Talks 'proceeding quite well' on British & Irish league to start in 2022
This would make a lot of sense, but it may see the likes of Italy and South Africa squeezed out.
There has long been talk of teaming the English Premiership to either the Welsh regions or an altered version of the PRO14. Know that the CVC investment group are involved, the talk may soon a reality.
CVC already has a stake in the Premiership and is said to be close to a €130m deal on the commercial rights of 27% of the Guinness PRO14. The group, which also wants a stake in the Six Nations, could have a new product in place by as early as 2022.
That is according to Ospreys chairman Rob Davies, at least. Ospreys' senior management sat with reporters on Friday to address the recent sacking of head coach Allen Clarke and about the region's direction over the coming season, and seasons thenceforth.
Clarke believes the CVC investment, which has yet to be officially confirmed by the PRO14, will enable clubs to properly fit in a league competition to a season that is impacted by a seven-week Six Nations block.
"That is the opportunity and that's what makes it exciting," he said. "It [a British and Irish league] will be in 2022.
"It is as certain as once you get these hedge funds involved and there's lots of money on the table. Something is going to happen. It will be nothing to do with me, but I'll vote for it."
Davies notes that all current TV deals expire in 2022 and that is when a new league can be brought into line. "What will happen is that the CVC who already have an interest in the English league are attempting to secure the rights to the Six Nations," he added.
"That discussion is well advanced. As you might imagine when you are dealing with the English, French, Irish and Scots, and then add in the Italians and the French, it's not going to be easy to get consensus.
"But those negotiations are proceeding quite well. The timescale for that is probably the middle to the end of the autumn internationals next year."
So, according to Davies, we may have clarity - and a new league to look forward to - by this time next year. The Italians and South Africans, who bring big money to the table, will not want to be cut adrift so this new league may have a significant international flavour to it.
At present, there would be 26 teams to accommodate in such a league. Expect a Division 1 and 2 with a couple of teams possibly getting cut, or merged.
WATCH THE LATEST HOUSE OF RUGBY HERE:
SUBSCRIBE TO BAZ & ANDREW'S HOUSE OF RUGBY: https://playpodca.st/house-of-rugby-ie
Barry Murphy, Andrew Trimble and Jerry Flannery look back on all the Champions Cup action and are joined in the House of Rugby studio by Springboks coach Felix Jones.