Why all the negativity towards the Guinness Pro12? asks Kristian Ross...
It’s all a bit futile isn't it? Fans criticising the quality of the PRO12, a league deemed by many not to be in the same class as the Top 14 or Aviva Premiership. Interesting though, as the critics get their fill of what they claim to be a better standard of rugby, in the last ten years a PRO12 team won Europe’s top competition five times. Albeit yes, an Irish dominance as Munster won it twice and Leinster on three occasions, the PRO12 still delivered teams that could beat the likes of the top Premiership and Top 14 clubs and deliver success at the highest level.
So why the hate? Is it jealously? Not so much from the French contingent, but perhaps the English where its been clear that Aviva Premiership teams had struggled to get their hands on the trophy. Saracens were totally outclassed in the final Heineken Cup finale, Northampton imploded against the boys from Dublin a few years previous and even the so called powerhouse of Europe, Leicester Tigers have barely hit the heights of the early 2000’s.
So where do we stand now? A breakaway European tournament that has clearly benefited the Premiership and Top14 teams immensely. As I tweeted out in blind rage the other day, whilst Ulster had to battle the likes of the Tigers and megabucks outfit Toulon in their pool, other teams had much easier draws. And the outcome? Come next week, not a single PRO12 team may have qualified for the latter stages of the Champions Cup.
As the penny count grows ridiculous at the likes of Allianz Park and the Stade Mayol, its clear that the money now speaks volumes and the course of European rugby will continue to be dominated for at least the next five seasons by the teams that have huge corporate sponsors and millionaire owners. But remember this, whilst you call out the PRO12 for being a poor league, just remember, it will always be the tournament that has the ethos that makes rugby what it is… bloody fantastic.
Kristian. 20. Geordie. Fond of Wasps, Falcons and Ulster. @Kristian7Ross
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