Munster manager slams hypocritical English and French clubs

Updated: August 30, 2012

Munster team manager Niall O’Donovan is frustrated at English and French claims that the Heineken Cup favours RaboPro12 clubs.

O’Donovan believes some changes may have to be made to ensure the quality of rugby is as strong as it possibly can be for European competition, however he doesn’t believe in the complete overhaul sought after by the French and English clubs.

“This all happened 12 or 13 years ago as well. When it doesn’t suit England or France, whatever… they’ll complain,” O’Donovan is quoted as saying in the Irish Examiner.

“The idea that people can qualify automatically probably is a sticking point, there is no doubt about that. But we are playing with four different countries here as well and if you to take a European cup, then you need everyone playing in it.
“If they want to limit it to France and England, then it isn’t the European Cup, as such. You have to have the spread and have the balance right on who is playing in it. You have to have teams from Scotland and you have to have teams from Italy. And there has to be teams from Ireland.

The Shannon clubman acknowledged that there is plenty up for review but he dismisses the English and French claims of resting players by RaboPro12 clubs as he said it happens in their own leagues.

“The amount of teams going through, I am sure, is up for review and things like that,” said O’Donovan. “But it is hard when you see their leagues and the way they play their leagues.

“If you look at the way the French play their leagues, they play very strong teams at home; they play their weakened teams away, so they are resting players all the way through their season as well.

“If it is as intense as they are making it out to be, they’d be playing their top team on a regularly weekly basis.
“Ten or 12 years ago this all happened when the English clubs pulled out and a few of the Welsh clubs pulled out as well. So it is something that’ll have to be addressed.”

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