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Historic rugby rivalry to kick-off British & Irish Cup

10 October 2012

  • Bristol and Cardiff go head-to-head in one of oldest club rivalries
  • Fixture is one of eight Anglo-Welsh ties this weekend
Bristol lift British and Irish Cup in 2011 after defeating Bedford Blues

Photo: RFU Archive

One of the oldest rivalries in club rugby that goes back 124 years will be revived on Saturday, when Cardiff RFC entertain Bristol Rugby at The Arms Park in the first round of the British & Irish Cup.

Cardiff and Bristol have featured heavily in each other’s history, with 181 games played between the two sides. Cardiff hold the upper hand in the head-to-head standings having won 133 times, including a 24-0 success at home in the first-ever fixture on October 6, 1888.

Bristol, though, gained revenge in the maiden game at the Memorial Stadium in 1921: a 19-3 victory ensuring their tenure at the ground, which is still called home today, started with a winning start.

Bristol’s last visit to The Arms Park to play Cardiff, as opposed to the Blues, the full-time regional outfit, was a successful one, with the West Country side winning 38-12.

Now in its fourth season, the British & Irish Cup has been expanded into a 32-team competition that sees the winners of each of the eight pools progress to the knockout stages.

As well as Cardiff v Bristol – one of eight Anglo-Welsh ties this weekend – Pool One pits Ulster against Bridgend. Pool 2 has Bedwas at home to Bedford, losing finalists in 2011, while Neath face a long trek north to Stirling.

Scottish side Dundee head the other way, travelling down to Wales to play Swansea at St Helens in Pool 3. Inaugural B&I Cup winners Cornish Pirates host Carmarthen in the other tie.

Championship leaders to face 2012 runners-up

Previous British & Irish Cup winners Cornish Pirates, Bristol Rugby and Munster 'A'

Photo: RFU Archive

It is 12 years since Pool 4 opponents Newcastle and Cross Keys – last year’s beaten finalists – met at Kingston Park in a European Challenge Cup fixture.  Back then Newcastle cruised to a 99-8 victory. The scoreline in the return game at Pandy Park was much more respectable: 25-11 in the Falcons’ favour. Newport take on competition newcomers, Connacht Eagles, in the other game in Pool 4.

Two well-supported sides meet in Pool 5 on Saturday at St Peter, where Jersey’s home faithful will no doubt give a hospitable welcome to Pontypridd and their travelling army of fans. Leinster ‘A’ play Leeds Carnegie later that day.

Somewhat surprisingly, Gala and London Scottish are meeting for only the third time in a full-blown game of 15s. The two previous games – both in Scotland – ended in a win apiece: 28-16 to the Exiles in the 1973/74 season and 20-16 to the Borders outfit in 1989/90.

Also in Pool 6, Moseley host Llanelli at Billesley Common. The sides have played each many times in the past – 35 to be precise, since the first game back in the 1891/92 season. Llanelli boast a record of 21 wins to Moseley’s 11, with three draws thrown in for good measure.

Defending champions Munster ‘A’ are in Pool 7, where they face a tricky opener away to Plymouth Albion. Aberavon welcome Rotherham to the Talbot Athletic Ground.

Finally, in Pool 8, Welsh Premiership high fliers Llandovery are at home to Nottingham and Doncaster will look to get their season up and running with victory at home to Melrose.

B&I Cup Round One



Pool 1
Cardiff v Bristol Rugby, Saturday October 13, KO 14.30
Ulster v Bridgend, Saturday October 13, KO 14.30

Pool 2
Bedwas v Bedford Blues, Saturday October 13, KO 14.30
Stirling v Neath, Saturday October 13, KO 15.00

Pool 3
Swansea v Dundee, Saturday 13, KO 14.30
Cornish Pirates v Carmarthen, Sunday October 14, KO 15.00

Pool 4
Newport v Connacht Eagles, Saturday 13, KO 14.30
Newcastle Falcons v Cross Keys, Saturday 13, 15.00

Pool 5
Jersey v Pontypridd, Saturday October 13, KO 15.00
Leinster A v Leeds Carnegie, Saturday October 13, KO 19.00

Pool 6
Gala v London Scottish, Saturday October 13, KO 15.00
Moseley v Llanelli, Saturday October 13, KO 15.00

Pool 7
Aberavon v Rotherham Titans, Saturday October 13, KO 14.20
Plymouth Albion v Munster A, Saturday October 13, KO 15.00

Pool 8
Doncaster Knights v Melrose, Saturday October 13, KO 14.30
Llandovery v Nottingham, Saturday October 13, KO 15.00


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