There are reports in British media that English rugby club owners will press ahead with plans to replace the Heineken Cup and that South African teams may be invited to enter a new tournament
The Guardian is reporting that the owners and backers of Aviva Premiership clubs are looking at the possibility of playing the Premiership final in February with a trans-border competition running in one block from March to June as they formulate ideas to end the current Heineken Cup format.
“Potentially the Premiership final could be before the Six Nations, ” a Premiership insider is quoted as telling the Guardian.
"Then, if you ran a new Heineken Cup with the South Africans involved between March and June, that would be a pretty good competition for four months. You’ll hear people not just talking about a new European Cup but a new trans-border competition.”
A spokesperson for Premiership Rugby told ESPN that there was nothing to the alleged proposals: "There is no proposal to move the Aviva Premiership Rugby to end of January, before the Six Nations. Premiership Rugby is our primary competition and we are committed to the Premiership Final being the last match of the season, as it has been for many years. We want more Premiership Rugby after the Six Nations, not less."
Since their £180million TV deal with BT Sports, English clubs have stepped up their bid to end the Heineken Cup at the end of this season and set up a rival competition.
It is understood that the English and French clubs are banking on the fact that clubs from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Italy could not afford to be left out of any new competition.
The ERC announced in a statement following a meeting in Dublin with representatives from all Six Nations that negotiations would continue to preserve the Heineken Cup after the current campaign.