THE EUROPEAN RUGBY statement war took up arms again today with both Premiership Rugby and the Welsh Rugby Union making their thoughts public.
Premiership Rugby’s tuppence worth was to welcome the backing of the Welsh regions (“mystified” by the actions of their union) for the proposed Rugby Champions Cup.
“We believe that the new competitions are clearly the best solution,” said Premiership Rugby’s Mark McCafferty as he promised more matches and more money generated between the “top teams”.
With Welsh regions the hardest hit by the growth in power of French clubs, the development and retention of players has become an important factor in the ongoing row over the future of European rugby.
McCafferty promised that any new competition involving both English and Welsh region would have that factor at its core, but a reaffirming statement from the Welsh Rugby Union promised the same.
With the four regions holding out on re-signing their agreement with the union on December 31 – before setting a new deadline for the end of this month – the WRU have today vowed to present a new agreement and a timetable for discussion with Ospreys, Scarlets, Dragons and the Blues.
“The new agreement will further reflect the WRU’s desire to ensure that Welsh player development and the retention of Welsh players is properly recognised,” said the statement.
“This is in the best interests of all of rugby in Wales, from the grass roots to the international level.”
The remaining sentiment of the statement reiterated the stance made on December 31 – a stance which has not changed over the course of this competition confusion; that the IRB rules dictate that the relevant unions must sanction any cross-border competitions.