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Champions Cup draw: in focus

Find out more about Bristol Bears Champions Cup pool stage opponents, after Pat Lam's men were drawn against Clermont Auvergne and Connacht in Pool B of the competition.

Pat Lam's men have been drawn in Pool B and will face Clermont Auvergne and Connacht home and away in the previously announced new tournament format, which sees 24 clubs made up of eight representatives from each of the Gallagher Premiership, the Guinness PRO14 and the TOP 14 drawn into two pools of 12 – Pool A and Pool B. It is the club's first appearance in the competition for 13 years.

Here's all you need to know about our pool stage opponents:


Clermont Auvergne

Home stadium: Marcel Michelin Stadium
Head coach: Franck Azéma

French giants Clermont Auvergne are three-time runners-up in the Heineken Champions Cup, losing in the final in 2013, 2015 and 2017. The two-time French champions were sixth in the Top 14 when the 2019/20 season was curtailed early by the coronavirus pandemic, and currently sit fourth after five rounds in the 2020/21 campaign.

One to watch: Alivereti Raka

The Fijian-born French international wing has scored 43 tries in just 66 appearances for Clermont, making him one of Europe's deadliest finishers.

Raka has also scored three tries in his first four appearances for France, making his debut against Scotland in August 2019.

Alivereti Raka celebrates a try for Clermont

Connacht

Home stadium: Galway Sportsground
Head coach: Andy Friend

It's a return to Galway for Director of Rugby, Pat Lam and Forwards Coach, John Muldoon as the Bears face Connacht in Pool B.

Lam led Connacht to their maiden Pro12 title in 2016, with Muldoon as his number eight and captain. The Irish province were fourth in their Pro 14 pool when the 2019/20 season was curtailed and currently sit third after three games in the 2020/21 season.

One to watch: Bundee Aki

The powerhouse centre has made 27 appearances for Ireland since making his debut in 2017 and remains a key cog for both club and country.

Aki has won a Super Rugby title with the Chiefs and a Pro 12 title with Connacht, under the leadership of Pat Lam. That season, he was named the Guinness Pro 12's player of the season.

Bundee Aki of Connacht

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