Just because the Six Nations is over doesn't mean that the rugby is going away. The Champions Cup is back this weekend, with it's first knockout games since the reinvention of the wheel from it's predecessor - the Heineken Cup.
It's off the back of this that has given Neil Francis the fuel for his latest column with the Irish Independent. Francis is back taking more shots, but this time, he's got a point.
The English and French club associations are the subjects of Francis' article and their actions since their overhaul of European rugby to make the landscape more meritocracy based.
Casting your minds back a year, and the PRL, the English association, were lobbying for a meritocracy based approach to European qualification, while simultaneously arguing that the domestic leagues weren't created equal. Some domestic leagues had promotion and relegation included - Top 14 and the Premiership - while the Pro 12 hadn't. Some leagues had teams that weren't of sufficient quality that allowed the top teams to rest their players to keep them fresh for European competition. These big teams could rest their players without fear of relegation.
Francis then focuses on what has happened in the intervening year. He looks at the Bath team that played London Welsh last weekend ahead of the Leinster quarter final this weekend. That's a London Welsh team that are already relegated having lost 18 games out of 18 teams. A London Welsh team who have conceded 829 points and 119 tries in that period - that's 46 points and 6.6 tries per game. Bath fielded a team without England internationals George Ford, Dave Attwood, Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson. Only three of that Bath team played in the last Champions Cup game.
This comes after the PRL are proposed to abolish promotion and relegation in the Aviva Premiership. By ring-fencing the league by expanding it to 14 teams it makes the league more competitive. It's not something that really effected the top teams in the league, with London Welsh, Worcester and Newcastle rotating between the two leagues while the rest concern themselves with the top of the league.
Is Francis right to point out the change of stance from the PRL towards resting players and relegation?
Now that the PRL run rugby in England and have pointed the finger at the inadequacies of the Pro 12 - they are now going to change the rules and implement exactly what they were giving out about in the Pro 12.
Francis concludes that the Pro 12 should get behind Leinster for this reason and "morally and ethically the Pro12 needs to see beat Bruce Craig's team."
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