Reddan fears euro exit could spark exodus
September 13, 2013
Eoin Reddan has three Heineken Cup medals to his name - one with Wasps and two with Leinster © PA Photos
Leinster and Ireland scrum-half Eoin Reddan has warned the demise of the Heineken Cup could spark a player exodus from Ireland.
With Premiership Rugby and their French counterparts Ligue Nationale de Rugby putting plans in place for a new club-run European tournament for the 2014-15 season, teams from the RaboDirect PRO12 have, according to PRL CEO Mark McCafferty, between four to six weeks to decide whether they are opting in to the new breakaway competition.
Leinster have enjoyed huge success in the Heineken Cup winning three titles between 2009 and 2013. The promise of European silverware has seen some of the southern hemisphere's top players making the journey north to have their crack at the biggest prize in northern hemisphere club rugby.
But if the Irish do not play top level European rugby next term, in whatever guise the tournament takes, Reddan fears a number of the country's top players will leave the provinces.
"If another competition became the premier event in Europe and we weren't a part of that, then it would be a huge risk," Reddan told the Irish Independent. "At the moment, you're hoping there will be a Heineken Cup. I can't see a world without the Heineken Cup - and I don't want to think about it.
"I don't think it would be good for anyone for the Heineken Cup to disappear. It is the premier competition for every club player in Europe and everyone loses if it is done away with."
McCafferty claimed on Thursday that the Anglo-French clubs have received interest from other sides in joining the breakaway competition and Reddan is adamant all teams must buy into the tournament for it to be a true gage of who the best side in Europe is.
"We don't know the finer details of the negotiations, but what is encouraging is that everyone agrees that we want a European competition with all the best teams in it," Reddan added. "It's not a European competition if you exclude teams from other European countries. Italian teams aren't the strongest in the competition at the moment, but they might be in 10 years' time. The same for teams from Scotland."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Download ESPN's new UK multisport app, a fresh and powerful new way to follow your favourite UK sports news, scores and video.
World rugby has paid tribute to Nelson Mandela after the great man - Madiba - passed away at his home in South Africa today, aged 95
Kieran Read beats All Blacks team-mates Ben Smith and Liam Messam to lift the Kel Tremain Memorial Trophy two days after being crowned International Rugby Board World Player of the Year
Seven All Blacks are named by their peers in the inaugural International Rugby Players Association World XV, with Kieran Read taking out another Player of the Year award
John McEnroe believes Andy Murray can emulate Rafael Nadal's return from injury, as the Scot continues his rehabilitation after back surgery
New Zealand's Super Rugby franchises launch their jumpers with a spectacular display of giant jerseys across the country to mark the first day of replica sales
The WRU recently awarded President's caps to players who took part in Victory internationals in 1945-6 and internationals against overseas sides in the 1960s and 1970s. Why weren't caps given at the time?
With the next 147 maximum break set to be the 100th in the history of snooker, we look back to the quickest made by 'The Rocket', Ronnie O'Sullivan, when he cleared the table in a record five minutes and 20 seconds
It's time for those running Welsh rugby to stop trying to prevent its players heading to France and to start planning a future without them, writes Martin Williamson
Things look like they can't get much worse for David Moyes. However if you fancy Newcastle to pile some fresh misery on Manchester United, you can back them for victory at Old Trafford at 6/1
Ewen McKenzie displayed a glimpse of a slight grin after his Wallabies had defeated Wales, and Greg Growden believes the Moai of Australian rugby is excused his brief moment of frivolity