RRW, the umbrella group of Wales four rugby Regions, today announced that it has reached agreement with PRL over the continuation of the Anglo-Welsh Cup next season.
The Cup, to be played during the autumn and six nations international windows, will involve four pools of the combined 16 sides (3 GP and 1 Welsh Region in each pool), with each team playing two home and two away cross-pool matches, followed by semi-finals between the top finishers of each pool and a final. The first round of the Cup, to be staged on the weekend of November 7th, will see the current Cup holders the Cardiff Blues take on Gloucester, in a re-run of last season's Cup winning final.
RRW Chief Executive Stuart Gallacher said:
"We are delighted to have reached agreement with PRL over the continuation of the Anglo-Welsh Cup. Cross border fixtures between the professional rugby tiers of England and Wales have become a real highlight of the season and something that both the teams participating and supporters value enormously. That last years winners, the Cardiff Blues, will also play Gloucester in the opening round, will give added prominence to the commencement of the competition. The Cup will continue to remain a stand-out tournament in an increasingly congested season, but one that provides a unique spectacle both in terms of the quality of rugby and sense of occasion.
"The close working relationship between RRW and PRL has demonstrated what can be achieved through the co-ordination of the games professional bodies in England and Wales. We hope to build on this relationship over coming seasons and develop further opportunities in which the game can be strengthened for the benefit of players and supporters alike. There are some very distinct challenges ahead for Northern Hemisphere rugby and RRW in fully committed to addressing those challenges alongside PRL, wherever possible. The environment of professional rugby is rapidly changing and we need to be prepared to meet those changes with a constructive and combined approach that takes advantage of every opportunity ahead."
The official Anglo-Welsh fixture list will be announced in full later this week.