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DonBilly
13-04-06, 03:39 PM
TIME TO PULL THE PLUG ON CUP

By Duncan Bech, PA Sport

Anyone serious about relieving the burden on over-worked players need only look to the Powergen Cup for inspiration on where to wield the axe.

Player burn-out is an issue which needs urgent attention and has several possible solutions, none more compelling than scrapping a cup competition which is struggling to find an identity in the modern game.

It has been left behind by the rise of the Heineken Cup where the cream of Europe battle out some ferocious contests, played in fantastic settings and before noisy crowds.

A day out at Twickenham used to be a special occasion but it has been devalued by the Guinness Premiership final's yearly appearance at HQ, further eroding a major selling point of the knockout cup.

Lawrence Dallaglio, who led Wasps to victory over Llanelli in last Sunday's final, this week gave an indication of just how far the prestige of the competition has sunk.

In a damning indictment from the winning captain, he said: "Although we won, it did feel a little bit of an anti-climax with a strange atmosphere."

Efforts have been made to give the Powergen Cup more appeal by handing the winners automatic entry into the Heineken Cup and this remains a strong selling point.

But the tournament needed another shot in the arm and that was provided this season when England's 12 Premiership clubs were joined by all four Welsh regions.

While attendance and viewing figures have been encouraging for the new format, the Powergen Cup remains the smallest draw and is the obvious choice to be removed.

Clubs will lament the revenues lost by its demise, and justifiably so given they receive 250,000 for taking part with a prize fund of up to 200,000 available for the semi-finalists.

Llanelli underlined the importance of the competition by stating the money they receive will fund their academy.

But the greater good of the game, and the welfare of those playing it, must surely come before Llanelli's academy.

Players are being flogged by a conveyor belt of matches which decrease their shelf-life, affects their form and places them at risk of serious injury.

With the collisions growing in intensity every season, the demands on players are becoming too high. Something must give as the human body is only designed to take so much punishment.

Axing the Powergen Cup would take four weekends out of the season, a month which could be dedicated to extending the players' summer R&R - giving them the down time they desperately need.

Withdrawing the fixtures would allow the regular season to start a month later in October, the most sensible way of shortening the campaign.

There are ways the shortfall in revenue could be addressed, boosting funds for both tiers of European competition.

Reports suggest the Heineken Cup is failing to maximise its earning potential by a substantial amount, while the Challenge Cup has been without a sponsor for two years.

Another possibility is to raise ticket prices. With Wasps regularly selling out their 10,000 capacity Causeway Stadium in the Premiership, it would take less than a 3 increase in the cost of a home ticket to make up the lost 250,000.

Price hikes are never popular with supporters but if the reasons behind the increases are clearly explained, fans may be willing to accept them.

Signing the Powergen Cup's death warrant would appear an obvious answer to player burn-out but with broadcaster BBC having signed up for another three years, it unfortunately looks here to stay.

::::::::::::::::

News that Andy Farrell's season is a write-off is a further evidence his cross code switch has been one of the Rugby Football Union's most ill-conceived ideas yet.

Farrell has yet to play for Saracens since moving from Wigan rugby league club 12 months ago, and his hopes of appearing at the World Cup are in tatters.

The 30-year-old arrived in union having just recovered from a serious knee injury and it would take a miracle for him to build sufficiently on his token union experience to feature in England's Webb Ellis trophy defence.[/b]

gjohn85
13-04-06, 08:37 PM
Its silverware up for grabs for f**k sake. I can't believe that they want to scrap this tournament. I like this cup, ok It's not as exciting as the Heineken cup, but no one is sure who can win the tournament. I thought that if a big British team goes out in the Heinekin cup, & they won't win anything (i.e in the league, be it the Guiness Premier league or the celtic league) they would go to win the the powergen cup to get some silverware.

PeeJay
13-04-06, 08:43 PM
Rugby needs to follow football's lead (blasphemy, I know :P ) and start playing some games on a Wednesday.

Bullitt
13-04-06, 08:46 PM
The ring fenced PG cup is ****e and is nothing more than a honey pot for the RFU and WRU.

When you consider the old format was identical to the FA Cup, which is the best format of any tournament, they converted it to the poxy 4 groups and a semi final. Where are the huge upsets? When are we going to see London Welsh beat London Irish? When will Bedfor turn over Leicester?

Never.

It's a crappy tournament which everyone except the Welsh fans tend to agree with, only because they now have a 'major' domestic tournament to compete in.

Black-Monday
13-04-06, 08:50 PM
What I get from this is that the welsh don't find the CL competitive enough, otherwise why not let the others in. So they go for this while gaining money.

This game is an industry and they are in it to make money, so don't pay out.

BM

el_tk
13-04-06, 09:08 PM
It was a stupid idea to take away the history of the old cup- and the ability for lower league teams to cause upsets just to cash in in the short run. Shame on the RFU and WRU for creating the <insert sponsor here> Cup.

Cymro
13-04-06, 09:11 PM
I like the suggestion using the Powergen Cup as a FA cup tpye of Cup

Bullitt
13-04-06, 09:16 PM
Originally posted by Cymro@Apr 13 2006, 09:11 PM
I like the suggestion using the Powergen Cup as a FA cup tpye of Cup
Errrm... Hello?

That&#39;s what they stopped to make the poxy thing they have now.

PeeJay
13-04-06, 10:01 PM
Maybe they should go back to that but give the four welsh sides a bye into the round of 32 or something?

Bullitt
13-04-06, 10:07 PM
Originally posted by PeeJay@Apr 13 2006, 10:01 PM
Maybe they should go back to that but give the four welsh sides a bye into the round of 32 or something?
Ahem, round of 32?

1 Sale
2 Wasps
3 London Irish
4 Leicester
5 Gloucester
6 Northampton
7 Saracens
8 Bristol
9 Worcester
10 Bath
11 Newcastle
12 Leeds
13 Harlequins
14 Bedford
15 Cornish Pirates
16 Earth Titans
17 Plymouth Albion
18 Exeter
19 Nottingham
20 Coventry
21 Otley
22 Doncaster
23 London Welsh
24 Newbury
25 Sedgley Park
26 Pertemps Bees
27 Moseley
28 Waterloo
29 Esher
30 Launceston
31 Wharfedale
32 Barking
33 Manchester
34 Redruth
35 Halifax
36 Blackheath
37 Stourbridge
38 Henley
39 Harrogate
40 Orrell

Plus, why should the Welsh sides get an advantage in an English cup?

el_tk
13-04-06, 10:16 PM
Originally posted by Teh Mite@Apr 13 2006, 11:07 PM
Plus, why should the Welsh sides get an advantage in an English cup?
Why should they be there in the first place? Kick them back to the Principality.

Black-Monday
13-04-06, 10:27 PM
Never realised manchester rugby played in the old tier, now i feel very annoyed at the new system.... grrr

BM

PeeJay
13-04-06, 10:28 PM
Originally posted by Teh Mite+Apr 14 2006, 10:07 AM-->
<!--QuoteBegin-PeeJay@Apr 13 2006, 10:01 PM
Maybe they should go back to that but give the four welsh sides a bye into the round of 32 or something?
Ahem, round of 32?

1 Sale
2 Wasps
3 London Irish
4 Leicester
5 Gloucester
6 Northampton
7 Saracens
8 Bristol
9 Worcester
10 Bath
11 Newcastle
12 Leeds
13 Harlequins
14 Bedford
15 Cornish Pirates
16 Earth Titans
17 Plymouth Albion
18 Exeter
19 Nottingham
20 Coventry
21 Otley
22 Doncaster
23 London Welsh
24 Newbury
25 Sedgley Park
26 Pertemps Bees
27 Moseley
28 Waterloo
29 Esher
30 Launceston
31 Wharfedale
32 Barking
33 Manchester
34 Redruth
35 Halifax
36 Blackheath
37 Stourbridge
38 Henley
39 Harrogate
40 Orrell

Plus, why should the Welsh sides get an advantage in an English cup? [/b]
OK, the round of 16 then, whatever works :)

Canadian_Rugby_Guy
14-04-06, 12:47 AM
As much as more games means more entertainment for fans, it&#39;s true that it takes out of the player&#39;s energy. If you wanted to keep the Powergen Cup, put new teams into it or something, maybe make it National League two teams and Welsh (can&#39;t remember what their 2nd level pro comp is calld). OR maybe for the academies to have some fun so that clubs still get the money but suddenly market the budding talent of Wales and England. The NCAA works fine in the US, even though there are still the other top notch pro leagues. But guys who play in the GP and HCup and other tourneys have enough to chew on.

harrison2468
14-04-06, 08:33 AM
It would only mean a minimum one game though for the clubs if reverted back to a knock-out comp, rather than the three they have to play before anything happens. By going back to the old format it would help reduce the number of games anyway for most clubs.

Boy
14-04-06, 11:30 AM
Rugby can&#39;t possibly follow football&#39;s lead and have regular midweek games. The physical demands of rugby simply wouldn&#39;t allow it without a drastic increase in the salary cap and wage size.

To be honest, I think most people would rather the cup was scrapped rather than have the Anglo-Welsh tournament. If they got rid of the cup it would promote the end of season play-offs, which still haven&#39;t caught the imagination. Of course, they should then recognise the No.1 placed team, like the Minor Premiership title in NRL or regular season champions in Super League.

Keep the Powergen Trophy for Division 1 and below, by all means, but I don&#39;t think the Premiership needs it, especially if every club is involved in one of the European competitions.

Cymro
14-04-06, 11:39 AM
Originally posted by el_tk+Apr 13 2006, 11:16 PM-->
<!--QuoteBegin-Teh Mite@Apr 13 2006, 11:07 PM
Plus, why should the Welsh sides get an advantage in an English cup?
Why should they be there in the first place? Kick them back to the Principality. [/b]
Bit of a harsh comment. Wales is not a principality and has not been since 1232 so there.

But I think Wales should be included in that. It would be good and quite funny watching a team like London Welsh beating Newport Dragons or Bath for example.

But again their are of course the dwonside. The physical demand of players

el_tk
14-04-06, 12:12 PM
Originally posted by Cymro@Apr 14 2006, 12:39 PM
Bit of a harsh comment. Wales is not a principality and has not been since 1232 so there.


Whatever. It&#39;s not a real country though.

Boy
14-04-06, 12:33 PM
If you&#39;re going to get picky, I believe it was 1282 at the Battle of Cilmeri.

SaintsFan_Webby
14-04-06, 04:40 PM
Go back to the old format or scrap it.

This year&#39;s competition was an embarassment, no upsets, no energy, no interest.

loratadine
14-04-06, 09:48 PM
they shoud have the fa cup style format, but with the welsh regions included

DonBilly
15-04-06, 06:02 AM
Too much Rugby kills Rugby. Although I like a lot Club Rugby the right balance must be found and the players have been complaining in the NH of playing too many matchs a season.

I would get rid of the Powergen cup for the Premiership clubs and change the HEC to a FA cup like competition.

St Helens RLFC
15-04-06, 08:53 AM
Could someone get a source for this for me please?

PeeJay
15-04-06, 12:05 PM
They should get rid of the Summer Internationals and move the Six Nations to May/June time

stormmaster1
18-04-06, 09:09 AM
I had no problem with the old cup. It&#39;s just that the money in the HC has become the be all and end all for most clubs, which is why most of the bigger clubs didn&#39;t care about it. in the past there have been some great upsets, e.g harlequins v tigers twice, Pertemp Bees v Wasps, Bristol winning from D1. The problem is that the money wasn&#39;t worth it to the clubs so the top clubs would put out second string sides and concentrate on the premiership and europe.

SmokeyMonkey
18-04-06, 09:18 AM
Why should they be there in the first place? Kick them back to the Principality.[/b]

Wow a knock out tournament of 4 teams (possibly soon to be 3) how exciting :rolleyes:

Bullitt
18-04-06, 09:22 AM
Not an excuse to f*** up our cup. :angry:

SmokeyMonkey
18-04-06, 09:23 AM
Well you could&#39;ve kept it seperate!

Bullitt
18-04-06, 09:29 AM
So that would be...

- The premiership

- HEC/ECC cup

- The RFU cup

- The ****ty anglo/taff joke

- Summer international tours


So when exactly would the players get a rest?

If it&#39;s that improtant to the bloody Welsh to have a cup, set up one between the celtic sides and LEAVE OUR TOURNAMENTS ALONE!

:wall:

SmokeyMonkey
18-04-06, 09:33 AM
If it&#39;s that improtant to the bloody Welsh to have a cup, set up one between the celtic sides[/b]

Ok, give me a cup setup with 11 teams.

Bullitt
18-04-06, 09:39 AM
Originally posted by SmokeyMonkey@Apr 18 2006, 09:33 AM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE
If it&#39;s that improtant to the bloody Welsh to have a cup, set up one between the celtic sides

Ok, give me a cup setup with 11 teams. [/b][/quote]
Don&#39;t let in whoever finishes bottom of the CL (in other words, don&#39;t let in Connacht).

SmokeyMonkey
18-04-06, 09:45 AM
So you have to base it on last year&#39;s rankings?

Ok fair enough, now give me a cup setup with 10 teams.

PeeJay
18-04-06, 10:09 AM
The top five teams get in automatically, and the other six have a playoff to decide who gets the other three spots. :)

SmokeyMonkey
18-04-06, 10:21 AM
I don&#39;t think we&#39;d agree to that if it started next year and the SRU prob wouldn&#39;t either unless they started it in the 07/08 season based on the 06/07 season.

Cymro
18-04-06, 10:21 AM
Originally posted by Teh Mite@Apr 18 2006, 10:29 AM
So that would be...

- The premiership

- HEC/ECC cup

- The RFU cup

- The ****ty anglo/taff joke

- Summer international tours


So when exactly would the players get a rest?

If it&#39;s that improtant to the bloody Welsh to have a cup, set up one between the celtic sides and LEAVE OUR TOURNAMENTS ALONE!

:wall:
Interesting to see how the England&#39;s Rugby Board decided to make the competition with Wales! :bleh!:

SaintsFan_Webby
18-04-06, 10:57 AM
Originally posted by Cymro+Apr 18 2006, 11:21 AM-->
<!--QuoteBegin-Teh Mite@Apr 18 2006, 10:29 AM
So that would be...

- The premiership

- HEC/ECC cup

- The RFU cup

- The ****ty anglo/taff joke

- Summer international tours


So when exactly would the players get a rest?

If it&#39;s that improtant to the bloody Welsh to have a cup, set up one between the celtic sides and LEAVE OUR TOURNAMENTS ALONE!

:wall:
Interesting to see how the England&#39;s Rugby Board decided to make the competition with Wales! :bleh!: [/b]
After the WRU begged them for it. And by that stage it was too late to stop it, all the RFU board had the money signs obscuring their realisation that it was a **** idea.

el_tk
18-04-06, 10:07 PM
Originally posted by SmokeyMonkey@Apr 18 2006, 10:18 AM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE
Why should they be there in the first place? Kick them back to the Principality.

Wow a knock out tournament of 4 teams (possibly soon to be 3) how exciting :rolleyes: [/b][/quote]
I don&#39;t care about a cup competition you want to have. Make one with your semi-pro teams.

SaintsFan_Webby
19-04-06, 07:20 AM
Originally posted by el_tk+Apr 18 2006, 11:07 PM-->
<!--QuoteBegin-SmokeyMonkey@Apr 18 2006, 10:18 AM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<div class='quotemain'>Why should they be there in the first place? Kick them back to the Principality.

Wow a knock out tournament of 4 teams (possibly soon to be 3) how exciting :rolleyes: [/b][/quote]
I don&#39;t care about a cup competition you want to have. Make one with your semi-pro teams. [/b][/quote]
Exactly like England had before this season...

SmokeyMonkey
19-04-06, 10:16 AM
Originally posted by el_tk Posted on Apr 18 2006@ 10:07 PM
Make one with your semi-pro teams.

Actually there is one, and you didn&#39;t even notice did you? Proves how good it is. :rolleyes:

Bullitt
19-04-06, 11:15 AM
Originally posted by SmokeyMonkey+Apr 19 2006, 10:16 AM-->
<!--QuoteBegin-el_tk Posted on Apr 18 2006@ 10:07 PM
Make one with your semi-pro teams.

Actually there is one, and you didn&#39;t even notice did you? Proves how good it is. :rolleyes: [/b]
That&#39;s Wales&#39; fault, now **** off and leave our cup alone.

Flamingo
19-04-06, 11:17 AM
Calm down! who actually gives a **** anyway?