Rugby Union: Rebels find cause for optimism
Wednesday 23 December 1998
Cardiff and Swansea, the rebellious Welsh clubs, have come up with the perfect solution to untangle the Gordian Knot which is tying up the Welsh and English Rugby Unions, the International Board and the 14 Premiership clubs.
The root cause of a lot of the troubles is the as yet unsanctioned Anglo- Welsh series of matches. The RFU is saying that, if six-figure IB fines are handed out, it will be the cash-strapped clubs who will have to cough up. But if Swansea and Cardiff's suggestion is adopted it could be solved at one stroke.
"The problem is that the IB can object to these games because they are not approved by the WRU or RFU," said Swan-sea's chairman, Geoff Atherton. "If they gave their blessing then the matches would have a legitimacy and the IB would not need to be involved."
Cardiff's chief executive, Gareth Davies, concurred, saying: "The charge is that Cardiff and Swansea have breached regulations. If the WRU opts to sanction those matches then we would not be in breach of anyone's regulations."
The WRU has fined each of the two rebels pounds 150,000 for playing the English clubs; the IB is withholding pounds 60,000 of RFU grants for not taking action against the Premiership clubs for playing the fixtures, with the threat of bigger fines to come.
Richard Hill, the Gloucester director of rugby, has given an unequivocal rebuttal to suggestions of a return to his troubled old club, Bath, as coach in place of his former team-mate Andy Robinson, reportedly under pressure to resign.
Hill said: "No one from Bath has said anything to me. But in any event there is absolutely no chance of me returning."
There will be some movement in the new year, however, when the Welsh Rugby Union's Challenge Trophy gets under way. The WRU has invested pounds 500,000 to fly in eight teams, including three South African provincial sides. There will also be three national teams, Canada, Romania and Namibia, as well as the two Scottish Super Districts, Glasgow Caledonians and Edinburgh Reivers.
They will be competing against the eight Welsh Premier Division clubs, with the 16 teams being split into two pools.
Latest in Sport
Manchester United teased by Monaco after claims they could have signed 'Luis Suarez of Neymar' instead or £58m Anthony Martial
Former Manchester United star Karel Poborsky goes full hipster
Manchester United hit back at Real Madrid by claiming they let David De Gea 'slip through their fingers into the back of the net'
Premier League Power Rankings: Eden Hazard and Harry Kane continue to slip but Wayne Rooney has to perform against rivals
Serie B introduces 'green cards' to promote good behaviour, fair play and sportsmanship
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 3 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 5 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...
£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...
£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...
£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...