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However, with nine Super Rugby teams lining up and just three pools the chances of getting an easy pool were slim.
The Highlanders will face off against the Chiefs, who won the inaugural tournament last year, the Waratahs and French side Pau.
The Hurricanes and Crusaders have been drawn in the same pool as the Brumbies along with the Fijian national side in the 12-team competition.
The tournament will be played on February 9-10 in a change from last year when it was played on Saturday and Sunday. It will start on Friday with the final on Saturday night.
The Highlanders have a warm-up game against the Waratahs in Queenstown on February 2, a Friday night, and will then head to Brisbane a few days later. The side’s All Blacks are unlikely to play in Brisbane as they will have only just come back into camp.
Pau is a competitive French side which has former All Blacks Conrad Smith, Colin Slade and Jamie Mackintosh in its ranks.
Last year’s competition had 14 teams but the Force, which is no longer in existence, and Samoa are not returning this year.
Japanese team Panasonic Wild Knights will join the Rebels, Blues and Reds in the other pool.
The schedule of games will be made later and how the competition will be structured will also be revealed down the track.
Pool A: Panasonic Wild Knights, Rebels, Blues, Reds
Pool B: Pau, Waratahs, Chiefs, Highlanders
Pool C: Fiji, Brumbies, Hurricanes, Crusaders