If we need to be out of Europe, so be it

I really feel for the English clubs over this whole European saga.

They set their stall out a long while ago by giving notice to leave the current Heineken Cup set up. It’s not been a last-minute decision by any means.

They have received criticism for going their own way but they always said they were not happy by the way the thing was being run and nobody made any concessions to try and keep them.

Then the French decided to go their own way at the last minute and, all of sudden, the Premiership clubs have been left out in the cold.

As players, we all want a European competition. But it has to be run by the right people in the future.

If we need to be out of Europe for a year so we get that right, then so be it as far as I am concerned. I think players and supporters would miss it but that may be the price we will have to pay.

I also feel that any competition that goes ahead without us in it will, of course, be devalued. That is not being big-headed because it would be devalued if clubs from other countries did not take part for whatever reason.

I would also like to see if the big French clubs take any European competition seriously next season without English clubs in it.

This whole situation could have been sorted out two years ago – but it wasn’t.

And now, for the Premiership clubs, the question is: “How do they fill their empty weekends”?

There will still be 22 rounds of top-notch Premiership action to look forward to. That will not change. But would they be able to organise anything else around that competition?

We will have to wait and see.

There are some people who say it would be a disaster for England’s players not to have any regular top-class European competition in the build-up to the 2015 World Cup. But maybe those players would be better for the rest?

In this year’s competition, we did what we had to do over the past fortnight and beat Zebre twice so we are still in the running for the last eight of the Heineken Cup.

Beat Connacht and Toulouse in rounds five and six and we will be through I think. Easier said than done!

More immediately, we face Leicester at Allianz Park this weekend in what will be a typically bruising encounter, I’m sure.

Saracens face Leicester this Saturday in the Aviva Premiership

Before then, I have got to make some inroads into Mrs W’s Christmas list. I’m told she has made about 2,000 hints over the past month or so, towards things she would like from Santa.

The trouble is that I didn’t spot them!


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