British and Irish Cup to be scrapped as English Championship sides withdraw

British and Irish Cup final
Munster came back from 18-0 down to beat Jersey 29-28 in last season's British and Irish Cup final

Rugby union's British & Irish Cup will be scrapped at the end of the season.

It comes after the 12 clubs from England's second-tier Championship decided to withdraw for 2018-19.

'A' sides from the four Irish Pro 14 clubs and 'Premiership Select' teams from the four Welsh regions face England's second-tier teams in pool stages and subsequent knockout rounds.

Scottish sides pulled out of the event in 2014 and Championship teams tend to rest their best players in the cup.

An RFU spokesperson told BBC Sport that Championship clubs were "looking into alternatives" for cup competition next season.

The event was set up in 2009 as part of changes which saw the Championship replace the old National One as English rugby's second tier.

The Cornish Pirates won the first event in 2010, while Munster 'A' beat Jersey in last season's final.

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