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Tigers expect tough Heineken test

Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill is expecting a tough task in the pool stage of next season's Heineken Cup after the draw was made in Dublin.

The reigning Aviva Premiership champions will face Ulster, Montpellier and Treviso in Pool Five in arguably one of the easiest draws of the competition. Leicester have won the Heineken Cup twice in their history and Cockerill hopes to add a third title next term.

"The Heineken Cup is a very competitive tournament and we're proud of our history of qualifying to be in it every season," Cockerill told leicestertigers.com.

"You always know you are going to be in a hotly contested pool and next season's draw is no different.

"Ulster reached the Heineken Cup final just a year ago after coming out of our pool, and they topped the table in the Celtic League (RaboDirect PRO 12) competition this year.

"Montpellier had a strong season in the French Top 14 and were only eliminated in the play-offs by the eventual champions Castres. They are recruiting strongly for next season and will undoubtedly present a tough challenge. We know Treviso well after being paired with them in recent seasons. They have a lot of the Italian national squad in their ranks and they are always tough opponents."

Clermont, who topped the French championship at the end of the normal season and were runners-up to Toulon in last season's competition, will meet Harlequins, Scarlets and Racing Metro in the only pool with two French teams.

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea is also ready for another challenging battle in Europe

"It is incredibly challenging and exciting for us to have to play two superpowers of not just French but also European rugby in our pool," O'Shea told quins.co.uk. "In addition, we have been drawn with Scarlets, another club with great tradition and talented players who are experienced in European competition.

"Another challenging Heineken Cup season beckons, we have everything to play for and can't wait to get started."

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