Cat­tle: Rugby needs a knock­out cup

The Rugby Paper - - Feature - LUKE JARMYN

COR­NISH Pi­rates coach Gavin Cat­tle has called for a FA Cup style knock-out tour­na­ment to re­place the Bri­tish & Ir­ish Cup next sea­son.

Cur­rently there’s no con­fir­ma­tion from the RFU over what is to re­place the B&I Cup for next sea­son with a tour­na­ment fea­tur­ing just Cham­pi­onship sides mooted, while oth­ers such as Rich­mond coach Steve Hill have called for the league to be ex­panded to 14 teams.

Cat­tle’s pro­posal would be along the lines of the B&I Cup’s pre­de­ces­sor, the then-called EDF Na­tional Tro­phy, which fea­tured 118 clubs and ran be­tween 2002 to 2009. Cat­tle told TRP: “I think any com­pe­ti­tion should be opened up as a na­tional cup and give lower league clubs a crack while get­ting more peo­ple through the gates.

“I’m old school and like the idea of hav­ing a day-out fight­ing teams in a league above to achieve the dream like win­ning in the FA Cup in foot­ball. But we will have to just see what they do.”

How­ever for­mer scrumhalf Cat­tle is con­cerned over the pos­si­bil­ity that Pre­mier­ship A-teams could fea­ture in any changed cup com­pe­ti­tion, giv­ing too much in­flu­ence to the top tier over their Cham­pi­onship coun­ter­parts.

He added: “It be­comes com­pli­cated with dual-reg­is­tered play­ers – whether they play for the A-league side or where they’re on loan – while sev­eral teams in the Cham­pi­onship are reliant on dual-reg­is­tra­tion to make up squad num­bers.

“The new cup could fall into the con­trol of the Pre­mier­ship sides and that’s not what you want.”

Cat­tle be­lieves the re­moval of the play-offs in the Cham­pi­onship means a cup com­pe­ti­tion gives teams with no chance of pro­mo­tion “still hav­ing some­thing to be mo­ti­vated for” near a sea­son’s end.

The Pen­zance-based side have strug­gled with in­juries this year, specif­i­cally in the front row where in Novem­ber they drafted in hooker Danny Toolan from Corn­wall and De­von League side, Pi­rates Amat­uer, in the eighth tier.

Cat­tle con­firmed they are look­ing to ex­pand their squad by four play­ers but need cup fix­tures to make it vi­able, adding: “We need the games for the rev­enue oth­er­wise we can’t af­ford a big­ger squad.

“This sea­son we’ve strug­gled in spe­cial­ist po­si­tions. We’ve used five dif­fer­ent hook­ers. We had to jug­gle bring­ing part-time play­ers in and they did well but that’s not what you want.”

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