2014-15 British & Irish Cup Fixtures
Following confirmation of the new structure, the 2014-15 British & Irish Cup fixtures are today unveiled.
Played across five pools, each with four teams, the English, Irish and Welsh clubs making up this year's British & Irish Cup will begin the new season campaign during the second weekend of October (10/11/12).
Drawn in Pool 5, current title holder Leinster 'A' will travel to Brickfields, facing Championship side Plymouth Albion. The Irishmen are the only team to have successfully defended their title, securing a win over Leeds Carnegie at Donnybrook in May to retain the trophy after claiming it for the first time in 2012-13.
A local derby awaits 2013-14 runners-up Leeds Carnegie as they host Rotherham Titans at Headingley. While both sides were knocked out of the Championship play-offs, each impressed across the board last season. James Lowes' men showed commitment to playing with ball in hand, scoring 91 tries in the process while Rotherham captivated Championship followers, progressing to the knock-out stages for the first time following a 7th place finish in the previous season.
The Welsh participants in the British & Irish Cup will be based on regional play-offs at the start of the season, with final positions in last season's Principality Premiership giving teams Home field advantage. Pontypridd represented the Welsh contingent in last year's knock-out stages, narrowly losing out to eventual winners Leinster 'A' in a thrilling encounter at Sardis Road.
After discussion among all four Unions, four Principality Premiership teams will continue to represent Wales in the competition, joining the 12 clubs of the Greene King IPA Championship as well as four provincial teams from Ireland. Due to changes in the competition dates, Scottish clubs will not participate in the 2014-15 competition meaning that season's competition will move from 24 teams to 20, playing in five pools of four
2014-15 British & Irish Cup structure:
12 Greene King IPA Championship clubs
4 Welsh Principality Premiership clubs
4 Irish provinces – Connacht, Munster, Leinster 'A' and Ulster Ravens
Taking place on 11, 18, 25 October, 29 November and 6, 13 December 2014
5 pools of 4 playing home and away
4 points for a win, 2 for a draw, 1 bonus point for a) scoring 4 or more tries and/or b) losing by 7 points or less
Taking place on 24 January 2015
Top side in each pool progress to knockout stage, plus three best runners-up
8 quarter-finalists ranked with teams ranked 1-4 having home advantage
Semi-finals and final
Four winning quarter finalists progress to semi -final draw which takes place on weekend of 13/14/15 March 2015
Winning semi-finalists progress to final to take place on weekend of 3/4/5 April 2015
Pool 1: London Scottish, Wales 2, Bristol Rugby, Connacht
Pool 2: Rotherham Titans, Leeds Carnegie, Ulster Ravens, Wales 4
Pool 3: Worcester Warriors, Nottingham Rugby, Moseley, Munster 'A'
Pool 4: Wales 1, Cornish Pirates, Doncaster Knights, Bedford Blues
Pool 5: Leinster 'A', Plymouth Albion, Wales 3, Jersey RFC
British & Irish Cup fixtures
Round 1 – 10/11/12 October
Wales 2 v London Scottish
Bristol Rugby v Connacht
Leeds Carnegie v Rotherham Titans
Wales 4 v Ulster Ravens
Nottingham Rugby v Worcester Warriors
Munster 'A' v Moseley
Cornish Pirates v Bedford Blues
Wales 1 v Doncaster Knights
Plymouth Albion v Leinster 'A'
Jersey RFC v Wales 3
Round 2 – 17/18/19 October
London Scottish v Bristol Rugby
Connacht v Wales 2
Rotherham v Wales 4
Ulster Ravens v Leeds Carnegie
Worcester Warriors v Munster 'A'
Moseley v Nottingham Rugby
Bedford Blues v Wales 1
Doncaster Knights v Cornish Pirates
Leinster 'A' v Jersey RFC
Wales 3 v Plymouth Albion
Round 3 – 24/25/26 October
Connacht v London Scottish
Bristol Rugby v Wales 2
Ulster Ravens v Rotherham Titans
Leeds Carnegie v Wales 4
Moseley v Worcester Warriors
Nottingham Rugby v Munster 'A'
Doncaster Knights v Bedford Blues
Cornish Pirates v Wales 1
Wales 3 v Leinster 'A'
Plymouth Albion v Jersey RFC
Round 4 – 28/29/30 November
London Scottish v Connacht
Bristol Rugby v Wales 2
Rotherham Titans v Ulster Ravens
Wales 4 v Leeds Carnegie
Worcester Warriors v Moseley
Munster 'A' v Nottingham Rugby
Bedford Blues v Doncaster Knights
Wales 1 v Cornish Pirates
Leinster 'A' v Wales 3
Jersey RFC v Plymouth Albion
Round 5 – 5/6/7 December
Wales 2 v Connacht
Bristol Rugby v London Scottish
Leeds Carnegie v Ulster Ravens
Wales 4 v Rotherham Titans
Nottingham Rugby v Moseley
Munster 'A' v Worcester Warriors
Cornish Pirates v Doncaster Knights
Wales 1 v Bedford Blues
Plymouth Albion v Wales 3
Jersey RFC v Leinster 'A'
Round 6 - 12/13/14 December
London Scottish v Wales 2
Connacht v Bristol Rugby
Rotherham Titans v Leeds Carnegie
Ulster v Wales 4
Worcester Warriors v Nottingham Rugby
Moseley v Munster 'A'
Bedford Blues v Cornish Pirates
Doncaster Knights v Wales 1
Leinster 'A' v Plymouth Albion
Wales 3 v Jersey RFC
Quarter-finals: 23/24/25 January
Semi-finals: 13/14/15 March
Final: 3/4/5 April