European rugby competitions 5 years on

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Post by LordDowlais on Tue 19 Nov - 22:29

First topic message reminder :

So here we are 2019, going back 5 years the PRL and the LNR  planned to form an alternative Rugby Champions Cup. Promises were made, rules were changed, the amount of teams from the respective leagues were altered.

More money would come from it we were told, we need to make the second tier more competitive we were told, there would be sponsors lining up to be a part of it we were told.

So, now we are half a decade into this new world order of the European competitions, does anybody think it is a success ? Does anybody think that the clubs are making a better fist of it than the unions were ?

Do people think that all the promises have been fulfilled ?

Personally, I think that the European competitions are a shadow of what they were when they were controlled by the unions and we all knew it as the Heineken Cup, and the Amlin cup. The magic has gone.

Also, where is the third tier competition we were promised ?

Here is a beginner guide to the new world order that was published 5 years ago:-

What is different about the new European Cup?

There will be three tournaments rather than two, with developing unions having a competition that will involve up to 12 sides. The European Rugby Champions Cup will involve 20 teams, rather than the Heineken Cup's 24, and so will the Challenge Cup, which will contain five teams from the RaboDirect Pro12 next season compared to this campaign's one. The governing body will be based in Switzerland rather than Dublin.

Is that all?

No. The proceeds will be split equally between the three leagues – the Premiership, France's Top 14 and the RaboDirect Pro12 – with a portion reserved for teams who make the latter stages: the current system sees the Pro12 unions (Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Italy) receive 48%. Safeguards have been put in place to ensure the Rabo does not suffer a drop in income, but the England and French clubs will be significantly better off. The qualification process will largely be based on merit: the top six in the English and French leagues will take part and there will be seven from the Rabo, with at least one team from each of the four countries that take part in it. There will be a play-off for the final place which, from next season, will involve four sides, one from England and France and two from the Rabo. The winners of the European Cup and the Challenge Cup will not automatically qualify.


Who will run the competitions?

European Rugby Cup Ltd, which has been organised the Heineken Cup since its inception in 1995, will be wound up: its chief executive, Derek McGrath, will remain in position until October to ensure a smooth handover. European Professional Club Rugby will take over: the nine stakeholders – the six unions together with the club organisations in England and France and Regional Rugby Wales – will be represented on the board of directors but commercial decisions will be made by a five-strong executive committee, which will be made up of representatives of the three leagues, who will hold the voting power, together with an independent chairman and EPCR's director-general. Advertisements are being drawn up for the two posts.

What happens to Heineken and Amlin?

The idea is that there will be no title sponsor of the competitions and that it makes more sense financially to have an array of commercial partners, like the Uefa Champions League in football. When the English and French clubs launched their plans for a Rugby Champions Cup last autumn, they talked about being able to achieve turnover of some £100m within five years, more than double what it is now.

Will the same trophies be used?

No. The Heineken and Challenge Cups will be presented for the final time next month; whether the winners retain them is up to ERC. Commissions have already been issued for two new trophies, which will be the property of EPCR.

Will the format change?

Yes. There will be five, rather than six, groups of four teams, who will continue to play each other home and away. The five group winners and the three best runners-up will qualify for the last eight, with home advantage enjoyed by the four pool winners with the best records. The pool phase will continue to be played in three blocks of two weekends, completed in January, but the final will be moved to the beginning of May rather than a week before the domestic finals at the end of the month. The Challenge Cup will be made up of 18 teams from the three main leagues and, from next year, two sides from the third tournament, currently called the Qualifying Competition.


How long does the agreement last for? And will there be another dispute when it nears its end?

Previous agreements had a specified shelf-life. This one is different in that it is evergreen. It will carry on unless someone serves two years' notice to pull out, something no one can do for six years. If no one does, it will carry on. It means that if there are issues – and it may be that in time there is pressure for the Champions Cup winners to automatically qualify – they can be dealt with on the hoof. The aim is for the governing body to be reactive rather than regarding everything as set in stone.


Television was a big sticking point. Has it been resolved?

The biggest obstacle for the unions and the clubs to clear was the conflicting television deals agreed by ERC and Premiership Rugby in 2012 with Sky and BT Sport respectively. The two companies, brought together by the RFU chief executive, Ian Ritchie, have reached agreement in principle about arrangements to televise the competitions for the next four years, sharing the rights equally with both showing matches involving English clubs. France is currently negotiating its television deal.

What will happen to those who work for ERC?

Derek McGrath has said he will not apply for a position in the new governing body. EPCR said in its statement that the stakeholders took their obligation to the staff of ERC seriously and would ensure an orderly and proper transition to the new association. ERC has enough money in reserves to meet its legal obligations, and while it is envisaged some staff will be asked to stay on, it would mean moving from Ireland to Switzerland.

So there we are, how do you all see the European competitions now ? Better or worse ?


Last edited by LondonTiger on Thu 21 Nov - 20:04; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : To make things clearer)

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Post by Brendan on Thu 21 Nov - 1:09

For me here would be my thoughts

Good
Pro14 qualification - teams have improved and resulted in a better league
Semi Final hosts
Host cities (though I think Italy should be looked at)

Bad
Poor funding
Lack of any coverage of group games in challange cup - surely they could sell it on free to air just to get people interested
Lack or finacial growth - it is possible that with the minimum promised to the Pro14 unions that the other teams are taking in less than before
Seeding - While I like league form affecting seeding the French seem to ruin it by having rubbish teams.

Changes i would like to see
Challange on Free to Air
Both Competitions being 24 teams (6 group), Pro12, England 13, France 14, B6N representive and 3 teams from Pro14 unions (could be two SA plus winner of S6 v A League v Italian league or winner of Italian league and Super 6 plus winner of irish/Welsh A league)
Seeding - winners seed 1, Winners of league 2-4, second in league 5-7 etc. Then based on Euro points you rank them. This year would have seen Sarries 1, Leinster 2 Toulouse 3, Clearmount 4, Glasgow 5 etc

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Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 21 Nov - 1:14

LordDowlais wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:As someone who doesnt support an english club and being pretty critical on the prl for a few years regarding salary caps not sure I fit into the category of I'll defend them to the hilt. Serious question is the coverage of rugby in wales diminishing rather than the tournaments? Has there been a a high profile change in sports editors etc

You have been on the threads, you have debated it to death. For people in Wales to watch all their regions games, they have to pay for two channels, or travel the length and breadth of Europe.


Length and breadth of Europe...I don't think you realise how cheap it is to fly around Europe, do you? Or does length and breadth of Europe translate as valleys to one of Newport, Cardiff, Swansea or Llanelli? Which is a long way away for people who don't often leave their hill. #valleyspeople

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Post by Gooseberry on Thu 21 Nov - 1:19

mikey_dragon wrote:
Gooseberry wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:I'm not complaining but is it more competitive? Doesn't seem like anyone outside of Saracens, Leinster, Toulouse, Racing, (when they're up) Clermont can win it. It's been this way for years.

Is it any different to when it was only won by Tigers Wasps and Toulouse, or when  the period when it was only won by Munster or Toulouse or Wasps, or the period when it was only won by Toloun and Leinster?

Pretty sure we've seen the end of the period of Saracens dominating it.

True. Now it'll probably go back to Leinster, Toulouse or Clermont.

So yeah I think we agree that the title has always had periods of dominance by a handful of clubs, but what has changed now is far less gimme blow outs in the group stages. It used to be annual high/low light watching Tigers take 10 points with spare change off the hapless Italian bottom feeder of their group. Now theres rarely a team that is way out of its depth there simply to make up the allocation numbers..teams qualify on merit, can beat anyone on their day etc. 
The Welsh regions havent become anymore competitive in terms of the knock out stages, but that trend started well before the changes and in some ways justifies them by not allow a team that struggles in the Pro14 groups access to the elite euro cup simply because of the Union they fall under. This isnt meant as an attack on the Welsh btw, Ive long argued that strong equitable Unions and international and club level across Europe is to the benefit of everyone in driving audiences. 
The way TV rights have gone for Wales though is a problem, and arguably a failure of the new system which has driven up overall revenues but as others pointed out has potentially alienated a section of the Welsh public form rugby. To the money men its probably a pretty insignificant number of viewers turned off, but what that potentially means for the future of welsh rugby and the consequent knock to competitiveness across Europe should be a worry for everyone. 


The ECC was a joke in its old form. There were seasons where French and English clubs won every game they played (except those against each other obviously) and some absolute whippings of the tier 2 clubs. The new cup hasnt changed much, aside from improving the spread of semi finalists beyond the french and english, although that trend possibly predates the change. 

Overall I dont see a great deal of direct impact from the changes aside from less cricket score fixtures. Im sure someone has made a tidy profit on them though.

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Post by LordDowlais on Thu 21 Nov - 1:20

mikey_dragon wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:As someone who doesnt support an english club and being pretty critical on the prl for a few years regarding salary caps not sure I fit into the category of I'll defend them to the hilt. Serious question is the coverage of rugby in wales diminishing rather than the tournaments? Has there been a a high profile change in sports editors etc

You have been on the threads, you have debated it to death. For people in Wales to watch all their regions games, they have to pay for two channels, or travel the length and breadth of Europe.


Length and breadth of Europe...I don't think you realise how cheap it is to fly around Europe, do you? Or does length and breadth of Europe translate as valleys to one of Newport, Cardiff, Swansea or Llanelli? Which is a long way away for people who don't often leave their hill. #valleyspeople

Rolling Eyes

If you want to follow your region, you have to travel all around GB, Ireland and Italy for the Pro14 which is not cheap, and France or further afield if they are in the second tier of Europe, to watch them on the box, you need to have access to both Premier Sports and BT sports. It does not come cheap.

Flying anywhere is not cheap either. OK

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 21 Nov - 1:32

Travel hasn't really changed between tournaments has it?
I am intrigued to see what happens in terms of the south African teams.

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Post by LordDowlais on Thu 21 Nov - 1:54

Oh yes, I forgot about South Africa as well, how much does it cost to fly there ?

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Post by RiscaGame on Thu 21 Nov - 2:02

Flying in Europe is cheap when you book in advance, but not especially when you don't get the fixtures for a while. Then as soon as there is interest, obviously the prices go up. Then getting to places like Krasnador or Castres without a direct flight isn't easy either.

To watch Dragons, you need Premier and that's it. Challenge Cup games are at least screened online for free, they just don't have the cameras for TMO etc.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 21 Nov - 2:07

If it is travel costs then european rugby ain't for you LD!

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Post by LordDowlais on Thu 21 Nov - 2:10

No 7&1/2 wrote:If it is travel costs then european rugby ain't for you LD!

Why not ?

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Post by Irish Londoner on Thu 21 Nov - 3:11

LordDowlais wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:As someone who doesnt support an english club and being pretty critical on the prl for a few years regarding salary caps not sure I fit into the category of I'll defend them to the hilt. Serious question is the coverage of rugby in wales diminishing rather than the tournaments? Has there been a a high profile change in sports editors etc

You have been on the threads, you have debated it to death. For people in Wales to watch all their regions games, they have to pay for two channels, or travel the length and breadth of Europe.


Length and breadth of Europe...I don't think you realise how cheap it is to fly around Europe, do you? Or does length and breadth of Europe translate as valleys to one of Newport, Cardiff, Swansea or Llanelli? Which is a long way away for people who don't often leave their hill. #valleyspeople

Rolling Eyes

If you want to follow your region, you have to travel all around GB, Ireland and Italy for the Pro14 which is not cheap, and France or further afield if they are in the second tier of Europe, to watch them on the box, you need to have access to both Premier Sports and BT sports. It does not come cheap.

Flying anywhere is not cheap either. OK

The good news is that there is one game a week on Freesports, the BBC have just announced that they are going to show PRO14 highlights, if you have BT Sport then at least you're not paying for Sky and you can go and watch your teams home games live at the ground if you wish.

If you were a football fan you'd only have live FA cup football on the BBC, have to pay out for Sky, BT and Amazon to watch live games, and if your team is in Europe you'll have to travel all over England and Europe to watch them and pay through the nose to watch them at their home ground if you support one of the "big teams".


Last edited by Irish Londoner on Thu 21 Nov - 19:22; edited 1 time in total

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 21 Nov - 3:33

Because european competition generally means travelling outside of your country LD!

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Post by Pot Hale on Thu 21 Nov - 6:01

LordDowlais wrote:Oh yes, I forgot about South Africa as well, how much does it cost to fly there ?

Leinster trip to South Africa 19-29th March 2020

Return International flights from Dublin to Johannesburg.
Four domestic flights.
Executive coach transfers throughout.
Eight nights accommodation on a B&B basis across Bloemfontein, Cape Town & Port Elizabeth.
Pre-match food and complimentary bar before both matches.
Official Category 1 Match Tickets to Cheetahs v Leinster Rugby & Southern Kings v Leinster Rugby.
Winelands tour of Stellenbosch & Franschhoek with lunch included.
Robben Island Tour
Visit Table Mountain by Cable Car
Cheetah Experience in Bloemfontein.
Local guide and RTI staff member on tour throughout.

Only €2,495 pps - cheap at the price.
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Post by The Oracle on Thu 21 Nov - 7:00

I still don’t get what has changed (for Welsh teams) since the Heineken Cup days? Before the Champions Cup when it was the Heineken the regions were still in the Pro whatever (12/14) or the Celtic League. And also in the Heineken/Amlin. So travel was the same - all over Europe. The Euro games were still on pay tv so inaccessible to those without Sky. So again what has changed? The only change is that the Welsh regions are not as competitive and are not guaranteed places in the top comp anymore. Now that might have led to a drop in interest by fans. Just like Wales being rubbish at international level led to a drop in interest in the 6 nations for a number of years (I remember the empty seats at the AP/MS in the 90s and early 2000s and the ease of getting international tickets!). But as mentioned previously and by others, that isn’t the fault of the Champions Cup or the move away from the Heineken. We’ve lost pace with the rest due to poor management and funding, or use of funds, and internal bickering. The challenge is to get back (or ideally surpass where we were previously) because, just as Wales managed to improve and this led to the return of bumper crowds and a scarcity of tickets, so too will the interest in the Euro comp return if the regions improve.
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Post by SecretFly on Thu 21 Nov - 8:10

Pot Hale wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:Oh yes, I forgot about South Africa as well, how much does it cost to fly there ?

Leinster trip to South Africa 19-29th March 2020

Return International flights from Dublin to Johannesburg.
Four domestic flights.
Executive coach transfers throughout.
Eight nights accommodation on a B&B basis across Bloemfontein, Cape Town & Port Elizabeth.
Pre-match food and complimentary bar before both matches.
Official Category 1 Match Tickets to Cheetahs v Leinster Rugby & Southern Kings v Leinster Rugby.
Winelands tour of Stellenbosch & Franschhoek with lunch included.
Robben Island Tour
Visit Table Mountain by Cable Car
Cheetah Experience in Bloemfontein.
Local guide and RTI staff member on tour throughout.

Only €2,495 pps - cheap at the price.

D4 cheap, yaw.

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Post by Pot Hale on Thu 21 Nov - 9:20

SecretFly wrote:
Pot Hale wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:Oh yes, I forgot about South Africa as well, how much does it cost to fly there ?

Leinster trip to South Africa 19-29th March 2020

Return International flights from Dublin to Johannesburg.
Four domestic flights.
Executive coach transfers throughout.
Eight nights accommodation on a B&B basis across Bloemfontein, Cape Town & Port Elizabeth.
Pre-match food and complimentary bar before both matches.
Official Category 1 Match Tickets to Cheetahs v Leinster Rugby & Southern Kings v Leinster Rugby.
Winelands tour of Stellenbosch & Franschhoek with lunch included.
Robben Island Tour
Visit Table Mountain by Cable Car
Cheetah Experience in Bloemfontein.
Local guide and RTI staff member on tour throughout.

Only €2,495 pps - cheap at the price.

D4 cheap, yaw.

I thought it was yah.

You learn something new every day.
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Post by LordDowlais on Thu 21 Nov - 19:41

No 7&1/2 wrote:Because european competition generally means travelling outside of your country LD!

Why have you come to the conclusion that it's a problem for me though ?

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 21 Nov - 20:15

Because it was an issue you raised. Here.

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Post by LordDowlais on Thu 21 Nov - 20:27

No 7&1/2 wrote:Because it was an issue you raised. Here.

I raised the issue that if you wanted to follow your team, it's not cheap. I did not say that it was a problem for me though.

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 21 Nov - 20:31

Over 10 years now since this:



Biggest home attendance for a Region?

Leicester's last winning semi in Europe.

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Post by TightHEAD on Thu 21 Nov - 20:37

Its better now, just need to sort the refereeing out, Pro14 and French refs are truly awful, do they know they can refer stuff to the TMO, for example neck rolls, forward passes etc.
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Post by TightHEAD on Thu 21 Nov - 20:43

How could people miss an easy kick like that?
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Post by SecretFly on Thu 21 Nov - 22:37

TightHEAD wrote:Its better now, just need to sort the refereeing out, Pro14 and French refs are truly awful, do they know they can refer stuff to the TMO, for example neck rolls, forward passes etc.  

Forward passes? laughing

There were an ocean of them at the World Cup....with slick sides gaining many advantages from them.

They're allowed now. Haven't you heard that? Along with crooked feed ins to a scrum and crooked throwing in line outs. It's all allowed now...... to *ahem* ... speed up the game or some such excuse.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 22 Nov - 2:47

So it's not an issue that's changed at all really then LD.

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Post by LordDowlais on Fri 22 Nov - 2:52

No 7&1/2 wrote:So it's not an issue that's changed at all really then LD.

How have you managed to twist a lack of coverage of the competition in Wales, to me having an issue with traveling around Europe ?

Christ, I know you like to twist thing to suit your agenda, but this one is a beauty, even for you. Shocked

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 22 Nov - 3:06

Staggering. I was earlier asking if coverage was mainly a wales thing myself. Forgive me that I misunderstood your point about cost being linked to whether the new format is worse.

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Post by The Oracle on Fri 22 Nov - 5:47

LordDowlais wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:So it's not an issue that's changed at all really then LD.

How have you managed to twist a lack of coverage of the competition in Wales, to me having an issue with traveling around Europe ?

Christ, I know you like to twist thing to suit your agenda, but this one is a beauty, even for you. Shocked


It did come across that way in your posts in fairness.
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