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Cardiff Blues learn Challenge Cup fate

First Team News | 19th June 2019

Cardiff Blues' will lock horns with old European enemies in next season's Challenge Cup pool stage.

Wales' Capital Region return to the Challenge Cup two seasons after being crowned champions in a dramatic final victory over Gloucester in Bilbao.

The draw for the pool stage took place in Lausanne on Wednesday, with John Mulvihill's side seeded in the top tier.

The two-time Challenge Cup winners were placed in pool five alongside Leicester Tigers, Pau and Rugby Calvisano.

There is rich European history between Cardiff Blues and Leicester, with the epic 2009 Heineken Cup semi final encounter a stand-out fixture between the sides.

Tigers progressed to the final on the day, after the winner was decided by an unprecedented, and dramatic, penalty shoot-out at Millennium Stadium.

Meanwhile, Cardiff Blues have faced Pau on three occasions in recent campaigns. 

The French outfit, whose squad will include All Blacks duo Ben Smith and Luke Whitelock for next season, were the opponents in 2018 as Wales' Capital Region booked their place in the Bilbao final.

Former Cardiff Blues legend and captain, Paul Tito, who lifted the Challenge Cup following the 2010 win over Toulon in Marseille, is also amongst Pau's coaching team.

The Blues took on Calvisano in 2016, racking up a 74-6 victory over the Italians. But the encounter between the sides in 2005 was notable for the Cardiff Blues debut of All Blacks' legendary wing, Jonah Lomu.

The dates for all six Challenge Cup pool stage games will be announced in due course.

All Challenge Cup home pool stage fixtures are included in the Cardiff Blues 2019/20 Season Memberships.