Wasps' Heineken Cup draw - All you need to know

Date: 22 Jun 2018


The 2018/19 European draw has taken Wasps back to the future in more ways than one.

The return of the Heineken name – albeit in a slightly amended form, since Europe’s premier competition is now known as the Heineken Champions Cup – immediately conjures up mental images of Lawrence Dallaglio et al hoisting the trophy aloft in 2004 and 2007.

But it is European memories of more recent vintage which come to mind when looking at the opposition Messrs Healey and Yachvilli located in pool one alongside the Ricoh Arena club during this week's Lausanne-based draw.

Wasps, Leinster and Bath were drawn together in the opening stages as recently as 2015/16, when Dai Young’s men defied huge pre-tournament odds to top the pile before eventually progressing to the semi-final stage.

And the pool’s fourth constituent part, Toulouse, were last sighted at the Ricoh 12 months later, when Dan Robson’s injury time snipe snatched a heart-stopping home win at the end of a truly thunderous physical battle.

To add further spice to the mix, Leinster are also defending champions, their fourth European crown. French giants Toulouse are the only club able to match this achievement, and when you throw in Bath’s 1998 Heineken Cup success to the black-and-gold’s 2000’s double, pool one boasts 11 European cup wins and is positively loaded with history – and competitive edge.

To assist those planning excursions to the South of France, Irish capital or Southern Cotswolds, here are a few pointers to what lies ahead.



Leinster:

Home Ground: 
When Wasps visited in October 2015 the round one clash took place at the RDS, where most of the Dubliners’ Pro 14 rugby is staged.

However, the clubs’ most recent meeting in the 2017 quarter-final took place in the magnificent surroundings of the Aviva Stadium.

Last Year: 
2017/18 was a truly unforgettable campaign during which Leinster went unbeaten –  a rarity for any club in the competition’s 23-year history.

After winning a difficult pool containing Premiership champions Exeter plus Montpellier and Glasgow, Leinster beat Saracens and Scarlets before edging past Racing 92 in a tense Bilbao final.

Recent Competition History with Wasps:
April 2017: Leinster 32-17 Wasps (quarter-final)
January 2016: Wasps 51-10 Leinster
October 2015: Leinster 6-33 Wasps

One to Watch: Johnny Sexton
A two-time British & Irish Lion, Leinster’s 32-year-old Irish international fly half is one of the most influential players on world rugby at the moment, renowned for his game management and kicking skills.

Who’s the Boss? 
Leo Cullen, the club’s former lock and skipper has slipped seamlessly into the head coach role, with former England boss Stuart Lancaster proving a popular and very effective wing man.

Draw Reaction (from Leo Cullen):
"The way the new format of the competition has gone, the pools are incredibly difficult.

"We made a presentation to Girvan Dempsey (now coaching at Bath) at the end of the season so we knew we were destined to draw them.

“We had a couple of very tough outings against Wasps in the pool stages a couple of years ago, so we know how tough a team they are.

“Toulouse have won the tournament four times so they know how to do it. All the teams have won the tournament before. As always, it’s an incredibly tough pool.”



Bath:

Home Ground: The Rec
One of England’s most historic venues, the Recreation Ground, which sits on the banks of the Avon in the middle of the beautiful Georgian city has been Bath’s home since 1894.

Last Year:
Despite winning four of their six games, including wins over former champions Toulon and eventual pool winners Scarlets, Bath’s inferior tally of bonus points left them in third place in pool three.

Recent Competition History with Wasps:
December 2015: Bath 10-36 Wasps
December 2015: Wasps 23-25 Bath

One to Watch: Taulupe Faletau
Another 2013 and 2017 British & Irish Lion, powerhouse No.8 Faletau also has 72 Wales caps. He joined Bath from the Dragons in 2016.

Who’s the Boss?
Todd Blackadder, who is a former All Black forward joined Bath in 2016 after a lengthy stint at the helm of the Crusaders, the Canterbury-based Super Rugby franchise with whom he spent much of his playing career. 

Draw Reaction (from club captain Matt Garvey):
“I think it’s a really exciting draw. There are teams we’re quite familiar with – we’ve played Leinster a few times over the last couple of years, Wasps we prepare for each year and they’re always a tricky outfit to go up against.

“Then there’s Toulouse, who have been European giants for the last 10 years or so. We’ve got confidence, because in 2015, we went there and won.”



Toulouse:

Home Ground: 
Like Leinster,Stade Toulousain, to give them their full name have two home venues.
Their main ground is the 19,500 capacity Stade Ernest Wallon which opened in the late 1980’s. Bigger games are routinely hosted at the Stade Municipal, which is double the size and uniquely located in the middle of a river.

Last Year:
Toulouse were in the Challenge Cup, where they finished as runners-up to eventual champions Cardiff Blues in pool two, winning twice and drawing once in six outings.

Recent Competition History with Wasps:
October 2016 Toulouse 20-20 Wasps
January 2017: Wasps 17-14 Toulouse

One to Watch: Maxime Medard
The outstanding attacking full back is a survivor from the great Toulouse side which lifted multiple domestic and European titles in the last decade. He is also still an important part of the French national set-up.

Who’s the Boss?
Former French international Ugo Mola took up the reins in 2015.

Draw Reaction (from President Didier Lacroix):
“For our return to the Champions Cup, we have inherited a pool with four participants who total 11 European championship titles. The challenge will be difficult as it obviously should be.”



Fixture Schedule:
Match days and kick off times will be released by EPCR in the coming weeks.
However, we do already know which weekend’s will see European action.

Round One: 12/13/14 October 2018
Round Two: 19/20/21 October 2018
Round Three: 7/8/9 December 2018
Round Four: 14/15/16 December 2018
Round Five: 11/12/13 January 2019
Round Six: 18/19/20 January 2019
Quarter-finals: 29/30/31 March 2019
Semi-finals: 19/20/21 April 2019
The 2018/19 final takes place at St James Park Newcastle on Saturday May 11 2019.

Don’t miss out on the chance to watch Wasps in the Heineken Champions Cup next season at the Ricoh Arena. 

Did you know that Seasonal Membership allows you to watch all three European home games?

Best of all, we have a fantastic finance option that enables you to spread the cost of your ticket. Check out https://www.eticketing.co.uk/wasps for more info.

Did you know that Seasonal Membership allows you to watch all three European home games?



Best of all, we have a fantastic finance option that enables you to spread the cost of your ticket.

Check it out here!