Leinster coach Joe Schmidt admitted on Tuesday afternoon that his side have been handed a ‘tough group’ as they look to become the first side in Heineken Cup history to land the trophy three times in succession.
The defending champions have been paired with the Exeter Chiefs, Welsh outfit Sacrlets, and remarkably Clermont Auvernge who will meet Leinster for the fourth straight season in the Heineken Cup.
“Unfortunately we have to believe it,” said Schmidt when asked for his reaction to the news that he would face his old side yet again in the Heineken Cup.
“We will also be against the Scarlets and Exeter Chiefs in Pool 5 so it is a tough group. Clermont are an exceptional and extremely well coached side – they have quality across the board.
“They had a couple of injuries ahead of last season’s semi-final in Bordeaux, and then lost Lee Byrne and Julien Malzieu during the game, so perhaps we had a bit of good fortune on that occasion.
“The Scarlets have some super players and will also be really challenging opposition, particularly through the likes of George North, Jonathan Davies and Rhys Priestland.
“And coach Rob Baxter has done a great job with Exeter Chiefs, first getting them promoted and then taking them storming through the English league and into the Heineken Cup for the first time.”