Image: Unsplash; Quino Al

Following the European Champions Cup rugby draws, we give our winning predictions for each Pool stage ahead of the Heineken Champions Cup season.

After a thrilling encounter in the 2018/2019 final, Saracen’s claimed their third European title after edging past five-time champions Leinster 20-10 in Newcastle. However, now that the Pool stages for the new season have been drawn, we thought we’d preview what might happen and give our predictions.

Pool 1

Leinster, Lyon, Northampton Saints, Benetton Treviso | Prediction: Leinster

European veterans Leinster will fancy their chances to finish top of the group but must be wary of difficult away trips to Lyon, Northampton and the improving Treviso. Treviso enter their first ever Champions cup campaign after an impressive Pro 14 season, where they finished third in their conference.

Saints will look to push Leinster all the way, knowing that a best second place position could be enough to get them to the knockout stages.

Pool 2

Exeter Chiefs, Glasgow Warriors, La Rochelle, Sale Sharks | Prediction: Exeter

Pool 2 offers up some fantastic encounters, including a faster than anticipated return to Scotstoun for Stuart Hogg, as his new side Exeter Chiefs look to top the group.

On paper, it looks to be a two-horse race to win the pool but Glasgow Warriors and the Chiefs will have to be wary of attacking threats. These will be posed by Ronan O’Gara’s La Rochelle and the unpredictable Sale Sharks.

Pool 3

ASM Clermont Auvergne, Ulster Rugby, Harlequins, Bath | Prediction: Clermont

A group full of European heavyweights and past winners. Clermont will rightly be most people’s favourites to top this pool, but perhaps Pool 3 is the most evenly matched group.

Ulster’s impressive home form got them to the Quarter Final last year and they, as well as Bath and Harlequins, will be hoping for a scalp on the road to boost their chances of qualification - most likely in the shadows of Clermont.

Pool 4

Saracens, Munster, Racing 92, Ospreys | Prediction: Saracens

The group of death sees defending champions Saracens pooled with two-time winners Munster, two-time runner’s-up Racing 92, and the Ospreys. By far the most daunting group, Saracens will fancy themselves with their deep talent pool.

Racing 92 and Munster will be relying on their home fortresses of La Defense Arena and Thomond Park respectively, to give them a platform to challenge Saracens. Ospreys seem to have it all to do and will be lucky to come away with any wins.

Pool 5

Toulouse, Gloucester, Connacht, Montpellier | Prediction: Toulouse

The final pool sees newly crowned Top 14 champions Toulouse take on a reinvigorated Gloucester, Connacht and the enigmatic Montpellier. Toulouse will be favourites to top the pool but must be wary of difficult away trips to some hostile crowds.

Gloucester will hope to build on their impressive domestic season with Danny Cipriani pulling the strings and will be eyeing up a runners-up spot for qualification.

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What are your winning predictions for the Heineken Champions Cup? Let us know by posting a comment on our Facebook or Instagram page, or tweet us @seatunique.