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Dublin: 18 °C Tuesday 26 May, 2020

Reigning champions Leinster make plans for restructured British & Irish Cup

Girvan Dempsey’s side have been drawn alongside Plymouth, Jersey and a Welsh qualifier.

Leinster 'A' lift the 2013/14 British & Irish Cup after beating Leeds.
Leinster 'A' lift the 2013/14 British & Irish Cup after beating Leeds.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

REIGNING CHAMPIONS LEINSTER ‘A’ have been drawn alongside Plymouth Albion, Jersey and the ‘Wales 3′ qualifier for the pool stages of the 2014/15 British & Irish Cup.

The second-tier competition has been restructured after Scottish Rugby withdrew its teams in order to avoid any clashes with their own BT Premiership.

The 2014/15 British & Irish Cup will feature 20 teams [12 from the English Championship, 4 Welsh Principality Premiership clubs and the four Irish provinces' 'A' sides] split into five pools of four.

Each side will play six pool games before the turn of the year, with the quarter-finals set for January, the semi-finals to take place in March and the final being played in April.

Girvan Dempsey’s Leinster team defended their title successfully last month by beating Leeds Carnegie in Donnybrook on a comprehensive 44-17 scoreline.

As they target a third consecutive trophy at this level, Dempsey’s men will face a Plymouth outfit that includes Irishmen Ruairi Cushion, Eoghan Grace, Declan Cusack and Ben Woods.

Munster ‘A’, who were knocked out by Leinster in the quarter-finals of the 2013/14 campaign, have been drawn in Pool 3 alongside Worcester Warriors – who were relegated from the Aviva Premiership last month – Moseley and Nottingham.

Cian Bohane tackled by Ben Marshall Munster were well beaten by Leinster in last season's quarter-finals. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Joining Worcester for next season is former Ireland U18 international Charlie Mulchrone, and Dean Ryan’s side are likely to provide stiff opposition.

Connacht Eagles will face London Scottish, the ‘Wales 2′ qualifier and Bristol in Pool 1, intent on improving on their record of three wins in last season’s competition. Andy Robinson’s impressive Bristol squad means the western province will have to fight hard to top the pool.

Finally, the Ulster Ravens will clash with last season’s runners-up Leeds Carnegie, Rotherham Titans and the ‘Wales 4′ qualifier in Pool 2. Having failed to advance from the pool stages in the 2013/14 campaign, there is clear room for improvement for the Irish province.

There will be familiar faces in the Titans’ ranks with James McKinney and Adam Macklin joining Rotherham from Ulster this summer. Irishmen Sean Scanlon, Michael Keating and Willie Ryan are also on the books at the Championship club.

2014/15 British & Irish Cup pools:

Pool 1: London Scottish, Wales 2, Bristol, Connacht Eagles

Pool 2: Rotherham Titans, Leeds Carnegie, Ulster Ravens, Wales 4

Pool 3: Worcester Warriors, Nottingham, Moseley, Munster ‘A’

Pool 4: Wales 1, Cornish Pirates, Doncaster Knights, Bedford Blues

Pool 5: Leinster ‘A’, Plymouth Albion, Wales 3, Jersey

The preliminary fixture list is available here.

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Murray Kinsella

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