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Oh and by the way. NZ did not so much threaten to pull out but made the point that they may not be able to afford to attend. Whatever way you look at it they did not suggest that other nations should not attend.
Posted 20:47 31st August 2012
A simple question for you
Would you like to see rugby become more popular in countries like Italy and Scotland or do you simply not care?
Posted 20:38 31st August 2012
@ Rosbif - or a Tunnel...
Posted 13:16 29th August 2012
@APV1. hehehe, it's not often that we get to fight on the same side.... a little of the old entente cordiale methinks. next thing, we'll be building Concorde again :-)
Posted 11:58 29th August 2012
@ Rosbif - you're welcome. It's a shame that the French seem to have been embroiled in a regular past-time of some of our Welsh and Irish friends (our good chum liam2me is a good example) - bashing anything English. I guess they'd be even more upset if we withdrew our financial support!
(Sorry Ed. - too political, not enough rugby.)
@ melkdave - Spot on! And that's the big difference betwen the AP & T14 teams and the Pro12 teams. The AP and T14 teams go it alone. They then lose their international players for the 6N, 4N and Autumn internationals (as do we all). Add to that the fact that we (in England) have strict rules about salary caps and the nationality of players in the squads / teams and I'm surprised sometime at how well we do.
And it's down to the strength of the AP and T14.
If NZ can cry about their financial struggles and threaten to not come to the next RWC, why can't we point out some very obvious flaws in the qualification system for the HC?
By having central contracts and protecting international players from overplaying, there is another area of imbalance. No threat of relegation gives us the Edinburgh debacle - how good are they really? Are they one of the best in Europe, or one of the worst in the Pro12? I fail to see how they can actually claim to be one and not the other. Yet I also fail to understand how, unless they have prioritised (we all know they ignored the pro12, even if it's not PC to say so), how they can have such contrasting results.
It seems to me that when the deck's stacked in their favour, the Irish (and others) are happy. But that's taken a lot of interference by the IRFU and IRB. In contract the RFU basically set the AP rules and leave them to it. There's no assistance. There's no centrally contracted players sitting games out in case they get tired.
Get over it.
Posted 16:09 28th August 2012
@To all those irish posters going on about Leinster and Munster
Yes they are now european powerhose teams .but then again its come about though IRFU policy rather than good club management or coaching imho.Im preety sure if the RFU stated that all quality young english talant had to play for lets say London Welsh and Worcester.,and they where allowed to have 1/3 of their 1st team squad not english qualified and from overseas ,within a couple of yeas they too would be european powerhouse teams.Espically if the RFU pumped vast amounts of money into them year on year..Comeback and gloat when those teams can do it on their own ,without the IRFU holding their hand..
Posted 14:50 28th August 2012
@APV1. thks mate. i was beginning to feel like the only one making the obvious points re the English and French clubs. the absence of a level playing field vs Celts in HCup is truly astounding. Funny how Welsh seem to have "given up" on HCup to concentrate on 6N (with good results). Irish have similarly "given up" on domestic league to concentrate on HCup (with good results). When Irish players put on a green shirt and have to play 3 high intensity games in a row (eg NZ tour), everyone can see how their performance levels drop. The players themselves are no worse. Just more tired!!
@sextons_on_fire. totally agree with you. pls see my post on the other thread :-)
Posted 12:18 28th August 2012
@ melkdave - Hear! Hear!
I think it's quite a sensible thing for the AP and T14 to have done. With daft decisions like the Zebras automatically qualifying and Edinburgh not competing domestically, why should the two most successful leagues dilute themselves for the HC?
Whether you enjoy watching the AP or T14 is an irrelevance - plenty of us do. So many, in fact, that they're hugely successful in their own right. So let's leave the rest behind and forge ever-stronger onwards and form an Anglo-French Cup. I absolutely agree that some Irish teams are better than most English and French. By the Pro12 basement-dwellers are not. So why should they automatically qualify?
Wales compete on an international level, but not so well at club level. Ireland seem to have it the other way round. The French and English seem to do quite well at every level, such is the depth and strength of their domestic leagues.
Nonsense about "mercanary imports" is just that - nonsense. Just look at the strict rules governing the AP and then look at your own team.
If the Irish, Welsh, Scottish and Italians don't want the "whinging" French and English, who are only "throwing their toys out of the pram because they're not winning" - good. Let's go and continue our success and the TV and revenue will follow us. Then let's look back in 5 years and see how well they're all doing.
Just another chance to bash the English and the French, unfortunately for them, are getting some peripheral flack too - collateral damage, I think.
Talk about whingers - have you lot read your own posts?
We don't have the money! We don't have the players! Boo-hoo!
Have a better domestic league and you will have more money. Have a more attractive (in employment terms) system and attract players from other sports.
But I'd be quite happy to play in a fair HC, or not at all.
And it's not about who's winning.
Posted 11:09 28th August 2012
Wow, the excuses for Leinster blowing everyone away are coming in pretty early this year!!! hahahahahahahaha
Rosbif, I don't remember the congested Top14 schedule being such an issue when Toulouse were beating Leinster comfortably - see 2007-08 group stage, and 2010 semi final. An all-French final in 2010 - I don't recall any complaints then!! ...LOL... Just accept that Leinster have eclipsed Toulouse, and everybody else, as the best team in Europe!!!
Posted 09:44 28th August 2012
....again.... just for fun..... news just coming in from the Clermont physio: Bardy, Rougerie and Skrela are all injured for at least a few weeks following the game vs Montpellier, joining the long-term injured list of Byrne, Bonnaire, Ric, Buttin, Vosloo, Kayser, Malzieu, Oleon and Senio.
Roll-on Perpignan next. Another "stroll in the park" fixture. Will give you an update on who's still walking after that one....
Big question is: will Clermont even be able to field a team against Leinster, or will they all be injured by then?
Posted 20:43 27th August 2012
Top 5 from each league, HK Cup & Amlin winners and say a couple of play-off games between those finishing 6/7 in french/english/Rabo leagues all in a draw against each other with the 3 winners securing a place in HK Cup = 20 best teams in NH Club Rugby. If Scottish/Welsh/Irish/Italian teams don't cut the mustard in the Rabo and have no HK represntative - then tough and they play in the Amlin - what's the point of Dragons/Zebres/Glasgow getting smashed and losing all 6 group games as currently happens most seasons in HK!? Let them develop into good enough teams by building and developing in the Amlin/Rabo and when they are good enough to qualify (finishing 5th out of 12 isn't hardly impossible) then they at least have the opportunity to do themselves justice out on the paddock. Zebre must almost be dreading their HK games this year - it's like putting a pub team in the Top14! NH Club Rugby needs the Heineken Cup - CHANGE THE FORMAT and Save the HK!!!!!!
btw - Leinster would still probably be able to rest players and still qualify from Rabo so all this Game Energy reserve over a season nonsense would still be apparent from the Eng/French posters...Just accept Leinster have an Incredible crop of talent at the moment steerd by a true legend of the game in BOD, everything is cyclical and other teams will rise and take their place eventually....
Posted 14:00 27th August 2012
need to remind everyone, if the English and French leave, there will be no Sky and no Heineken when their contractual obligations expire.
The new, lets call it "Tayto", Cup will be played by the same teams that struggle for attendances week in week out, The Irish will win it at a canter for a few seasons but without the money, the standard of rugby will fall to the lowest common denominator which will have a knock-on effect on the national sides - we may even see some national interests overtake the celtic position with some countries following the money anyway rather than try and flog a dead horse.
Posted 13:22 25th August 2012
jimbosim- Why would the English and French even consider moving towards the provincial system when both leagues are full of massive clubs. You talk about less teams meaning that more youngsters and home grown players getting a chance but i seem to remember several Irish coaches bemoaning the lack of depth in the national pool of players. As recently as this spring we had Kidney crying about only having 3 or 4 props to pick from due to the presence of foreign players at Ulster and so on. Also if you look at the Pro12 as a whole there are only a couple of successul teams as the 2 Scottish sides and Connacht always struggle. In recent years all 4 Welsh sides are really finding it difficult to balance the books and the situation has been labelled a 'crisis' on more than one occasion. Really, Leinster, Munster, and Ulster aside, the Pro12 is in dire straights. So don't try and hold it up as a becon of the right way for club rugby in England and France to go.
Posted 13:09 25th August 2012
My god you obviously have no idea,do you.Top english and french clubs have no threat of relegation.WRONG every english and french club can be relegated, the Saints have been Harliquins have been,both now perhaps top teams in the AP.Wasps where nearly last season ,and Leicester last season ,spent alot of time in the relegation area, along with Bath,Its that tight in the AP any team can beat anyother team .One reason its a vibrant and exciting league.and the relegation and qualification battles are so close.Also english and french teams of course prioitise their leagues ,after all it accounts for 80% of THEIR INCOME.English teams also have a salary cap ,and a RFU directive stating a very high percentage of the 1st team squad must be english qualified ,so cant buy lots of overseas players as you suggest.,as say Munster ,Lienster and Ulster have done with at least 33% or 1/3 of the 1st team squad being overseas players.
Contrast the above with the Pro12 shall we,where attendances are dropping year on year,as fans have nothing to cheer for thoughout most of the season..Where the powerhouses of the league Munster and Leinster can field mainly 2nd string sides for most of the campaign, ,and get vast amounts of money from the IRFU ,who have priortised the HC for the clubs.Where Edinburgh can decide to virtually not compete at all ,and concentrate on just the HC,as theres no downside at all,as income from league games isnt fantastic.How does any of the above reward fans for braving the eleaments to turn up for the league games ,the bread and butter games ,where they should be making most of their income.Also isnt Leinsters and Munsters position as powerhoueses artificial mainly through IRFU policy ,where all the best irish playes have been directed to those clubs by the IRFU supporting them with said vast investment at the expense of Ulster and Connacht..
Posted 12:31 25th August 2012
@The_Dange - Saints were relegated in 2007, this season Falcons went down but it could have been Wasps but for the last round. Bristol, one of the West Country superpowers have failed to return to the top flight since their relegation in 2009 (and despite finishing top of the Championship on more than one occasion.
It was OK back in the early 2000s because the Celtic league was made up of club sides (Irish aside) not the regional superclubs that we have seen since 2005.
Sorry to throw a few FACTS into your rhetoric.
Many English clubs would love to bolster their squads but the league has imposed a salary cap which prevents them from doing so, last season the sides challenging for HC places were also in danger of relegation, those who achieved HC places could have still challenged for play-off places - the league is so tight that, if resources have to be prioritized, it is simply impossible to focus on any competition other than the premiership (providing 80% of revenue). Should also note that its ONLY the Irish who have won the competition aside from the Anglo French.
Posted 22:15 24th August 2012
@leinster_goy and other Leinster fans. just for fun, I had a quick peek at the ASM and Leinster fixture lists. (N.B. I'm a Toulouse man, so I have no favouritism towards ASM, our sworn enemies!)
Leinster / ASM
Aug18 no game / Bayonne (A)
Aug25 no game / Montpellier (A)
Sep1 Scarlets (A) / USAP (H)
Sep8 Dragons (H) / Racing (H)
Sep15 Treviso (A) / Mont de Marsan (A)
Sep22 Edinburgh (H) / Grenoble (H)
Sep28 Connacht (H) / Stade Francais (H)
Oct6 Munster (H) / Castres (A)
Oct 13 and 20 HCup first 2 rounds
Oct27 Cardiff (H) / Biarritz (H)
Nov4 Ospreys (A) / Agen (A)
Nov 9 Ire international / Toulon (H)
Nov23 Glasgow (A) / Fra international
Dec1 Zebre (H) / Toulouse (A)
Dec 9 and 15 THE BIG DAY Clermont vs Leinster back-to-back
Leinster's run-in is Glasgow away followed by Zebre at home, neither team (with respect) is likely to be pushing for the Rabo title in 2013. And there are a few B team fixtures in there too (Connacht, Treviso, Dragons, etc)
Clermont, having started the season 2 weeks earlier (and finished the previous season 2 weeks later) have Toulon away followed by Toulouse at home (both teams being the most likely nearest challengers for the T14 title). The only realistic chance for rest is Mont de Marsan 12 weeks before the big game.
Yes, Clermont have a big squad and plenty of $$$. But the coaches have no time to put together combinations, moves, study the opposition, taper training towards the big day. Because for them, it's not really the big day. That's the point!
The irony is that, if you take away the French and English sides, the HCup has zero bragging rights. Have we not heard Leinster brag enough already?
Pondering why the majority of French sides do so poorly in HCup is like asking why Irish sides have done so poorly in the Amlin. It's a non question. They're just focussed on different tournaments!!
Posted 20:52 24th August 2012
How about the English and French, either create regions like the rest of the world or cut their premiership league teams by half and then we can all have a max of 3 Teams and the French and English can rest their players accordingly, they won't need such massive player budgets and allow more opportunity for developing their own youngsters. This could even help strengthen their national squads, who could in the future challenge us Celts :) ?
Posted 20:48 24th August 2012
The_Dange- 'Maybe they should look into getting rid of relegation in their leagues (which they have basically done anyway in England)' How do you work that out? There hasn't been a single season where relegation has not took place and there are currently 4 clubs in the Championship that have been in the Premiership at some point in the last 10 years.
The reason that this issue has been raised in only in the past 2/3 years is because its become ever more obvious during that time that the Pro12 is becoming less and less of a priority for all teams involved. You regularly see games where both teams are well short of their best 15 ( and not due to injuries and suspensions). Where most teams tried to win the thing in the past, in recent years the Pro12 has become little more than a vehicle for keeping the players match fit in preparation for the Heinekken and the internationals. I actually feel that Leinster would still be right up there anyway, but they certainly wouldn't find it anywhere near as easy. For instance- the reserves of energy that Leinster found to overturn the halftime deficit agaainst Northampton the other year- would they have had those reserves if they were coming off the back of a Premiership or Top 14 season? I doubt it. That victory was all about how much gas each team had left in the tank, and Leinster had more due to their easier domestic season.
Posted 20:20 24th August 2012
I don't think there is a legitimate threat of relegation for the English HEC sides. The likes of Saints and Tigers are rarely down near that end of the table, and it's up to them whether or not they want to rest players when they are in with a shout of winning their league and getting to the furthest stages of the HEC.
Some teams just have to pick which competition they want to win and if you aren't prepared to do that then for God's sake BUILD YOUR SQUAD so that you are capable of competing and winning on two fronts. It's not up to us, it's up to them. Why should we change now, when it was ok back in the early 2000s? The only thing that has changed since then is the Irish teams have started winning and dominating. So essentially their logic is that we are better than them and it is only fair if we are forced to weaken ourselves. Surely it is better for the sport to have the all the teams playing at the highest level they can, and playing to their full potential? But no, we must change our structure so that we are weaker then them.
Maybe they should look into getting rid of relegation in their leagues (which they have basically done anyway in England) or maybe building decent squad sizes considering they have so many players in their countries. Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Italy have a smaller number of players to pick from and have created a system for which they can maximise the use of the small amount of players that they have and at least in Irelands case are limited by the amount of overseas players they can use, thus strengthening the national side - and this must be CHANGED??!
@melkdave - How bout we worry about our league and you worry about yours.
Posted 19:18 24th August 2012
@Liamtome - no-one is asking for the Rabo12 to be changed, they are suggesting that the format of the HC competition favours the Rabo12 format too greatly.
Some comments relating to the Anglo french not complainming when they were winning also miss the point - when the English and French were winning, the Pro12 format did not exist - the Irish provinces had no meaningful competition at all and the Welsh and Scots were both in such decline that they were never going to be competitive.
Step forward the Celtic league and the Celtic "super teams" Essentially Ireland and Ireland A (although a resurgent Ulster has spread the Irish squad a littel thinner) and the Welsh and Scottish missing the point and launching more regional sides that their infrastructure could support (again). The Welsh in the Blues have nearly caught up with the curve.
The trouble for the Celts now is that a French and English proposition will be much more attractive to TV money than a Celtic one purely on demographics - will the hard-up Wesh be able to cope with that loss of revenue?
Posted 18:20 24th August 2012
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