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Wood wants new league

Keith Wood playing in the Irish Open ProAm at Lahinch Golf Club, Co. Clare, on July 3 last. INPHO/OISIN KENIRY

Former Ireland hooker Keith Wood has called for a new league between Irish and British clubs in a bid to galvanize the sport. The former World Player of the Year cited the potential for intense rivalry and current issues with the Pro14 as major incentive for change in the world of club rugby. Wood did not hold back in his assessment of the Pro14, which he believes is something of an anti-climax due to the inclusion of Italian and South African teams. He said: ‘‘For me, the PRO 14, I don’t like it as a competition. I have never quite understood the need to put Italian sides, with no history, no sense of a rivalry into the midst of a Celtic competition. And the South African teams for me I think are an absolute waste of time. In terms of player welfare, deciding in the middle of your season, especially for international players, to suddenly have to pop down and play a game at the Highveld, for me it is not particularly right. I would love to have a British and Irish League, because I think the sense of rivalry that we see in the Six Nations can be mirrored at a club game with Leicester and Leinster or Munster. You know the crowds that are going to turn up to those sort of games.’’

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-- Sean Creedon