How Gentlemen Fight A Civil War

The Sunday Times reports today on a proposal by the Rugby Football Union to not so much shake up the top tier of English rugby as cause a revolution within it. According to the paper, the RFU wants to set up a Super 10 league (as operates in the southern hemisphere) with the teams drawn from “Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Coventry, Worcester, Bedford, Saracens, Richmond, Bristol and Plymouth.”

As will be noticed from the above teams, the Super 10 would be spread geographically across the country, presumably to try and broaden rugby’s fan-base. There is, of course, a problem. Fans are rather partial to their teams and the Super 10 proposition excludes no less a team than Leicester Tigers – the Manchester United of English rugby both in terms of success and fan-base. Also missing out are my team, Harlequins. We cannot boast the success of Leicester, but we do get crowds of nearly ten thousand at every game. The RFU expects them to go over to Richmond? Amongst the other teams missing are Sale, current Premiership champions, and Wasps, another venerable and highly successful team.

The RFU’s idea is madness. The idea that we could end up with a league that includes clubs who have no stadium worth a penny (Richmond) over teams of such great heritage is an insult to the latter and to their fans. Fortunately, this afternoon, the RFU appears to have denied that this proposal is on the table. So, why do I worry? Well, the Super 10 idea may not be a live one at the moment, but given the internecine battle for power in English Rugby between the RFU and Premier Rugby (the umbrella organisation that represents the premier league clubs) one really cannot be certain that the RFU may not try to implement it in the future. My worry, therefore, comes from the culture of suspicion that this civil war of attrition has brought about. And to think we are the world champions. I can only wonder at why it ever ended up like this.

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3 thoughts on “How Gentlemen Fight A Civil War

  1. Gloucester and Bath seem prominent by their absence as well. This is barmy. (Are Coventry and Worcester sops, so that when the plan is introduced for real Leicester and Gloucester can be substituted for them? Can’t you hear: “we said we’d consult and we have consulted”?)

  2. Yes, Bath and Gloucester would not be in the new Super 10. The proposal was (allegedly) that those clubs excluded could either take part in a ‘downgraded premiership’ or merge with one of the 10. Bath and Gloucester would have to merge with Bristol. And pigs will fly.

    I doubt that Worc or Cov are sops. They are just in the right place.

    Consultation! Would we have won an empire and beaten up the French so many times if we had had consultations!!!!

  3. As a sort of ‘Quins man – their training ground is nearish my house – this is deplorable.

    Once again the evils of “consultation” look like effecting the worst outcome.

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