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Heineken Cup
Gatland - Anglo-French Cup will fail
ESPN Staff
October 17, 2013
Warren Gatland guided the Lions to a series win in Australia © Getty Images
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British & Irish Lions and Wales coach Warren Gatland has predicted the proposed Rugby Champions Cup will be unsuccessful.

The tournament has been created by the Anglo-French clubs to replace the Heineken Cup, a competition they believe is not meritocratic and weighted in favour of the RaboDirect PRO12 sides.

Both Premiership Rugby (PRL) and Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) seem steadfast in their plans to push ahead with the tournament despite European Rugby Cup Ltd (ERC) - the body in charge of the Heineken Cup - remaining optimistic compromise will be found over the future of the competition.

While clubs in the Top 14 and Aviva Premiership are adamant they will be playing in the Champions Cup next term, the PRO12 sides, according to their respective unions, are waiting to see if the competition gets ratification from the International Rugby Board.

And for Gatland, he believes the new tournament will struggle unless all the European sides back it. He told the BBC: "I don't see an Anglo-French competition being successful or lasting that long. I think all parties want full representation from all the countries."

The Italian and Scottish sides are yet to declare their hands and Gatland fears if they are not playing top-level European rugby, then their national sides may suffer as a result. He added: "There needs to be some sort of protection for a Scottish or Italian team potentially. Without their involvement we could see an impact going into the Six Nations."

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