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Top Irish province in URC regular season to receive new trophy

The winners of the new competition’s four regional pools will receive a ‘Shield’ trophy as well as automatic qualification for the Champions Cup.

Leinster and Munster fans watching a Pro14 semi-final in 2019.
Leinster and Munster fans watching a Pro14 semi-final in 2019.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

LEINSTER, ULSTER, CONNACHT and Munster will compete for an ‘Irish Shield’ trophy as part of the United Rugby Championship (URC), the inaugural season of which kicks off this evening.

The URC has confirmed that the winners of each of the competition’s four regional pools — Ireland; South Africa; Wales; and Scotland/Italy — will, along with automatic qualification for the Champions Cup, receive a shield trophy as part of an on-field presentation.

“A tremendous value is placed on the rivalries within the Shield groups by fans, players, coaches and broadcasters and with a European place available to each winner, the value of overcoming your ‘Shield’ opponents now has more rewards than ever,” said a statement released by the URC.

The Irish provinces previously competed among themselves for an official interprovincial trophy between 1946/47 and 2000/01 before the fixtures were subsumed by the newly formed Celtic League in ’01/02.

Match points from all 18 games this season will contribute to the standings in each of the four regional pools, with Shield rivals squaring off home and away every season. Champions Cup qualification will be split between placings in the overall league table and in the regional pools.

With each of the four Shield winners qualifying automatically, they will be removed from the final league table and the next four highest ranked teams will join them in Europe’s premier competition.

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Seedings for the Champions Cup will be based upon the overall league ranking of all eight teams, with the four new South African franchises expected to become eligible to compete in the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup from next season.

Bernard Jackman, Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey look ahead to the inaugural United Rugby Championship, and a massive weekend for Ireland in their bid to qualify for the Women’s Rugby World Cup.


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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