Exeter drawn with Toulouse, Glasgow in Champions Cup group

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Premiership Final - Exeter Chiefs v Wasps - Twickenham Stadium, London, Britain - October 24, 2020 Exeter Chiefs players celebrate winning the final Action Images/Andrew Boyers

(Reuters) – Exeter Chiefs will begin the defence of their European Champions Cup title in a group with four-times winners Toulouse and Glasgow Warriors following Wednesday’s draw in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Runners-up Racing 92 of France will face Ireland’s Connacht and English side Harlequins.

Bordeaux Begles, who led France’s Top 14 league when the 2019-20 season was abandoned due to the COVID-19 pandemic, face Welsh team Dragons and England’s Northampton Saints.

Leinster will take on French side Montpellier and Northampton.

The format for next season’s Champions Cup was overhauled because of the pandemic, with the group and knockout stages expanded.

The 2020-21 competition will be contested by 24 clubs – four more than in regular seasons – with the eight top-ranked sides from the Premiership, Pro14 and Top14 competitions.

The teams have been split into two pools of 12, with four rounds of games held over four weekends starting from Dec. 11, in a home and away format.

The top four teams from each pool advance to the knockout stages, which begin with home-and-away quarter-finals, while the bottom four drop into the Challenge Cup.

The Champions Cup semi-finals will be held on the weekend on April 30, with the final at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on May 22.

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