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Classic throwing the toys out of the pram. English and French clubs willing to do damage to Italian and Scottish rugby by essentially throwing them out of the competition just to line their own pockets with more cash, even though they have all the tools to be the best and win the competition. More players and bigger contracts for the big stars. Pathetic.
Posted 14:07 23rd August 2012
It's a tough one because the HC has been a spectacular success and benefits greatly by not being dominated by French/English teams. In comparison the domestic leagues are different - France and England have vibrant and successful competitions whilst its very hard to argue that the Celtic league is successful with a continued decline in fan interest, sponsorship and tv revenue likely to compound the Anglo-French arguement that the Pro12 is in effect a "reserve competition" used to prepare teams for the HC.
I too don't know what the answer is but hope something gets sorted. this summer we saw the SH teams win 8 out of 10 games against the NH opponents suggesting that the European system is failing somewhere. My opinion is that successful competition needs just that, competition. Pro12 lacks that and to counter that with an arguement that says "look how Ireland have done" misses the point that Pro12 will likely die if something doesn't change and European rugby really does need the Celtic nations/clubs to be a success.
Posted 14:00 23rd August 2012
blueriver - it will help develop the Italian game, the exact reason the Italians were allowed enter the Pro 12, teams like this need to compete at the highest level in order to develop themselves towards that same level and let's be honest, the HCup is the highest club level in the Northern Hemisphere.
As a Scot you should be worried about proposed 6 team qualification from the Rabo as you will be lucky to have 1 Scottish team in the HCup each year. Again if Scotland did not have representation that would be detrimental to Scottish rugby and the international setup. International players don't lick their form off a stone - they earn it by playing against other international level players in the HCup.
Posted 13:40 23rd August 2012
Also where were these arguments between 2000 and 2005 when English and French teams dominated?! There was no complaining from Ireland, Scotland or Wales, we just admitted our teams weren't good enough (and still aren't in Wales)
Posted 13:39 23rd August 2012
Whinge whinge moan moan - typical English/French LOL
Posted 12:51 23rd August 2012
Leinster and Munster will always finish high in the Pro 12. They along with Ospreys have traditionally had the most internationals drawn from Wales and Ireland. It's an inherent problem with the format, you have provinces playing against teams from cities and towns in France and England. It's tough enough for Toulouse to consistently fight on two fronts, Clermont struggle most years to get out of their group. Imagine what would happen if in England there was one team in London which included Wasps, Harlequins and Saracens and a Paris team that included Racing and Stade Francais.
Posted 12:42 23rd August 2012
They should increase competition for HC places in the Rabbo, but ensure that all nations are guaranteed one spot to help grow the game. As a Scot I would welcome this as it would add extra spice to the inter-city matches.
However, I would point out that only Aironi have weakened the HC as the other sides in the bottom half of the rabbo all more than hold their own. Edinburgh didn't chuck games in the Rabbo last year they were just better than the mid table French and English sides in their pool. They beat a moody Toulose at home then lost to a more powerful Rabbo side in the semi reflecting their ability. Munster and Leinster would continue to qualify for the HC while playing weakened sides (still packed full of internationals) in the Rabbo. Therefore this boils down to financial greed. More English and French sides would dilute the quality of the HC and once more demonstrate to developing nations that the established nations have no interest in growing the game.
Posted 12:14 23rd August 2012
BackingLeinster- Its easy to say that the Irish sides always finish near the top of the Pro 12, but they play against teams that put out weakened teams every week! Ive watched quite a bit of Pro 12 rugby and, whilst the quality of player on show cannot be questioned, the intensity of the games is piss poor compared to Premiership, Top 14, and European Rugby. I am English but i am also a supporter of a Championship club so when it comes to European matters i have a pretty objective view. The main point is simply this- when the HCup is made up of teams from 3 different leagues how can two of them be told that a top half finish is required to qualify and for the other one all teams can qualify? Take out the point about the Pro 12 being made up of clubs from 4 nations as it was their choice to converge into one league in the first place. The simple fact is that its not a level playing field.
Posted 12:08 23rd August 2012
An Anglo French comp how exciting when clearmont and Toulouse (larger budgets) win it every year what will the English do then? Claim they cant compete because of smaller budgets than the french clubs? the pro 12 teams rest there players Wow that must be why there better well maybe it's because there just better teams. Anyway no more than six rabo teams so that means that either each country loses one team each or it goes of league position. What the English should do is try make there teams stronger for example look at Exeter if they were in the pro 12 they would likely not make higher that 8th
Posted 11:40 23rd August 2012
Not too sure I quite understand how the existing system works and what this guy McCafferty is suggesting. Perhaps someone can help me out here.
So Ok there are 20 teams involved of which the previous winners plus the winners of the Amlin cup qualify which leaves 18 places.
Now if the top14 and Aviva sides and McCafferty are pushing for no more than 6 sides from the Rabopro12 group then does that mean there would be 6 teams from England 6 from France and the remaining 6 places coming from a combined group of Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Italy. (Please tell me someone if I have got this wrong)
These latter teams are all individual countries and just because they have a competition amongst them they cannot be branded as 1 country.
What about the LV Anglo/Welsh cup where does that fit in?
This is supposed to be a European cup and surely each of the 6nation countries should be included.
Each country should have at least 1 team included and the rest decided on the relevant strengths of rugby in each country and the strengths of the individual clubs in Europe.
IF the Top14 and Aviva teams do actually have a valid point about resting players then perhaps that could be resolved by a different manner.
Posted 11:39 23rd August 2012
I don't agree with the actions, but I think they have enough of a gripe to be listened too. The Pro Rabo has no relegation and there are teams who finished 10th and 11th in the division playing in the premier european division.
Now I actually think this is the way it should be, we need to make sure Scottish and italian teams get their place. you only need to look into Edinburgh's amazing victory over Toulouse last year to see the benefits.
So, having said that, I still think the premiership and french teams have a valid gripe, it is different rules for different countries... Don't know how you'd fix it to be honest. How about a qualifying tier as the Champions League does? I don't know, but I guess that's what the meetings are for!
Posted 11:33 23rd August 2012
Hardly, why should newly formed Zebres go straight in? It's crazy and they have a point which they have been making for a while but been largely ignored. I'm Scottish so no sour grapes effecting my opinion. It devalues the comp.
Posted 11:16 23rd August 2012
Typical bitter Anglo/French behaviour and utter jealousy at the success of the Irish provinces over the last few years. How many teams are there in the premiership, 12 plus another professional league below that. You would think that with a player base that size England could get there act together at club level and internationally!
The Top 14 teams are suffering because they have too many foreign players just looking for a nice retirement bonus. There is a similar situation in England but not to the same extent.
Leinster deservedly have held the Heineken cup for two years because they are the best team in Europe who play a brand of rugby that clubs in England and most clubs in France can't live with and don't have the ability to execute. Simple as that.
By Mr Mc Cafferty's logic of having a "level playing field" the Celtic teams would be well within there right to highlight the fact that England and France have over twice as many teams as there are in the Rabo and therefore have a huge advantage. But that would stooping to his level!
Posted 11:10 23rd August 2012
Perhaps if the French sides like Racing, Castres and Biarritz actually put in some effort away from home they might change their tune. As for the English sides stop whingeing are you mad because the Irish are picking up silverware and you aren't? Thought so. Harden up or shut up.
Posted 11:10 23rd August 2012
I'm a Blues fan and personally I think there should be qualification from the ProDirect, as it would make the season more interesting ¿ a lot of the games are played with second-string teams and can be so dull, it's like watching the Aviva! But at the same time that's no excuse for the English and French clubs throwing their toys out of the pram just because they haven't had a team good enough to win the HC for so long. Saying that I think Toulon have out-spent everyone else to such an extent that they could win it this year. If the French clubs realise they can buy HC success it might just leave the Aviva teams departing, which I wouldn't mind personally.
Posted 11:06 23rd August 2012
Funny how none of this was a problem when PRO12 teams weren't winning it?!
Posted 10:58 23rd August 2012
I'm irish and i would agree that it should be the top six teams from each league plus two more teams from the countries that win the heineken and amlin. this for me would not only improve the h cup but the pro 12 as well giving lower ranked teams something to play for.
It does however sound like sour grapes the way premier rugby and the lnr are going about this but they are right. The erc should be the ones pushing for this not fighting it.
Posted 10:52 23rd August 2012
If The english wanted to make the domestic league the same format as the Pro12 in respect of their being no relegation they could. With regard to Ireland plays being rested for the early rounds of the Rabo, then this again is wholly within the control of English Rugby. Fact is premiership clubs and the English Union fudged the issue of central contracts.
This is all too sadly familiar, English Rugby's shortcomings are within their own control to fix at club and country level
Posted 10:47 23rd August 2012
The French and English just can't take the fact that the Irish have been dominant over them. There was no complaints from the Celtic nations about inequality of qualification when Toulouse, Leicester, Wasps and any other English or French clubs were dominating Europe. Irish teams still need to qualify for the HC (only 3 qualify through Pro12 placing and a 4th will qualify if the previous years winner is Irish), England and France get 6 qualifiers....TWICE AS MANY! The problem for other teams is that because there are only 4 Irish provinces there is less dilution of international talent unlike the English and French who have higher numbers of teams in their domestic leagues, thus weakening their teams. These are internal problems for the FFR & RFU, not those of the ERC or the European rugby community. The problem is clearly not the qualification process as teams want to win the pro12 and do their best to balance their squad across the Pro12 & HC seasons, it's just that Leinster have the best (mostly young) squad and coach in Europe at the moment along with the best coach and are running rampant. Rugby has massively increased in popularity in recent years in Ireland and now the provinces have the financial support to compete for the best players to further strengthen squads and also the money to develop better in house training and talent development facilities.Overall it is just a peak for Irish provincial rugby, these things eb and flow, I reckon the French will be the next to peak in a few years time with Claremont looking so strong and Toulouse an ever present threat and well it's hard to predict with the English peaking any time soon as the Premiership is such poor rugby. Both the French and English need to pipe down and be gracious when they aren't at the top of Europe and focus their energies on turning that around on the pitch, not throwing tantrums.
Posted 10:40 23rd August 2012
I think they have a valid point. Having just six teams qualifying from the Rabo would also improve the quality of the league, we have a sitaution where Edinburgh finished second from bottom in the league just focused on the Heineken which to me is not a runner.
As-well as that the Welsh sides have lost so many top players due to budget cut- backs that the quality of the Pro 12 over the next few seasons is bound to suffer. With only six teams to qualify it would make the league a far better spectacle.
It also makes the pools with the Italian, weaker Irish and Welsh sides in it easier to progress (Mr Blanco's Biarrittz).
Lets be honest it s great for the likes of Connacht to be hosting Toulouse in Galway but they would be better playing in the Aimlin, along with the likes of the Scottish and Italian sides.
Posted 10:34 23rd August 2012
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