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Champions Cup Quarter Finals 2023

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Welshmushroom
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neilthom7
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mountain man
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Mr Fishpaste
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LeinsterFan4life
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No 7&1/2
formerly known as Sam
thebandwagonsociety
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Post by thebandwagonsociety Mon 03 Apr 2023, 2:55 pm

First topic message reminder :

Quarter-finals

Friday, April 7th:
Leinster v Leicester Tigers, Aviva Stadium, 8pm

Saturday, April 8th:
Toulouse v Cell C Sharks, Stade Ernest Wallon, 4pm;
Exeter v DHL Stormers, Sandy Park, 5.30pm

Sunday, April 9th:
La Rochelle v Saracens, Stade Marcel Deflandre, 4pm

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Post by Heaf Tue 11 Apr 2023, 2:19 am

Can't see any issue with it being in Dublin - I believe it's been 10 years since it was last there?

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Tue 11 Apr 2023, 5:46 am

neilthom7 wrote:Leinster have done a phenominal job in building themselves to where they are now, they took risks as well and were rewarded, they were not afraid to take those risks knowing it could go the other way.

While they have a large budget now you also have to recognise the vast majority of their players in recent times come from their academy. It's not like they are just finding the best players across the world and paying them huge money.  They cultivate these prospects through good scouting of Leinster and good coaching in their academy and club sides plus the fact that they aren't afraid to throw these guys into the first team and give them game time.

Indeed they produce enough through the academy that a bunch have went on to become good provinicial players elsewhere too.  Often we all look at Leinster and want to run them down (trust me when you constantly get beat by them like we do at Ulster I get that) or say it is all simply down to money but truth is Leinsters model is probably one more sides should be looking at closer and working out how they can use bits of it within their own model to make them better.  Certainly Ulster could do with a good dose of that although our incompetant management likely wouldn't recognise a good idea if it slapped them in the face.

I'll be in Dublin for that final and I hope to see them there, either way though Leinster v Toulouse is going to be appointment viewing


I totally understand this.....it's quite incredible that the majority of these players were brought through the system. But.....you still need to pay the big bucks to be able to keep hold of these players and Leinster are in a fantastic position to be able to this, fair play to them. I don't think it's a stick to beat them with or equally, something that needs to be denied/defended against.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 11 Apr 2023, 6:41 am

Collapse2005 wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote:Im sure if Leinster win the PRL and French rugby will come together again and try to change everything to suit themselves once again. The way they choose finals in the last ten years has been a bit of a joke really. Still after almost 30 years it has never been held in Rome and been held in England twice as many times as everywhere else.

Woe is me.

Thats about as weak a response as you can hope for.

It's a response well deserved over your own.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Tue 11 Apr 2023, 7:00 am

Ok gentlemen....that'll do.

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Post by Collapse2005 Tue 11 Apr 2023, 7:38 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote:Im sure if Leinster win the PRL and French rugby will come together again and try to change everything to suit themselves once again. The way they choose finals in the last ten years has been a bit of a joke really. Still after almost 30 years it has never been held in Rome and been held in England twice as many times as everywhere else.

Woe is me.

Thats about as weak a response as you can hope for.

It's a response well deserved over your own.

Anyone know how to block posters? never mind figured it out.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Tue 11 Apr 2023, 8:04 am

Collapse2005 wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote:Im sure if Leinster win the PRL and French rugby will come together again and try to change everything to suit themselves once again. The way they choose finals in the last ten years has been a bit of a joke really. Still after almost 30 years it has never been held in Rome and been held in England twice as many times as everywhere else.

Woe is me.

Thats about as weak a response as you can hope for.

It's a response well deserved over your own.

Anyone know how to block posters? never mind figured it out.

Click on the username....look to the right....add to foes list.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Tue 11 Apr 2023, 8:11 am

More of this nonsense.
From Brian Moore in the Telegraph:

"For Leinster fans, they will not have to travel far if their side do contest the final, as the Aviva Stadium has been announced as the venue.

It is surely not right that any side should have four home games, including the final, when contesting Europe’s top club tournament.

In particular, no club should have a home tie for a final. Yes, Leinster are in an anomalous position, given that they frequently play in a national stadium, but it cannot be beyond the wit of an organising committee to prospectively book a couple of alternative venues before announcing a final or, as is the case this and other years, a stadium for a country from which no quarter-finalists have qualified, in this case Scotland or Wales."

Why is Dublin not allowed to host a final in the eyes of English coaches and media?!?! We haven't had it in 10 years ffs! A lot of tickets are sold throughout the year, so leaving the venue selection till the last minute would be insane. Also there is of course a bidding war for the final. How can these people not know this?

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Post by Collapse2005 Tue 11 Apr 2023, 8:21 am

LeinsterFan4life wrote:More of this nonsense.
From Brian Moore in the Telegraph:

"For Leinster fans, they will not have to travel far if their side do contest the final, as the Aviva Stadium has been announced as the venue.

It is surely not right that any side should have four home games, including the final, when contesting Europe’s top club tournament.

In particular, no club should have a home tie for a final. Yes, Leinster are in an anomalous position, given that they frequently play in a national stadium, but it cannot be beyond the wit of an organising committee to prospectively book a couple of alternative venues before announcing a final or, as is the case this and other years, a stadium for a country from which no quarter-finalists have qualified, in this case Scotland or Wales."

Why is Dublin not allowed to host a final in the eyes of English coaches and media?!?! We haven't had it in 10 years ffs! A lot of tickets are sold throughout the year, so leaving the venue selection till the last minute would be insane. Also there is of course a bidding war for the final. How can these people not know this?

This was exactly what I was referring to

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Post by mountain man Tue 11 Apr 2023, 8:48 am

But surely you can see Moores point. 4 home games inc final (obviously Leinster not there yet but likely will be) is an unfair advantage.

This is not aimed soley at Leinster, it would apply to any team in the same situation should it arise be it Irish, Welsh, French, English or SA.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Tue 11 Apr 2023, 9:29 am

I have no issues with the final....good luck to them. But having all the knock stages at home (is this the case?) is pushing it.....I've not took a lot of notice tbh so I might be mistaken on this one.

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Post by Collapse2005 Tue 11 Apr 2023, 9:47 am

mountain man wrote:But surely you can see Moores point. 4 home games inc final (obviously Leinster not there yet but likely will be) is an unfair advantage.

This is not aimed soley at Leinster, it would apply to any team in the same situation should it arise be it Irish, Welsh, French, English or SA.

But it wasnt an issue when Leinster played Saracens in Newcastle, or played La Rochelle in Marseilles? Would it make any difference if the final was in Thomond park or Raven Hill?


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Post by Maine man Tue 11 Apr 2023, 9:55 am

Croke Park? Let the masses in!

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Tue 11 Apr 2023, 9:57 am

Collapse2005 wrote:
mountain man wrote:But surely you can see Moores point. 4 home games inc final (obviously Leinster not there yet but likely will be) is an unfair advantage.

This is not aimed soley at Leinster, it would apply to any team in the same situation should it arise be it Irish, Welsh, French, English or SA.

But it wasnt an issue when Leinster played Saracens in Newcastle, or played La Rochelle in Marseilles? Would it make any difference if the final was in Thomond park or Raven Hill?


I get your point, but Newcastle is hardly a home game for Saracens.....it's arguably easier to get there from Dublin than it is from Hendon and probably has more Leinster fans locally too.

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Post by mountain man Tue 11 Apr 2023, 9:57 am

Well my opinion is any team of any nationality having 4 home ties is an unfair advantage and I'm surprised if some don't see that.
I'm right this minute listening to BBC podcast and they are discussing this very point.

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Post by doctor_grey Tue 11 Apr 2023, 10:00 am

I think if a team wins out in the early games why not have the knock-out games at home?  Home field advantage is earned, no?

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Post by mountain man Tue 11 Apr 2023, 10:03 am

doctor_grey wrote:I think if a team wins out in the early games why not have the knock-out games at home?  Home field advantage is earned, no?

Yes that is a valid argument but doesn't alter fact that home ties are a massive advantage.

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Post by Oakdene Tue 11 Apr 2023, 10:13 am

Bring it back to pools of 4 & then have an open knock out competition without seedings.

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Post by Collapse2005 Tue 11 Apr 2023, 10:20 am

doctor_grey wrote:I think if a team wins out in the early games why not have the knock-out games at home?  Home field advantage is earned, no?

Absolutely. The draw for a home tie was a joke. You ended up getting sides like Munster year after year topping their group but almost always playing away knock out games.

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Post by Collapse2005 Tue 11 Apr 2023, 10:27 am

Sgt_Pooly wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote:
mountain man wrote:But surely you can see Moores point. 4 home games inc final (obviously Leinster not there yet but likely will be) is an unfair advantage.

This is not aimed soley at Leinster, it would apply to any team in the same situation should it arise be it Irish, Welsh, French, English or SA.

But it wasnt an issue when Leinster played Saracens in Newcastle, or played La Rochelle in Marseilles? Would it make any difference if the final was in Thomond park or Raven Hill?


I get your point, but Newcastle is hardly a home game for Saracens.....it's arguably easier to get there from Dublin than it is from Hendon and probably has more Leinster fans locally too.

I think if you play the match anywhere in Ireland its as good as a home match for Leinster though. I think the same was certainly true of the La Rochelle final in Marseilles. Also, I take your point however, regardless of distance Newcastle is also in the same country as Saracens so they certainly had the Lions share of support too. There are only so many flights fans from Dublin can take from Dublin to Newcastle. Its definitely easier for Sarries fans to travel to Newcastle and I expect its more likely other English fans would support them than Leinster.


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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 11 Apr 2023, 10:43 am

Why on earth would Saracens get the lions share of support in Newcastle, they barely do in London.

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Post by Collapse2005 Tue 11 Apr 2023, 10:44 am

In any case there are no guarantees that Leinster will make the final. they still have to beat historically the best European club side of all time who are currently incredibly strong. The final has been in Dublin three times before and Leinster have never been involved. Only one of those years Leinster made the semis.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Tue 11 Apr 2023, 11:44 am

mountain man wrote:Well my opinion is any team of any nationality having 4 home ties is an unfair advantage and I'm surprised if some don't see that.
I'm right this minute listening to BBC podcast and they are discussing this very point.
I'm surprised people don't understand how the rules work. These rules were brought in by your PRL (and LNR) btw. These weren't the rules when the competition was ran by the unions.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Tue 11 Apr 2023, 11:55 am

In regards to the semi final and final. It's the EPCR that determines the venues and they get the majority of the revenue. The reason why the "neutral" home semi final was abolished was due to the debacle in 2016, when teams played in front of half empty stadiums (16k in Reading and 22k in Nottingham).

I shouldnt even need to explain the final. It goes to a bidding process and is determined before the season is started, to give time to sell tickets and fans to organise the trips (in the past it attracted a lot of neutrals).

How can people who are paid to talk and write about rugby not understand very, very basic stuff about the competition?

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Post by mikey_dragon Tue 11 Apr 2023, 11:57 am

First they did the URC, now the Irish are ruining the ERCC!

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 11 Apr 2023, 11:58 am

Why don't you think Moore knows? Nothing in your link suggests he doesn't. You leave it out?

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Tue 11 Apr 2023, 12:20 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Why don't you think Moore knows? Nothing in your link suggests he doesn't. You leave it out?
The rules have been in place for years, so why complain about it now? Complaining about the location of the final and suggesting that another venue could be determined as late as the QF stage, is quite frankly idiotic.

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Post by thebandwagonsociety Tue 11 Apr 2023, 2:46 pm

It's very presumptuous to automatically put Leinster into the Final already to 'trigger' this 'faux outrage'.
Completely disrespectful of Toulouse who easily have the team, pedigree, tactics and track record to go all the way.

Since 95/96 season,

England has hosted the final 8 times, with an English team in winning the final in 5 of those fixtures (the other 3 finals didn't have any English team in it). [15 finals appearances]

Wales has hosted the final 7 times, having a home team losing in the very first of these fixtures. [1 finals appearance]

France has hosted the final 5 times, with a French team winning two of those finals (those two fixtures were all French affairs, a French team made it to the other 3 finals and two 'home' losers (LaRochelle being the outlier final in France, not to have a french final loser!). [26 finals appearances]

Ireland has hosted the final 3 times (twice for all French affairs and once for an Ulster team making dreams come through back in 98/99). [12 finals appearances]

Scotland has hosted the final 3 times. [0 finals appearances]

Italy, has never hosted the final. [0 finals appearances]

Spain, has hosted 1 final. [0 finals appearances]

SA has yet to host a final.  [0 finals appearances] .....


And in the "Champions Cup" era, so the last 8 finals ever since PRL/LNR took over control and moved it to neutral Swiss alps, England 4 finals (50%), France 2 finals (25%), Wales 0 finals (0%), Italy 0 finals (0%), Ireland 0 finals (0%, this year hasn't been played yet), Scotland 1 final (12.5%) and Spain 1 final (12.5%).

So when it's PRL, Top14 and URC splits for equality it's 50% PRL, 25% Top14, 12.5% Other (the heart of Basque Country straddling the Franco-Spanish border) and 12.5% URC.


Last edited by thebandwagonsociety on Tue 11 Apr 2023, 3:00 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 11 Apr 2023, 2:59 pm

Leinster, why complain of it now?...Presumably because they'll (moore will) want to talk about something current. Not sure having a few stadia as options is idiotic like.

Bandwagon, how many of the stadia have teams been playing at home for? Presume the vast majority if not all the English ones were at Twickenham rather than any teams stadium?

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Post by thebandwagonsociety Tue 11 Apr 2023, 3:14 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Leinster, why complain of it now?...Presumably because they'll (moore will) want to talk about something current. Not sure having a few stadia as options is idiotic like.

Bandwagon, how many of the stadia have teams been playing at home for? Presume the vast majority if not all the English ones were at Twickenham rather than any teams stadium?

Very good observation. I've never heard any instances in the past of a club side in any of these countries moving game(s) from their home ground to the national stadium in order to set up marquee fixtures for promotional purposes, whether it be for derby games, Big Summer Kick Off, Judgement Day style events. I guess it just doesn't happen in sport. Why would a club want to take the opportunity to sell more tickets to fans to get bums on seats and maybe inspire the next generation of players to pick up the ball and give it a go.

Where does the money for the ticket sales for the final go? What does it fund? Why do they sell off tickets in tranches over the summer to fund administration? How do you fund the competition itself if you haven't made a decision on which stadia it would be in. Can it be a simple rule, just called it the No-Irish-Need-Apply rule and remove the veil to compl........

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Tue 11 Apr 2023, 3:19 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Leinster, why complain of it now?...Presumably because they'll (moore will) want to talk about something current. Not sure having a few stadia as options is idiotic like.

Bandwagon, how many of the stadia have teams been playing at home for? Presume the vast majority if not all the English ones were at Twickenham rather than any teams stadium?
How isn't it? You can't just switch the stadium for the final mid way through the season. Fans have bought tickets, booked hotels, flights etc. How are we even talking about this? This is absolute madness.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 11 Apr 2023, 3:26 pm

thebandwagonsociety wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Leinster, why complain of it now?...Presumably because they'll (moore will) want to talk about something current. Not sure having a few stadia as options is idiotic like.

Bandwagon, how many of the stadia have teams been playing at home for? Presume the vast majority if not all the English ones were at Twickenham rather than any teams stadium?

Very good observation.  I've never heard any instances in the past of a club side in any of these countries moving  game(s) from their home ground to the national stadium in order to set up marquee fixtures for promotional purposes, whether it be for derby games, Big Summer Kick Off, Judgement Day style events. I guess it just doesn't happen in sport. Why would a club want to take the opportunity to sell more tickets to fans to get bums on seats and maybe inspire the next generation of players to pick up the ball and give it a go.

Where does the money for the ticket sales for the final go? What does it fund? Why do they sell off tickets in tranches over the summer to fund administration? How do you fund the competition itself if you haven't made a decision on which stadia it would be in. Can it be a simple rule, just called it the No-Irish-Need-Apply rule and remove the veil to compl........

You see this is why I got a rap on the knuckles from a mod. There's no need for clasping of hands when discussing this. I'm not even bothered about the run of homes games Leinster have had. In an ideal world with plenty of time (or fewer games) we'd be able to set up Quarter and Semi finals as they do in football and have home and away. It's not possible in such a physical sport to have shorter turn arounds and financially no one wants fewer games so why not give teams who perform better the advantage. Leinster have just got a bit lucky this year with the run included the final which is why the likes of Moore have written about it. That and to my point (and his tbf) that the big final stadia are rarely the actual home stadia of teams involved.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 11 Apr 2023, 3:30 pm

LeinsterFan4life wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Leinster, why complain of it now?...Presumably because they'll (moore will) want to talk about something current. Not sure having a few stadia as options is idiotic like.

Bandwagon, how many of the stadia have teams been playing at home for? Presume the vast majority if not all the English ones were at Twickenham rather than any teams stadium?
How isn't it? You can't just switch the stadium for the final mid way through the season. Fans have bought tickets, booked hotels, flights etc. How are we even talking about this? This is absolute madness.

It may be my mis reading of the snippet you posted then as I haven't read Moore's entire piece but I thought he was proposing a choice of final venues at the start of the season rather than as of now?

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Tue 11 Apr 2023, 3:50 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:
LeinsterFan4life wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Leinster, why complain of it now?...Presumably because they'll (moore will) want to talk about something current. Not sure having a few stadia as options is idiotic like.

Bandwagon, how many of the stadia have teams been playing at home for? Presume the vast majority if not all the English ones were at Twickenham rather than any teams stadium?
How isn't it? You can't just switch the stadium for the final mid way through the season. Fans have bought tickets, booked hotels, flights etc. How are we even talking about this? This is absolute madness.

It may be my mis reading of the snippet you posted then as I haven't read Moore's entire piece but I thought he was proposing a choice of final venues at the start of the season rather than as of now?
Ah come on, seriously? We're wasting time here. No, he was advocating having the ability to switch the venue at the QF stage in order to get a neutral venue. Completely unrealistic and I'm sure he knows this.

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Post by thebandwagonsociety Tue 11 Apr 2023, 3:55 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:
thebandwagonsociety wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Leinster, why complain of it now?...Presumably because they'll (moore will) want to talk about something current. Not sure having a few stadia as options is idiotic like.

Bandwagon, how many of the stadia have teams been playing at home for? Presume the vast majority if not all the English ones were at Twickenham rather than any teams stadium?

Very good observation.  I've never heard any instances in the past of a club side in any of these countries moving  game(s) from their home ground to the national stadium in order to set up marquee fixtures for promotional purposes, whether it be for derby games, Big Summer Kick Off, Judgement Day style events. I guess it just doesn't happen in sport. Why would a club want to take the opportunity to sell more tickets to fans to get bums on seats and maybe inspire the next generation of players to pick up the ball and give it a go.

Where does the money for the ticket sales for the final go? What does it fund? Why do they sell off tickets in tranches over the summer to fund administration? How do you fund the competition itself if you haven't made a decision on which stadia it would be in. Can it be a simple rule, just called it the No-Irish-Need-Apply rule and remove the veil to compl........

You see this is why I got a rap on the knuckles from a mod. There's no need for clasping of hands when discussing this. I'm not even bothered about the run of homes games Leinster have had. In an ideal world with plenty of time (or fewer games) we'd be able to set up Quarter and Semi finals as they do in football and have home and away. It's not possible in such a physical sport to have shorter turn arounds and financially no one wants fewer games so why not give teams who perform better the advantage. Leinster have just got a bit lucky this year with the run included the final which is why the likes of Moore have written about it. That and to my point (and his tbf) that the big final stadia are rarely the actual home stadia of teams involved.

You know what, you're right. I could have put my point across better.

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Post by Welshmushroom Tue 11 Apr 2023, 4:38 pm

I personally think the issue is not how the home draws are decided. At the end of the day every team had a chance of getting those home draws but didn't perform in the qualifying pool stages.

The real issue has been the format. English rugby and French Top14 shouldn't be getting 8 qualifiers to the Champions Cup. The last few seasons we have seen aside from the actual teams with history (and La Rochelle) most the other entrants haven't even tried to qualify for the last stages in either Champions or Challenge Cup.

I really think the Challenge Cup should be totally abandoned at this point. I just can't see how sides really make money participating in this tournament when you consider the massive travel costs attached. As for the Champions Cup it should be a 16 team tournament with 4 pools of 4 teams with England and France providing 4 teams each. One of the prime failings of the EPCR has been to water down the quality of qualifying teams. If the Premiership really does go down to a 10 team league should they really be getting 8 for Champions Cup rugby?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 11 Apr 2023, 5:01 pm

Welshmushroom wrote:I personally think the issue is not how the home draws are decided.  At the end of the day every team had a chance of getting those home draws but didn't perform in the qualifying pool stages.

The real issue has been the format.  English rugby and French Top14 shouldn't be getting 8 qualifiers to the Champions Cup.  The last few seasons we have seen aside from the actual teams with history (and La Rochelle) most the other entrants haven't even tried to qualify for the last stages in either Champions or Challenge Cup.  

I really think the Challenge Cup should be totally abandoned at this point.  I just can't see how sides really make money participating in this tournament when you consider the massive travel costs attached.  As for the Champions Cup it should be a 16 team tournament with 4 pools of 4 teams with England and France providing 4 teams each.  One of the prime failings of the EPCR has been to water down the quality of qualifying teams.  If the Premiership really does go down to a 10 team league should they really be getting 8 for Champions Cup rugby?

So 4 teams from 2 of the leagues and then 8 from the other. Yeah, no.

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Post by Maine man Tue 11 Apr 2023, 5:30 pm

Personally, I'd prefer to go back to the old format. If not, 16 teams in the tournament going forward. 5 teams from each league plus the winner from the challenge cup.

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Post by neilthom7 Tue 11 Apr 2023, 6:29 pm

Have to admit I'm not a big fan of the current format, firstly we all have 1 less home game to watch since you only play 2 homes games in the group stage so feels like we lose out a bit there.

Then you go into a round of 16 where only 8 teams have actually dropped out of the tournament at that stage despite having played 4 matches.

It would likely be a much better competition to go back to something like what it was and cut out the pointless last 16 ties.  Maybe then you could also have time for a 2 legged semi final that way the higher seeds still get home advantage in the quarters that they have earned during the group stage.

Final kind of needs to be specified before the season, rugby simply isn't big enough to decide on a final location at the quarter final stage that would only give a month to sell tickets.  As has been noted a lot of neutrals buy tickets in advance, I for example was at Newcastle a few years ago and will be in Dublin with a bunch of mates this year, those tickets were bought last autumn long before the tournament had even started.  I couldn't do that if I didn't know where the final was going to be until a month before hand.  Try getting a hotel in Dublin now for that final weekend, will cost you a mortgage.

Just as a sidenote the RDS is Leinsters home not the Aviva, Ulster will also play some matches at the Aviva when they have to for large games yet I wouldn't dream of calling it our home.  Also the NFL has the superbowl at a teams stadium every single year, most of footballs Champions League finals are played at a clubs stadium without so much as a chirp so it's not like we are in some sort of unchartered territory here.

As for Brian Moore well I shall keep my opinions about him to myself but we must recognise he is getting paid to write something that brings eyeballs to thrpaper. He isn't a journalist and so they are paying him because they know he might write something 'edgy' or 'controversial' or whatever. He is also writing for an English audience in the Telegraph so off course he is going to say this kind of thing if it gets readers.

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Post by doctor_grey Tue 11 Apr 2023, 7:24 pm

Agree, not a fan of the current format either. And I agree too many teams. I do like the round of 16 because there are still a lot of games and usually between teams which do not get a chance to play regularly, if at all. Not sure how to reconcile that.

That said, despite the odd format, I do think we have pretty much the best match-ups in the semi-finals. So really can't complain in the end.

And, finally, the date and location final needs to be sorted out early. Too many logistical and marketing issues to deal with otherwise. The Super Bowl is awarded a few years in advance.

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Post by Unclear Tue 11 Apr 2023, 8:10 pm

Neil, Doc, you should be banned from here Very Happy

Reasonable opinions, no outrage, how is that going to encourage traffic?

For me the most disappointing thing is that Moore chose to write a "negative" story when there was scope to celebrate some great rugby that was played in the quarters.

Is the format great? Definitely not. Is it always "them uns" fault? Absolutely. But is it still the best club competition in the world - probably.

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Post by doctor_grey Tue 11 Apr 2023, 10:39 pm

Unclear wrote:Neil, Doc, you should be banned from here Very Happy

Reasonable opinions, no outrage, how is that going to encourage traffic?

For me the most disappointing thing is that Moore chose to write a "negative" story when there was scope to celebrate some great rugby that was played in the quarters.

Is the format great?  Definitely not.  Is it always "them uns" fault?  Absolutely.  But is it still the best club competition in the world - probably.
Based on World Rugby rankings (not that I put too much stock in them) the Euro Rugby has clubs from 4 of the top 5 Rugby nations, and from 7 of the top 10, plus Italy.  That's pretty awesome.

And this is why we don't need a world club competition. We're already almost there.

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Post by Welshmushroom Wed 12 Apr 2023, 7:54 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:
Welshmushroom wrote:I personally think the issue is not how the home draws are decided.  At the end of the day every team had a chance of getting those home draws but didn't perform in the qualifying pool stages.

The real issue has been the format.  English rugby and French Top14 shouldn't be getting 8 qualifiers to the Champions Cup.  The last few seasons we have seen aside from the actual teams with history (and La Rochelle) most the other entrants haven't even tried to qualify for the last stages in either Champions or Challenge Cup.  

I really think the Challenge Cup should be totally abandoned at this point.  I just can't see how sides really make money participating in this tournament when you consider the massive travel costs attached.  As for the Champions Cup it should be a 16 team tournament with 4 pools of 4 teams with England and France providing 4 teams each.  One of the prime failings of the EPCR has been to water down the quality of qualifying teams.  If the Premiership really does go down to a 10 team league should they really be getting 8 for Champions Cup rugby?

So 4 teams from 2 of the leagues and then 8 from the other. Yeah, no.

So based on that I can assume you think the Premiership should continue with 8 entrants to Champions Cup rugby in what will likely be a 10 team league. Part of the issues why I believe the Champions Cup needs revamping back to the best of the best is that half the Top14 and Premiership entrants don't actually add anything to the tournament as most of them end up fielding weakened teams. That's been a major issue for the competition.

Also part of the reason URC gets 8 teams to begin with is that 5 Unions participate in that league and this was a reduction on how they used to gain entrants to the tournament. I don't think taking 80% of English teams helps that situation.

We also need to be honest here. If you took the current side that will likely win the Premiership they wouldn't have finished top in either the URC or Top 14. Based on what I have seen this year of the current Premiership maybe 2 of the top 4 would have finished in the top 8 of the URC. And comparting that to the Top 14 probably none.

I'm not a one eyed fan either here as I do recognize this was also an issue with the URC a few years back but this is why their qualification numbers and process to qualifying for it changed. It would only be fair to do the same with Premiership rugby at this point.

My view is that we need to get back to a Champions Cup that only brings the best of the best in from lots of countries to keep viewership high and not degrade the tournament. As for the Challenge Cup they need to remove that completely as I just don't see any long term benefits to spending that vast amount of travel money for a low quality cup.

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Post by lostinwales Wed 12 Apr 2023, 9:56 am

Oh Jebus the aubergine length measuring contest is still going.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Wed 12 Apr 2023, 10:34 am

Mushroom.....where to start here????

Part of the issues why I believe the Champions Cup needs revamping back to the best of the best is that half the Top14 and Premiership entrants don't actually add anything to the tournament as most of them end up fielding weakened teams. That's been a major issue for the competition.

This is not true. An issue over previous season was when it was clear that sides (from all nations) would not progress, they would field weaker sides....understandable. Less games in the groups was brought in to try and stop this....

Also part of the reason URC gets 8 teams to begin with is that 5 Unions participate in that league and this was a reduction on how they used to gain entrants to the tournament. I don't think taking 80% of English teams helps that situation

It's not 80% though is it.....the premiership was 12 teams (then 13), so it was 66% of sides....we're now at 11 teams due to 2 collapsing, so still not 80%. Personally, I do think 8 sides is too many but that is probably a different discussion.

We also need to be honest here. If you took the current side that will likely win the Premiership they wouldn't have finished top in either the URC or Top 14. Based on what I have seen this year of the current Premiership maybe 2 of the top 4 would have finished in the top 8 of the URC. And comparting that to the Top 14 probably none.

Baseless argument really....there is no way of actually knowing. When you factor in Leinster have a budget of 12m (reported) and the French 11m.........and the Prem is 5m......

The only possible way of looking at it is that the English have one side in the semi finals and 3 in the quarter finals which suggests to me the league is still relatively strong despite the huge gap in budgets.

I'm not a one eyed fan either here

Yea, it certainly doesn't seem like it........ Whistle

My view is that we need to get back to a Champions Cup that only brings the best of the best in from lots of countries to keep viewership high and not degrade the tournament

Finally....a point I can get on board with.

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Post by Welshmushroom Wed 12 Apr 2023, 12:24 pm

I'm basing what I have seen the last 2 seasons in the Champions Cup.  There have been sides from both Top14 and the Premiership who have started with weakened sides right at the beginning.  Under the old format most sides tried to field sides to see where they were after 2 games.

I totally understand the reasoning for why those sides made those decisions.  But what has been clear is that certain sides of the Top14 and the Premiership simply haven't even tried to begin with and focusing on their league as their main focus.  Again I understand given the salary cap restraints they already know that they are unlikely to win the competition.  But because the whole European funding system is based on qualifying for it and places no major cash incentives past that point.  

Now I understand why clubs take this view but surely if the goal of the Champions Cup is to be the best tournament at club level in the world surely it makes sense to limit it to the best teams.

Also my point on the 80% relates to next season in the Premiership as plans are in motion to turn the Premiership into a 10 team league (granted this has not been confirmed as of yet).  If 8 out of 10 therefore qualify you will have your 80%.  Does it seem right to you in that scenario that a 10 team league qualifies that many clubs for the elite premier tournament.  That doesn't seem balanced when you consider the URC has 16 teams in it and the French League 14.  

I don't know what the long term answer will be for Europe partly because of the success of the Top14 which clearly in terms of money rewards is now the Premier club tournament in world rugby.  

But they need to make changes because the last 2 seasons of European Rugby have been major steps backwards given the history of the tournament.  They need to reduce teams or increase the commitment for the clubs actually participating.  But I can't see a viable way of implementing the second one so reducing teams will probably be the only way to increase the standard.

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Post by Heaf Wed 12 Apr 2023, 2:50 pm

Some teams will for sure have put out weaker teams in later rounds based on results, but I'm not sure I can recall any Prem sides starting with weakened teams - apart from due to injuries and not having the squad depth due to the cap?

I'd agree that if the Prem goes to 10 teams then 8 qualifying would be anomalous ...

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Post by Collapse2005 Wed 12 Apr 2023, 3:01 pm

Heaf wrote:Some teams will for sure have put out weaker teams in later rounds based on results, but I'm not sure I can recall any Prem sides starting with weakened teams - apart from due to injuries and not having the squad depth due to the cap?

I'd agree that if the Prem goes to 10 teams then 8 qualifying would be anomalous ...

https://www.leinsterrugby.ie/report/match-report-leinster-rugby-57-gloucester-rugby-0/

I think Gloucester did when they played Leinster. This was in round 2.

No Rhys Zammit, Carreras, Harris, Akerman, Varney, May etc.

It was a total dead rubber pointless match.

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Post by Welshmushroom Wed 12 Apr 2023, 3:08 pm

Leicester vs Ospreys away is one in the early rounds. They sent kids down to the Liberty. Granted they won that day but they didn't field anywhere near their starting 15.

I just think this sends out the wrong message to future sponsor/TV deals etc. It's why I think they don't make serious changes to the Champions Cup it's going to start to devalue itself as a tournament.

Again I'm not trying to shame specific clubs here as I totally understand their positions but if the clubs can't start looking at the bigger picture they may actually harm their future earnings as a collective.

On a positive note I am glad the URC will only have the current qualification system lasting for this season. Nothing has been announced yet but unless Ireland have changed their viewpoint its safe to assume Wales will no longer get a backdoor qualification for the Champions Cup and the URC will revert to the top 8 qualifying which is what it should be. If Welsh teams are not good enough to finish in qualification spots they shouldn't be in it.

My main concern with European rugby is if the Top14 continues its growth trend they will stop valuing the European competition altogether which will drop the quality of European rugby even further.

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Post by TJ Wed 12 Apr 2023, 3:09 pm

But.....you still need to pay the big bucks to be able to keep hold of these players and Leinster are in a fantastic position to be able to this, fair play to them.

Actually there are other considerations - like not being flogged to death, like a good environment to live and work in, like being in a winning team

Once again its a shame that we do not get transparency over finances but its believed that Sexton for example is paid way less than Russell. Some of leinsters players could easily get more money elsewhere. What Leinster do so well is have a wide squad all of whom can slot in and out without disruption and a part of that is not overpaying the top players so yo have budget for the wider squad

What the successful teams do is pay well but not excessively and provide other non monetary attractions

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Post by TJ Wed 12 Apr 2023, 3:10 pm

Granted they won that day but they didn't field anywhere near their starting 15.

Leinster do not have a "starting 15" thats the lesson they have for other clubs. What they have is a squad of 30 odd players all of who can slot in and out of the side

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