Planet Rugby

Unions hold European talks

22nd January 2014 05:39

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European rugby: Still split

The Six Nations Council said Tuesday it had held "constructive talks" regarding the future of European club rugby but appeared to rule out support for the breakaway Rugby Champions Cup.

Tuesday's meeting featured representatives from the English, Welsh, Irish, Scottish, French and Italian unions who, rather than the clubs, are the dominant voices in the current European Rugby Cup structure which runs both the existing European Cup and the second-tier European Challenge Cup.

English and French clubs, unhappy with their share of commercial revenue and having to endure a gruelling qualification process when teams elsewhere in Europe are guaranteed places, served notice in August 2012 they would withdraw from ERC tournaments at the end of the 2013/14 season.

But their alternative plan for a new Rugby Champions Cup appeared doomed when French clubs, under pressure from the French Rugby Federation (FFR), pulled out last month.

Five of Europe's six leading unions, excluding England's Rugby Football Union, then revealed plans for a five-nation 20-team tournament next season, with the FFR pledging to enter six sides.

However, the French clubs have insisted they will not take part in a European tournament where there is no English participation while the four Welsh regions, who are involved in a domestic dispute with the Welsh Rugby Union, have voiced their desire to play in the RCC.

English clubs have said they are happy for the RCC to come under the jurisdiction of the Six Nations.

However, International Rugby Board rules state any tournament must have their backing and that of the relevant national unions, something likely to be withheld from the RCC.

And a statement following Tuesday's meeting endorsed that position.

"The Six Nations Council had a constructive meeting today and remains committed to finding a Six Nations solution for European rugby in the best interests of the game.

"The Council also reaffirmed its commitment to abide by IRB regulations."

On advancement was a change in stance by the FFR, who now seem willing to participate in a European Cup run by the Six Nations. The FFR had wanted the competition to be run by Fira - the organisation made up of the smaller unions in Europe - but after a meeting with the RFU last week, has gone back to where it was in October.

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Saturday , December 6
Sale vs Saracens13:00
Munster vs Clermont Auvergne15:15
Harlequins vs LeinsterTBC
Leicester vs ToulonTBC
Ulster vs ScarletsTBC
Montpellier vs BathTBC
Toulouse vs GlasgowTBC
Benetton Treviso vs Northampton13:00
Ospreys vs Racing Metro 9215:15
Sunday , December 7
Castres vs Wasps13:00
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Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne 35 - 3 Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Report
Castres 16 - 21 LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Report
Wasps 16 - 23 HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Report
Benetton Treviso 10 - 26 Racing Metro 92
Saturday , October 25
Bath 19 - 21 ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Report
Montpellier 13 - 15 GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Report
Ulster 13 - 23 ToulonUlster vs Toulon Report
Northampton 34 - 6 OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Report
Scarlets 15 - 3 LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Report
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
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Pool 1
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1Munster28
2Clermont Auvergne26
3Saracens25
4Sale Sharks21
Pool 2
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1Harlequins28
2Leinster28
3Wasps22
4Castres21
Pool 3
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1Toulon28
2Scarlets24
3Leicester Tigers24
4Ulster21
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1Glasgow Warriors29
2Toulouse28
3Montpellier22
4Bath21
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1Racing Metro Paris28
2Northampton25
3Ospreys25
4Treviso20