The British & Irish Cup will undergo a revision to the current structure for the 2013-14 season, moving from 32 teams to 24, playing in six pools of four.
Following the restructure, four Principality Premiership teams will now represent Wales in the competition, joining the 12 clubs of the RFU Championship as well as four from each of Ireland and Scotland. Selection of the Welsh teams will be based on regional play-offs at the start of next season, with final positions in this season’s Principality Premiership giving teams home field advantage.
A spokesperson for Scottish Rugby said: "The British & Irish Cup has been a great opportunity for our top clubs to compete and benchmark themselves against some of the best teams in England, Ireland and Wales at this level and through this our RBS Premier Division clubs, players, coaches and administrators have garnered invaluable experience which has contributed a great deal to raising the standards of play and off field support in the club game in Scotland.
"With the number of teams being reduced this year this will make the tournament even more competitive and we look forward to working with our clubs to support them through this challenge."
Teams : 12 RFU Championship clubs / Four Welsh Principality Premiership clubs / Four Irish provinces – Connacht, Munster, Leinster and Ulster / Four Scottish teams - top four finishers in RBS Premier Division: Ayr, Gala, Stirling County and Edinburgh Academicals.
Pool Stages : Six pools of four playing home and away / Four points for a win, two for a draw, one bonus point for a) scoring four or more tries and/or b) losing by seven points or less.
Quarter-finals : top side in each pool progress to knockout stage, including two best runners-up / eight quarter-finalists ranked with teams ranked 1-4 having home advantage .
Semi-finals and final : four winning quarter finalists progress to semi -final draw / winning semi-finalists progress to final.