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Here we go for new-look Schools' Cup

Schools' Cup rugby

Class of 2020: pictured at the launch of the 2019-20 Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ competitions are (from left) Sam Anderson (Craigavon Senior High School), Katie Hetherington (Enniskillen Royal GS), Adam Reid (Methodist College), Philip Gregg, Ulster Branch senior vice-president, Johnny O’Kane (Methodist College) and Richard Caldwell, Danske Bank
Class of 2020: pictured at the launch of the 2019-20 Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ competitions are (from left) Sam Anderson (Craigavon Senior High School), Katie Hetherington (Enniskillen Royal GS), Adam Reid (Methodist College), Philip Gregg, Ulster Branch senior vice-president, Johnny O’Kane (Methodist College) and Richard Caldwell, Danske Bank

By Michael Sadlier

It's all change for the Danske Bank Ulster Schools' Cup as the famous old competition, which was first played way back in 1876, has been given a makeover.

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Twenty-four schools will now be spread over six groups of four, with the winners and four best runners-up advancing to the more familiar knockout stages.

The qualifiers will then be drawn against the top six schools - holders Methodist College, Campbell College, RBAI, Ballymena Academy and Wallace High School - who sit out the groups, with knockout rugby beginning at the last-16 stage of the competition in the New Year.

In the groups, each school will play three matches, which will start on October 19 and end on December 7.

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