Planet Rugby

PRO12 clubs interested - Smith

17th October 2013 10:34

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Premiership Rugby Chief Executive Mark McCafferty and Premiership Rugby Chairman Quentin Smith

Interest: Quentin Smith

Premiership Rugby chairman Quentin Smith says there has been plenty of interest from PRO12 clubs in the proposed Rugby Champions Cup.

Both Premiership Rugby (PRL) and their French counterparts (Ligue Nationale de Rugby) remain insistent that they will not return to the negotiating table to discuss the Heineken Cup.

Instead, both bodies will aim to press on with the newly-formed tournament, despite European Rugby Cup (ERC)'s belief a compromise can be reached, arranging a meeting for stakeholders on October 23.

As it stands, all four unions representing the nations that make up the PRO12 (Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Italy) have released statements confirming their clubs will not take part in any cross-border competition without the approval of the International Rugby Board (IRB).

However, Smith believes that the clubs themselves are weighing up the possibility of joining the breakaway versus allegiance with their respective unions.

"We've opened the doors to everyone else in Europe," Smith told the BBC.

"There is a lot of interest and frankly we're not surprised. We've had discussions with all sorts of people.

"What's difficult for everyone else is that any other team that is talking to us or would like to join is having to have difficult conversations with respective unions. Each of the unions issued a press release and made it abundantly clear that no team could participate without their blessing."

More will become clear, the chairman says, after Wednesday's meeting has taken place, though he confirms the English and French stakeholders will not be in attendance.

"We know that everyone else is having those conversations. It's unlikely we will know exactly where anyone is until later this month. There was a meeting called by European Rugby Club for next week, October 23. We're [the English clubs] not going and the French clubs aren't going," said Smith.

"But there's a good chance that others will go and I suspect nobody will want to, for want of a better term, break cover before they've been through that meeting."

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European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , December 5
Montpellier vs Bath19:45
Saturday , December 6
Sale vs Saracens13:00
Munster vs Clermont Auvergne17:30
Ulster vs Scarlets19:45
Benetton Treviso vs Northampton13:00
Ospreys vs Racing Metro 9215:15
Sunday , December 7
Castres vs Wasps13:00
Harlequins vs Leinster15:15
Leicester vs Toulon17:30
Toulouse vs Glasgow15:15
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FixtureDetails
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European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne 35 - 3 Sale Sharks
Castres 16 - 21 Leinster
Wasps 16 - 23 Harlequins
Benetton Treviso 10 - 26 Racing Metro 92
Saturday , October 25
Bath 19 - 21 Toulouse
Montpellier 13 - 15 Glasgow
Ulster 13 - 23 Toulon
Northampton 34 - 6 Ospreys
Scarlets 15 - 3 Leicester
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 Saracens
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Pool 1
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Munster28
2Clermont Auvergne26
3Saracens25
4Sale Sharks21
Pool 2
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Harlequins28
2Leinster28
3Wasps22
4Castres21
Pool 3
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Toulon28
2Scarlets24
3Leicester Tigers24
4Ulster21
Pool 4
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Glasgow Warriors29
2Toulouse28
3Montpellier22
4Bath21
Pool 5
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Racing Metro Paris28
2Northampton25
3Ospreys25
4Treviso20