Idle fixture speculation

As we know by now, Connacht have been drawn with Lyon, Perpignan, Cheetahs, Cardiff and Zebre in the Challenge Cup.
The exact fixtures are yet to be confirmed with the aid of EPCR’s mysterious algorithm, and based on previous seasons, we should have them in about two weeks’ time.
Speculation about who we might play where is, of course, completely pointless given that we’ll know the fixtures five months before they happen in any case, but it’s vaguely entertaining for those of us who are fascinated by the dystopian machinations of the EPCR.
The key thing to be determined is which of the other five teams we don’t play. In the other pools, this is fairly straightforward, but in our one it’s more complicated.
Each pool has exactly two French teams, so they won’t play each other, and Pool 2 also has two Welsh teams, Dragons and Ospreys, who presumably won’t play, and will therefore both play Lions. Pool 3 meanwhile has only two URC teams, Edinburgh and Scarlets, who logically will avoid each other also. The rest of the fixtures sort themselves out, other than the home advantage part of it.
Connacht’s pool however features three URC teams from different shields, so there is no specific reason for any one team of the three to avoid any other. One of them will have to play both of the others and that team will therefore not play Cheetahs.
My initial thoughts were that Connacht would play Zebre and Cardiff and therefore avoid Cheetahs. This is mainly based on EPCR’s rather cryptic statement that the Scottish and Italian teams would be “grouped with the Welsh teams”, which could mean that they don’t play each other. It’s also entirely possible that it could mean nothing at all.
A slightly more logical approach would be that Zebre don’t play Cheetahs, since they played them last season in the same tournament. That would mean that Connacht would avoid Cardiff and play both Zebre and Cheetahs.
We have no idea whether the algorithm takes into account previous years’ fixtures since this is only the second season of the format so we have nothing to base it on, however it is interesting to note that of the five fixtures last season that took place between two URC teams, the fixture was the reverse of the equivalent fixture in the league in all cases. This seems a bit too much to be coincidence, so we can assume it is by design, meaning for example Connacht would be at home to Zebre if they face them since they will travel to Parma already next May.
And given that they are taking account of URC fixtures it is not unreasonable to think they will take into account previous seasons’ European fixtures. The same argument could indicate that Connacht would play Lyon at home since they played over there in last season’s Champions Cup.
Combining all of this entirely hypothetical but vaguely plausible logic gives us a fixture list of.

Zebre at home (because we are away in the URC)
Lyon at home (because we were away last season)
Perpignan away
Cheetahs in Amsterdam
And we don’t play Cardiff at all (because Cheetahs won’t play Zebre and Perpignan won’t play Lyon)

If bookies took bets on this type of thing, I would throw down a few quid, but I wouldn’t exactly put the house on it, so don’t write strongly worded letters to me if I’m wrong! In any case of course there is no way of knowing the weekends the games are on until they are inevitably leaked the day before, so we can’t book anything either way, but it might be useful for advance itinerary planning.

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