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The New European Cup Thread (Merged)

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Post by Portnoy's Complaint Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:59 am

Can anyone provide an update on what is going to actually happen from next season?

A factual update would be welcome. As brief as possible.

Opinionated views not so.


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Post by LondonTiger Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:12 am

Latest I read: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/feb/22/heineken-cup-bt-sport-sky-rights-row

Several weeks out of date.

There is no finalised plan as of yet, but the last meeting seemed to suggest that the 6 Nations Committee would be responsible for the governance of the tournament(s) with commercial arrangements split between the organisers and the competing teams. Plan was for a 20 team top tier, with qualification as previously agreed between the Unions.

Main sticking point is the TV deals. Sky and BT sat down for a couple of days of discussions and as yet no agreement for shared rights was reached.

The other complicating factor is that ERC (who would have no part tyo play in the structure agreed by the Unions) are withholding the payments due to participating clubs as they fear being sued by Sky should they fail to deliver a competition to Murdoch's men.


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Post by wayne Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:37 pm

There was a link to an article from espn, on the Ospreys website this morning, I cannot provide the link, I'm sure somebody on here could. There is a small bit of new information on it, gleaned from a 6N commitee meeting last Wednesday and they are meeting again today

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Post by LondonTiger Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:42 pm

http://www.espn.co.uk/heineken-cup-2013-14/rugby/story/218813.html

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Post by wayne Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:54 pm

LondonTiger wrote:http://www.espn.co.uk/heineken-cup-2013-14/rugby/story/218813.html
Thanks LT

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:07 pm

The final place is to be decided by a play off between the two 7th place teams in the AP and Top14?... Is that some kind of sick joke?

The gap between Italy and Scotlamd from the rest has never been bigger and with regional rugby in Wales in Free fall surely, that place could have been better used then some poor AP team and some French team that won't care/won't be able to win away/will be an easy 5 points when we play them at home.

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Post by geoff998rugby Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:55 pm


http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/mar/17/rugby-european-cup-agreement-reached-paris

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Post by LondonTiger Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:00 pm

LeinsterFan4life wrote:The final place is to be decided by a play off between the two 7th place teams in the AP and Top14?

Guardian wrote:"The play-off system will change next season when four teams will be involved: the seventh-placed team in England and France together with two sides from the Pro 12. The problem will again be arranging the fixtures if the teams involved are still in Europe come the final month of the season."

So England v France for year 1, EnglandvFrancev"Celtic" League after that

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:47 pm

Thats a bit better so Smile

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Post by RDW Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:18 pm

So to confirm, will it be the top 6 Pro 12 teams automatically qualifying? Is each home nation guaranteed at least one team?

Does 20 teams mean 5 groups of 4?

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Post by RDW Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:22 pm

The change will impact on this season, even though there is only 10 weeks left of it. Under the new accord, 19 teams will automatically qualify for the European Cup on merit: the top six in the English and French leagues and seven from the Pro 12 made up of the top teams from all four countries involved in it and three others based on finishing positions in the table.

Answering my own question!

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Post by BigTrevsbigmac Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:52 pm

The ERC is finally being wound up -  Very Happy 

Time for everyone to move on at last.

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Post by AsLongAsBut100ofUs Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:13 pm

RDW_Scotland wrote:So to confirm, will it be the top 6 Pro 12 teams automatically qualifying? Is each home nation guaranteed at least one team?

Does 20 teams mean 5 groups of 4?

No, top 7, and Yes

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Post by geoff998rugby Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:44 pm

BigTrevsbigmac wrote:The ERC is finally being wound up -  Very Happy 

Time for everyone to move on at last.

Yep and being replaced by the 6N committee whose members are pretty much the same people  Very Happy 

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Post by Portnoy's Complaint Mon Mar 17, 2014 6:40 pm

I may have missed something. Are there any automatic qualifiers directly from European competition? If so, how exactlly will any surplus HEC/Amlin spots be allocated?

Also, how will seedings/pools be determined? Surely* the old ERC rankings crediting teams over four years will be abandoned.

*Oops. That's opinionated by inference. That should read [s]Surely[/s] The.. old ERC rankings.


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Post by AsLongAsBut100ofUs Mon Mar 17, 2014 6:47 pm

Portnoy's Complaint wrote:I may have missed something. Are there any automatic qualifiers directly from European competition? If so, how exactlly will any surplus HEC/Amlin spots be allocated?

Also, how will seedings/pools be determined? Surely* the old ERC rankings crediting teams over four years will be abandoned.

*Oops. That's opinionated by inference. That should read Surely The.. old ERC rankings.

I don't believe so - 6Fra + 6Eng +7Italo-Celtic + 1Eng/Fra in year one, changing to 6Fra + 6Eng +7Italo-Celtic + 1Eng/Fra/Italo-Celtic therafter

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Post by Portnoy's Complaint Mon Mar 17, 2014 7:56 pm

Ta, As.
But still no news on the rankings/pools then?

What happens to current HEC/Amlin holders? Is that still at the discretion of the National Union or their league or must they re-qualify via their league position.

It's possible for the HEC (e.g.) winner to come eighth in their league.

And have Exeter actually definitely qualified via the LV?

Unlike the PRL, and the Rabble, I like to find the devil in the detail beforehand.

Shake the bottle and it's still as clear as mud.

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Post by BigTrevsbigmac Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:15 pm

geoff998rugby wrote:
BigTrevsbigmac wrote:The ERC is finally being wound up -  Very Happy 

Time for everyone to move on at last.

Yep and being replaced by the 6N committee whose members are pretty much the same people  Very Happy 

"The running of the tournament will pass from European Rugby Cup Ltd to the auspices of Six Nations committee, with the day-to-day business handled by an executive board strongly influenced by the clubs and regions."



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Post by HammerofThunor Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:34 pm

geoff998rugby wrote:
BigTrevsbigmac wrote:The ERC is finally being wound up -  Very Happy 

Time for everyone to move on at last.

Yep and being replaced by the 6N committee whose members are pretty much the same people  Very Happy 

But according the guardian article (Paul Rees I know) the commercial subcommittee will be made up of team representatives, not the unions. Which is what they wanted.

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Post by Portnoy's Complaint Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:01 pm

At least then they have the recipe ingredients for a half-decent fudge.

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Post by Guest Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:10 pm

How much different will it really be from what we have at present? It isn't as if the clubs didn't have a say in the commercial running, is it?

Hopefully SKY and BT will soon come to an agreement, and hopefully European rugby will continue as a success without further disruption anytime soon. I doubt it though.


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Post by HammerofThunor Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:24 pm

Well the commercial side would be run by the clubs (if the Guardian can be believed). That could have easily been done in the ERC but unions refused to change anything (internet FACT). All of this could have been achieved in the ERC.

The clubs had 2 votes out of 9 (I think).

The bit about the chairman voting on the 2:1 split vote was interesting.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:28 pm

I would have thought Sky would do anything to get the full tv rights to this after they lost the champions league,AP and some premier league games. They don't seem to really be able to do anything about losing their tv rights to sporting events.

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Post by Guest Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:38 pm

HammerofThunor wrote:Well the commercial side would be run by the clubs (if the Guardian can be believed). That could have easily been done in the ERC but unions refused to change anything (internet FACT). All of this could have been achieved in the ERC.

The clubs had 2 votes out of 9 (I think).

The bit about the chairman voting on the 2:1 split vote was interesting.

Not sure that's a whole lot different than what already exists. The clubs were already heavily involved in the commercial side of things. True, they may have more control in the sense of voting power, but then that control seems dependent on all in agreement. Otherwise this independent chairman shall be called upon. Thinking about it, the change in voting doesn't make all that much difference really. What might make a difference is the role of an independent chair.

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Post by HammerofThunor Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:45 pm

As I said they had 2 seats on the commercial committee before, out of 9. So they've gone from 22% to 67%. Pretty big change really. Previously they didn't have a chance of it even being a split vote unless unions were on board.

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Post by Guest Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:56 pm

HammerofThunor wrote:As I said they had 2 seats on the commercial committee before, out of 9. So they've gone from 22% to 67%. Pretty big change really. Previously they didn't have a chance of it even being a split vote unless unions were on board.

My point was more that regardless of voting power, they had, and will likely continue to have, the power of threat to weaken/destroy any competition by pulling out.


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Post by HammerofThunor Mon Mar 17, 2014 10:41 pm

Well yes, so does everyone. No-one is forced to take part beyond the contracted period.

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Post by Heaf Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:28 pm

"The profits from the tournament will be split equally between the three leagues with the Pro 12 being given a guarantee of £20m even if the sum fails to reach £60m. When it does, they would have the next £4m."

Any idea of the reasoning behind this?

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Post by Guest Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:29 pm

HammerofThunor wrote:Well yes, so does everyone. No-one is forced to take part beyond the contracted period.

Absolutely. Any and all can threaten to pull their teams. It's just that sometimes votes go against you, but now that the voting system has been changed, hopefully it will be respected without any side threatening to pull their teams out simply as a means of leverage. I don't have any great hope of that happening in the long term, but hopefully we can have at least three or more years of relative harmony.

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Post by Sin é Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:48 pm

HammerofThunor wrote:Well the commercial side would be run by the clubs (if the Guardian can be believed). That could have easily been done in the ERC but unions refused to change anything (internet FACT). All of this could have been achieved in the ERC.

The clubs had 2 votes out of 9 (I think).

The bit about the chairman voting on the 2:1 split vote was interesting.

Mick Dawson, CEO of Leinster was the IRFU rep. who you'd imagine would have been very useful considering Leinster's success at brand building.

McCafferty was chair at one stage. Then the President of Toulouse took over. It seems to be vacant now.

I bet the clubs won't be getting any shares in the Six Nations Company  Very Happy (like the French clubs had).
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Post by Sin é Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:55 pm

Heaf wrote:"The profits from the tournament will be split equally between the three leagues with the Pro 12 being given a guarantee of £20m even if the sum fails to reach £60m. When it does, they would have the next £4m."

Any idea of the reasoning behind this?

The money used to be split by Union, not by league/club. The Pro12 has 4 Unions.

The Pro12 Unions are going to be hit by this, so they would only agree to it with a guarantee that they would go along with the 3 way split as long as they didn't receive less money than they were getting before, because, as you can imagine.

The Italians & Scots are going to take a hit though now, I'd imagine as they will have fewer teams involved.
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Post by KiaRose Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:34 am

This is the report from the Times (Owen Slot, their Chief Rugby Reorter) - I am copying and pasting it as there is no point adding a link



European rugby officials are expected to give the sign-off later this week to a new version of the Heineken Cup with a play-off system that could be worth about £1 million to the winner.

The Champions Cup will have 20 teams, with the twentieth place in the competition effectively a jackpot for the team who come through the four-strong play-offs to qualify. Financially, it means there could be greater gains to be had from finishing seventh in the Aviva Premiership than sixth.

The news means an end to the long and damaging civil war in European rugby. Heads of agreement documents are set to be signed this week on a structure that was largely agreed at a meeting in Paris yesterday.

The tournament will feature six sides from the Aviva Premiership and the Top 14 in France, plus seven from the RaboDirect PRO12. The twentieth club will qualify through a four-team play-off system involving the sides finishing seventh in the Premiership and Top 14, plus those in eighth and ninth places in the PRO12.

Because of time constraints, the play-offs for the inaugural competition next season will involve only the English and French sides. However, with plans to make the play-off final a home and away tie, the revenue from the extra matches promises to be a lucrative reward for the sides involved.

The value of an extra home fixture of such magnitude depends on the size of the club, but, taking into account tickets and merchandise, would be worth £400,000 or more to most Premiership clubs. Matches in the Heineken Cup also generate about £150,000 more for clubs than those in the second-tier competition, the Amlin Challenge Cup, which English clubs have traditionally struggled to sell out.

One area, however, in which the twentieth club will not benefit is that of television revenue. The Champions Cup is intended to be a financial democracy. All 12 clubs in the Aviva Premiership, for example, will receive the same revenue from the sale of television rights, regardless of whether they are playing in the leading European competition or the second-tier event.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:48 am

"Because of time constraints, the play-offs for the inaugural competition next season will involve only the English and French sides"... I really don't get this? What kind of a reason is that for the p12 to not be involved in the first play off?

Anyway its a tumbs up from me to this new "Champions Cup", although I will always call it the Heineken cup.

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Post by Heaf Tue Mar 18, 2014 1:18 am

Sin é wrote:
Heaf wrote:"The profits from the tournament will be split equally between the three leagues with the Pro 12 being given a guarantee of £20m even if the sum fails to reach £60m. When it does, they would have the next £4m."

Any idea of the reasoning behind this?

The money used to be split by Union, not by league/club. The Pro12 has 4 Unions.

The Pro12 Unions are going to be hit by this, so they would only agree to it with a guarantee that they would go along with the 3 way split as long as they didn't receive less money than they were getting before, because, as you can imagine.

The Italians & Scots are going to take a hit though now, I'd imagine as they will have fewer teams involved.

Ah OK - although as it's a club competition I would have thought the money would be split equally between each club - perhaps I'm being too simplistic.  In the old system did each of the 4 Pro12 unions get the same split so effectively the Italians & Scots got more per team than the Irish & Welsh?

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Post by Sin é Tue Mar 18, 2014 1:26 am

Heaf wrote:
Sin é wrote:
Heaf wrote:"The profits from the tournament will be split equally between the three leagues with the Pro 12 being given a guarantee of £20m even if the sum fails to reach £60m. When it does, they would have the next £4m."

Any idea of the reasoning behind this?

The money used to be split by Union, not by league/club. The Pro12 has 4 Unions.

The Pro12 Unions are going to be hit by this, so they would only agree to it with a guarantee that they would go along with the 3 way split as long as they didn't receive less money than they were getting before, because, as you can imagine.

The Italians & Scots are going to take a hit though now, I'd imagine as they will have fewer teams involved.

Ah OK - although as it's a club competition I would have thought the money would be split equally between each club - perhaps I'm being too simplistic.  In the old system did each of the 4 unions get the same split so effectively the Italians & Scots got more per team than the Irish & Welsh?

I think it was a bit awkward to do that for the Pro12 because of having so many Unions involved in one league. Italians had their own league for the last agreement in 2007 and Scotland had 3 clubs, not 2. As far as I remember, the split was worked out on how many teams you had in the comp. The RFU/PRL split the money between their 12 clubs in the Premiership. The French split the money between the Top 14 and their 2nd League. The IRFU holds onto all the money for the Irish clubs, and the WRU pass all the money onto their Regions.
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Post by Guest Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:56 am

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/club/10704275/Premiership-winners-to-be-seeded-in-Heineken-Cup-successor.html

Some interesting variables in the above article, not least just three seeds. I quite like it as there will no longer be the same teams generally avoiding each other in the pools. The two rounds of three games seems to have gone and kept the three rounds of two, which the French wanted but the final has been brought forward to April, so that the end of season focus in May is the league - quite right.

The twentieth spot still seems a fudge, I note the R12 get the charitable two spots. We will also still get the endless chatter on comparing pools in order to get the 8 QFs, which is tiresome and often unfair, depending on who gets the "weakest" teams in their pool.

All this should have been agreed 18 months ago.

The financials are now evenly split, the longer term nature of the HQ being in Lucerne outside the 6N and away from the IRB, RWC etc in Dublin, only time will tell.

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Post by HammerofThunor Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:07 am

Quick question. January slot supposed to remain but the QF will be before the 6N...is the Jan window just before the 6 nations? Is the 6 nations being pushed back? The First game for England is 6th Feb.

So either the QF will be the week after round 6 or the Jan window won't be the same.

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Post by LordDowlais Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:58 am

From what I can gather, and I am getting this from a person well in with one of our regions, is that the deal has been agreed for this since before the 6N and the only thing holding it back was the translation into Italian, as for the TV rights, SKY still hold the rights for next season and the season after so they will get it, and as for the money, well, for what I am being told, the four Welsh regions are going to be better off to the tune of an extra 1 million big one's per season, so who ever was negotiating for the regions needs a good pat on the back, as for the qualification issues the top two Welsh regions will qualify automaticaly from the Rabo and the other two will have to battle it out with every one else below them, so as it stands the this season, if the league were to finish now, the Osprey and the Scarlets would be in next years HC and the Blues and the Dragons would be in a six way fight with the two Italians Edinburgh and Connacht for the remaining last place.Hope this clears some thing up for some people. Oh and the very last place of all would be between the lowest English and the lowest French. OK 

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Post by AsLongAsBut100ofUs Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:59 am

Similar in Grauniad: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/mar/17/rugby-european-cup-agreement-reached-paris with a good summary:


• European Cup made up of 20 teams: six from the Premiership and Top 14 and seven from the Pro 12, including the top team from each of the four countries involved. The final place to be decided by a play-off. The tournament winner will not automatically qualify.

• Challenge Cup made up of 20 teams, two of which would come from outside the three leagues compared to the current six. A third tournament made up of teams from tier two nations with the format to be decided.

• The proceeds would be divided equally between the three leagues with merit money from the quarter-finals onwards.

• The tournaments will be run by the Six Nations committee with the three leagues running the commercial arm. There will still be a board and chief executive, but the role of chairman will change with an independent brought in from the business world to help resolve split votes.

• Tournament headquarters likely to be moved from Dublin.

• The name of the tournament still has to be agreed, together with whether there should be a title sponsor.

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Post by AsLongAsBut100ofUs Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:00 am

LordDowlais wrote:From what I can gather, and I am getting this from a person well in with one of our regions, is that the deal has been agreed for this since before the 6N and the only thing holding it back was the translation into Italian, as for the TV rights, SKY still hold the rights for next season and the season after so they will get it, and as for the money, well, for what I am being told, the four Welsh regions are going to be better off to the tune of an extra 1 million big one's per season, so who ever was negotiating for the regions needs a good pat on the back, as for the qualification issues the top two Welsh regions will qualify automaticaly from the Rabo and the other two will have to battle it out with every one else below them, so as it stands the this season, if the league were to finish now, the Osprey and the Scarlets would be in next years HC and the Blues and the Dragons would be in a six way fight with the two Italians Edinburgh and Connacht for the remaining last place.Hope this clears some thing up for some people. Oh and the very last place of all would be between the lowest English and the lowest French. OK 
Interesting, LD, does that mean the Irish would get two places guaranteed too? Have only read about one guaranteed place per country, so that is an interesting development

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Post by beshocked Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:09 am

Only 3 seeds disappoints me personally. It could lead to some really farcical pools.

Also where does this leave Exeter? They won the LV Cup - have they qualified for the HC?

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Post by LordDowlais Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:14 am

AsLongAsBut100ofUs wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:From what I can gather, and I am getting this from a person well in with one of our regions, is that the deal has been agreed for this since before the 6N and the only thing holding it back was the translation into Italian, as for the TV rights, SKY still hold the rights for next season and the season after so they will get it, and as for the money, well, for what I am being told, the four Welsh regions are going to be better off to the tune of an extra 1 million big one's per season, so who ever was negotiating for the regions needs a good pat on the back, as for the qualification issues the top two Welsh regions will qualify automaticaly from the Rabo and the other two will have to battle it out with every one else below them, so as it stands the this season, if the league were to finish now, the Osprey and the Scarlets would be in next years HC and the Blues and the Dragons would be in a six way fight with the two Italians Edinburgh and Connacht for the remaining last place.Hope this clears some thing up for some people. Oh and the very last place of all would be between the lowest English and the lowest French. OK 
Interesting, LD, does that mean the Irish would get two places guaranteed too?  Have only read about one guaranteed place per country, so that is an interesting development

I would assume so, but then out of all the nations in the rabo, we are all at danger of losing one place, two instead of three, or one instead of two in Scotland and Italy's perspective so that is three teams less from the Rabo in the HC next season.

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Post by beshocked Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:25 am

Lorddowlais I think that's good news. You'll know what it feels like to have to fight to be in the top european club competition. Plus it will eradicate the contempt that some of us have for the lack of qualification in the Pro12. Of course we'll probably replace these complaints with soft pool complaints but that's the way things are. Very Happy At least you'll be able to say you earnt your place in the HC fair and square. 

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Post by Dubbelyew L Overate Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:30 am

beshocked wrote:Only 3 seeds disappoints me personally. It could lead to some really farcical pools.

Also where does this leave Exeter? They won the LV Cup - have they qualified for the HC?

Tony Rowe was interviewed pitchside after Sunday's final and said that Exeter still have to qualify through the league. There's no backdoor anymore - seems fair enough.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX5Jkz9n9_A

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Post by AsLongAsBut100ofUs Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:31 am

beshocked wrote:Only 3 seeds disappoints me personally. It could lead to some really farcical pools.

Also where does this leave Exeter? They won the LV Cup - have they qualified for the HC?
Altho we would have under the current rules, I believe that the PRL have agreed to change those so it is the top 6 league finishers straight

There are also some other rules about how many Eng and French teams can be in the same pool, I believe

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Post by Sin é Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:33 am

beshocked wrote:Only 3 seeds disappoints me personally. It could lead to some really farcical pools.

Also where does this leave Exeter? They won the LV Cup - have they qualified for the HC?

Its cup rugby though, and really, the playoffs are the only thing that is comparable in a league. But with only 5 pools, it would only have been possible to seed finalists in 3 leagues.

There will also be draws so that teams from the same country avoid ending up in the same pool.

Just for the record, prior to 2007, there was no seeding in the draw (and everyone used to wonder why Biarritz always got the Italian team)!


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Post by LondonTiger Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:33 am

LordDowlais wrote:From what I can gather, and I am getting this from a person well in with one of our regions, is that the deal has been agreed for this since before the 6N and the only thing holding it back was the translation into Italian, as for the TV rights, SKY still hold the rights for next season and the season after so they will get it,

Surely Sky have a contract with the soon to be defunct ERC? Everything seems to indicate that for UK viewers we will be watching on Sky and BT next season. Both of these companies want as many English club matches as possible as for them they are the biggest money makers.

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Post by LordDowlais Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:34 am

beshocked wrote:Lorddowlais I think that's good news. You'll know what it feels like to have to fight to be in the top european club competition. Plus it will eradicate the contempt that some of us have for the lack of qualification in the Pro12. Of course we'll probably replace these complaints with soft pool complaints but that's the way things are. Very Happy At least you'll be able to say you earnt your place in the HC fair and square. 

It really isn't that much difference to how the four Welsh regions qualify now though, as long as you are above the other Welsh regions you will qualify, except there is now only two spaces instead of three, if you are the third placed Welsh region, you just have to make sure that you finsh above the rest, so as it stands the Blues would need to finsh above the Dragons, as per the last few years, and Connacht, Edinbrugh, Treviso and Zebre, if all four regions were propping up the rabo the we would still get two regions in the HC the bottom two would then go into what ever other competitions the powers to be invent.

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Post by Irish Londoner Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:59 am

Does this mean the end to any further proposlals for the Wesh clubs leaving the R12 and going into the Jeff?
Regarding the TV rights, I assume (hope) there'll be some sort of compromise maybe along the lines of BT getting the English clubs home games and SKY the away ones.

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Post by Heaf Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:07 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
beshocked wrote:Lorddowlais I think that's good news. You'll know what it feels like to have to fight to be in the top european club competition. Plus it will eradicate the contempt that some of us have for the lack of qualification in the Pro12. Of course we'll probably replace these complaints with soft pool complaints but that's the way things are. Very Happy At least you'll be able to say you earnt your place in the HC fair and square. 

It really isn't that much difference to how the four Welsh regions qualify now though, as long as you are above the other Welsh regions you will qualify, except there is now only two spaces instead of three, if you are the third placed Welsh region, you just have to make sure that you finsh above the rest, so as it stands the Blues would need to finsh above the Dragons, as per the last few years, and Connacht, Edinbrugh, Treviso and Zebre, if all four regions were propping up the rabo the we would still get two regions in the HC the bottom two would then go into what ever other competitions the powers to be invent.

I thought only the top team from the 4 unions in the Pro12 will qualify irrespective of league position and then the remaining places are based on league position?

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