As a result of a draw conducted by EPCR at its headquarters in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, Connacht Rugby will travel to Krasnoyarsk in Siberia to play European club rugby newcomers, Enisei-STM, in Round 1 of the 2015/16 Challenge Cup.

The draw, which was agreed to by Connacht, Brive, Newcastle Falcons and Enisei-STM who will compete in Pool 1 of the tournament, was carried out to determine which club would play in Krasnoyarsk in Round 1, and which clubs would play against Enisei-STM in their two other ‘home’ matches in Sochi.

Club representatives viewed the proceedings via weblink and Philip Mauler of the Athemis legal firm was present to act as a scrutineer.

Connacht were drawn first, followed by Brive who were drawn second, with Newcastle drawn third.

History will be made with the European club kick-off in November when Enisei-STM become the first Russian representative to compete on the European stage. Enisei and Rugby Calvisano booked their places via last season’s Challenge Cup Qualifying Competition in which clubs from Italy, Spain, Portugal and Romania also participated.

Vincent Gaillard, EPCR Director General, said: “We are enthusiastic about organising Challenge Cup matches in Krasnoyarsk and Sochi in Russia. We believe it is a great opportunity for European club rugby to expand to a new territory and also for the three other clubs in Pool 1 and their respective leagues to promote themselves beyond their usual markets.”

EPCR is currently working with the Pool 1 clubs to finalise the exact dates and kick-off times for Rounds 1 to 4, and the completed 2015/16 Challenge Cup fixture list will be announced shortly.


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