The draw for the British & Irish Cup has thrown up a difficult assignment for Doncaster Knights.
Knights will tackle holders London Welsh, local rivals Rotherham Titans and also two-time finalists Munster A in Pool Two.
They will begin their schedule against Rotherham at Clifton Lane in mid-October and end their group fixtures by hosting the Titans in late January.
Knights reached the final in 2015 before losing to Worcester Warriors at Castle Park.
They were knocked out in the quarter-finals last season at Cornish Pirates.
Meanwhile, director of rugby Clive Griffiths thinks it is potentially advantageous that Knights will face newly-relegated London Irish on the first day of the new Championship season. Trips to Irish and Richmond are sandwiched around a home derby with Rotherham.
“It’s a pretty tough start but there’s no easy games in the Championship,” said Griffiths.
“Is it good to get London Irish first? Yes, it’s probably better than when they get more cohesive.
“And then it’s a massive game against Rotherham to back that up, and going down to Richmond won’t be easy either.
“It’s a triangular event, if you like, that we’ve got to negotiate pretty well.”