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The future of European rugby
'WRU has been erratic and unpredictable'
ESPN Staff
March 27, 2014
Edward Griffiths' Saracens will play in the new-look European tournament next term © Getty Images

Saracens CEO Edward Griffiths has praised the Welsh regions for their role in brokering a new European deal but has questioned the role of the Welsh Rugby Union.

The new European competition which will replace the Heineken Cup is expected to be confirmed in the next couple of days. Reports say the French and Italians are the last to sign the new accord but a deal is still set to be announced imminently.

The news will bring to an end two years of discussions over the future of European rugby and while Griffiths praised the Welsh regions for their part in the talks, he seemed less impressed with the WRU.

"I think some of the Welsh Rugby Union's behaviour has been erratic and unpredictable," Griffiths told the BBC. "Maybe they've come round to see a little bit of sense."

The new competition will be a 20-team format with six representatives from the Aviva Premiership, six from the Top 14 and seven from the RaboDirect PRO12. The final place will go to either the seventh-placed side in the French league or the English top flight.

Griffiths claims the new competition is "good news" for European rugby.

"I think everybody should be happy," Griffiths said. "The Welsh regions have been clear and been clear-minded in the whole process and deserve a lot of credit for sticking to their guns. At the end of the day this isn't good news for just the English clubs, or the French clubs, or the Welsh regions, it's good news for European rugby.

"We've got a competition with a fairer format and with a fairer financial distribution, and in fact there's no reason why this format won't actually generate more money for everyone. So it is truly a win, win, win competition and I think once the egos got out of the way it was fairly easy to find a solution.

"At the end of the day it's our responsibility as rugby administrators is to put the best possible competition on the table for the coaches and players to play in and the supporters to watch."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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