Scots clubs handed tough British and Irish Cup draw

Ayr rugby
Ayr are aming for more success after last season's Premier Cup win

Ayr, Melrose and Currie have been handed a tough challenge in the draw for the British and Irish Cup.

The draw for Pool 1 leaves Ayr facing Pool 2 sides Bristol, who knocked them out in last year's quarter-final, Cross Keys, Plymouth Albion and Munster.

Melrose are in Pool 4 and line up against Aberavon, Bedford Blues, Leinster and London Scottish.

Pool 5 sees Currie face Pool 6 sides Leeds Carnegie, Nottingham Rugby, Swansea and Ulster.

Despite being pitted against some formidable sides, Ayr head coach Kenny Murray is excited by the draw.

"We are really pleased with this draw, it is a fantastic challenge against four quality sides, three of whom we have never played before," he said.

"We are relishing the opportunity that this season's British and Irish Cup is going to bring.

"It is a tougher draw than past seasons but I can't wait to play such a well-known side as Munster and to have another go at Bristol, but on our home soil.

"If we reach the semi-final I will be over the moon, but first and foremost our main aim is to win our home games and give a great account of our team away from home."

Melrose are aiming to better their record from last season in the competition where they recorded two away wins, while Currie are looking to register their first win in the competition after losing all five matches last term.

Pool 1: Ayr, Cornish Pirates, Moseley, Neath,

Pool 2: Bristol Rugby, Cross Keys, Plymouth Albion, Munster

Pool 3: Aberavon, Bedford Blues, Leinster, London Scottish

Pool 4: Esher Rugby, Llanelli, London Welsh, Melrose

Pool 5: Currie, Doncaster Knights, Rotherham Titans, Pontypridd

Pool 6: Leeds Carnegie, Nottingham Rugby, Swansea, Ulster,