Cardiff Blues set to discover Challenge Cup opponents

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The draws for the pool stage of the 2019/20 European Challenge Cup draw will take place on Wednesday afternoon at 1pm in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Cardiff Blues return to the competition having played in the Heineken Champions Cup during 2018/19, meaning we will participate in the second tier of European tier for the first time since lifting the trophy in Bilbao, thanks to a comeback win over Gloucester.

That was the second time we have won the Challenge Cup, having also been victorious in 2010, that time with a win over Toulon in Marseille. Interestingly, the French city will once again host the Final next May, 10 years on from that triumph.

The draw itself is quite complicated, in order to firstly get four tiers of teams ready for the draw, and then to draw them into five pools where no two teams from the Pro14 will be in the same pool, and no two English teams will be in the same pool.

Before the draw actually gets underway there will be a pre-draw to determine those tiers, which currently look like this.

Tier One Tier Two Tier Three Tier Four
Castres Olympique Toulon Pau Agen
Wasps Worcester Warriors London Irish Brive
Scarlets Edinburgh Zebre Bayonne
      Enisei-STM
      Calvisano

The reminder of tier one will be two teams drawn from Cardiff Blues, Bristol Bears and Stade Francais, with the remaining side slotting into tier two. Then the remaining place in tier two will be filled by a team drawn from Bordeaux Begles, Leicester Tigers and Dragons, with the other two teams completing tier three.

Once that has been done the teams will be drawn into five pools of four teams, starting with the teams in tier one and working down to tier four.

After all the teams in tier three have been drawn the pools will consist of one Pro14 team, one English team and one French team, with the teams in tier four being drawn into any pool. As a result, three pools will have two French representatives.

The draw will be shown live on epcrugby.com as well as official tournament Facebook channels, while you can follow all the draw action from a Cardiff Blues perspective on Twitter @CardiffRugbyWeb.

Full reaction will then follow on the website throughout Wednesday afternoon and evening.

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