- Fixtures announced for 2013/14 LV= Cup
- Exeter Chiefs first up for cup holders Harlequins
Photo: RFU Archive
Current LV= Cup holders Harlequins will open their title defence against Exeter Chiefs before back-to-back home games against Sale Sharks, who Quins overcame to lift the trophy last season, and 2012 cup winners Leicester Tigers.
Harlequins secured the title back in March 2013, lifting the LV= Cup at Sixways Stadium following a comprehensive 32-14 victory over Sale Shark.
Last season’s semi-finalists Saracens, who fell in the penultimate knockout stage at the hands of runners-up Sale Sharks, will begin their new season campaign against London Wasps. The men of Adams Park will be looking to improve on their 2012-13 standing, having come last in Pool 3 with one victory over Worcester Warriors.
Elsewhere in the competition, Scarlets will go head-to-head with fellow Welsh region Newport Gwent Dragons, with both teams finishing third in their respective pools last season. Headed up by former London Welsh Head Coach Lyn Jones, the Dragons will travel to Parc y Scarlets, home of winning British & Irish Lion centre Jonathan Davies, in Round 1 of the competition.
Credited for playing a pivotal role in the development of players in the elite game, the LV= Cup has sought to recognise outstanding talent through the LV= Cup Breakthrough Player Award. Inaugural winner Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby) has since been selected in England’s summer tour to Argentina, whilst last season’s winner Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs) lifted the Junior World Championship trophy with England U20s last month.
Following the fixture announcement, RFU Professional Rugby Director Rob Andrew commented: “We have seen the LV= Cup develop as a crucial competition for up-and-coming new talent over the past few seasons as evident through players such as Jack Nowell, who was crucial in England U20s' Junior World Championship triumph.
“I’m sure the competition will again identify some promising young talent this season, and ones that we will undoubtedly see on the international stage in the years to come.”
LV= Head of Sponsorship Claire Jeromson added: “Over the course of the last four seasons, we have seen the LV=Cup grow into an incredibly exciting competition and it has been a privilege to be part of that, as title sponsors.
“In a busy rugby calendar the chance to see some of the most promising young players given their opportunity to break through into the first team for their squads is incredibly important. The likes of Jack Nowell and Jonny May before him have proven the value of the tournament in unearthing the next generation of international stars.
“As domestic rugby continues to grow and become more competitive, we are looking forward to seeing what this season’s LV=Cup holds in store.”
Photo: RFU Archive
The LV= Cup is a 16-team competition involving the 12 Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs and 4 Welsh regions
It is played in four pools of four with three English clubs and one Welsh region in each pool. English clubs have been allocated to the pools depending on their finish in last season's Aviva Premiership Rugby competition. Welsh regions have been allocated to the pools to avoid repeating fixtures from the Heineken and Amlin Challenge cups where possible.
Teams in Pool 1 play teams in Pool 4 and teams in Pool 2 play teams in Pool 3.
Each team plays four pool matches – two home and two away – with the top team from each pool qualifying for the semi-finals.
2013/14 LV= Cup
Newport Gwent Dragons
Round 1 – 8/9/10 November
London Wasps v Saracens
Northampton Saints v Gloucester Rugby
Newcastle Falcons v London Irish
Scarlets v Newport Gwent Dragons
Exeter Chiefs v Harlequins
Leicester Tigers v Ospreys (Friday, November 8, KO 19:45, Live on Sky Sports)
Sale Sharks v Bath Rugby
Cardiff Blues v Worcester Warriors
Round 2 – 15/16/17 November
London Irish v Northampton Saints
Newport Gwent Dragons v London Wasps
Saracens v Scarlets
Gloucester Rugby v Newcastle Falcons
Bath Rugby v Exeter Chiefs (Sunday November 17, KO 15:00 Sky Sports)
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers
Harlequins v Sale Sharks
Ospreys v Cardiff
Round 3 – 24/25/26 January
Scarlets v Gloucester Rugby
London Wasps v London Irish
Saracens v Newcastle Falcons
Newport Gwent Dragons v Northampton Saints
Bath Rugby v Cardiff Blues
Exeter Chiefs v Ospreys
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors
Round 4 – 31/1/2 January/February
Gloucester Rugby v London Wasps
London Irish v Scarlets
Newcastle Falcons v Newport Gwent Dragons
Northampton Saints v Saracens
Leicester Tigers v Bath Rugby
Worcester Warriors v Exeter Chiefs
Cardiff Blues v Harlequins
Ospreys v Sale Sharks
Semi-Finals – 7/8/9 March
The pool winner with the best playing record will be at home against the pool winner with the fourth best playing record in Semi Final 1.
The Pool Winner with the second best playing record will be at home against the pool winner with the third best playing record in Semi Final 2.
LV= Cup Final - 16 March
Final venue to be confirmed.