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Wales' rugby regions 'welcome' European deal

Wales' four rugby regions have welcomed the agreement of a new European competition structure, which the say provides "a positive way forward".

The new competitions provide a positive way forward for Welsh Regional Rugby and the ability to drive forward commercial revenues of the most significant rugby club competition in the world.

Fundamental changes within the new European competition structure will see the clubs take a greater stake in significantly growing the value of the professional game, which is crucial in our ability to remain competitive.

The Welsh Regions are pleased that after giving their support to the Rugby Champions Cup last October, a new European platform has now been secured - based on a strong core principle of equal distribution by participating clubs. We can all now look forward to a more developed, competitive and high quality European competition next season.

Now that both the European competitions and PRO12 league have been confirmed, all our efforts will now be concentrated on working with the WRU to ensure that we can reach a positive and progressive agreement.

The is still is a lot of work still to be done as we go forward, with fundamental issues that urgently need to be addressed to ensure the whole of Welsh Rugby progresses and thrives.

– Regional Rugby Wales

New European Rugby - at a glance

THREE TIERS:

Rugby Champions Cup - replaces Heineken Cup. 20 teams: 6 English and French clubs, 7 from Pro 12 including best placed side from Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Italy. Final place decided by England/France playoff.

Challenge Cup - 20 teams, including 18 from Pro 12, Premiership and Top 14 + 2 other countries.

Qualifying Competition - 12-18 teams from developing nations and Italy

NEW MANAGING BODY:

European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR). Replaces ERC

EXTRA FUNDING:

An extra £1m a year for Welsh regions

Competition funding split equally between member leagues

SHARED BROADCASTING RIGHTS:

Sky and BT to show joint coverage of European competitions

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WRU 'delighted' with European rugby cup structure

"I am delighted that from today we can all move forward with a clear and agreed structure in place for European competition from next season."Everyone involved in the game, from players through to supporters and sponsors, can start to plan in earnest for the future. There have been many difficult issues to overcome to reach this stage, but the WRU has remained confident that a resolution would be found and today's unanimous confirmation is clearly good for our game.'

– WRU Group Chief Executive, Roger Lewis

European Rugby peace deal: 'an extremely important landmark'

"This is an extremely important landmark which secures the future of a strong and vibrant European competition structure."Everyone involved has worked incredibly hard to reach this point and it is in all our interests that we can now go forward together on this issue."I am particularly pleased that our four Welsh Regions can now plan in earnest for their campaigns for next season and the seasons beyond that.”

– WRU Chairman, David Pickering

European rugby peace deal agreed

The Welsh Rugby Union welcome the peace deal

The future of European rugby has been secured after all parties agreed to a new competition structure from the 2014/15 season.

The new three tier system will feature all test nations and see Welsh regions gain around an extra million pounds a year. But they'll only be one guaranteed placce in the top level, with the others determined on merit.

But they'll only be one guaranteed place in the top level - with the others determined on merit. The WRU say tonight's decision is an important landmark for the european game.

The new tournament will involve 20 teams, not 24, there'll be 6 from the Aviva Premiership, 6 from the French Top 14 and 7 from the Pro12.

The final place will then be decided by a play-off.

It sees the end of two years of dispute and disharmony.

Hopes of a breakthrough to secure the future of European club rugby at Heathrow meeting, say reports

Millennium Stadium
There are hopes meeting will resolve some of the issues in club rugby Credit: PA

Representatives from the Welsh regions, the Six Nations, Premiership Rugby and French clubs will meet at Heathrow on Tuesday amid rising hopes of a breakthrough to secure the future of European club rugby, according to The Telegraph.

The paper reports that the fact that all the representatives of the European game will attend the same meeting for the first time since October is being viewed as an indication that a deal may yet be possible for the start of next season.

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FT: Scarlets 20 - 22 Harlequins

Substitute Ben Botica kicked a 78th-minute penalty to keep alive Harlequins' European campaign and give them a consolation prize of an Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final place.

Quins, already out of Heineken Cup last-eight contention, moved into the Amlin knockout phase along with Northampton and Gloucester by prevailing in west Wales.

They secured the final Amlin spot for three Heineken runners-up when Botica rifled over the winning kick just two minutes from time.

Wales centre Scott Williams looked to have claimed the Pool Four encounter's decisive touchdown, which followed earlier Scarlets tries by scrum-half Gareth Davies and flanker Aaron Shingler, while Rhys Priestland kicked a penalty and conversion.

Quins scored three tries of their own - full-back Mike Brown, wing Ollie Lindsay-Hague and scrum-half Karl Dickson the scorers - and Nick Evans booted two conversions during a game when the visitors led 14-7 and 19-15 before they finally sealed victory.

The Scarlets looked to be safe as the clock ticked down, but Quins kept going and their reward is an Amlin last-eight clash away to Stade Francais in early April.

But the Scarlets are left to concentrate solely on domestic business following three defeats from six Heineken starts this term.

And it means that none of the Welsh regions - Scarlets, Ospreys, Cardiff Blues and Newport Gwent Dragons - have secured a place in either the Heineken or Amlin quarter-finals for a second successive season.

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