Tuesday, 20 April 2010

The Crunch

Well, well, well.  What a turn up for the books that was.

Leeds Carnegie grabbed a brilliant 23-13 win over London Irish at the Majedski Stadium on Sunday to set up a tantalizing penultimate round in the Guinness Premiership.

Playoff chasing Irish were outplayed by the better team on the day, and the result catapulted Leeds into 9th spot.  Relative safety, you might say.

Let's look at the table:

Leeds host relegation favourites Worcester on Sunday, and Sale entertain fellow strugglers Newcastle on Friday night.

The Gods of relegation couldn't have planned it better if they had tried.  The bottom four are all playing each other, and something, or someone has to give.

But what are the cold hard facts?

If Leeds beat Worcester then the Warriors are gone.  Doomed.  Consigned to a year of Championship rugby.  As Rafa Benitez would say, that is a fact.

But Sale and Newcastle are by no means safe yet. Whoever loses at Edgeley Park on Friday will be praying for a Leeds win, that I can guarantee.

However, if Mike Ruddock's men take four points from Neil Back's battling Leeds there is everything to play for in the final round. 

This would leave three of the four teams staring down both barrels of relegation on the last day of the season.


What a finale!  I know the argument about relegation/ringfencing and the viability of the Championship is rumbling on, but that is for another day.  End of season squeaky-bum finishes like this are the biggest advocate for promotion and relegation.

However, I wouldn't want to be one of the players who have put pen to paper on a Worcester Warriors contract for next season.  The bookies have them as 1/4 favourites for the drop.  Leeds are now 5/1 after drifting out from 7/4.  I'm not a betting woman, but I know that sucks for Wuss.

I've got to wonder though... Will new Worcester signing Andy Goode become the only comb-over in the Championship?  What of full back Luke Rooney who has set his sights on playing for England?  And will the excellent Neil Best still leave Northampton for Sixways?

Time to check out the get-out-of Championship-relegation-escape-clause in your contracts boys.  After all, the bookies are rarely wrong.



  1. Totally agree about the excitement of the relegation dogfight. I wouldn't have it any other way!


  2. As a Yank, I love the idea of relegation for the bottom feeders of rugby and football/soccer. Here in the US, the worst teams in American Football have the top picks of University talent in the NFL draft(which is being broadcast live in the US tonight) You actually have bad basketball and football teams putting out weaker line ups to insure higher pecking order in the draft-although the NBA went to a lottery system in the late 80's when "Tanking" at the end of a season became an epidemic. Relegation will never happen here in the US, but it's amazing to think that former European level powerhouses in football like Nottingham Forest and Ipswich Town play in the lower divsion these days. The drama at the end of the year to avoid relegation is pretty compelling stuff.