The Double-Header weekends of the Heineken Champions Cup have been one of the season’s highlights so far. The last 16 format created supreme drama and stunning quality between Europe’s top clubs. These formats and dates have been moved around partly through Covid driven necessity and partly in a constant search to improve the competition. I know that personally, having spent many months at that particular negotiating table. You cannot stand still, and with both the domestic leagues and International tournaments rightly seeking to generate more relevance and interest, the world’s premier club competition is doing the same- and to great effect.
England’s rugby royalty was on tenterhooks until very recently but now there is a solution to their Lions availability, they await actual confirmation of selection. Why is communication so hard? No one wins that game of blame.
Could it have been the zero tolerance recently adopted on high tackles and clear outs, driven by the players and new referee guidelines? Or acclimatisation to empty grounds (not easy)? Or a reaction to the mass outcry against boring kickathons?
As the 6N deals with its own Covid challenges, Premiership Rugby was experiencing another painful reminder about the reality of improving safety in our game. 5 red cards in three matches the other weekend for head contact caused dismay but a different reaction to that of a couple of years ago.
Many people will be aware of the acronym KISS, not just because of Valentine’s weekend just past. Keep It Simple Stupid was often used in our Bath rugby training sessions (and elsewhere) when we were working out winning strategies.
David Egerton arrived at Bath in the mid eighties when the supreme back row of the time was storming through club rugby, namely Roger Spurrell, Bath’s piratical Captain, a young Jon Hall who was terrifyingly good as well as terrifying, and Paul Simpson, the ebullient Northerner who enjoyed himself far too much to enjoy a long England career.