Whenever we have a break from the enthralling Guinness Premiership or the tantalising Heineken Cup, the EDF Energy Cup returns and often to a barrage of questions over why it exists.
We have commented previously on its potential value as a youth development competition in this article, but recent opinion has suggested a number of alternatives.
Some have called for the competition to be scrapped altogether. Moving one round of the Premiership to midweek to make room for the EDF at a weekend certainly disgruntled some members of the rugby community, and in an already congested season, this competition would be the first to go.
Another option is to move the cup weekends to coincide with the International periods in the Autumn and during the Six Nations. This would certainly encourage sides to select their younger players, but it could just mean a competition played by the non-European journeymen that are handsomely paid by clubs in the twilight of their careers.
How about making it a bi-annual event, to be played in non-World Cup seasons and non-Lions seasons? Open the tournament again to sides in the lower leagues and make it purely a knockout competition. Sides that weren’t interested in competing would then only ruin one match, rather than all of their group games.
Junior sides that reached the latter stages would get a taster of knockout rugby, providing great experience and further strengthening the credentials of Northern Hemisphere players in this department.
What do you think? Does anyone care about this competition?