Glasgow To Visit Mediterranean Coast

Glasgow will have a trip to the Mediterranean coast on the first weekend of December as they have drawn a French club, Montpellier, in round one of the European Challenge Cup. Hughenden will host the return match a week later, probably on Friday 12 December."Obviously, it will be a hard game in France," Hugh Campbell, Glasgow's coach, remarked this afternoon. "But we"ll be looking forward to the challenge." He has had experience of rugby in that part of France as he visited Montpellier while on tour as Edinburgh Academicals" coach some years ago.After six successive seasons in the Heineken Cup competition Glasgow dropped into European rugby's second tier through finishing behind Edinburgh and The Borders in the domestic championship, the Bank of Scotland Pro Rugby Cup. Montpellier, from the Mediterranean coast, qualified for the Challenge Cup by beating Tarbes in the French second-division championship final.If Glasgow win through the opening round they will play against either Saracens or Rugby Roma. However, even the losers may have a reprieve as one of two "lucky losers".This season the tournament has been reduced from 32 to 28 teams because of the reorganisation of the Welsh professional club game. That means 14 matches in the first round, but two defeated teams will join the winners to provide eight games in the second round.The 12 remaining first-round losers will move into the European Shield, where they will be joined by four additional teams - two from Spain, VRAC (Valladolid) and Madrid 2012, and two from Portugal, FC Belenenses and RC Coimbra. Portuguese rugby is back in the competition for the first time since the national side played in the 1998-1999 event.Two past winners of the Heineken Cup, Bath and Brive, are among the 28 Challenge Cup contenders. The complement is made up of ten from France, eight from Italy, six from England, two from Spain, and one from Ireland along with GlasgowJean-Pierre Lux, the European Rugby Cup chairman, said: "After the success of last year's new format for the Parker Pen Challenge Cup competition we are delighted to be able to stay with the same formula that met with such huge approval with all players and fans that culminated in a great double-header at the Madejski Stadium in Reading that attracted over 18,000 spectators. The restructuring process that has gone on in Wales has left us without any Welsh representation in the 2003-2004 tournament."Last season, in the Reading finale, London Wasps won the Challenge Cup with a 48-28 victory against Bath whereas Castres took the shield by beating Caerphilly 40-12.The Challenge Cup does not yet have a sponsors" prefix. 'the two-year Parker Pen contract has ended, and the company have decided not to renew the title sponrsohip of the competition," Derek McGrath, the ERC chief executive, explained.Challenge Cup draw:First round (seeded teams away in first leg on 5-7 December, second leg the following weekend):Game 1 - Dulciora El Salvador v NEC HarlequinsGame 2 - Rugby Rovigo v Castres OlympiqueGame 3 - Brive v ViadanaGame 4 - Rotherham v NarbonneGame 5 - Montauban v London IrishGame 6 - Beziers v ConnachtGame 7 - Rugby Parma v PauGame 8 - Rugby Roma v SaracensGame 9 - Montpellier v Glasgow RugbyGame 10 - Leonessa v MontferrandGame 11 - La Moraleja Alcobendas v Newcastle FalconsGame 12 - Colomiers v Petrarca PadovaGame 13 - L"Aquila Rugby v Bath RugbyGame 14 - Gr.A.N. Rugby Parma v GrenobleSecond round (first leg 9-11 January, second leg the following weekend):Game 15 - Lucky Loser v Winner Game 1Game 16 - Winner Game 3 v Winner Game 2Game 17 - Winner Game 5 v Winner Game 4Game 18 - Winner Game 6 v Winner Game 7Game 19 - Winner Game 8 v Winner Game 9Game 20 - Winner Game 11 v Winner Game 10Game 21 - Winner Game 12 v Winner Game 13Game 22 - Winner Game 14 v Lucky LoserQuarter-finals (first leg on weekend 23-25 January, second leg the following weekend):Game 23 - Winner Game 15 v Winner Game 16Game 24 - Winner Game 17 v Winner Game 18Game 25 - Winner Game 20 v Winner Game 19Game 26 - Winner Game 22 v Winner Game 21Glasgow will have a trip to the Mediterranean coast on the first weekend of December as they have drawn a French club, Montpellier, in round one of the European Challenge Cup. Hughenden will host the return match a week later, probably on Friday 12 December."Obviously, it will be a hard game in France," Hugh Campbell, Glasgow's coach, remarked this afternoon. "But we"ll be looking forward to the challenge." He has had experience of rugby in that part of France as he visited Montpellier while on tour as Edinburgh Academicals" coach some years ago.After six successive seasons in the Heineken Cup competition Glasgow dropped into European rugby's second tier through finishing behind Edinburgh and The Borders in the domestic championship, the Bank of Scotland Pro Rugby Cup. Montpellier, from the Mediterranean coast, qualified for the Challenge Cup by beating Tarbes in the French second-division championship final.If Glasgow win through the opening round they will play against either Saracens or Rugby Roma. However, even the losers may have a reprieve as one of two "lucky losers".This season the tournament has been reduced from 32 to 28 teams because of the reorganisation of the Welsh professional club game. That means 14 matches in the first round, but two defeated teams will join the winners to provide eight games in the second round.The 12 remaining first-round losers will move into the European Shield, where they will be joined by four additional teams - two from Spain, VRAC (Valladolid) and Madrid 2012, and two from Portugal, FC Belenenses and RC Coimbra. Portuguese rugby is back in the competition for the first time since the national side played in the 1998-1999 event.Two past winners of the Heineken Cup, Bath and Brive, are among the 28 Challenge Cup contenders. The complement is made up of ten from France, eight from Italy, six from England, two from Spain, and one from Ireland along with GlasgowJean-Pierre Lux, the European Rugby Cup chairman, said: "After the success of last year's new format for the Parker Pen Challenge Cup competition we are delighted to be able to stay with the same formula that met with such huge approval with all players and fans that culminated in a great double-header at the Madejski Stadium in Reading that attracted over 18,000 spectators. The restructuring process that has gone on in Wales has left us without any Welsh representation in the 2003-2004 tournament."Last season, in the Reading finale, London Wasps won the Challenge Cup with a 48-28 victory against Bath whereas Castres took the shield by beating Caerphilly 40-12.The Challenge Cup does not yet have a sponsors" prefix. 'the two-year Parker Pen contract has ended, and the company have decided not to renew the title sponrsohip of the competition," Derek McGrath, the ERC chief executive, explained.Challenge Cup draw:First round (seeded teams away in first leg on 5-7 December, second leg the following weekend):Game 1 - Dulciora El Salvador v NEC HarlequinsGame 2 - Rugby Rovigo v Castres OlympiqueGame 3 - Brive v ViadanaGame 4 - Rotherham v NarbonneGame 5 - Montauban v London IrishGame 6 - Beziers v ConnachtGame 7 - Rugby Parma v PauGame 8 - Rugby Roma v SaracensGame 9 - Montpellier v Glasgow RugbyGame 10 - Leonessa v MontferrandGame 11 - La Moraleja Alcobendas v Newcastle FalconsGame 12 - Colomiers v Petrarca PadovaGame 13 - L"Aquila Rugby v Bath RugbyGame 14 - Gr.A.N. Rugby Parma v GrenobleSecond round (first leg 9-11 January, second leg the following weekend):Game 15 - Lucky Loser v Winner Game 1Game 16 - Winner Game 3 v Winner Game 2Game 17 - Winner Game 5 v Winner Game 4Game 18 - Winner Game 6 v Winner Game 7Game 19 - Winner Game 8 v Winner Game 9Game 20 - Winner Game 11 v Winner Game 10Game 21 - Winner Game 12 v Winner Game 13Game 22 - Winner Game 14 v Lucky LoserQuarter-finals (first leg on weekend 23-25 January, second leg the following weekend):Game 23 - Winner Game 15 v Winner Game 16Game 24 - Winner Game 17 v Winner Game 18Game 25 - Winner Game 20 v Winner Game 19Game 26 - Winner Game 22 v Winner Game 21