CONFIRMED: 2023/24 Premiership Rugby Cup to Include Championship Clubs - Ruck

CONFIRMED: 2023/24 Premiership Rugby Cup to Include Championship Clubs

The RFU have confirmed after weeks of speculation, that the 2023/24 Premiership Rugby Cup competition will in fact include clubs from the RFU Championship. This exciting new format will see the 24 teams from England’s top two flights split into four mixed pools of six, with the action commencing on September 8th.

The Premiership Rugby Cup trophy before the Premiership Rugby Cup Final match between London Irish and Worcester Warriors at The Brentford Community Stadium, London on 17 May 2022 (Photo: Danny Loo/PPAUK)

The four pools will be decided based on the league standings, at the end of the 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership and RFU Championship seasons. The pool stages will take place over five consecutive weekends, from the 8th September to the 6th of October.

The knock-out stages will come later in the season, over the 9th-11th of February, with the final over the weekend of the 15th-17th of March. Exeter Chiefs are the current reigning champions of the competition, after their dramatic extra time victory over London Irish.

This saw the Exiles lose back-to-back Premiership Rugby Cup finals in extra time, as the 2021/22 final saw a 25-25 draw, and Worcester Warriors winning on ‘tries scored’. Will it be third time lucky for London Irish, or will one of the Championship sides make history in the updated format’s inaugural competition?

Jack Innard, Captain of Exeter Chiefs lifts the Premiership Rugby Cup as Exeter Chiefs celebrates after winning during the Premiership Rugby Cup Final match between London Irish and Exeter Chiefs at The Gtech Community Stadium, London on 19 March 2023 (Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK)

Phil Winstanley, Premiership Rugby’s Rugby Director said: “It is many years since the Premiership and Championship Clubs clashed in a Cup competition. The Championship performs a crucial role within the English game and we’re looking forward to renewing some rivalries of old.

“With the Rugby World Cup taking place in France, this competition will no doubt provide the best, young English talent with an opportunity to stake a claim in squads before the start of the Gallagher Premiership campaign.”  

Players jump at a line out during the Greene King IPA Championship Play-Off final 2nd Leg match between Saracens v Ealing Trailfinders at The StoneX Stadium, Hendon, London on June 20 2021. – PHOTO: Micah Crook/PPAUK

Steve Lloyd, Chair of the Championship Clubs Committee said: “The new Cup format is the result of great collaboration between the Championship, RFU and Premiership Rugby. 

“The clubs are delighted with the opportunity a different format brings as well as the experience of playing Premiership sides and the opportunity to welcome new fans into our clubs and grow our audiences.”