Doncaster Knights to take part in Premiership Cup next season after rule change

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Doncaster Knights will take part in the Premiership Cup next season following a change in format for 2023/24.

The 24 teams in the top two tiers will be split into four pools of six with five group matches throughout September and October. Each pool winner will take part in February’s semi-finals before the final in March.

It is the first time in 18 years that Premiership sides will face lower-tier teams in a cup competition.

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Doncaster Knights president, Steve Lloyd, who is also chair of the Championship Clubs Committee, said: “The new Cup format is the result of great collaboration between the Championship, RFU and Premiership Rugby.

Doncaster Knights will play in next season's Premiership Cup.Doncaster Knights will play in next season's Premiership Cup.
Doncaster Knights will play in next season's Premiership Cup.

"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.”

Teams will be split into pools based on league standings at the end of the current season. Knights are currently sixth in the 12-team Championship table with one game left to play against league leaders Ealing this weekend.

The pool stages will take place over five consecutive weekends from the weekends of 8-10 September to 6-8 October.

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"The Championship performs a crucial role within the English game and we’re looking forward to renewing some rivalries of old,” said Phil Winstanley, Premiership Rugby’s rugby director.

“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.”