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Intercontinental Shield (aka Toyota Challenge)

Bruce_ma gooshvili

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In one of the years stranger developments we had the Cheetahs invite a non-existent side from Barcelona, the Diables along with the Romanian Champions Baia Mare to play a couple of one off games.


But this has developed into something that may become a regular fixture, with talk of yet to be identified sides from Russia, Spain, Germany and Romania forming a tournament with the Cheetahs, 1x other SA side, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Namibia in something that may be called the Intercontinetal Shield. Georgia are being involved in the Currie Cup next year and would likely also be involved in this.


There are also repeated reports that the best SLAR sides may then play the best Toyota teams (or Currie Cup sides) in some kind of post season event.


One ambition from the competition is for the winner to gain access to the Challenge Cup, which is likely also an ambition of the Rugby Europe Super Cup.


Much of the above seems tenuous at this stage and I think speculation that this will be some kind of URC 2nd Division is wide of the mark. The public health situation also raises questions about the validity of such an enterprise for unions already operating on a shoestring. However, this proposal does seem to have legs (hence the separate thread).
 

Bruce_ma gooshvili

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The above tweet was retweeted by the Diables rugby Twitter account, lending it a degree of credibility.

Here is a further unsubstantiated item alleged to have been leaked by the Cheetahs giving a little more detail about some of the prospective sides and of the Cheetah's annual calendar. Baffled by the suggestion of a Scottish and Italian franchise and can't see how they could possibly offer a challenge to even an underpowered Cheetah's side.

I have no idea why a Welsh tournament is mentioned in the same image, but it has a ring of truth given how desperate the Welsh union always are for additional international fixtures. But hey, it's as completely random as everything else about this tournament.:p

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higgik

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The above tweet was retweeted by the Diables rugby Twitter account, lending it a degree of credibility.

Here is a further unsubstantiated item alleged to have been leaked by the Cheetahs giving a little more detail about some of the prospective sides and of the Cheetah's annual calendar. Baffled by the suggestion of a Scottish and Italian franchise and can't see how they could possibly offer a challenge to even an underpowered Cheetah's side.

I have no idea why a Welsh tournament is mentioned in the same image, but it has a ring of truth given how desperate the Welsh union always are for additional international fixtures. But hey, it's as completely random as everything else about this tournament.:p

View attachment 13361
Maybe it becomes a URC lite, a development competition for those countries.
When you say the Scottish and Italian franchises would struggle. I think all will struggle against Cheetahs.
Maybe a better way would be to invite the Cheetahs into the Super Cup. 8 teams already, Black Lion already a known force.
Add in an Italian and Scottish team, Simbas, Gosshawks, Namibia and Bucharest Wolves, 15 teams would make really great competition.
 

Bruce_ma gooshvili

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Yes, but sadly the Cheetahs appear to have no interest in the Super Cup and there would be issues with the other African unions in terms of travel expenses and not being EPCR members.

Balance for any such tournament would be a big deal. Kenyan Simbas and Zimbabwe Goshawks are being spanked in the second tier of the Currie Cup, with Black Lion so far holding their own but likely at a level below the Cheetahs. The main thing for me is making sure all teams are pro (assuming finances permit). Due to limited funds globally there is a move to having pros mix with semi pros and amateurs which I think is a waste of time in terms of tournament structure, commercial development and player development. If the Cheetahs rock up against even semi pros it'll be an awful product.

 

die_mole

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Due to limited funds globally there is a move to having pros mix with semi pros and amateurs which I think is a waste of time in terms of tournament structure, commercial development and player development.
MLR catching strays for no reason
 

higgik

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Yes, but sadly the Cheetahs appear to have no interest in the Super Cup and there would be issues with the other African unions in terms of travel expenses and not being EPCR members.

Balance for any such tournament would be a big deal. Kenyan Simbas and Zimbabwe Goshawks are being spanked in the second tier of the Currie Cup, with Black Lion so far holding their own but likely at a level below the Cheetahs. The main thing for me is making sure all teams are pro (assuming finances permit). Due to limited funds globally there is a move to having pros mix with semi pros and amateurs which I think is a waste of time in terms of tournament structure, commercial development and player development. If the Cheetahs rock up against even semi pros it'll be an awful product.

The Cheetahs were truly shafted by SARU and are trying desperately to find credible opponents.
The Super Cup may well develop into a full league structure with another Spanish team, a Romanian team, a Scottish and Italian team, would make a good 12 team league.
 

Bruce_ma gooshvili

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I would suggest the rumours of an Italian franchise being involved have got stronger following confirmation Italy A will play Barcelona Diables and a Currie Cup Allstars next month.
 

Bruce_ma gooshvili

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The Cheetahs inclusion in the Challenge Cup from next season may reduce the pressure from sponsors for them to create the Intercontinental Shield surely?

They could be satisfied with Currie Cup plus Challenge Cup. With this development if I was Spanish or Georgian I'd definitely be keeping some eggs in the RESC basket.

 
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