|As good a team as they are they're not going up|
Difficult to know where to start on this one - firstly, it's pretty harsh on London Welsh (and Cornish Pirates), secondly it begs the age old question of whether we should abandon the promotion / relegation system currently employed in the English league.
The case for is simple - look at Ireland and Wales, even Scotland these days. Their club sides are all starting to excel on the European stage and their national teams (Ireland and Wales in particular) are tougher than ever to beat. With no threat of relegation the teams in these countries can rest their star players in league games and roll them out for the big games. It also means that the star performers are not playing as many games, reducing the risk of injury and meaning that they're even fresher for international matches. I don't think it's any coincidence that Irish sides have won five Heineken Cups since 2006 and that both Wales and Ireland are consistently threats during the Six Nations and over the summer and autumn tests versus southern hemisphere opponents.
|Leinster celebrating their 3rd Heineken Cup in four years|
What the resting of stars also does is give new talent the chance to come in, play and shine and so they keep a production line of good young players coming through who are given the chance to gain experience at a high level.
As for the case against, well it limits the competition throughout the country. There are many clubs in the Championship that are very good and given the chance could compete with some of the bigger clubs - just look at what Exeter have achieved over the last couple of years. Losing the chance to be promoted would mean there's no real incentive for them to achieve. Saying that, if when you do get promoted you're turned down because your stadium isn't good enough then what's the point anyway ??
This argument of course won't go down well with the die hard rugby fans out there - nor will it go down particularly well with the fans of the actual clubs involved. However the bigger picture is that the bigger sides in Europe and the European competition itself is driving more interest and a successful international team gets more people interested in and playing the game which will benefit the game as a whole