Northampton Saints draw Clermont Auvergne and Dragons in Challenge Cup pool
By Joe Shread
Last Updated: 20/06/18 3:19pm
Northampton Saints have been handed a tough draw in this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup after being placed in the same pool as Clermont Auvergne and the Dragons.
The French side reached the quarter-finals of the European Rugby Champions Cup last campaign, while the Dragons have reached the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup on three occasions.
The other side in Pool One are Timisoara Saracens, who were crowned champions of Romania last season.
The other Aviva Premiership sides in the competition have been given seemingly more straight-forward draws than Northampton.
Worcester Warriors, who finished second-bottom of the league last season, will have to play Stade Francais, who narrowly avoided relegation from the Top 14.
European fixture dates (2018/19)
|Round 1||October 12/13/14|
|Round 2||October 19/20/21|
|Round 3||December 7/8/9|
|Round 4||December 14/15/16|
|Round 5||January 11/12/13|
|Round 6||January 18/19/20|
|Challenge Cup final||May 10||At St James' Park, Newcastle|
|Champions Cup final||May 11||At St James' Park, Newcastle|
They will also face Pau and Ospreys, who reached the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup two years ago, in Pool Two.
Harlequins were drawn in Pool Three alongside Benetton and Agen, as well as Grenoble, who were promoted from Pro D2 last season.
Bristol Bears, winners of the Championship, face La Rochelle, Enisei-STM and Zebra, who have never got beyond the pool stage of the competition.
Sale Sharks have been drawn against last season's quarter-finalists Connacht, as well as Bordeaux Begles.
They will also face Perpignan, meaning that Paddy Jackson will be returning to Ireland to face Connacht with his new club.
Full European Rugby Challenge Cup draw
Pool One: Northampton Saints, Clermont Auvergne, Dragons, Timisoara Saracens
Pool Two: Pau, Ospreys, Worcester Warriors, Stade Francais
Pool Three: Sale Sharks, Connacht, Bordeaux Begles, Perpignan
Pool Four: La Rochelle, Zebre, Bristol Bears, Enisei-STM
Pool Five: Benetton, Harlequins, Agen, Grenoble