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With this coming HC season this is the situation.
France have 7 teams involved. (because it includes last seasons Amlin winner)
England have 6
Ireland have 4 (because it includes last seasons HC winner)
Wales have 3
Scotland and Italy have 2 each.
Now we may well argue about the Italian team Zebre but overall it seems reasonable and in any case we never will have a perfect system.
England and France each have more teams than any other country and enough of a chance of winning without demanding that the comp. be reduced from 24 to 20 teams at the expense of the others. They may well have a point about resting players although HenryFitz has put up a good argument against that.
Besides the Rabo countries could perhaps claim that the English and French clubs have far more money and resources.
The success of the Irish teams in Europe has lead to a increase in the popularity of rugby in Ireland and may well lead to a strengthening of the Irish international team in the future. I am not a Irish fan but believe this can only be good for the game as a whole.
Hopefully level heads will get together in the ERC meeting in September and a positive result will come from it.
Posted 23:25 23rd August 2012
if ever there was proof of English whinging, this is surely it.
whing, whinge, and more bloody whinge...
Posted 23:14 23rd August 2012
@ nick fawson
Leinster =1.5 million people
London=8 million people
It isn't the same thing at all...
Posted 22:51 23rd August 2012
think there is a lot of focus on the Rabo - which, when it boils down to it, is still just a league...when it comes to numbers per country, then France and England still dominate...so, maybe at the moment, French and English teams are just not good enough to win...maybe they should look at the cause of their problems, as opposed to throwing the toys out of the cot...
Posted 22:19 23rd August 2012
I think we should do away with the Heiniken cup altogether. For one thing, teams might start to take the domestic competitions(particularly the Rabodirect) a bit more seriously from now on. The rugby calender is so overloaded we are having situations where teams(Edinburgh comes to mind) write off their domestic competition for success in the HK. Instead, we could have a play-off with the winners of the Rabo, Eng. Prem and top 14 competitions to determine the best team in Europe. Furthermore, the HK only serves to cheapen international competitions such as the six nations.
Posted 22:10 23rd August 2012
You just need to look at the Edinburgh-Toulouse QF game this year to see the lack of level playing field. Look at the starting fifteen for each team. Look at how many tough consecutive games each individual player had played in the run-up. In hindsight, was the result ever in doubt? Does anyone remember the Ryan Lochte swim vs Phelps in the Olympics, when Lochte only had 2 hours to recover from a previous backstoke final. There's only so much the human body can take....
@HenryFitz, you make some good points on teams and how they did/didn't rest players. I remember Leinster getting smashed away at MontPol in their opening HCup game. I guess the playing field is somewhat more level early in the season before tiredness/injury takes its toll. How the ref got them out of jail in that game was truly scandalous.....and then they went on to win the whole competition.....go figure!!
Posted 20:37 23rd August 2012
...what's a Heineken cup?
Posted 20:05 23rd August 2012
The difference between the Celtic and the English and French sides is that the Celtic earn far less and play for the pride of representing their area. The English and French leagues are full of mercenaries playing for big fat greedy pay cheques. If I was the English or French unions I would be far more worried about the vast number of foreign players in their teams.
Posted 20:02 23rd August 2012
Leave the English and French teams leave, there is very little pedigree with English Rugby, Neither the French or English develop with in. They all try and buy the cup with their huge playing budgets. Get rid?
Change the whole competition, a level playing budget for all teams, along with a minimum own player development and maximum external signings.
Then we will know who the true pedigree, traditional rugby teams are?
After a year they will soon come running back begging for forgiveness
Posted 19:33 23rd August 2012
@RugbyHead. So, if the players are so great, why did Leinster not win the Rabo? And why no better performances in 6N or summer/autumn tests for Ire?
(P.S. small point, but Clermont were not at "home" in their semi vs Leinster)
Posted 18:43 23rd August 2012
The resting players argument is laughable. Look at the top English teams.
Connacht did not rest their players before beating Harlequins (a game Quins should have been able to win, rest or no). Toulouse and Gloucester were presumably on a level playing field, so Harlequins' failure to qualify looks like it was due to their own inadequacies.
Ulster's resting of their players does not account for the entirety of a 34 point victory over Leicester and anyone who suggests so opens themselves up to deserved ridicule. Leicester's drubbing by Clermont was indicative of their standing, i.e. good at home but not much cop out of England.
Northampton played Munster and Scarlets early in the season, when all international players had returned from the World Cup and played a similar number of matches. They lost both games. Then they lost to Castres, who were playing a second string. They might, debatably, have done better against Munster in the last game if their players had been rested. Still wouldn't have qualified though.
Saracens came through their group, beating the Ospreys, one of the finest teams in the Rabo, who could rest their players, but who obviously didn't rest them enough, or maybe they got the wrong kind of rest. Anyway, I'm sure McCafferty can come up with some ludicrous rationale for the Os not taking advantage of their advantage. Saracens then lost to Clermont, a French team who also could not rest their players, but still managed to overcome their exhaustion to muster a 19 point victory in London.
Rest or no rest, Bath were rubbish and London Irish mediocre. They both lost their early season games, when differences in rest would not have been a factor, and showed little improvement or decline for the rest of their fixtures.
Conclusion: while superficially persuasive, an examination of McCafferty's claim shows it to be nonsense.
Posted 18:09 23rd August 2012
The current format is far from perfect.... at the moment, qualification for the HC certainly does favour the Pro12 teams. One format might be guaranteed places for say Wales (2); Ireland (2); Scotland (1) and Italy (1) - with the other places being awarded through the placings in the Pro12 Championship. The real question here is regarding the number of places allocated to Pro12 Teams? Should the top 8 teams in the Pro12 automtically qualify for the HC or should it be fewer or more than 8? There will be problems commercially for clubs that are excluded from the HC competition through such a mechanism.... But at the moment all four Welsh Regions are included in the HC. Yet when did we last see a decent run from any Welsh Region in the HC? Newport are perennial under achievers at this level.... why should they continue to be included in the HC?
There is no doubt that the whole Rabo12 Championship should be used as qualification for the HC. This would certainly add much more meaning to proceedings in that particular championship.
What we would all agree upon is that we cannot afford to have an Anglo-French competition - since this would not be in the interests of NH rugby as a whole.
Posted 17:37 23rd August 2012
Hmmm. Try to imagine a hypothetical chat over a beer between Heaslip and Picamoles. Both no8s. Both national team players. One Leinster. One Toulouse.
Picamoles: "Haha I'm a bit knackered you know Jamie. Didn't get much of a summer holiday. Was getting beaten up by the Pumas on 23 June (after 15 consecutive weeks of being selected for Toulouse and France). Then was off to pre-season training end of July and had my first T14 game against Castres on Aug 17. Sneaked it 23-22. That bloke Antoine Claassen at Castres sure is a tough nut at no8."
Heaslip: "Haha, you're such a whinger Louis. I had two finals at the end of this season. Won the HCup but lost the next week to Ospreys in Pro12. Still, that was my 3rd consecutive game, so I was a bit knackered haha. I got a weekend off on 5 May vs Dragons cos we'd already got a home semi, and I was a bit tired after that away win vs Clermont in the HCup semi. And I had the day off on 20 april vs Ulster cos the boss wanted me fresh for Clermont. Funny that, cos I wasn't even that tired since the weekend before (Apr 13) I played Edinburgh but they didn't play Denton or Rennie so it was a bit of a cake-walk. I'm not used to playing more than two weeks in a row!. Then I broke my finger vs ABs on 16 June and have had my feet up since then. Our first game of the season isn't till Sept 1st. I'm not sure I'll be needed, cos it's only a Pro12 game. The boss says he wants me fresh for HCup stuff."
Anyone think this sounds deluded, pls feel free to check the fixture lists........
Posted 17:15 23rd August 2012
Seems fair that you have a competition for the stronger teams in each league then another for the weaker ones, of any of the Scots/Irish/Welsh/Italian teams aren't good enough to make it one year, so be it, improve and get in the following year. That is how it goes for the French and English teams!
The Celtic teams need to realise that collectively they don't draw the crowds or have the financial clout to go it alone, the French and English do, so get on board or go your separate ways!
Posted 16:43 23rd August 2012
Here we go again ¿ moan, moan, moan about the Irish that keep winning and the poor English and French that can't. Nothing taken into consideration regarding the fraction of a budget that we operate on here nor the fact that the IRFU enforce limits on the amount of foreigners that can play for each providence.
Northampton had their chance of winning the final while holding a 16 point half-time lead but they capitulated in the second half. This year, Toulouse could not beat an average Edinburgh side in the semi, and after hammering Saracens easily in the quarters, Clermont were beaten at home by Leinster in an amazing match.
The only valid excuse is Zebras getting in by default ¿ that is wrong imo. Connaught only got entry on the back of another Irish province winning the cup, the same would have happened in any other country if a team from there had won.
The solution? Stop moaning about your teams not being in there ¿Theshaw suggested 6 English teams. What, 6 teams to fail each year? Your teams have obscene amounts of money to spend so why not do so wisely instead of blowing a fortune on oversees mercenaries. Nurture your young talent and promote from within. It¿s not difficult¿
Posted 16:24 23rd August 2012
Exempt Heineken Cup teams from relegation from the AP and Top 14 ... but they still have to qualify for the next season's edition
Posted 16:18 23rd August 2012
You cannot ignore the fact that the overall rugby playing populations in France and England are 4 to 5 times that of Ireland anf Wales.Your point about the likes of Toulouse /Clermont is frankly rubbish, Toulouse's budget is 28 million Euro's annually and Clermont are bankrolled by Michellin tyres.
The combined budget for running the game in Ireland(which includes the 4 professional sides , the National team the amateur club game) is around 30 million.
the English and French sides I'm sure will have their day in the Sun again, thes things are cyclical.
Posted 16:09 23rd August 2012
eh... the French teams consistently rest their players! and the English teams are just really bad at the moment.
If it favoured the Celtic teams so much, then why have the Ospreys, arguably one of the best teams around, only reached the semi's once?
The Celtic teams fair better because, most of their players grew up supporting their current clubs, which means they'll put everything on the line for their team. in contrast the French and English teams are made up almost entirely of imports, and only play because their paid to.
Posted 16:07 23rd August 2012
Well - to be fair the English and French rugby markets dwarf those of the Celtic nations so they will have to take the threat seriously - a competition without the two biggest rugby nations (and the TV audience that brings) won't have the same appeal to sponsors and won't generate the same levels of TV rights! Could be the end of the HC!
Posted 15:01 23rd August 2012
How about from there respective leagues.
Top 6 from France
Top 6 from Englind
Top 2/3 from ireland
top 2/3 from wales
top from scotland
top from italy
All countrys are in there if only 2 from ireland and wales then some sort of play off thing
it would make the amlin better too. I was all agsinst this but really it makes sence.
Imagine only 2 from the big 3 in Ireland go through, would bring a whole new meaning to derby games :-)
Posted 15:00 23rd August 2012