Wednesday 26 July 2017

Meritocracy comes up trumps in pro12 finale

Daniel Tobin, Head of Fitness, Leinster, pictured ahead of the Guinness PRO12, Round 15, Leinster v Zebre in February (Murphy / SPORTSFILE)
Daniel Tobin, Head of Fitness, Leinster, pictured ahead of the Guinness PRO12, Round 15, Leinster v Zebre in February (Murphy / SPORTSFILE)
Tony Ward

Tony Ward

Like many in this neck of the woods, I was sceptical over the change from European Rugby Cup Ltd to European Professional Club Rugby. Yes, it was money-oriented and driven by the French and English and yes there are issues in terms of financial equality (whatever that means) still to be addressed. However, in one area I was never in any doubt and felt for sure the Top 14 and Aviva Premiership had a case and that relates to that much-abused word meritocracy.

With three games to go in the Celtic-Italian competition, 11 of the 12 teams have still a mathematical chance of qualification for Champions Cup or Challenge Cup.

Realistically, Leinster and the Dragons are dependent on results elsewhere going their way but it is the Cardiff Blues alone for whom the season is done and dusted.

Treviso and Zebre are playing for the Italian slot, while Connacht, Scarlets and Edinburgh are separated by a point in the chase for sixth and a Champions Cup place, seventh and a play-off or eighth and Challenge Cup. Smacks of good organisation in my book.

Irish Independent

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