Drop goal shoot-out could settle Tetley's Bitter cup semis
A soccer style shoot-out could settle the outcome of Saturday's Tetley's Bitter Cup semi-finals.
With both games being played on neutral territory at the Madejski Stadium, Reading, organisers have decided that a drop goal competition should decide a drawn tie.
Five nominated kickers from each team - Bristol play holders Wasps, followed barely an hour later by London Irish tackling Northampton - will attempt 22-metre line drop goals.
If the sides are still level, then sudden death will be used to produce a winner. But the shoot-out can only happen should either tie end level on points and tries after 80 minutes and an additional 20 minutes' extra-time.
If the sides draw, then try-count will be used to produce a winner, and should they still remain unseparated, then it is drop goals.
It is the first time since England's senior cup competition began 28 years ago that both semi-finals are being played back-to-back on the same ground. Wasps, conquerors of Newcastle to lift the trophy last season, are bidding for
a seventh final appearance, while Bristol last appeared at Twickenham 12 years ago.
Neither Irish nor Northampton have previously won the competition, finishing as runners-up in 1980 and 1991 respectively.
Saturday's stadium capacity will be 24,500 - less than 1,000 tickets remained on sale today - with the final taking place at Twickenham on May 13.