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B&I League debate 'deflection tactic'

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British and Irish League debate is dismissed as a deflection tactic

Ospreys chairman Rob Davies has created quite a discussion this past week by saying that there will be a British and Irish League in place come 2022. 

This is a topic that has been discussed for years and flares up from time to time with advocates on either side of the debate. 

The Welsh regions have often been the most staunchly in favour of such a league, while English sides have been the strongest opponents. Since Davies’ comments last Friday, this debate has ignited once again. 

While the Welsh regions struggle financially and would benefit hugely from the investment that would come with this new league, Davies’ comments have been dismissed by many as a deflection tactic. 

The chairman endured a tough time last week, as the Ospreys were grilled for being rather vague regarding their head coach Allen Clarke.

Davies has since revealed that Clarke remains an employee at the Liberty Stadium but no longer has a coaching role – and will remain employed until the legal situation at the region is resolved. 

Former Wales head coach Mike Ruddock has come in since then on a short-term consultancy role, but the situation regarding Clarke remains nebulous. 

The management of the region had already come under fire prior to the coaching debacle, so nothing has not helped their cause in the past week. Therefore, talk about a British and Irish League would be the perfect way for Davies to skirt around any criticism he may face.  

Whether this was a case of deflection or not, it does not mean that Davies was not telling the truth, although the timing means some have said that his comments need to be taken with a pinch of salt. 

What it has undoubtedly done is start this discussion again, particularly regarding the practicalities of such a league, the future of the Champions Cup, and what will happen to the Italian and South African teams that are currently in the PRO14.

While this would be one of the defining changes made to northern hemisphere rugby in the professional era, many are not getting ahead of themselves yet.  

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British and Irish League debate is dismissed as a deflection tactic