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Change in format as Irish province's fixtures for Celtic Cup announced

The joint IRFU/WRU development competition kicks off at the end of next month.

LEINSTER WILL BEGIN the defence of their Celtic Cup title when they travel to face Cardiff Blues next month as the joint IRFU/WRU development competition featuring Irish provinces and Welsh regions returns for a second season.

The eastern province’s ‘A’ side won the inaugural Celtic Cup with victory over Scarlets last October, and the fixtures for the 2019 edition of the competition have been confirmed today.

Shane Daly and Jimmy O’Brien Leinster's Jimmy O'Brien and Shane Daly of Munster in action during last year's 'A' inter-pro. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

In a change to last year’s format, this year’s Celtic Cup is a straight league format with each team playing seven games and the top two ranked sides advancing to the final on Saturday 12 October. 

On the opening weekend, Cardiff host Leinster, Munster face Ospreys at Musgrave Park, Ulster travel to Scarlets and Connacht go head-to-head with the Dragons. 

There will be three rounds of inter-provincial derbies with Leinster travelling to Cork to face their southern rivals on Friday 6 September, while Ulster will host Connacht. 

“The Celtic Cup delivered a lot of what we had hoped it would,” David Nucifora, IRFU performance director, said. 

The players got exposed to the week to week preparation and recovery that senior professional players must manage and took a huge amount of learnings from those experiences.

“From a coaching perspective, the competition simulated the challenges and pressures of preparing and developing a group of players while seeking improvement in performance each week.

“The Celtic Cup also plays an important role in the development of our support staff and that of our referees.”

Last season, the likes of Jack Dunne, Scott Penny, Ryan Baird, Alex McHenry, Liam Coombes , Colm de Buitlear, Robert Balacoune and Bruce Houston featured in the Celtic Cup for their respective provinces before winning senior caps in the Guinness Pro14.  

2019 Celtic Cup fixtures:

23-25 August

  • Cardiff Blues v Leinster
  • Munster v Ospreys
  • Scarlets v Ulster
  • Connacht v Dragons

30 Aug-1 Sep

  • Leinster v Scarlets
  • Dragons v Munster
  • Ulster v Cardiff Blues
  • Ospreys v Connacht

6-8 September

  • Munster v Leinster
  • Ulster v Connacht
  • Cardiff Blues v Dragons
  • Scarlets v Ospreys

13-15 September

  • Connacht v Munster
  • Leinster v Ulster
  • Dragons v Scarlets
  • Ospreys v Cardiff Blues

20-22 September

  • Ospreys v Leinster
  • Munster v Cardiff Blues
  • Dragons v Ulster
  • Connacht v Scarlets

27-29 

September

  • Leinster v Dragons
  • Scarlets v Munster
  • Ulster v Ospreys
  • Cardiff Blues v Connacht

4-6 October

  • 
Connacht v Leinster
  • Ulster v Munster
  • Cardiff Blues v Scarlets
  • Dragons v Ospreys

Saturday 12 October

  • Celtic Cup final. 

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About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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