French test for Welsh
Premiership new boys London Welsh have been handed a plum European Challenge Cup opening clash against Stade Francais.
The Championship play-off winners, who were admitted to the top level of English club rugby following a successful appeal, will take on the French giants at the Kassam Stadium, the home of football club Oxford United which will serve as the team's playing base in 2012/13. Stade were beaten finalists in the competition two seasons ago, and will be heavily fancied to get their latest campaign off to a winning start against a team that were playing against the likes of Esher and Moseley just a matter of months ago. The competition kicks off with a clash in France between Mont-de-Marsan and Gloucester, while there is also a trip across the channel in the first round for London Irish, who face Bordeaux-Begles. 2003 Cup winners Wasps welcome Welsh outfit Newport Gwent Dragons to the capital, while there is an intriguing trip to Bucharest for Bath and Worcester travel to Spain to take on Bizkaia Gernika RT. Pool 1: Gloucester Rugby, London Irish, Bordeaux-Begles, Mont-de-Marsan Pool 2: Perpignan, Worcester Warriors, VEA Femi-CZ Rovigo, Bizkaia Gernika RT Pool 3: London Wasps, Newport Gwent Dragons, Bayonne, Rugby Mogliano Pool 4: Bath Rugby, Cammi Rugby Calvisano, Agen, Bucharest Wolves Pool 5: Stade Francais Paris, London Welsh, I Cavalieri Prato, Grenoble