Heineken Cup likely to forge ahead without English clubs
Hopes of a resolution in the row over the future of European club rugby in time for next season appear to be over, with the protagonists seemingly resigned to rival tournaments taking place next year.
Representatives from the French, Irish, Welsh, Scottish and Italian unions are understood to be meeting in Dublin tomorrow to discuss plans to forge ahead with revised versions of the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup next season without English clubs. Significantly, it is thought that the English RFU has not been invited.
(French Federation president Pierre Camou has reportedly warned the French clubs that no new accord with the French Federation over player release and television rights will be possible unless they withdraw their support for the new Rugby Champions' Cup.
Camou has also offered the French clubs €2m each for participating in the ERC tournaments.
It is understood there is also a desire among the Celtic unions for the European tournaments to remain within union control rather than be run by commercially motivated clubs, despite the progress made at last month's summit over tournament structure and funding.
Privately, there appears to be a reluctant acceptance that to maintain that governance principle for the best interests of the game in the long term, it may come at the short-term price of a tournament without the support of the leading English clubs. © Daily Telegraph, London)
O'SHEA COMMITS FUTURE TO QUINS
FORMER Ireland full-back Conor O'Shea has committed himself to Harlequins by penning a new deal that will keep him at the Stoop until 2016, writes Ruaidhri O'Connor.
He has been at the London club since 2010 as director of rugby, leading them to the 2012 English Premiership title. O'Shea has long been tipped for a return to the Irish set-up and was one of the early favourites for the coach's job before ruling himself out early last spring to commit to Quins.
"We are ambitious to ensure that what we are building here is a lasting legacy, that we play rugby in a style that our supporters enjoy and is true to the tradition of this club," he said.
FIVE-WEEK BAN FOR AUSSIE ACE KURIDRANI
Australia centre Tevita Kuridrani last night received a five-week ban for the tip-tackle on Peter O'Mahony that saw him sent off against Ireland on Saturday.
The Brumbies star will miss the remainder of Australia's tour and the start of the Super Rugby season as a result.