The combination of the five South African franchises in next season’s Champions Cup and Challenge Cup raises a number of questions and controversies. In format, logistics, the cost of these long journeys, affects the environment. RMC takes sport stock.
What is the formula for the next version?
The format will change very little. As in previous months, 24 teams will take part in the Champions Cup: the top 14, eight teams from eight English clubs, eight teams from the United Rugby Championship, and eight representatives from the Cape Storms, Pretoria Bulls and Durban Sharks. . Two pools of twelve clubs will be retained with the goal of playing in the final in Dublin on 20 May 2023.
“It’s a similar format, confirmed Yann Roubert, president of the LOU and a member of the EPCR steering committee. It worked well this year with some great rugby moments. Otherwise it will be Italian and there will be no intra-league clash in the group stage.
On the other hand, the European Cup will be on eight dates, not nine. One less thing is that the 16th round will be played in a dry match, no more going back and forth, in early April. Along with the South African franchises, the leagues and the tournament organizers, the EPCR, believe the quality of the sport will continue to rise.
“It’s great to make this match more exciting from a historical and sporting perspective, LNR’s Vice President Lucian Simon underlines RMC Sport. At the same time, South Africa is very important. On the part of the EPCR, we do not hide his impatience. “We need to innovate and rethink the formats, raise the level again and increase the density,” DG Anthony LePage told us on Thursday. It’s time for a club to switch to the World Cup every four years.
A logistic headache with a combination of South Africans?
For many, the arrival of five South African teams (three champions and two challengers) promises to be a real headache. How do clubs organize themselves? “Teams leave a week in advance, Robert explains. The idea is to make the European Cup a journey of five or six days rather than the usual 48 hours, as we usually do. The teams’ planes can be combined. A total of five clubs will travel to South Africa for the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup. “
Who will bear the additional travel expenses?
Obviously, going to South Africa would be more expensive than going to a European capital. Who makes the difference? Renനെ Bouscott, president of the National Rugby League, wanted to warn the top 14 leaders earlier this week. “At this stage, it is guaranteed that the issue will be handled with the utmost care, so the relevant teams will be placed in better transportation and reception conditions at no extra cost,” he wrote in a letter provided by RMC Sports.
“Jan Robert confirms that the additional costs will be borne by the EPCR, especially with the contribution of the television rights. For example, a trip to Ireland will not cost more than this. We will have to wait for the draw for the pools to find out who the related clubs are, a priori held on June 28th.
More tired players?
The very busy season, especially for the French players, is already testing the organizations hard. Suffice it to say that long-distance travel is worrying. Since it was formalized on Thursday morning, there have been a number of criticisms on the issue. “We’m going to say it’s weird, but I’m a tradition, and I’m sorry for MHR’s forward coach Olivier Assam. It’s not a solution, I think it’s going to fall apart. “
According to information from RMC Sport, although Ren റെ Bouscott has urged presidents to “support the EPCR to create a favorable atmosphere around this announcement”, criticism has been mounting almost everywhere. Like Rochelle Vincent Merling, president of the new current champions, some have publicly expressed their disapproval.
Wouldn’t the players be more tired? “This is a question that needs to be asked, and we’ll have an answer in a few months’ time, Robert recognizes. But it’s true that traveling by plane for 10 hours is different than three hours. Everything will do so. Change is always worrying, it’s always a little scary, and before the verdict is announced, we’ll wait and see. No team travels by bus, you can be sure (laughs). “
And the carbon footprint?
These long-distance trips have been criticized for hours for their environmental impact. Forgot Ecology in this file? Former International Second Line Julian Pierre, founder of the Fair Play for Planet Association, expressed regret in an interview. Figaro Thursday. “Bringing South African teams to compete in the European Rugby Cup, what’s the point? Economics is the only logic. Environmental logic is being ignored. I do not think supporters will travel much. We must change our thinking. First ask what are the implications for the environment. The issue was discussed in the EPCR.
“That’s the biggest concern I see, Robert admits. He told me that South Africans have already had to travel to come and play at the URC, so it’s mixed. However, it is also an opportunity to engage communities more responsibly through more virtuous behavior.
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