London Scottish face a tough examination in Pool One of the British and Irish Cup this season.
The Scots have been pulled out the hat alongside Irish outfit Connacht, Bristol Rugby and ‘Wales 2’, with the Welsh opposition to be decided following Regional Play-Offs at the beginning of September.
Last season London Scottish narrowly missed out on a quarter-final place to Pontypridd, who qualified out of Pool Two on points difference, at the expense of Scottish.
London Scottish will travel to Wales in the opening round of fixtures, scheduled for the weekend of October 10-12, and head coach James Buckland is determined to make a major impact in this year’s tournament.
He said: “We performed well in the competition last year and it would be fantastic to get out the pool and reach the quarter-finals.
“In saying that, I don’t think you could have hand-picked a tougher pool.
“All the Irish provinces are strong, especially away from home and that will be a good experience for the squad.
“We know how good Bristol are and we will have to play them four times like we did against London Welsh last season. It will be a real test for the whole squad.
“The Welsh sides have a slightly different style and we can expect a really physical encounter whoever we are drawn against.”
British and Irish Cup Draw:
Pool One: London Scottish, Wales 2, Connacht, Bristol.
Round One, October 10-12: Wales 2 v London Scottish, Bristol v Connacht
Round Two, October 17-19: London Scottish v Bristol (Saturday, October 18, 3pm kick-off), Connacht v Wales 2
Round Three, October 24-26: Connacht v London Scottish, Wales 2 v Bristol
Round Four, 28-30 November: London Scottish v Connacht (Saturday, November, 29, kick-off tbc), Bristol v Wales 2
Round Five, 5-7 December: Bristol v London Scottish, Wales 2 v Connacht
Round Six, December 13: London Scottish v Wales 2 (3pm kick-off), Connacht v Bristol.
2014-15 British & Irish Cup structure:
* 12 Greene King IPA Championship clubs
* 4 Welsh Principality Premiership clubs
* 4 Irish provinces – Connacht, Munster, Leinster 'A' and Ulster Ravens
*Taking place on 11, 18, 25 October, 29 November and 6, 13 December 2014
* 5 pools of 4 playing home and away
* 4 points for a win, 2 for a draw, 1 bonus point for a) scoring 4 or more tries and/or b) losing by 7 points or less
* Taking place on 24 January 2015
* Top side in each pool progress to knockout stage, plus three best runners-up
* 8 quarter-finalists ranked with teams ranked 1-4 having home advantage
Semi-finals and final
* Four winning quarter finalists progress to semi -final draw which takes place on weekend of 13/14/15 March 2015
* Winning semi-finalists progress to final to take place on weekend of 3/4/5 April 2015