Anglo-Welsh Cup
FormerlyRFU Knockout Cup
SportRugby union
Founded2005; 19 years ago (2005)
Ceased2018; 6 years ago (2018)
Replaced byPremiership Rugby Cup
No. of teams16
CountriesEngland England
Wales Wales
Exeter (2nd title)
Most titlesLeicester Tigers (3 titles)
TV partner(s)BBC Sport (2005–2009)
Sky Sports (2009–2015)
BT Sport (live, 2016–2018)
Channel 5 (highlights, 2016–2018)

The Anglo-Welsh Cup (Welsh: Cwpan Eingl-Gymreig), was a cross-border rugby union knock-out cup competition that featured the 12 Premiership Rugby clubs and the four Welsh regions. It was a created as a replacement for the RFU Knockout Cup, which featured only English clubs.

The competition was replaced by the Premiership Rugby Cup, involving only the 12 English Premiership clubs, beginning with the 2018–19 season.[1]



RFU Knockout Cup

Main article: RFU Knockout Cup

From 1971 to 2005, English clubs played in the RFU Knockout Cup. At its formation, it was the highest honour that a club could win, as there were no nationally organised leagues until merit leagues were introduced in 1984, followed by the full national league pyramid in 1987. It was an open tournament to any club that was a member of the Rugby Football Union.

Previous Anglo-Welsh fixtures

Main article: 1998–99 Welsh rugby union rebel season

2005–2018: Anglo-Welsh Cup

2005–09: Initial format

Starting in the 2005–06 season, the Powergen Anglo-Welsh Cup was formed as a successor tournament to the Knockout Cup. It continued to be organised by the RFU, in co-operation with the Welsh Rugby Union, but featured a new format including only the twelve teams from the Guinness Premiership and the four regional Welsh sides which competed in the Celtic League. Teams from the English RFU Championship and below played in the Powergen National Trophy.

The Welsh clubs' inclusion initially caused them to be expelled from the Celtic League in June 2005. Scottish and Irish officials were angered that the Welsh regions had apparently consented to Powergen Cup fixtures on the same weekend as league matches.[2] By the end of the month, a compromise was reached and the regions were readmitted, with the Welsh sides giving a "substantial financial contribution" and committing to mid-week league fixtures.[3]

In place of the knock-out format, the 16 sides were placed in four pools with three English clubs and one Welsh region in each. The pool stages for this initial format featured one game against each team, followed by semi-finals and a final at Twickenham Stadium. The pools remained the same for the following season, with home and away fixtures reversed and the club relegated from the Premiership's place taken by the club promoted from the Championship.

In addition to increased TV revenue (the revised Powergen Cup had a new broadcasting agreement with BBC Sport) and a possible boost to matchday income, the Powergen Cup also offered its winner, if they were a Premiership club, qualification to the even more lucrative Heineken Cup competition. As base compensation, all 16 Powergen clubs were guaranteed £250,000 each, with a prize fund of up to £200,000 available to semi-finalists.[4]

The Scarlets playing Bath at the Millennium Stadium

Interest in the Powergen Cup was high during the first two rounds. Over 100,000 spectators attended matches, while the television audience peaked at 1.2 million on BBC2 for the match between the Newcastle Falcons and the Llanelli Scarlets.[5] Overall, the 2005–06 cup drew a 12% attendance boost in the group stages over the previous year's competition.[6]

Powergen withdrew all of its rugby sponsorship after the conclusion of the first competition.[7] EDF Energy took over as title sponsor for the 2006–07 tournament, renaming the tournament as the EDF Energy Cup[8] in a deal that ran until 2009.

2009–18: Final Format

Insurers Liverpool Victoria became sponsors for the 2009–10 competition, rebranding the tournament as the LV= Cup until 2015.[9]

The structure of the competition was altered at this time. It continued to consist of four pools, each consisting of three English and one Welsh team. However, the new format saw teams guaranteed two home and two away pool matches, with teams in Pools 1 and 4 playing each other and teams in Pools 2 and 3 playing each other.[10] Early rounds of the competition now took place on international fixture dates during the Autumn Internationals and Six Nations Championship, with the aim of allowing teams to develop their squad players.[11] It also saw the final move away from Twickenham for the first time, with Worcester's Sixways Stadium hosting in its place.[12] The final would continue to be played at various pre-arranged club grounds in the following years.

There was no competition in the 2015–16 season due to the 2015 Rugby World Cup being played in England, which resulted in the late start to the 2015–16 English Premiership season.[13]

The competition returned in the 2016–17 season, known simply as the Anglo-Welsh Cup, with BT Sport taking over the live TV rights from Sky Sports and highlights shown on Channel 5.

2018–present: Premiership Rugby Cup

Main article: Premiership Rugby Cup

In the 2017–18 Anglo-Welsh Cup, all four of the Welsh regions finished bottom of their pools.[14] In May 2018, the Welsh Rugby Union announced that they were going to be setting up a Welsh under-23s competition for their regions and would thus be unable to commit to Anglo-Welsh Cup games.[15] On 10 May, Premiership Rugby Limited, which organises the English top flight, then announced that the Anglo-Welsh Cup would be replaced by the Premiership Rugby Cup, which would be solely for the English Premiership clubs.[16] The Cup was created to continue to allow younger English Premiership players to compete in more matches at Premiership stadiums.[17]

List of winners

Anglo-Welsh Cup
Season Winners Score Runners-up Venue Attendance Ref
2005–06 England London Wasps 26–10 Wales Llanelli Scarlets Twickenham 57,212
2006–07 England Leicester Tigers 41–35 Wales Ospreys Twickenham 43,312 [18]
2007–08 Wales Ospreys 23–6 England Leicester Tigers Twickenham 65,756 [19]
2008–09 Wales Cardiff Blues 50–12 England Gloucester Twickenham 54,899
2009–10 England Northampton Saints 30–24 England Gloucester Sixways Stadium, Worcester 12,024 [20]
2010–11 England Gloucester 34–7 England Newcastle Falcons Franklin's Gardens, Northampton 6,848 [21]
2011–12 England Leicester Tigers 26–14 England Northampton Saints Sixways Stadium, Worcester 11,895 [22]
2012–13 England Harlequins 32–14 England Sale Sharks Sixways Stadium, Worcester 8,100 [23]
2013–14 England Exeter Chiefs 15–8 England Northampton Saints Sandy Park, Exeter 10,744 [24]
2014–15 England Saracens 23–20 England Exeter Chiefs Franklin's Gardens, Northampton 8,865 [25]
2015–16 No competition due to Rugby World Cup
2016–17 England Leicester Tigers 16–12 England Exeter Chiefs Twickenham Stoop, London 6,834 [26]
2017–18 England Exeter Chiefs 28–11 England Bath Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester 8,074

List of champions

# Team Wins Years
1 Leicester 3 2007, 2012, 2017
2 Exeter 2 2014, 2018
3= Cardiff 1 2009
3= Gloucester 1 2011
3= Harlequins 1 2013
3= Northampton 1 2010
3= Ospreys 1 2008
3= Saracens 1 2015
3= Wasps 1 2006

See also


  1. ^ "Anglo-Welsh Cup to be Replaced by the Premiership Rugby Cup". Sky Sports. 10 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Celtic League ejects Welsh clubs". The Guardian. 1 June 2005. Archived from the original on 19 September 2014.
  3. ^ "CELTIC LEAGUE SOLUTION FOUND - Welsh Rugby Union". 17 June 2005.
  4. ^ "Cup resurrects Anglo-Welsh contests of old days". Times Online. 27 September 2005. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 30 September 2006.
  5. ^ RFU Archived 21 March 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "EDF Energy to sponsor UK's premier cup competition". Rugby Football Union. Archived from the original on 8 November 2006. Retrieved 30 September 2006.
  7. ^ "Powergen to end cup sponsorships". BBC Sport. 16 February 2006. Retrieved 30 September 2006.
  8. ^ "Anglo-Welsh Cup gets new sponsor". BBC Sport. 1 August 2006. Retrieved 30 September 2006.
  9. ^ "LV= sponsors rugby's Anglo-Welsh Tournament" (Press release). Rugby Football Union. 29 October 2009. Archived from the original on 4 April 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2009.
  10. ^ "Anglo-Welsh Cup fixtures revealed". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 6 July 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2009.
  11. ^ "Anglo-Welsh Cup set to carry on". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 6 May 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2009.
  12. ^ "Northampton 30-24 Gloucester". BBC Sport. 21 March 2010. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  13. ^ "LV=Cup cancellation would hit Exeter Chiefs". BBC Sport.
  14. ^ "Anglo-Welsh Cup: Beaten Welsh regions to make exit". BBC Sport. 27 January 2018. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  15. ^ "End of Anglo-Welsh Cup confirmed". South Wales Argus. 10 May 2018. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  16. ^ "Everything we know so far about the new Premiership Rugby Cup Bath Rugby will play in next season". Somerset Live. 11 May 2018. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  17. ^ "Anglo-Welsh Cup to be replaced by the Premiership Rugby Cup". Sky Sports. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  18. ^ "Leicester 41-35 Ospreys". BBC Sport. 15 April 2007. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  19. ^ "EDF Energy Cup final". 12 April 2008. Archived from the original on 14 April 2008. Retrieved 18 October 2022.
  20. ^ "Northampton 30-24 Gloucester". BBC Sport. 21 March 2010. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  21. ^ "Gloucester 34-7 Newcastle". BBC Sport. 20 March 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  22. ^ "Match Centre". Premiership Rugby. Archived from the original on 7 January 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  23. ^ "Match Centre". Premiership Rugby. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  24. ^ "LV= Cup final: Exeter Chiefs 15-8 Northampton Saints". BBC Sport. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  25. ^ "LV Cup final: Saracens 23-20 Exeter Chiefs". BBC Sport.
  26. ^ "Brady helps Leicester Tigers hold out Chiefs for Anglo-Welsh glory". ESPN. 19 March 2017.