Gerry Thornley: Champions Cup needs fast start as format underwhelms

Leinster the outstanding URC contenders but French and English sides look well prepared

Leinster are the standout URC contenders in this season’s Champions Cup. Photograph: Ben Brady/Inpho

Leinster are the standout URC contenders in this season’s Champions Cup. Photograph: Ben Brady/Inpho

If it ain’t broke, why the hell fix it? When will tournament organisers learn that the more you tamper with a competition’s format, the more your risk damaging the product?

For 15 years from 1999-2000, and with each passing season under the ERC, the Champions Cup maintained the same format. Six groups of four, played off on a round robin format, leading to quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final. Two rounds in October, two in December and two in January. Simple and easy for supporters to follow, with back-to-back December rounds adding a touch of novelty.

The Irish Times
Please subscribe or sign in to continue reading.
The Irish Times

How can I keep reading?

You’ve reached an article that is only available to Irish Times subscribers.

Subscribe today and get the full picture for just €1 for the first month.

Subscribe No obligation, cancel any time.