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'Global club competition' a possibility says EPCR chairman

By Ian Cameron
Henry Slade /PA

EPCR Chairman Simon Halliday has confirmed that the three main northern hemisphere leagues have agreed a further eight years of European rugby competition, although the inclusion of South African clubs in any future tournaments is still up in the air.

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Halliday also said that the possibility of a global club competition is something that could be on the table.

The Bulls, Stormers, Sharks and Lions are set to join an expanded PRO16 tournament, a move which potentially creates an opportunity for the EPCR to bring those franchises into a wider, two continent inter-club competition.

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The sides were scheduled to face PRO14 opposition over the course of April and May in the new-fangled Rainbow Cup, but the lack of a European base to play out of due to the concerns around Covid-19 have meant that any inter-continental games have been ruled out.

Speaking to BT Sports, Halliday admitted that the organisation was yet to come to an agreement around the inclusion of the South African franchises in the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup.

“All of our stakeholders are changing and improving, so the opportunity that could be presented to us through the South African franchises coming in to make it a PRO16, that’s not agreed yet, but the debate is very advanced.

“The opportunity to look at global club competition at some point in the future, all of these things are open for us to look at and develop and make a reality.

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“Fans are going to be more excited about that opportunity in years to come.”

Over 38 million fans watched the 2019/20 season in the UK, Ireland and France alone, up 53 per cent on the previous season.

 

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Shaylen 2 hours ago
Jack Willis' Champions Cup masterclass proves English eligibility rules need a rethink

If France, Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland got together and all changed their eligibility laws in the same way SA has it would be absolutely bonkers. All players from all nations involved in Europe would be fair game as would their coaches. The investment in rugby would be supercharged as teams would rush to create dream teams. Transfer markets would be super charged, salary caps may change, private investment would grow as rich backers first buy clubs and then put money into their clubs in an effort to land the best players. The richest clubs and franchises would benefit most but money and players would move across borders at a steady flow. Suddenly countries like Wales and Scotland would have a much larger pool of players to select from who would be developed and improved in systems belonging to their rivals within superstar squads while their clubs receive large sums in the transfer market. The Six Nations would experience a big boost as the best players become available all the time. The Champions cup would become even more fiercely contested as the dream teams clash. Fan engagement would grow as fans would follow their favourite players creating interest in the game across the continent. Transfer markets and windows would become interesting events in themselves, speculation would drive it and rumours of big transfers and interest in players would spread. All of this is speculation and much of it would not eventuate straight away but just like in football the spread of players and talent would create these conditions over time. The transfer markets in European football is proof of this. Football had the same club vs country debate eons ago and favoured an open system. This has made it the largest game in the world with global interest and big money. Rugby needs to embrace this approach in the long run as well

12 Go to comments
J
Jon 8 hours ago
Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt

This is a bit dramatic for me, I think the Rebels and Force cultures would be very strong, and if a player is chosen from either, you can be confident they are in a good head space and ready. Whether they quite have the technical or tactical foundations of the other two states is where one would way their risk of selection. I see no need for Schmidt to worry about that risk in this squad. The main reason I could see a predominance of players from Brumbies and Reds, is simple cohesion. What might the coaching group make of what’s lacking in the Tahs, and to a lesser extent Rebels and Force’s, franchise? Certainly sides (players) that are running irish plays like we saw from that lovely McDermott long ball with have a head start. I hope the players can continue it at International level. Really liked what I saw of Wright (don’t know player focus and just hadn’t seen a lot of him anyway) in that game, can see him being a glue in a Wallaby side too. A with the similar worry of selecting players like Ryan, I think it unfounded to worry so much about forward balance at the moment. Including both Wright and Skelton in the same lineout is not going to lose you games gainst Wales. Nor will any unknown weakenss Wales might find in Ryan be exploited to any great extent. It is the perfect time to introduce such a young player. What other shortcuts might Schmidt want to make now, just a year out from hosting BIL? When Gamble came on the scene I thought he had a Pocock ability to break game apart along with performing the role of a openside well. I would be very keen to drop Leota/Hooper for Gamble, and in your squad make up, include Uru as a lock. Did you forget to remove Vunivalu from your team? Would you have Meafou in your squad if you could?

114 Go to comments
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FEATURE Jack Willis' Champions Cup masterclass proves English eligibility rules need a rethink Jack Willis' Champions Cup masterclass proves English eligibility rules need a rethink
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