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Delight in Welsh rugby at new European rugby deal

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: April 11, 2014

WRU chairman David Pickering

WRU chairman David Pickering

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WELSH Rugby Union chiefs have expressed their delight at the new deal which safeguards the future of European rugby.

A deal for a new tournament to replace the existing European Cup structure was signed on Thursday.

The existing Heineken Cup will be replaced by the Rugby Champions Cup, while below it will be the European Rugby Challenge Cup and a new competition called the Qualifying Competition.

The top six from France’s Top 14 will qualify for the Champions Cup, with the same number from the Aviva Premiership.

It will also include seven sides from the RaboDirect Pro12, with at least one club from each country participating in the league.

The 20th place will be taken by the winner of a play-off between the clubs who finish seventh in the Premiership and Top14.

WRU chairman David Pickering said: “Everyone involved has worked incredibly hard to reach this point and it is in all our interests that we can now go forward together on this issue.

“I am particularly pleased that our four Welsh regions can now plan in earnest for their campaigns for next season and the seasons beyond that.”

A statement from Regional Rugby Wales, the body which represents the Ospreys, Scarlets, Blues and Dragons, said: "The new competitions provide a positive way forward for Welsh regional rugby and the ability to drive forward commercial revenues of the most significant rugby club competition in the world.

"Fundamental changes within the new European competition structure will see the clubs take a greater stake in significantly growing the value of the professional game, which is crucial in our ability to remain competitive.

"The regions are pleased that after giving their support to the Rugby Champions Cup last October, a new European platform has now been secured - based on a strong core principle of equal distribution by participating clubs.

"We can all now look forward to a more developed, competitive and high-quality European competition next season."

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