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Rugby regions back Anglo-French breakaway

The four Welsh rugby regions have given their full support to the formation of the Rugby Champions Cup, the proposed replacement of the premier European rugby competition the Heineken Cup.

The future of the European competitions has been cast into doubt after English and French clubs opted to breakaway from the ERC run Heineken and Amlin Cups in favour of a new format with what they believe are fairer distributions of prize money and qualification criteria.

One of the main areas of contention has been the how teams from the Welsh, Irish and Scottish Rabo Direct Pro 12 qualify for Europe given that the Pro 12 has no fear of relegation, unlike in the English Premiership and French Top 14.

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'Advantages to new competitions' say rugby regions

All four Welsh rugby regions have given their support to a breakaway Anglo-French competition. Key to the debate surrounding the decision are European fixtures.

The English and French clubs believe Celtic sides an unfair advantage by being able to rest their first choice players ahead of European fixtures without fear of slipping out of their respective top divisions.

ERC, the organising body of the current European set-up are due to meet on Wednesday to discuss the situation, but the likelihood of finding common ground now appears highly unlikely given the Welsh sides' support for a breakaway.

Regional Rugby Wales (RRW) on behalf of the four Welsh Regions confirms its full support for the proposed new Rugby Champions Cup Competitions.

Whilst there remain elements of detail to be confirmed, it is now clear that there are a number of significant advantages to the new competitions in equality of governance, format, qualification and distribution across the individual participating Clubs.

Consequently, RRW looks forward to working with the WRU to support their efforts and positive engagement in striving to ensure our teams are involved in strong, valuable European Clubs Competitions in time for next season.

– Regional Rugby Wales

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