Club World Cup plans get cautious Scottish welcome despite fixture concerns

Edinburgh also welcome back a key player to face the Sharks

Sean Everitt reckons fixture congestion could be a problem for a new Club World Cup © Craig Watson

SAM SKINNER and Sean Everitt have cautiously welcomed the idea of Scottish involvement in a new Club World Cup.

The project is yet to be fully rubberstamped but it is understood it would involve eight teams from the EPCR Champions Cup, six from Super Rugby and, probably, two from Japan’s Rugby League One, playing every four years from 2028.

The matches would take place in June, with the first edition slated for the northern hemisphere and future venues still to be decided on.


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There would be a knock-on effect on both the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup. In the years that the Club World Cup was taking place, there would be no Champions Cup winner given the competition would stop at the group stage with no traditional knockout rounds.

The eight best teams from the round of 16 would instead be catapulted into the Club World Cup, with the other eight sides dropping down to join a reformatted Challenge Cup knockout phase.

Although the prospect of a best vs best global club tournament appealed in principle, Everitt did fear it would provide additional logistical issues in an already crowded rugby calendar, with the United Rugby Championship, Premiership and Top 14 all likely to be affected.

The Edinburgh head coach said: “It would be great to be involved in something like that. I’d just like to know how they’re going to fit it into the rugby calendar.

“The calendar is quite congested now, especially when you look at the Six Nations running at the same time as the URC and the Springboks playing in the southern hemisphere competitions during our off season.

“We’re always keen to play at the highest level but it will be interesting to see how they’re going to fit it into the calendar. Something would have to give somewhere because there are just not enough days in the year.”

Skinner, a Champions Cup winner with the Exeter Chiefs, liked the idea of Edinburgh tackling some of the leading teams in world rugby.

“It sounds cool, with some of the best sides, Crusaders, Chiefs, Brumbies, playing the top sides in Europe,” said the Scotland second-rower.

“How would the likes of Leinster get on against the Crusaders? They are typically the two that have been consistently at the top for the last 10 years.

“It would be interesting but it’s above my paygrade and not really my place to say.

“But if you’re asking me if I would enjoy going down to the southern hemisphere and playing some rugby for Edinburgh in these top games, then yeah, it would be a good laugh.”

Edinburgh, appropriately enough, are doing just that this weekend.

This is the second season of South African clubs competing in the EPCR competitions, with the Sharks hosting Edinburgh in a Challenge Cup quarter-final tie on Saturday.

Everitt, who welcomes Pierre Schoeman back from concussion, believes lessons have been learned from their recent 23-13 loss to the same opposition in the URC.

He added: “For us it’s a great opportunity to go and challenge ourselves again against the Sharks in Durban.

“What will be easier for us this time around is that we’re familiar with what we’re going to face.

“They won’t make many changes to the team that played us two weeks ago. So we know what’s coming.

“We also know what our shortfalls were the last time we played them and have worked hard on that. We obviously believe we can get a result in Durban.”

The squad are also travelling in luxury this time with EPCR flying them direct to Durban on a business class charter. In contrast, on their previous visit to South Africa they flew economy via Qatar.

Everitt added: “The logistics have been really well organised by EPCR.

“We fly out tonight (Tuesday) on a charter and will arrive in Durban in the morning at 8 o’clock. The guys are flying business class so they’ll have a good night’s sleep.

“It makes a massive difference. I don’t think I would be as jovial if I was getting on a flight and going economy class via Doha!

“So that makes life a lot easier and I’m sure that’s helped the guys with their mental preparation as well.”


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About Graeme Macpherson 42 Articles
Graeme Macpherson is a freelance sports writer who covers rugby for a number of outlets.

7 Comments

  1. Yet another competition with potentially loads of extra expense – larger squads needed, expensive logistics etc. – which will probably kill off some more clubs. And behind a paywall no doubt so more expense for fans. A whole reset is needed in terms of what Scottish rugby should look like and also World Rugby; it just looks a mess and a quick money grab which will kill the proverbial goose.

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  2. Second Tier team (from Europe) treated like royalty
    First Tier team (from ZA) ‘make a plan’
    And we do make a plan, and play all year round… and then win the world cup.

  3. Pretty irrelevant for Scottish rugby, as neither Edinburgh or Glasgow are likely to be in the top 8 in Champions Cup.

    Aside from that, it’s another daft, money-grabbing idea from the delusional clowns running the game.

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  4. Without a reduction in other matches this concept looks like increasing the burden on players.

    The more interesting angle for me is environmental impact. Some may recall SRUs attempts at environmental awareness through reducing beef on corporate menus and having different bins to increase recycling. Check out the Annual Reports for those.

    As is stated in the 2023 Annual Report of 43 “At a time of financial challenge, and a cost-of-living crisis, it’s vital that we should always consider the impact of our decisions on the environment. That’s the required step change from where we have been relatively recently. But it is one we are determined to make and in a timescale of the next three to five years.”

    Increased travel around the globe on top of the South Africa element of URC and Euro Cup travel seems an odd way to meet that aspiration.

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  5. Just what is going on with Rugby Union at the moment?
    For instance to quote the article “But if you’re asking me if I would enjoy going down to the southern hemisphere and playing some rugby for Edinburgh in these top games, then yeah, it would be a good laugh.” Really is this a reason to add yet another competition to the rugby calendar?
    With increasing regularity every time you open up a Rugby website it is suggesting yet another competition, another drain on the resources of the smaller Tier 1 Unions, leaching finance from the Grassroots where the game exists in many ways: it isn’t a ‘Spectator Event’ to me it was a participation Sport for well over 30 years where I formed friendships that over 50 years later still remain.
    The Elephant in the room, the acceptance of the Sport becoming professional, from which all the travails of Rugby Union stem, avarice pure and simple, IRB that morphed into World Rugby have ruined a participant sport and failed to make an ‘Entertainment’ out of the supposed improvements.
    Many of the Law changes have caused them the problems of ‘Class Actions’ not in reality because of their myopic changes to Laws, but because the game becoming professional and changed the status of World Rugby and the participant Unions, they became someone to blame.
    I don’t recall Solicitors hammering on my door when I ended up with 3 operations and a cumulative 6 months Hospital and Rehabilitation, and loosing the employment I had only started 2 weeks before the Tib, Fib and ankle Potts fracture as a result of turning up as a ‘Guest’ player to make up the numbers at a former Club. Of course I played again, even though my Mother thought I should see a Shrink!
    OK, the odd glimmer of Corinthian Sport with Portugal at the last World Cup but look at the Media coverage, the Coach of the Bulls bemoaning 8 different Airlines required to get the team and their support Staff to the UK for the ¼ finals of a competition owing no doubt to flights being booked and the requirement to use ‘Partner’ airlines thanks to the likes of Anayi doing sponsorship deals.
    The game is a mess at amateur and professional levels, I am only happy that I enjoyed the best of the game before money and the likes of Anayi sold a Sponsorship deal that made the farce of 8 different airlines a reality for the players no doubt because of existing bookings making the Bulls break up their travel arrangements.
    What a mess.

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    • All too true and ‘World Rugby’ have a helluva lot to answer for…..please take note Messrs. Beaumont and Jeffrey!

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