Rugby Union: RFU approve Irish plans

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LONDON IRISH'S take-over of Richmond and London Scottish has been approved by the Rugby Football Union. The three clubs will join forces to become an Allied Dunbar Premiership unit under the London Irish banner and at a stroke League One will be reduced from 14 to 12 clubs.

"The RFU are concerned to ensure that the amateur sections of all the clubs continue to thrive," Francis Baron, the RFU chief executive, said. "By not approving the merger Richmond would have been forced into liquidation and Scottish would have been in financial difficulty."