Anglo Welsh fixtures confirmed

The dates and kick-off times for the new Anglo-Welsh tournament have been confirmed today. The televised matches will be announced shortly.

The dates and kick-off times for the new Anglo-Welsh tournament have been confirmed today. The televised matches will be announced shortly.

The Ospreys will kick off their campaign with a home game against Northampton Saints on Friday 6th November, before heading to Bath the following weekend (Saturday 14th November). Newport Gwent Dragons entertain the Ospreys on Friday 29th January, before Leeds Carnegie visit the Liberty Stadium for the final Pool fixture on Thursday 4th February.

The complete schedule is as follows:

Round One

Friday 06 November, 19:30, Newport Gwent Dragons v Sale Sharks
Friday 06 November, 19:30, Ospreys v Northampton Saints
Friday 06 November, 19:45, Gloucester Rugby v Cardiff Blues
Saturday 07 November, 12:30, Worcester Warriors v Newcastle Falcons
Sunday 08 November, 13:45, Harlequins v Scarlets
Sunday 08 November, 15:00, Saracens v Bath Rugby
Sunday 08 November, 15:00, London Irish v London Wasps
Sunday 08 November, 15:00, Leeds Carnegie v Leicester Tigers

Round Two

Friday 13 November, 19:45, Sale Sharks v Leeds Carnegie
Saturday 14 November, 13:00, Bath Rugby v Ospreys
Saturday 14 November, 13:00, Northampton Saints v Saracens
Saturday 14 November, 15:00, Leicester Tigers v Newport Gwent Dragons
Saturday 14 November, 15:00, Scarlets v Worcester Warriors
Sunday 15 November, 13:45, Cardiff Blues v London Irish
Sunday 15 November, 15:00, London Wasps v Gloucester Rugby
Sunday 15 November, 15:00, Newcastle Falcons v Harlequins

Round Three

Friday 29 January, 19:30, Newport Gwent Dragons v Ospreys
Friday 29 January, 19:30, Leeds Carnegie v Saracens
Friday 29 January, 19:45, Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints
Saturday 30 January, 15:00, Leicester Tigers v Bath Rugby
Saturday 30 January, 15:00, Gloucester Rugby v Worcester Warriors
Sunday 31 January, 15:00, London Wasps v Scarlets
Sunday 31 January, 15:00, Cardiff Blues v Newcastle Falcons
Sunday 31 January, 15:00, London Irish v Harlequins

Round Four

Thursday 04 February, 19:30, Ospreys v Leeds Carnegie
Saturday 06 February, 14:15, Bath Rugby v Sale Sharks
Saturday 06 February, 15:00, Northampton Saints v Leicester Tigers
Saturday 06 February, 15:00, Scarlets v Cardiff Blues
Saturday 06 February, 15:00, Worcester Warriors v London Irish
Sunday 07 February, 15:00, Saracens v Newport Gwent Dragons
Sunday 07 February, 15:00, Newcastle Falcons v London Wasps
Sunday 07 February, 15:00, Harlequins v Gloucester Rugby

Cardiff Blues will kick off their Anglo-Welsh title defence with a re-run of this year's final against Gloucester Rugby.

The Blues, who beat the Cherry and Whites 50-12 at Twickenham in April, have been drawn at Kingsholm on the weekend of November 7.

The newly structured competition will see the 12 Guinness Premiership clubs and four Welsh Regions play over four weekends, followed by the semi-finals and finals. Each team will be guaranteed two home and two away inter-pool fixtures, with the top teams from each pool qualifying for the knockout stages.

Terry Burwell, Rugby Football Union Tournaments and Competitions Director, said: "We are delighted that together with Premier Rugby Ltd and the Welsh Rugby Union we have come up with a structure that will not only help players, coaches and officials develop but also provides more revenue potential for the Guinness Premiership clubs and the Welsh regions.

"There is a massive appetite for Cup rugby in England and Wales. The average attendance at pool matches over the past three seasons has been 8506 and the final averaged 60,000. There is plenty to look forward to with pool matches such as Gloucester Rugby against Cardiff Blues and Leicester Tigers against Newport Gwent Dragons in the first two rounds this coming season.

"We believe this new structure will give players, coaches and supporters an exciting tournament that embodies all that's best about cross-border knockout competition.

"We have a committed broadcaster in SkySports for the next five years and, together with PRL and the WRU, are actively seeking a title sponsor."

PRL Commercial Director Jon Varney said: "When we were discussing the format of the new Anglo-Welsh tournament we tried to build on the success of the preceding one, but also take the opportunity to make some small changes to make the tournament even more attractive to clubs, supporters, viewers and sponsors.

"The financial structure will reward winning teams and that, as well as the European place on offer for an English winner, will make the tournament well worth winning."

WRU Group Chief Executive Roger Lewis said: "There is a rich history and heritage surrounding Anglo-Welsh encounters stretching back many years.

"The Welsh Rugby Union is delighted that the RFU and PRL have secured the future of this great competition. We are all committed to seeing it flourish and grow from the strong base it has already created.

"This Cup competition has captured the imagination of fans from both Wales and England and the final this season was a great occasion.

"It is vitally important for the supporters from both our nations to get the opportunity to see games of the highest standard and this competition serves to deliver that and ensure our talented young players improve by playing against top class opposition."

WRU Head of Rugby Performance and Development, Joe Lydon, added: "I am delighted that the great tradition of Anglo-Welsh competition will continue at the highest level.

"We have jointly championed this tournament because it will develop the support base for our national sport and help players achieve their full potential and challenge for international honours with Wales.

"The financial benefits are clear and it will provide our four Regions with a proven structure within which to test their progress.

"A lot of hard work has gone into ensuring this competition continues and we now have a structure which we can build on in the years ahead.

"My remit involves the whole of Welsh rugby and I know it is vitally important that our young players have meaningful competitions to set their sights on to maintain the commitment they need to reach the top."

* The Anglo-Welsh Cup is a 16-team competition involving the 12 Guinness Premiership clubs and 4 Welsh regions.

* Played in four pools of four with three Guinness Premiership clubs and one Welsh Region in each pool.

Pool 1
Leicester Tigers
Sale Sharks

Pool 2
London Irish
Gloucester Rugby
Newcastle Falcons

Pool 3
London Wasps
Worcester Warriors
Cardiff Blues

Pool 4
Bath Rugby
Northampton Saints
Leeds Carnegie

* Teams in Pool 1 play teams in Pool 4 and teams in Pool 2 play teams in Pool 3.

* Each team guaranteed four pool matches - two home and two away - with the top teams from each pool qualifying for the semi finals.

* Teams have been seeded depending on their finish in last season's Guinness Premiership and Magners League and best efforts have been made to avoid teams playing each other in back to back matches in various competitions.

* Semi finals (weekend of March 13, 2010, venue TBC)

* Final (weekend of March 20, 2010, venue TBC)

* If the winner of the competition is an English club, they will qualify for the following season's Heineken Cup.