• Help Support The Rugby Forum :

NH competitions for dummies

dasNdanger

First XV
Joined
Jun 15, 2012
Messages
1,750
Country Flag

United States

Club or Nation

New Zealand

Aviva, LV, Heineken, Amlin, et al...help me get them all straight in my head.

Who qualifies (and how), and do some teams participate in more than one event at a time? It all seems very muddled to me, but that may be due to the way the matches are aired over here in the States, many of which are replays without any indication of when the game was originally played. I also have trouble at times keeping track of the different competitions when sponsorship changes (where did the Magners go, for instance? Is that Rabo now? Ugh. I need a freakin' manual here!!).

Anyhoo...any help would be appreciated! :)



das
 

Nielsch

Bench Player
Joined
Oct 30, 2010
Messages
647
Country Flag

Netherlands

Club or Nation

England

Basicly there are three professional domestic competitions in Europe: Orange Top 14 (France), Aviva Premiership (England) and RaboDirect Pro 12 (Celtic nations). This last one started out as the Celtic League with teams from four Celtic nations; Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and was up until a few seasons ago known as the Magners League (until Magners stopped sponsoring the league and Rabobank took over). Two seasons ago, two Italian teams were added to this competition in order to increase the standard of rugby in Italy. Therefore it cannot really be considered as a single domestic competition. Anyhow, all three competitions run from September through May and follow the same pattern; all sides play each other twice (both home and away) and the numbers 1 through 4 qualify for the play-offs (1 through 6 in France).

Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Italy still have their own domestic competitions by the way, but the standard is much lower and teams can be considered semi-professional at most. There is no promotion / relegation between these domestic competitions and the RaboDirect Pro 12. The other two domestic competitions do have promotion / relegation; the Aviva Premiership with the English 2nd division known as the RFU Championship and the Orange Top 14 with the French 2nd division known as the PRO D2.

There are two cross-competition European tournaments; the Heineken Cup (known as the H-Cup in France because of a ban on alcohol advertising) and the Amlin Challenge Cup. The teams from the Heineken Cup come from the three domestic competition I just mentioned above. Qualifying into the tournament differs per competition, but overall the best teams from those domestic competitions play in the Heineken Cup. The teams from those competitions who don't make the Heineken Cup (because they ended too low in the competition) enter the Amlin Challenge Cup which can therefore be considered the second tier European division. They are joined in this competition by the top teams from the Italian domestic competition as well as the champions of Spain and Romania. So, basicly, a professional teams plays in both a domestic competition and a European competition at the same time. Both European competitions follow the same format: small group stage followed by a knock-out competition. To make it a bit more confusing; some teams entered into the Heineken Cup who don't make the knock-out stage join the knock-out stage of the Amlin Challenge Cup.

The Anglo-Welsh Cup (known as the LV= Cup for sponsorship reasons) is a competition between the teams from the Aviva Premiership and the Welsh teams from the RaboDirect Pro 12. It follows a small group stage followed by knock-outs format. Nobody really cares for it though.
 
Last edited:

smartcooky

Referee Coach and Advisor
TRF Legend
Joined
May 25, 2007
Messages
5,730
Country Flag

New Zealand

Club or Nation

Tasman

j'nuh

First XV
Joined
Sep 8, 2011
Messages
4,209
Country Flag

England

Club or Nation

Gloucester

There are three top leagues: Pro12, Top14 and the Premiership.

The Pro12 is made up of 4 Welsh regions, 4 Irish regions, 2 Scottish clubs and 2 Italian clubs.
The Top14 is made up of 14 French clubs.
The Premiership is made up of 12 English clubs.

There are also secondary leagues from these nations:

The English and French have the Championship and the ProD2 respectively. Teams go between these leagues and the Premiership/Top14 through promotion and relegation. I believe most the teams in these leagues are professional...
There are secondary Welsh/Irish/Scottish/Italian leagues down from the Pro12, such as the Welsh Premier Division or the Scottish Premiership. They cannot gain entry to the Pro12 and run separately from the Pro12.

There are numerous professional cups: the Heineken cup, the Amlin, the LV, the British and Irish cup.

The Heineken Cup is the big one. The top 6 English and French teams from their leagues gain entry. The two Scottish and Italian teams gain automatic entry. The three Welsh teams that finish highest in the Pro12 gain entry, same with the Irish. The winners of the Heineken Cup and the Amlin gain entry, but if they've already entered, then the place goes to another team from their country/league. (So when Leinster have won the Heineken or Amlin Cups, Connacht have gained entry so all four Irish teams enter the Heineken.) In total, that's 24. (6 English, 6 French, 3 Irish, 3 Welsh, 2 Scottish, 2 Italian, 2 more)

The Amlin Cup (or European Challenge cup) is made up of all the teams from the Premiership/Pro12/Top14 that didn't make the Heineken, plus teams from secondary leagues in Italy, Spain, Romania etc.. For the top teams, you're either in the Heineken Cup, or the Amlin. Since the pools are easy for some of the top teams in the competition, teams often focus their efforts on their league and then start to take it seriously when the Amlin reaches the knockouts.

The LV Cup (or Anglo-Welsh cup) is made up of the English and Welsh teams from the Premiership and Pro12. Since teams focus their efforts on the Heineken/Amlin or their league, this is usually treated as a way of testing your reserves and youth. If an English team from outside the top 6 of the Premiership wins the LV Cup, then they take the place of the 6th-placed English team in the Heineken Cup I believe.

The British and Irish cup involves the English Championship clubs, A teams from the Irish regions, the teams from the Welsh Premier Division and a few Scottish teams (not Glasgow/Edinburgh).
 
Last edited:

dasNdanger

First XV
Joined
Jun 15, 2012
Messages
1,750
Country Flag

United States

Club or Nation

New Zealand

Thanks guys!! This really helps a lot. Just one question for clarification - in which competitions may the same team be playing at the same time, and in some competitions does the A team play, while in others the B team? (If so, this may be one reason I'm having trouble keeping track of what players play for what teams - I just sort of mentally lump all NH players into one big confusing pile of sweat and muscle.)


das
 

Latest posts

Top