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Provinces Ready For British & Irish Cup Kick-Off

Provinces Ready For British & Irish Cup Kick-Off

The fourth edition of the British & Irish Cup will be a novel one for Irish rugby as all four provinces will compete in the cross-border tournament for the first time – Connacht Eagles join defending champions Munster ‘A’, Leinster ‘A’ and Ulster Ravens in the pool stages.

The British & Irish Cup, which starts this coming weekend, has been expanded into a 32-team competition that sees the winners of each of the eight pools progress to the knockout stages.

Ian Costello’s Munster ‘A’ side will launch the defence of their title away to Plymouth Albion on Saturday. In the other Pool 7 tie, Aberavon will welcome Rotherham to the Talbot Athletic Ground.

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Munster ‘A’ became the first Irish province to win the British & Irish Cup with a 31-12 final win over Cross Keys at Musgrave Park last April. Earlier in the knockout stages, they beat both Ulster Ravens (20-9) and Leinster ‘A’ (36-29).

There are eight Anglo-Welsh ties this weekend, including the meeting of Cardiff and Bristol – the revival of one of the oldest rivalries in club rugby which stretches back 124 years.

Ulster Ravens are in Pool 1 alongside Cardiff and Bristol and will host Welsh side Bridgend in their opener on Saturday afternoon.

Connacht Eagles’ debut in the competition will see them battling it out in Pool 4 which contains last year’s runners-up Cross Keys, Newcastle Falcons and Newport.

Nigel Carolan’s men, who recently claimed back-to-back wins over Munster ‘A’, will venture to Newport on Saturday for their first game.

Meanwhile, Leinster ‘A’ will get their campaign underway at home to Leeds Carnegie in Pool 5 on Saturday night. The pool is completed by Jersey and Pontypridd.

The 2012/13 tournament will be played over nine weekends throughout the season, with all of the fixtures taking place on weekend dates. There will be one leg ties for the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.


Pool 1 –
Cardiff v Bristol, Saturday, October, 13, 2.30pm
Ulster Ravens v Bridgend, Saturday, October 13, 2.30pm

Pool 2 –
Bedwas v Bedford Blues, Saturday, October 13, 2.30pm
Stirling v Neath, Saturday, October 13, 3pm

Pool 3 –
Swansea v Dundee, Saturday, October 13, 2.30pm
Cornish Pirates v Carmarthen, Sunday, October 14, 3pm

Pool 4 –
Newport v Connacht Eagles, Saturday, October 13, 2.30pm
Newcastle Falcons v Cross Keys, Saturday, October 13, 3pm

Pool 5 –
Jersey v Pontypridd, Saturday, October 13, 3pm
Leinster ‘A’ v Leeds Carnegie, Saturday, October 13, 7pm

Pool 6 –
Gala v London Scottish, Saturday, October 13, 3pm
Moseley v Llanelli, Saturday, October 13, 3pm

Pool 7 –
Aberavon v Rotherham Titans, Saturday, October 13, 2.20pm
Plymouth Albion v Munster ‘A’, Saturday, October 13, 3pm

Pool 8 –
Doncaster Knights v Melrose, Saturday, October 13, 2.30pm
Llandovery v Nottingham, Saturday, October 13, 3pm


2011/12 – Munster ‘A’
2010/11 – Bristol
2009/10 – Cornish Pirates