Warriors learn European Challenge Cup fate

Worcester Warriors will face Montauban, Gran Parma and Bucuresti in the European Challenge Cup 2007/2008.

Mike Ruddock’s men have been drawn in Pool 2 of the competition and can look forward to trips to Italy, France – to face No1 French seeds Montauban – and Romania.

“We’re excited and pleased by the draw we have been given this season, we’re looking forward with real interest to our trips into Europe,” said Ruddock.

“Our priority will remain the Guinness Premiership and making sure we’re competitive and integrate the team fully with the new signings and style of rugby we plan to adopt.

“However, we’re very keen to be a force in Europe and we look forward to our trips to three different countries to face different styles and challenges as well as welcoming Montauban, Gran Parma and Bucuresti to Sixways. Our aim is to make progress and I’m sure our supporters will enjoy every step of the journey.”

With Spain returning to European competition for the first time since the 2004 / 2005 season, 20 teams from six nations – England, France, Ireland, Italy, Romania and Spain – will compete for the European title. Each side will play six group stage matches with the five Pool winners and three best runners-up advancing to the knock-out stages.

All 20 teams taking part next season have played in Europe before, Dax are back after last being involved in the European Challenge Cup in 2001 / 2002, while current Spanish champions Cetransa El Salvador previously competed in the tournament three years ago.

ERC Chairman Jean-Pierre Lux added: “We have retained the same successful format of the last two seasons of the European Challenge Cup and following today’s Pool draw we are looking forward to another highly successful competition.

“ASM Clermont Auvergne – who have qualified for the Heineken Cup – and Bath Rugby produced a thrilling European Challenge Cup final at the Twickenham Stoop last month and the tournament again promises to provide plenty of top quality and high intensity European rugby.”

Irish province Connacht – who have played a record 71 matches in 11 seasons in the tournament – joined Bath Rugby, Montauban, Rugby Calvisano and Bayonne as the five seeded teams.


POOL 1: Bath Rugby, Albi, Overmach Rugby Parma, Auch
POOL 2: Montauban, Worcester Warriors, Gran Parma, Bucuresti
POOL 3: Connacht Rugby, Brive, Newcastle Falcons, Cetransa El Salvador
POOL 4: Bayonne, Sale Sharks, Petrarca Rugby, Montpellier
POOL 5: Rugby Calvisano, Castres Olympique, Leeds Carnegie, Dax