No fairness in free pass for Italian teams
Published 08/04/2016 | 02:30
What an amazing season it has been in the Pro12, and there's no sign of it getting any less competitive with games getting harder and the stakes higher.
It doesn't get the recognition it deserves, though, and it's such a pity. Sky coming in helped, but there is always that anchor, with the Italian clubs, that detracts from the league.
With almost every other club competitive, it's a terrible idea to have at least one Italian club guaranteed a place in the Champions Cup. They are consistently the bottom two in the final standings, and this season they are set to follow the trend again, with either Zebre or Treviso set for the top table of European rugby next term.
Zebre are winning that battle on 19 points, yet Edinburgh are on 52 points and they are still outside the top six. It's crazy to think that Edinburgh could miss out while Zebre could get in.
Then in 2016-17 when Zebre are in the Champions Cup, they will be placed into a pool with three elite teams from the rest of Europe. And it will be advantage to the other three teams, as they are the only pool with a weak link.