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Sore losers leaving a very sour taste

If the French and English rugby clubs want the Heineken Cup to be restructured in order to end Irish dominance, it's the kind of cunning plan Baldrick might have come up with. Cutting the number of qualifiers from the Pro12 will have no effect at all on Munster and Leinster, the teams who've won five of the last seven European titles.

The big two have been in the top six of the Celtic competition every year since 2005, comfortably so on almost every occasion. Ulster have made the top half dozen for the last three seasons and will qualify more often than not under the new conditions. So the proposed change wouldn't halt the Irish gallop one iota.

The big losers would be Italy, Scotland and perhaps even Wales.

So maybe the row is prompted by a desire for a bigger share of tournament lolly. Or could there be something more unsporting going on? All this French and English bluster might simply be an attempt to create a smokescreen which hides what those five Irish victories, and last year's all Celtic final four, clearly shows. Which is that the hugely-hyped English and French clubs aren't as good as they think they are. Their threat to the future of the Heineken Cup is merely a howl of despair at their own shortcomings. If Irish clubs are winning the competition most of the time there must be something wrong, innit? N'est-ce pas?

Or maybe they went into last week's conclave hoping agreement wouldn't be reached. Then they could destroy the Heineken Cup, dynamiting the tournament solely because they're not guaranteed to win it every year. Search the annals of sporting history and you won't find sorer losers than these serial whingers.

The great competition having been betrayed, the French and the English would then be free to start their own tournament whose launch would be greeted with immense hype from whichever television station had bought the rights. But all the hype in the world wouldn't hide the fact that this would be a second-rate competition full of second-rate teams who were only playing in it because they weren't good enough for the likes of Leinster and Munster.

It's probably asking a bit much but the prima donnas of the Six Nations should just face up to the fact that Irish dominance doesn't arise from some structural imbalance but from the fact that our teams are better trained, better organised and have better players and more passionate supporters. What it boils down to is that the English can't believe that they haven't won the Heineken Cup since 2007 and the French can't believe that only two of their clubs have ever lifted it.

The Heineken Cup is a great competition. It deserves better than to be threatened by this unpalatable combination of Bully Beef and Sour Grapes.

Sunday Indo Sport