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Dublin: 18 °C Sunday 12 July, 2020

Leinster's Reddan adamant that Pro12 needs buy-in from fans and media

‘It needs to be acknowledged a bit more or we’re all going to be in a pretty rocky boat going forward.’

Eoin Reddan was launching the Herald Leinster Rugby Summer Camps.
Eoin Reddan was launching the Herald Leinster Rugby Summer Camps.
Image: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE

THE TOP 14 continues to grow in wealth, while the English Premiership is on the rise too, but where exactly is the Pro12 going?

First launched as the Celtic League in the 2001/02 season with 15 Irish, Welsh and Scottish clubs taking part, the competition has gradually morphed into its current 12-team guise to include Italian participation.

The Pro12 is a relatively young competition, especially compared to the French championship, in which the first final took place as long ago as 1892. The Premiership was launched in 1987, providing itself with a lengthy head start too.

Leinster scrum-half Eoin Reddan acknowledges that the Pro12 has yet to become a competition that “the whole nation” is proud of, but stresses that any public sense of a league title being mere consolation for European exits is not shared by the Irish players.

For us, it’s huge and we just have to continue buying into it. But at some stage, you’ve got to ask, why isn’t everyone buying into it? Why are the media reporting that a certain game wasn’t that tough, but I can’t walk properly for three days later?

“It requires buy-in, not just from the players. The players have been doing that for years. The buy-in is from the supporters coming to the games, particularly in certain clubs. Then I think the media have to buy into it too.”

Reddan – speaking at the launch of the Herald Leinster Rugby Summer Camps – argues that with money being rapidly pumped into the Top 14 and Premiership, the Pro12 needs to be wholly embraced if it is to continue its own growth.

Eoin Reddan Reddan says the players do not view the Pro12 as a consolation prize. Source: INPHO/Billy Stickland

“Maybe it’s that there’s no rivalries between the teams yet, maybe it’s that the competition isn’t old enough,” concedes the 33-year-old, before underlining that fans and the media in Ireland must begin the see the positives in their own home league.

Despite the vast investment in Top 14 clubs and the array of international stars plying their trade in France, Reddan questions whether the rugby is of a better quality than that served up in the Pro12.

“What product would you want to watch? What games are actually better? You have to admit to yourself that watching a Top 14 game is not as exciting as watching a Rabo game.

The product is built the way it is at the moment and it does produce good rugby. What I am saying is that it does need to be acknowledged a bit more or we’re all going to be in a pretty rocky boat going forward.”

While it took the French and English clubs to force meritocratic European qualification onto the Pro12, Reddan is pleased about the changes that will come in next season, agreeing that a meaningful fight for places is a step forward.

“It’s going to make a huge difference. The more that goes on it, the more important the Rabo becomes. If you finish well in the Rabo now Europe is there for you, that is going to help it. It will increase the importance of it.”

Eoin Reddan was on hand at St Patrick’s Boys National School, Hollypark, Blackrock in Dublin on Wednesday to help out with a surprise training session to mark the launch of The Herald Leinster Rugby Summer Camps which run in venues across the province throughout July and August.  For more details log onto

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Murray Kinsella

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