Fixtures for the 2019/20 season’s Greene King IPA Championship and RFU Championship Cup have been announced.

This season will actually start with matches in the RFU Championship Cup, the first of the three opening pool fixtures scheduled to take place on the weekend 20/21/22 September.

The GKIPA fixtures, which will be played over 22 rounds, begin on the weekend 11/12/13 October, with the final games scheduled to be played on the weekend 8/9 May next year.

The Cornish Pirates are at home to Ealing Trailfinders in Round 1 of the competition, when a keenly anticipated encounter is naturally expected, remembering that the Trailfinders ended last season as runners-up to London Irish.

The Pirates will go head-to-head with Ealing Trailfinders at the Mennaye Field on the opening weekend of the Greene King IPA Championship – Photo: Brian Tempest

Ampthill, who were promoted as champions of National One, will face Nottingham at home in the opening round, whilst Premiership-relegated Newcastle Falcons start their campaign away against London Scottish.

Commenting on the new season ahead, Greene King IPA Championship Chairman Geoff Irvine said: “We are delighted to welcome Newcastle Falcons and Ampthill to the 11th season of the Greene King IPA Championship.

“The Championship continues to thrive, and we look forward to another highly competitive season starting in two months’ time.”

RFU director of professional rugby Nigel Melville said: “The fixtures coming out will provide a focus for clubs as they start to prepare for their first games.

“Last season produced some fantastic performances and we’re all looking forward to more great rugby next season.”

Cornish Pirates Director of Rugby Chris Stirling said: “There is already a real buzz in the Pirates camp and the confirmation of the fixtures will further add to this.

“Three exciting Cup matches lead into the Championship competition where we host both Ealing Trailfinders and Newcastle Falcons in the first three weeks.”

The Championship Cup is once again split into three pools, playing across six rounds with the pool stage fixtures all completed before Christmas.

The top two teams from each pool together with the two best runners-up across the three pools will all proceed to the quarter-finals, which will be followed by the semi-finals and then the final to take place in May next year.

Pool 1 comprises Ampthill, Bedford Blues, Coventry, and Ealing Trailfinders; Pool 2 includes Doncaster Knights, Hartpury, Jersey Reds, and Newcastle Falcons; and Pool 3 houses Cornish Pirates, London Scottish, Nottingham, and Yorkshire Carnegie.