Morariu turns up Six Nations pressure

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 09:43
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NEWS: Rugby Europe president Octavian Morariu turned up the pressure on the organisers of the Six Nations over changes to the format and make up of the teams following a meeting in Paris on Thursday.

Former Romanian international Morariu and the 17 board members of Rugby Europe validated unanimously the drafting and sending of an official letter to the Six Nations Limited Company over opening up the tournament to other teams.

They were at pains not to single out Italy, whose succession of poor results has stirred up a debate over whether a vastly-improved country like Georgia should replace them in the competition.  

"The development of rugby in Europe entails each Union having the opportunity to play regularly with the best teams in order to raise standards. Promotion/relegation system belongs to Rugby Europe ethical code in all our competitions.

"It is not about punishing a specific team because of its results in the tournament," said Morariu, the head of the governing body responsible for the 48 European rugby-playing nations outside the Six Nations countries.

Morariu, capped 19 times from 1981-87 at a time when Romania were a competitive force in European rugby, said both parties should hold talks.  

"We don't want to compromise what has been achieved until now, but opening a dialogue seems to us crucial for the benefit of all.

"On a sports point of view, considering the development and future of our sport; for economic consideration as Europe cannot be limited to 6 countries; and finally, politically, because we are a continent whose official governing body is Rugby Europe," he added.

Morariu, whose father Viorel is a former captain of the national side, said all options were open regarding the changes which could be made.

"We are open to consider all alternatives, either a direct relegation, the insertion of an annual or every two-year play-off system. The integration of one or two teams or the setup of a real European competition, etc... We are aware this process will require time to build a common project and achieve it.

"But we need to start a real collaboration in the interests of European rugby growth," he stated.

The request, European Rugby said in its statement, would be sent formally in the next few days.

Agence France-Presse

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