- New regulations add extra dimension
- Roses send-off to Northern section
Rolling substitutions will be introduced into the National Under 20 RU Championship next season as the RFU elects to extend the option first trialled in the senior County Championship in 2010.
Under the system, each team is allowed to make up to 12 interchanges per game, with players allowed to return to action having already been substituted.
The Roses match will launch next season’s competition, which gets underway on February 2, 2014. Venues for the games have yet to be finalised, but the Roses encounter gives the tournament a heavyweight send-off.
The Lancashire v Yorkshire clash has often been the pivotal game at both Under 20 and Senior County level and while Cheshire’s advance at both levels in recent seasons has influenced the balance of power in the North, the Roses game is still viewed as the key encounter.
Pool 1 of the competition is populated by four Northern Counties – Cheshire, Lancashire, Northumberland and Yorkshire – with Durham and Cumbria contesting Pool 1 of the Shield section next season alongside Leicestershire and Staffordshire.
Cheshire will entertain Northumberland on the opening day before traveling to Yorkshire on February 23, 2014 and Lancashire on March 16. Lancashire have home advantage against Northumberland o on Feb 23, while Northumberland close their Pool matches with their only home game against Yorkshire on March 16.
The top two teams in the pool will progress to the quarter-finals on March 30. The Championship semi-finals are due to be played on April 13 and the final on May 4.
The National Under 20 Shield will start earlier next season with the opening round of pool matches scheduled for November 17, 2013.
The all-North pairing of Durham and Cumbria will take place in Cumbria on the opening day, while in the second round, which is scheduled for December 22, Cumbria entertain Leicestershire and Staffordshire visit Durham.
Staffordshire will be at home to Cumbria and Leicestershire will host Durham in the final round of pool matches on January 19, the Quarter-finals being scheduled for February 2, the semi-finals for February 23 and the final for March 16.