Stirling County make their eagerly anticipated debut in the British and Irish Cup tomorrow (Saturday) with a home match against Neath from the Welsh Premiership.
The revamped cross-border competition pitches together top rugby club sides from Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland and drawn in County’s group alongside Neath are Bedford Blues from the English Championship and Welsh side Bedwas.
All teams meet home and away between October and January, with the pool winner progressing to the knock-out quarter-finals.
Stirling County’s head coach Graeme Young said: “We are all excited about the new challenges that the British and Irish Cup will bring and look forward to our first outing against Neath.
“We will be using these cross-border matches to help develop our own club players and provide the opportunity to experience a level above the domestic game.”
Stirling County president Kevin Robertson emphasised the sense of anticipation. “The British and Irish Cup competition will not only bring out the very best in our players, but will also raise the profile of Stirling County and rugby in the local area.
“Club rugby is already serving up great entertainment this season with the RBS Premiership producing highly competitive and entertaining rugby each week.
“We expect this to continue with the cross-border matches, which we hope will entice more people to come along and support their local rugby club.”
County haven’t won in the RBS Premiership since they defeated Edinburgh Accies back on September 8. They currently sit seventh in the 10-team table.
Neath have a similar record in the Welsh Premiership, winning two out of seven games to lie seventh in the 10-team table. Last Saturday they lost to 49-38 Bedwas - who will be their opponents in the British and Irish Cup - after leading at halftime by 31-17.
The match tomorrow at Bridgehaugh kicks-off at 3pm.