Connacht Rugby, the highest-ranked PRO12 representative in the Challenge Cup draw, are in Pool 1 against Brive, Newcastle Falcons and Enisei-STM, while Sale Sharks, the number-one ranked Aviva Premiership club, will play Newport Gwent Dragons, Castres Olympique and Pau in Pool 2.

In reaction to the Challenge Cup draw, Pat Lam, head coach of Connacht Rugby said,

“We’re looking forward to the Challenge Cup next year and we’re happy with today’s draw. The Challenge Cup is massive now because the winner automatically gets into the Champions Cup. What’s important is to not only get through the pool, but to be seeded as high as possible, so you get a home quarter and semi final.

We’re happy with the pool. For me personally, it’s a return to the Newcastle Falcons which I’m excited about. They were the first team I played for when I moved to Europe in the late 90’s. In France it’s against Brive,   a past Heineken Cup winner which will be good for us. And finally to Enisei-STM, which is going to be an exciting trip to Russia.”

Both the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup pool draws were compered by Craig Doyle (BT Sport) and Raphael Ibanez (France Televisions), and conducted by Ieuan Evans (Sky Sports) and Dimitri Yachvili (beIN Sports).

The draws, held in Neuchatel where EPCR has its headquarters, were covered live on btsport.com, Sky Sports News and beIN Sports, and streamed live on epcrugby.com

 

2015/16 Challenge Cup pools 

 

Pool 1: Connacht Rugby, Brive, Newcastle Falcons, Enisei-STM

Pool 2: Sale Sharks, Newport Gwent Dragons, Castres Olympique, Pau

Pool 3: Montpellier, Harlequins, Cardiff Blues, Cammi Rugby Calvisano

Pool 4: La Rochelle, Gloucester Rugby, Zebre Rugby, Worcester Warriors

Pool 5: Edinburgh Rugby, London Irish, Grenoble, Agen

 

2015/16 Tournament weekends

 

Round 1: 12/13/14/15 November

Round 2: 19/20/21/22 November

Round 3: 10/11/12/13 December

Round 4: 17/18/19/20 December

Round 5: 14/15/16/17 January 2016

Round 6: 21/22/23/24 January 2016

Quarter-finals: 7/8/9/10 April 2016

Semi-finals: 22/23/24 April 2016

Finals: 13/14 May 2016

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