STAR LET­TER How can clubs com­pete with col­leges?

Rugby World - - THE FANS’ VIEW -

In the 2018-19 sea­son the RFU is in­tro­duc­ing a salary cap for Na­tional One squads. In light of the re­cent pro­mo­tion of Hart­pury Col­lege from Na­tional One to the Cham­pi­onship, this raises an in­ter­est­ing co­nun­drum for the RFU.

How will the ‘or­di­nary’ rugby club be able to com­pete with a col­lege or univer­sity squad with im­mense re­sources like state-of-the-art play­ing and train­ing fa­cil­i­ties, sports psy­chol­o­gists, and strength & con­di­tion­ing coaches. An ‘or­di­nary’ club has to buy this ex­per­tise in, to pay wages and ex­penses.

How will the RFU level the play­ing field or will we find that the sec­ond and third tiers of English rugby are grad­u­ally taken over by col­lege sides? The rise of Hart­pury Col­lege, pro­gress­ing through the en­tire sea­son in Na­tional One un­de­feated, raises the spec­tre of a ‘pro­fes­sional’ squad play­ing ama­teurs. Richard Barnard, Derby

The RFU says: The pol­icy is in re­sponse to con­cerns across the game around club sus­tain­abil­ity and the need to en­cour­age a bal­ance be­tween money spent on play­ers and in­vest­ment in fa­cil­i­ties. There are no strict spend­ing caps; clubs can pay play­ers what they feel is ap­pro­pri­ate. How­ever, if clubs go above a set fig­ure they will not re­ceive cer­tain RFU rev­enue streams.

Ups and downs Brain­tree en­joyed a great sea­son but will col­leges soon over­take grass-roots clubs?

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