Ben Morgan of Gloucester Rugby celebrates their win over Wasps Image: Getty Images Europe Get the biggest Daily stories by email Subscribe We will use your email address only for the purpose of sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights Thank you for subscribingSee our privacy notice Could not subscribe, try again laterInvalid Email Gloucester begin their Premiership Rugby Cup campaign on Saturday when they take on Wasps at Kingsholm.
Yet the decision not to play this long-running competition — in its original guise, it predates the World Cup and official leagues by 16 years — was a crying shame.
Of course it was inevitable, with so much rugby to be squeezed into the calendar, but the competition is responsible for some of the greatest moments and memories in the English game. You never wanted to miss the cup final and for a long time the world record attendance for a club game was the 59, that watched Bath beat Leicester in The cutting-off of amateur clubs was a sad day but had to happen for safety reasons, and in the Welsh regions joined in and it became the Anglo-Welsh entity we know today.
Previous winners since addition of Welsh regions Saracens 23 Exeter 20 Exeter 15 Northampton 8 Harlequins 32 Sale 14 Leicester 26 Northampton 14 Gloucester 34 Newcastle 7 Northampton 30 Gloucester 24 Cardiff 50 Northampton 12 Ospreys 23 Leicester 6 Leicester 41 Ospreys 35 London Wasps 26 Llanelli Scarlets 10 Cup final attendances remained at over 70, well into the Noughties but the final, when the great Bleddyn Williams , a few months before his death, watched Cardiff Blues thrash Gloucester from the press box, was the last played at HQ.
According to Premiership Rugby, no fewer than current Premiership players made their club debuts in the cup and its worth as a development tool is undisputed. When we won the tournament in , we played against a full-strength Bath and Sale side. That was a building block for where I am now.
Charnley, who scored tries in appearances for Wigan Warriors, has only been training with his new Premiership team-mates for two weeks and is on the bench tonight. Chris Pennell and Dewald Potgieter are senior players back from injury and there are a number of young guys in the side.
The competition was replaced by the Premiership Rugby Cup , involving only the 12 English Premiership clubs, beginning with the —19 season.
Gloucester, the inaugural winners in , will wear a special shirt featuring a poppy design to mark Remembrance Day for their matches this and next weekend, against Saracens and Northampton. The first-round games at Bath and Quins will be shown live, and there will be a highlights programme on ITV on Sunday evening.
For those unfamiliar with the competition, each team plays four matches against sides from other pools while competing for points in their own pool. The pool winners advance to the semi-finals, with the final taking place at The Stoop on Sunday 19 March.
The Welsh clubs are in Pro12 action this weekend so make their entrance next week.