MX23RW : Thursday, September 20 15:08:59

Welsh regions back breakaway Champions Cup

Welsh regions back plans by English and French clubs to restructure a European tournament in rugby.

Welsh regions have handed a boost to the plans of English and French clubs by giving their support to a proposed Champions Cup tournament from next season.

The breakaway competition has been drawn up by teams from England and France who are against the current qualification format of the Heineken Cup - rugby's European elite contest.

The Champions Cup would reduce the number of teams from 26 to 20 and would limit the chances of supposed 'weaker' outfits from Scotland and Italy taking part.

"Regional Rugby Wales on behalf of the four Welsh Regions confirms its full support for the proposed Rugby Champions Cup competitions," a statement read.

"While there remain elements of detail to be confirmed, it is now clear that there are a number of significant advantages to the new competitions in equality of governance, format, qualification and distribution across the individual participating clubs.

"Consequently, RRW looks forward to working with the Welsh Rugby Union to support their efforts and positive engagement in striving to ensure our teams are involved in strong, valuable European club competitions in time for next season."

European Rugby Cup meets on Wednesday to hear the views of the appointed mediator in the dispute, Canadian Graeme Mew.

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