Pool one looks like a two horse race at this stage with Cardiff Blues and London Irish sitting pretty at the top with 10 points each and Grenoble and Rovigo sitting at the bottom still pointless. Cardiff and London Irish meet for the first of two matches in two weeks at the BT Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday with both games having a huge bearing on who will top the group and go through to the quarter finals.
These next two weeks of European Rugby will come as a great distraction for both sides who have struggled in their respective leagues this season. Cardiff Blues won only their third league game of the season last Saturday with a win against bottom side Zebre. As for London Irish they are going through a terrible run of form with their last win in the league coming in late September against Saracens. This will be the first time these sides have met in the Challenge Cup in what will only be Cardiff’s 6th game in the competition with the 2010 champions winning all 5 previous games and have never tasted defeat.
In the game at the bottom of Pool 1 Grenoble host Italian side Rovigo on Friday night with both sides looking for their first points in this years competition. Grenoble have had a great start to the season and after a late win against Toulouse last Saturday they now sit 5th in the league. However like a lot of French sides in European competition in recent years they may opt to rest players with important league games coming up. Rovigo have not fared well in Europe and have suffered some heavy defeats in recent years while Grenoble have have never lost to Italian opposition and will be hoping that doesn’t change on Friday.