One Month to Go until the Premiership Rugby Cup returns
The start of the Premiership Rugby Cup is only one month away – and if the second edition is anything like the first, we are in for quite a ride.
The inaugural staging of the Cup – brought in to replace the now defunct Anglo-Welsh competition – brought some serious drama last season.
It was Northampton Saints, resurgent under Chris Boyd, who claimed the silverware at the end of it all.
They downed Saracens in the showpiece on home soil at Franklin’s Gardens to claim a morale-boosting win over their nemesis and provide the momentum for their season run-in.
The stars were out in that final, all three of Saints try scorers were internationals in the form of Teimana Harrison, Tom Wood and Ahsee Tuala.
But the Cup is more often than not a breeding ground for young talent, last year saw the emergence of Alex Dombrandt at Harlequins come first in the Cup with back-to-back tries against Bath Rugby and Newcastle Falcons in the opening rounds that propelled him into first-team contention.
Zach Kibirige’s hat-trick for the Falcons caught the eye as well, while Sarries’ next generation proved they are up to the task of prolonging the men in black’s dominant era.
Joel Kpoku in the second row, Ben Earl in the back row, Max Malins pulling the strings at fly-half, Sarries came so close to winning the whole thing last year.
Free-flowing rugby was the order of the day, indeed 21 tries scored across the two semi-finals is proof enough of that.
And in 2019/20 the competition should bring us more of the same.
Pool 1 is mouth-watering with champions Saints paired with Sarries once again in a group that also includes Sale Sharks and Wasps.
The competition gets underway in under a month as Quins welcome Bristol Bears to the Stoop in Pool 2 where they are joined by Gloucester Rugby and new boys London Irish.
Pool 3 sees Exeter Chiefs take on Leicester Tigers, Bath and Worcester Warriors.
Each team plays three games against their pool rivals as well as a ‘derby’ clash against a team from another pool.
All three table-toppers, plus the best placed runner-up, will go through to the semi-finals while the final will be played in March 2020 at the home ground of the highest-ranked team remaining.
Want to see tries galore and unearth your club’s new wunderkid in a team mixed through with international class? Then the 2019/20 Premiership Rugby Cup is the competition for you.