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How the 'ruthless' Premiership is punching far above its weight

By Chris Jones
Marcus Smith of Harlequins gives comfort to Maxime Lucu of UBB after their victory after the Investec Champions Cup Quarter Final match between Union Bordeaux Begles and Harlequins at Stade Chaban-Delmas on April 13, 2024 in Bordeaux, France. (Photo by Lionel Hahn/Getty Images)

Gloucester boss George Skivington believes the success of Premiership clubs in the Investec Champions Cup and the European Challenge Cup proves the league is more “ruthless” than people realise.


The Premiership sides cannot compete against the big-spending French clubs, while the Irish provinces have the ability to bring in world-class players with Leinster signing Jordie Barrett, the All Black star, to highlight their buying power having also taken RG Snyman, the World Cup-winning Springbok lock, from arch-rivals Munster.

However, Northampton Saints and Harlequins are in the last four of the Champions Cup while Gloucester will have home advantage in their Challenge Cup semi-final against Benetton.

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Springbok legend Victor Matfield gives his verdict on Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White

Springbok legend Victor Matfield said the Bulls are starting to reap the rewards of Jake White’s planning, including the development of some future Springboks.

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Springbok legend Victor Matfield gives his verdict on Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White

Springbok legend Victor Matfield said the Bulls are starting to reap the rewards of Jake White’s planning, including the development of some future Springboks.

English rugby’s top clubs are operating with a £5m salary cap that will rise to £6.4m next season which means they will still lag behind the financial strength of the Top 14 which has attracted a raft of England players including Jack Willis, Henry Arundell, Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola.

Skivington said: “There is a lot more money in other competitions and the French and Irish have an advantage.

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“But, I think people underestimate how tough the Premiership is as a competition. It is absolutely ruthless and you have seen this season that if you win or lose a couple of games is the difference between where we sit right now (ninth) and having an opportunity to be in the playoffs.

“People underestimate the league and Harlequins and Northampton have done a great job to be in the Champions Cup semi-finals and turned over some quality teams to do that.


“The Premiership deserves a lot of respect because it is a ruthless competition week in, week out. We have to be honest about the money and it allows you to have more depth in your squad.

“With Premiership teams, you find that if you lose a couple of players in one position you are reliant on the academy lads or bringing people in on loan.

“It is never going to be a level playing field but in the Premiership you have some really good coaches getting really good value out of players with good systems.

“The Premiership is in a really good situation and we have seen the sharp end of that this season. We can compete (in Europe) if you get a bit of luck.”


Gloucester head to Saracens on Saturday looking to rest key players with Exeter Chiefs and that semi-final looming.



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Abe 2 hours ago
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7 Go to comments
Turlough 6 hours ago
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17 Go to comments
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