Sunday 18 March 2018

Six Nations Council hold talks on the future of European club rugby

Jonny Wilkinson and Toulon won the Heineken Cup last year
Jonny Wilkinson and Toulon won the Heineken Cup last year
The statement from the Six Nations Council

Andrew Gwilym

The Six Nations Council has held "constructive talks" over the future of European club rugby, but appeared to rule out the possibility of a Rugby Champions Cup.

The latest round of talks in the dispute over the Heineken Cup featured representatives from the English, Welsh, Irish, Scottish, French and Italian unions.

The English and French clubs served notice in August 2012 that they would not continue in competitions run by European Rugby Cup (ERC) from the end of the 2013-14 season.

An alternative proposal for the Rugby Champions Cup was put forward last year but looked to have foundered when the French reneged.

Five of the six unions, excluding the Rugby Football Union, had instead revealed plans for a five-nation 20-team tournament next season, with the French union pledging to enter six teams.

But the French clubs have made it clear they will not take part in a tournament with no English involvement; in addition the four Welsh regions have stated their desire to play in the Rugby Champions Cup, in opposition to the Welsh Rugby Union's stance.

But International Rugby Board rules state any competition must have the approval of themselves and the unions, which the Rugby Champions Cup appears to have little chance of getting.

And the Council will not go against those regulations.

The Council's statement read: "The Six Nations Council had a constructive meeting today and remains committed to finding a Six Nations solution for European Rugby in the best interests of the game.

"The Council also reaffirmed its commitment to abide by IRB regulations."

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