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French to Boycott HEC

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't they make a better hussle for their own interests to the benefit of the game?
When it comes to the RFU, they don't care about the development of rugby, just how much money they can align for themselves. They'd be quite happy if all the English sides didn't play and just trained players for the national side.

It'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'all.
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't they make a better hussle for their own interests to the benefit of the game?

Well don'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'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's no greater honnor than having got it in the Trophee room for at least one year. You won'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'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'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't become soulless franchise, otherwise the French clubs will be very much isolated in the NH Rugby.
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Well Good Bye to the progression of Northern Hemisphere Rugby!!!

*sigh* sad, sad business.....still we've always got the anglo-welsh eh?



Also Shtove, the problem isn'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't want to give clubs a seat at the board the the ERC, hence one of the pretexts for the LNR's action.
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.
Well the French aren't gonna back down, and neither should the English, is this just the Heineken Cup or does it effect the European Challenge Cup?

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.
Yeah, it all seems really seflish.
I mean, the HEC is a step up from avg. everyday club rugby. It'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.
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'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.
Relax. Don'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'd prefer if Carlsberg were the sponsors: you might get a string of empty taxis outside Adams Park at 8pm.
Nope, not if past disputes between the RFU and the Premiership Clubs are anything to go by.

They're not even meeting face to face in person again anymore Shtove! They'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'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't budge from their position because they'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've realised that they've boxed themselves into a corner where they won't receive any of the huge financial benefits of being in the HEC so they need an alternative money spinner and thus won'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!
But French clubs can't participate in games outside France without their union's say so. That'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'm telling you - my confidence isn't irrational, it comes out of experience.
As is my cynicism is out of experience as well.

Didn'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's choice and they don't give a monkeys what the FFR thinks to be honest.
The expiry date for the governing agreement for the HEC is July, so three months to go - plenty of time.

I'm not sure what'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'd been beating them regularly.

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

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