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New WRU Cup format gives clubs more chance of Principality Stadium glory

Trebanos

Rhys Thomas of Trebanos in action in last season's Road to Principality

More teams than ever before will be able to achieve their dream of playing at Principality Stadium following a revision of the WRU National Cup competitions.

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Following on from the highly successful ‘Road to Principality’ event last season, where there were stand alone finals for the Premiership and Championship clubs, as well as the normal Plate, Bowl and Shield competitions, WRU’s Competitions Committee has re-vamped the structure to create seven finals instead of five following a comprehensive Competition Review.

“We undertook a thorough review of our competitions at the end of last season and were greatly encouraged by the reaction of the clubs to the new cup format. We therefore decided to expand the offering to give more teams the chance of reaching a showpiece final,” said WRU Competition Committee chairman, Colin Wilks.

“The timing of the group stages and the ‘cross league’ nature of the five divisional tournaments brings extra spice and will mean teams will play against other clubs of similar standing. That should enhance the quality of the rugby and make the competitions more even and more exciting.”

The 12 clubs in the Indigo Group Premiership will be split into four pools with the pool winners then qualifying for the semi-finals. They will once again play for the WRU Challenge Cup, which will be back up for grabs for the 49th time 50 years on from when Neath became the first winners back in 1972.

Last season Newport beat Aberavon in a thrilling Indigo Group Premiership Cup final at Principality Stadium, while Neath crowned their 150th anniversary campaign with a win over Bargoed in the Championship final.

For the 2022-23 season, the Championship Cup will be run on a knock-out basis. The six winners of the opening round games will then go into the hat with Neath and Ystrad Rhondda, who have byes, to create four quarter-final matches.

Last season’s winners of the Plate (Penallta), Bowl (Llanharan) and Shield (Tonna) will all be included in the new structure for the National League teams. They will compete in five different cup competitions which will bring together all the clubs in each tier of the structure.

Initially, the clubs will compete in groups before going into a knock-out phase to determine who goes to the Welsh capital at the end of the season. Only the group winners will make it through to the knock-out phase.

All groups will kick-off on 17 September, with the Championship Cup launching on 15 October. The finals will be played at Principality Stadium in dates to be agreed in April, 2023.

HOW THE NEW WRU NATIONAL CUP COMPETITIONS WILL WORK

7 competitions – Premiership Cup, Championship Cup, Division 1 – Division 5 Cup with each Division will have their own respective competition

75 different Groups and sets of fixtures of 3-4 teams across all competitions –

Premiership Cup: 12 clubs / 4 Groups

Championship Cup: Knock-Out format

Division 1 Cup: 59 clubs / 15 Groups

Division 2 Cup: 48 clubs / 12 Groups

Division 3 Cup: 70 clubs / 18 Groups

Division 4 Cup: 35 clubs / 9 Groups

Division 5 Cup: 60 clubs / 17 Groups

The winners of each group then qualify to the knockout stages of each respective competition

“As we emerged from COVID restrictions last season the nine days of finals on the ‘Road to Principality 2022’ proved an outstanding success. The engagement with fans was incredible, not just at Principality Stadium, but via social media and on our live streams of every game,” said Geraint John, the WRU’s Community Rugby director.

“Our challenge moving forward was to respond to the desire of the community game to get the chance to play at the home of Welsh rugby. That’s why we decided to revise out National Cup competitions and devised the new framework.

“The club cup finals will be inter-woven with the Women’s, Youth, Schools and Mixed Ability matches that proved so popular last season to create some real showpiece events at Principality Stadium that will celebrate everything that is good about our national game.”

Cup Competitions 2022-23

WRU NATIONAL CUP COMPETITIONS 2022-233

Premiership Cup

Group A: Carmarthen Quins, Ebbw Vale, RGC1404
Group B: Llanelli, Newport, Swansea
Group C: Aberavon, Bridgend, Pontypridd
Group D: Cardiff, Llandovery, Merthyr

Championship Cup

Bargoed v Tata Steel
Cross Keys v Cardiff Met
Glamorgan Wanderers v Trebanos
Maesteg Quins v Bedwas
Narbeth v Pontypool
Ystalyfera v Beddau
Byes: Neath, Ystrad Rhondda

DIVISION 1 CUP

Group A: Bedlinog, Mountain Ash, Senghenydd, Ynysybwl
Group B: Penallta, Pontypool United, Rumney, Treorchy
Group C: Brecon, Cambrian Welfare, Dinas Powys, Nelson
Group D: Barry, Monmouth, Newbridge, Rhydyfelin
Group E: Blaenavon, Rhiwbina, Risca, St Peters
Group F: Brynmawr, Dowlais, Porth Harlequins, St. Josephs
Group G: Aberystwyth, Dunvant, Nantyffyllon, Penclawdd
Group H: Bridgend Athletic, Kenfig Hill, Llanelli Wanderers, Llangennech
Group I: Gowerton, Hendy, Skewen, Waunarlwydd
Group J: Bonymaen, Crymych, Felinfoel, Glynneath
Group K: Birchgrove, Brynamman, Gorseinon, Pembroke
Group L: Ammanford , Newcastle Emlyn, Tondu, Whitland
Group M: Bala, Caernarfon, Denbigh, Nant Conwy
Group N: Bethesda, Dolgellau, Llangefni, Pwllheli
Group O: COBRA, Llandudno, Ruthin

DIVISION 2 CUP

Group A: Abergavenny, Caerphilly, Cwmbran, Gilfach Goch
Group B: Abercwmboi, Hartridge, Newport HSOB, Treharris
Group C: Llanishen, Llantrisant, Pill Harriers, Talywain
Group D: Caerleon, Cowbridge Croesyceiliog, Taffs Well
Group E: Abercynon, Aberdare, Oakdale, Ynysddu
Group F: Blackwood, Caldicot, Cilfynydd, Llantwit Fardre
Group G: Kidwelly, Maesteg Celtic, Nantgaredig, Seven Sisters
Group H: Bridgend Sports, Milford Haven, Pontyberem, Pyle
Group I: Heol Y Cyw, Pontarddulais, Resolven, Tenby United
Group J: Burry Port, Fishguard & Goodwick, Morriston, Porthcawl
Group K: Aberavon Quins, Carmarthen Athletic, Mumbles, Ystradgynlais
Group L: Builth Wells, Loughor, Pencoed, Tycroes

DIVISION 3 CUP

Group A: Garndiffaith, Penygraig, Pontyclun, RTB Ebbw Vale
Group B: Abertillery BG, Cardiff Quins, Machen, St Alban’s
Group C: Blaina, Canton, Deri, Fairwater
Group D: Abercarn, CRCC, Llanharan, Usk
Group E: Llanhilleth, Pentyrch, Old Illtydians, Tredegar Ironsides
Group F: Abertysswg, Penarth, Rhymney, Tylorstown
Group G: Bryncoch, Nantymoel, St David’s, Tumble
Group H: Abercrave, Llangwm, Llanybydder, New Dock Stars
Group I: Aberavon Green Stars, Lampeter Town, Penygroes, Trimsaran
Group J: Bynea, Pembroke Dock Quins, Tonmawr, Vardre
Group K: Cefneithin, Cwmavon, Laugharne, Neyland
Group L: Amman United, Cwmllynfell, Haverfordwest, Llangadog
Group M: Aberaeron, Baglan, Betws, Swansea Uplands
Group N: Cwmgors, Llandeilo, St Clears, Tregaron
Group O: Cardigan, Furnace United, Llandybie, Taibach
Group P: Abergele, Bangor, Colwyn Bay, Welshpool
Group Q: Newtown, Shotton Steel, Wrexham
Group R: Mold, Nant Conwy 2nd XV, Rhyl & District,

DIVISION 4 CUP

Group A: Blackwood Stars, Gwernyfed, Nantyglo, Penlan
Group B: Briton Ferry, Caerau Ely, Fleur De Lys, Old Penarthians
Group C: Glais, Hafodyrynys, Llantwit Major, Maesteg
Group D: Chepstow, Neath Athletic, Trinant, Ynysowen
Group E: Alltwen, Hirwaun, Llandaff North, New Tredegar
Group F: Crynant, Newport Saracens, Pontrhydyfen, Tonyrefail
Group G: Bedwellty Cefn Cribbwr, New Panteg, Wattstown
Group H: Bryncethin, Llandaff, Treherbert, Whiteheads
Group I: Cefn Coed, Glyngorrwg, St Julian’s

DIVISION 5 CUP

Group A: Bettws, Forgeside, Pontllanfraith, West Mon
Group B: Brynithel, Crickhowell, Tredegar, Trefil
Group C: Cwmcarn United, Malpas, Old Tyleryans, Rogerstone
Group D: Beaufort, Crumlin, Magor
Group E: Abersychan, Girling, Hollybush
Group F: Ferndale, Penybanc, Pontycymer, South Gower
Group G: Cardiff Saracens, Cwmgwrach, Pontardawe, Whitchurch
Group H: Brackla, CIACS, Cwmtwrch, Pontyates
Group I: Banwen, Ogmore Vale, Rhigos
Group J: Llandrindod Wells, Pantyffynnon, Sully
Group K: Fall Bay, Tonna, Tref Y Clawdd
Group L: Bala 2nd XV, Bro Ffestiniog, COBRA 2nd XV, Pwllheli 2nd XV
Group M: Bro Gwernant, Mold 2nd XV, Porthmadog, Rhyl & District 2nd XV
Group N: Denbigh 2nd XV, Holyhead, Flint, Llandudno 2nd XV
Group O: Llanidloes, Machynlleth, Menai Bridge
Group P: Bethesda 2nd XV, Llangefni 2nd XV, Wrexham 2nd XV
Group Q: Caernarfon 2nd XV, Rhosllanerchrugog, Ruthin 2nd XV

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