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Davis: Variety the spice of life in European rugby
WASPS coach Brad Davis believes the creation of an Anglo/French competition to replace the Heineken Cup next season would be to the detriment of European rugby.
Clubs in England and France are considering forming a breakaway competition as the dispute with ERC rages on.
But Davis insists that no competition could rival the Heineken Cup if it didn’t include teams from Ireland, Wales and Italy.
He said: “I joined rugby union from rugby league six years ago and watching the European Cup was always a highlight.
“The Heineken Cup has been such a great platform for rugby, not only domestically but across Europe. It has a huge romance associated to it and that’s enabled the competition to go global.
“I know there is talk about the South African teams coming in and possibly down the line that could make it more global.
“But the beauty about the competition is that you have these different styles of rugby played by the different nations, not only just France and England.
“The Irish teams play in a certain way, the Italian teams do.
“But at the same time I completely understand the idea of meritocracy.
“You’ve got to earn the right to play in the Heineken Cup and qualifying should be where you finish in the table, not just because you have to have a representative from each nation in there.
“That would also drive standards up in the RoboDirect if that was the case and it would also level the playing field in terms of what’s required financially.
“But whatever happens, they must get their heads together. There has to be something in place.”
Representative of the 12 Aviva Premiership clubs met on Wednesday and restated their intention to press ahead with the creation of a new European competition next season, adding that this competition would be open to teams from other countries.
The statement also said there was ‘no purpose’ in further discussions with ERC, scheduled for October.
A new tournament would need to be sanctioned by the International Rugby Board.
The IRB says it would back a breakaway tournament if the sport’s governing bodies in England and France supported the move, but insists that a pan-European competition is in the best interests of the game.
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