Ulster drawn to face Wasps in the Champions Cup
Ulster have been drawn with Wasps, La Rochelle and Harlequins in Pool One for next season's Champions Cup.
In the third tier of seeds, it is a manageable draw for the province who have avoided many of the competition's heavy hitters.
Wasps will be the favourites to advance to the quarter-finals, having topped last season's Aviva Premiership only to lose the final to Exeter Chiefs.
La Rochelle were the surprise package in France last year, topping the Top 14 after the regular season with a side that boasted the likes of All Black Victor Vito but lost in the semi-finals to Toulon, while Harlequins are back in Europe's top tier after their sixth place finish in England.
Les Kiss's men have been dealt tough hands in recent years, being drawn alongside the teams that went on to win the competition in both 2015 and 2016 when they had early meetings with Toulon and then Saracens.
Last season, in a pool where the province finished bottom, they were handed the challenge of Exeter and Clermont, who both went on to win their domestic leagues, and Bordeaux who beat them home and away.
Leinster will play Exeter Chiefs, Montpellier and Glasgow Warriors, while Munster have been paired with Racing 92, Leicester Tigers and Castres.
In the Challenge Cup, Connacht were drawn to play former European Champions Brive, as well as Donncha O'Callaghan's Worcester and Oyonnax.
WHEN WILL THE MATCHES BE PLAYED?
Round 1: 12/13/14/15 October 2017
Round 2: 19/20/21/22 October 2017
Round 3: 7/8/9/10 December 2017
Round 4: 14/15/16/17 December 2017
Round 5: 11/12/13/14 January 2018
Round 6: 18/19/20/21 January 2018
Quarter-finals: 29/30/31 March / 1 April 2018
Semi-finals: 20/21/22 April 2018
F: Saturday 12 May 2018 (San Mamés Stadium, Bilbao)
Belfast Telegraph Digital