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James Stokes goes aerial against London Irish earlier this season (pic: John Coles)

Coventry Rugby have been handed the toughest possible Championship Cup quarter-final assignment away to league leaders London Irish.

The last eight tie at the Madejski Stadium, Reading, takes place on the first weekend in February (exact date and kick off time to be confirmed).

Cov’s qualification as pool one runners-up behind Yorkshire Carnegie saw them seeded in sixth position for the new competition’s first knock-out stage.

Regulations prevent any two teams from the same pool facing each other again in the quarter-finals, and as a consequence the blue-and-whites face the Exiles, who were seeded second after winning pool three.

When the clubs met at the Butts Park Arena in late September, Coventry pushed the newly-relegated former Premiership outfit all the way before Brendan Macken’s late try saw Irish to a 21-17 win.

Full quarter-final draw:

Ealing Trailfinders v Nottingham Rugby

London Irish v Coventry Rugby

Yorkshire Carnegie v Bedford Blues

Jersey Reds v Cornish Pirates

All ties to be played between February 1 and 3.

Coventry also confirm that fly half Jake Sharp has been released with immediate effect.

Commenting on the news, director of rugby Rowland Winter said:

“Unfortunately, things didn’t work out with Jake and it made no sense to have a player of his experience getting very little game time.

“In addition to Will Maisey, we would like to give Tony Fenner opportunities at fly half, while Dan Lewis and Robbie Povey have both impressed since arriving at the Butts Park Arena in the early autumn.

“We thank Jake for his efforts and wish him well in his future endeavours.”