Welsh teams opt into new Anglo-French tournament


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The Independent Online

Rugby Union Correspondent

The controversial plan by top-flight teams in England and France to wind down the Heineken Cup, the premier club tournament in the European game, and replace it with a fresh competition received a highly significant boost last night when the four Welsh regional teams threw their weight behind the venture. It is now highly unlikely that the rugby establishment will be able to defend the status quo.

Cardiff Blues, Newport Gwent Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets announced their “full support” for the Anglo-French initiative, backing moves towards “equality of governance, format, qualification and distribution”. They added that they were keen to continue working with the Welsh Rugby Union to bring the project to fruition, but they left no doubt where they had stood in the great debate.

Today in Dublin, representatives of the six competing Heineken Cup nations were meeting to discuss their next move. The English and French clubs said they would not attend, but would spend their time finalising arrangements for the new tournament: the Rugby Champions Cup.