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Adam Hastings: 'When you're injured, you question a lot of things'

Adam Hastings has recovered from two spectacularly ill-timed injuries to target a place in Scotland's Rugby World Cup squad

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There's no smoke without fire - Andy Goode

By Andy Goode
London Irish v Wasps – Gallagher Premiership – Brentford Community Stadium

The PR departments may have denied the stories but it’s been another bad week for the Premiership with financial headlines about two more clubs and there’s no smoke without fire.


The reported US takeover at London Irish may well materialise this week but having to insist that players and staff will be paid on time is never a good sign and the devil will be in the detail.

Mick Crossan has been looking to offload the club for ages and even said he’d give it away for free last year yet there still haven’t been any takers until now so it’ll be interesting to see what the deal looks like and it’s fair to be sceptical at this stage.

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There aren’t exactly people queuing up to buy Premiership clubs at the moment, given they aren’t turning a profit and there is a lot of uncertainty around, and the Exiles have debts of over £30 million.

Of course, they aren’t on their own and it was interesting to see Bath releasing their financial information for 2022 this week with a top line about them generating £19.8 million in revenue and the all-important detail that they are “currently loss-making” buried further down.

Bath have Bruce Craig so there isn’t thought to be concern about them but you have to wonder how long owners like him are going to prepared to pump money in for and continue to lose money.


Creating a system that is financially viable and sustainable is obviously easier said than done but perhaps a model more similar to the Irish one involving central contracts, which was unthinkable not so long ago, will become a reality in the not too distant future.

Newcastle have been spending nowhere near the salary cap for a long time now but have been cutting costs even more, with front rowers George McGuigan and Trevor Davison and head coach Dave Walder all departing recently, and they have been forced to deny reports they’re preparing for voluntary relegation.

There’s no smoke without fire though and I could see it happening. To be honest, you couldn’t blame them if they did want to drop out temporarily and leave a 10-team league as long as there was a pathway for them to return.

Premiership Rugby CEO Simon Massie-Taylor is on record as saying “people have recognised that 10 is an optimal number” and someone has to drop out if that is to come to fruition. The key is for the mooted 10-team second tier to look better than it does at the moment.


London Irish and Newcastle aren’t the only clubs with concerns over them, though, and any clubs that don’t own their ground are more susceptible to difficulties than others.

Sale have been going great guns on the pitch this season but they made a loss into several millions in their latest accounts and could be looking over their shoulder, while Exeter seem to be cutting back and even Leicester needed a cash injection a couple of months ago.

When the biggest club in the country, which attracts crowds of over 20,000 for every home game, needs £13 million to be pumped in swiftly to avoid going into administration you know the lay of the land isn’t good.

CVC invested in the Premiership years ago now, and have since struck similar deals with the Six Nations, URC and other rugby products, but we’ve heard nothing at all about what they make of all this and it feels like they’re biding their time in the background.

Maybe they will raise their head above the parapet soon or maybe they’ll wait for things to get even worse before they get better but another restructuring is imminent with an 11-team league no good for anyone.

Two teams in Worcester and Wasps have already gone to the wall this season and one can only hope another doesn’t suffer the same fate and make it a quarter of the league fallen by the wayside in just one season.

We’ll have to wait and see what unfolds in the situations of London Irish and Newcastle and only time will tell but, regardless of the PR denials, it has been another sobering week and a reminder of the precipice that the game in England is on.


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RUGBYPASS+ Adam Hastings: 'When you're injured, you question a lot of things' Adam Hastings: 'When you're injured, you question a lot of things'