European Challenge Cup Draw Format Confirmed
The Pool Draws for the 2018/19 Challenge Cup and Heineken Champions Cup tournaments will take place in Lausanne, Switzerland on Wednesday, 20 June.
The clubs are divided into four tiers based on the qualification positions from their respective leagues and in the Continental Shield.
Each of the five pools will include one club from each of the four tiers. with each pool containing at least one club from the TOP 14, the Premiership and the PRO14 and no more than two clubs from the same league in a pool, nor two clubs from the same PRO14 participating country.
Top seeds are La Rochelle, Sale Sharks and Benetton Rugby, with a pre-draw to determine which two of Pau, Ospreys and Northampton Saints also getting top pool seeding, so Dragons will be paired with either English, French or Italian opposition from tier 1.
The next set of clubs include Clermont, Quins and Connacht and whoever isn't included in the top seeding above.
Then come Bordeaux-Begles, Zebre and Worcester Warriors, with Dragons in the same tier as Bristol Bears and Agen, meaning they can't be pitched against either the Ashton Gate or Stade Armandie clubs in the group stage.
The final tier of clubs will include Stade Francais, Perpignan, Grenoble, Continental Shield winners Enisei-STM and Timisoara Saracens, with the three French clubs drawn into pools which contain one other TOP 14 club.
This means the Dragons will certainly face one French opponent and the prospect of either a second France adventure or trips to play in Romania or Russia.
Saracens of Romania have been included in place of Heidelberger RK, Continental Shield finalists, because the German team became ineligible to participate in the same competition as Stade Francais Paris as they have the same owner, with Dr Hans-Peter Wild becoming the Chairman and principal owner of Stade Français Paris in May 2017.