What a week for Champions in two of our major sports – and a prelude for an unprecedented summer of sport after two years of Pandemic-driven abstinence.
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.
This year of all years has been incredibly tough on professional rugby. All the touring teams from the Southern Hemisphere have been in ‘ bubbles ‘ for months and must be mentally and physically exhausted.
As the denouement of the Six Nations, Heineken Champions Cup, Challenge Cup and domestic leagues have played out over the last few weeks, it was tempting to look off-field as well as on-field for all the rugby stories.
Some say that Ireland is God’s own country and certainly the rugby gods smiled on them with a clean sweep of European wins this past weekend, a triumphant National team this autumn and the good news goes on, it’s no coincidence.