A hot topic at the moment is the promotion and relegation between Premiership and championship. The RFU guidelines say that even though it looks like London welsh are favorites to win the championship playoff final they are not eligible to gain promotion due to their ground not being up to scatch. Even though Welsh look to be the victorious side against Cornish Pirates, who also aren't eligible for promotion, the team who were eligible to go up were also the team who finished top of the league- Bristol. Bristol who share a ground with Bristol Rivers and have done for many years, should be aggrieved by the whole playoff system. I was always led to believe a league is award consistent performance and a cup is to award one off performances. So what is the championship a cup or a league? The RFU really need to look at this and reassess.
By the furore surrounding the fact nobody will gain promotion it allows Falcons to escape relegation, leaving them safe to continue in the top flight. The bizarre thing is before the announcement about London Welsh Falcons have announced a multitude of new signings, hinting they may of know prior to the RFU's decision. As we all know if Bath were in Falcons shoes we would all be happy with the ruling, as with the rec the way it is Bath would not get back up for some time. This does still not make it acceptable!
On the point of league winning Quins should be declared Aviva premiership champions as they finished in the number one slot. But due to the set up of the competition they now have to face Tigers in the premiership final. The favorites to take the title this year are Tigers due to a late show of form and now looking to take the crown. With the playoff set up as it is during the season your aim is to finish in the four to be eligible for the title.
To put that in to perspective take a look at the football premiership where Manchester's United and City finished on 89 points and Arsenal on 70 with Tottenham on 69. A large void of 20 points from first to fourth and yet in rugby on their ruling Spurs could of been crowned champs, how would Mr Ferguson and Mr Mancini of taken that decision? Of coarse that's only speculation as football is a different entity to rugby.
Since the introduction of the playoffs only two teams have finished top of the table and won the final, Leicester Tigers in three occasions and Sale Sharks just the once. The team who have gained the most from the system is Wasps, crowned champions four times without being at the top of the table. Wasps played the system fantastically in which three years in a trot they successfully picked up the trophy in 2003/04/05. The biggest losers in the playoff scheme is Gloucester who have finished in pole position three times, on one occasion finishing 18 points clear of Wasps only to lose in the final. The one time that Gloucester pulled off a victorious bout in the final was against Tigers in 2002, even though they did pull off the win Tigers were still considered the champions.
We as a whole seem to have learnt to accept the playoffs but does it make it right and a fair way to decide a season's performance?? Is it a farce or fair.......