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EDF Energy Cup draw

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Holders Leicester Tigers will face Bath Rugby, Sale Sharks and Cardiff Blues in the EDF Energy Cup next season.

After two seasons in the company of Northampton Saints, Worcester Warriors and Newport Gwent Dragons, the groups have been redrawn for Tigers' defence of the trophy in 2007-08.

Tigers will begin their EDF Energy Cup campaign with a trip to face old rivals Bath at The Rec in Pool B on the weekend of October 26-28, followed by two home games in the competition.

Tigers will host Cardiff Blues on Saturday, November 3 and then Sale Sharks in the third round of fixtures on the weekend of December 1. Date and kick-off times for the third game in each group will not be confirmed until after the round two fixtures have been completed.

"It is another tough pool - we seem to be making a habit of that at the moment," said Tigers acting head coach Richard Cockerill. "At Leicester, we go into every competition with the aim of winning it and, as defending champions, we want to extend our run in the EDF Energy Cup as far as possible."

The EDF Energy Cup, in its third year, is contested by the 12 Guinness Premiership clubs and the four Welsh Magners League regions.

Bonus-point victories over the Dragons and Worcester sent Tigers into the semi-finals in 2006-07 and they then beat Sale Sharks at the Millennium Stadium. The Ospreys were beaten in the final at Twickenham as Martin Corry lifted the club's first trophy since 2002.

Three rounds of matches will be played in the group stages before the semi-finals on Saturday, March 22 and the EDF Energy Cup Final on Saturday, April 12.

"After two stirring Anglo-Welsh finals at Twickenham and the excitement of the double-header days at the Millennium Stadium, we have been eagerly awaiting the 2007/08 draw," said Terry Burwell, the RFU tournament and competitions director. "Group B features three of last season's semi-finalists and is bound to produce some fantastic matches before the pool winner is decided."

Mark McCafferty, chief executive of Premier Rugby, added: "With different pools to last season, the EDF Energy Cup again promises to be a thrilling Anglo-Welsh contest." 

EDF Energy Cup

Group A: Newport Gwent Dragons, London Wasps, Gloucester Rugby, Newcastle Falcons

Group B: Cardiff Blues, Bath Rugby, Sale Sharks, Leicester Tigers

Group C: Ospreys, Harlequins, Worcester Warriors, London Irish

Group D: Llanelli Scarlets, Leeds Carnegie, Saracens, Bristol Rugby