The rugby clubs in England’s Premiership and Championships will come together next year for a cup competition.
The 24 teams across the country’s top two tiers will be divided into four pools of six teams with group matches and knockout fixtures next season.
The move comes amid increasing frustration from clubs in the second tier over their relationship with the top flight and the country’s governing body – the Rugby Football Union.
Group games will take place in the autumn, in the period internationals will be preparing and playing in the Rugby World Cup in France
“The new cup format is the result of great collaboration between the Championship, RFU and Premiership Rugby,” said Steve Lloyd, chair of the Championship Clubs Committee.
“The clubs are delighted with the opportunity a different format brings as well as the experience of playing Premiership sides and the opportunity to welcome new fans into our clubs and grow our audiences.”
Premiership Rugby’s rugby director Phil Winstanley added: “The Championship performs a crucial role within the English game and we’re looking forward to renewing some rivalries.”