Munster are to compete in the new Celtic Cup which starts next month
MUNSTER Rugby is set to compete in a new development competition, the Celtic Cup, for the emerging professional players from the four Irish provinces and four Welsh regions.
The announcement sees the Irish Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union join forces to create the new competition.
Joining Munster in the Celtic Cup will be development squads from Connacht, Leinster, Ulster, Cardiff Blues, the Dragons, the Ospreys and the Scarlets. The competition aims to provide a learning environment for players, coaches and referees by recreating the week-to-week challenges presented by senior professional rugby.
The Celtic Cup will run over seven consecutive weeks, commencing on Friday, September 7. Teams will have to prepare for a different opposition each week, manage their physical preparation and recovery and analyse their performances as they grow as individuals and collectively.
The eight teams will be divided into two conferences of four Welsh regions and four Irish provinces. Each Irish province will play each of the Welsh regions and will play against two Irish provinces. Similarly, the Welsh regions will play each of the Irish provinces and will play two of their Welsh counterparts. The top-ranked province from the Irish conference will play the top-ranked region from the Welsh conference in the inaugural final (venue to be confirmed).
Munster kick-off their campaign on Friday, September 7 with a game game against Connacht at Irish Independent Park, 5.30pm.
2018/19 CELTIC CUP POOLS & FIXTURES:
POOL 1 - CONNACHT, LEINSTER, MUNSTER, ULSTER
POOL 2 - Cardiff Blues, Dragons, Ospreys, Scarlets
Weekend 1 - Friday, September 7
MUNSTER v CONNACHT, Irish Independent Park, 5.30pm
ULSTER v LEINSTER, Malone RFC, 5pm
Ospreys v Scarlets, Bridgend RFC, 7pm
Dragons v Cardiff Blues, Rodney Parade, 7.15pm
Weekend 2 - Friday, September 14
ULSTER v Scarlets, Instonians/Cooke RFC, 7pm
Weekend 2 - Saturday, September 15
LEINSTER v Cardiff Blues, Energia Park, 2pm
Ospreys v MUNSTER, Swansea RFC, 2pm
Dragons v CONNACHT, CCSE Ystrad Mynach, 2.30pm
Weekend 3 - Friday, September 21
MUNSTER v Dragons, Irish Independent Park, 5.30pm
CONNACHT v Ospreys, Corinthian Park, 3pm
Weekend 3 - Saturday, September 22
Scarlets v LEINSTER, Parc y Scarlets, 2.30pm
Cardiff Blues v ULSTER, Cardiff Arms Park, 2.30pm
Weekend 4 - Friday, September 28
LEINSTER v Ospreys, Energia Park, 7.30pm
Weekend 4 - Saturday, September 29
Cardiff Blues v MUNSTER, Cardiff Arms Park, 2pm
ULSTER v Dragons, Ballymena RFC, 2.30pm
Scarlets v CONNACHT, Carmarthen RFC, 2.30pm
Weekend 5 - Friday, October 5
MUNSTER v Scarlets, Irish Independent Park, 7.30pm
Ospreys v ULSTER, Swansea RFC, 7pm
Weekend 5 - Saturday, October 6
Dragons v LEINSTER, CCSE Ystrad Mynach, 2.30pm
CONNACHT v Cardiff Blues, the Sportsground, kick-off tbc
Weekend 6 - October 12-14
LEINSTER v MUNSTER, details tbc
CONNACHT v ULSTER, details tbc
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys, details tbc
Scarlets v Dragons, details tbc