Heineken Cup draw: Jonny Wilkinson's Toulon placed in 'Pool of Death'
Jonny Wilkinson and his Toulon side have drawn the "Pool of Death" in next season's Heineken Cup alongside Munster, Ospreys and London Irish.
All four teams have been placed in Pool 3, meaning two, posibly three, of the competition's top sides with genuine ambitions of winning the tournament will fail to qualify for the quarter-finals.
The draw, made in Cardiff this morning, also threw up a second brutally hard pool in Pool 2, with 2009 champions Leinster tackling fast emerging Saracens, cash-rich Racing Metro and Clermont Auvergne who, having finally won a French Championship final at the 11th attempt, will now be throwing everything into their Heineken Cup campaign.
Elsewhere, Guinness Premiership champions Leicester Tigers will be renewing acquaintances with old European rivals Llanellis Scarlets and Perpignan in a pool in which Benetton Treviso, much improved last season, could nonetheless find the going very tough.
Heineken Cup holders Toulouse will not be displeased by the draw which sees them lined up against Wasps, Glasgow Warriors and Newport Gwent Dragons, while new Italian franchise Aironi - based around the Viadana and Parma clubs - have been pitted against Biarritz, Bath and Ulster in Pool 5.
Newly-crowned Amlin Cup winners Cardiff Blues and Northampton Saints would appear to be the front runners in Pool 1, although Edinburgh have the potential to get among them and Castres Olympique can be something of an unknown quantity in Europe depending on how well motivated they are for the tournament.