Anglo Welsh Cup set for revamp next season

The EDF Energy Cup (Anglo Welsh Cup) which kicks off this weekend is set for a major revamp next season and it could include switching the competition to Test-match windows and adding a second-tier tournament.


English Premier rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty told BBC Wales’ Scrum V Radio that plans are afoot.


“It would have to fit in around the international windows.” he said.


“That would be in the autumn and Six Nations international windows. That means it would be a different type of competition.”


McCafferty said that any overhaul needs careful attention to its commercial promotion, but that he believes that organisers could overcome the absence of England and Welsh Test stars.


“There are a lot of top quality players involved in both leagues and while some of the internationals would be absent on Test duty that doesn’t mean to say we couldn’t have a strong, vibrant competition involving the clubs and regions.” he added.


“Will it be less attractive? Will it be different? It will certainly be different. But it will also give an opportunity for emerging players to get high quality competition against tough opposition and that’s attractive to supporters.


“We need to promote and position that correctly and price it appropriately, but there’s an attractive competition to be had and that’s what we’re working towards.”


The Anglo-Welsh tournament which is known for sponsorship reasons starts on Friday when an under-strength Newport Gwent Dragons faces under-strength Newcastle at Rodney Parade.


The tournament has been problematic from it’s inception and this has led to the calls for a new format being proposed to the Rugby Football Union and their Welsh counterparts.


McCafferty said: “I hope and expect the Anglo-Welsh Cup can continue. That’s what we’re planning for.


“I hope there’ll be a couple of changes to it. We’re looking at some possibilities and talking through those at the moment with the RFU and WRU.


“I’m very hopeful it will continue to involve all 12 Premiership teams and the four Welsh regions.


“We’re looking at the possibility of including a limited number of National Division One clubs from England and whether we can establish a second-tier Anglo-Welsh competition involving the other National League One clubs and Welsh Premier Division clubs.


“But that’s all on the drawing board at the moment and it’s what we’re talking through with the two unions.


“Anglo-Welsh rugby goes back a long way and that’s attractive from a rugby and commercial point of view and we hope to continue that.

 

McCafferty also revealed that Premier Rugby had set a deadline of January to prepare a new format for the Anglo-Welsh Cup which could see the tournament being expanded from 16 to 20 teams.

 

AngloWelshRugby.com

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