The Anglo-Welsh Cup returned with a bang last week as Gloucester Rugby marked the occasion with a breathtaking fightback to down defending champions Saracens at Kingsholm, and as Round 2 approaches expect more of the same live on your screens.
David Halaifonua provided the matchwinning score to help the Cherry and Whites claw their way back from a 25-5 deficit to win 36-32, but young back rows Daniel Thomas and Freddie Clarke applied the grit with 18 tackles apiece.
Leicester Tigers – who are the only side to win the Anglo-Welsh Cup twice – also came out on top against Bath Rugby in a fiercely-contested 20-21 win at The Rec.
After a storming first weekend of action, BT Sport are continuing their first season broadcasting the Anglo-Welsh Cup and, with double the number of live matches screened all the way up to the tournament’s final at the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday 19 March, this weekend they will be live from both Exeter Chiefs and Bristol Rugby.
— BT Sport Rugby (@btsportrugby) November 9, 2016
The action begins when Bristol Rugby take on Sale Sharks at Ashton Gate on Friday, with the programme starting at 7.30pm for a 7.45pm kick-off on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport 4K UHD.
Sale continued their superb home form by downing Aviva Premiership Rugby high-flyers Wasps 17-13 at the AJ Bell last weekend and after making his debut against Dai Young’s men, expect to see prolific rugby league convert Josh Charnley continue his quest for cross-code success at Ashton Gate.
Sale’s Tom Curry made his mark by becoming the third youngest Aviva Premiership Rugby try scorer on his debut against Bristol on 30 October and he continued to impress at senior level alongside twin Ben Curry in last weekend’s win, no doubt eyes will be trained on the two brothers when they turn out in the West Country.
They won’t have it all their own way as Bristol rebound from a hard-fought 31-25 loss to Worcester Warriors last time out with Nic Fenton-Wells pitching in with a useful 14 tackles.
Sunday sees Exeter Chiefs welcome Cardiff Blues to Sandy Park as the Guinness PRO12 side – winners of the Anglo-Welsh Cup in 2009 – look to kick-start their campaign against last year’s Aviva Premiership Rugby finalists.
The programme starts at 2.45pm, kick-off 3pm, on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport 4K UHD, and Rob Baxter’s side – who boasted Aviva Premiership Rugby regulars Sam Hill, Ollie Devoto and a returning Dave Ewers last week – will want to bounce back from losing to a Nick Evans inspired Harlequins in Round 1.
Danny Wilson’s Cardiff Blues have racked up impressive wins over Munster, Edinburgh and Glasgow this season and will be a tough task for Baxter’s side, with Welsh international Matthew Morgan, in-form fly-half Steve Shingler and British & Irish Lions Matthew Rees at their disposal.
And should you miss out on the action, ITV will be showing highlights programmes throughout the Anglo-Welsh Cup run. Andy Goode will be your host on Sunday at midnight (ITV), Monday at 7pm (ITV4), and Tuesday at 12.45am (ITV4).
Your regular mid-week fix of Aviva Premiership Rugby, Rugby Tonight, will feature an elite panel of guests at 8pm on Wednesday on BT Sport 1.
Bristol Rugby v Sale Sharks, programme starts at 7.30pm, kick-off 7.45pm BT Sport 1 and BT Sport 4K UHD
Exeter Chiefs v Cardiff Blues, programme starts at 2.45pm, kick-off 3pm BT Sport 1 and BT Sport 4K UHD
Wednesday BT Sport 1 8pm
The second round of the Anglo-Welsh Cup kicks off this weekend. For full details of the tournament and tickets for the Final at the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday 19 March see www.new-heroes.com