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College Cup draw announced

This year's College Cup draw took place last week and has thrown up some fantastic groups, including two tournament favourites, James firsts and Derwent firsts, in the same group

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[caption id="attachment_121578" align="alignnone" width="640"]Image: James Hostford
Image: James Hostford

The College Cup draw has been released, ahead of the 2015 competition, which gets
under way the day after this year's Roses tournament.

Significant changes have been made to the structure of the competition for this year, after the introduction of promotion and relegation in the league structure. Two new groups will be added alongside the main Group Stage for Vase qualification, whilst new seeding rules have been introduced for the first time.

In light of the new structure, teams are now seeded for the four main groups based upon the League division they will be competing in at the start of the 2015/16 season. This means that numerous seconds teams have been seeded in the top pool, whilst College Football newcomers Constantine Firsts were seeded in pool two following promotion to Revolution Division One.

The two highest-placed teams in each group will qualify for the College Cup knockouts; third and fourth-placed teams enter the College Plate, fifth place goes into the Vase, and the bottom side is eliminated.

The highlight of the draw sees the return of the infamous 'Group of Death' in Group D, which sees current Premier League holders Derwent Firsts drawn alongside James Firsts, and Constantine Firsts. Derwent and James face each other on Wednesday 6 May while Constantine kick off their campaign against Derwent on Friday 1 May before meeting James on Friday 29 May.

Meanwhile, current College Cup holders Halifax Firsts, who will go in search of their fifth
successive appearance in the final, will face a tough test against high-fliers Derwent Seconds.

They will play each other on 19 May. The last side to lift the trophy since Halifax's domination began, Vanbrugh Firsts, appear to have a relatively easy route to the knockout stages. However, Alcuin Seconds will be hoping for an upset when they face the Premier League side on Wednesday 20 May.

For the first time this year, 12 lower-seeded sides will take part in a separate group stage to qualify for the College Vase knockouts; this includes a Barbarians team from each campus, comprised of players from assorted colleges, who are not named in any other squads. The top two sides in each six-team group will qualify.

The full draw and fixture list will be available online shortly.

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