Euro-South African tournament to see Premiership final moved to February?

As proposals for how to deal with the shambles that is the future of European rugby continue to appear left right and centre, one of the more intriguing ones is the suggestion of holding the Premiership final in February, before the Six Nations, allowing for a European tournament to take place between March and June.

This could feasibly include the South African clubs from the 2015/2016 season onwards, as rumours of their involvement gather pace.

A Premiership Rugby source told the Guardian: “Potentially the Premiership final could be before the Six Nations. Then, if you ran a new Heineken Cup with the South Africans involved between March and June, that would be a pretty good competition for four months. You’ll hear people not just talking about a new European Cup but a new trans-border competition.”

A potential stumbling block to any new tournament would be the need to have to approved by the relevant unions and IRB. Mark McCafferty, CEO of Premiership Rugby, is confident this would not be an issue, however, thanks to the BT Sport deal and the power it has afforded English clubs. Similarly in France, the television rights are up for bidding this year, and a comparable deal is not out of the question.

The source told the Guardian: “There are still some people who will say: ‘You can’t have a cross-border competition without the permission of the French Federation, the RFU and the IRB.’ Those people are living in the past.

“What has changed the whole landscape is the BT Sport deal because suddenly the clubs have got their own broadcaster and are bringing their own money into the game. The French will also be selling their equivalent TV rights shortly. The unions can huff and puff as much as they like but the reality is that the unions are not going to stop a competition bringing in £30m to £40m to rugby.”

It seems BT Sport’s motto of being a ‘game changer’ could be more true than they thought. What do you make of these new proposals? Would you be happy to see a European-South African competition that ran after the domestic season had finished?

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

7 thoughts on “Euro-South African tournament to see Premiership final moved to February?

  1. Ridiculous idea. Out of everything to come out of all these stories, this is possibly the worst thing I’ve heard. The Premiership final is in May, I go every year and that is how it should stay. I’m not normally one for sticking to things based on just traditions, but I don’t like the sound of this. Also, The Premiership Final is normally a nice sunny day out, with some running rugby played. In February, it would be far more likely be a reply of Friday night at the Stoop. Whilst I actually don’t mind games like that, a lot of people who aren’t as into rugby find those games very dull. Surely that contradicts the idea of getting more fans involved?

    Also, a side question, where has the whole SA thing come from? Why not Argentinian teams, or NZ or Aus? Is it a time zone thing?

  2. I can’t see the South African clubs buying into another tournament. The Super 15 already runs from Feb-Aug and the Currie Cup Aug-Oct. On top of that you have Summer Tours, The Rugby Championship and the Autumn internationals. And they say the restructure of the European tournament is to increase player welfare!?

  3. The pitches are pretty much at their worst in Feb as they haven’t seen any sun for 3 months. This is not a time to hold the annual domestic showpiece which has produced some great entertaining games of running rugby in recent years. Personally I would want to see the 6N moved back a month to reduce the number of 10-a-side games as we got in this years 6N.

    Unless the BT sport deal funds a roof for Twickenham this is a shocking idea.

  4. I just cannot see how this would work and the reasons are are their for all to see. The South African teams have Super Rugby from Feb to beginning of August, then the Currie Cup. There are incoming and outgoing tours going on June/July in SA and in November/December in UK.
    What a stupid idea, shocking, and I will be amazed if ever happens. What i would like to see however is the winner of the Heinekin Cup playing the winners of the Super Rugby!

  5. I doubt this is any serious consideration. Don’t see South Africa wanting to seriously get involved along with the rest of the games they have and the moving between those countries would be a nightmare. I think PRL and NLR are posturing a little bit and saying “we could have this awesome competition instead” when they’ll probably just end up with a Heineken Cup replacement in Europe.

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