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Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

17.47 2 Dec 2019


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Back in 2017 on Off The Ball, former Ireland captain Keith Wood endorsed the idea of a new rugby league featuring the Lions nations.

It would be composed of British and Irish teams from the Pro14 and Premiership.

Similar notions have reemerged again with mooted talk of a 2022 launch.

Keith Wood and the Irish Independent's Ruaidhri O'Connor discussed the matter on Monday Night Rugby.

The ex-Ireland skipper remains a fan of the overall idea of a merge into a British and Irish league.

"I think we've had this discussion over the last number of years," said Keith.

"I love the idea of a British and Irish league for a whole variety of different reasons."

The Lions

He only has one concern about the overall idea.

"For me, the only fear I have is that you do need to have an ability to change players in. It can't just be down to the first 15 or the first 23 or 24 players," he said.

"You need to make certain that you can rotate in players through a season.

"But I think it brings the Lions fully back into the mix. I think it then becomes part of all those teams playing in one league. You're getting the best of the best and you know where it fits in every four-year cycle.

"You can tidy up a huge number of things. And if they do make the Heineken Cup a little bit smaller, that might fit in too. Because at the present moment in time, the season has too many big games on for too much and too much at stake.

"Whether there will be relegation or non-relegation, I'm presuming not. It has to be into conferences, otherwise you're just going to burn out the players.

"But I think for me, it's the most realistic element of what rugby should be like on these islands. That's the big thing for me. I'm looking at Heineken Cup matches, Ireland take it really, really seriously. Some of the top teams in England and France take it seriously. Some of the others are struggling this year in a big way."

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British And Irish Heineken Champions Cup Heineken Cup Ireland Keith Wood Lions Off The Ball Pro14 Ruaidhri O'connor Rugby Sport

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