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British and Irish Cup

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British and Irish Cup

British and Irish Cup
Current season or competition:
2014–15 British and Irish Cup
Competition logo
Sport Rugby union
Instituted 2009 (2009)
Inaugural season 2009–10
Number of teams 20
Nations  England
Holders Leinster A (2013–14)
Most titles Leinster A (2 titles)

The British and Irish Cup is an annual rugby union competition for second tier, semi-professional clubs and the reserves or developing teams from professional clubs from Britain and Ireland. It took place for the first time in the 2009–10 season and the sixth edition of the competition takes place during the 2014–15 season. A total of twenty-four teams from England (twelve), Ireland (three), Scotland (three) and Wales (six) competed in the inaugural competition. This remained the case for the first three seasons, though the format has varied slightly in each season. For the 2012–13 season, the competition was expanded to thirty-two teams; England (twelve), Ireland (four), Scotland (four), and Wales (twelve) and for the first time, pool stage games were played on a "home and away" basis. For the 2013–14 seasons the number of teams competing was reduced to twenty-four with the Welsh entrants reduced from twelve to four, and this season the competition has been reduced to twenty teams with the withdrawal of the Scottish clubs.[1]

Four different clubs have won the competition to date: Cornish Pirates and Bristol from England, and Munster A and Leinster A from Ireland. Leinster A beat Leeds Carnegie 44 – 17 in the 2013–14 final and retained the cup they won in the previous season – the first team to win the cup for a second time. There have been five different runners-up: Munster A from Ireland, Bedford Blues, Newcastle Falcons and Leeds Carnegie from England, and Cross Keys from Wales. Ayr are the only rugby club from Scotland to reach the quarter–finals stage.


Year Winner Score Runner-up Venue Attendance
2009–10 Cornish Pirates 23–14 Munster A Recreation Ground, Camborne 4,240
2010–11 Bristol 17–14 Bedford Blues Memorial Ground, Bristol 4,375
2011–12 Munster A 31–12 Cross Keys Musgrave Park, Cork 3,000
2012–13 Leinster A 18–17 Newcastle Falcons Kingston Park, Newcastle 3,838
2013–14 Leinster A 44–17 Leeds Carnegie Donnybrook, Dublin 2,024


2009–10 Competition

The inaugural competition was contested by 24 teams:

The teams were divided into four pools of six, playing over five weekends during the Autumn International and Six Nations windows, with semi-finals on 24 and 25 April and the final on 16 May.[2][3]

Each team played each of the other five teams in its pool once (home or away). Two English teams (Cornish Pirates and Doncaster) and two Irish teams (Munster A and Ulster Ravens) topped their respective pools leading to an all-English semi-final and an all-Irish semi-final. Cornish Pirates defeated Munster A in the inaugural final.

Semi-finals Final
25 April 2010 - Camborne
  Cornish Pirates 43  
  Doncaster 5  
16 May 2010 - Camborne
      Cornish Pirates 23
    Munster A 14
24 April 2010 - Thomond Park
  Munster A 27
  Ulster Ravens 3  

2010–11 Competition

The allocation of teams for the second season was very similar to that of the first:

The format closely mirrored that of the first season, the only difference being the introduction of a quarter final stage

The teams were divided into four pools of six, playing over five weekends during the Autumn International and Six Nations windows, with quarter-finals on 5 or 6 March, semi-finals on 23 April and the final on 7 May. Each team played each of the other five teams in its pool once (home or away), with the top two teams in each pool qualifying for the knock-out stages:

Quarter-finals Semi-finals Final
5 March 2011 - Sardis Road        
  Pontypridd  12
23 April 2011 - Sardis Road
  Llanelli  10  
  Pontypridd  25
6 March 2011 - Memorial Stadium
      Bristol  36  
  Bristol  29
7 May 2011 - Memorial Stadium
  Ayr  19  
  Bristol  17
5 March 2011 - Goldington Road    
    Bedford Blues  14
  Bedford Blues  50
23 April 2011 - Goldington Road
  Leinster A  15  
  Bedford Blues  43
5 March 2011 - Sixways Stadium
      Worcester Warriors  27  
  Worcester Warriors  57
  Moseley  15  

2011–12 Competition

The allocation of teams for the third season was identical to that of the second season:

The pool stage saw a change in format and consisted of six pools of four teams playing cross-pool matches, giving each team two home and two away matches. Matches between English teams were played mid-week. Pool matches took place from 21 September to 18 December. The top team from each pool qualified for the quarter-finals, together with the two runners–up with the best records.[4][5]

Quarter-finals Semi-finals Final
22 January 2012 – Donnybrook        
  Leinster A  32
6 April 2012 – RDS
  Pontypridd  0  
  Leinster A  29
20 January 2012 – Ravenhill
      Munster A  36  
  Ulster Ravens  9
27 April 2012 – Musgrave Park
  Munster A  20  
  Munster A  31
21 January 2012 – Pandy Park    
    Cross Keys  12
  Cross Keys  32
7 April 2012 – Pandy Park
  Llanelli  8  
  Cross Keys  20
22 January 2012 – Mennaye Field
      Cornish Pirates  16  
  Cornish Pirates  33
  Nottingham  3  

2012–13 Competition

The competition was considerably revamped, with expansion from 24 to 32 teams playing each other home and away in the pool stages (previously, pool matches were played home or away). The allocation of teams for the fourth season was therefore:

The pool stage saw a considerable change in format and consisted of eight pools of four teams, giving each team three home and three away matches. Pool matches took place on the same weekends as the Heineken and Amlin Cups. The top team from each pool qualified for the quarter-finals.[6]

The final round of pool matches, due to be played on the weekend of 18/19/20 January, was considerably disrupted. Of 16 matches, 7 were postponed: Connacht Eagles v Newport was not played until 27 April, the weekend of the semi-finals.

Quarter-finals Semi-finals Final
6 April 2013 - Goldington Road        
  Bedford Blues   32
27 April 2013 - Goldington Road
  Llanelli   18  
  Bedford Blues   15
5 April 2013 - Kingston Park
      Newcastle Falcons   18  
  Newcastle Falcons   72
17 May 2013 – Kingston Park
  Nottingham   17  
  Newcastle Falcons   17
7 April 2013 - Mennaye Field    
    Leinster A   18
  Cornish Pirates   9
26 April 2013 - Garryowen FC
  Munster A   10  
  Munster A   15
7 April 2013 - Memorial Stadium
      Leinster A   17  
  Bristol   26
  Leinster A   30  

2013–14 Competition

The number of teams playing in the fifth competition was reduced from thirty-two to twenty-four, with a reduction of Welsh teams from twelve to four:

The twelve Principality Premiership Teams participated in regional play-offs which saw Aberavon, Cross Keys, Llanelli, and Pontypridd qualify for the competition proper.

The pool stage consisted of six pools of four teams, giving each team three home and three away matches. The top team from each group qualified for the quarter-finals, along with two runners-up with the best playing records.[7] The ranking criteria of the quarter finalists has been altered slightly from earlier seasons. Previously, the six pool winners were seeded 1-6 and the two runners up as 7 and 8. This meant that the best runners-up were automatically ranked 7 and 8 even if they had a better playing record than some of the teams ranked 1-6. This is no longer the case.[8]

The draw for the knockout stage was carried out on 27 January 2014.[9] The top four seeds (Leinster A, Leeds Carnegie, Cornish Pirates and Bristol) had home advantage in the quarter-finals.[10] On 14 April, it was announced that the final would be played at the home of the winner of the Pontypridd / Leinster A semi-final.[11] This game ended as a 22 all draw after extra time; Leinster won on tries scored (3 – 1).[12] Leinster A beat Leeds Carnegie 44 – 17 in the final and retained the cup they won in the previous season – the first team to win the cup for a second time.[13][14]

Quarter-finals Semi-finals Final
5 April 2014 – Mennaye Field        
  Cornish Pirates   14
26 April 2014 – Sardis Road[n 1]
  Pontypridd   16  
  Pontypridd   22
4 April 2014 – Donnybrook
      Leinster A   22  
  Leinster A   47
23 May 2014 – Donnybrook
  Munster A   15  
  Leinster A   44
4 April 2014 – Memorial Stadium    
    Leeds Carnegie   17
  Bristol   39
4 May 2014 – Memorial Stadium
  Rotherham Titans   24  
  Bristol   25
4 April 2014 – Headingley Stadium
      Leeds Carnegie   30  
  Leeds Carnegie   41
  Plymouth Albion   21  
  1. ^ Leinster won on number of tries scored.[12]

2014–15 Competition

The number of teams playing in the sixth competition is reduced from twenty-four to twenty with the withdrawal of the Scottish teams:

The twelve Principality Premiership Teams participating in regional play-offs which saw Aberavon, Carmarthen Quins, Cross Keys and Pontypridd qualify for the competition proper. The Scottish clubs withdrew because of an increase in the number of the group matches before Christmas, from four to six. Scottish Rugby felt that Scottish teams would not be able to compete fully in both the British and Irish cup and the BT Premiership; the premier competition for clubs in Scotland.[1]


England 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 Ireland 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 Scotland 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 Wales 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15
Bedford Blues Leinster A Ayr Aberavon
Birmingham & Solihull Munster A Gael Force Cardiff
Bristol Ulster Ravens Heriot's FP Llanelli
Cornish Pirates Connacht Eagles Currie Neath
Coventry Melrose Newport
Doncaster Knights Dundee HSFP Pontypridd
Exeter Chiefs Gala Llandovery
London Welsh Stirling County Swansea
Moseley Edinburgh Academicals Cross Keys
Nottingham Rugby Bedwas
Plymouth Albion Bridgend Ravens
Rotherham Titans Carmarthen Quins
Worcester Warriors
Yorkshire Carnegie
London Scottish
Newcastle Falcons
Ealing Trailfinders


Current season participants in bold.

Team Stadium Capacity City/Area/Country
Aberavon Talbot Athletic Ground 3,000 Port Talbot, Neath Port Talbot, Wales
Ayr Millbrae Unknown Alloway, South Ayrshire, Scotland
Bedford Blues Goldington Road 4,684 Bedford, Bedfordshire, England
Bedwas The Bridge Field Unknown Bedwas, Caerphilly County Borough, Wales
Birmingham & Solihull Sharmans Cross Road 3,500 Solihull, West Midlands, England
Bridgend Ravens Brewery Field 8,000 Bridgend, Bridgend County Borough, Wales
Bristol Memorial Stadium 12,100 Horfield, Bristol, England
Cardiff Cardiff Arms Park 13,500 Cardiff, Wales
Carmarthen Quins Carmarthen Park Unknown Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire, Wales
Connacht Eagles Sportsgrounds 9,500 Galway, Ireland
Cornish Pirates Mennaye Field 4,000 Penzance, Cornwall, England
Coventry Butts Park Arena 4,000 Coventry, West Midlands, England
Cross Keys Pandy Park Unknown Crosskeys, Caerphilly County Borough, Wales
Currie Malleny Park Unknown Balerno, Edinburgh, Scotland
Doncaster Knights Castle Park 3,075 Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England
Dundee HSFP Mayfield Playing Fields Unknown Dundee, Scotland
Ealing Trailfinders Trailfinders Sports Ground Unknown West Ealing, London, England
Edinburgh Academicals Raeburn Place 5,000 Stockbridge, Edinburgh, Scotland
Esher Molesey Road Unknown Esher, Surrey, England
Exeter Chiefs Sandy Park 10,744 Exeter, Devon, England
Gael Force Bridgehaugh 4,000 Stirling, Scotland
Gala Netherdale 6,000 Galashiels, Scottish Borders, Scotland
Heriot's FP Goldenacre Unknown Edinburgh, Scotland
Jersey St. Peter 5,000 Saint Peter, Jersey
Leinster A Donnybrook 7,000 Dublin, Ireland
Llandovery Church Bank 5,000 Llandovery, Carmarthenshire, Wales
Llanelli Parc y Scarlets 14,870 Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales
London Scottish Richmond Athletic Ground 1,000 seat stand Richmond, London, England
London Welsh Kassam Stadium[15] 12,500 Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
Melrose The Greenyards Unknown Melrose, Scottish Borders, Scotland
Moseley Billesley Common 3,650 Birmingham, West Midlands, England
Munster A Musgrave Park 8,300 Cork, Ireland
Neath The Gnoll 7,500 Neath, Neath Port Talbot, Wales
Newcastle Falcons Kingston Park 10,200 Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Newport Rodney Parade 10,500 Newport, South Wales, Wales
Nottingham Meadow Lane 19,588 Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England
Plymouth Albion The Brickfields 6,500 Plymouth, Devon, England
Pontypridd Sardis Road 5,285 Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales
Rotherham Titans Clifton Lane 2,500 Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England
Stirling County Bridgehaugh 4,000 Stirling, Scotland
Swansea St Helens 4,500 Brynmill, Swansea, Wales
Ulster Ravens Kingspan Stadium 18,196 Belfast, Northern Ireland
Worcester Warriors Sixways Stadium 13,500 Worcester, England
Yorkshire Carnegie Headingley Stadium 21,062 Headingley, Leeds, England


  1. ^ Jersey is listed in the English section because they play in the English RFU Championship.


  1. ^ a b "Scots pull out of B&I Cup". The RUGBYPaper. Greenways Publishing. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "New British & Irish Cup announced".  
  3. ^ "Home unions devise British & Irish Cup".  
  4. ^ "Welsh clubs discover British and Irish Cup opponents". WalesOnline. 20 June 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "B&I Cup set to arrive in Connacht". 11 May 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  7. ^ "British & Irish Cup undergoes restructure ahead of new season". RFU. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  8. ^ "Seeding Criteria For The Quarter-Finals Draw 2014". Cornish Pirates. Retrieved 15 January 2014. 
  9. ^ "Pirates Get Ponty At Home". Cornish Pirates. 27 January 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  10. ^ "Pirates Sure Of Home Quarter Final Tie In Cup". Cornish Pirates. 18 January 2014. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  11. ^ "Winners of Pontypridd v Leinster A to host BIC Final".  
  12. ^ a b "Pontypridd 22 - 22 Leinster".  
  13. ^ "Leinster 'A' 44 v 17 Leeds Carnegie".  
  14. ^ Daly, Phil (23 May 2014). "Leinster A 44 Leeds Carnegie 17".  
  15. ^ "London Welsh to stay at Kassam Stadium with Oxford Utd".  

External links

  • Unofficial British and Irish Cup website - latest news, teams etc
  • Results from the BBC
  • - BritishandIrishCup
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