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Perhaps the English should get their own house in order before demanding the Rabo12 be changed, given the debacle with London Welsh, but sure lets give the English who are throwing their toys out of the pram until everyone gives them what they want, exactly that; a guaranteed English team, of premier rugby's choosing, in the final and that should an Irish team make it through on the other side, they must play their development XV and start with a 20 point handicap. Should the English side still be losing (a real possibility) at the end of 66 mins, the Irish side must then lose a player a minute for the next 14 minutes until at 80 mins, they only have 1 player on the field, he must be wheelchair bound and over the age of 65.
Posted 15:39 24th August 2012
a few people are missing the point here - of course its about the money - but money that clubs depend upon for survival. A poster made a remark that some French sides had abandoned the competition already in terms of their investment into it. The problem is that English and French sides have to maintain a competitive edge throughout their season simply to earn the right to compete in the HC the following year - I agree that clubs like Leicester have been there or there abouts every year but what about Bath, Wasps, Gloucester - latter day powerhouses of the English game have regularly failed to qualify. Northampton, Bristol and Quins have even spent time out of the top flight potentially as a result of too thinly stretched resource.
The problem that the HC has is that, if the clubs see no point in pursuing a competition, they won't something that all but destroyed the anglo-welsh cup as a viable tournament.
The problem that ERC has is that, if the English and French leave they will probably take the TV revenue with them.
Posted 15:28 24th August 2012
don't know about the SRU but you are right about the WRU attendances are down and that is not just for Rabo games but also HC games. On the other hand attendances are very healthy in Ireland which may well be due to their HC success Perhaps if the Welsh teams start winning the crowds would improve and maybe the English and French are worried their crowds will decline unless they have more success. I think every country should be represented in the HC with at least 1 place and take your point about merit but think that should that be more on ability than just crowd attendances. With respect I think we could also doubt the merit of the odd English and French team as well.
Nothing really wrong with the proportion of teams this season (except perhaps Zebre) and hopefully the resting players advantage gripe if it is indeed valid along with others can be settled.
Posted 15:07 24th August 2012
You say " And to suggest players play a little bit harder because they grew up supporting a club is a load of tosh. It's a porfessional sport. Jerome Kaino was born in American Samoa, Mils Muliaina and Isaia Toeava in Samoa and Josevata Rokocoko in Fiji. All still smashed it playing for New Zealand"
Umm just think about it
These guys came to NZ at a very young age and mixed in with other kids so they most likely did GROW UP SUPPORTING (and playing) for local NZ clubs.
What a ridiculous comparison you made
Posted 11:34 24th August 2012
@ jaycee: you can laugh at our nations (and laughing at England is always ok for me , hehe), our teams or our championship, BUT don't you dare mock the Beaujolais!!
Posted 10:45 24th August 2012
@ nick fawson
True just pointing out that it is pretty ironic to bring population into it in a english vs. iris teams debate. Also dublin does not have 40% of irelands population.
Posted 10:40 24th August 2012
Oh, and as for the guy complaining that Munster and Leinster have been too successful in the Heineken Cup and the solution would be to limit Irish teams to 2/3 places. I'd love to know what effect this would have had on the recent past!!
Posted 10:09 24th August 2012
@nickfawson - you seem to be trying to focus on facts within Ireland without knowing the complete picture. What has the entire population of Leinster got to do with it? Do you know how many active rugby clubs are in Leinster? Just to give you some background, Rugby is probably 4th behind Soccer, Football and Hurling in the province. To post up a figure and suggest that the entire population are involved in rugby is simply laughable.
It's also funny to keep hearing people slate the Rabo league saying that nobody wants to win it! If that's the case, how come we have a winner every year! Again, people throwing statements around as if they are facts.
English teams - you have huge budgets compared to Irish teams. If you spent it more wisely rather than wasting it on mercenaries then you wouldn't have this problem.
Posted 10:07 24th August 2012
I think the celtic posters here ,are missing the point,of the argument for HC qualification on merit.The AP and Top14 are vibrant leagues with rising attendances ,where the clubs are making a profit from every match.Why would they want to tamper with a system thats delivering profits for everyone??This cannot be said for the majority of Pro12 matches,clubs are just breaking even or lossing money.The QUESTION isnt fairness in the HC to my mind but the saving of the Pro12 league as a viable competion..It needs to genarate income for its clubs,just how long can the SRU and WRU continue to keep all their teams afloat ,both are short of funds and income continues to drop year on year.
Posted 10:04 24th August 2012
@ jcahill1 if 40% of Ireland's population live in Dublin, in years when Ireland have a great international team, which they do at the moment, Leinster are going to have a lot of fantastic players, and so are Munster, and Ulster to a lesser extent. Add to that the internationals they buy in from the Southern Hemisphere and they're always going to be even better. Anyway a union that uses the province system can't complain if other countries do the same, Leinster covers an area with a population of over a million, and can still buy players from other provinces and from abroad.
Posted 08:42 24th August 2012
@ jcahill1 About 40% of Ireland's population live in Dublin, so in years when Ireland have a great international team, which they do at the moment, Leinster are going to have a lot of fantastic players, and so are Munster, and Ulster to a lesser extent. Add to that the internationals they buy in from the Southern Hemisphere and they're always going to be good. Anyway a union that uses the province system can't complain if other countries do the same, Leinster covers an area with a population of over a million, and can still buy players from other provinces and from abroad.
Posted 08:38 24th August 2012
@leinster_goy. your French is pretty good!! totally agree that only ASM, ST and RCT care about the HCup (BO are a question mark imo). The others have been laughable for a while now. One poor first half, away from home, in the rain and wind, with a B team, a few dodgy calls from a ref they can't understand, and the heads go down pretty quickly.
I'm sorry you feel Poite cost you the final. We had much the same feelings in our QF vs Edinburgh. Scrums, eh? A little too much to expect from most refs... Mind you, I vaguely remember a small grinning welsh winger scoring in the final minute on his way to retirement....
Posted 08:30 24th August 2012
Some of the stuff here is nonsense.
Bottom line is that it should be a fair competition, won by the best team.
And to suggest that England should scrap local teams and go to regions is stupid. One of the things I love about the AP is that there is some history, some local passion and pride, and that, for me, makes it exciting.
Posted 08:23 24th August 2012
So here¿s the deal chaps. You cut the number of teams in the HC, change your competitions to how we want you to run them, stop those pesky Italians playing in the Cup and we will lower ourselves to stay in your Mickey Mouse competition if not we and those lovely chaps over the Channel will bore the rest of you to death by playing each other week in week out for the Bitter Beaujolais Cup.
Somewhere in one of the millions of parallel universes the rest of Europe agrees to this stupid idea I don¿t think it will be this one though.
Posted 08:12 24th August 2012
It should be a merit based championship for the strongest teams from each league... not a wonder in if you fancy it or have changed your name to some new animal type competition.
Off the Henieken Cup slightly but... to every Irish fan who has posted a comment saying "toughen up" to English rugby... I'll let you take a long hard look at your scrum then the score line from the last time the two teams played at the 6 nations(nice). And to suggest players play a little bit harder because they grew up supporting a club is a load of tosh. It's a porfessional sport. Jerome Kaino was born in American Samoa, Mils Muliaina and Isaia Toeava in Samoa and Josevata Rokocoko in Fiji. All still smashed it playing for New Zealand. No real need for that last comment, just thought I'd flush out a few All Blacks... or that team that plays in England's away kit as I like to call them... I do this merely to entertain myself you realise - right, off the South Africa to see how our next rugby / cricket player is coming along.
Posted 07:02 24th August 2012
So is this similar tithe threat of England to join the tri nations years ago because they were not getting challenged, yet went on to not win one till last year. Also selling
Home rights to sky with out consultation which almost got them
Kicked out!! I also must ask do they want to condemn Italian rugby? Sure I believe change is needed but this is toys out of the pram stuff! I wrote much more in depth the last time this story reared in may and I don't think anyone had a valid argument to sustain the Anglo French position!
Posted 00:41 24th August 2012
Between 1996-2007, 10 of the 12 winners were either English or French, and even then Ulster won in '99 when the English boycotted the comp. I don't seem to recall any complaints then about the format was deliberately stacked towards the Celtic nations. Just shameful bullying to cover their under performing club teams
Posted 00:31 24th August 2012
Well I totally agree with you guys saying that access to the HC should be a merit and not by divine intervention. The formula is the matter. I do like the ideas from theshaw or three6three6. HC tournament has to be the cream of Europe.
I gonna say some blasphemy. I would completely scrap the Celtic league and just have national competitions for breeding new talents and one European tournament made up of of 6 national "conferences" with say 5 teams for each major nations (Eng,Fra,Ire) and 4 teams for the rest (Sco,Wal,Ita) competing each other out, so then the first top teams of each conference get through and only the 2 second best teams made to the quarter-finals....yeah pretty similar to what they do down in Super Rugby. This could benefit everyone. Enanche national proud and stimulate clubs to have long-term plans.
The so called "eternal underachievers" should be drop off according to their national league (see what happened to the Cheetahs relegated and Southern Kings promoted in the SA conference in SR).
Posted 00:26 24th August 2012
I do personally think there needs to be some format change to European level rugby.
Rather than have the usual round of semi nationalist handbags, does anyone posting here have any alternative formats that could suite all bases??
For instance if we had 32 teams (well aware 12+12+14=38, just an idea) entered into one HC (bin amlin) on the following format....
32 entered into random draw (no seedings, eg if 2x Scot teams drawn in 1st round so be it) to set up 16 2xLeg fixtures on a H and A basis, combined match total score determines rounds winners.
16 go through 16 drop out.
Then last 16, QF SF all on same basis with single sudden death game for final.
In numbers of games the finalists would only have played 9 as is currently the case.
No unfair advantages of home seedings in later rounds as all but final reverse fixtured. No dead rubbers, and since total points accumulated determines round winners, attacking rugby is again encouraged and sides can't rest on laurels.
And the weaker outfits should be knocked out earlier if not good enough, instead of diluting the group stages of the current comp which is alot of the problem.
Just an idea for an alternative, would create all kinds of interesting permatations to create interest, local derbies, Toulouse/Leinster in 1st round etc etc, all kinds of interesting match ups can occur on this kind of basis.
Lots of knock out rugby which is always the best to watch IMHO.
An example of what an entirely egalitarian competition could look like.
Posted 23:49 23rd August 2012
to answer your first question: Leinster didnt win the pro12 final because we were (1) royally screwed by your compatriot monsieur romain poite who can't ref a scrum to save his life and (2) deprived by the irfu of our two best ball carriers DJ Church and Seany, thus preserving those two players so they could do their patriotic duty and get trounced by the ABs
but i digress. your imaginary dialogue below was amusant, certes, mais n'a raconté que la moitié de l'histoire. the reality is that there are only 4 french teams that have traditionally given a toss about the european cup. as stade are now absent from the Heino for three seasons and counting, there are really only 3 that feature in the business end of the competition every year - toulouse, clermont and biarritz. the remaining top 14 sides don't seem to care at all. castres are a disgrace in the HEC, racing clearly don't give a monkeys, toulon might make an effort but will likely lose interest in the second half of the season when the top14 play-off race hots up and they switch priorities
it's no secret that french rugby union is, in general, not bothered about the european cup. they believe, with some justification, that the top14 generates so much revenue that it renders the Heino an irritating sideshow. that's primarily why it has become the bloated over-long snore-fest it is today, with seemingly everyone except guy noves in favour of expanding it to 16. if you ask me, french and english rugby can establish "a level playing field" only by first getting their own houses in order. shorten your seasons, stop importing kiwi/bok mercenaries by the barrelfull in order to attain short-term success, and finally, convince your teams to actually give a rat's vagina about competing against europe's finest (i.e. Leinster)
in the meantime, je crois que vous essayez d'avoir votre gateau et de le manger aussi
Posted 23:33 23rd August 2012