Welsh regions back proposed new Rugby Champions Cup competitions
THE four Welsh regions have pledged their support behind the Anglo-French breakaway from the Heineken Cup in the latest twist to the saga over the future of European club rugby.
In a statement issued this evening, Regional Rugby Wales, the umbrella body that represents the Ospreys, Scarlets, Blues and Dragons, said they were fully in support of the new Rugby Champions Cup competitions proposed by the English and French clubs.
The statement read “Regional Rugby Wales (RRW) on behalf of the four Welsh Regions confirms its full support for the proposed new Rugby Champions Cup competitions.
“Whilst there remain elements of detail to be confirmed, it is now clear that there are a number of significant advantages to the new competitions in equality of governance, format, qualification and distribution across the individual participating clubs.
“Consequently, RRW looks forward to working with the WRU to support their efforts and positive engagement in striving to ensure our teams are involved in strong, valuable European club competitions in time for next season.”
The statement puts the ball in the court of the Welsh Rugby Union, who along with the Irish, Scottish and Italian governing bodies, have refused to support the English and French club breakaway.
But it is understood a peace deal could be on the way following discussions this week.
The RRW statement comes on the eve of a board meeting of the European Rugby Cup (ERC) in Dublin which was aimed at thrashing out an agreement for the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup to continue in its current format.
Currently, the Welsh regions receive around £1.1m for competing in the ERC-run Heineken Cup.
It is understood that will rise to £1.7m for the Rugby Champions Cup, which will be backed by broadcasting giant BT Sport.