Home » Sport » Sharing points, threat of boycott … The European Rugby Cup is hanging by a thread

Sharing points, threat of boycott … The European Rugby Cup is hanging by a thread

That had to be found. The EPCR, the organizer of the European Cup, has invented a whole new formula to juggle a busy schedule: the sharing of points on the green carpet without playing a match. According to information from the English press that we were able to confirm, the postponed matches of the second day will indeed end in a draw (0-0). The teams will therefore be awarded two points. The decision concerns seven oppositions in total, five for the Champions Cup (Bath-La Rochelle, Sale-Clermont, Scarlets-Bordeaux-Bègles, Toulouse-Wasps and Stade Français-Bristol) and two for the European Challenge (Worcester-Biarritz and London Irish-Brive).

In order to maintain the round of 16 in two-way matches, the European body has therefore chosen to sit on what makes the salt and the cement of any competition: sporting fairness. The proposed formula was already convoluted (2 pools of 12, each team faces two others per first and second leg and the first 8 of each pool compete in eighth), now this funny event no longer looks like big- thing. “The clubs which received are therefore doubly sanctioned, sporting and financially”, reacted Thomas Lombard, the general manager of the Stade Français.

Exemptions to facilitate travel?

Three French teams have escaped this great division which does not seem to arrange many people. These are Racing 92, Montpellier and Pau who respectively hosted the Ospreys, Leinster and Saracens. All three had been given the winners with the offensive bonus due to the forfeiture of their opponents affected by cases of Covid-19.

It remains to hope that the third day, which looms this weekend, is well contested. The English and Welsh clubs are indeed threatening a boycott due to the 48-hour isolation required by the French government for all travelers coming from the United Kingdom. “If this period of isolation is maintained, the clubs will be allowed to train, provided that the Covid-19 protocols are respected”, tried to delay the EPCR. The French government’s interministerial crisis unit is studying the issue and could provide exemptions to facilitate travel. The relevant matches for this third day are: La Rochelle – Bath, Clermont – Sale, Bordeaux-Bègles – Scarlets. And in the European Challenge, Biarritz receives Newcastle.

The only thing missing would be a boycott and the cancellation of new meetings. Because at this rate, the successor of Toulouse, the defending champion, could be crowned after having played only two or three games …

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