Pop-quiz: can you name the two fallen giants of European rugby The most consistent two teams in the Northern Hemisphere since the dawn of professional rugby ? The two teams with the highest number of Six Nations victories ?
England and France have thrown the future of the Heineken Cup , Europe’s premier club rugby competition, into serious doubt, because the two nations have failed to create an effective long term strategy for professionalism.
French clubs threatened to pull out of next year’s competition. They are unhappy with how many games they will have next season and axing the cup would free up several weekends.
England’s clubs are already in dispute over the cup’s future and have refused to sign a successor to the agreement which governs the competition. Premier Rugby, which represents England’s top-flight clubs, wants them to become direct stakeholders in the competition. The RFU opposes giving them a greater say in running the competition.
While I feel (a little) sorry for the state of French and especially English rugby at the moment, I’m extremely annoyed that they are putting one of the best rugby competitions in the world at risk.