The LV= Cup offers a fantastic platform for today's club players to develop into tomorrow's international players. The tournament also provides a great platform for us to engage with our rugby fans.
The 12 English Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs and four Welsh regional teams from the RaboDirect Pro12 compete for the coveted title of the LV= Cup.
The teams competing for the LV= Cup are split into four pools of four clubs, with three English clubs and one Welsh region in each pool.
English clubs have been allocated to pools depending on their finish in last season's Aviva Premiership Rugby competition.
Welsh regions have been allocated to the pools in a way that avoids repeating fixtures from the Heineken and Amlin Challenge Cups where possible.
Teams in Pool 1 play teams in Pool 4 and teams in Pool 2 play teams in Pool 3.
Each team plays four pool matches - two home and two away - with the top team from each pool qualifying for the semi-finals.
The points scoring system for the pool stages will be as follows:
If this happens, the winner will be determined by:
i. extra-time of 20 minutes (10 minutes each way); then
ii if the scores are tied after extra-time, then the team that has scored the most tries in the match (including extra time) shall be deemed the winner; then
iii if the teams have scored the same number of tries in the match (including extra-time), then the winner will be determined by a placekick competition.
You can watch the LV= Cup on Sky Sports, the games will also feature in a highlights show on ITV4. The fixture list shows which matches will be televised this season.
Each of the four qualifying clubs shall be ranked as above and shall play each other as follows:
Semi-final 1 - 1st ranked club v 4th ranked club
Semi-final 2 - 2nd ranked club v 3rd ranked club
The first club listed in each of the semi-final matches shall be the home club.
The top teams from each pool qualify for the knockout stages.
The pool winners will be decided by the following criteria:
1. The pool winner will be the club with the highest number of match points in each pool. The pool winners will be ranked 1 to 4 by reference to the number of match points earned in the pools.
2. If two or more clubs in the same pool end the pool stage equal on match points, then the order in which they have finished will be determined by:
i. the greater number of matches won by the club and
ii. if the number of matches won is equal, the club with the greater total number of tries scored and
iii. if the total number of tries scored is equal, the club with the greater points difference (points scored for, less points scored against) and
iv. if the points difference is equal, the club with the fewer number of red cards
v. if the number of red cards is the same, by the toss of a coin.
Players dismissed from the field of play will be required to attend a hearing before a disciplinary panel organized by the Rugby Football Union Disciplinary Manager comprising members appointed by RFU in consultation with Welsh Rugby Union at Bristol (unless some other venue is agreed between RFU, WRU and the club of which the player is a member) on the Tuesday following the match.
Citing Officers will be appointed and they alone shall have the power and responsibility to cite a player where the citing officer believes the independent video shows that player to have committed an act of foul play whether or not it has been detected by the match officials. Such citing, to be effective, must be made in writing to be received by the RFU Disciplinary Manager at Twickenham within thirty six hours of the receipt by the citing officer of the independent video or within seven days of the conclusion of the match, whichever shall be the earlier.
A club may within forty eight hours of the conclusion of that match notify the RFU Disciplinary Manager of any incidents which it wishes the citing officer to consider. The RFU Disciplinary Manager will immediately notify the citing officer of that club’s concerns.