LANCASTER'S newest rugby team is preparing to take on some of the game's toughest teams when the York Nines Tournament kicks off next month.

The draw made last week has put on a collisions course with teams from Cambridge, Edin-burgh and the French city of Lezignan.

The draw for the prestigious event was made by British Lions coach David Waite live on BBC radio - and Lancaster were the last ones out.

"It was pretty nerve wracking being the last in the bag, though we were relieved not to be in the first pool which appears at a glance to be very tough," says Lancaster chairman John Tho-mason.

He reckons Cambridge and the Scottish RL champions Edin-burgh Eagles are likely to be of a similar standard to Lancaster, but FC Lezignan are unknown.

"They play in the French national competition and come from a very traditional rugby league area. Last year they finished second after a close final game against the London Koogas, so we will have to be wary of them," says john.

Also in Lancaster's pool are the South Asia Bulls, a team created by former London Broncos and England player Ikram Butt from players of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin.

"They have recruited heavily from the Asian communities of West Yorkshire so they will also be a team to watch," says John.

The first games take place at Bradford's Odsal Stadium on July 7 and will be used to select the Great Britain Lions squad for the forthcoming Ashes series against the Kangaroos.