Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
| Help
---------------
CHOOSE A SPORT
RELATED BBC SITES
Last Updated: Thursday, 3 July, 2003, 08:14 GMT 09:14 UK
Celtic rugby's brave new world
The new-look Celtic League relaunches in September aiming to become the northern hemisphere's answer to Super 12.

Regional sides from Ireland, Scotland and Wales will play in an expanded competition that the organisers hope will come to rival the provincial showdowns between Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

"We believe the top players will only be competing in the most meaningful of matches," Keith Grainger, the Celtic League tournament director, said.

"That should go a long way towards enhancing standards in the Celtic nations and preparing players for the demands of international rugby."

Ireland and Scotland have already established regional sides, but it will a brave new world for Wales' five new teams.

The only all-Welsh tie of the opening round, to be held on the weekend 5-6 September, sees Llanelli play host to the Gwent Dragons.

Neath-Swansea also have home advantage against Ulster, Bridgend-Pontypridd are away to Borders, while Cardiff Blues are also in Scotland at Glasgow.

Munster will launch the defence of their Celtic League title against arch-rivals Leinster Lions - the 2002 Celtic League winners - in Dublin.

CELTIC LEAGUE TEAMS
Ireland: Connacht, Leinster Lions, Munster, Ulster
Scotland: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Borders
Wales: Bridgend-Pontypridd, Cardiff Blues, Gwent Dragons, Llanelli, Neath-Swansea

A change from previous seasons is that the Celtic League will now be played on a home-and-away basis, with the 12 sides involved finishing the 22-fixture campaign on the weekend 14-15 May.

The two-pool system has also been scrapped, so each team is guaranteed two matches against every rival.

The Celtic League will continue to run throughout the 2003 Rugby World Cup and the 2004 RBS Six Nations Championship.

Along with the five Welsh sides, there are three from Scotland - Borders, Edinburgh and Glasgow - plus the four Irish provinces of Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster.

There is also a new Celtic Cup competition that will kick off on the weekend 19 September - with Llanelli again drawn at home to Gwent Dragons in the first round.

Bridgend-Pontypridd are at home to Glasgow, Neath-Swansea face a tricky trip to Leinster, while Borders host Connacht.

Cardiff Blues - along with Edinburgh, Munster and Ulster - have a bye and will enter the knock-out competition at the quarter-final stage.

The final will be played on Saturday 20 September and will be available live on BBC television, radio and online.


Celtic League 2003/04:

5/6 September:
The Borders v Bridgend/Pontypridd
Connacht v Edinburgh Rugby
Glasgow Rugby v Cardiff Blues
Leinster Lions v Munster
Llanelli v Gwent Dragons
Neath/Swansea v Ulster

12/13 September:
Bridgend/Pontypridd v Leinster Lions
Cardiff Blues v Connacht
Edinburgh Rugby v The Borders
Gwent Dragons v Neath/Swansea
Munster v Llanelli
Ulster v Glasgow Rugby

26/27 September:
The Borders v Cardiff Blues
Glasgow Rugby v Connacht
Leinster Lions v Edinburgh Rugby
Llanelli v Bridgend/Pontypridd
Neath/Swansea v Munster
Ulster v Gwent Dragons

10/11 October:
Bridgend/Pontypridd v Neath/Swansea
Cardiff Blues v Leinster Lions
Connacht v The Borders
Edinburgh Rugby v Llanelli
Gwent Dragons v Glasgow Rugby
Munster v Ulster

17/18 October:
Glasgow Rugby v The Borders
Gwent Dragons v Munster
Leinster Lions v Connacht
Llanelli v Cardiff Blues
Neath/Swansea v Edinburgh Rugby
Ulster v Bridgend/Pontypridd

24/25 October:
The Borders v Leinster Lions
Bridgend/Pontypridd v Gwent Dragons
Cardiff Blues v Neath/Swansea
Connacht v Llanelli
Edinburgh Rugby v Ulster
Munster v Glasgow Rugby

31 Oct/1 Nov:
Gwent Dragons v Edinburgh Rugby
Glasgow Rugby v Leinster Lions
Llanelli v The Borders
Munster v Bridgend/Pontypridd
Neath/Swansea v Connacht
Ulster v Cardiff Blues

7/8 November:
The Borders v Neath/Swansea
Bridgend/Pontypridd v Glasgow Rugby
Cardiff Blues v Gwent Dragons
Connacht v Ulster
Edinburgh Rugby v Munster
Leinster Lions v Llanelli

28/29 November:
Bridgend/Pontypridd v Edinburgh Rugby
Glasgow Rugby v Llanelli
Gwent Dragons v Connacht
Munster v Cardiff Blues
Neath/Swansea v Leinster Lions
Ulster v The Borders

26/27 December:
Cardiff Blues v Bridgend/Pontypridd
Glasgow Rugby v Edinburgh Ruby
Llanelli v Neath/Swansea

2/3 January:
The Borders v Gwent Dragons
Connacht v Munster
Leinster Lions v Ulster

6/7 February:
Bridgend/Pontypridd v Connacht
Edinburgh Rugby v Cardiff Blues
Gwent Dragons v Leinster Lions
Munster v The Borders
Neath/Swansea v Glasgow Rugby
Ulster v Llanelli

13/14 February:
Bridgend/Pontypridd v The Borders
Cardiff Blues v Glasgow Rugby
Edinburgh Rugby v Connacht
Gwent Dragons v Llanelli
Munster v Leinster Lions
Ulster v Neath/Swansea

20/21February:
The Borders v Edinburgh Rugby
Connacht v Cardiff Blues
Glasgow Rugby v Ulster
Leinster Lions v Bridgend/Pontypridd
Llanelli v Munster
Neath/Swansea v Gwent Dragons

27/28 February:
Bridgend/Pontypridd v Llanelli
Cardiff Blues v The Borders
Connacht v Glasgow Rugby
Edinburgh Rugby v Leinster Lions
Gwent Dragons v Ulster
Munster v Neath/Swansea

5/6 March:
The Borders v Connacht
Glasgow Rugby v Gwent Dragons
Leinster Lions v Cardiff Blues
Llanelli v Edinburgh Rugby
Neath/Swansea v Bridgend/Pontypridd
Ulster v Munster

12/13 March:
The Borders v Glasgow Rugby
Bridgend/Pontypridd v Ulster
Cardiff Blues v Llanelli
Connacht v Leinster Lions
Edinburgh Rugby v Neath/Swansea
Munster v Gwent Dragons

26/27 March:
Gwent Dragons v Bridgend/Pontypridd
Glasgow Rugby v Munster
Leinster Lions v The Borders
Llanelli v Connacht
Neath/Swansea v Cardiff Blues
Ulster v Edinburgh Rugby

2/3 April:
The Borders v Llanelli
Bridgend/Pontypridd v Munster
Cardiff Blues v Ulster
Connacht v Neath/Swansea
Edinburgh Rugby v Gwent Dragons
Leinster Lions v Glasgow Rugby

16/17 April:
Gwent Dragons v Cardiff Blues
Glasgow Rugby v Bridgend/Pontypridd
Llanelli v Leinster Lions
Munster v Edinburgh Rugby
Neath/Swansea v The Borders
Ulster v Connacht

30 April/1 May:
The Borders v Ulster
Cardiff Blues v Munster
Connacht v Gwent Dragons
Edinburgh Rugby v Bridgend/Pontypridd
Leinster Lions v Neath/Swansea
Llanelli v Glasgow Rugby

7/8 May:
Bridgend/Pontypridd v Cardiff Blues
Edinburgh Rugby v Glasgow Rugby
Gwent Dragons v The Borders
Munster v Connacht
Neath/Swansea v Llanelli
Ulster v Leinster Lions

14/15 May:
The Borders v Munster
Cardiff Blues v Edinburgh Rugby
Connacht v Bridgend/Pontypridd
Glasgow Rugby v Neath/Swansea
Leinster Lions v Gwent Dragons
Llanelli v Ulster

Celtic Cup 2003/04:

First Round (19-21):
Bridgend/Pontypridd v Glasgow Rugby
Leinster Lions v Neath/Swansea
The Borders v Connacht
Llanelli v Gwent Dragons
Byes: Edinburgh Rugby, Munster, Ulster and Cardiff Blues

Quarter-Finals (3-5 October):
Draw to be made Saturday 20 September

Semi-Finals (14-16 November):
Draw to be made Saturday 4 October

Final (Saturday 20 December):
Live on BBC Grandstand network





E-mail services | Sport on mobiles/PDAs

MMIX

Back to top

Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other sport...

BBC Sport Academy >> | BBC News >> | BBC Weather >>
About the BBC | News sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy | Contact us
banner watch listen bbc sport