Welsh to have big say in new European club competitions

The Six Nations champions and Lions heroes will hold sway in debate over what will replace the Heineken Cup

As the Six Nations champions and principal contributors to the Lions' summer series victory over Australia, the Welsh are bound to be centre stage soon enough in the row over who runs what in European competition. That is to say, the Welsh Rugby Union and their four regions will have to decide whether to join the English and French clubs in any new version of the Heineken Cup.

The Welsh players, caught already in a tug of love between staying at home or accepting big-money offers in France, are obliged to weigh up all the arguments. As Alun Wyn Jones, the captain of the Ospreys who also skippered the Lions to their stunning Test victory in Sydney in June, said with a sigh: "I'm but a mere pawn in the middle of the biggest chess game the sport has seen for a while."

Jones is a bright man – a law graduate from Swansea University – as well as a multi-talented second row who has appeared in all six Lions Tests across the 2013 and 2009 tours. He was in London on Monday for the Lions' reception with David Cameron at 10 Downing Street and back again on Tuesday evening for a dinner at the Institute of Directors in Pall Mall. This was the scene for the ambitious Ospreys to do some business networking outside of Wales. They have three Italian sponsors and in the fierce debate over who contributes how much to the European club pot, the Ospreys' chief executive, Andrew Hore, pointed out that Italy's population of 64 million beats that of any of the other Six Nations.

Jones, who is keen to move on from the Lions to his next targets of winning a World Cup and a Heineken Cup – if there is one – suggested a global season, with simultaneous competitions north and south allowing for a possible world club competition, might be the ultimate answer. "I'm not trying to put the cat among the pigeons," he said, "it's just a question that needs to be posed. I shouldn't imagine it would happen in my time but you'd look at the international windows, they'd become a lot more exciting because teams would have the same amount of rest and the same start time. It would make the game a lot more exciting. [But] there's too many unions who'd need to pass it through. It would be red-tape central.

"First and foremost as a player, you want to be playing in the top tier, whether it be your domestic league or European. I think we are lucky [in the RaboDirect Pro 12] that we don't have any relegation. Because of that we potentially play a bit more rugby – you can afford to be looser in your style of play. In the Aviva Premiership there's a lot more structure to the game. The Rabo isn't results based whereas the Aviva is because you need to secure points. There are merits in both, it's just finding the happy medium, which I don't think will ever be attained the way we are. And that brings the question back, irrelevant to European inclusion, to saying that if there was a global season, you'd have another dice to throw."

With half a smile Jones, who turned 28 on Thursday, said: "If you asked the players, we'd all like to play in the summer, have a longer pre-season, play less games, get paid more – but that's never going to happen. You can't blame the business for not asking some of the shareholders the question." More seriously he added: "If I fulfil my potential and the team that I'm in fulfils its potential, sometimes that is enough. Then again, that could be different if I'm tempted to venture elsewhere."

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas