Welsh rugby is united in its determination to maximise the participation of the four Regional Premiership Select XVs in the British & Irish Cup, which kicks off this weekend.
The cross border competition will run on European weekends, with the Regions utilising the opportunity to work alongside the Premiership clubs within their Regions to provide promising players with high quality game time.
The B&I Cup will also see upcoming Regional and Premiership coaches given the responsibility of preparing the sides while the Regional first teams are battling it out in Europe.
The new teams will benefit from live television coverage throughout the competition with S4C broadcasting one Welsh Regional Premiership Select fixture per round for as long as a Welsh side remains in the competition.
PRW Chief Executive Mark Davies said, “We recognise that our internationals do not just appear and that every step of the rugby pathway requires intensity, commitment and resource in order to develop players and coaches and we believe that by entering Regional Premiership Select XVs in the British & Irish Cup, the standard of rugby our young players are exposed to will increase, helping to bridge the gap between semi-professional and professional rugby in Wales.”
Principality Premiership chairman, Chris Clarke, added: “The Premiership clubs are again looking forward to playing their part in this important chapter in the development of our professional players and hopefully the competition will gain added momentum this season.”
The S4C television coverage begins with Scarlets v Bedford on Sunday (November 15 kick off 3pm).
English language commentary will be available through the Red Button option on S4C, which is available throughout the UK on platforms such as Sky, Freesat and Virgin Media.
S4C Sports Editor Sue Butler said, “S4C is delighted to provide live coverage of the new Regional Premiership Select teams in the British & Irish Cup competition. It adds greatly to our wide-ranging rugby portfolio which includes live and highlights coverage from the grassroots such as colleges rugby to the Six Nations and the Rugby World Cup.”
The Cardiff Blues Premiership Select side will be the first to fly the Welsh flag on home soil when they welcome Nottingham to the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday (14 November 2.30pm), while the Dragons Premiership Select will travel to Galway to play Connacht Eagles.
The following day will see Yorkshire Carnegie host the Ospreys Premiership Select XV in Huddersfield at 1.30pm ahead of the Scarlets Premiership Select’s televised encounter against Bedford Blues at Carmarthen Park.
Pool 1: Ealing Trailfinders, Moseley, Leinster 'A', Rotherham Titans
Pool 2: Bedford Blues, Scarlets Premiership Select, Bristol Rugby, Ulster Ravens
Pool 3: Ospreys Premiership Select, Yorkshire Carnegie, Munster 'A', London Scottish
Pool 4: Nottingham Rugby, Cardiff Blues Premiership Select, London Welsh, Cornish Pirates
Pool 5: Newport Gwent Dragons Premiership Select, Connacht Eagles, Doncaster Knights, Jersey