Jump to main content


IRFU & WRU Launch Celtic Cup To Develop Emerging Talent

IRFU & WRU Launch Celtic Cup To Develop Emerging Talent

The Irish Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union have joined forces to create a new development competition, the Celtic Cup, for the emerging professional players from the four Irish provinces and four Welsh regions.

The tournament, which features development squads from Connacht, Leinster, Munster, Ulster, Cardiff Blues, the Dragons, the Ospreys and the Scarlets, aims to provide a learning environment for players, coaches and referees by recreating the week-to-week challenges presented by senior professional rugby.
The Celtic Cup will run over seven consecutive weeks, commencing on Friday, September 7. Teams will have to prepare for a different opposition each week, manage their physical preparation and recovery and analyse their performances as they grow as individuals and collectively.
The eight teams will be divided into two conferences of four Welsh regions and four Irish provinces. Each Irish province will play each of the Welsh regions and will play against two Irish provinces. Similarly, the Welsh regions will play each of the Irish provinces and will play two of their Welsh counterparts.  The top-ranked province from the Irish conference will play the top-ranked region from the Welsh conference in the inaugural final (venue to be confirmed).
David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented: “The Celtic Cup will bring significant value to the development of our emerging professional players,referees and coaches and support staff.  It will challenge them to perform and manage themselves within a professional competition structure throughout a week-to-week campaign similar to the GUINNESS PRO14. 
“The Celtic Cup is also a fantastic vehicle for the development of our next tier of coaches who will have to take the learnings from games each week to drive performance across the competition.
“The IRFU are cognisant of the important role that our domestic club competitions play in the development of young players. The scheduling of the Celtic Cup is intended to be complimentary to the club game and create a supportive season structure into the future.”
WRU Head of Rugby Performance Geraint John added, “We are excited about this new development for the performance pathway in Wales. The Celtic Cup will help develop players into senior professionals while also promoting and improving Welsh coaches and other performance staff such as strength and conditioning coaches, analysts and referees.
“The block programme of matches will greatly help all involved to build week to week in a professional environment and competition structure, helping to underpin the development of future regional and international players.”

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article


POOL 2 – Cardiff Blues, Dragons, Ospreys, Scarlets
Weekend 1 – Friday, September 7

MUNSTER ‘A’ v CONNACHT EAGLES, Irish Independent Park, 5.30pm
ULSTER ‘A’ v LEINSTER ‘A’, Malone RFC, 5pm
Ospreys v Scarlets, Bridgend RFC, 7pm
Dragons v Cardiff Blues, Rodney Parade, 7.15pm
Weekend 2 – Friday, September 14

ULSTER ‘A’ v Scarlets, Instonians/Cooke RFC, 7pm
Weekend 2 – Saturday, September 15

LEINSTER ‘A’ v Cardiff Blues, Energia Park, 2pm
Ospreys v MUNSTER ‘A’, Swansea RFC, 2pm
Dragons v CONNACHT EAGLES, CCSE Ystrad Mynach, 2.30pm
Weekend 3 – Friday, September 21

MUNSTER ‘A’ v Dragons, Irish Independent Park, 5.30pm
CONNACHT EAGLES v Ospreys, Corinthian Park, 3pm
Weekend 3 – Saturday, September 22

Scarlets v LEINSTER ‘A’, Parc y Scarlets, 2.30pm
Cardiff Blues v ULSTER ‘A’, Cardiff Arms Park, 2.30pm
Weekend 4 – Friday, September 28

LEINSTER ‘A’ v Ospreys, Energia Park, 7.30pm
Weekend 4 – Saturday, September 29

Cardiff Blues v MUNSTER ‘A’, Cardiff Arms Park, 2pm
ULSTER ‘A’ v Dragons, Ballymena RFC, 2.30pm
Scarlets v CONNACHT EAGLES, Carmarthen RFC, 2.30pm
Weekend 5 – Friday, October 5

MUNSTER ‘A’ v Scarlets, Irish Independent Park, 7.30pm
Ospreys v ULSTER ‘A’, Swansea RFC, 7pm
Weekend 5 – Saturday, October 6

Dragons v LEINSTER ‘A’, CCSE Ystrad Mynach, 2.30pm
CONNACHT EAGLES v Cardiff Blues, the Sportsground, kick-off tbc
Weekend 6 – October 12-14

LEINSTER ‘A’ v MUNSTER ‘A’, details tbc
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys, details tbc
Scarlets v Dragons, details tbc