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RoyalBlueStuey
17-01-07, 09:26 AM
The Heineken is something European rugby got absolutely 100% right....it's a brilliant tournament. It's got that prestige but still with a traditional feel. Surely something can be done to keep it going.

With the French worried about their domestic competition and the World Cup time-constraints plus the usual sabre rattling from the English teams it looks like falling down around our ears.

It'd really be a travesty if it was allowed to fall by the wayside.

Prestwick
17-01-07, 09:29 AM
The Heineken is something European rugby got absolutely 100% right....it's a brilliant tournament. It's got that prestige but still with a traditional feel. Surely something can be done to keep it going.

With the French worried about their domestic competition and the World Cup time-constraints plus the usual sabre rattling from the English teams it looks like falling down around our ears.

It'd really be a travesty if it was allowed to fall by the wayside.
[/b]

Sabre rattling?! More like "random bickering by two drunks."

Do you seriously think the RFU and Premier Rugby have the cognative ability to actually know what a sabre actually is let alone rattle it?!

RoyalBlueStuey
17-01-07, 10:12 AM
Sabre rattling?! More like "random bickering by two drunks."

Do you seriously think the RFU and Premier Rugby have the cognative ability to actually know what a sabre actually is let alone rattle it?!
[/b]

They should just shut up and let the game grow. Surely they can see how well recieved the Heineken Cup is and how un-interested we all are in the Anglo Welsh.

An Tarbh
17-01-07, 10:41 AM
Holy **** this is actually happening, just thought it was more mouthing off but there's a formal anouncement expected later today.

An Tarbh
17-01-07, 10:52 AM
Well presumably we can still have a competition next year, we've had it without the English so there's no reason it can't work without the French. If this is only for one season than the competition can go ahead as it did in 1999, with 6 English teams, 3 Irish, 3 Welsh, 2 Scots and 2 Italians. That way each team still gets the same amount of matches.

DonBilly
17-01-07, 10:53 AM
Holy **** this is actually happening, just thought it was more mouthing off but there's a formal anouncement expected later today.
[/b]

Let's wait and see, this is the typical way things progress in Europe. These crisis are useful to advance towards the coordinated agenda. The H-cup can survive to such a boycott for one season. It alreaddy happened in the past with the English clubs as far as I remember. I wonder however what the TV broacaster will think about that, after all they are the main source of revenue for the ERC.

An Tarbh
17-01-07, 11:10 AM
yeah I was just thinking about that, especially the French tv stations, would there be much appetite in France for the HEC without the French teams? For ex-pats maybe but generally they'll go to bars for the english commentary.

Reading what Blanco had to say though it does appear quite definite, would require some turnaround for the full tournament to go ahead next season. They should offer Paris the final at the very least :P

It will only be for 1 year, which isn't the end of the world, and I can appreciate that for the French clubs the Top14 is more important than the HEC. There's certainly more history to the league in France than there is to the HEC. There simply isn't enough room in the calendar for the French to compete in the HEC. This should be a one off thing though as I can't imagine there would be a similar delay to the domestic season starting in 2011.

This might also act as a kick in the arse for Premier Rugby and the RFU to sort out their problems as well.

Prestwick
17-01-07, 11:33 AM
Its happened. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/6269979.stm)

I sincerely hope the RFU and the Clubs are happy. Greed and sheer inflexibility has made sure that the effects of the grand bitchfight of English Rugby now ripple out across Europe.

Cheers guys!

An Tarbh
17-01-07, 11:48 AM
Patrick Wolff, VP LNR, was just on Sky Sports News but the fixture pile was merely a secondary factor for the LNR, they're not happy that the dispute between Premier Rugby and the RFU hasn't been sorted.

He also said it wasn't a question of the French looking for more money, as the French and English get 25% each and the Irish, Italians, Scots and Welsh get the remaining 50% between them. He even went so far as to say that the French and English were looking to increase the money that the Italians from their share.

The LNR don't seem happy about who will be competing in the HEC, the impression they were giving is that it's possible that second rate sides could be in the HEC. He was a bit vague on this point, not quite sure if he meant NL1 sides or what but there does seem to be a doubt over who will participate from England and this seems to be the biggest sticking point for the French.

It also seemed like they were willing to accomodate the HEC which would have meant weakening the Top14, which if all guarantees are in place they seem willing to do.

So there is room to sort this out, there's enough time.

Prestwick
17-01-07, 12:01 PM
But it won't be sorted out though. You know this, I know this, anyone with half a brain knows this.

As long as the interests of Premier Rugby and the RFU remain on opposite courses, then there will never be aggrement. As long as there is no agreement then the rest of Europe is, in effect, f***ed.

Its as simple as that. The only thing that will convince the RFU and the Clubs to get with the program is if all the other nations refuse to have England in the HEC. Simple as that. If you harm the Clubs and the RFUs bottom line, they'll be a little more submissive and more willing to listen to reason for once.

Bullitt
17-01-07, 12:23 PM
So this is the last HEC then... With the French giving up and the English clubs about to breakaway from the RFU, the worlds best club tournament is gone.

:(

RoyalBlueStuey
17-01-07, 12:39 PM
So this is the last HEC then... With the French giving up and the English clubs about to breakaway from the RFU, the worlds best club tournament is gone.

:(
[/b]

W@nkers...

*calm computerised voice*
Self-destruct activated. Self-destruct activated...This sport will implode. Please proceed to your nearest football club. Self-destruct activated. Self-destruct activated...

Prestwick
17-01-07, 02:13 PM
<div class='quotemain'>
So this is the last HEC then... With the French giving up and the English clubs about to breakaway from the RFU, the worlds best club tournament is gone.

:(
[/b]

W@nkers...

*calm computerised voice*
Self-destruct activated. Self-destruct activated...This sport will implode. Please proceed to your nearest football club. Self-destruct activated. Self-destruct activated...
[/b][/quote]

The RFU man and the Premier Rugby man both glare at each other and shout:

This is all your fault! :ranting:

O'Rothlain
17-01-07, 02:32 PM
<span style="font-family:Comic Sans Ms">!@#%</span>
This really, really sucks.

An Tarbh
17-01-07, 03:42 PM
There&#39;s way too many conflicting reports coming out about this, first the LNR vp says that it&#39;s not to do with the way the money is redistributed, now the BBC have the LNR as saying that this is exactly the reason.

I don&#39;t share the view that the competition will simply just cease to be, the unions might be incompetent gimps but there&#39;s other interests involved and if France Télévisions and Sky Sports start to show their muscle then they might be able to knock some heads together and get a deal sorted. I&#39;d imagine that Canal+ might not be as keen considering their coverage of the Top14 could be hit.

el_tk
17-01-07, 09:29 PM
I don&#39;t think Blanco and co. are really serious about this. As I see it, because it&#39;s a world cup year and they have the full on Top14 they have decided to sacrifice the HEC for a year, the dispute in England is just a handy excuse for them to manouevre.

DonBilly
17-01-07, 11:52 PM
I don&#39;t think Blanco and co. are really serious about this. As I see it, because it&#39;s a world cup year and they have the full on Top14 they have decided to sacrifice the HEC for a year, the dispute in England is just a handy excuse for them to manouevre.
[/b]


I totally agree with this statement. The current conflict between the RFU and Premiership is the easy excuse. In the backgrounf there&#39;s the renegotiation of the Paris agreement which has defined the organization of the Hcup, the control of the ERC and the sharing of the Hcup revenues among the involved Rugby Unions. Another ongoing discussion in the background is the reorganization of the Rugby season, the French clubs want to stress that the IRB and the Rugby Unions will have to take their demand into account.

Prestwick
17-01-07, 11:57 PM
As much as I&#39;d like Rugby going on during the summer, I still find the French model inherently strange.

DonBilly
18-01-07, 12:02 AM
As much as I&#39;d like Rugby going on during the summer, I still find the French model inherently strange.
[/b]

What do you mean?

Canadian_Rugger
18-01-07, 04:43 AM
I just think the whole thing is a friggin joke lol

Maybe its exactly what rugby needs though a good kick in the ass. The NHL lockout last year did that in North America and the league has comeback stronger then ever.

The should scrap the stupid anglo welsh cup cut out the november tours and have the June tours alternate hemisphere&#39;s each year.

The whole notion of having the national team play at the same for half the domestic league&#39;s season is just f***ing stupid. International Ice Hockey does not do this except with the world championship but thats a secondary tournament anyways. With the Olympics and hte World Cup of Hockey internationals are played when the NHL and the other seasons are either not in season or are taking a stoppage for the respective tournaments.

Problem with rugby is yes we want to see internationals but these can&#39;t be at the expense of the domestic leagues that help build and foster these great international sides.

RoyalBlueStuey
18-01-07, 02:13 PM
In BO&#39;D we trust

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/6273277.stm

Leinster&#39;s Brian O&#39;Driscoll has pleaded with French clubs to reconsider their boycott of next season&#39;s Heineken Cup.

Ireland captain O&#39;Driscoll says the tournament would be devalued if the French clubs withdrew over a dispute with the Rugby Football Union.

"It would take away from the winner if the French teams didn&#39;t play," he said.

"I know they take massive pride in their domestic league, but they have to realise pitting themselves against the best teams in Europe is where it&#39;s at."

Listen to the man...listen to the fans...Sort.It.

O'Rothlain
18-01-07, 02:46 PM
In BO&#39;D we trust

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/6273277.stm

Leinster&#39;s Brian O&#39;Driscoll has pleaded with French clubs to reconsider their boycott of next season&#39;s Heineken Cup.

Ireland captain O&#39;Driscoll says the tournament would be devalued if the French clubs withdrew over a dispute with the Rugby Football Union.

"It would take away from the winner if the French teams didn&#39;t play," he said.

"I know they take massive pride in their domestic league, but they have to realise pitting themselves against the best teams in Europe is where it&#39;s at."

Listen to the man...listen to the fans...Sort.It.
[/b]


We need to rally the top musicians in Europe to do some sort of charity song for this...
"I believe the Heiniken Cup is the Future, Don&#39;t let money and disputes get in the way, Let the clubs of Europe have a chance to shine, Because we love them...Yes we fans love them..."

Something like that...as you sing this tune make sure it&#39;s to the song Whitney Houston once sang "I believe the Children are the future..."

Prestwick
18-01-07, 02:51 PM
I just think the whole thing is a friggin joke lol

Maybe its exactly what rugby needs though a good kick in the ass. The NHL lockout last year did that in North America and the league has comeback stronger then ever.

The should scrap the stupid anglo welsh cup cut out the november tours and have the June tours alternate hemisphere&#39;s each year.

The whole notion of having the national team play at the same for half the domestic league&#39;s season is just f***ing stupid. International Ice Hockey does not do this except with the world championship but thats a secondary tournament anyways. With the Olympics and hte World Cup of Hockey internationals are played when the NHL and the other seasons are either not in season or are taking a stoppage for the respective tournaments.

Problem with rugby is yes we want to see internationals but these can&#39;t be at the expense of the domestic leagues that help build and foster these great international sides.
[/b]

Yes but the problem is that you&#39;re comparing like for like a wee bit too much there.

In the Rugby World (like in Cricket) tours are a vital part of the schedule. Its the way that the rugby world knows who is top dog and who isn&#39;t.

Also because of how rugby is played, if you removed the summer internationals, you&#39;d never get a northern hemisphere side to play down under ever again. The reason why we tour down south is because by May and June, they will be in late autumn and the conditions will be far better to play in. Imagine playing 80 minutes of top quality, high octane rugby in the Australian sun in the middle of their summer!!! Madness!

Thats also why tours are an integral part of Cricket. Adopting an NHL way of thinking for scheduling just wouldn&#39;t make sense.

To balance the schedule books you just need to do three things:

1) Force the French to adopt the same league shedule as everyone else in the North.
2) Get rid of the Anglo-Welsh cup
3) Make the GP a ten team league.

There we go. Loads of time for resting, the HEC and the internationals.

RoyalBlueStuey
18-01-07, 03:10 PM
We need to rally the top musicians in Europe to do some sort of charity song for this...
"I believe the Heiniken Cup is the Future, Don&#39;t let money and disputes get in the way, Let the clubs of Europe have a chance to shine, Because we love them...Yes we fans love them..."

Something like that...as you sing this tune make sure it&#39;s to the song Whitney Houston once sang "I believe the Children are the future..."
[/b]

*holds lighter in the air*

I bet, whether people admit it or not, they all instinctively defaulted to Whitney whilst reading it.

We could Sir Elton to do some proper lyrics :

"Goodbye Europe&#39;s cup
May you ever grow in our hearts..."

*blah blah blah, insert overly sentimental crap here*

"...The French teams pulled out long ago
O&#39;Driscoll never will"

O'Rothlain
18-01-07, 04:09 PM
"I hope you don&#39;t mind, I hope you don&#39;t mind, That I put down in Words, Please France don&#39;t remove European Championship Rugby out of my world."

DC
19-01-07, 10:43 PM
How about make an all european league with the top teams from the Top 14, England, ML, Italy, then take the other teams from all thoes leagues and make up another 2 tiers below that using the other teams and some from the national 1 division. And there youve got a competitive league, with 14 of the top euro sides (leinster, leicester, munster, biarritz, paris etc.), and all the sides who werent at the top of their league (borders, northampton, etc.) filing into the other leagues eager for promotion.

An Tarbh
19-01-07, 11:05 PM
That&#39;s never going to happen, there&#39;s too much money in the Top14 for the French to toss it aside for a European league.

DonBilly
20-01-07, 08:36 PM
That&#39;s never going to happen, there&#39;s too much money in the Top14 for the French to toss it aside for a European league.
[/b]

An Tarbh, I think you&#39;re right. I don&#39;t see the French ending a competition which started in the late XIXth century. Brennus shield remains for the French club Rugby the supreme trophee.

Bullitt
20-01-07, 08:46 PM
<div class='quotemain'>
I just think the whole thing is a friggin joke lol

Maybe its exactly what rugby needs though a good kick in the ass. The NHL lockout last year did that in North America and the league has comeback stronger then ever.

The should scrap the stupid anglo welsh cup cut out the november tours and have the June tours alternate hemisphere&#39;s each year.

The whole notion of having the national team play at the same for half the domestic league&#39;s season is just f***ing stupid. International Ice Hockey does not do this except with the world championship but thats a secondary tournament anyways. With the Olympics and hte World Cup of Hockey internationals are played when the NHL and the other seasons are either not in season or are taking a stoppage for the respective tournaments.

Problem with rugby is yes we want to see internationals but these can&#39;t be at the expense of the domestic leagues that help build and foster these great international sides.
[/b]

Yes but the problem is that you&#39;re comparing like for like a wee bit too much there.

In the Rugby World (like in Cricket) tours are a vital part of the schedule. Its the way that the rugby world knows who is top dog and who isn&#39;t.

Also because of how rugby is played, if you removed the summer internationals, you&#39;d never get a northern hemisphere side to play down under ever again. The reason why we tour down south is because by May and June, they will be in late autumn and the conditions will be far better to play in. Imagine playing 80 minutes of top quality, high octane rugby in the Australian sun in the middle of their summer!!! Madness!

Thats also why tours are an integral part of Cricket. Adopting an NHL way of thinking for scheduling just wouldn&#39;t make sense.

To balance the schedule books you just need to do three things:

1) Force the French to adopt the same league shedule as everyone else in the North.
2) Get rid of the Anglo-Welsh cup
3) Make the GP a ten team league.

There we go. Loads of time for resting, the HEC and the internationals.
[/b][/quote]

Why not just move to those f***ing RFU franchises that Byron wants... <_<

The GP sides will eventually break away from the RFU and form an independant league at this rate. Then they will compete in a new and completely different european competition proberbly joined by the French sides.

The HEC is now a dead tournament. This years champion had best be worthy of the title, there&#39;s not ever going to be another for a long long time.

Prestwick
21-01-07, 02:20 AM
I think you&#39;re overracting there. I think at the end of the day this is just a case of France "******* into the wind with an umbrella" and doing whatever the hell it likes.

Over the course of this thread, I&#39;ve come to realise that maybe even if the RFU and Premier Rugby got into bed with each other, the French would still shrug a fine gailic shrug and still boycott the HEC.

Come 2008/9 though, they&#39;ll be back in it and it will be as if nothing had ever happened.

And as for the 10 team league, this is vital. It has to happen, I mean, lets face it, its not just the RFU that are f***ing over the face of rugby as we know it, the Clubs have to hold their share of the blame too.

At the end of the day, there are too many matches being played, the league is a smidgin too big and so two teams need to go. If Northampton actually got their act together and got out of the bottom third of the league tables then you wouldn&#39;t be so angry about the whole situation.

Its called bloody social dawinism mate, the fittest survive and the crappest get sent to the first division.

And I forgot to add two things to that:

1)Increase the wage cap, let the clubs expand their squads to compensate for internationals being taken away from them. One thing people forget is that the clubs can&#39;t just summon up legions of Pacific islanders out of nowhere because alot of the Premiership clubs are pushing at the limit of their salary caps already. Increasing the salary cap would at least cover teams who have lost their best talent to international duty.

2)Compress England training days to block weeks. Just having a couple of days here and there is pointless, everyone is usually shagged after a weekends hard club rugby. Just take the number of days currently agreed upon and squeeze them into two or three weeks. One week for the summer, one for the autumn internationals and one for the period just before the Six Nations. This is another thing that the Clubs really do need to agree to.

Bullitt
21-01-07, 10:35 AM
Taking a dig at the team I support doesn&#39;t make any difference to the situation; This 10 team ******** will kill the domestic game, thus ruining everything else upwards in turn.

Most of the Clubs have a long and rich history (apart from Saracens who&#39;ve never won f***-all) and 99% of people wo go to watch these clubs, their members and their owners would all put them before anything else. This is wht there are such fierce rivalries in the league, such as Saints/Tigers or Gloucester/Bath. A 10 team system would mean a lot of these local sides would end up "merging" to form the RFU franchises; Yeah Right. Like a Gloucester and a Bath fan will ever stand shoulder to shoulder cheering on each others home town.

The 10 team franchise has only been suggested so the RFU can put a noose around the neck of the professional game and bully the the game into submission. They couldn&#39;t care less if the domestic game is destroyed, the RFU would rather the elite squad only play 10 games a year anyway; The 6 nations and the pointless, money-spinning autumn/summer games.

What would happen once rhe RFU owned everything in English rugby;

- The passion would die because no one cares abouth their team anymore

- The standards of playing ability would reduce while every teams reverts the the Leicester/Saracens up-yer-jumper bull**** to accomidate Englands methods

- Ticket prices increas for games while the normal fan is pushed out for the corperate sponsor

- The BBC end up with more coverage so Brian "you can&#39;t do that" Moore starts talking crap on a regular basis

- Anyone who isn&#39;t in the old boys network finds themself without a job

- Past-it former England players given game time in the leage instead of talented and hungry youngsters





The RFU franchise will knoll the death toll for English rugby.

Prestwick
21-01-07, 11:01 AM
Mite, we&#39;re not talking about a ten franchise league. We&#39;re just talking about cutting the league down to ten teams and letting two get relegated down into the first division.

All this talk about franchises was only that. Talk. The RFU wheeled out all the top brass to reject any notion that they were suddenly going to wheel out a plan to turn the league into franchises so I don&#39;t quite understand your hysterical argument here Mite.

Even still, lets examine each of a couple of those points:


- Saracens don&#39;t do Leicester up your jumpers &#39;********&#39;, you&#39;re only saying that because you&#39;re stung that someone had the temerity to tease you about your favourite team. I&#39;m quite happy about people slagging off my team because I know that what goes around, comes around. You&#39;ve only just realised that the mighty can indeed fall and boy does the truth hurt :P

- Worcester vs Wasps next Friday. £27 for the East Stand. Twenty Seven frickin&#39; quid for a basement club fighting for survival!! We don&#39;t have to wait for pointless franchises for ticket prices to reach Dive-ball Premiership prices...we&#39;re already there mate!

- I object to having to pay Sky for their annoying, bombastic and in your face coverage. If I am paying a license fee and the BBC want to screen Premiership rugby. All the best of luck to them. You do have a choice y&#39;know. Press the red button and select the local BBC Radio coverage instead :P I do that when watching a Scotland rugby international because BBC Radio Scotland does far better coverage.

- Rather than past-it former Southern Hemisphere stars being played because clubs don&#39;t want to put money into local talent in case they get picked for international duty?

Mite, at the end of the day, the RFU and Premier Rugby are equally to blame for this mess. I don&#39;t agree that English rugby should be ruled by old duffers on the RFU board neither do I believe that it should be run by corporate benefactors and Sky TV money. I&#39;m against Franchises as much as you are, but change needs to happen to solve all of this bickering. If it takes the RFU moving to let Premier Rugby have their little seat on the European Rugby board thing then so be it.

I mean it really isn&#39;t rocket science here, the problem is that the RFU and the Clubs are now so stuck in their ways and stubborn to the point of lunacy that not even the stern words of a High Court Judge (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/international/5219320.stm) can make them see sense, I don&#39;t think really the RFU or the Clubs know why exactly they are arguing anymore. They just seem intent on wanting to score points off of each other and batter the other into dust.

A middle way needs to be found and both sides need to make compromises.

DonBilly
09-02-07, 09:38 PM
Neither the French clubs organization nor the English one showed up at the last meeting of the ERC convened to solve the issue arose with the renewal of the Paris agreements.

It mooks like that the English clubs too are seriously considering boycotting next season H-cup.

DonBilly
30-03-07, 12:48 PM
The ultimatum set by the LNR ends tomorow. This is likely that the boycott becomes real on Sunday.

Bullitt
30-03-07, 05:46 PM
So that&#39;s that then. Goodbye HEC, it was fun while it lasted.

Prestwick
30-03-07, 08:58 PM
Gah, what Club cup competitons do we have left?!

SmokeyMonkey
30-03-07, 09:47 PM
The French should reduce the number of teams in their top league, maybe from 14 down to 12.

RoyalBlueStuey
30-03-07, 09:54 PM
Neither the French clubs organization nor the English one showed up at the last meeting of the ERC convened to solve the issue arose with the renewal of the Paris agreements.

It mooks like that the English clubs too are seriously considering boycotting next season H-cup.
[/b]

That is absolutely criminal....nothing short of dereliction of duty.

It sounds melodramatic but we, the fans, have been completely disregarded and let down on this one. Supporters of the big boys should write to their clubs and let them know.

shtove
30-03-07, 10:00 PM
When money&#39;s involved, there are always last minute compromises. Just wait.

Bullitt
30-03-07, 10:19 PM
When money&#39;s involved, there are always last minute compromises. Just wait. [/b]

When the RFU basically want complete control, I doubt there willbe any compromise.

Tossers.

getofmeland
30-03-07, 10:24 PM
Well Good Bye to the progression of Northern Hemisphere Rugby!!!

RoyalBlueStuey
30-03-07, 10:32 PM
Well Good Bye to the progression of Northern Hemisphere Rugby!!!
[/b]

*sigh* sad, sad business.....still we&#39;ve always got the anglo-welsh eh?

SB

Bullitt
30-03-07, 10:34 PM
Oh christ...

shtove
30-03-07, 10:36 PM
Llanelli did a good job of progressing NH rugby against Munster tonight. Maybe the Englsih and French representatives to the ERC need to be broken down into regions beneath national level.

Where is European rugby strong? SW France, Basque region, NW Italy, London, West Country, Black Country, Munster, Leinster, NE Ulster, Lowland Scotland, all of Wales.

Mightn&#39;t they make a better hussle for their own interests to the benefit of the game?

getofmeland
30-03-07, 10:45 PM
The action is in the ECC ;)

Bullitt
30-03-07, 10:48 PM
When it comes to the RFU, they don&#39;t care about the development of rugby, just how much money they can align for themselves. They&#39;d be quite happy if all the English sides didn&#39;t play and just trained players for the national side.

It&#39;s mostly down to that prat Francis Byron and his lackeys (including Rob Andrew).


The action is in the ECC ;) [/b]

I give it one more season before the RFU f*** that one up n&#39;all.

DonBilly
31-03-07, 05:22 AM
Llanelli did a good job of progressing NH rugby against Munster tonight. Maybe the Englsih and French representatives to the ERC need to be broken down into regions beneath national level.

Where is European rugby strong? SW France, Basque region, NW Italy, London, West Country, Black Country, Munster, Leinster, NE Ulster, Lowland Scotland, all of Wales.

Mightn&#39;t they make a better hussle for their own interests to the benefit of the game?
[/b]

Well don&#39;t be mistaken, Rugby progresses well in France: the number of players, clubs, people going to the matchs all these indicators are increasing. More and more money is put iin the game. The TV rights were increased by more than 50% and you can find Rugby on 9 different channels (TF1, Eurosport, France2, France 3, France 4, Canal+, Canal+ Sport, Sport+, NRJ12). The press covers it more and more and I don&#39;t mention the three weekly Rugby papers and the different magazines.

You mention SW France and Basque area, but actually if you look to where the French international players come from you will see that the regions you mention provide 40% of the players. Many of therm come from the Rhône-Alpes area (Lyon, Grenoble, Bourgoin, Gisors), Paris area (the number 1 regional union in term of players), South East (Toulon, Nice). Rugby spreading is more balanced than one can think.

In addition of that keep in mind that the French Rugby was built around the club. They are kind of Gallic villages and they are what unites the tribe. The Brennus shield is a living myth and there&#39;s no greater honnor than having got it in the Trophee room for at least one year. You won&#39;t sweep out the holly dust in this room until this trophee is back. This may look as old-fashioned values from the past but the French Rugby fans still believe it.

It took 20 years to reduce from 80 to 14 the number of clubs in the top division, the second division which is very healthy is still at 16. I think many will rather favour returning to the pool system or to a Super14 format rather than reducing again the number of clubs. Anyway on this topic I think it will be a bit risky to change the format of the competition as long as there&#39;s no better view on the global season including the test Rugby, for example the IRB has decised that there would be no more June tours the season following the RWC. Breaking the French club organization would put in danger the French Rugby but other nations too, where the Argentinian, Italian, Rumanian or Georgian players could play high level Rugby?

I am not however in favour of the boycott, a roadmap towards an acceptable compromise by all the involved parties should be found. Actually there&#39;s still some time left, the LNR head committe (which gathers the management of the 30 professional clubs) meet next Thursday and I understood that the PRL are going to do the same on Tuesday or Thursday. One of the key issue is however as far as I understand the way the elite Rugby is going to be organised in England and how the power will be shared between the RFU and the clubs. This aspect is of course out of the hands of the French clubs and union although for these formers it is of their interest that the English clubs survive and don&#39;t become soulless franchise, otherwise the French clubs will be very much isolated in the NH Rugby.

Prestwick
31-03-07, 10:13 AM
<div class='quotemain'>
Well Good Bye to the progression of Northern Hemisphere Rugby!!!
[/b]

*sigh* sad, sad business.....still we&#39;ve always got the anglo-welsh eh?

SB
[/b][/quote]

LALALALALALALALA I CAN&#39;T HEAR YOU LALALALALALA!

Also Shtove, the problem isn&#39;t with the clubs or how many clubs there are or where they are based. The problem lies this time sadly with the RFU who really, really don&#39;t want to give clubs a seat at the board the the ERC, hence one of the pretexts for the LNR&#39;s action.

DonBilly
05-04-07, 04:30 PM
The LNR has communicated that the Boycott of the H-cup by the French clubs is confirmed for next year. A vote has taken place, the boycott received 14 votes in favour and 3 against.

getofmeland
05-04-07, 06:06 PM
Well the French aren&#39;t gonna back down, and neither should the English, is this just the Heineken Cup or does it effect the European Challenge Cup?

getofmeland
05-04-07, 06:51 PM
"It is a fifth of our budget. It will be a huge blow to the Welsh sides just as it will be for the Irish and the Scots."

From BBC Sport

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/6530741.stm

Prestwick
05-04-07, 07:42 PM
http://rowhouselogic.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2006/02/nuclear%20explosion.JPG

You see in there, right in the epicentre of that mushroom cloud?

Thats the finances of the Irish, Scottish and Welsh clubs going up in smoke.

Rugby_Cymru
05-04-07, 08:47 PM
Yeah, it all seems really seflish.
I mean, the HEC is a step up from avg. everyday club rugby. It&#39;s like a tiny hop up to a better preparation for internationals for any up and coming players.

I heard the RFU were going to sue if a boycott happened.

Prestwick
05-04-07, 09:14 PM
They will only sue if English clubs break their contractual obligations and hold european club matches outside of their legally binding HEC commitments.

I did hear the owner of Northampton say that negotiations could still save the day but, lets face it, He doesn&#39;t give a monkeys because a) saints are going to be mixing it with Pirates and Bedford next year and b ) he is happy because his gambling debts and cocaine bill is going to be paid by the huge relegation parachute payments Northampton are going to get.

shtove
05-04-07, 10:23 PM
Relax. Don&#39;t panic.

The HEC will be played as usual next year, with all the usual suspects. Hardline stances at such an early stage are a guarantee of compromise. The crucial date will be the renewal of the sponsorship deal, whenever that is.

Personally, I&#39;d prefer if Carlsberg were the sponsors: you might get a string of empty taxis outside Adams Park at 8pm.

Prestwick
06-04-07, 12:36 PM
Nope, not if past disputes between the RFU and the Premiership Clubs are anything to go by.

They&#39;re not even meeting face to face in person again anymore Shtove! They&#39;re just releasing press statements swearing at each other.

I admire your excessive confidence that a solution might be found, but unless the RFU and the Clubs meet face to face and the RFU budges slightly, we&#39;ll be staring down the abyss.

Sorry to be so cynical, but this kind of fall out between the RFU and Clubs has happened so many times before. To be honest, I can see the English and French clubs trying to do their own unofficial anglo-french matches in an EDF Cup format (*shivers*) which will result in the RFU suing the Premiership clubs.

The thing is that both sides are too stubborn for their own good. All the RFU have to do is let the Clubs have their say in European competition but they refuse to move because this now is a central prinicpled position from which they will defend unto death. They also refuse to consider any other option than that of suing the clubs if they go ahead with their own alternative European matches.

The Clubs won&#39;t budge from their position because they&#39;ve already gone ahead and declared that they are siding with the French Clubs, furthermore they have voiced their intention to arrange alternative matches because they&#39;ve realised that they&#39;ve boxed themselves into a corner where they won&#39;t receive any of the huge financial benefits of being in the HEC so they need an alternative money spinner and thus won&#39;t budge from the course themselves.

But then again, why not let the RFU and the English and French Clubs shoot themselves in the foot. For the Celts and Italy, this could be an amazing opportunity.

Already the WRU are actually in talks with South Africa for an additional international as well as in talks with the Super 14 to arrange matches between the Welsh Regions and Super 14 clubs next year, something along the lines of the amazing St Helens vs Brisbane match recently.

Sure the Welsh regions might be losing to the tune of £500,000 each, but they could easily make this money back if they stick two fingers to the anglo-french spoil sports and go ahead to make their own arrangements. Ireland, Scotland and Italy take note!

shtove
06-04-07, 12:45 PM
But French clubs can&#39;t participate in games outside France without their union&#39;s say so. That&#39;ll end up in court too, at which point the clubs will be putting their own existence at risk. Nobody will let it go that far. I&#39;m telling you - my confidence isn&#39;t irrational, it comes out of experience.

Prestwick
06-04-07, 01:21 PM
As is my cynicism is out of experience as well.

Didn&#39;t the RFU and the Clubs go to war in the courts just a year ago over similar issues over whether one party was in the clear to arrange extra matches? Have they not been at each others throats for the past four years and been barely on speaking terms?! Hardly the ideal conditions for the quick and easy settlement that you present.

The RFU and the Clubs are not talking, this will not be resolved any time soon. What the French clubs and the FFR say and do is irellevant now, this is a square fight between the RFU and the English Clubs and in a way, it always was.

In any case, the idea that the French Clubs are beholden to the FFR is a sham. The FFR offered an 11th hour package to rescue the HEC and the Clubs thumbed their noses. This is the French Clubs and Serge Blanco&#39;s choice and they don&#39;t give a monkeys what the FFR thinks to be honest.

shtove
06-04-07, 09:10 PM
The expiry date for the governing agreement for the HEC is July, so three months to go - plenty of time.

I&#39;m not sure what&#39;s at stake here, but there could be danger for the 6N.

The American National Hockey League had a player strike in 2005, so all the players were available without restriction to their national squads. Result? For the first time in years Canada was able to select a full team, and they wiped the floor with opponents who&#39;d been beating them regularly.

If French and English clubs get the say so they&#39;re demanding in the HEC, then they&#39;ll restrict player availability for their national teams. And is this all with an eye on a world club competition?