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Pat Lam And Ian Madigan Could Be About To Catch A Serious Break Ahead Of Moves To Bristol

Pat Lam And Ian Madigan Could Be About To Catch A Serious Break Ahead Of Moves To Bristol
By Gavan Casey Updated

It's long been suggested that Pat Lam and Ian Madigan will be plying their respective trades in the English Championship next season, what with their new club Bristol seemingly doomed to relegation since about Christmas.

Even with Bristol mathematically guaranteed to finish bottom of the Premiership this season, however, the Connacht head coach and former Leinster fly-half might yet get a reprieve.

If Doncaster or Ealing Trailfinders win the Championship playoffs, Bristol will escape relegation on the basis that the aforementioned two clubs have - simply put - opted against promotion.

Ealing play the first leg of their semi-final against Yorkshire Carnegie in west London on Friday, with Doncaster hosting London Irish on Sunday. Both away sides can still go up should they progress to the playoff final, but the two hosts have decided not to put themselves through the Premiership’s entry-criteria process and therefore cannot be promoted.

Their reasons for declining potential promotion are relatively straightforward; it's too costly.

The collapse of London Welsh this season was largely born of debts built up during their two season-long stints in the Premiership, and so Doncaster and Ealing have decided that the price of promotion is potentially too high.

A joint statement by Doncaster's president Tony de Mulder and chief executive David Ryall read:


We feel promotion is unaffordable and out of our reach in the current structure and financial arrangement for professional club rugby in England.

Our preference is to continue to play expansive and winning rugby in the Championship rather than find ourselves bereft of the time and resources needed to construct a squad fit for Premiership competition where history has shown that the promoted side rarely prospers or survives.

English professional rugby union is currently in a state of flux and there is much to be debated about the future of both the Championship and the Premiership. If and when the future of professional rugby in England becomes clear, then the ambition of Doncaster Rugby Club remains as fervent as ever but we will not cripple ourselves chasing something that is not feasible at this time.

We owe it to our loyal supporters and players to strive for success on and off the field and believe this is more likely when competing at the top of the Championship than at the bottom of the Premiership.

Ealing are in a similar boat, and so if one of these clubs reach the Championship playoff final and manages to win it, Bristol would remain in the Premiership next season. Naturally, if both emerge victorious from their semi-finals, Bristol's safety will be guaranteed even before the final.

Lam and Madigan will doubtless be cheering on the 'Finders and the Knights this weekend.


[The Guardian]

SEE ALSO: Massive Blow For Connacht As Bundee Aki Suspended For Three Games

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