Our next European Rugby Challenge Cup spotlight surrounds Pool 3, featuring 2003 winners Wasps and last year’s Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finalists, Edinburgh Rugby.


Ground: Stade Armandie, Agen, France.

Challenge Cup record: Agen were finalists in the Challenge Cup in 1998 but were beaten 43-5 by Colomiers. Since then, they have reached the quarter-finals on three occasions, with the most recent knockout stage appearance coming in 2004/05.

Last season: The French club finished bottom of Challenge Cup Pool 5, after winning only two of their six games.

Director of rugby: Christophe Laussucq is the new man in the Agen hot seat, having arrived from Pro D2 side Stade Montois, where he was in charge for five seasons.

New signings: Agen have had a big turnover of playing staff during the summer, shipping out 15 players and signing 13 to date. The signings include Worcester Warriors lock Pierce Phillips and Racing 92 scrum-half Xavier Chauveau.


Ground: Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux, France.

Challenge Cup record: Bordeaux-Bègles reached their only Challenge Cup quarter-final back in 1996/97, losing 20-15 to Agen.

Last season: Like Agen, Bordeaux-Bègles failed to make it out of the pool stage. They finished third in Pool 3 after winning two and drawing one of their six matches.

Director of rugby: The vastly experienced Christophe Urios is now in charge, after four seasons in the same role at Castres Olympique and eight at Oyonnax.

New signings: Argentina wing Santiago Cordero, Australia back-row forward Scott Higginbotham, France lock Alexandre Flanquart and centre Rémi Lamerat are their most eye-catching signings.

Edinburgh Rugby

Ground: BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Challenge Cup record: Edinburgh’s best performance in the Challenge Cup came in 2014/15, when they reached their maiden European final, only to lose 19-13 to Gloucester Rugby at Twickenham Stoop.

Last season: The Scottish side topped Pool 5 in the Heineken Champions Cup, ahead of Montpellier, RC Toulon and Newcastle Falcons. However, they went down 17-13 in the quarter-finals to Munster Rugby at BT Murrayfield.

Head coach: Richard Cockerill has been in charge at Edinburgh since 2017, having previously spent 12 years with Leicester Tigers, as well as a brief stint at Toulon. His Leicester side were beaten 19-16 by Leinster Rugby in the 2009 European Cup final.

New signings: Scotland prop Jamie Bhatti has made the move from Glasgow Warriors to Edinburgh, while back-row forward Nick Haining, hooker Mike Willemse, wing Eroni Sau and scrum-half Nic Groom have also joined the club from Bristol Bears, Southern Kings, Perpignan and Lions respectively.


Ground: Ricoh Arena, Coventry, England.

Challenge Cup record: Wasps won the Challenge Cup back in 2003, beating Bath Rugby 48-30 in the final at the Madejski Stadium in Reading. They have also won the European Cup twice, in 2004 and 2007.

Last season: The English club failed to win a match in Pool 1 of the Heineken Champions Cup, losing twice to Leinster Rugby and Toulouse, and once to Bath, with whom they also drew.

Director of rugby: Dai Young has been the main man at Wasps since 2011, having left Cardiff Blues to join the Coventry-based club.

New signings: Former All Blacks centre Malakai Fekitoa has joined Wasps from Toulon, while Young has also signed Hurricanes prop Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Gloucester scrum-half Ben Vellacott, Zebre full-back Matteo Minozzi and Saracens back-rower Sione Vailanu.