Pontypridd’s midweek Principality Premiership victory over Llanelli was the final piece of the jigsaw as the final eight places for the inaugural Premiership Play-Off Championship have now been confirmed.
The eight Principality Premiership clubs qualified for the inaugural Principality Premiership Play-Off Championship are as follows:
Principality Premiership top eight:
Neath, Swansea, Newport and Pontypridd have already gained automatic qualification for next season’s British and Irish Cup by virtue of reaching the top four but there is still plenty for the other teams to play for.
Newly crowned Principality Premiership champions Neath take on Pontypridd while runners-up Swansea will host third placed Newport – both games to be played on April 27 (KO 7.15pm).
These four clubs have earned two chances at reaching the play-off semi-finals, the winners going straight into the last four and the losers getting a second chance in the preliminary semi-finals.
And the knock-out Round One games see Aberavon face Llandovery at Talbot Athletic Ground and Llanelli host Cardiff at Parc y Scarlets. The winners of these matches will pick up the final two Welsh places in next season’s British and Irish Cup (subject to meeting the WRU’s British and Irish Cup criteria) while the losers of those games are automatically knocked out of the competition.
WRU broadcast partner S4C will provide live coverage of one match per round, starting with Llanelli v Cardiff on April 29 (KO 8.10pm).
WRU Head of Rugby, Performance and Development Joe Lydon said, “The introduction of the Principality Premiership Play-Off Championship this season has really kept the season alive for almost all of the Principality Premiership clubs. Uncertainty has surrounded the make-up of not only the top eight, but also the coveted top four places, which reward consistency during the season by guaranteeing British and Irish Cup participation for those clubs (subject to meeting British and Irish Cup criteria), along with providing two bites of the cherry at reaching the Play-Off semi-finals.
“Round One will be massive, especially for the fifth to eighth placed clubs who face a knock-out match to gain entry into next season’s cross-border competition, subject to meeting the criteria, and progress in the Play-Off Championship. I know the other games will also be extremely hard fought affairs, with Neath desperate to clinch the Play-Off trophy to go with the Principality Premiership title, and the other teams going all out to bag some silverware of their own.
“Although this is only the first season of a Premiership Play-Off Championship, I’m sure the concept will go from strength to strength once players, coaches and supporters see for themselves what it can offer.”
Principality Premiership Play-Off Championship schedule
Match 1 Neath v Pontypridd April 27 ko 19:15
Match 2 Swansea v Newport April 27 ko 19:15
Match 3 Aberavon v Llandovery April 27 ko 19:15
Match 4 Llanelli v Cardiff April 29 ko 20:10 (S4C)
Match 5 Neath/Pontypridd (Loser) v Aberavon/Llandovery (Winner) May 3 ko 17:15
Match 6 Swansea/Newport (Loser) v Llanelli/Cardiff (Winner) May 4 ko 19:15
Match 7 Winner match 1 v Winner match 5 May 13 ko 19:15
Match 8 Winner match 2 v Winner match 6 May 13 ko 19:15
Round 4 – Final
Match 9 Winner match 7 v Winner match 8 May 22 ko 13:00