Topic-icon The road to Bilbao - Challenge Cup 2017/18

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4 months 4 weeks ago - 4 months 3 weeks ago #55262 by pinky
pinky created the topic: The road to Bilbao - Challenge Cup 2017/18
This might seem a bit premature but it's my way of coping :(

Just two places still to be decided in the Challenge Cup. The winner of the Championship final on Wednesday night (probably London Irish) and the loser of the playoff final in Franklin's Gardens on Friday will complete the line-up.

Northampton/SF Paris

Brive
Pau
Lyon
Bordeaux
Toulouse
Oyonnax
Agen

Newcastle
Gloucester
Sale
Worcester
London Irish/Yorkshire

Cardiff
Connacht
Edinburgh
Dragons
Zebre

Enisei
Krasny Yar

Ranking depends on who wins the playoff. If Stade lose, they will be the top ranked Top 14 team, which in turn means Toulouse would be ranked 6 and would end up in Pot 4 with the Russians and the promoted French teams (Oyonnax and Agen). If Stade win, then London Irish or Yorkshire would go into that Pot.
Connacht are ranked behind Cardiff, so they have a 2/3 chance of being in Pot 1, but could end up in Pot 2, in which case it's possible that they could end up with Stade and Toulouse (and one of Worcester or Irish).
On the other hand, we could get something like Pau, Worcester and Krasny Yar.
Hard to know who you'd want. Might be best to avoid the Russians. There'll be no trip to Siberia anyway so you'd be going to some midway point (Sochi, Moscow and Tbilisi were all used this season) to watch a game with a few hundred people and as we've learned, a win is far from guaranteed and the players could probably do without it.
I wouldn't mind one of the lower English teams just so we could maybe get a flippin' win over there ...

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"We haven’t liked the wind and rain for about four years now" - John Muldoon 1/1/2015
Last Edit: 4 months 3 weeks ago by pinky.
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4 months 4 weeks ago #55264 by MulMan
MulMan replied to the topic: The road to Bilbao - Challenge Cup 2017/18
If Saints win it'll be guaranteed that we only get one English team, and could like you say end up with Stade and Toulouse, having one of them wouldn't be the end of the world as it would give us a fairly high profile game which should draw a good crowd, and I'd still expect to beat them at home, getting something like Lyon, London Irish and Toulouse would be my ideal from a point of view of having a group that we should both qualify from and get good interest in the games, then purely from the point of view of qualifying I'd say if we got Agen instead of Toulouse it would be best, but with the seedings still not fully decided it's hard to know what'll happen

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4 months 4 weeks ago - 4 months 4 weeks ago #55268 by connachta
connachta replied to the topic: The road to Bilbao - Challenge Cup 2017/18
Toulouse in the pool will defo make it look like more like ChampionsCup
Last Edit: 4 months 4 weeks ago by connachta.

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4 months 4 weeks ago #55273 by Podge57
Podge57 replied to the topic: The road to Bilbao - Challenge Cup 2017/18
Does anyone know when draw will be made?

Dreaming of travel plans already B)

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4 months 4 weeks ago - 4 months 4 weeks ago #55284 by Fourdogs
Fourdogs replied to the topic: The road to Bilbao - Challenge Cup 2017/18

Podge57 wrote: ...Dreaming of travel plans already B)


Dublin to Madrid. Madrid to Bilbao probably the most obvious route and avoids the dreaded Stanstead.

I don't think the Summer 2018 flight schedule is published yet.
Last Edit: 4 months 4 weeks ago by Fourdogs.

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4 months 4 weeks ago #55286 by Borders no.2
Borders no.2 replied to the topic: The road to Bilbao - Challenge Cup 2017/18
Depends how the competition is setup to some extent and how the French teams line up for it. Until the prize comes in to sight the French clubs have been understandably indifferent towards it but the qualification spot may change a few minds.

In 2015/16 not being among the top qualifiers could have worked in our favour. If we'd edged out Grenoble away we'd have got a home semi-final. As it was losing that quarter final may have been a blessing in disguise.

Stade won it this year having stumbled through to the quarter finals as the final seed in a group which Edinburgh won. Ospreys collected all 30 points in the group stage before losing to Stade.

I think regardless of who we get in the group we should be targetting to qualify from the group and hopefully give a run to some fringe players along the way. Once it gets to the knockouts who knows.
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4 months 4 weeks ago #55288 by sea_point
sea_point replied to the topic: The road to Bilbao - Challenge Cup 2017/18

Fourdogs wrote:

Podge57 wrote: ...Dreaming of travel plans already B)


Dublin to Madrid. Madrid to Bilbao probably the most obvious route and avoids the dreaded Stanstead.

I don't think the Summer 2018 flight schedule is published yet.


You can go from Shannon/Knock or Dublin via Gatwick [Vueling] to Bilbao....

Given it's being held in middle of May and weather gets mid-twenties up , you may want to look at San Sebastian too a fantastic location with some great city beaches/bars and restaurants to stay in nearby, about an hour away by coach/car (no direct rail link) from Bilbao...

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4 months 3 weeks ago - 4 months 3 weeks ago #55290 by pinky
pinky replied to the topic: The road to Bilbao - Challenge Cup 2017/18
Hmmm, when I said "The Road to Bilbao", I was being metaphorical, referring to Connacht's progress in the European Challenge Cup, but since ye seem to want to go there already, there are direct flights from Dublin with Aer Lingus :-) (also nearby Biarritz and Santander with Ryanair)

Also note, talk of the draw and seedings and such in my first post are based on the draw from the last few years. Given that they changed the qualification rules recently, it's not beyond the realms of possibility that they might change the draw format as well, though I can't imagine any significant change really.

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"We haven’t liked the wind and rain for about four years now" - John Muldoon 1/1/2015
Last Edit: 4 months 3 weeks ago by pinky.
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4 months 3 weeks ago #55291 by ShaneM
ShaneM replied to the topic: The road to Bilbao - Challenge Cup 2017/18
Accommodation prices are mental already. There's direct flights from Aer Lingus to Bilbao from Dublin (Will have to wait another month for their calendar to see what days, Deffo Thursday flight out from Dublin, but I think its back on a Tuesday). Ryanair go direct to Santander Airport. It's 1hr 35min by bus from the airport to Bilbao. Seems they go on a regular timetable.
Will get accommodation sorted and worry about the flights later.....Fecks sake the season is only over and already booking away trips for next season :evil:
God help us if we draw one of the Russian teams in the Challenge Cup :silly:

Hey. They laughed at Louis Armstrong when he said he was gonna go to the moon. Now he’s up there, laughing at them.

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4 months 3 weeks ago #55295 by pinky
pinky replied to the topic: The road to Bilbao - Challenge Cup 2017/18
Well that's London Irish back into the Premiership (and Challenge Cup) after a try-fest.
Draw is in two weeks time (Thursday June 8th).

Had a quick look at how to get to the French venues. As usual it is so much easier to get there in October when there are direct flights to Toulouse, Bordeaux and Biarritz (but for some reason we never get a French team away in October). Paris and Lyon have daily flights year-round and Oyonnax is close to Lyon (and Geneva). The other 5 are all roughly in the South West. Toulouse as we know is about an hour from Carcassonne, Agen is about 2 and Pau, Bordeaux and Brive about 3 hours, but game day is a big issue since the flights are Friday/Sunday. Agen in October and Lyon in January would work out nicely ...

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4 months 3 weeks ago #55296 by FACECUTTR
FACECUTTR replied to the topic: The road to Bilbao - Challenge Cup 2017/18
Has to be one of the highest scoring finals ever ? Some decent teams in the challenge cup next season and might draw a few more fans to games and more viewers on tv.

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4 months 3 weeks ago #55305 by neill_m
neill_m replied to the topic: The road to Bilbao - Challenge Cup 2017/18
Potentials Pots (Open to correction!)

If Stade win the PO:

Pot 1: Cardiff, Brive, Saints, 2 from (Connacht, Newcastle, Pau)
Pot 2: 1 from (Connacht, Newcastle, Pau), Gloucester, Edinburgh, Lyon, 1 from (Dragons, Sale, Bordeaux)
Pot 3: 2 from (Dragons, Sale, Bordeaux), Zebre, Worcester, Toulouse
Pot 4: London Irish, Oyonnax, Agen, Enisey-STM, Krasny Yar

If Saints win the PO:

Pot 1: Cardiff, Stade, Newcastle, 2 from (Connacht, Gloucester, Brive)
Pot 2: 1 from (Connacht, Gloucester, Brive), Sale, Edinburgh, Pau, 1 from (Dragons, Worcester, Lyon)
Pot 3: 2 from (Dragons, Worcester, Lyon), Zebre, London Irish, Bordeaux
Pot 4: Toulouse, Oyonnax, Agen, Enisey-STM, Krasny Yar

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4 months 3 weeks ago #55306 by connemara man
connemara man replied to the topic: The road to Bilbao - Challenge Cup 2017/18
As much as I'd like a trip to Sochi. I think it'd be great for Connacht to get London Irish in the group

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4 months 3 weeks ago #55307 by pinky
pinky replied to the topic: The road to Bilbao - Challenge Cup 2017/18
If they were smart about it, they could tweak the draw rules to put the two Russian teams in the one pool. The two visiting teams could come over at the same time in October and play them on successive weekends (might even get away with Krasnoyarsk at that time of year when it's a balmy minus 5). Then the Russians would only require one trip to Europe to play two games. They could even play their derbies outside the normal window in September or whatever.
Probably won't happen though.

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4 months 3 weeks ago #55308 by connemara man
connemara man replied to the topic: The road to Bilbao - Challenge Cup 2017/18
The EPCR make people's life easier???? Oh I doubt it
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4 months 3 weeks ago #55309 by Fourdogs
Fourdogs replied to the topic: The road to Bilbao - Challenge Cup 2017/18

pinky wrote: If they were smart about it, they could tweak the draw rules to put the two Russian teams in the one pool. The two visiting teams could come over at the same time in October and play them on successive weekends (might even get away with Krasnoyarsk at that time of year when it's a balmy minus 5)......


Pinky
You have some imagination. Great idea all the same. That would be one amazing trip. Minimum 10 days in Russia to get the games of both visiting teams.
Out of Dublin on the Thur to Moscow / Krasnoyarsk / Sochi. 1st game on Sat. Few days sightseeing. Travel to Moscow / Krasnoyarsk / Sochi on the Tue. (Trans Siberia train takes 4 days from Krasnoyarsk to Moscow) More sightseeing. Second game on 2nd Sat. Fly home on Sun back to work on Monday. I'd say €3,000 would cover everything.:whistle: ;) ;)
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