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Dublin: 4°C Wednesday 3 March 2021
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IRFU will not sanction provincial involvement in breakaway tournament

All four nations involved in the Pro12 have today backed the existing structure.

Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

THE IRFU HAS today moved to underline its commitments to the existing structures within European Rugby.

With clubs in France and England insisting that they will walk away from the ERC’s Heineken and Amlin Challenge Cups in favour of a new ‘Rugby Champions Cup’, there has been speculation that some of Ireland’s provinces could join the new breakaway.

However, the Union’s statement today suggests they will stand in the way should any of the four provinces break ranks.

“[IRFU] clubs/provinces will not be participating in future tournaments which do not have the full approval of the International Rugby Board (IRB) or the relevant National Rugby Unions.

“The IRFU and its clubs remain fully committed to the development of a pan European Rugby Competition and we welcome the recent comments made by the IRB Chairman, who confirmed that a pan European tournament remains the goal of the IRB. We are confident this can be achieved.”

The statement comes over a week after Leinster CEO Mick Dawson said of the Anglo-French breakaway from the Heineken Cup, “if everything goes pear-shaped, we’d have to consider how to get into it.” That option is now apparently closed.

The IRFU’s stance was released simultaneously with near identical statements from the rugby unions in, Scotland, Wales and Italy.

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Sean Farrell

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