Edinburgh draw Saracens, London Irish, Brive and Pau in European Challenge Cup

Edinburgh have been handed an intriguing European Challenge Cup draw

New Edinburgh coach Mike Blair will face his former club Brive in the Challenge Cup. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS

The capital club will face Saracens, London Irish, Brive and Pau in the group stage of the revamped tournament.

Edinburgh will kick off their Pool C campaign with an away tie against Saracens who have been installed as English Premiership title favourites after a season spent in the Championship for repeatedly breaching salary cap regulations. The match will be played at the StoneX Stadium on the weekend of December 10/11/12.

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Edinburgh will then take on London Irish at Brentford FC’s new Community Stadium on the weekend of January 14/15/16 before two home games against French Top 14 opposition; Brive on January 21/22/23 and Pau on April 8/9/10. Mike Blair, the new Edinburgh coach, is a former Brive player.

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The new format for the Challenge Cup will see 15 clubs competing in three pools of five. The three highest-ranked clubs from each pool, and the highest-ranked fourth-placed club, as well as the three clubs ranked ninth to 11th from each of the Heineken Champions Cup pools, will qualify for the round of 16 on April 15/16/17. Quarter-finals and semi-finals will follow, with the final at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille on May 27.

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