The journey will be a familiar one for the Connacht men. They went out to play Narbonne at the Parc des Sports et de l'Amite lasr year in Round 2 of the competition. On that occasion they returned having been beaten, 42-27, with a seemingly impossible task ahead of them in the return leg. However, they overturned that result, winning 23-7 to progress to the quarter-final on a +1 points difference.
And now, with wins in Beziers and Pau under their belts, they have shown they have what it takes to win in that most difficult theatre of rugby. Just as importantly, Narbonne will know it as well.
What awaits the winner of this tie is a semi-final meeting with either Harlequins, who won the title in 2001 or Brive, winners of the Heineken Cup in 1997 and beaten semi-finalists in the Challenge Cup in 1999 and in the quarter-final in 2001 (by Harlequins).
The fixtures, dates and kick-off times for the first and second legsof theParker Pen Challenge Cup quarter-finals are:
First Leg. Saturday 24th January 15.00: NEC Harlequins v Brive19.30: Narbonne v Connacht19.30: Beziers v Bath Rugby
Second Leg.Saturday 31st January.14.00: Connacht v Narbonne14.15: Bath Rugby v BeziersSunday 1st February15.00: Saracens v Montferrand15.00: Brive v NEC Harlequins