bulls of Pretoria on the upper floor, while Bordeaux-Bègles will be opposed to the Sharks of Durban. The 2022-2023 edition of the Champions Cup will be spread over eight weekends starting in December and January for the four group matches and until May 20 for the final at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
In Challenge Cup, the “small” European Cup, Toulon, unfortunate finalist this season against Lyon, will be opposed to the English of Bath and the Italians of Zèbre. Stade Français and Pau have each nominated a South African opponent, respectively the Johannesburg Lions and the Bloemfontein Cheetahs.