Tag Archives: chasm

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English rugby clubs hold showdown talks to demand rethink on European competition pay chasm

English clubs hold showdown talks to demand rethink on European competition pay chasm

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 17 September 2012

England's leading clubs will go into showdown talks in Dublin on Tuesday demanding a fairer deal from the European competition cash.

Sportsmail can reveal that a gap of 1.75million between the Heineken Cup money handed to English clubs compared to the four Irish regions is the reason behind their determination to change the landscape of European rugby.

Representatives of Premiership Rugby will meet the other European stakeholders for a meeting that is supposed to be an attempt to find a peace formula but could just as easily increase the fallout between England and clubs from France, Italy, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

Not a level playing field: clubs such as European champions Leinster are quids in

Not a level playing field: clubs such as European champions Leinster are quids in

It follows the announcement last week of a new 152m TV rights deal with BT Vision for Premiership rugby that also included a new European competition – an agreement which was subsequently ruled to be contrary to RFU rules.

But the Premiership representatives believe they have a strong moral case to force through change and that when others see the figures they will fall in line.

The sums expose the sheer scale of the financial inequality that has driven the organisation representing the English elite to make such an aggressive move.

Under the current European Rugby Cup accord governing tournaments, it is understood that the 12 Premiership clubs each receive an annual payment of less than 650,000, incorporating sponsorship and TV rights money.

In comparison, it is thought that the four Irish provincial sides are given a handout of close to 2.4million.

The equation is similarly imbalanced in favour of Wales and Scotland. They and the Irish teams enjoy the luxury of all-but-certain qualification for the high-profile Heineken Cup, rather than the secondary Amlin Challenge Cup.

Inequality: It is understood that the four Irish provincial sides receive far more than their English counterparts

Inequality: It is understood that the four Irish provincial sides receive far more than their English counterparts

In turn, the relatively low intensity of the Pro12 league has allowed the Irish provinces, in particular, to prioritise their European campaigns.

That has been a significant factor in the dominance of Europe's blue-riband event by Munster and Leinster, who have claimed five titles between them in the past seven years.

Their sustained success brings even greater reward as each side contesting a knockout fixture earns an extra 290,000 to contribute to the national 'pot'.

What infuriates the English and French is that they are the economic powerhouses of the continental game, with far greater financial and broadcasting clout than their Celtic rivals, yet they receive far less per team from ERC in return.

Showdown: The talks have been scheduled in the wake of the announced TV deal with BT Vision

Showdown: The talks have been scheduled in the wake of the announced TV deal with BT Vision

There are unlikely to be any resolutions on Tuesday, with the rival factions so entrenched.

While PRL hope they can secure eventual support for their concept of three tiers of European competition, with a 20-team Heineken Cup featuring the holders, the Challenge Cup champions and the top six sides from each of the Premiership, the Pro12 and the Top 14, the stance of the French is critical.

ERC are adamant that the Gallic clubs will preserve the status quo in return for an earlier final in April of each year, but PRL also believe they have the backing of the French.

One leading official even claimed that officials from Ligue Nationale de Rugby have 'signed' an agreement to stage an Anglo-French event as a final option.

However, that notion of an entente cordiale was being questioned in other quarters on Monday.

Rugby World Cup organisers have marked the three-year countdown to the home tournament by predicting record ticket sales and a profit in excess of 100m.

But Andy Cosslett, the chairman of England Rugby 2015, acknowledged the need to generate fresh interest in the north as a crucial factor in the success or failure of the overall plans.

'Taking rugby union outside the traditional strongholds is a priority for us,' he said.

Castleford 36 Widnes 12: Tigers roar but this league is lacking bite

Castleford 36 Widnes 12: Tigers roar but this league is lacking bite…

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UPDATED:

01:00 GMT, 8 May 2012

If the theory that Super League has overstretched itself with a 14-team format needed any further proof, this was surely it.

Rugby league faces some big questions, with the recent departure of RFL chairman Richard Lewis to tennis’s All England Club adding momentum to the calls for change.

Certainly matches like this cannot be described as anything near super, with fears growing every week that there is just not enough talent to support the competition.

The top eight show huge strength, but below that there is a gaping chasm in quality and resources.

On target: Castleford returned to winning ways

On target: Castleford returned to winning ways

However, Castleford Tigers will not be concerned with such worries; they will simply celebrate a first win in four after defeats by St Helens, Warrington and part-time Featherstone.

Even missing Rangi Chase, their most potent attacking force, they still managed to run in seven tries against hapless Widnes, about whom questions must be asked.

Since their elevation back into the elite, they have conceded at least 30 points in each of their 14 competitive fixtures.

Widnes boss Denis Betts admitted: ‘We knew this year would be tough, but we’re allowing too many points against us.

‘We have little patches of competing and working hard together, then we fracture and break easily.’

Castleford barely needed to get out of first gear to lead 10-8 at half-time, with Brett Ferres and Daryl Clark touching down either side of Paddy Flynn’s effort for the visitors.

Jordan Thompson’s 53rd-minute solo score pulled Castleford out of reach and prompted the Vikings’ latest collapse, with Nick Youngquest claiming a 15-minute hat-trick and Clark grabbing his second.

Castleford boss Ian Millward said: ‘Nick was clinical in how he got across the line. It was good to see.’ Little else was.

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Northampton 21 Leicester 35: Toby Flood shines in win for Tigers

Northampton 21 Leicester 35: Superb run continues for historic Tigers as Flood shines

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UPDATED:

18:50 GMT, 14 April 2012

Main man: Toby Flood

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Leicester made it five wins in a row against their traditionally fiercest rivals and, in so doing, made Premier League history.

Do not be misled by the final score either. Even though a 14-point win away from home is comfortable, the Saints narrowed a gap bordering on a chasm only with two late tries, to avoid utter humiliation.

To make matters worse, Exeter’s win at Worcester means the Chiefs have leapfrogged Northampton into fourth place and into a play-off place.

As it stands, Northampton are out of the play-offs and, in a further twist, they travel to Sandy Park next weekend knowing that defeat at Exeter would all but end any lingering chance of appearing in the semi-finals.

Leicester, in contrast, have now
climbed to second after gaining a point on Saracens, who beat London
Irish but failed to get a bonus point.

It means the Tigers have switched places with the defending Premiership
champions and, if it remains as it is at the end of the regular season
on May 5, they will play Saracens at Welford Road rather than Vicarage
Road.

The Tigers notched up their fifth successive bonus point win — the first time any club has achieved such a mark.

Chase: Chris Ashton of Northampton races Julian Salvi and Manu Tuilagi

Chase: Chris Ashton of Northampton races Julian Salvi and Manu Tuilagi

The Saints must be sick of the sight of the Tigers. If losing to them in
last month’s LV= Cup final was hard enough to swallow, seeing their
rivals flying in with tries to win for the first time at Franklin’s
Gardens since 2006 was even harder to bear.

Although the Saints took an early six-point lead through two Ryan Lamb
penalties, Leicester stunned them with two tries inside three minutes, first from Toby Flood and then from Alesana Tuilagi.

A third Lamb penalty gave Saints
hope, but this was obliterated inside the first 15 minutes of the second
half when Flood and Horacio Agulla added two more tries. Lee Dickson
and Chris Ashton made the final score a little less painful for
Northampton.

Forward thinking: Lee Dickson of Northampton breaks with the ball

Forward thinking: Lee Dickson of Northampton breaks with the ball

Richard Cockerill, who earned the wrath of the Saints fans as his excitable
reactions to some of the decision-making irritated the crowd enough for an
elderly man to have a quiet word with the Tigers director of rugby in the
stand, was puffing his chest out with pride.

He said: ‘It was a great win for us. We were outstanding today. This is a
tough place to come and play against a very good Northampton side, but
we were clearly the better team. Psychologically we’ve laid down a
marker to the teams we still have to play.

‘While we’re playing very well away from home, we would always back
ourselves at Welford Road against anybody.’

His counterpart Jim Mallinder said: 'We were clearly second best. It now
sets up a massive game next week at Exeter.'