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The United Rugby Championship is born - starting Sept 2021

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Post by Pot Hale Tue 15 Jun 2021, 12:19 pm

First topic message reminder :

From PRO Rugby:


The ‘United Rugby Championship will kick off in September 2021 as the top clubs from South Africa (Cell C Sharks, DHL Stormers, Emirates Lions and Vodacom Bulls) combine with the Guinness PRO14 to create a world-class 16-team league.

The United Rugby Championship will be bigger, bolder and stronger than its predecessors. Teams from five of rugby’s elite nations – Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Wales and South Africa will transform the competition into a league of super clubs, which will embrace difference and champion its athletes on their journey with the URC proudly representing all of those involved with the game.

Off the field the United Rugby Championship will strive to provide a platform for our players to tell their stories so that their achievements in sport and society can inspire the next-generation of rugby talent and the sport’s supporters to prove that rugby is a game for all.

This game-changing agreement between SA Rugby and PRO14 Rugby will strengthen their existing partnership and will drive greater growth of the game for the benefit of all 16 teams in the league.

Martin Anayi, CEO of United Rugby Championship, said: “Fans have always asked more of our league and now we are taking it to new heights. The United Rugby Championship will see World Cup winners, icons of the Guinness Six Nations, the Rugby Championship and stars of the British & Irish Lions tour turning up the intensity in an exciting new league format. Since the origins of the Celtic League in 2001, the vision has been to innovate and evolve in order to create a compelling competition which would challenge our players and teams to be at their very best every single week. Their potential has never been in doubt and now we can provide them with the arena to be the very best.

“Forming the United Rugby Championship will begin to reshape the world of club rugby. We are creating a league that embraces and celebrates difference and where the only way to succeed will be to match the skill and intensity of the international game.

“The arrival of South Africa’s elite teams and the removal of fixtures from international match weekends will make our league stronger across the board. We will see heroes taking on heroes every week in iconic locations to create an appeal that will be unmatched in in the world of club rugby.

“We now have a clear purpose and identity that everyone associated with our league can stand behind. We have listened and we have answered the challenge set by our clubs to take this competition to the next level both on and off the field. North and south will now collide on a regular basis and we cannot wait to see who will rise up as the first champions of the United Rugby Championship.”

Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby, said: “South African rugby has for many years imagined a future aligned with northern-hemisphere rugby and this announcement marks the arrival of that vision.

“Our teams will be pitting themselves against the leading clubs from four nations, steeped in rugby tradition and folklore. They’ll do it without having to cross time zones or acclimatise while 100 per cent of matches will kick off in South African prime time.

“This is a watershed moment in South African rugby history, opening new doors and heralding a new and exciting era for our sport.”

CROSSING NEW HORIZONS IN RUGBY

This agreement will create a pathway for SA Rugby to become a full shareholder in Pro Rugby Championship (PRC DAC) alongside the Celtic and Italian unions. In a sporting landscape looking towards the post-pandemic future this unification of north and south provides everyone involved in the United Rugby Championship with optimism for prosperous days ahead.

Subject to contract, all teams in the United Rugby Championship will be eligible to qualify for EPCR competitions in time for the 2022/23 season.

In comparison to the Guinness PRO14 structure, the 18-round regular season in the United Rugby Championship will see the return of a single-standing table that will prevent clashes with international weekends and leave little margin for error for those chasing the title. Every game will count in the league which will be further strengthened by an expanded knock-out series that aims to deliver more jeopardy with a full schedule of quarter-finals and semi-finals capped off by a Grand Final played in a destination venue.

The United Rugby Championship will set the stage where the diversity of playing styles, languages and fan cultures will clash across iconic locations in rugby heartlands week after week. The new league will also allow South Africa’s former Super Rugby sides to operate in a common time zone which will help open up greater audiences across the league and increase commercial appeal.

UNITED RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP LEAGUE FORMAT

The URC will use one league table to rank the teams who will reach the knock-out stages and compete to reach the title and become the champions.

Fixtures: The regular season of the United Rugby Championship will take place across 18 rounds with each team’s fixtures comprising of six (6) Home AND away fixtures against their regional pool opponents and12 Home OR away fixtures against the remaining teams in the league.

Regional pools

Irish Pool: Connacht, Leinster, Munster, Ulster

Welsh Pool: Dragons, Cardiff Rugby, Ospreys, Scarlets

South African Pool: Cell C Sharks, DHL Stormers, Emirates Lions and Vodacom Bulls

Italian & Scottish Pool: Benetton Rugby, Edinburgh, Glasgow Warriors, Zebre Rugby Club

Final Series/Play-Offs: One league table will be used to rank teams and after 18 rounds the top eight sides will qualify for the Play-Offs. Teams will be seeded from 1 to 8 and will receive home advantage according to their seeding. A full round of Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals will take place to produce two teams who will qualify for the Grand Final.

UNITED RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP – CHAMPIONS CUP AND CHALLENGE CUP PARTICIPATION

A total of eight teams from the United Rugby Championship will qualify each season for the following season’s Heineken Champions Cup. The balance of teams will participate in the Challenge Cup.

Subject to the finalisation of contract terms with EPCR, South African teams will be eligible to qualify for the Heineken Champions Cup from the 2022/23 season if they have finished in the United Rugby Championship qualification places from the prior season.

All points won during the URC season will contribute to rankings in the regional pools and the highest-ranking team in each of the four pools will earn a place in the Champions Cup for the following season. This addition to the format is expected to add even greater intensity to these age-old local rivalries.

The remaining four places in the Champions Cup will be awarded to the four highest-ranked teams from the single-standing league table who have not already qualified through the four regional pools.
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Post by Welshmushroom Thu 17 Jun 2021, 9:53 am

Good change though as playing each non pool member once means we probably won't see Welsh teams send second string sides to away legs.

Welsh Regions will really need to pull their socks up because for all the excuses they truck out about funding, you can't escape from the fact that all 4 of them got beaten by Connacht who have a much smaller playing budget than 2 of them (Scarlets & Ospreys). It would be a valid excuse if they were only getting outmatched by say Ulster, Munster, Leinster and maybe Glasgow. The 4 saffer sides wont have the playing budget any of the welsh regions have so if they get outperformed by them they really won't be able to say its just because of money.

In truth they are reaping the rewards for not spending the last 5 years really investing in youth and developing players quickly enough. Yes there are the occasional success stories for development but we are no where near the level of development sides like Leinster have and part of that reason is because they really back their youngsters early and give them enough game time each season to really get the hang of pro rugby.

My only concern is with the new format it will probably leave all the teams in it less time to really bring players through as the onus will be on fielding the best team every week. Granted that will make it much better for the fans though and as a TV product.

Looking forward to seeing if anyone can actually oust Leinster from the league domination they have had in recent seasons. Will be fun to watch.

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Post by profitius Thu 17 Jun 2021, 9:57 am

Welshmushroom wrote:One major plus side is the TV revenue is going from last seasons 20 million to a reported 50 million next season.  Clearly the broadcasters are liking this change.

How much of this actually trickles back to the various unions is unclear as CVC will now get a decent cut from this I imagine.  Really did wish they hadn't sold out to CVC so quickly and so cheaply.

This is one deal CVC really will make a ton of money from.

If it's £55m then CVC get £15.4m as their cut is 28%. Maybe the money pot wouldn't be as big without the CVC expertise?
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Post by Old Man Thu 17 Jun 2021, 10:27 am

Welshmushroom wrote:Good change though as playing each non pool member once means we probably won't see Welsh teams send second string sides to away legs.  

Welsh Regions will really need to pull their socks up because for all the excuses they truck out about funding, you can't escape from the fact that all 4 of them got beaten by Connacht who have a much smaller playing budget than 2 of them (Scarlets & Ospreys).  It would be a valid excuse if they were only getting outmatched by say Ulster, Munster, Leinster and maybe Glasgow.  The 4 saffer sides wont have the playing budget any of the welsh regions have so if they get outperformed by them they really won't be able to say its just because of money.

In truth they are reaping the rewards for not spending the last 5 years really investing in youth and developing players quickly enough.  Yes there are the occasional success stories for development but we are no where near the level of development sides like Leinster have and part of that reason is because they really back their youngsters early and give them enough game time each season to really get the hang of pro rugby.

My only concern is with the new format it will probably leave all the teams in it less time to really bring players through as the onus will be on fielding the best team every week.  Granted that will make it much better for the fans though and as a TV product.

Looking forward to seeing if anyone can actually oust Leinster from the league domination they have had in recent seasons.  Will be fun to watch.

I watched the Pro14 rugby podcast where they spoke to Martin Anayi, he was questioned about development of a tier below the URC and he mentioned they are looking at ways to make it a reality. I suspect that will take a form of an ATeam per club, or something like that.

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Post by Old Man Thu 17 Jun 2021, 10:28 am

Been watching a few podcasts and you tube clips, it looks like the general view of the URC is quite positive

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Post by The Oracle Thu 17 Jun 2021, 10:53 am

An interview with the Dragons chairman:

"Dragons boss David Buttress hails United Rugby Championship.

DRAGONS chairman David Buttress believes the United Rugby Championship will provide quality rather than quantity at Rodney Parade, helping them to grow the business commercially.

Gone is the Guinness PRO14 with the arrival of the South African quartet of the Bulls, Lions, Stormers and Sharks leading to a new name and new format.  The conferences have been ditched and it will now be one league with all teams playing 18 games.

The URC has aimed to avoid clashes with international periods – although Wales have fitted in an autumn clash with New Zealand outside World Rugby’s window, plus the Springboks will be playing in September and October – with the hope of seeing more Test stars in action.  That does mean that punters have fewer home games for their season tickets but Buttress hopes the quality of fixtures will make up for that.

"I am excited about the format of the season because it means our best players will be around a lot more than the previous format,” said the chairman.

"There is very little overlap with international fixtures although with camps we think we might miss them for three or four games maximum.

"It is probably the most exciting radical change which allows the best players to be on show for their clubs far more frequently. I think this has materially addressed that.”

Buttress is working on a deal to return the Welsh Rugby Union-owned Dragons to private ownership – “I can't say anything about it at this moment in time because things are delicate” – and believes the new competition presents opportunities for the business.

"I was a big supporter of this format because I think it was about quality of fixture not quantity,” he said.

“When you look at the quality of the South African sides and having our best players available, I think we will be able to offset there is one or two less home fixtures on the basis we will now have high quality games more frequently.

"With rugby being as attritional, physical and gladiatorial it should be about the quality of the game.

“Commercially there will be an opportunity for us to grow. Less is more especially as I believe the quality will be better than it used to be.”

Buttress hopes that it won’t just be Elliot Dee, Leon Brown, Aaron Wainwright, Ross Moriarty and Will Rowlands that are at Rodney Parade more frequently but the stars from Ireland, Scotland, Italy and South Africa.

“We have developed a lot of our internationals from our academy and they love playing for the Dragons,” he said. “For them to miss parts of the season is not great for them.

“From a supporter perspective, when I go to watch games I want to see the best players week in, week out.

“This new format gives us not only the opportunity to see the best players and high-profile stars more frequently from a Dragons-perspective but when sides come and play us I want to see the South African or Irish stars.

“That's why you take the kids and turn up to watch these games. It's definitely good for supporters, these star players are the gold dust of the product.”

After frequent changes to the Celtic League, URC bosses have pledged “this format for at least the next five years. The intention is for the league not to change format again”.

Buttress said: "We have five years of clarity now and I think this has improved and strengthened many of the things we needed to improve on.”

The Dragons will play home and away against their Welsh rivals with 12 fixtures, either in Newport or on the road, against those from other countries.

The top eight qualify for the play-offs with quarter-finals, and home advantage, determined by seeding.

South African representation in the 2022/23 Champions Cup is guaranteed as four of the eight spots will go to the winners of regional pools – Ireland, Wales, South Africa and Italy/Scotland.

The remaining four spots in Europe’s premier tournament will be decided by league placings."
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Post by Brendan Thu 17 Jun 2021, 11:56 am

I hope the 2nd teir is built to allow the nations That need to develop more teams the chance.

My view would be something like this.
SA Region - 4 A sides, Cheetahs, Pumas, Griquas, Nambia.
Ireland - 4 A sides plus top 4 AIL
Wales - 4 A sides, N Wales, plus top 3 Prem
Scotland - 2 A sides plus Super 6
Italy - S12 including the 2 A sides
Eastern Euro Confernce- Top4 Spain looking to include portugal), rest between Germany, Neterlands, Belgium
Western Euro Conference- Russians were looking to fund one with them, Georgia, Rominia

It would work as the 3rd level Euro Cup though no A side team could quailify for the Challange Cup.
To reduce travel the SA conference player home and away and advance straight to the semis (they should be the strongest) 14 games.
Euro side each team plays one game against their local teams (Italy could use previous years standing to pick their top 4) top 4 go into a champions league style preliminary tournament

Something could be put in that teams in this can't be relegated from their domestic league that year so say Ponty could finish last in the Premership but would stay up (just not quailify for the Euro competition the next year)

Round 1 side 1 B&I side 2 Continential
3rds home advantage v 4th cant play own country

Round 2 side 1 and 2
2nd home advantage v round 1 winners can't play own country

Round 3 side 1 and 2
1st home advantage v round 2 winners, can't play own country unless has to.

Round 4
Group 1 - side 1 teams play each other twice winner to semi
Group 2 - side 2 same as above

Semi
SA teams v group winners home and away

Final played same day and venue as URC final.

SA teams 14- 17 games (less travel and more or less the Currie Cup)
European teams 7-17 games (less travel for poorer teams) more likely 15 for winner because they miss rounds.

Allows the URC teams to give the clubs/regions outside of the professional setup meaningful games and chance to build professional setup (such as the SA regions, boarders, Ponty, Calvisano, Spainish teams)

It could also allow the 4th euro league that will happen the development it needs to grow at its own pace while still allowing the top teams like the 2 Russians to qualify for Europe and have 6 games against good teams.

Looking forward to whatever they deciede but want to see more teams in it not just an A league.

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Post by mikey_dragon Thu 17 Jun 2021, 2:01 pm

My only gripe is with Ospreys fans. It won't be long before they're back to bragging about being the best Welsh region despite getting battered by decent teams in Europe. Rolling Eyes

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Post by Welshmushroom Thu 17 Jun 2021, 2:20 pm

If the Scarlets sign a couple of front 5 players to replace some of the players heading off, I can't see the Ospreys beating them. They simply have a better side.

Main issue for them will be if Peel is actually up to the task. Seems a bit counter intuitive to sign a inexperienced head coach and assemble a international squad. Surely getting a seasoned head coach would have been a safer way to go.

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Post by Gicater Thu 17 Jun 2021, 2:31 pm

Has the format been agreed for the first Heineken that will involve the SA clubs ?
Personally, I think it would be ridiculous if the English and French leagues get 8 entrants each, as the quality of the last 4 qualifiers would be well below 5-8 from the URC
Hopefully we may go back to a more focused HC of 16 teams with England and France getting 4 each - the quality would be incredible.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 17 Jun 2021, 2:39 pm

That would be great for 1 league at least. Why not double the amount to the Prem?!

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Post by BamBam Thu 17 Jun 2021, 2:47 pm

Lol let's not start that debate again Laugh

At the very least the URC would need to have their places go to the top 8 in the table on merit before starting the conversation about the last few places in England and France

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Post by Gicater Thu 17 Jun 2021, 2:52 pm

BamBam wrote:Lol let's not start that debate again Laugh  

At the very least the URC would need to have their places go to the top 8 in the table on merit before starting the conversation about the last few places in England and France

Not true actually as this time there will be clear country champions for 3 of the countries plus the best from combined Scotland and Italy - all entirely on merit.

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Post by BamBam Thu 17 Jun 2021, 2:59 pm

And if one of those clear country champions finishes outside the top 8 in the 16 team table, are they still worthy of a place?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 17 Jun 2021, 3:00 pm

It's not merit, it's geographical qualification.

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Post by mikey_dragon Thu 17 Jun 2021, 3:07 pm

Welshmushroom wrote:If the Scarlets sign a couple of front 5 players to replace some of the players heading off, I can't see the Ospreys beating them.  They simply have a better side.

Main issue for them will be if Peel is actually up to the task.  Seems a bit counter intuitive to sign a inexperienced head coach and assemble a international squad.  Surely getting a seasoned head coach would have been a safer way to go.  

I'm not sure if anyone front-row players need replacing, but they could lose up to 6 for team Wales - perhaps they should have kept Scholtz. I definitely would have also signed a NWQ at lock seeing as they've lost two, both internationals. Centre's look a bit weak too. Ospreys are making signings in all the positions they needed most.

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Post by Gicater Thu 17 Jun 2021, 3:10 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:It's not merit, it's geographical qualification.

You mean like the geographic qualification from England and France?

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Post by Old Man Thu 17 Jun 2021, 3:12 pm

Its three professional leagues, 8 teams from each league is common sense in my view

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Post by MichaelT Thu 17 Jun 2021, 3:12 pm

If this league does succeed where its previous versions didnt, I can see the enthusiasm for Europe drop. Wales have proven that success in Europe is not needed for international success, and Ireland prove success in Europe does not mean anything when it comes to world cups.

The Premiership going to 14 teams as well will give pressure on the amount of games.

I have stated before I think an FA cup style random draw would be far more enjoyable. Fingers crossed anyway.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 17 Jun 2021, 3:12 pm

Gicater wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:It's not merit, it's geographical qualification.

You mean like the geographic qualification from England and France?

No. Not like that. Qualification there is by final placings in the league. We don't guarantee Sale or Newcastle a place because they're in the north.

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Post by Gicater Thu 17 Jun 2021, 3:14 pm

BamBam wrote:And if one of those clear country champions finishes outside the top 8 in the 16 team table, are they still worthy of a place?

Yes - because they will have played all of the teams from their countries home and away in a defined pool that will have a champion.

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Post by Gicater Thu 17 Jun 2021, 3:20 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:
Gicater wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:It's not merit, it's geographical qualification.

You mean like the geographic qualification from England and France?

No. Not like that. Qualification there is by final placings in the league. We don't guarantee Sale or Newcastle a place because they're in the north.

No and why would you - we are not talking about regions here.
The Welsh champions, for example, will have qualified by winning the Welsh league within the URC.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 17 Jun 2021, 3:24 pm

Wales won't be playing, it'll just be a team. With potentially a better team missing out for the pity place. Why are Wales guaranteed a team and Scotland aren't.

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Post by Gicater Thu 17 Jun 2021, 3:32 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Wales won't be playing, it'll just be a team. With potentially a better team missing out for the pity place. Why are Wales guaranteed a team and Scotland aren't.

I can't see where anyone has mentioned Wales playing - the best of the 4 Welsh teams in the UFC was the example.
Regarding Scotland, with only 2 teams I think the compromise of a mini league with Italy with 1 place for the winner is a reasonable compromise.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 17 Jun 2021, 3:37 pm

Gicater wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Wales won't be playing, it'll just be a team. With potentially a better team missing out for the pity place. Why are Wales guaranteed a team and Scotland aren't.

I can't see where anyone has mentioned Wales playing - the best of the 4 Welsh teams in the UFC was the example.
Regarding Scotland, with only 2 teams I think the compromise of a mini league with Italy with 1 place for the winner is a reasonable compromise.

So it's important to have geographical coverage except when it isn't. okie dokes. Anyway Europe is a competition among leagues so despite the weaker teams from this comp being gifted a spot or 2 it should be on an equal standing between the 3. France and England are not going to agree to drop teams so another league gets more places and money.

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Post by Gicater Thu 17 Jun 2021, 3:47 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:
Gicater wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Wales won't be playing, it'll just be a team. With potentially a better team missing out for the pity place. Why are Wales guaranteed a team and Scotland aren't.

I can't see where anyone has mentioned Wales playing - the best of the 4 Welsh teams in the UFC was the example.
Regarding Scotland, with only 2 teams I think the compromise of a mini league with Italy with 1 place for the winner is a reasonable compromise.

So it's important to have geographical coverage except when it isn't. okie dokes. Anyway Europe is a competition among leagues so despite the weaker teams from this comp being gifted a spot or 2 it should be on an equal standing between the 3. France and England are not going to agree to drop teams so another league gets more places and money.

'...the weaker teams from this comp being gifted a spot or 2....'
The teams in 5th to 8th from the URC will be far stronger than 5-8 from PRL and we will get more of the humiliations that such teams have suffered in recent years.
It would be the weaker teams from France and England that are getting gifted spots if the PRL and Top 14 get 8 each. A compromise might be 5 each for PRL and Top14 plus an extra place for the league(s) that provide the 2 cup winners.

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Post by BamBam Thu 17 Jun 2021, 3:52 pm

Scenario 1

Leinster win the Ireland pool by beating the all the other Irish teams home and away. They lose every other game in the competition - Played 18, W6, L12. They finish 10th in the overall table

Munster, Ulster and Connacht all beat each other in the Irish derbies, then finish 3rd, 7th and 8th in the overall table.

Are the "Irish champions" more worthy of a place than Ulster and Connacht?

Scenario 2

The SA teams are absolutely awful in their first season. They all fail to win a single game outside of their pool, and finish 13-16 in the overall table

Is the 13th placed SA champion more worthy of a place than the team who finished in 8th? Is the 13th place URC team more worthy of a place than the 5th place French or English side?

Swap the Irish and SA teams for anyone else, just examples

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Post by Gicater Thu 17 Jun 2021, 3:59 pm

Meanwhile in the real world......

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Post by BamBam Thu 17 Jun 2021, 4:00 pm

Old Man wrote:Its three professional leagues, 8 teams from each league is common sense in my view

Yep, treating it that way makes the most sense. The leagues themselves can decide who they send to the Champions Cup based on whatever criteria they want, but the leagues should be treated equally. Just as importantly in professional rugby, so should the cash

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Post by Old Man Thu 17 Jun 2021, 4:01 pm

BamBam wrote:Scenario

Leinster win the Ireland pool by beating the all the other Irish teams home and away. They lose every other game in the competition - Played 18, W6, L12. They finish 10th in the overall table

Munster, Ulster and Connacht all beat each other in the Irish derbies, then finish 3rd, 7th and 8th in the overall table.

Are the "Irish champions" more worthy of a place than Ulster and Connacht?

Swap the Irish teams for any other pool that fits, just an example

The situation of having the four pool winners qualify automatically is perhaps not perfect considering meritocracy, however listening to David Buttress from Dragons earlier today it was important that every pool have a representative in the European Champions Cup.

It is also important to note that the winners of these pools still have to perform better than their pool rivals against the other twelve teams they have in the league to win their pool.

I think the compromise is necessary to to keep all the stake holders interested and happy.

Yes perhaps a team will lose out if one of the pool winners end lower than eighth on the overall log, but consider the alternative. If one pool continuously fail to have a team qualify for the European Champions Cup, you will get a whole Union/ two unions in the case of Italy and Scotland disillusioned with the URC.

Besides, the qualification will be reviewed after two years, it might change then, but looking at the overall set up, I think this is a good foundation to kick off from.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 17 Jun 2021, 4:02 pm

Gicater wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:
Gicater wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Wales won't be playing, it'll just be a team. With potentially a better team missing out for the pity place. Why are Wales guaranteed a team and Scotland aren't.

I can't see where anyone has mentioned Wales playing - the best of the 4 Welsh teams in the UFC was the example.
Regarding Scotland, with only 2 teams I think the compromise of a mini league with Italy with 1 place for the winner is a reasonable compromise.

So it's important to have geographical coverage except when it isn't. okie dokes. Anyway Europe is a competition among leagues so despite the weaker teams from this comp being gifted a spot or 2 it should be on an equal standing between the 3. France and England are not going to agree to drop teams so another league gets more places and money.

'...the weaker teams from this comp being gifted a spot or 2....'
The teams in 5th to 8th from the URC will be far stronger than 5-8 from PRL and we will get more of the humiliations that such teams have suffered in recent years.
It would be the weaker teams from France and England that are getting gifted spots if the PRL and Top 14 get 8 each. A compromise might be 5 each for PRL and Top14 plus an extra place for the league(s) that provide the 2 cup winners.

lol

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Post by BamBam Thu 17 Jun 2021, 4:05 pm

Old Man I think we're on the same page. I think the URC has got the balance right, I just disagree with people coming along and shouting about how other leagues should lose places in the top level Euro competition before this competition has seen a point scored

Old Man wrote:It is also important to note that the winners of these pools still have to perform better than their pool rivals against the other twelve teams they have in the league to win their pool.

I thought the pool results would be calculated based on just the derby games? So at the end of the season, the pool table would show each team playing 6 games, rather than their overall performance? Might have got that wrong

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Post by Old Man Thu 17 Jun 2021, 4:06 pm

BamBam wrote:
Old Man wrote:Its three professional leagues, 8 teams from each league is common sense in my view

Yep, treating it that way makes the most sense. The leagues themselves can decide who they send to the Champions Cup based on whatever criteria they want, but the leagues should be treated equally. Just as importantly in professional rugby, so should the cash

Absolutely, the fact that the URC has five nations competing in it should not be influencing the thinking of changing the participation in the European Champions Cup. Strength in Leagues are also cyclical, so determining who should have more teams in the ERC every couple of years on who deserves more teams will become ridiculous.

No need to wake sleeping dogs, the French and English might just turn around and decide to do their own thing, and before you know it there is no ERC to qualify for.

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Post by BamBam Thu 17 Jun 2021, 4:06 pm

Gicater wrote:Meanwhile in the real world......

In the real world, merit decides the top prizes, not beating the people who happened to be standing closest to you when some arbitrary lines were drawn on the ground xx

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Post by Old Man Thu 17 Jun 2021, 4:08 pm

BamBam wrote:Old Man I think we're on the same page. I think the URC has got the balance right, I just disagree with people coming along and shouting about how other leagues should lose places in the top level Euro competition before this competition has seen a point scored

Old Man wrote:It is also important to note that the winners of these pools still have to perform better than their pool rivals against the other twelve teams they have in the league to win their pool.

I thought the pool results would be calculated based on just the derby games? So at the end of the season, the pool table would show each team playing 6 games, rather than their overall performance? Might have got that wrong

Nope, all points log points earned throughout the season determines the pool winners.

Hence you still need to perform credibly against the twelve teams outside your region. That I think is the game leveller. No use you win all six your pool matches and then take a dive for the rest of your fixtures.

To summarise, winning your pool doesn’t mean you did the best inside your pool, it means you gain an extra three matches as derbies, but you still have to perfomr best during the full season.

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Post by BamBam Thu 17 Jun 2021, 4:14 pm

Old Man wrote:
BamBam wrote:Old Man I think we're on the same page. I think the URC has got the balance right, I just disagree with people coming along and shouting about how other leagues should lose places in the top level Euro competition before this competition has seen a point scored

Old Man wrote:It is also important to note that the winners of these pools still have to perform better than their pool rivals against the other twelve teams they have in the league to win their pool.

I thought the pool results would be calculated based on just the derby games? So at the end of the season, the pool table would show each team playing 6 games, rather than their overall performance? Might have got that wrong

Nope, all points log points earned throughout the season determines the pool winners.

Hence you still need to perform credibly against the twelve teams outside your region. That I think is the game leveller. No use you win all six your pool matches and then take a dive for the rest of your fixtures.

To summarise, winning your pool doesn’t mean you did the best inside your pool, it means you gain an extra three matches as derbies, but you still have to perfomr best during the full season.

Got it, that makes more sense tbf.

Makes Gicaster's "country champion" argument look even funnier. Leinster could win 12 games outside its pool, win 0 against other Irish teams and still win the pool. "Clear Country champion" indeed!

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Post by Gicater Thu 17 Jun 2021, 4:16 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:
Gicater wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:
Gicater wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Wales won't be playing, it'll just be a team. With potentially a better team missing out for the pity place. Why are Wales guaranteed a team and Scotland aren't.

I can't see where anyone has mentioned Wales playing - the best of the 4 Welsh teams in the UFC was the example.
Regarding Scotland, with only 2 teams I think the compromise of a mini league with Italy with 1 place for the winner is a reasonable compromise.

So it's important to have geographical coverage except when it isn't. okie dokes. Anyway Europe is a competition among leagues so despite the weaker teams from this comp being gifted a spot or 2 it should be on an equal standing between the 3. France and England are not going to agree to drop teams so another league gets more places and money.

'...the weaker teams from this comp being gifted a spot or 2....'
The teams in 5th to 8th from the URC will be far stronger than 5-8 from PRL and we will get more of the humiliations that such teams have suffered in recent years.
It would be the weaker teams from France and England that are getting gifted spots if the PRL and Top 14 get 8 each. A compromise might be 5 each for PRL and Top14 plus an extra place for the league(s) that provide the 2 cup winners.

lol

I don't think it's funny for these teams getting humiliated - they would be better off in the Challenge Cup

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Post by thebandwagonsociety Thu 17 Jun 2021, 4:37 pm

Old Man wrote:
BamBam wrote:
Old Man wrote:Its three professional leagues, 8 teams from each league is common sense in my view

Yep, treating it that way makes the most sense. The leagues themselves can decide who they send to the Champions Cup based on whatever criteria they want, but the leagues should be treated equally. Just as importantly in professional rugby, so should the cash

Absolutely, the fact that the URC has five nations competing in it should not be influencing the thinking of changing the participation in the European Champions Cup. Strength in Leagues are also cyclical, so determining who should have more teams in the ERC every couple of years on who deserves more teams will become ridiculous.

No need to wake sleeping dogs, the French and English might just turn around and decide to do their own thing, and before you know it there is no ERC to qualify for.

It will be interesting how that all plays out. In a way, with CVC having their fingers in so many of the pies, they may end up that more steps are taken for the 'greater good'. They'll want to make money from all angles...... or should that be they can make their money from any one of multiple angles, so do they choose a bit from every direction, or move lesser assets out of the way to make space for prime assets.... hmmmm

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Post by Old Man Thu 17 Jun 2021, 4:40 pm

thebandwagonsociety wrote:
Old Man wrote:
BamBam wrote:
Old Man wrote:Its three professional leagues, 8 teams from each league is common sense in my view

Yep, treating it that way makes the most sense. The leagues themselves can decide who they send to the Champions Cup based on whatever criteria they want, but the leagues should be treated equally. Just as importantly in professional rugby, so should the cash

Absolutely, the fact that the URC has five nations competing in it should not be influencing the thinking of changing the participation in the European Champions Cup. Strength in Leagues are also cyclical, so determining who should have more teams in the ERC every couple of years on who deserves more teams will become ridiculous.

No need to wake sleeping dogs, the French and English might just turn around and decide to do their own thing, and before you know it there is no ERC to qualify for.

It will be interesting how that all plays out.  In a way, with CVC having their fingers in so many of the pies, they may end up that more steps are taken for the 'greater good'.  They'll want to make money from all angles...... or should that be they can make their money from any one of multiple angles, so do they choose a bit from every direction, or move lesser assets out of the way to make space for prime assets.... hmmmm

I would think that CVC might leave the rugby part to the rugby people, their focus should be marketing, profitability etc.

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Post by BamBam Thu 17 Jun 2021, 4:43 pm

Based on my experience, there is very little that private equity do not think their people can not improve on! To varying degrees of success

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Post by The Oracle Thu 17 Jun 2021, 5:25 pm

I know this isn’t a popular view on here but I’ve always felt that European Cup competitions (in all sports) are better when they have representation from all of the countries in the pro leagues that feed into it.  Not necessarily ‘better’ in terms of quality, but I just find them more interesting and they feel a bit more cosmopolitan and......I dunno....... representative?  A bit like all of the nations having a song in Eurovision, even if it is a sh*t song and they get ‘nil points’ every year!  That’s what makes it a truly European competition. So I kinda like that in rugby (yes I know SA are not European, but see Australia and Eurovision Wink ).  I think the football champions league used to be similar?  Not massively into it so it might have changed, but I remember even the small nations would be able to send their league winner so you’d see someone from Denmark’s league, Belgian’s league, etc. locking horns with the big boys from the English, French, Italian, Spanish leagues.  You knew they would never have a chance of winning it but they were still represented.  I get the issues in rugby as you do not have national pro leagues in 5 of the nations, hence the URC.  But the new format does sort of have an intra-nation meritocracy built in with the new pools format.  Not ideal, and looks like they want to change it to a true meritocracy in a couple of years, but I’m happy with it for the time being Smile .  Just always felt uncomfortable with the notion of ERC saying to France and England ‘you can have 6 guaranteed places every year’ but say to the ProWhatever nations ‘you can have none guaranteed’.  I think this re-dresses the balance a little.  Again, I know this view is not popular and I full expect an expletive laden rant from a certain someone Smile
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Post by Old Man Thu 17 Jun 2021, 5:48 pm

For me first and foremost is the URC must have credibility in that every team plays every other team at least once and there is a single log.

I can accept the compromise that the Unions want derbies and that in the four regions each team plays an extra three matches vs their regional compatriots.

As long as that remains I am happy.

If for whatever reason they change the format into conferences and that you don’t play every team then is simply becomes another Super Rugby farce and I will lose interest.

I understand the qualification for the ERC, with that I don’t really have much of an issue, at most you would think one team might feel they could have lost out.

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Post by neilthom7 Thu 17 Jun 2021, 8:58 pm

From my personal perspective I am very happy with the new league, it seems like they have addressed some of the issues.

The competitiveness of the new league should be really high. Every point will be crucial and so you should have games were teams are playing as hard as they can every game for 80 minutes.

The fact there is less games than before and not during international periods is great, we should see the top players more and mean we don't see the likes of Treviso during 6 nations playing with whoever they could find in the local park.

The european spots should be really competitive. If you look at it say Leinster, Bulls, Glasgow and Ospreys won their pools you would then have the likes of Ulster, Munster, Sharks, Lions, Stormers, Scarlets, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Treviso all competing for 4 spots.

One of the things I think I am looking forward to is the different styles that will be played and it will be fascinating to see how they stack up against each other.

You will have some big powerhouse packs, some teams that like to chuck it around some tactical kickers and also then the varying weather conditions. You are likely to get a very different Friday evening in Belfast or Galway in December than you will in Johannesburg.

One of the benefits of rugby in Belfast in winter when standing outside is your pint fills up quicker than you can drink it.

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Post by Old Man Thu 17 Jun 2021, 9:19 pm

One of the benefits of rugby in Belfast in winter when standing outside is your pint fills up quicker than you can drink it.

I would imagine it isn’t really a pint after it has been refilling with rainwater at halftime? Cool

Closer to a pint of pi$$ Hug

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Post by The Oracle Thu 17 Jun 2021, 9:21 pm

Genuine ignorant question coming up from me - one for Old Man mainly perhaps, but anyone with knowledge can jump in!  I’ve always loved watching South African rugby.  My 2nd rugby nation if I had to pick one.  My memories of watching SA games on TV is bright, sunny, fast and hard rugby played on dry hard pitches during the day.  Always makes for a good spectacle in my view.  However, I’m not sure when Super rugby used to run?  If SA are aligning to the NH Pro16 calendar for this, can anyone tell me what the conditions will be like in SA from September- May?  Still good conditions?  I know winter there will be nothing like UK winter, but I’m hoping to see some good URC games on sunny, fast, dry pitches Smile. I know Google is probably my friend here, but would be nice to hear from rugby fans Smile
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Post by Old Man Thu 17 Jun 2021, 9:26 pm

The highveldt has a rainy season from around middleOctober through March, but mostly quick showers and then plenty of sunshine. temperatures between 25-32.

Capetown the opposite, mostly sunny, little rain and temperatures mid twenties to 30

Durban more humid, sometimes intensely humid with mixed rain and sunshine.

Highveldt April to May is great rugby weather, sunny, not to hot, mostly mild temperatures.

April May in Durban, great weather, not so humid.

Capetown, not too sure exactly when the rainy season starts, but temperatures are pleasant.

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Post by Brendan Thu 17 Jun 2021, 9:30 pm

By all accounts the qualification process is only for two years then all nations have to agree to keep it which the Irish won't.

I am happy enough with the 8 teams per league.  The top 8 in the league will be a match for the Top 8 in the T14 and better as a whole compared to the Premership.  It will mean that the URC will be seen as a stronger league if the teams are seen as being really strong.

The Challange Cup will be the big one. For years the Pro12 has been poor part from Cardiff.  Now you will have strong teams likely seeing It as the easiest way to win a trophy.  They would be up against weaker teams from England and France.  It is important that the URC teams dominate the Challenge Cup or it will continue to be seen as poor at the bottom (which it isn't).

So by only having 8 teams in the Champions Cup none will get beaten badly (especially once they learn to handle the SA beef who should be more La Rochelle than Sale) and all will be looking to get to the business end. If the league is seen as stronger it goes up in value. It also makes the league have importance in its own right because just making the quarters for Edinburgh or Cardiff could be seen as an achievement in its own right.

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Post by neilthom7 Thu 17 Jun 2021, 9:30 pm

Old Man wrote: One of the benefits of rugby in Belfast in winter when standing outside is your pint fills up quicker than you can drink it.

I would imagine it isn’t really a pint after it has been refilling with rainwater at halftime? Cool

Closer to a pint of pi$$ Hug

Well you have to go in and get a new pint at half time anyway. So that you can warm your hands up enough to drink it in the second half haha

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Post by Old Man Thu 17 Jun 2021, 9:34 pm

The most extreme conditions in SA is the humidity in Durban in the middle of Summer, December to February, and the Highveldt can be hot during the same time.

Pitches in the Highveldt can get very dry from June to August, but the URC will miss most of that.

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Post by The Oracle Thu 17 Jun 2021, 9:34 pm

That sounds great to me Old Man. I much prefer watching rugby in dry, sunny conditions. Even your mild temperatures in SA are probably like our high summer temperatures (June, July, August here)! Not sure why we persevere with Winter rugby here. Tradition mainly. Lots of youngsters/some adults switch to summer sports such as cricket when the winter sports season is over. But many rugby games are virtual write offs due to the weather in the UK/Ireland from December to February! Those 6-6 mud baths where you can’t make out who is on which side must be hard to watch even for the real purists.
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Post by Old Man Thu 17 Jun 2021, 9:35 pm

Yep, it is unlikely that you will encounter mud baths here, I would dare to suggest 75% of matches here will be in dry weather

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