Dublin: 8°C Wednesday 20 October 2021

English clubs to press on with Rugby Champions Cup despite exodus

The English RFU was not present at this afternoon’s meeting in Dublin.

Chris Robshaw (Harlequins) Dean Mumm (Exeter Chiefs)Steve Borthwick (Saracens) Tom Savage (Gloucester) Dylan Hartley (Northampton) and Toby Flood (Leicester).
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins) Dean Mumm (Exeter Chiefs)Steve Borthwick (Saracens) Tom Savage (Gloucester) Dylan Hartley (Northampton) and Toby Flood (Leicester).
Image: INPHO/Billy Stickland

PREMIERSHIP RUGBY HAS taken a see-no-evil, hear-no-evil approach to this evening’s news that five of the six main European unions have committed to remaining in the Heineken Cup.

A statement released by the IRFU, earlier this evening, revealed that the French, Irish, Italian, Welsh and Scottish unions had agreed to throw their weight behind an ERC-run European Cup competition from next season onward.

Although the French and Welsh unions were signatories to the statement, there has been no reaction so far from the French clubs and Welsh regions, the ones who previously claimed they would be part of the breakaway competition rather than ERC’s European Cup.

Premiership Rugby responded to the unions’ position by reconfirming their intent to launch the Rugby Champions Cup. “Premiership Rugby notes the statement issued this evening [Thursday] concerning the proposed new European club rugby competitions for the 2014/15 season,” read their statement.

“There is no detail concerning the teams involved or the competition format given the absence of so many teams. The English and French clubs served notice on ERC and its competitions on 1st June 2012 and the required notice period concludes after the end of this season when the Accord will terminate.

“Today’s announcement would appear to indicate that the latest negotiations have been ended, as was the case in September 2013.

“As a result, we shall continue to implement the plans under way for the Rugby Champions Cup with the declared participants in time for the 2014-15 season.”

The English RFU, meanwhile, expressed its extreme surprise and disappointed at their non-involvement at the Dublin talks today.

– Additional reporting © AFP 2013

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