Connacht stalwart John Muldoon, who has played 222 times for his home province including over 50 European games, gives his reaction to today’s European Challenge Cup Draw.

Connacht Rugby will play in the European Rugby Challenge Cup next season and John Muldoon is looking forward to trips to France to meet Bayonne and newly promoted La Rochelle, as well as to England to face Exeter Chiefs.

“After three seasons of dining out at the top table of European Cup rugby we now have to play in the Challenge Cup, ” said Muldoon. “But we’ve got a tough draw and face some great games.

“I love the challenge of playing in France and last season we went to Toulouse and won. That was a special day for Connacht rugby and now we have the chance to do that again.

“We’ve been to Bayonne before and won, but we haven’t played Exeter Chiefs in a competitive game to my knowledge. We had a friendly against them a few seasons ago, but they have simply got better and better since they gained promotion.

“They’ve been in the Heineken Cup in the last few seasons and had to play against some of Europe’s biggest clubs. They will be a massive test for us.”

2014/15 European Rugby Challenge Cup pools

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

Pool stage dates

Round 1: 16/17/18/19 October 2014
Round 2: 23/24/25/26 October 2014
Round 3: 4/5/6/7 December 2014
Round 4: 11/12/13/14 December 2014
Round 5: 15/16/17/18 January 2015
Round 6: 22/23/24/25 January 2015


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