Monday 16 October 2017

Pro12 table should decide Heineken Cup qualification, insists Leamy

John Fallon

Munster legend Denis Leamy believes the time is right to change the format of the Pro12 and link Heineken Cup qualification to it.

The 31-year old, who was forced to retire last year with a hip injury, insists that the structure needs to be changed to give the competition more meaning to those competing.

Leamy won three Celtic League medals in his career – along with two Heineken Cups triumphs – but believes the domestic competition needs to move up a level.

He said that while he would have little sympathy for the big-spending French and English clubs, he could understand their frustration in having to qualify for the Heineken Cup each year from their own leagues while the Celtic League clubs could rest players ahead of crunch ties.

"The Celtic League has evolved over the years but perhaps now is the time to come up with a structure that includes some level of qualification to the Heineken Cup," said Leamy.

"Perhaps you could still have a minimum number from each country qualifying automatically and the remainder of the places being made up by league positions.

"It would really give a new incentive to the league and I think clubs and players could benefit in the long run," added the former Ireland back-row.

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