Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Some thoughts on the RCC draw format

I have seen several comments online about how ridiculous it is that 3-time champions Toulon are in pot 2 for this draw.  Here are my thoughts for what they’re worth…
Far be it from me to actually defend the EPCR but I actually think they have it right with the draw format as it stands. 

Basically whenever you rank sporting teams in a manner that doesn’t involve them all playing against each other, you make yourself extremely vulnerable to ridicule.  

Previously the ERC had a system whereby the clubs’ previous four European campaigns were taken into account.  The problem with this was that a club which is in poor form now could get a high ranking thanks to good form they had a couple of years before.  An example of this was when everyone was scratching their heads one year as to why the Cardiff Blues had pot one status.

One possible solution to this would be to “weight” the points over the years...multiply this season’s by 4, the previous season’s by 3 and so on.  But this strays down a very dangerous path...complicated maths.  And if it’s ridicule you’re trying to avoid, the last thing you want to do is make the numbers difficult to crunch.   You know the way they do the ranking for test rugby?  No, neither do I, and that’s my point.

The manner on which the EPRC have settled to determine the pots is pretty much as no-nonsense as you can get AND it incentivises your domestic finish.  This is good because it prevents the (albeit unlikely) possibility of a team doing well in Europe completely sacrificing their league fixtures in the hope of success.  To do so will mean you could drop down the pots for the following season, if indeed you qualify at all.

Now if those making fun of the Toulon seeding wish to come up with a formula that GUARANTEES there will NEVER be ANY head-scratching when the pots are announced, I’ll be happy to listen.  Until then, I’m perfectly happy with this way.  

Unless of course Leinster draw Sarries, Toulon & Wasps in which case I’ll be up in arms ;-)  JLP


Taken by JLP from RDS press box on Nov 16, 2019