Connacht face testing trip to Siberia for cup clash with Russian newcomers

Connacht are facing a trip to Siberia in the European Challenge Cup after losing out in a draw yesterday.

Pat Lam’s men face the nightmare trip to Krasnoyarsk in Siberia in November after being drawn to face Russian newcomers Enisei-STM in the competition.

Connacht drew the short straw at a draw in the EPCR headquarters at Neuchatel in Switzerland, and face the difficult trip to Siberia for the opening round of the Challenge Cup in November.

The Russian champions wanted their pool games in their home city Krasnoyarsk, which is five hours east of Moscow.

A compromise was reached that they would play one of their pool games there and the other two at the more accessible Winter Olympic city Sochi, close to the Georgian border.

It is believed the EPCR will assist Connacht in travelling to Siberia, probably by providing a charter flight, but it will still be an arduous task for Lam’s men, with a seven hour time difference to be factored into a journey which will be 10 hours, not including stops.

Connacht, Brive and Newcastle Falcons watched on Skype as the draw, which was overseen by a legal scrutineer, took place in Neuchatel. The EPCR are expected to soon announce the Pool 1 fxtures for the Challenge Cup.

Connacht kick off their season tomorrow night in front of a home crowd at the Sportsground with Welsh side Dragons the visitors in round 1 of the Pro12.

Head coach Pat Lam stated he has had a number of selection headaches ahead of the opening clash:

“I would say selection for this team has probably been one of the toughest in all my time here”, the head coach conceded.

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