Anglo-Welsh Cup: Holders Leicester host Gloucester in opening round

Leicester lifted the Anglo-Welsh Cup in March following a 16-12 defeat of Exeter at Twickenham Stoop. (Photo by Rachel Holborn - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Holders Leicester Tigers will begin their Anglo-Welsh Cup defence against Gloucester at Welford Road on Nov. 4.

Tigers lifted the trophy with a 16-12 win over Exeter Chiefs at Twickenham Stoop in March and have been drawn in Pool 4 alongside London Irish, Newcastle Falcons and the Ospreys.

Beaten 2017 finalists Exeter, who will compete in Pool 2 with the Dragons, Harlequins and Sale Sharks, will begin their 2017-18 campaign with a home tie against Northampton.

Worcester have the honour of kicking off this season's competition when they host Sale on Friday, Nov. 3.

The Warriors have been drawn in Pool 3, alongside Northampton, Saracens and Scarlets. Bath, Cardiff, Gloucester and Wasps, meanwhile, make up Pool 1.

In the Anglo-Welsh Cup teams do not play their group opponents, instead each side in Pool 1 will play their counterparts in Pool 4 once, with the other two groups also going head to head.

The top team from each pool will then qualify for the semifinals, to be played on the weekend of March 10-12. The final will be held on the following weekend.