Title holders Munster ‘A’ have been drawn in Pool 7 alongside Aberavon, Plymouth Albion and Rotherham Titans, while last year’s runners-up Cross Keys are in Pool 4 with local rivals Newport plus Connacht and Championship newcomers Newcastle Falcons.
The teams are drawn in eight pools of four, with only the pool winners qualifying for the knockout stages.
In addition to 12 teams being added to the competition, another format switch sees clubs now face each other home and away in the pool stages.
The participating teams comprise the 12 teams from the RFU Championship; the development teams from the four Irish provinces; the top four teams from Scotland’s RBS Premier Division 1 last season; and the 12 teams from Wales’ Principality Premiership.
Joining the competition for their debut season are Bridgend Ravens, Bedwas, Stirling County, Carmarthen Quins, Dundee HSFP, Newcastle Falcons, Jersey, and Gala.
The competition will now take place over nine rounds and will align with ERC weekends. Competition Manager Chris Burns said: “These changes reflect the commitment of all the Unions and clubs to help grow the profile of the B&I Cup within the rugby calendar.”
The pool games will take place as follows: Round 1 – 12-14 October; Round 2 – 19-21 October; Round 3 – 7-9 December; Round 4 – 14-16 December; Round 5 – 11-13 January; and Round 6 – 19 January.
The quarter-finals will be played the weekend of 5-7 April; the semi-finals 26-28 April; and the final Friday 17 May (TBC).
2012-13 British & Irish Cup - Pools
Pool 1 – Bristol Rugby, Bridgend Ravens, Cardiff, Ulster
Pool 2 – Bedford Blues, Bedwas, Neath, Stirling County
Pool 3 – Carmarthen Quins, Dundee HSFP, Cornish Pirates, Swansea
Pool 4 – Connacht, Cross Keys, Newcastle Falcons, Newport
Pool 5 – Jersey, Leeds Carnegie, Leinster, Pontypridd
Pool 6 – Gala, Llanelli, London Scottish, Moseley
Pool 7 – Aberavon, Munster, Plymouth Albion, Rotherham Titans
Pool 8 – Doncaster Knights, Llandovery, Melrose, Nottingham Rugby
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