Tough battle: Another tough draw for English clubs

Former Amlin Challenge Cup champions, Gloucester Rugby, have been drawn with high-quality opposition in English rivals, London Irish, as well as French representatives, Bordeaux-Bègles and Mont-de-Marsan, following the pool draw for the 2012/13 tournament.

Gloucester will renew their Amlin Challenge Cup rivalry with London Irish, who they dramatically defeated 36-34 after extra-time in the 2006 decider, in a competition which will culminate in the 2013 final at the RDS, Dublin on Friday, 17 May (20:00).

Another former winner, London Wasps, who were victorious in 2003, have been drawn in Pool 3 along with Newport Gwent Dragons, Bayonne and Italian newcomers, Rugby Mogliano, while the 2008 champions, Bath Rugby, will be up against Cammi Rugby Calvisano from Italy, Agen, and Romania’s Bucharest Wolves in Pool 4.

Worcester Warriors’ contests with Perpignan could well be the highlight of Pool 2 which includes Spanish debutants, Bizkaia Gernika RT, and in Pool 5, Newcastle Falcons are also scheduled to meet strong French opposition in the guise of the 2011 beaten finalists, Stade Français Paris, and Grenoble, as well as I Cavalieri Prato from Italy.

The five pool winners will progress to the quarter-finals where they will be joined by three pool runners-up from the Heineken Cup.

Amlin Challenge Cup 2012/13 Pools

Pool 1: Gloucester Rugby, London Irish, Bordeaux-Bègles, Mont-de-Marsan
Pool 2: Perpignan, Worcester Warriors, Femi-CZ VEA Rovigo, Bizkaia Gernika RT
Pool 3: London Wasps, Newport Gwent Dragons, Bayonne, Rugby Mogliano
Pool 4: Bath Rugby, Cammi Rugby Calvisano, Agen, Bucharest Wolves
Pool 5: Stade Français Paris, *Newcastle Falcons, I Cavalieri Prato, Grenoble

*Newcastle Falcons’ participation is subject to an appeal to the RFU by London Welsh