Cardiff kick off Anglo-Welsh Cup against Gloucester

Cardiff Blues will kick off their Anglo Welsh Cup 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 (Anglo Welsh) 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.”


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