The Big Debate – Club Rugby vs International Rugby

We have seen some sensational club rugby in recent weeks. The Heineken Cup continues to thrill and it would appear that Sky have signed a contract with the Guinness Premiership clubs that every game they feature must be decided in the last minute or feature at the very least a losing bonus point.

This all comes hot on the heels of the autumn internationals, perhaps only one of which (Wales v Australia) will live for very long in the memory. It was not helped for England fans that their team was abject and it is amazing to see how many fair-weather supporters have jumped off the bandwagon which was gaining such momentum just a few short years ago. But there is little doubt that those games were short on drama and thrills.

So which game would you rather watch: Leinster vs Wasps, or Ireland vs Scotland? Harlequins vs Stade Francais, or England vs Italy? The increasing thrill-factor of club rugby is continuing to be matched by the ever-growing turgidity of its international counterpart. In terms of speed, skill-level and excitement, the Heineken Cup has been gaining on the 6 Nations for some years and at some stage the balance will change.

It used to be the case that the passion of international rugby could not be matched but that is no longer true. Just look at the fanatical fans at Thomond Park, the bellowing masses at Perpignan and the 80,000 people on the very edge of their seats at the Stade Francais. It’s been a while since many of us were on the edge of our seats for a 6 Nations international, unless you’re Welsh. International rugby has been short on drama but more importantly it has been very short on quality.

Which extends the question from which would you rather watch to simply which is better? We’d be interested to hear your views.

4 thoughts on “The Big Debate – Club Rugby vs International Rugby

  1. Always makes me laugh some stuff that English rugby fans come up with when England are playing badly. Don’t get me wrong I love this blog usually, but to call internationally rugby ‘turgid’ is really only looking at England.

    I am Welsh, so of the views you feel will be the only ones singing the praises of international rugby but this year featuring Wales the games vs England, France, and Ireland were all exciting stuff in the 6Nations, the 2nd test in the summer vs SA and the games vs SA and OZ this AI’s were exciting games.

    Outside of that… despite some rediculous ELV’s I enjoyed much of the 3 nations. The pre tour game between Oz and NZ was thrilling. The Scotland vs South Africa game was also edge of the seat stuff.

    The Irish tour of NZ and OZ produced two very good games as well.

    Yes there have been some rubbish games played, but there have been some great ones as well. Much like any other rugby. The heineken cup is a great competition, but it can produce some shockers. Domestic leagues even more so. Magners has its fair share of flat matches (pretty much anytime the ospreys play – and i’m an ospreys fan!), and the GP is far from innocent, despite some rediculous hype and hyperbole by Sky.

    I like both types, club and country. But for top level skill, passion and pace it is still international rugby for me.

  2. I think ‘turgid’ it applies to quite a few of the games Ireland and Scotland have played in recently as well and Wales are definitely the exception. Re the Southern Hemisphere, I’d definitely rather watch the Tri-Nations than the Super 14.

    It’s the quality that is the worry though from an English point of view. Players who produce excellent stuff at club level don’t seem to be able to reproduce it at international level. That is a worry. I’ll always prefer international rugby but I would back one or two of the Premiership teams to beat England at the moment. And were I a neutral, I’ve a fair idea of which one I’d rather watch.

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