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Challenge Cup: Top 14’s unwelcome distraction

first_img I was at a loose end on Thursday evening. I did think about a trip to the cinema to see Paddington, but in the end I settled down with a good book. I suppose I could have tuned into see La Rochelle host Exeter in the Challenge Cup, but why bother? The outcome was all too predictable, though admittedly the west countrymen’s winning margin of 36-10 was a little surprising. La Rochelle must really have been going through the motions.It was a similar story at Connacht, where visitors Bayonne were thrashed 42-19. Stade Francais made more of a fist of their journey to Newcastle, but the Parisians – third in the Top 14 – still ended up losing 30-23 to one of the Premiership’s strugglers.In fact the only French club to beat foreign opposition in the Challenge Cup at the weekend were Grenoble, who routed Rovigo 68-10, in front of a doughty crowd of 7,800 spectators. They like their rugby in Grenoble, which is more than can be said for coach Bernard Jackman as far as the Challenge Cup goes.No Challenge Cup fan: Grenoble coach Bernard Jackman says the competition isn’t being prioritisedThe Irishman was characteristically forthright after the game when asked about the tournament. “The Challenge Cup, from my point of view, is a bit of a pointless competition in terms of your first-grade players,” explained the former Leinster hooker. “There is no real benefit for us unless we go and win it. And, even if we do, we wouldn’t be guaranteed a place in the Champions Cup for next year.”From next season the winners of the Challenge Cup – if they haven’t already qualified for the Champions Cup through their league position – will participate in the play-off for Europe’s showpiece tournament, a cut-throat finale to the season that, in the case of a French club, would require them to travel to the winners of a play-off between the seventh placed Aviva Premiership club and the eighth placed Pro12 side.Jackman isn’t alone among Top 14 coaches in treating the Challenge Cup as an unwelcome distraction to the more serious business of domestic rugby. In the first three rounds of the competition, French clubs have beaten just six foreign opponents while racking up some pretty spectacular defeats among their twelve failures. Stade Francais lost 38-22 at home to the Dragons, Brive were thrashed 55-0 away at Gloucester and a week later were beaten at home by Italian outfit Zebre, and Grenoble were hammered 37-14 in Cardiff. For all the hyperbole about the make-up of the new Europe, in France, the European Challenge Cup is not being given much priority Rare win: Bordeaux-Begles earned the French a rare win over perpetual strugglers London Welsh LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALScenter_img Which at the moment, is not much. At least there’s always a good book.If you want to subscribe with Rugby World Click here for the latest offers But why should French clubs field full-strength teams now that the winner of the Challenge Cup no longer automatically qualifies for the following season’s Champions Cup? What’s the incentive other than filling a space in the trophy cabinet. Prestige? What, beating the likes of Rovigo and the Bucharest Wolves in front of a couple of thousand indifferent spectators?Onto a hiding: Brive suffer a heavy loss to Gloucester in another Challenge Cup lossBy the very nature of the competition the French clubs contesting the Challenge Cup weren’t among the elite of their domestic league the previous season. As it’s turned out, Bordeaux, Grenoble and Stade Francais are all now riding high in the Top 14 (sixth, fifth and third) but none have the strength in depth of a Toulon or Clermont. They have to husband their resources, particularly at this time of year, with four rounds of the Top 14 scheduled between December 20 and January 10.For French clubs in the Challenge Cup there is only one priority: the Top 14. Not only does that now offer the one automatic gateway into the Champions Cup through finishing in the top six (with the seventh placed club entering the play-off) but more importantly, struggling clubs such as La Rochelle and Lyon are already fighting a relegation battle with huge financial consequences if they lose.The French clubs would be better off without the aggravation of the Challenge Cup but obviously the Challenge Cup would not be better off without them.  The 7,800 spectators who watched Grenoble thrash Rovigo was nearly twice as many as the 4,089 crowd at Newcastle or the 4,425 fans who saw Connacht brush aside Bayonne. When Stade Francais edged past the Bucharest Wolves 13-9 in round two, they did so in front of just 600 Romanians.For how long will the French tolerate this second-rate competition? In Jackman’s view, not long. “I think the organisers have probably got a bit of a shock from how little interest the French teams have had in it,” he said. “And the public as well…the public aren’t silly and you can’t pull the wool over their eyes: they see it for what it is.”last_img read more

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Draft plan for Grianan of Aileach should be available next week

first_img News, Sport and Obituaries on Monday May 24th FT Report: Derry City 2 St Pats 2 Draft plan for Grianan of Aileach should be available next week Google+ Journey home will be easier – Paul Hegarty Derry draw with Pats: Higgins & Thomson Reaction Pinterest WhatsApp Facebook Harps come back to win in Waterford Twitter Google+center_img DL Debate – 24/05/21 WhatsApp Previous articleDanny O’Donnell expecting another close game in SFC replayNext article33 people awaiting in-patient beds at LUH this morning News Highland By News Highland – October 25, 2019 AudioHomepage BannerNews Facebook Pinterest The first draft of a Conservation Management plan for Grianan of Aileach should be available to Donegal County Council within a week.Architects appointed by the OPW have confirmed in a letter to the council that they expect the document to be ready by the end of October.Cllr Jack Murray says he was becoming increasingly frustrated by the delay in getting this document, and it’s now time for the tourism potential of the site to be realised in a sustainable and appropriate manner………..Audio Playerhttp://www.highlandradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/jgrianan.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. Twitter RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHORlast_img read more

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NWTF banquet to be held Friday

first_img Published 9:23 pm Wednesday, March 31, 2010 Book Nook to reopen The Penny Hoarder Issues “Urgent” Alert: 6 Companies… Plans underway for historic Pike County celebration Pike County Sheriff’s Office offering community child ID kits Sponsored Content Troy falls to No. 13 Clemson Skip Email the author “But a big reason is to put turkeys back into their natural environment so the turkey population will continue to grow and hunters will have birds to hunt.”Being a member of the NWTF has many advantages from discounts on seeds to plant feeding grounds to opportunities for fellowship.Admission to the wild turkey banquet Friday night, April 2 is $55 for individuals and $75 for couples. Admission includes dinner and a year’s membership in the Pike County Chapter of the NWTF.Tickets will be available at the door.To purchase tickets in advance or for information about sponsor tickets, call Elmer Fleming at 268-1484. By Jaine Treadwell Latest Stories Fleming said the NWTF banquet always has a great turnout because many people in the Pike County area are dedicated to the conservation of the turkey and to the preservation of the turkey hunting tradition.“When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were only 1.3 million turkeys throughout North America,” he said. “Since then, the number of wild turkeys has increased to more than 7 million thanks to the NWTF, its members, partners and state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies.”The NWTF’s conservation partners and grassroots members have raised $279 million on projects benefiting wild turkey throughout North America.“The work is paying off in that more and more people are being introduced to the wild turkey,” Fleming said. “The federation sponsors conservation programs, education and outreach programs and academic scholarship programs. Those are just a few of the reasons to become a member of the Pike County Chapter of the NWTF. By The Penny Hoarder Elmer Fleming, chapter president, said more than 150 turkey conservationists are expected for this fundraising event.Many wildlife items will be up for bid at both a live auction and a silent auction.“Everything will be auditioned off, raffled or given away,” Fleming said. “Many of the items can only be purchased through NWTF events such as our banquet. There is a lot of interest in the auction items and bidding can be fast and furious.” The Pike County Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will host its annual membership banquet Friday, April 2, at Cattleman Park.All members and prospective members are invited to attend.The doors will open at 6 p.m. and the dinner will begin at 7 p.m. Remember America’s heroes on Memorial Day NWTF banquet to be held Friday You Might Like Banks Middle receives $1K donation Banks Middle School received a $1,000 donation from the Woodmen of the World (WOTW), a non-profit, fraternal insurance organization Wednesday…. read more Print Article Around the WebMd: Do This Immediately if You Have Acid Reflux (Watch Now)Healthy LifestyleIf You Have Ringing Ears Do This Immediately (Ends Tinnitus)Healthier LivingHave an Enlarged Prostate? Urologist Reveals: Do This Immediately (Watch)Healthier LivingWomen Only: Stretch This Muscle to Stop Bladder Leakage (Watch)Healthier LivingRemoving Moles & Skin Tags Has Never Been This EasyEssential HealthMost 10 Rarest Skins for FortniteTCGThe content you see here is paid for by the advertiser or content provider whose link you click on, and is recommended to you by Revcontent. As the leading platform for native advertising and content recommendation, Revcontent uses interest based targeting to select content that we think will be of particular interest to you. We encourage you to view your opt out options in Revcontent’s Privacy PolicyWant your content to appear on sites like this?Increase Your Engagement Now!Want to report this publisher’s content as misinformation?Submit a ReportGot it, thanks!Remove Content Link?Please choose a reason below:Fake NewsMisleadingNot InterestedOffensiveRepetitiveSubmitCancellast_img read more