Cardiff Blues A will kick off their Celtic Cup campaign by welcoming defending champions, Leinster, to the Welsh capital on Saturday, August 24 (KO 14.30).
Following a successful inaugural campaign in 2018/19, the Celtic Cup returns and there have been changes made to the organisation of the development tournament for its second season.
Last year there were two Conferences, split into Irish and Welsh teams, with the winner of each contesting the final. This year all teams will be ranked in one league and the top two teams will contest the final on Saturday, 12 October. Due to only seven league games, four teams will play four home games, and four teams will play three home games.
A week after Leinster’s visit to the Arms Park, Cardiff Blues, who are led by academy coaches and former Wales internationals Gethin Jenkins and T Rhys Thomas, will travel to Belfast to take on Ulster A at Malone RFC.
The schedule sees Dragons, Connacht and Scarlets visiting the Welsh capital later in the tournament, with away trip to Ospreys and Munster also on the horizon, with the final set to take place on Saturday, 12 October.
Academy manager, Gruff Rees, has emphasised the importance of the Celtic Cup in player development
“The Celtic Cup has become a really important stepping stone for us and proved invaluable last year in terms of development and linking the young guys in the academy alongside senior professionals.
“It allows us to align our rugby philosophy and throughout the academy to the senior squad. You only have to look at the likes of Shane Lewis-Hughes, Keiron Assiratti, Alun Lawrence and Harri Millard to see how the competition can be used as a springboard.
“It’s also really good for the development of coaches, who have the chance to replicate the routines of the professional game and in particular the PRO14. These guys have done it as players but to lead a programme over a sustained period is really beneficial for them.
“Being able to work with our semi-professional clubs, to give some of their players opportunities in the competition is also a really exciting proposition.”
Cardiff Blues’ home Celtic Cup fixtures are included in Season Membership packages.
Celtic Cup 2019/2020
Saturday, August 24, KO 14.30 (Cardiff Arms Park)
Cardiff Blues A v Leinster A
Saturday, August 31, KO 19.30 (Malone RFC)
Ulster A v Cardiff Blues A
Saturday, September 7, KO 15.30 (Cardiff Arms Park)
Cardiff Blues A v Dragons A
Friday, September 13, KO 19.15 (Brewery Field, Bridgend)
Ospreys Development v Cardiff Blues A
Friday, September 20, KO 18.00 (Irish Independent Park, Cork)
Munster A v Cardiff Blues A
Saturday, September 28, KO 14.30 (Cardiff Arms Park)
Cardiff Blues A v Connacht Eagles
Friday, October 4, KO 19.15 (Cardiff Arms Park)
Cardiff Blues A v Scarlets A