Munster ‘A’ will get their British & Irish Cup season underway when they host title holders London Welsh in a pool that also contains Doncaster Knights and Rotherham Titans.
Declan Cusack and Sean Scanlon, now plying their trade in Doncaster, both played their part in securing the B&I Cup for Munster in 2012 and the duo will have the chance to play their former club when the two teams face off in Pool 2 on the third weekend in October.
Connacht Eagles have been pitted against London Irish, who were relegated from the Aviva Premiership last season, in Pool 3. The Exiles have World Cup winner Ben Franks and Irish prop Tom Court in their side. Also in Connacht's pool are Welsh Regional Premiership side Ospreys Premiership Select and first opponents Cornish Pirates.
Leinster 'A' are in with Richmond, promoted to the Championship from third tier competition National League 1 last season. Nottingham and Scarlets Premiership Select complete the pool. Leinster secured back-to-back B&I titles in 2013 and 2014, becoming the first to successfully defend the title since the cup’s inception in 2009.
Ulster ‘A’ will welcome last year’s semi-finalists Jersey Reds to Belfast in Round 1 before playing London Scottish and Cardiff Blues Premiership Select later in the competition.
Pool 5 sees the Bedford Blues open their title chase against the Dragons’ Premiership Select side while Yorkshire Carneige will look to hit the ground running against Ealing Trailfinders, who narrowly avoided relegation to National League 1 last season.
British & Irish Cup 2016/17 pools and fixtures
Cardiff Blues Premiership Select
Ospreys Premiership Select
Scarlets Premiership Select
Dragons Premiership Select
Round 1 – October 14/15/16
Pool 1: Ulster 'A' v Jersey Reds; Cardiff Blues Premiership Select v London Scottish.
Pool 2: Rotherham Titans v Doncaster Knights; Munster 'A' v London Welsh.
Pool 3: Connacht Eagles v Cornish Pirates; Ospreys Premiership Select v London Irish.
Pool 4: Nottingham Rugby v Scarlets Premiership Select; Richmond v Leinster 'A'
Pool 5: Bedford Blues v Dragons Premiership Select; Ealing Trailfinders v Yorkshire Carnegie.
Round 2 – October 21/22/23
Pool 1: Jersey Reds v Cardiff Blues Premiership Select; London Scottish v Ulster 'A'
Pool 2: Doncaster Knights v Munster 'A’; London Welsh v Rotherham Titans
Pool 3: Cornish Pirates v Ospreys Premiership Select; London Irish v Connacht Eagles
Pool 4: Scarlets Premiership Select v Richmond; Leinster 'A' v Nottingham Rugby
Pool 5: Dragons Premiership Select v Ealing Trailfinders; Yorkshire Carnegie v Bedford Blues
Round 3 – December 9/10/11
Pool 1: London Scottish v Jersey Reds; Ulster 'A' v Cardiff Blues Premiership Select.
Pool 2: London Welsh v Doncaster Knights; Rotherham Titans v Munster 'A'.
Pool 3: London Irish v Cornish Pirates; Connacht Eagles v Ospreys Premiership Select.
Pool 4: Nottingham Rugby v Richmond; Leinster 'A' v Scarlets Premiership Select.
Pool 5: Yorkshire Carnegie v Dragons Premiership Select; Bedford Blues v Ealing Trailfinders.
Round 4 – December 16/17/18
Pool 1: Jersey Reds v London Scottish; Cardiff Blues Premiership Select v Ulster 'A'.
Pool 2: Doncaster Knights v London Welsh; Munster A v Rotherham Titans
Pool 3: Cornish Pirates v London Irish; Ospreys Premiership Select v Connacht Eagles.
Pool 4: Scarlets Premiership Select v Leinster 'A'; Richmond v Nottingham Rugby.
Pool 5: Dragons Premiership Select v Yorkshire Carnegie; Ealing Trailfinders v Bedford Blues.
Round 5 – January 13/14/15
Pool 1: Ulster 'A' v London Scottish; Cardiff Blues Premiership Select v Jersey Reds.
Pool 2: Rotherham Titans v London Welsh; Munster A v Doncaster Knights.
Pool 3: Connacht Eagles v London Irish; Ospreys Premiership Select v Cornish Pirates.
Pool 4: Nottingham Rugby v Leinster 'A'; Richmond v Scarlets Premiership Select.
Pool 5: Bedford Blues v Yorkshire Carnegie; Ealing Trailfinders v Dragons Premiership Select.
Round 6 – January 20/21/22
Pool 1: Jersey Reds v Ulster 'A’; London Scottish v Cardiff Blues Premiership Select.
Pool 2: Doncaster Knights v Rotherham Titans; London Welsh v Munster A.
Pool 3: Cornish Pirates v Connacht Eagles; London Irish v Ospreys Premiership Select.
Pool 4: Scarlets Premiership Select v Nottingham Rugby; Leinster 'A' v Richmond.
Pool 5: Dragons Premiership Select v Bedford Blues; Yorkshire Carnegie v Ealing Trailfinders.
Quarter-finals: March 10/11/12
Semi-finals: March 31/April 1/April 2
Final: April 22
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved