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Deck now stacked too heavily against English clubs?

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Post by Gordy Mon May 21, 2012 8:12 pm

This year has a been poor season for the English club sides in general. Not one side in the semi final of the Heineken cup, only one side in the quarter final and a league system that is continuing to divide opinion on it structure. It is now five years since an English side has won the Heineken Cup.

The Heinkeken Cup is called a club competition but if we are honest it is not really. The sides put forward by Ireland, Wales and Scotland are in effect large regions rather than individual clubs. Their league system and squad set up is designed to maximise success in the Heinekin Cup and Ireland in particular in recent years have exploited this very successfully.

The Rabo system is designed for Heineken Cup success, the Premiership and Top 14 are not. The regionalisation of the Celtic nations was designed to provide competitveness for those countries in a club competition that their own clubs would struggle to compete in without the regionalisation. English sides have to deal with issues of relegation and qualification for the Heinekin Cup that are not present in the Rabo.

Celtic nations players are consistently exposed to HC standard rugby each year as they do not have to qualify, whereas there is no guarantee for the Aviva and Top 14 players as it all depends on qualification. Therefore the same players are consistently exposed to HC levels regardless of what goes on
domestically.

Except at the business end of the season seldom do Leinster, Munster or even Edinburgh field full strength teams in the Rabo as they do in the Henieken Cup or the Rabo playoffs.

English sides also have to contend with the huge salaries being offered by their French counterparts.

These are just some of the issues I feel are now really challenging English Clubs. This is no slight on Leinster, as I have said they are the best domestic side in the Northern Hemisphere at the moment and have exploited the system offered to full advantage - also able to strengthen any weak areas with foreign imports where needed. But do England now need to look at changing their own system to contend with a club competition that is stacked against them? Thoughts welcome.




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Post by Geordie Mon May 21, 2012 8:17 pm

English teams have been in recent finals though....so i dont get all this English clubs are crap talk going around.

And to be fair...theres only one team that has one the HC over the last 5 years and thats Leinster...so whats happend to the welsh teams the french teams the Scottish teams and the other irish teams?

Its goes in peaks and troughs. English teams are getting stronger...there is a big push for the academies...and this is starting to come to fruit...

An English team weill win it over the next couple of years....

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Post by Zander Mon May 21, 2012 8:22 pm

I think English clubs have just had a bad year.

From looking at the top English clubs, the majority of them have young squads as well as young starting XVs.

At the moment they lack the experience to compete in Europe but hopefully next year or in years to come we will see another English club winning the Heineken Cup.

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Post by Feckless Rogue Mon May 21, 2012 8:31 pm

You could clearly see it in the final. Ulster were exhausted because of relegation and Leinster had been resting for months because of their easy league. There was only going to be one outcome.

Fair play to Leinster for exploiting the system so well and signing foreigners that aren't available to anyone else. Just a pity English sides are at such a disadvantage. They should probably stop entering the tournament altogether.

Wait a minute actually. Ulster are Irish too. They have the same league, system, IRFU rules and funding as Leinster, but we still beat them 42-15?? How is that possible?

Why have Scotland only ever reached the knockouts twice? How come the Italians never have? How come the Welsh have competed well enough but never won the trophy? Why aren't they exploiting the system too? How come Munster didn't exploit it this year?

Are Leinster just sneakier and cleverer than the other PRO12 sides? Or maybe they really do actually have a squad of players that are better at rugby than everyone else. It might actually be that simple. Maybe I'll be convinced if they win a fourth.
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Post by Feckless Rogue Mon May 21, 2012 8:33 pm

That was very sarcastic and passive aggressive. Sorry. To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if Saints, Sarries or Tigers won the HC next year. Quins could get out of the knockouts but they're quite inexperienced at this level and need a couple more seasons I'd say.

Clermont could easily be champions now if they had reacted better to Leinsters fightback in the semi's. Toulouse are still good enough. leinster will take some beating though.
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Post by Gordy Mon May 21, 2012 8:34 pm

Leinster and Munster have expolited the system offered by the regions and Rabo most successfully. Wales and Scotland have not been as successful in this regard but the same system is available to them if they managed to take more advantage of it.

Ireland really only has three provinces. Connaght are little more than a feeder side for the other 3. These three sides also have large squads and budgets to keep the top domestic talent at home and also recruit from abroad. I think England are going to struggle to keep pace with this as the Irish sides in particular get stronger and stronger within this structure.

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Post by Feckless Rogue Mon May 21, 2012 8:43 pm

I've been told the Munster/Leinster budgets are the same as the big English clubs. and much smaller than the French ones. They have no financial advantage in signings foreigners. In fact there are restrictions on signing foreigners so they're actually at a disadvantage to the English sides in that regard.

Connacht are not a feeder club. They are a poorer club. Four players (Cronin, Keatley, Carr and Hagan) have left them of their own free will with bigger contracts for more successful teams. The same happens in all leagues. Ulster have a very small squad.

So there's a few things wrong with your thesis.
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Post by Artful_Dodger Mon May 21, 2012 8:51 pm

Gordy so much of what you have said in this thread is inaccurate or plain wrong.

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Post by Hookisms and Hyperbole Mon May 21, 2012 8:52 pm

Artful_Dodger wrote:Gordy so much of what you have said in all your threads is inaccurate or plain wrong.

Fixed that for you there.

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Post by justified sinner Mon May 21, 2012 9:09 pm

Well let's look at some facts.

English rugby chose to structure itself the way it is at the onset of pro rugby. The Celts went down a different route.

Under their current structure only 4 clubs manage to turn a profit.

The option is available to change the English set up if PRL so decide.

The French also chose their own structure. That seems to be more financially successful.

Thats it, no statement on who is right or wrong. Just facts.

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Post by fa0019 Mon May 21, 2012 9:13 pm

Leinster & Munster will always supply near half of IRE players each. That means each side will feature on ave. 7 test players.

With IRE currently just/near as strong as FRA & ENG if an ENG club side cannot feature the same quality then these sides will always be underdogs.... as long as IRE stays as strong as the 2.

The pie will always be more evenly spread in terms of players quality if ENG has 6-7 HC places and a salary cap... meaning teams can't afford to keep to many quality players and players don't need to concentrate in maybe 3 or 4 clubs to gaurantee HC rugby year in year out.

Also when IRE teams go out and buy foreign players... they go out and buy world class foreigners...in the last few years we have seen Jean De Villiers, Ruan Pienaar, Johan Muller, Brad Thorn and Rocky Elsom all move to IRE....

Even the French don't even buy that quality... they get has-beens like Matt Giteau & JW (albeit still quality). In ENG other than Nick Evans & Frans Louw who else is there??? Stephen Donald!!!!!

Half the ENG teams are filled with journeyman test players... those who were good but not world class. If they're not world class foreigners like Nick Evans and Frans Louw I'd suggest limiting the number of foreign players and promoting some young ENG players... I doubt it would make much of a difference and it would probably improve the national game.

Japan has taken players like Jaque Fioure and Fioure Du Preez.... if a European club had matched their salaries I'm sure they would have gone to these clubs rather.
Clubs should be monitoring players aged about 26+ who look like their days are numbered but are still world class, not guys who are surplus to requirements by their franchises only... players like Morne Steyn, Schalk Burger, Pierre Spies, JP Pietersen would fit the bill of world class players on the way out.
Other than Schalk I don't think those guys will go to the next world cup... they will be out of the boks first team within 2 years most probably so the European clubs should try and tap these guys up.

One thing I read online the other day was an interview in the daily telegraph by the coaches of ENG clubs.. they were saying in essence they are not responsible for ENG rugby and therefore they act in the best interests of their clubs.
Personally I feel that unless the RFU & the clubs can try and work together they will never get back to the years when both club and country were doing well.


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Post by Gordy Mon May 21, 2012 9:14 pm

Artful_Dodger wrote:Gordy so much of what you have said in this thread is inaccurate or plain wrong.

Where?

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Post by justified sinner Mon May 21, 2012 9:20 pm

fa +1

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Post by Artful_Dodger Mon May 21, 2012 9:25 pm

You said that Connacht is a feeder team for the other provinces - actually from an Ulster perspective I don't know of any players we have taken from Connacht I can however name quite a few who Connacht have taken from us such as Niall O'Connor and Willie Faloon.

You also said "The regionalisation of the Celtic nations" we didnt regionalise, neither did Scotland only Wales did - Ireland has always been made up of four provinces going back eon's.

You said this regionalisation was designed to provide a standard of rugby for the HC - actually in Wales it was designed cause they couldn't continune to fund more than 4 teams and as I said above there was no regionalising in Ireland, we've always had 4 provinces. You also use the term "Rabo system" there is no rabo system there is the Irish provincial system, the Welsh regional system, the Scottish and Italian club systems.

A few other points....

"English sides have to deal with issues of relegation and qualification for the Heinekin Cup that are not present in the Rabo."

Thats England problem, you designed your system of relegation and qualification nobody forced it on you, if you don't like it then get rid of it. A lot of the English rugby fans I speak to on FB want the Aviva to increase its number to 14 teams and be ring fenced.

"Except at the business end of the season seldom do Leinster, Munster or even Edinburgh field full strength teams in the Rabo as they do in the Henieken Cup or the Rabo playoffs."

That is there choice not English rugbys, they are professional rugby teams and can spend their resources how they see fit.

"English sides also have to contend with the huge salaries being offered by their French counterparts."

So do we, do you have any idea how many contracts with a massive salary in France Brian O'Driscoll has been offered? Thats to name but one, a lot of our top players are offered big contracts in France, we are able to keep them however, through not having a salary cap and being able to offer our best players generous central contracts.

All in all you've outlined how we have structured, managed and resourced our game a hell of a lot better than England - the problem is yours not ours.

"But do England now need to look at changing their own system to contend with a club competition that is stacked against them?"

Yes change your system by all means, but if it is stacked against you then it is your own fault.

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Post by Artful_Dodger Mon May 21, 2012 9:27 pm

fa0019 wrote:Leinster & Munster will always supply near half of IRE players each.

I wouldn't be so sure of that.

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Post by justified sinner Mon May 21, 2012 9:31 pm

Anyone notice that HERSH and Portnoy are suspiciously absent from this thread?

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Post by SecretFly Mon May 21, 2012 10:15 pm

Gordy wrote:
The Rabo system is designed for Heineken Cup success, the Premiership and Top 14 are not. The regionalisation of the Celtic nations was designed to provide competitveness for those countries in a club competition that their own clubs would struggle to compete in without the regionalisation. English sides have to deal with issues of relegation and qualification for the Heinekin Cup that are not present in the Rabo.

The Rabo system is a League - it's designed for its own purposes and then it's also used to teach players how to be good professionals. And when you're a good professional in Europe you'd like to think that you might have a chance at the biggest club competition in Europe - namely the HC. I know you don't think any of that is a crime... and you're right.

Now, you also say that regionalism or Provincialism was designed to "provide competitiveness for those countries in a club competition that their own clubs would struggle to compete in without regionalism". Correct. Provincialism and regionalism is designed to try to achieve parity with big well established clubs in heavily populated countries like England and France. Parity is what regionalism is all about. And whilst regionalism establishes a certain parity it also restricts regions to regions and certainly in Ireland it means four is all you'll ever get...unlike the AP where theoretically any number of new clubs can fight to get into the AP and fight for the six guaranteed HC places based on English population size.

So population size dictates England and France's bigger share of HC places yet it has no bearing on any adavantages it might bring to clubs in big population areas and the large player base of those countries producing far more rugby prospects than the 'Celtic' countries?

So...where's the advantages and disadvantages? English rugby is not at a disadvantage - they simply are in a world where the 'Celtic' countries are rising from the ashes of mediocrity and downright worthlessness to becoming real threats in a competition France and England once virtually owned between themselves. And there were no feelings of guilt back then when the field was unfair and the 'Celtic countries' just made up the numbers to make the competition look bigger than it really was.

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Post by Taffineastbourne Mon May 21, 2012 10:27 pm

Gordy comes across as a bully who is not happy that his target has got bigger and better and cries "foul"!
Wales are skint and cannot afford Manu's mum.Are we crying for changes to help us?Suck it up ,lad.

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Post by Gordy Mon May 21, 2012 10:35 pm

Artful_Dodger wrote:You said that Connacht is a feeder team for the other provinces - actually from an Ulster perspective I don't know of any players we have taken from Connacht I can however name quite a few who Connacht have taken from us such as Niall O'Connor and Willie Faloon.

You also said "The regionalisation of the Celtic nations" we didnt regionalise, neither did Scotland only Wales did - Ireland has always been made up of four provinces going back eon's.

You said this regionalisation was designed to provide a standard of rugby for the HC - actually in Wales it was designed cause they couldn't continune to fund more than 4 teams and as I said above there was no regionalising in Ireland, we've always had 4 provinces. You also use the term "Rabo system" there is no rabo system there is the Irish provincial system, the Welsh regional system, the Scottish and Italian club systems.

A few other points....

"English sides have to deal with issues of relegation and qualification for the Heinekin Cup that are not present in the Rabo."

Thats England problem, you designed your system of relegation and qualification nobody forced it on you, if you don't like it then get rid of it. A lot of the English rugby fans I speak to on FB want the Aviva to increase its number to 14 teams and be ring fenced.

"Except at the business end of the season seldom do Leinster, Munster or even Edinburgh field full strength teams in the Rabo as they do in the Henieken Cup or the Rabo playoffs."

That is there choice not English rugbys, they are professional rugby teams and can spend their resources how they see fit.

"English sides also have to contend with the huge salaries being offered by their French counterparts."

So do we, do you have any idea how many contracts with a massive salary in France Brian O'Driscoll has been offered? Thats to name but one, a lot of our top players are offered big contracts in France, we are able to keep them however, through not having a salary cap and being able to offer our best players generous central contracts.

All in all you've outlined how we have structured, managed and resourced our game a hell of a lot better than England - the problem is yours not ours.

"But do England now need to look at changing their own system to contend with a club competition that is stacked against them?"

Yes change your system by all means, but if it is stacked against you then it is your own fault.

You are notpicking and missing the point.

Im aware Ireland have had historical provincial sides, but the reason they enter them into them Heinekin Cup and Rabo 12 is because their own club system would see them fall way behind England and France. Do you deny this was not the main motivation?

Connaght, ok maybe not a "feeder" side but basically a province that is way behind the others and when they do produce top players they will inneviteably lose them and are perpetually lagging behind the other three in every way.

Im also aware the English system is self selected, hence why I posed the question at the end if it needed changing in order to stop falling behind.

I said in my post that Leinster and Munster (Ulster now appear to be catching up) have exploited the system available very successfully, to the point where English sides are struggling to match 3 of the Irish provinces. This is the whole crux of my post.

Not sure why there is such negativity and hostility.....


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Post by Taffineastbourne Mon May 21, 2012 10:40 pm

England want to persevere with a club set up at the top level.This is their choice.France,with a few more euros,ditto.
England should cut down to 4 sides at the top level and they may become successful at HC again.

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Post by Feckless Rogue Mon May 21, 2012 10:54 pm

Taffineastbourne wrote:England want to persevere with a club set up at the top level.This is their choice.France,with a few more euros,ditto.
England should cut down to 4 sides at the top level and they may become successful at HC again.

No way. They don't need to do that. They have a much bigger population and player base and more cash. They can support far more teams than Ireland or Wales.

They could

1. Ringfence the league. A team can be relegated and another promoted after prolonged poor performances. But the immediate season by season danger is removed.
2. Negotiate an increase in English teams in the HC, to ease the pressure to qualify
3. Maybe. Convince the PRO12 teams to make league position effect HC seedings? So the likes of Edinburgh can't ignore the league without ruining next years HC seeding

They can not

1. Stick the knife into Scottish and Italian rugby by demanding PRO12 qualification rules change.

But here's a tongue in cheek quote from the independent in the UK

if the clubs from Europe's two biggest union nations are serious about restoring their joint domination of the competition, they will have to find a way of stopping Leinster from playing in it.

Link
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Post by Portnoy Mon May 21, 2012 11:24 pm

justified sinner wrote:Anyone notice that HERSH and Portnoy are suspiciously absent from this thread?

Didn't realise that I was on 24/7/365 call.

(clears throat).

Broken Record Broken Record Broken Record etc.

That'd be:

Promotion/relegation does make a difference (and the jury is still out after ten years involvement in Wales and Scotland on their regions' commitment to the Celtic League). Italy still remain in the kindergarten.
Maybe three Rabo teams will turn a profit this year (but we'll probably never know). (have we ever?). Wales now have salary caps ~ the Jeff - so they're as likely as any mid-Jeff side to succeed in European club competition.
The Irish sides as much as any NH team require a substantial foreign input.

This is not as good a year as 2009 for Irish gloating.

But 2012 is sadly a vintage year for Irish arrogance from some posters.

I can contribute more should you so wish.



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Post by Artful_Dodger Mon May 21, 2012 11:41 pm

Portnoy wrote:
justified sinner wrote:Anyone notice that HERSH and Portnoy are suspiciously absent from this thread?

Didn't realise that I was on 24/7/365 call.

(clears throat).

Broken Record Broken Record Broken Record etc.

That'd be:

Promotion/relegation does make a difference (and the jury is still out after ten years involvement in Wales and Scotland on their regions' commitment to the Celtic League). Italy still remain in the kindergarten.
Maybe three Rabo teams will turn a profit this year (but we'll probably never know). (have we ever?). Wales now have salary caps ~ the Jeff - so they're as likely as any mid-Jeff side to succeed in European club competition.
The Irish sides as much as any NH team require a substantial foreign input.

This is not as good a year as 2009 for Irish gloating.

But 2012 is sadly a vintage year for Irish arrogance from some posters.

I can contribute more should you so wish.




Portnoy you of all people talking about broken records is absolutely hilarious. I see your obsession with Irish rugby is still going strong hence why we all find you a bit strange.

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Post by Oxford Welsh Mon May 21, 2012 11:49 pm

Artful_Dodger wrote:
Portnoy wrote:
justified sinner wrote:Anyone notice that HERSH and Portnoy are suspiciously absent from this thread?

Didn't realise that I was on 24/7/365 call.

(clears throat).

Broken Record Broken Record Broken Record etc.

That'd be:

Promotion/relegation does make a difference (and the jury is still out after ten years involvement in Wales and Scotland on their regions' commitment to the Celtic League). Italy still remain in the kindergarten.
Maybe three Rabo teams will turn a profit this year (but we'll probably never know). (have we ever?). Wales now have salary caps ~ the Jeff - so they're as likely as any mid-Jeff side to succeed in European club competition.
The Irish sides as much as any NH team require a substantial foreign input.

This is not as good a year as 2009 for Irish gloating.

But 2012 is sadly a vintage year for Irish arrogance from some posters.

I can contribute more should you so wish.




Portnoy you of all people talking about broken records is absolutely hilarious. I see your obsession with Irish rugby is still going strong hence why we all find you a bit strange.

Relagation instill only fear.

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Post by Portnoy Mon May 21, 2012 11:53 pm

I'm not obsessed with Oirish rugby at all. Just the strange nature of HNs rugby.

Some Irish club fans are getting smug/arrogant. Just as the Welsh were last month.

p.s. the Broken Record s thing was a self-parody. Clearly something that is beyond your imagining.
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Post by Feckless Rogue Tue May 22, 2012 12:18 am

Ah Portnoy we haven't been that arrogant have we? Smug? Yes. But I don't think it's arrogant to laud Leinster's great achievements in the HC. I think they really have been the best team. And they play an attractive brand of rugby too. They've been an example of European rugby at it's best in my opinion.

I don't like people trying to insinuate that the English teams would be better than Leinster if they weren't so tired. I think it's nonsense, because no team is playing as well as Leinster at any point in the season no matter how fresh or tired they are.

I don't like people trying to insinuate that it is foreign imports that are the primary reason for Leinsters success. I think it's an attempt to devalue the contribution of the Irish lads. And Leinster are less dependent on foreign imports than most HC teams, especially the English and French ones. And we have had rubbish foreigners who contribute little too. They're just never cited in the evidence.

I don't mind you ruffling Irish feathers or having opinions on Irish rugby. You're a rugby fan. You're opinions are valid and you're never abusive as far as I can tell (although some people sometimes think you are).

But I'll argue with anyone when I think their criticisms of Irish rugby are unfair. Or if they are saying things that are untrue.
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Post by profitius Tue May 22, 2012 12:40 am

All is not rosey in the Irish garden. Us Munster fans will tell you that!

Leinster are going great at the moment and if that annoys you, well get used to it because they're going to get stronger. Their second team would make the Ap playoffs.
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Post by Oxford Welsh Tue May 22, 2012 12:46 am

The old club v country debate is raised here.

Leinster are team who's reliance on Foreign imports damages the interests of the national team.

Soon Cullen, BOD, Heaslip and Nacewa will soon be past their best.

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Post by Oxford Welsh Tue May 22, 2012 12:49 am

Before you comment feckless I just read your last post ! I guess mine was harsh on the import side, was just so gutted at the propping disaster at twickenham that caused the thumping by England. Ireland are very much my 2nd team with the family emigrating from Cork many moons ago.


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Post by Feckless Rogue Tue May 22, 2012 1:02 am

Ireland have a foreign import problem in one position really. Tighthead. Foreign tightheads are starting at Munster and Ulster. And look at the results when Ross got injured in Twickenham. We need to address this fast. Because Ross isn't a spring chicken either. Ulster have a scrummaging prospect in Fitzpatrick. Great scrummager. But fat and unfit. We have to get him up to the appropriate fitness standard, like Wales did with Adam Jones.

I don't accept that foreign imports are a problem in any other position. Because we have enough Irish guys getting regular gametime everywhere else. If they're not up to test level they're not up to it. Fair enough. But it's nothing to do with foreign imports.
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Post by Oxford Welsh Tue May 22, 2012 1:11 am

Agree hence my backtrack, THs are like gold dust and bar Paul James moving over or Craig Mitchell we have scant resource in Wales too, as opposed to 5 international class loose heads !

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Post by George Carlin Tue May 22, 2012 6:19 am

As a neutral, I don't think that anyone grudges Irish club rugby its success.

We're all prone to a bit of hyperbole now and then. When Ireland bravely struggles against the All Blacks this summer, I suspect that the introspection and call for the national coach's head will be loud and so you should definitely enjoy this moment.

Gordy - I hear what you're saying but with the richest RFU by a country mile and a league system that was imposed by that union, you will never garner much sympathy, however eloquent your diatribe.

If you'd titled the thread "Why The Blazered Tweed-Clad Coffin Dodgers Need To Change A System That Prejudices English Clubs", then I would agree with you.

But there's a danger you're suggesting that English clubs would be dominant in national cup competitions if you removed relegation from the Jeff, and I don't think that's clear cut at all.
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Post by Gordy Tue May 22, 2012 8:28 am

George Carlin wrote:As a neutral, I don't think that anyone grudges Irish club rugby its success.

We're all prone to a bit of hyperbole now and then. When Ireland bravely struggles against the All Blacks this summer, I suspect that the introspection and call for the national coach's head will be loud and so you should definitely enjoy this moment.

Gordy - I hear what you're saying but with the richest RFU by a country mile and a league system that was imposed by that union, you will never garner much sympathy, however eloquent your diatribe.

If you'd titled the thread "Why The Blazered Tweed-Clad Coffin Dodgers Need To Change A System That Prejudices English Clubs", then I would agree with you.

But there's a danger you're suggesting that English clubs would be dominant in national cup competitions if you removed relegation from the Jeff, and I don't think that's clear cut at all.

Thank you for understanding my point! I dont think it is a simple or straightforward as removing relegation to solve the problem but theres no doubt that the way the respective domestic competitions are set up puts English sides at a disadvantage. Especially compared to the structure and set up with the Celtic League. Can anyone really say that they system available to Leinster for instance is not more favourable for success?

If England or France decided to regionalise into 3/4 super teams with virtually international standard squads then I cant imagine the other countries keeping silent. This is not what I suggesting, but I think system enjoyed by the Rabo sides gives them too much of an advantage in terms of the Heinekin Cup and English sides in particular need to address this or risk struggling to compete against sides in Ireland that are not far off full international squads.

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Post by Biltong Tue May 22, 2012 8:32 am

Gordy wrote:This year has a been poor season for the English club sides in general. Not one side in the semi final of the Heineken cup, only one side in the quarter final and a league system that is continuing to divide opinion on it structure. It is now five years since an English side has won the Heineken Cup.

The Heinkeken Cup is called a club competition but if we are honest it is not really. The sides put forward by Ireland, Wales and Scotland are in effect large regions rather than individual clubs. Their league system and squad set up is designed to maximise success in the Heinekin Cup and Ireland in particular in recent years have exploited this very successfully.

The Rabo system is designed for Heineken Cup success, the Premiership and Top 14 are not. The regionalisation of the Celtic nations was designed to provide competitveness for those countries in a club competition that their own clubs would struggle to compete in without the regionalisation. English sides have to deal with issues of relegation and qualification for the Heinekin Cup that are not present in the Rabo.

Celtic nations players are consistently exposed to HC standard rugby each year as they do not have to qualify, whereas there is no guarantee for the Aviva and Top 14 players as it all depends on qualification. Therefore the same players are consistently exposed to HC levels regardless of what goes on
domestically.

Except at the business end of the season seldom do Leinster, Munster or even Edinburgh field full strength teams in the Rabo as they do in the Henieken Cup or the Rabo playoffs.

English sides also have to contend with the huge salaries being offered by their French counterparts.

These are just some of the issues I feel are now really challenging English Clubs. This is no slight on Leinster, as I have said they are the best domestic side in the Northern Hemisphere at the moment and have exploited the system offered to full advantage - also able to strengthen any weak areas with foreign imports where needed. But do England now need to look at changing their own system to contend with a club competition that is stacked against them? Thoughts welcome.




I agree with you but england doesn't want regions and their clubs aren't working toward a collective.
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Post by beshocked Tue May 22, 2012 8:45 am

Celtic nations players are consistently exposed to HC standard rugby each year as they do not have to qualify, whereas there is no guarantee for the Aviva and Top 14 players as it all depends on qualification. Therefore the same players are consistently exposed to HC levels regardless of what goes on
domestically.


This bit from Gordy stands out the most for me. Edinburgh's HC run this season is clear of that.


There may be unfair benefits that the Pro12 but it doesn't mean they should continue to beat us.

Quins should have not lost to Connacht. Saints should not have had Franklin Gardens stormed and raided by Scarlets and Munster. Leicester should have put up more of a fight in Ravenhill. London Irish should not have been completely trampled all over by Edinburgh and Cardiff. Bath shouldn't be in awe of Glasgow.

Most of the Pro12 teams aren't world beaters. Let's not make them out to be.

Hopefully the English sides regroup and plan a better assault on the HC title. This will likely mean learning how to beat Clermont and Leinster first and foremost.


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Post by HQ matt Tue May 22, 2012 9:01 am

The English sides are not as strong as they were, I think this is simply due to the financial power of the French clubs. More southern hemisphere players and frankly english players too are going there, look at the amlin final 4 or 5 english players involved in that, its bound to weaken the english sides in european competition.

The game in france is growing, they're attracting bigger crowds, english sides can no longer dominate european competition but that doesnt mean they are not competitive. I think especially in the AP top 4 this year we are starting to see some solid sustainable models, good academies and less reliance on foreign players. English rugby is restructuring and whilst it may never return to the dominant period of the early pro era i see no reason why it will not be competitive.

Oh and the game in Ireland is flourishing and this could well continue. GAA is amateur and has no international competition. Football is small fry with young players coming straight to england and the emergence of a larger 'middle class' meaning rugby is becoming more and more popular, i think its great (as long as they dont start winning the 6 nations very year too).

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Post by Mickado Tue May 22, 2012 9:02 am

Immagints, even when it was the bears i knew it was the immagints!

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Post by yappysnap Tue May 22, 2012 9:03 am

English clubs will do a whole lot better next season.

This Cup was just a blip and any of Tigers, Saracens, Saints, Quins and Exeter will be in the knock outs next season.

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Post by caoimhincentre Tue May 22, 2012 9:05 am

is relegation a factor too.

Who got relegated this year in the AP

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Post by beshocked Tue May 22, 2012 9:10 am

No chance for Sale then yappysnap? Very Happy

Also it depends who gets Leinster and Clermont in their pool.

I want Munster,Toulon,Saracens,Treviso - my dream pool.

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Post by LondonTiger Tue May 22, 2012 9:41 am

English clubs overperformed in the early years.

The set-up of the leagues/cups and salary cap does English clubs no favours - however it does mean that we limit the number of clubs going bust (maybe) and have a competetive league where we see our best players regularly. Welsh and Irish starts tend to grace the Rabo much less.

In the end though the "poor" performance in recent years is not all that bad, and is due to our teams not being as good as Leinster. But then who are?

In recent years French teams have done better - but can afford deeper squads. Welsh and Scots have been worse.

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Post by SecretFly Tue May 22, 2012 9:50 am

I think a lot more than Oirish arrogant Leprechauns can certainly have a real go at the River Dance! Some great fancy footers here from across the water. They say something, you answer it and they sidestep the implications...in order to continue the line that argument is arrogance - when it comes from the winners.

One English man distinctly admitted that Provinces and Regions exist to be able to co-exist with large clubs in large countries with big populations and the potential for much more players. And that same English man still bypasses his own point to suggest that English clubs are now at a disadvantage ...because the Regional/Provincial thing HAS now gained parity.

So the arrogant implication on my part is that the idea of England and French superclubs back-in-the-day was fine with many of the English posters here. The 'Celts' were happy to just be involved, God love 'em, and things woz right with the world - with historic French and English clubs fighting the gladiator battles at the business end of the HC.

Ah... the halcyon days when disadvantages for some had their advantages for others. Animal Farm.

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Post by HERSH Tue May 22, 2012 10:10 am

I agree with the OP, for too long English and French clubs have bitten their tongue on this subject, this is a club competition not a Regional, Provincial or Super Club Cup.
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Post by TrailApe Tue May 22, 2012 10:18 am

Who got relegated this year in the AP.

This year is unusual that of the two sides in the play off, one has stated they don't want to go up just yet, and the other wants to go up but hasn't the facilities.

Usually, if you finish bottom you are down - and apart from this year its only happened once in the past.

Now if you are trying to say that the premiership clubs knew in advance that the current situation would happen and decided to do 'an Edinburgh', I think you are crediting them with more forethought than the actually posses.

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Post by beshocked Tue May 22, 2012 10:25 am

TrailApe doing "an Edinburgh" is impossible for English clubs because they don't have auto HC qualification as a safety net.

I would be amazing to have HC rugby every year no matter how you do in the domestic league.

Or in the case of the Irish and Welsh clubs having to surpass the might of rugby giants Connacht and Dragons to qualify.

The Pro12 clubs should be getting better with all the exposure they have had to top level HC rugby.

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Post by Welshmushroom Tue May 22, 2012 10:43 am

To be honest the deck is stacked at against the English but not for the reason listed above. I do aggree that they compete with the French in terms of buying quality. They both have relegation although the French league is more ruthless with 3 teams going down each year. Both leagues have as a result become slug fests at times with teams building strong defences instead of developing creative attacks. Dont get me wrong they still are capable of it but the mind set is different. Basically its a "lets stop them first and then see what happens" attidude.

The Rabbo has been different in that respect. Dont get me wrong you still get slug fest matches during key matches but generally the attidude is to go out and play rugby (unless its the Blues ofc).

People talk about HC exposure and im sure it helps but International Rugby is still a higher level than it in my opinion.

For me its not the guranteed status of Heineken Cup rugby, or the lack of pressure in the Rabbo (which Leinster are also in the final for) but the fact that the Celtic sides generally have more exposure to International Rugby than their counterparts.

The only reason France dont win it more is because that most of them focus on their own league which in some ways devalues the HC anyway.

I know some posters here mentioned Saracens, Harelquins, Northampton & Leicester have good chances but at the moment i wouldnt rate their chances better than anyone else in next years tournment. Leinster are in a league of their own at the moment. Infact they should probably just give them it next year and save everyone the trouble.

From a Welsh perspective I am impressed by Tandy and the Ospreys at the moment. If they can keep playing the way they are they will be a match for anyone next season. Shame they didnt make the chance until the end of this season. The team are scoring tries and playing some good attacking based stuff. A dark horse next season.





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Post by beshocked Tue May 22, 2012 10:58 am

No welshmushroom the attitude in the Pro12 is sit back and relax.

Auto qualification for the HC is all but guaranteed.

Understrength sides are the name of the game. You are able to rest your key players in the Pro12 because most sides do it.

"Doing an Edinburgh" is not an option for English and French clubs.

I posted elsewhere that most of Leinster's real stars like Sexton,Kearney,BOD,SOB and Heaslip only play about 6 games out of 22 in the Pro12 but played all 9 HC games.

English sides just don't have the luxury to constantly rotate because every other side puts out full strength sides because of the higher stakes of the AP.


I would fancy Saracens,Leicester,Quins and Saints over most Rabo sides. Particularly the first two.

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Post by red_stag Tue May 22, 2012 11:04 am

beshocked wrote:No welshmushroom the attitude in the Pro12 is sit back and relax.

Auto qualification for the HC is all but guaranteed.

Understrength sides are the name of the game. You are able to rest your key players in the Pro12 because most sides do it.

"Doing an Edinburgh" is not an option for English and French clubs.

I posted elsewhere that most of Leinster's real stars like Sexton,Kearney,BOD,SOB and Heaslip only play about 6 games out of 22 in the Pro12 but played all 9 HC games.

English sides just don't have the luxury to constantly rotate because every other side puts out full strength sides because of the higher stakes of the AP.

I would fancy Saracens,Leicester,Quins and Saints over most Rabo sides. Particularly the first two.

No biggie, change your system and its fine thumbsup
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Post by geoff998rugby Tue May 22, 2012 11:08 am

beshocked wrote:No welshmushroom the attitude in the Pro12 is sit back and relax.

.

I cvan safely say that with respect to Ulster that is complete rubbish.

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Post by profitius Tue May 22, 2012 11:14 am

beshocked wrote:No welshmushroom the attitude in the Pro12 is sit back and relax.
.

You wouldn't last long in pro rugby with that attitude.
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