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Proposals for an Ireland/Scotland/Wales/England league...

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Post by Casartelli Mon 19 Aug 2013, 6:48 pm

...to sit above the Celtic/Rabo and the Jeff (presumably).

Does anyone know if such plans are still being mooted? After extensive online research, the last links I can find are to (apparently sensible) suggestions made by Peter Tom, Leicester fella, in 2011.

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Post by Portnoy's Complaint Mon 19 Aug 2013, 7:33 pm

I doubt it, Castarelli. Mainly because it makes sense to me.

You'd have to arrange promotion/relegation issues just for starters and the national splits of the pot and numbers...

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Post by Casartelli Mon 19 Aug 2013, 7:46 pm

Portnoy's Complaint wrote:I doubt it, Castarelli. Mainly because it makes sense to me.

You'd have to arrange promotion/relegation issues just for starters and the national splits of the pot and numbers...
Only in the first year though? Say 8 English, 3 Irish, 2 Welsh and 2 Scots to kick things off and then after that the thing looks after itself? If you're not good enough, and end up in the bottom 4, you go back down to the Celtic or the Jeff.

Thus, in most seasons there would be an ongoing representation of each country in the top tier. The Italians would be a bit stuffed, but they can go and sort something similar out with the French.

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Post by Portnoy's Complaint Mon 19 Aug 2013, 7:55 pm

I'm not jumping through that particular hoop again, Caster. Mainly because the teams that replace them would inevitably secure national/league rights.

I'm out unless someone can propose a solution that squares that particular circle.

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Post by Casartelli Mon 19 Aug 2013, 8:22 pm

Yeah, the same old same old is probably set to trundle on for another decade. Might was well accept/ignore it. RWC to look forward to.

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Post by Notch Mon 19 Aug 2013, 10:38 pm

No, it wouldn't work. Without the best Celtic teams the Pro12 would collapse leaving no possibility for promotion/relegation anyway.

Mainly it wouldn't work because its not in anyones best interests. It would require all four nations to essentially agree to cutting down their numbers of Pro teams. I can see a British and Irish super league forming eventually, but it will be when the six or so top English clubs are ready to breakaway from their own league system and operate as franchises in a closed system with no promotion or relegation. Possibly with a playoff between the bottom-placed English side and the winner of the Jeff ala South Africa but already thats a mess in terms of negotiating sponsorship deals and contracts.
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Post by Notch Mon 19 Aug 2013, 10:40 pm

Casartelli wrote:Say 8 English, 3 Irish, 2 Welsh and 2 Scots to kick things off and then after that the thing looks after itself?
Thats the main reason these things aren't taken seriously anyway. 8 English teams and 7 'others'? I ask you...
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Post by Poorfour Mon 19 Aug 2013, 11:33 pm

Notch wrote:
Casartelli wrote:Say 8 English, 3 Irish, 2 Welsh and 2 Scots to kick things off and then after that the thing looks after itself?
Thats the main reason these things aren't taken seriously anyway. 8 English teams and 7 'others'? I ask you...
And there's the rub. The English viewpoint is "it's a club competition, so representation needs to be proportional to the number of pro clubs.". The Celtic viewpoint is "it's a union thing, so representation needs to be proportional to the number of unions."

Unsquareable circle. End of.
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Post by Portnoy's Complaint Tue 20 Aug 2013, 4:42 am

Were the Rabo and the PRL to propose a B&I league sitting beneath their top leagues offering relevant cross-border competition, then it might be practicable.

Speaking as one who considers the Jeff over-clubbed by at least two (probably four) teams and looking at the apparently dire state of the Welsh and Scottish club game, a variant of a B&I Championship might promote and nurture talent from below as well as creating interest for local clubs.

It would generate a great deal of resentment from affected clubs though. Just as when here in the UK, industry was treated to the cold chill of Thatcherism. Except that Thatcher poured the blame solely on the Unions and gave inept management free rein.

The most successful pro sport globally doesn't rely on playoffs to generate pseudo-interest in its major leagues by faux playoffs, it (they) do it by playing leagues and cups and Internationals and continental club competitions all in isolation of each other.

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Post by XR Tue 20 Aug 2013, 8:39 am

12 Jeff teams
12 Rabo teams

You have 24 teams, you then split them in to 2 leagues of 6 english, 2 irish, 2 welsh, 1 scot and 1 italian and then you have the top 4 of each league advance to the quarter finals for overall winner.

Then, say, every 3 years the leagues are jumbled up again to keep things fresh.

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Post by beshocked Tue 20 Aug 2013, 8:52 am

Personally I would rather see progress made for the HC situation than Ireland,Scotland,Wales and England being in the same league. Plus it hangs the Italians to dry.

The Pro12 is working for you, the AP is working for us. I don't see any benefit in change.

Your idea would harm clubs in both current leagues plus the championship.

The English championship is improving in competitiveness in my opinion. I don't want this being jeopardized.

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Post by Portnoy's Complaint Tue 20 Aug 2013, 8:57 am

Progress - even if there is no practical change - has to be made.
As it is, there is no tangible HC next year. Just arguably, a Rabo Cup.

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Post by ScarletSpiderman Tue 20 Aug 2013, 9:45 am

Portnoy's Complaint wrote:Progress - even if there is no practical change - has to be made.
As it is, there is no tangible HC next year. Just arguably, a Rabo Cup.
Which would technically become the major cross-boarder cup.
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Post by beshocked Tue 20 Aug 2013, 10:14 am

Portnoy's Complaint wrote:Progress - even if there is no practical change - has to be made.
As it is, there is no tangible HC next year. Just arguably, a Rabo Cup.
If they can't solve the HC issue how do you think they'll ever sort out a league?


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Post by Brendan Tue 20 Aug 2013, 3:02 pm

I'm not in favour of the Italians being hung out to dry in the hope that France would take them in.

I think you do a straight knockout with 64 teams which would be 14 french 12 English 8 irish, welsh, Scothish & Italian (to be filled as the union likes) giving you 58 leaving 6 places for other countries.

Straight knock out. 6 rounds and cream rises to the top. Could do open draw like FA cup.

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Post by Portnoy's Complaint Tue 20 Aug 2013, 4:33 pm

ScarletSpiderman wrote:
Portnoy's Complaint wrote:Progress - even if there is no practical change - has to be made.
As it is, there is no tangible HC next year. Just arguably, a Rabo Cup.
Which would technically become the major cross-boarder cup.
True. But a massively depleted one.

And 'shocked, I agree. A B&I won't happen.

And to others, Why should or would France adopt Treviso & Zebre? Not a hope in hell.

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Post by Brendan Tue 20 Aug 2013, 5:48 pm

I read somewhere that the deal to continue the italian clubs hasn't been signed yet. If thats true it is sad.


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Post by thebandwagonsociety Tue 20 Aug 2013, 6:04 pm

Every now and then, after dismissing the Rabo and the smaller unions as being afterthoughts to the giant markets of England and France, the RFU/FIR/PRL/'insert acronym here' realise that a game between Munster and an english/french side creates huge interest, same with Ulster, possibly some shabby side called Leinster. Glasgow are becoming a force but don't have the rep yet. Ospreys can generate interest, even Treviso create a buzz (especially if they play Biarritz).  Then they'll start talking about starting some kind of competition under their terms in order to cash in on the revenue that they could generate in their home market by getting some of these teams in for meaningful fixtures. Then it becomes a negotiation of how to split up the money, the arguments start, and the actual game of rugby is forgotten. That's my sceptical view for what it's worth.

The underlying question though is what is the purpose of European/Inter-Union competition?

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Post by Brendan Tue 20 Aug 2013, 10:31 pm

It might be bias but irish teams seem to send large number of fans on away trips and that has to bump up the kits for other clubs

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Post by Gibson Wed 21 Aug 2013, 1:31 am

As a Leinster fan, there is absolutely no way I want to devalue my clubs domestic league by including 2 or 3 half-decent "Top" Jeff teams (who we always malafuster in the HC anyway), and the rest of the dross. NO way man.

The only English teams I would even consider allowing to join the PRO12 are Tigers and Quins. 2nd division  Munster and Leinster sides respectively, if the real truth be told. Hence the BT "we want our ball back" deal.  

Mad idea. You should be shot without a blindfold, because you don't need one.

Please don't take me wrong. OK


Last edited by Gibson on Wed 21 Aug 2013, 2:07 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Gibson Wed 21 Aug 2013, 1:45 am

Portnoy's Complaint wrote:Progress - even if there is no practical change - has to be made.
As it is, there is no tangible HC next year. Just arguably, a Rabo Cup.
The Empire is finished Portnoy. Deal with it. Ye 3rd-div Yanks,  are fast trying to turn Rugby into Wendyball. It will happen by sheer weight of numbers & shekels alone. But deep inside, I really don't think you want that to happen.

But it will. End of game as we love it. Then it will become a Wendyball Franchise Circus.

As for your temporary and convenient, new,  NH  RU bestest mates in crime - the French... The hapless English & Welsh, and to a lesser extent,  the Irish,  are busy feeding their Sugar Daddy rich club-game right now. And they will shaft ye lot the 1st chance they get. And ye lot will shaft them right back. The Sugar-Daddies will disappear... And God's People will suffer yet again. Ah well, that's  the way of the Corporate World you so love and engender.

Forgive them Allah, for they know not what they do.

Gawrd Bless America. OK
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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 21 Aug 2013, 8:26 am

I agree with Pootfour, the Celtic Unions want everything run through Unions the PRL want things run as a proper club competition and not a Union feeder system and hence it all breaks down. Same issue with the HEC.

I like the AP and would prefer it stayed. Ditto for the HEC actually.

" Then, say, every 3 years the leagues are jumbled up again to keep things fresh."

Gcblues this is at the crux of why it wouldn't work. The English clubs would want a real league with promotion and relegation not an arbitrary three years for poor teams to languish at the bottom of the table.

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Post by Irish Londoner Wed 21 Aug 2013, 9:04 am

The major problem is that there are a limited number of teams with the wherewithall in finance and players outside of England - the current Rabo set up is all that is sustainable - maybe at some future point there could be an extra team in Wales, Scotland or Italy but it's a very long way off.
Conversely in England there are enough teams to allow for two divisions or more realistically at least one and a half.
The only way to square the circle would be to ring-fence any B & I league as a closed shop two division set up - with the 12 Rabo and 16 Jeff/Championship sides playing in two divisions of 14 with promotion and relegation between the two. Starting positions to be decided by ranking over the previous couple of seasons.
HEC for the top division plus the French contingent of course and Amlin for the lower division plus the rest of the French and maybe some "minor" sides - the equivalent of the Rugby Championship/SWALEC from each nation plus Romania, Spain, Holland Russia?

Of course getting this agreed would be impossible!

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Post by Portnoy's Complaint Wed 21 Aug 2013, 9:10 am

Gibson wrote:
Portnoy's Complaint wrote:Progress - even if there is no practical change - has to be made.
As it is, there is no tangible HC next year. Just arguably, a Rabo Cup.
The Empire is finished Portnoy. Deal with it. Ye 3rd-div Yanks,  are fast trying to turn Rugby into Wendyball. It will happen by sheer weight of numbers & shekels alone. But deep inside, I really don't think you want that to happen.

But it will. End of game as we love it. Then it will become a Wendyball Franchise Circus.

As for your temporary and convenient, new,  NH  RU bestest mates in crime - the French... The hapless English & Welsh, and to a lesser extent,  the Irish,  are busy feeding their Sugar Daddy rich club-game right now. And they will shaft ye lot the 1st chance they get. And ye lot will shaft them right back. The Sugar-Daddies will disappear... And God's People will suffer yet again. Ah well, that's  the way of the Corporate World you so love and engender.

Forgive them Allah, for they know not what they do.

Gawrd Bless America. OK
Gibbo, my friend (how the feck are ye?) you put the history book in backwards through the truth machine. The Rabo fundamentalists are the ones who have swallowed Uncle Sam's perverted and distorted proto-capitalist doctrines by disallowing competition via blatant anti-trust mechanisms.
Remember, as the good book omits to tell us, the rich and powerful shall inherit the Earth and all shall be lain waste.

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Post by beshocked Wed 21 Aug 2013, 9:41 am

Gibson wrote:As a Leinster fan, there is absolutely no way I want to devalue my clubs domestic league by including 2 or 3 half-decent "Top" Jeff teams (who we always malafuster in the HC anyway), and the rest of the dross. NO way man.

The only English teams I would even consider allowing to join the PRO12 are Tigers and Quins. 2nd division  Munster and Leinster sides respectively, if the real truth be told. Hence the BT "we want our ball back" deal.  

Mad idea. You should be shot without a blindfold, because you don't need one.

Please don't take me wrong. OK
If that's the case why do bar Ulster,Leinster and Munster, Pro12 sides struggle in the HC?

Last season the Scottish sides could only muster 1 win in 12 (that was vs Saints who were chasing the bonus point).

The Welsh regions only 3 wins and 1 draw in 18 matches.

The Italians 1 win in 11 matches.

The English clubs did better than the Irish ones too - with 3 pool winners - 2 quarter finalists and 1 semifinalist compared to 1 pool winner, 1 pool runner up - 1 quarter finalist and 1 semi finalist.

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Post by Poorfour Wed 21 Aug 2013, 9:51 am

It's one of the truisms of the internet that any debate about European rugby will almost instantaneously result in accusations that the English clubs are trying to ruin the game for the sake of shekels. And yes, to some extent it *is* about money. We have a professional game, folks, and that's what makes European club competition possible at all. No money = no games.

The issue we have right now is that the union-based set up of the ERC means that French and English clubs are at a competitive and financial disadvantage relative to the Rabo provinces/regions/clubs. Regardless of what you think the solution is, I don't think you can sensibly argue that they are not. Rabo teams get more money per team, and de facto automatic qualification for the senior sides.

I also don't think you can sensibly argue that this is somehow good for the competition. Two thirds of the sides competing in Europe are at a structural disadvantage compared to the others. That has been visibly detrimental to the motivation and performance of French sides in particular, at least until last year. While it must have been fun for Irish fans to see their sides dominate the competition for an extended period, in the long run the competition needs a mix of nationalities inscribed on the trophy (and no, that doesn't mean Toulon should win it every year).

The solution is more of a thorny issue. Again, I don't think the facile "you can just reduce the number of clubs if you're concerned about qualification and share of money" argument fails to recognise the reality of the situation. There are, essentially, 3 pots of money available to clubs/provinces/regions/teams (look, I'll just call them teams from now on to save on typing): domestic rugby (plus associated sponsorship, tv and what have you); european rugby (ditto); and whatever gets fed down from international rugby.

The Rabo unions support a smaller number of teams. The domestic league makes up a smaller percentage of the overall pot. Domestic rugby is financially much more important to the English and French teams, because a) they get a smaller per-team cut from the european game; b) they get a smaller proportion of their funding from the international game. However, all three groups of teams need a healthy and competitive domestic competition between about 12 teams in order to remain viable.

Any proposal that cuts the number of teams in England or France (or creates a smaller upper tier who get the money and qualification for Europe) would destroy the competitiveness of the domestic league, and ultimately destroy professional rugby in that country (because the excluded teams would cease to be competitive, run out of funding and fold; once they're gone, the other teams don't have enough support to maintain the league, and once the league is gone, the clubs won't have enough money to survive). No money = no games. If that happens, the Rabo teams will also suffer.

Pure knock-out competitions, by the way, present a similar issue. Teams rely on the (fairly certain) revenue from the pool games. Pure knock-out creates a variability of income that most teams couldn't live with long-term. A bad draw could put a million pound hole in your accounts.

Oh, and arguing that sugar daddies are the root of all evil is also a bit silly. They are in the game because the clubs are not self-funding - which means that they are making losses now in the hope of recouping them later. So in effect they are pouring money into rugby. Given that the Rabo teams are a) getting most of their revenue from European games and b) taking a higher share of the value per team from European competition, the English and French sugar daddies are effectively subsidising Rabo rugby. If you don't believe me, ask an economist.

The bewildering thing to me is that the actual sides in the ERC negotiations don't seem to be able to agree that they need to find a tournament structure that works for everyone, long term, purely as a matter of self-interest. The competition, and therefore the revenues, depend on having teams from all the major countries involved. Neither side is blameless but the French and English have at least followed due process (serving notice) and put forward a negotiating position (you may not like it, but it is at least a proposal). The Celtic stance does not appear to have moved at all from "we don't want anything to change" - which they know from the fact that time's been called on the current format is something that the English and French won't accept.
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Post by ScarletSpiderman Wed 21 Aug 2013, 11:06 am

Pourfour nice post mate OK 

Poorfour wrote: Neither side is blameless but the French and English have at least followed due process (serving notice) and put forward a negotiating position (you may not like it, but it is at least a proposal). The Celtic stance does not appear to have moved at all from "we don't want anything to change" - which they know from the fact that time's been called on the current format is something that the English and French won't accept.
The thing is that just because the Jeff/T14 siade want change, doesn't mean that the Rabo sides should just be willing to accept the changes either, and the JEff/T14 side knew this from the moment they announced their intentions to pull out of the ERC.

As it stands, there are six european nations taking part in a cross-boarder competition, however if no agreement can be found then there will still be a cross-borader competition, but with only the four Rabo nations, so they may be makinght emost of htier time to see how well they can market that as the 'premier european club competition'. The way I see it is that they are willing to move from their stand point a little, however they are not wanting to change to the point where one, or even two of their unions (and teams within those unions) could lose out on ERC money if they fail to make the grade, as that would cause the imballence in the dometic competions that you meantioned too.

I do believe that even if the ERC does end up going the way of the dodo that it will not be for too long, as all I believe that all those concerned will notice how much they depend on each other after a year or two apart.

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Post by Poorfour Wed 21 Aug 2013, 11:32 am

I'm not saying they should be happy to accept change - but they seem to be arguing from a position of principle that doesn't reflect the reality that we have a professional game now.

The English and French clubs have got to a point where they don't think it's worth their while to compete in the format as it stands. What they appear to have offered is the same absolute amount of money for the Rabo teams and automatic qualification for at least one team per union; what they're asking for is a competition-based qualification system (so that everyone has to prioritise both domestic and European games) and that the English and French clubs keep a higher proportion of the money they bring to the table. I suspect on the money front they would probably settle for a compromise that enables all teams to have an equal share of the money regardless of which tier of competition they're in (financial stability is important for everyone).

I do appreciate that the Rabo unions are trying a bit of brinkmanship. It seems dangerous to me. I don't see how a Rabo cup could replace the current or proposed ERC financially.
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Post by beshocked Wed 21 Aug 2013, 11:47 am

scarletspiderman that's where you are wrong.

The English and French clubs are not dependent on the HC handouts whereas a lot of the Pro12 clubs are.

The Pro12 clubs have far more to lose.

As long as the English and French clubs stay united they hold the advantage. An Anglo-French cup would probably replace the HC leaving the Pro12 in the dark.

The Amlin is mostly an Anglo-French affair as it is.

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Post by ScarletSpiderman Wed 21 Aug 2013, 11:58 am

beshocked wrote:scarletspiderman that's where you are wrong.

The English and French clubs are not dependent on the HC handouts whereas a lot of the Pro12 clubs are.

The Pro12 clubs have far more to lose.

As long as the English and French clubs stay united they hold the advantage. An Anglo-French cup would probably replace the HC leaving the Pro12 in the dark.

The Amlin is mostly an Anglo-French affair as it is.
I think this is the point where we both see ourselves (Rabo/JEff/T14) as the ones in the position of power and see the flaws in each others side but not our own. Also the 'handouts', really that makes us out to be a bunch of bums boxing 

- A Rabo Cup would not be ideal IMO, it's boring playing the same sides week in week out, that is why the HEC and to a point LV= are nice as a bit of diversity.
- One of the major french issues with the HEC is that they want less fixtures (i believe), so then going for a JEff/T14 Cup would IMO not really cure the issue. And would these be all the teams entered? If it is then that would make the teams floating in the mid-table of the Jeff and T14 less mtoivated during the league and more motivated in the cup, which would make them in essence the Rabo sides in the HEC. Same issues different people.

We all need each other, and I think all the unions/clubs know that deep down. The problem is that in trying to win the arguement both sides have managed to win their fans around to the evils of the other side. And now any form of a compromise looks like weakness.
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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 21 Aug 2013, 12:28 pm

Spider that's back to the clubs vs unions debate mentioned above. The Anglo-French alliance see it as three leagues coming together to form the HEC.

I won't add my two cents other than the English and French asked for changes pre notice and were told that changes categorically would not happen. Little has been accomplished other than mud slinging and both sides increasing their tv deals. The ERC May continue but may well be in a different format. I understand that the AP are particularly annoyed by the ERC's refusal to offer the tv deal to any organisation that isn't sky and the failure to maximise sponsor exposure.

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Post by Jenifer McLadyboy Wed 21 Aug 2013, 12:36 pm

beshocked wrote:
As long as the English and French clubs stay united
formerly known as Sam wrote: The Anglo-French alliance
This is in your heads lads. There is no Alliance in any shape or form. Both the English and French want change. That's as far as it goes.

No one (Not even the French themselves) can predict which way the French will go.

They are as likely to side with the Celtic unions as they are with the English clubs.

I would bet that there is a lot going on behind the scenes that will not come out until the last minute. Everyone (Bar the English who seem to be shooting their mouths off the whole time in the papers/media) is keeping their cards close to their chest.

Much easier to negotiate when you have not publicly painted yourself into a corner.

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Post by profitius Wed 21 Aug 2013, 1:06 pm

Its not a clubs vs unions debate, its a money debate.


A league involving England joining up with Irish, Welsh and Scottish teams will happen in the future IMO when sky or BT wave enough cash at the teams. Ironically I think it hasn't happened already because of the heineken cup. That satisfies the appetite to see the best teams facing off. If the Rabo and English premiership get too lob sided then I can see the sports channels making a move.
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Post by thebandwagonsociety Wed 21 Aug 2013, 2:15 pm

I disagree somewhat profitius.  I do think it is a clubs vs unions debate.  Because it is a control/power debate and the money will follow the power.

One reason (because there are many) there is so much in the media in England is because there is a fight between the PRL and RFU for who controls top flight rugby in England.  RFU will want international rugby to be the ultimate, so will try to set up everything in their structures to benefit international tests.  PRL will want club rugby to be the ultimate, so will try to gain control from the RFU to shift the emphasis and importance.  Hence the PRL selling their members european tv rights from under the RFU, first step by the PRL to sieze control.

The Top14 want club rugby to be the ultimate, they want a reduction in the number of teams in european competition.  Why?  The season schedule is full already, so they say they want to not put as much strain on their players? Rubbish, they have huge squads and generate significant money from their domestic league.  I'd say if they get the reduction in european competition we will see an expanded Top15/16 within a couple of seasons and these negotiations are their first steps to clearing the space to achieve this.

But we get back to a question I put up here before, what is the reason behind having a european club competition?

If clubs are the ultimate, the reason is to allow clubs to compete at the highest level.

If Internationals are the ultimate, the reason is to give a platform that fills the gap between domestic club competition and international test level.

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Post by beshocked Wed 21 Aug 2013, 3:24 pm

ScarletSpiderman wrote:
beshocked wrote:scarletspiderman that's where you are wrong.

The English and French clubs are not dependent on the HC handouts whereas a lot of the Pro12 clubs are.

The Pro12 clubs have far more to lose.

As long as the English and French clubs stay united they hold the advantage. An Anglo-French cup would probably replace the HC leaving the Pro12 in the dark.

The Amlin is mostly an Anglo-French affair as it is.
I think this is the point where we both see ourselves (Rabo/JEff/T14) as the ones in the position of power and see the flaws in each others side but not our own.  Also the 'handouts', really that makes us out to be a bunch of bums boxing 

- A Rabo Cup would not be ideal IMO, it's boring playing the same sides week in week out, that is why the HEC and to a point LV= are nice as a bit of diversity.
- One of the major french issues with the HEC is that they want less fixtures (i believe), so then going for a JEff/T14 Cup would IMO not really cure the issue.  And would these be all the teams entered?  If it is then that would make the teams floating in the mid-table of the Jeff and T14 less mtoivated during the league and more motivated in the cup, which would make them in essence the Rabo sides in the HEC.  Same issues different people.

We all need each other, and I think all the unions/clubs know that deep down.  The problem is that in trying to win the arguement both sides have managed to win their fans around to the evils of the other side.  And now any form of a compromise looks like weakness.
Scarletspiderman please explain to me how you think the Pro12 is in a position of power? Most of the Pro12 clubs perform very poorly in the HC despite promises that you'll improve. This annoys those from the AP and Top 14 who believe that it's unfair that every year Pro12 clubs are handed HC rugby on a platter.

Most Pro12 haven't got much drawing power or generate much interest.

The three Irish clubs - Ulster,Munster and Leinster are pretty important to an extent but the rest? Not really in terms of tv etc.

Pro12 rely heavily on Ulster,Munster and Leinster. The other teams still hang onto their coat tails.

You say we all need each other. We don't. I won't lose sleep over not playing the likes of Edinburgh and Connacht in the HC. I don't particularly want the HC to die but the Pro12 think they are in a position of strength......

The bit about handouts refers to the heavy reliance on the HC by the Pro12 sides. Frankly you are more desperate to keep it alive than us.

The English and French as long as they stay united hold a far stronger position. Eventually the Celtic alliance will have to compromise if they want the HC to continue.


Jenifer mcladyboy do you know that for sure? You are correct the French could potentially cut out English clubs but then that damages potential revenue of a new competition.

If the Irish broke away from their Celtic cousins then they could get a potentially lucrative slice of the action with the English and French.

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Post by thebandwagonsociety Wed 21 Aug 2013, 4:27 pm

Beshocked, I 100% agree with your last line there.  The IRFU have a far stronger hand than WRU, SRU or Italy (always mixed up their acronym with the french).

But again if Ireland broke away it goes down a club priority route.  I'd prefer to think of things from a Union point of view.  In the long run if you want rugby union in Italy and Scotland, you need to have at least two top sides getting competition at whatever the highest level of european club competition is.  That is a minimum for any national coach to be able to control and assemble a Test team from.  You couldn't see Italy doing anything in the medium to long term for example if they only have Treviso to select players from.  For all their poor results and loss making, Zebre/Aironi are required from a Test point of view in order to try and make sure there is future and sustainable competitiveness in the 6Ns.

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Post by Jenifer McLadyboy Wed 21 Aug 2013, 4:34 pm

I would be sickened if either the Irish or Welsh clubs broke away to do something with the French and English.

The Welsh clubs would be much more likely to do so imho. For political, geographic and financial reasons.

Perhaps the French and English clubs would prefer to have the Irish ones though from a financial perspective.

Depending on the French to row in is madness for either side.

Do I know what for sure? That there is no French English alliance? Hard to prove a negative. So obviously I cannot "prove" there is none. However I have seen absolutely no evedince that there is one.

The French and English clubs cannot even agree with their own Unions never mind eachother.

They both want more cash. Rightly or wrongly.

The problem with going down that road is. If you give in to bullying or blackmail, it is only a matter of time before you get asked to bend over again.

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Post by thebandwagonsociety Wed 21 Aug 2013, 4:37 pm

The continued use of describing european teams as Rabo/Jeff/Top14 is also an indication of a club first perspective.  If people truly prioritise Test rugby as the ultimate form of play, then we should be recognising the competition as representatives each nations Union.

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Post by Poorfour Wed 21 Aug 2013, 4:52 pm

thebandwagonsociety wrote:The continued use of describing european teams as Rabo/Jeff/Top14 is also an indication of a club first perspective.  If people truly prioritise Test rugby as the ultimate form of play, then we should be recognising the competition as representatives each nations Union.
Already got one of those. It's called the 6 Nations - you should try it sometime.

It's not so much a "club first" perspective as redressing an imbalance. At the moment the tournament has been set up from a union-first perspective. That doesn't matter so much to the Rabo teams as the teams are much more closely aligned to the unions than the PRL and LNR clubs are to the RFU and FFR. Not completely (especially in Wales, I understand) but much, much more closely.

So what you have today is, if you're a PRL or LNR club, a prestigious club competition in which two thirds of the clubs entering have less say in the governance, get less cash and are lumbered with uncertainty around which competition they are playing in next year.

Even if it's intended as a union vs union showcase, the clubs are essential participants and their interests need to be fairly recognised or they won't play ball. They are stakeholders (horrible word but I've not got a better one) in this. And the majority of them don't feel their interests lie in staying in the competition, so they're taking their ball (and tv deal) away. For all the shoulds and wants in this, that's the reality and they're entitled to do so. The options for the Rabo and ERC are simple and stark: a) let the competition die; b) find a replacement competition with different competitors; c) negotiate.

Unless they really have a credible option for (b) - which I doubt - or could survive for long under (a) - which I doubt - the choice is even simpler. Which is why I am bemused that they are not taking it.
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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 21 Aug 2013, 5:22 pm

The French have stated they won't sign a new deal without the English clubs. They aren't siding with the English but they will not participate without them.

Jen all sides have shot their mouths off and no one looks good at the moment. To think otherwise is to look at the situation through rose coloured specs. Sadly the end is not in sight as both sides hold on stubbornly. I expect egos are prevailing over negotiation at the minute.

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Post by AsLongAsBut100ofUs Wed 21 Aug 2013, 5:34 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:The French have stated they won't sign a new deal without the English clubs. They aren't siding with the English but they will not participate without them.

Jen all sides have shot their mouths off and no one looks good at the moment. To think otherwise is to look at the situation through rose coloured specs. Sadly the end is not in sight as both sides hold on stubbornly. I expect egos are prevailing over negotiation at the minute.
Sam, do you know where they have said this? I can't find anything on the googlesphere? I think the French are keener to find a solution - McCafferty seems happy to play hardball at this stage, so maybe that is something he has put out there?

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Post by beshocked Wed 21 Aug 2013, 5:45 pm

jenifer you could interpret it as bullying or you could interpret it as trying to address issues with the current system. Personally I think the Pro12 sides have it too easy - too many spots for what they add to the HC collectively.

You obviously interpret this as bullying,money grabbing. Fair enough I suppose. Like the Pro12, the AP and Top 14 want to protect their interests.

The difference is that the AP and Top 14 clubs are much more focussed on the club competition - look at recruitment of players for example and also have bigger clout than the Pro12 clubs.



thebandwagonsociety I don't quite understand why Zebre or Edinburgh for example need the highest level of european rugby. I don't think losing all their games last season in the HC helped their development or confidence. In the Amlin they would be at a level which is more appropriate till they prove they are good enough. I don't see what is wrong with Zebre or Edinburgh qualifying by their own merits. If there is a danger they aren't good enough then standards should be improved to make them competitive.

If you hand someone a HC on a platter where's the incentive to improve?

Perhaps you don't believe the Amlin is a good enough competition - if that's the case it should be addressed.

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Post by Feckless Rogue Wed 21 Aug 2013, 6:29 pm

Look at the compatability issue's the HC throws up. How on earth would they get on in a league?

The French league seems to be so much richer, maybe Ireland and Britain will need to join up to be competitive with them in the future. But I agree with Notch. It could only happen if a group of top English clubs want to break off into a B&I league. They could still relegate their the lowest English team and promote the top Jeff team every year if they wanted to. Can't see it happening though.
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Post by Jenifer McLadyboy Wed 21 Aug 2013, 9:46 pm

AsLongAsBut100ofUs wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:The French have stated they won't sign a new deal without the English clubs. They aren't siding with the English but they will not participate without them.

Jen all sides have shot their mouths off and no one looks good at the moment. To think otherwise is to look at the situation through rose coloured specs. Sadly the end is not in sight as both sides hold on stubbornly. I expect egos are prevailing over negotiation at the minute.
Sam, do you know where they have said this? I can't find anything on the googlesphere? I think the French are keener to find a solution - McCafferty seems happy to play hardball at this stage, so maybe that is something he has put out there?
I would like to see this too and who said it. so many factions in French Rugby.

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Post by Jenifer McLadyboy Wed 21 Aug 2013, 10:02 pm

beshocked wrote:jenifer you could interpret it as bullying or you could interpret it as trying to address issues with the current system. Personally I think the Pro12 sides have it too easy - too many spots for what they add to the HC collectively.

You obviously interpret this as bullying,money grabbing. Fair enough I suppose. Like the Pro12, the AP and Top 14 want to protect their interests.
I don' see how it can be seen as anything else. Play ball our way or we take our ball and go home to our mammy's
.

Gestures like running off and signing deals when you have sat in a meeting where it was agreed to go with another provider.

Blatant hardball.

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Post by ScarletSpiderman Wed 21 Aug 2013, 10:02 pm

Shocked, I would consider the Rabo lot having an edge, as if the Jeff and T14 pull out, there is no certainty they will form a Franglo cup, so they could quite likely end up as isolated nations. Where as the Rabo will still be a cross boarder comp. Like I said it all depends on individual view points etc.

Odds are a compromise will be made, dissatisfactory outcome for all lol.
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Post by robbo277 Wed 21 Aug 2013, 11:02 pm

Do it like the Super Bowl:

8 conferences of 4 teams in each.
2 English
2 French
1 Irish
1 Scottish
1 Welsh
1 Italian

Play each team in your pool twice (6 derby games)
Pair up with another two pools and play each team once (8 games, 4 home, 4 away)

Top team in each goes through. Top of Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Italian conferences win their national cups.
Two English qualifiers play off in one quarter-final, winner wins English Championship. Same with French qualifiers. Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Italian qualifiers randomly drawn/drawn on rotational basis in the other two quarter-finals.

Semi-finals randomly drawn, played at neutral locations.

17 games. Shorter domestic season allows for no clash with International season and improves player welfare. No relegation, places in this competition doled out by each union on a medium-term franchise basis, say 3-5 years. National leagues below this competition acting completely independently, but as a bit of a feeder in terms of both players and clubs to be franchised in.

Eventually you could have a couple of "Rest of Europe" pools, or even include franchises from USA, Canada and/or Japan. With 10 pools, you'd play the English championship and French championship games BEFORE the quarter-finals with only the winner qualifying, as opposed to the game being a quarter-final in its own right.

Idea done in 8 minutes. Might need tweaking.

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Post by Poorfour Wed 21 Aug 2013, 11:18 pm

Robbo - it needs tweaking to supply at least 15-16 regular (i.e. not knockout) home games per season. The season is congested because clubs need around 16 games even to approach breakeven. Without a step change in tv revenue or attendances, they can't afford to drop games fr the schedule
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Post by broadlandboy Thu 22 Aug 2013, 12:27 am

If you want an Union based competition why have non eligable players in your teams?

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Post by Notch Thu 22 Aug 2013, 12:31 am

broadlandboy wrote:If you want an Union based competition why have non eligable players in your teams?
Bring up the overall standard, provide cover during international windows, get a star player who can play more than 1 in 2 games due to player management directives, compete with the heavy investment of French and English clubs, bring in new ideas, change the culture, leave a legacy of excellence etc. etc.
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