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RFU Championship sides to compete in Premiership Cup

By Ian Cameron
Ealing Trailfinders were blown away by Saracens but remain the strongest squad in the Championship but are being denied entry to the Premiership (Photo by Juan Gasperini/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

In a new move, RFU Championship sides are set to compete in the Premiership Cup –  it has been confirmed.

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The likes of Cornish Pirates, London Scottish, Doncaster, Bedford and Jersey could get the opportunity to test their mettle against the wider squad and academy players that tend to make up the teams that are entered into the competition by Gallagher Premiership sides.

It could also see a return for Wasps against Premiership opposition, given they’ve been given a green light to the compete in the Championship next year by the RFU following their financial collapse earlier this season.

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It’s the first time that Premiership Rugby clubs will face the RFU Championship sides in the tournament – with the competition set to kick off on September 8, 2023.

The pool stages will take place over five consecutive weekends from the weekends September 8-10, October 6-8 with the semi-finals held over February 9-11 and the final over the weekend of March 15-17.

The 24 teams will be split into four pools of six – based on league standings at the end of the current 2022/23 season.

Phil Winstanley, Premiership Rugby’s Rugby Director said: “It is many years since the Premiership and Championship Clubs clashed in a Cup competition.

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“The Championship performs a crucial role within the English game and we’re looking forward to renewing some rivalries of old.

“With the Rugby World Cup taking place in France, this competition will no doubt provide the best, young English talent with an opportunity to stake a claim in squads before the start of the Gallagher Premiership Rugby campaign.”

Connor O’Shea, RFU Executive Director of Performance Rugby said: “We’re really pleased to confirm that next season’s Premiership Rugby Cup will include both the Premiership and Championship clubs and are excited to see this new format come to fruition and form part of the longer-term solution for the game.

Steve Lloyd, Chair of the Championship Clubs Committee said: “The new Cup format is the result of great collaboration between the Championship, RFU and Premiership Rugby.

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“The clubs are delighted with the opportunity a different format brings as well as the experience of playing Premiership sides and the opportunity to welcome new fans into our clubs and grow our audiences.”

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Comments

3 Comments
J
James 457 days ago

It’s great the champ is being given something - but will this be just for WC year? Then just dumb them
and close the gates once the new professional player agreement has been agreed?

A
Alex 458 days ago

Says "all 24 clubs," so does this mean the Championship will include 13 and the Prem 11? Is it 12 & 12, or are Newcastle voluntarily relegating to make it Prem: 10, Champ: 14?

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