The Celtic Cup returns in August as the joint IRFU/WRU development competition looks to build on the value it delivered to young players in the performance pathway last season.

A host of players across all four provinces used the competition as a springboard to advance their claims for exposure at provincial senior level while others would go on to play a central role in Ireland’s U20 Six Nations Grand Slam success.

The Leinster Rugby ‘A’ team will begin their Celtic Cup title defence away to Cardiff Blues on the weekend of 23/24/25 August.

The ‘A’ team went unbeaten in last season’s Celtic Cup competition winning all six games and then the final away to Scarlets ‘A’ at Parc y Scarlets.

In a change to last year’s format, this year’s Celtic Cup is a straight league format with each team playing seven games and the top two ranked sides advancing to the final on Saturday, 12 October.

There will be three rounds of Interprovincial derbies with Leinster travelling to Munster in Round 3, hosting Ulster the following weekend, and then visiting Galway in the final round of league fixtures.

Celtic Cup Fixtures

23-25 August

Cardiff Blues v Leinster
Munster v Ospreys
Scarlets v Ulster
Connacht v Dragons

30 Aug – 1 Sep

Leinster v Scarlets
Dragons v Munster
Ulster v Cardiff Blues
Ospreys v Connacht

6-8 September

Munster v Leinster
Ulster v Connacht
Cardiff Blues v Dragons
Scarlets v Ospreys

13-15 September

Connacht v Munster
Leinster v Ulster
Dragons v Scarlets
Ospreys v Cardiff Blues

20-22 September

Ospreys v Leinster
Munster v Cardiff Blues
Dragons v Ulster
Connacht v Scarlets

27-29 

September

Leinster v Dragons
Scarlets v Munster
Ulster v Ospreys
Cardiff Blues v Connacht

4-6 October


Connacht v Leinster
Ulster v Munster
Cardiff Blues v Scarlets
Dragons v Ospreys

Saturday, 12 October

Celtic Cup Final