As is often the case at this time of year when the fate of one particular club is determined, there has been some discussion of closing off the Guinness Premiership – potentially with the addition of two teams – with no relegation or promotion to and from The Championship
Critics of the relegation format have suggested that English rugby is suffering because of the pressure on every club to win every match they play. This, we are told, encourages a negative style of play where defence is the priority, territorial kicking is rife and the players forget how to run with the ball in hand.
On the other hand, the Guinness Premiership is one of the most competitive leagues in world rugby, and if the threat of relegation was removed, as soon as a club had written off its chances of playing for a place in the playoffs or Heineken Cup, its season is effectively over. With nothing to play for, crowds could stop turning up, players might stop turning up, and dead rubber games are a waste of time.
These two points are just touching the surface of the debate, but we’d like to know your thoughts on the matter – please take our poll and let us know what you think.