Exceptional weather conditions during the 2022-23 season have led to a considerable number of teams in RFU Leagues not playing as many league matches as they usually would have at this stage of the season.
The effect of this is that in order to complete the full league season, some teams will need to play league matches beyond the scheduled league completion date of the 11th March, which affects the Men’s Papa John’s Community Cup and County Championships. It is important that we provide clarity on all these competitions.
– All Men’s Papa Johns Community Cup competitions will now commence on the weekend of 1st April and will, in the majority of cases, avoid scheduling fixtures for Easter weekend. Full details of the dates for the draw of each competition is attached. Clubs are advised to note the specific dates for the cup draw(s) for each of the competitions.
– Clubs that have outstanding league fixtures to play on or after 1st April will be given the option to withdraw from the Papa John’s Community Cup. Clubs wishing to follow this option should inform their ROC and/or League Secretary by the weekend of 4th March to enable the Papa John’s Community Cup organisers time to reorganise the draw. Outstanding league fixtures will have primacy over Cup unless the Regional Organising Committee approves otherwise.
– Clubs are reminded that qualification for each competition is determined by their league position at a specified date, which has been agreed to provide maximum notice for teams to make travel and hosting arrangements.
– As far as possible, all 1st XVs who finish top of their leagues at Regional 1 and 2, Counties 1, 2 and 3 & below will qualify for their Championship, and the potential to play in the final at Twickenham. The final of the Regional 1 Championship will be played on Sunday 30th April and the other Championship Finals on Sunday 7th May. All other Cup finals will be played on the weekend of 6th/7th May.
In the case of the matches scheduled for the weekend of 6th/7th May it is accepted that the overlap with the County Championship programme is unavoidable given the impact of postponed matches on the club league programme. National League fixtures will be managed as normal, with the intention of finishing the league season by the scheduled date. Please refer to your league secretary for further guidance.