Blues face Irish in Challenge Cup

10th Jun 2014, 12:37

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Tough pool: Cardiff Blues

Tough pool: Cardiff Blues

The European Rugby Challenge Cup draw has been made in Switzerland, with Cardiff Blues, London Irish and Grenoble pooled together.

The draw for the inaugural European Rugby Challenge Cup has been made in Switzerland, with Cardiff Blues and London Irish being pooled together.

Grenoble and a FIRA-AER qualifier complete that group while the other tough pool sees Edinburgh, Bordeaux, London Welsh and Lyon colliding.

LV= Cup winners Exeter Chiefs will face stiff opposition from Top 14 outfit Bayonne, but will be early favourites to top Pool 2 with Connacht and La Rochelle unlikely to spring many surprises.

Stade Francais too look strong enough to see off the respective challenges of the Dragons, Newcastle Falcons and another FIRA-AER qualifier, while Gloucester have been grouped with hard-to-beat Top 14 pair Brive and Oyonnax, as well as the ever-improving Zebre.

European Rugby Challenge Cup

Pool 1: Cardiff Blues, London Irish, Grenoble, FIRA-AER
Pool 2: Exeter Chiefs, Bayonne, Connacht, La Rochelle
Pool 3: Stade Francais, Dragons, Newcastle Falcons, FIRA-AER
Pool 4: Edinburgh, Bordeaux Begles, London Welsh, Lyon
Pool 5: Gloucester, Brive, Zebre, Oyonnax