The 2015/16 British & Irish Cup fixtures have been revealed as the cross-border competition enters its seventh year – with Bedford Blues being grouped with Bristol, Ulster Ravens and Scarlets Premiership Select.
Following a wide-ranging review of competition structures across the game in Wales, Welsh teams in the competition will be represented by combined Regional Premiership squad teams.
The Blues will open their cup campaign with an away trip to Wales to face the Scarlets combined team on the weekend of 12/13/14 November, before welcoming Ulster Ravens to Goldington Road the following weekend.
A double-header against Bristol follows in rounds three and four, with Bedford travelling to Ashton Gate on the weekend of 11/12/13 December before the reverse fixture the following week.
An away trip to Belfast takes place on 15/16/17 January, before the pool finale on January 23 at Goldington Road as the Scarlets Premiership Select side pay a visit.
Teams: 12 Greene King IPA Championship clubs; four Welsh Regional Premiership squads; four Irish provinces – Connacht Eagles, Munster A, Leinster A and Ulster Ravens.
Pool stages: Taking place on 13-15, 20-22 November, 11-13, 18-20 December and 15-17, 23 January; five pools of four playing home and away; four points for a win, two for a draw, one bonus point for a) scoring four or more tries and/or b) losing by seven points or less.
Quarter-finals: Taking place on weekend of March 12, 2016; Top side in each pool progresses to knock-out stage, plus three best runners-up; eight quarter-finalists ranked, with teams ranked 1-4 having home advantage.
Semi-finals and final: Semi-final draw takes place on weekend of March 19, 2016; final to take place on weekend of April 9.