Round one of the Amlin Challenge Cup saw all Italian sides getting thrashed, and badly. The teams from the Campionato Nazionale Eccellenza are not capable of giving Top 14, Aviva Premiership or Pro 12 sides a good match. In round one Bucureşti hosted and Crociati 34-7. Stade FranÃ§ais then smashed Bucureşti 49-3 in round two. The Stade FranÃ§ais side was missing virtually its entire first XV. Elsewhere in round one Petrarca Padova went down 53-22 to Toulon, with Toulon also fielding many players who struggle to make the cut for Top 14 duty. Bayonne won 43-10 vs Rovigo and, again, got the win without its top XV together on the field. Also, the Newport-Gwent Dragons won 33-3 vs I Cavalieri Prato in round one. To me, there are too many Italian clubs. At least one should be removed with the Russian champions entering instead. It would be nice to see Krasnoyarsk Enisey-STM in the fold. The only issue being the winter but, surely this is no reason to not get a Russian side involved? Surely matches can be moved or, the season could possibly be adjusted so that early rounds can be played before the winter has kicked in with Krasnoyarsk Enisey-STM (or whomever it may be) hosting its share of matches early on. Krasnoyarsk is far away, in Siberia. This makes it more interesting not less.