The Pilkington Cup took on the look of a summit meeting when the First Division leaders, Bath, were drawn at home in the fourth round to Northampton, who head the Second Division.
It should be an intriguing match. Saints are averaging more than 50 points a game as they bid to bounce straight back into the top flight, while Bath have topped a half-century in three league matches themselves.
Ian McGeechan, Saints' director of coaching, was stoical when he said: "It's the most difficult tie we could have got, but we are playing well and going away adds spice. It will be a good game - they are playing well, but so are we."
The pair have met twice in the last five years, Bath - nine-times winners of the knock-out competition - overcoming the 1991 losing finalists on each occasion. Wasps, beaten by Bath in last season's final, travel to Sale, Leicester travel to Exeter, who they thrashed 76-0 in the quarter- finals four seasons ago, and Harlequins have a tricky tie at Orrell.
PILKINGTON CUP Fourth round draw: Bath v Northampton; Bedford v Worcester; Blackheath v Coventry; Camberley v Wakefield; Exeter v Leicester; Gloucester v Walsall; Leeds v Waterloo; London Irish v London Welsh; Newcastle v Moseley; Nottingham v London Scottish; Orrell v Harlequins; Reading v Bristol; Sale v Wasps; Saracens v Rugby Lions; Winnington Park v Lydney; Weston-super-Mare v West Hartlepool. (Ties to be played 23 December).Reuse content