Ruck and Maul: Forget the Lions, hello to the British and Irish Cup

In a British and Irish Lions year, a British and Irish Cup has a ring to it, or at least the RFU think so. As well as downsizing National League One into a 12-team Championship, there is a blueprint for the chosen dozen to play alongside Welsh Premiership clubs, Irish provinces and Scottish sides in a 24-team British and Irish Cup during international windows next season, when a successful Championship side might face a hamstring-busting 37 matches. At the same time, the RFU has knocked back the Guinness Premiership's plea for more games, and what the elite clubs will do if the Anglo-Welsh EDF Energy Cup bites the dust remains unclear.

Leeds are Back but for how long?

Leeds Carnegie, the club who put the yo-yo into Yorkshire, will be back in the Premiership next season. They will celebrate – thanks to Exeter's loss at Rotherham yesterday – against Newbury at Headingley today, with kids allowed in for free. Leeds were promoted in 2001 and finished bottom the following season, when there was no relegation. They came fifth in 2003, went down in 2006, up in 2007 and down in 2008. No doubt their coaches Neil Back (right) and Andy Key – Leicester old boys both – have plans to stay put, but first they will turn their attention to a league and cup double in Saturday's National Trophy final at Twickenham. A stage fit for the wing Tom Biggs, who put four tries past Manchester in midweek and is too good for National League One, even if Leeds haven't always been able to say the same.

Brumbies tragedy hits home

Dean Richards was not impressed at all when his Bath counterpart, Steve Meehan, brushed off the customary coach's handshake after Harlequins' win at The Rec last weekend. We will see if Deano finds Meehan's Aussie compatriot, Michael Cheika of Leinster, more civil at the Stoop today. Compare those matters with the tragedy faced by ACT Brumbies' Andy Friend, an Aussie coach under Richards at Quins not long ago. It was Friend's task to inform his players of the death of their team-mate Shawn Mackay in a Durban hospital as they were flying home from a Super 14 match. The 26-year-old lock suffered a cardiac arrest after sustaining terrible injuries when he was run over by an armed response vehicle at 4am outside a nightclub. Mackay's funeral is in Sydney on Wednesday.



Fishy business for Johnno

8 May is the cut-off date for unions to confirm a bid to host the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The IRB will announce the venues for 2015 and 2019 in July, which raises the question that if England and Japan are the prime candidates for the first one, why not divvy them up and save everyone the aggro? Either way, you might imagine the RFU wheeling out the England manager Martin Johnson to press the flesh with the influential. Except, er, that would be the same Johnno who was an energetic globetrotting spokesman for the failed 2011 bid of... Japan. Sushi and chips anyone?



hughgodwin@yahoo.co.uk

News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleThe idea has been greeted enthusiastically by the party's MPs
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
Sport
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
News
The number of GP practices with 10 or more doctors has grown by 75 per cent
science
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Sport
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
FOOTBALL
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game