...Reported on Saints board that Simon Cohen has said the English and French clubs have got together and issued an ultimatum to the Celts - the HC Qualification format has to change or else. Not seen the source but apparently its in the Rugby Paper
Mmm. The story is that the Welsh clubs are all in dire financial straits, anything which cuts their income could be serious. On the other hand, if they had to play properly for league positions then maybe it would attract a few more people to go along and watch.
Could also mean the end to trips to Italy for a while...
TBH I would be happy with a compromise whereby the top team from each Rabo nation qualified, and then the best 4 teams by league position after that. However, I prefer a 16 team tournament for HC anyway - more money for the participants and the rest in the Amlin which will then hopefully attract better sponsors and TV deal.
The key thing is the Rabo teams have to become more viable as independent entities from their national unions. That depends on making their League more attractive to fans and tv. The welsh and Scottish crowds need to near double - they haven't got Tiger Glaws and Northampton subsidising them through EPS and TV like Wasps and Newcastle have
A straight 24 (8 Rabo, 8 France, 8 Eng) would do. 4 pools of 6 with top 2 going through although this obviously means more HEC pool games but will also increase the % of "we're out already" games so the 6 pools of 4 with 2 best runners up or even 8 pools of 3!
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