ESPN SCRUM

/ Wales

/ News

Wales
WRU will not allow regions to join Champions Cup
ESPN Staff
January 4, 2014
The Cardiff Blues beat Toulon this year in the Heineken Cup, but Peter Thomas wants them in the Champions Cup © Getty Images
Enlarge

A day after the Welsh Rugby Union said it would hand the regions a revised Participation Agreement, it has become abundantly clear it will not bow down to the Regional Rugby Wales' (RRW) wish to see the four regions play in the Rugby Champions Cup next term.

The WRU and RRW - the body heading up the four Welsh regions - failed to agree on a new agreement by the December 31 deadline. After thinly veiled threats in statements released by both parties, the WRU met on Thursday and said it would hand the regions a new re-drafted agreement.

The RRW is keen to see its sides in the Champions Cup next term but the WRU has always backed European Rugby Cup Ltd, the body in charge of the Heineken Cup, and is adamant Welsh teams will continue to play in that tournament.

In a letter sent to all 320 of its members clubs, the WRU outlined its standpoint in the current dispute over the course of 50 bullet points. Regarding just where it sees the regions playing their domestic rugby, it said: "The suggested engagements with an Anglo-Welsh league or a non sanctioned European tournament are not viable in the best interests of Welsh rugby or the game across Europe.

"Remember we, as a Union, are contracted to the existing European Cup and the Pro 12 league. We believe these competitions are in the best interests of rugby and the WRU will not countenance leaving Scotland, Ireland and Italy isolated from meaningful tournaments."

It remains to be seen what the regions make of the WRU's move to address the dispute in this manner, but on Friday, Cardiff Blues chairman Peter Thomas told Wales Online he wanted his region to be in the breakaway Champions Cup next season.

"We have an opportunity to play in a lucrative new cup competition, while staying within the WRU and remaining in the Pro12," Thomas said. "If we can't do that with the support and blessing of our governing body, then we will have to look at alternative options.

"If it means going into another carriage, we will do that to save ourselves. The Union have until the end of this month to make their mind up. If they say no, then so be it.

"Plan A is the Rugby Champions Cup. But people would be foolish to think there is not a Plan B. We need to play in a meaningful, financially viable competition."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.

  • Latest
  • Most Viewed
  • News
  • Features
  • Formula One

    Tough at the top

    Who has driven in the most GPs before taking pole position?

  • Formula 1

    F1 cost cutting: Not putting money where the mouth is

    Mudslinging and an agreement on something that will never happen, it's all in a day's work for a Formula One boss, as Maurice Hamilton explains...

  • Rugby

    Unsavoury sledging did not end with Potgieter

    Fallout continues from the NSW-Brumbies derby, with one Tahs forward - not Potgieter - surprised by other unsavoury comments during the game, Greg Growden reports

  • Rugby

    Super Rugby preview, team news, line-ups: Round 7

    Greg Growden previews Super Rugby round 7. We've also got key stats, team news and all the line-ups to inform your ESPN Footytips Super Rugby picks

  • Formula 1

    Storm clouds gather in Malaysia

    Will Mercedes dominate again? Can anybody catch up with the help of a rainstorm? And will the Red Bull/Renault relationship tear itself apart? All those questions and more will be answered at this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix

  • News
  • Features
  • Inside Boxing

    'I've sparred with Klitschko and Fury - now I want Joshua'

    Unbeaten heavyweight Dillian Whyte, 28, (14-0, 11 KOs) tells ESPN where his rivalry with Anthony Joshua stems from and outlines the plan for his career this year after returning from a doping ban in November

  • UFC

    Top 10 best UFC fighters of all time

    Some of the best fighters to ever glove up have plied their trade in the Octagon - now ESPN list the 10 best who have fought under the UFC banner

  • Ask Steven

    Home front

    Who was the first Briton to win the British Grand Prix?

  • Ask Steven

    Pointless drivers

    Where does Anthony Davidson's record of 24 Grands Prix without a point rank him?

  • Ask Steven

    Home favourites

    How many F1 drivers have had one win, but done it at their home Grand Prix?

Sponsored Links

Make Huge Income from your Home
Download your Free Guide And Learn How To Increase Your Monthly Income