Independent Online

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

South African teams will 'distort' European Champions Cup, says ex-Sharks fullback

FILE - Clement Poitrenaud in action for the Sharks in 2017. Photo: Gerhard Steenkamp/BackpagePix

FILE - Clement Poitrenaud in action for the Sharks in 2017. Photo: Gerhard Steenkamp/BackpagePix

Published May 5, 2022

Share

Toulouse — Former Toulouse full-back Clement Poitrenaud said Thursday he regrets the likely integration of South African provinces into next season's European Champions Cup.

"I'm still a bit old-fashioned, and attached to some traditions, and for me that distorts this competition," said Poitrenaud, who is now Toulouse's backs coach, ahead of their quarter-final against Munster in Dublin on Saturday.

Story continues below Advertisement

"It's as if South Africa were entering the Six Nations Tournament.

"It would no longer be the Six Nations Tournament," added the former France full-back who won the cup three times with Toulouse.

The 39-year-old also played for South African side Sharks in 2017 when they featured in Super Rugby alongside teams from Australia and New Zealand.

The South African Rugby Union withdrew its clubs from Super Rugby in 2020 and realigned itself with European competitions.

Since this season, four South African provinces (Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers) have been competing in the United Rugby Championship (URC), the former Celtic League, alongside Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Italian teams.

Three of them (Sharks, Stormers and Bulls) are in a position, via the UCR, to qualify for next season's European Champions Cup although EPCR, the organiser of the continental competitions, has yet to formalise their participation.

Story continues below Advertisement

"Sporting-wise, it's rather exciting, with a different kind of rugby and new players," said Poitrenaud whose Toulouse side are bidding to retain the title they won for the fifth time last year.

"There is nostalgia for this competition when you say it is the last," he said.

"Even if we won it last year, it would be nice to repeat it for the last time it is played in this form."

Story continues below Advertisement

AFP

Story continues below Advertisement

Share