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January 23, 2018 12:15 pm  #1

What will next season look like?

The issue I have ( and this must be the same across the division) is that there has been nothing to play for since the half way stage. We won't go down or up and there are no playoffs. The top and bottom spots look nailed on hence Bristol recruiting 9 players over the weekend. Good luck to them.

Warriors or Irish will come down with their parachute and we will all try to beat them in the usual way. Then they will go back up with all the best players from the rest of the Championship on their books.

The cup is not a great spectacle and many clubs do not respect it. Supporters are indifferent to it generally and there is no incentive to win it. So it is just there to pad the season out as far as I can see. Not surprised it has gone.

So unless there has been an announcement I have missed what will Nottingham be playing for next season? Avoiding relegation? Not much fun. Not sustainable. If the league remains the same size and there is no cup, where are the extra matches for revenue coming from?

It seems to me that firm action need to be taken and quickly to avoid rugby below the Prem regressing further.
If the RFU could be bothered to make an effort there is great potential for a vibrant competition which encourages and rewards effort and investment.

I know it won't  happen but I would love to see an expanded Championship retaining promotion and relegation for the top and bottom clubs. Then a play off for the next four teams finishing behind the league winners for the right to a play the team finishing second from bottom of the Prem over two legs for the right to play in the Prem.
Do away with the golden parachute and introduce a golden handshake for the promoted team(s) Have the regular league season finish earlier (by reintroducing a knockout cup like the old Pilkington with no pool matches) to allow teams to plan.
Then at the bottom of the league. Bottom club swaps with the top of Nat 1 and the next to bottom club plays off with P2 in Nat 1. No play off here to avoid the situation where a team finishing 5th from bottom goes down. Should be enough to play for to avoid finishing in the bottom two to maintain interest.

That way everyone gets enough matches over the regular season and there is excitement throughout. Hardly any dead rubbers and effort gets just reward.

Of course the Prem clubs will never agree to it so I expect to see ring fencing of at least the top division soon and a stagnation of English rugby will ensue.

Sorry to be a bit gloomy. Thought it might stimulate discussion though.



January 26, 2018 12:05 pm  #2

Re: What will next season look like?

Woody. Your letter makes a lot of sense.

​There was talk some time ago about the RFU potentially giving incremental financial support to how high Championship teams finish at the end of each season. This would provide good motivation providing we are not talking about peanuts !  

​Thoroughly agree expansion back to 14 or 16 teams for the Championship would be great especially for our supporters. 


January 26, 2018 1:37 pm  #3

Re: What will next season look like?


I was beginning to wonder if anyone was going to respond...
Wouldn't it be nice to be told what is actually going to happen?


     Thread Starter

January 26, 2018 5:01 pm  #4

Re: What will next season look like?

I agree also Woody. The current cup is not much cop and a return to a Pilkington cup style cup would appeal much more. 2 up, 2 down in a 14/16 team league would be better at generating interest and excitement. Surely the parachute payment has to be cut to make it fairer?


January 28, 2018 11:19 am  #5

Re: What will next season look like?

The RFU missed the chance when the game turned professional to get the players on central contracts.Now the premiership clubs are holding  all the cards and can dictate the terms of what happens therefore affecting all other leagues


March 27, 2018 1:02 pm  #6

Re: What will next season look like?

This was in the Times today.
Looks like dreadful news for the Championship and all rugby in England:

Automatic promotion and relegation between the Premiership and Championship could end as soon as next year, with a play-off introduced to decide who stays up and who stays down for the next five seasons. The move being considered by the RFU and top clubs could be terminal for whoever loses the play-off.

There are 13 clubs considered to be of Premiership calibre — the 12 in the top flight plus Bristol, who are set to be promoted at the end of this season. While those 13 agree that they wish to ring-fence the competition for five years, the big headache has been how to keep 12 clubs in the division and decide which club should face exile. Enlarging a ring-fenced Premiership to 13 clubs is one possibility, but that would mean extending the season by two more weeks — a prospect that has received little backing. The proposal being pursued is therefore a home-and-away play-off between the team at the bottom of the Premiership and the team at the top of the Championship. The winner could stay up for five seasons, the loser would have to wait just as long for the opportunity to return.

Missing out on the Premiership for so many years would destroy the finances of the affected club. The best players and coaches would leave and the crowd would shrink. It could finish the club off for good.

There are moves to get agreement in time for the fence to go up at the end of next season. May 2019 would then see the most high-stakes matches in the history of English club rugby.

As it stands, London Irish would almost certainly be one of the two contenders. The battle they are fighting against relegation this season looks more hopeless with each passing week. Assuming that they are relegated, though, they will almost certainly finish top of the Championship next year. They would then play the team who are bottom of the Premiership. Form suggests that they would play Worcester Warriors or Bristol, who are investing big money to hopefully stay in the Premiership, so the likely two teams in the kiss-of-death play-off would be London Irish versus Worcester.

In that scenario, London Irish would be at a huge disadvantage because they would have been playing Championship teams all season.

It may, however, be another year before the fence can go up. A change as fundamental as this would have to be led by the RFU, which has flipped its position and is now in favour of ending promotion and relegation. The RFU would then have to carry the Premiership clubs (PRL) and the Championship clubs with it.

PRL is certainly in favour of ring- fencing in principle but has yet to vote on the controversial play-off system. The Championship clubs have not had the proposal put to them officially yet, though The Times understands that they would agree to the plan on the condition that the ring-fence is lifted after four or five years — and that they receive an improved financial agreement with the RFU.

For the ring-fence to go up at the end of next season, this multilateral agreement would have to be signed off before the season starts. The RFU therefore needs to move fast.

Semore Kurdi, the Newcastle owner who is chairman of PRL, told The Times that any ring-fencing deal would require incentives for more clubs to be promoted into the Premiership after the first four or five years.

“We have indicated to the RFU in principle that we don’t want promotion and relegation,” he said. “But I don’t think we should have a restriction on numbers. I don’t think the Premiership would ever want to stifle ambition. The best teams should be in the Premiership.”

Really hope the clubs stand up to this ill conceived nonsense.

     Thread Starter

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