Wednesday, 11 April 2012
Europe - does it matter?
In 2000, 2001 and 2002 English clubs won the Heineken Cup, a fact oft-quoted as one of the reasons behind England’s RWC victory in 2003.
However, since 2003 English clubs (i.e. Wasps) have won the trophy twice (2004 and 2007) whilst finishing as losing finalists 3 times – Leicester in 2007 and 2009 and Northampton in 2011. During this time England have won one measly Six Nations Championship (in 2011). In the same period Wales have won 3 Grand Slams and yet no Welsh team has ever featured in a Heineken Cup Final (at least, not since Cardiff in the inaugural final in 1996, when no English teams took part).
So, although obviously important to clubs for the revenue it brings, as far as the England rugby team is concerned does club success in Europe actually matter? Although well aware that there are “lies, damned lies and statistics,” the above stats would suggest not.