English Premiership (rugby union)

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Aviva Premiership Rugby
Current season or competition:
2014–15 English Premiership (rugby union)
180
Sport Rugby union
Instituted 1987; 27 years ago (1987)
Chair Mark McCafferty (CEO)
Number of teams 12
Country England
Holders Northampton Saints (2013–14)
Most titles Leicester Tigers (10 titles)
Website premiershiprugby.com
Broadcast partner BT Sport
ITV4 (Highlights only)

The English Premiership, currently known as Aviva Premiership Rugby or more commonly the Aviva Premiership because of the league's sponsorship by Aviva,[1] is a professional league competition for rugby union football clubs in the top division of the English rugby union system. There are twelve clubs in the Premiership. The competition has been played since 1987, and has evolved into the current Premiership system employing relegation to and promotion from the RFU Championship, known as National Division One before the 2009–10 season. Clubs competing in the Premiership qualify for Europe's two main club competitions, the European Rugby Champions Cup and the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The current champions are Northampton. The most recently promoted side is London Welsh, who, after defeating Bristol in the 2014 RFU Championship Final won promotion, after being relegated the previous season.

History[edit]

See also History of the English rugby union system

Beginnings: English domestic rugby union until 1972[edit]

The governing body of rugby union in England, the Rugby Football Union (RFU), long resisted leagues as it was believed that the introduction of leagues would increase 'dirty' play and put pressure on clubs to pay their players (thereby contravening the amateur ethos). Instead, clubs arranged their own friendlies and had traditional games. The only organised tournaments were the County Cups and County Championship — the former played by clubs and the latter by County representative teams. The Daily Telegraph and a few local newspapers — such as the Yorkshire Post — compiled 'pennants' based on teams' performances, but as the strength of fixture lists varied, it was at best an estimate of a team's performance throughout a season.

Cups and leagues: 1972–1995[edit]

In 1972 the RFU sanctioned a national knock-out cup — the R.F.U. Club Competition, the predecessor to today's Anglo-Welsh Cup — followed first by regional merit tables and then, in the mid-1980s, by national merit tables. One of the casualties of the move to competitive leagues was the loss of traditional games as the new fixture lists did not allow enough time for them.

The league system has evolved since its start in 1987 when the Courage Leagues were formed — a league pyramid with roughly 1000 clubs playing in 108 leagues each with promotion and relegation.

In the first season, clubs were expected to arrange the fixtures on mutually convenient dates. The clubs involved were Bath, Bristol, Coventry, Gloucester, Harlequins, Leicester, Moseley, Nottingham, Orrell, Sale, Wasps and Waterloo. That first season was an unqualified success, with clubs in the upper echelons of the national leagues reporting increased crowds, interest from both local backers and national companies as well as higher skill levels among players exposed to regular competition. The fears that leagues would lead to greater violence on the field proved largely unfounded.

By the next season, the RFU allocated fixed Saturdays to the league season, removing the clubs' responsibility for scheduling matches. There was no home and away structure to the leagues in those early seasons, as sides played one another only once.

Initially two teams, Bath and Leicester, proved to be head and shoulders above the rest in the Courage League, and between them dominated the top of the table.

In 1994 the league structure expanded to include a full rota of home and away matches for the first time. The 1994–95 season was the first to be shown live on Sky Sports, a relationship which continued until the 2013-14 season when BT Sport acquired the exclusive rights.[2]

1996: The dawn of professional rugby union[edit]

The league turned professional for the 1996/97 season when the first winners were London Wasps, joining Bath and Leicester as the only champions in the league's first decade. Clubs like Saracens, Newcastle and Northampton were able to attract wealthy benefactors, but the professional era also had its casualties, as clubs like West Hartlepool, Richmond and London Scottish were forced into administration when their backers pulled out.[3]

2000 to 2002: Premiership, Championship and playoffs[edit]

The start of the 2000–01 season brought with it a re-vamping of the season structure. In 2000–2001 an 8-team playoff (the Championship) was introduced. However, the team finishing top of the table at the end of the regular season was still considered English champions ("Premiership title").

Half-way through the 2001–02 season, with Leicester odds-on to win their fourth title in succession, it was controversially decided that the winners of the 8-team playoffs would be crowned English champions.[4] There was an outcry from fans and this proposal was dropped.

The ascendancy of the playoffs: 2003 – present[edit]

From the beginning of the 2002–03 season, a new playoff format was introduced to replace the 8-team Championship. The format required the first placed team in the league to play the winner of a match between the second- and third-placed teams. Critically, the winner of this game (the Premiership Final) would be recognised as English champions. Although Gloucester won the league by a clear margin, they then faced a three-week wait until the final. Having lost their momentum the second-placed Wasps (who had defeated third-placed Northampton) beat them easily in the play-offs. The playoff structure was reformatted in the 2005–06 season in which the first placed team would play the fourth placed team in a semi-final (a Shaughnessy playoff).

Since the implementation of the playoff system, only three teams have won both the regular season and playoffs in the same year; Leicester in 2000–01 (the first year of the playoffs) and again in 2008–09 and 2009–10, Sale Sharks in 2005–06 & the Harlequins (in their first ever premiership final) 2011–12.

Of all the Premiership teams, London Wasps have made a reputation for playing the competition format to perfection, peaking at the right time to be crowned English Champions in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2008. Wasps did not lead the league standings at the end of the season in any of these years. Indeed, the London club have not finished top of the league since the playoffs began. Conversely, Gloucester Rugby have garnered an unfortunate reputation for leading the table at the end of the regular season, only to fall short of winning the Premiership title in 2003, 2007 and 2008. Gloucester's single victory in the playoffs, in 2002, occurred when the league leaders, in that season Leicester, were still considered English champions, Gloucester's Championship victory being considered secondary.

The 2011–12 season saw Harlequins add their name to the trophy on their first attempt, winning 30-23 against the nine times champions Leicester. With their first ever English Premiership title, they are only the sixth club to win the Premiership since its creation in 1997, the others being Newcastle Falcons, London Wasps, Leicester Tigers, Sale Sharks and Saracens.[5] Leicester's 10th championship would have to wait until 2012–13, defeating Northampton in the final.

The 2013-14 Aviva Premiership Season saw Northampton add their name to the trophy for the first time, becoming the 8th different team to do so. This was achieved by defeating Leicester Tigers in the Semi Final 21-20 and denying Leicester a 10th Consecutive Final.[6] In the final they defeated Saracens 20-24 with a last minute try to win the 2013-14 Aviva Premiership.[7][8]

US initiatives[edit]

With the future of the Heineken Cup uncertain beyond 2013–14, due to a row between England's Premiership Rugby Limited and France's LNR on one side and the sport's governing bodies on the other, Premiership Rugby Limited has made several moves toward expanding its brand into the United States. In May 2013, Premiership Rugby Limited and U.S.-based RugbyLaw entered into a plan by which the two organisations were to help back a proposed U.S. professional league that could have begun play as early as 2014.[9] The first phase of the plan was to involve two preseason exhibitions featuring an "American Barbarians" side that will combine international veterans and young American talent. The "Barbarians" were intended to play matches in August 2013 in the U.S. and London, but those plans fell through; the matches are now being planned for 2014.[10] In August 2013, Leicester Tigers chairman Peter Tom confirmed that Premiership Rugby Limited had discussed the possibility of bringing select Premiership matches to the US with four NFL franchises—the Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots (which would have hosted one of the proposed 2013 exhibitions)[9] and Washington Redskins.[11]

Other season highlights[edit]

Since 2004, the Round 1 has included the London Double Header, featuring the four London teams at the Twickenham Stadium.[12] The 2013 edition had an attendance of over 60,000

On 27 December 2008 Harlequins moved their home match against Leicester Tigers across the road to Twickenham Stadium in what was dubbed 'The Big Game'. 50,000 spectators attended, a Premiership record. This was repeated in 2009 and 2010. The fourth edition was held in Christmas 2011 during the 2011–12 season when Saracens beat Harlequins, and a fifth was held during the 2012–13 season between Harlequins and London Irish on 29 December, on front of 82,000 spectators.[13] The match has since continued, with Harlequins playing Exeter Chiefs in 2013–14, and the 2014–15 match scheduled against Northmapton Saints.[citation needed]

On 24 April 2010, Wasps played their home match with Bath at Twickenham for the St George's Day game in support of Help for Heroes. This was repeated in 2011 and again resulted in Bath being victorious.[14] The match was not repeated the following two seasons. On 19 April 2014, London Wasps returned to Twickenham to beat Gloucester at Twickenham, in a match dubbed 'The Stinger'. The Stinger is being repeated in 2014–15, when it will be played against Exeter Chiefs.[citation needed]

Competition[edit]

Format[edit]

The Aviva Premiership Rugby season runs from September to May and comprises 22 rounds of matches, with each club playing each of its rivals home and away. The results of the matches contribute points to the league as follows:

  • 4 points are awarded for a win
  • 2 points are awarded for a draw
  • 0 points are awarded for a loss, however
    • 1 losing (bonus) point is awarded to a team that loses a match by 7 points or fewer
  • 1 additional (bonus) point is awarded to a team scoring 4 tries or more in a match

Following the completion of the regular season, the top 4 teams enter the play-off, which is held throughout May. The top two teams receive home advantage, the league leaders hosting the 4th ranked team, and the 2nd place team hosting the 3rd place team. The winners of these semi-finals progress to the final, held at Twickenham Stadium. The winner of the final being Premiership Champions. The lowest placed team is relegated to the RFU Championship.[15]

Salary Cap[edit]

The English Premiership operates a salary cap, set by the Premiership Rugby Board, specifying the money a club can spend on the player salaries of its squad per season. In the 2014–15 season, the base salary cap is £4.76m, with an "academy credit" of up to £240,000 (£30,000 per player for up to eight players). Players must meet the following criteria for their clubs to use the academy credit:

  • Joined the club before his 18th birthday.
  • Under age 24 at the start of the season.
  • Earns a salary of more than £30,000.

This means that, for example, a qualifying player who earns £40,000 carries a cap charge of only £10,000.

One player may be excluded from the cap calculations; this player must have met at least one of the following three criteria:

  • Played with his club for at least two full seasons before he was nominated as an excluded player.
  • Played outside the Premiership in the season before he was nominated.
  • Was selected and included in the official squad of any national team participating in the 2011 Rugby World Cup final tournament.

Several significant changes to the cap system will take effect with the 2015–16 season:[16]

  • The base cap will increase to £5.1 million.
  • The maximum possible amount of academy credits will increase to £400,000 per club. At the time of announcement, details of the new academy credit scheme were not released—specifically, the per-player amount and concurrent cap on the number of credits available.
  • Clubs will be allowed to exclude two players from the cap calculations instead of one. Unlike the first slot, which can be used for a player on a team's current roster, the new slot can only be filled by a player who had not been in the Premiership in the 12 months preceding the start of his contract.

Promotion and relegation[edit]

See also English rugby union system

There is a system of promotion and relegation to and from the Aviva Premiership. The last placed club after the 22 regular season rounds of the Premiership is relegated into the RFU Championship (the former National Division One), while the winner of the Championship play offs is promoted to the Premiership for the subsequent season. However, promotion and relegation is subject to a Minimum Standards Criteria. If the winner of the play offs does not meet these standards, then there is no relegation/promotion, as was the case in the 2011–12 season when London Welsh won promotion from the Championship but were denied promotion, reprieving Newcastle Falcons from relegation, until London Welsh successfully appealed against their block.[17]

European competitions[edit]

Beginning in the 2014–15 season, teams playing in the Premiership will play in the top two tiers of the new three-tiered structure for European club competitions—the European Rugby Champions Cup and European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Champions Cup and Challenge Cup are replacing the previous European competitions, the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup.[18]

Under the new structure, the top six teams on the Premiership table qualify directly for the following season's Champions Cup. The seventh-placed team advances to a play-off for another Champions Cup place. In 2013–14, the play-off involved said Premiership club and the seventh-placed club in France's Top 14; in subsequent years, the play-off will also include two sides from Pro12 in the Celtic nations and Italy.[18]

In the Heineken Cup era, England was entitled to six Heineken Cup places each season, with the possibility of a seventh depending on performances of English clubs in the prior season. The top four placed clubs in the Premiership qualified for the Heineken Cup, though more clubs could qualify in a number of ways: the previous season's Heineken Cup winner, the champion of the European Challenge Cup or the winner of the LV Cup (officially "LV=" per the sponsor's branding).

All clubs that do not qualify for the Champions Cup play in the Challenge Cup.[18]

Sponsorship[edit]

  • Courage League: 1987–88 to 1996–97
  • Allied Dunbar Premiership: 1997–98 to 1999–2000
  • Zurich Premiership: 2000–01 to 2004–05
  • Guinness Premiership: 2005–06 to 2009–10
  • Aviva Premiership: 2010–11 to 2016–17

2014–15 teams[edit]

Club Stadium Capacity
Bath The Recreation Ground 14,000
Exeter Chiefs Sandy Park 12,300
Gloucester Kingsholm Stadium 16,500
Harlequins The Stoop 14,816
Leicester Tigers Welford Road 24,000
London Irish Madejski Stadium 24,250
London Welsh Kassam Stadium 12,500
Newcastle Falcons Kingston Park 10,200
Northampton Saints Franklin's Gardens 13,600
Sale Sharks Salford City Stadium 12,000
Saracens Allianz Park 10,000
Wasps Adams Park 10,516

Table[edit]

2014–15 Aviva Premiership Table watch · edit · discuss
Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points For Points Against Points Difference Tries For Tries Against Try Bonus Losing Bonus Points
1 Northampton Saints 6 5 0 1 197 82 +115 24 7 4 1 25
2 Saracens 6 5 0 1 188 121 +67 18 14 2 0 22
3 Exeter Chiefs 6 4 0 2 201 112 +89 21 12 2 2 20
4 Bath 6 4 0 2 194 117 +77 22 13 2 2 20
5 Wasps 6 3 0 3 149 141 +8 16 15 1 2 15
6 Gloucester 6 3 0 3 162 159 +3 17 18 1 2 15
7 Harlequins 6 3 0 3 127 135 −8 13 10 1 1 14
8 Leicester Tigers 6 3 0 3 117 153 −36 9 14 1 1 14
9 London Irish 6 2 0 4 125 156 −31 10 15 1 3 12
10 Sale Sharks 6 2 0 4 147 168 −21 19 18 2 1 11
11 Newcastle Falcons 6 2 0 4 115 153 −38 14 17 0 1 9
12 London Welsh 6 0 0 6 47 272 −225 6 36 1 0 1

If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:

  1. Number of matches won
  2. Difference between points for and against
  3. Total number of points for
  4. Aggregate number of points scored in matches between tied teams
  5. Number of matches won excluding the first match, then the second and so on until the tie is settled
Green background (rows 1 to 4) are play-off places and earns a berth in the 2015–16 European Rugby Champions Cup.
Blue background (rows 5 & 6) indicates teams outside the play-off places, that earns a berth in the 2015–16 European Rugby Champions Cup.
Yellow background indicates the team that advances to a play-off against the eighth-placed, or highest-ranked non-qualifier, from the Pro12. If the 2014–15 European Rugby Challenge Cup winner has not already qualified, they will participate in the play off by taking a place given to its league.[19]
Plain background indicates teams that earn a place in the European Rugby Challenge Cup.
Red background (row 12) will be relegated, provided the winner of the RFU Championship play-off meets the requirements for promotion.
Updated 12 October 2014 — source: Premiership Rugby

Premiership finals[edit]

On all occasions at Twickenham Stadium

Season Playoff Winner Score Runner-up Attendance First place in table
2000–01* Leicester Tigers 22–10 Bath 33,500 Leicester Tigers
2001–02* Gloucester 28–23 Bristol 28,500 Leicester Tigers
2002–03 London Wasps 39–3 Gloucester 42,000 Gloucester
2003–04 London Wasps 10–6 Bath 59,500 Bath
2004–05 London Wasps 39–14 Leicester Tigers 66,000 Leicester Tigers
2005–06 Sale Sharks 45–20 Leicester Tigers 58,000 Sale Sharks
2006–07 Leicester Tigers 44–16 Gloucester 59,000 Gloucester
2007–08 London Wasps 26–16 Leicester Tigers 81,600 Gloucester
2008–09 Leicester Tigers 10–9 London Irish 81,601 Leicester Tigers
2009–10 Leicester Tigers 33–27 Saracens 81,600 Leicester Tigers
2010–11 Saracens 22–18 Leicester Tigers 80,016 Leicester Tigers
2011–12 Harlequins 30–23 Leicester Tigers 81,779 Harlequins
2012–13 Leicester Tigers 37–17 Northampton Saints 81,703 Saracens
2013–14 Northampton Saints 24–20 (aet) Saracens 81,193 Saracens
  • *until and including 2001–2002, first in league table were champions. Since then, the playoff final winner are the champions.
  • aet - match went into extra time.

By Premiership wins[edit]

Team Premiership Titles Years of Titles Won Topped League Standings Years Topped League Standings
Leicester Tigers 10 1988, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2013 10 1988, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011
Bath 6 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996 7 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 2004
Wasps 6 1990, 1997, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008 2 1990, 1997,
Saracens 1 2011 2 2013, 2014
Newcastle Falcons 1 1998 1 1998
Sale Sharks 1 2006 1 2006
Harlequins 1 2012 1 2012
Northampton Saints 1 2014 0
Gloucester 0 3 2003, 2007, 2008

Champions[edit]

Courage League (1988 - 1997)[edit]

Premiership (1998 - present)[edit]

Participation in the top flight[edit]

A total of 28 clubs have been involved in top flight league since its inception in the 1987–88 season. The most recent club to make its debut in the top flight was London Welsh, which made their Premiership debut in 2012–13, followed by an immediate relegation and an immediate promotion. Four, namely Bath, Gloucester, Leicester Tigers and Wasps, have appeared in all 27 seasons to date, and are competing in 2014–15. Harlequins only missed the 2005–06 season, and four other clubs have appeared in at least 20 seasons. Coventry, Liverpool St Helens, Moseley, Nottingham, Rosslyn Park, Rugby and Waterloo only appeared during the amateur era, whereas Exeter, Leeds, London Welsh, Richmond, Rotherham and Worcester have only appeared during the professional era. Below, the 2014–15 clubs are listed in bold; omnipresent clubs are listed in bold italics. Years listed are the calendar years in which the seasons ended.

Seasons Team Dates
28 Bath 1988–2015
3 Bedford 1990, 1999–2000
19 Bristol 1988–1993, 1996–1998, 2000–2003, 2006–2009
1 Coventry 1988
5 Exeter 2011–2015
28 Gloucester 1988–2015
27 Harlequins 1988–2005, 2007–2015
8 Leeds 2002–2006, 2008, 2010–2011
28 Leicester 1988–2015
2 Liverpool St Helens 1989, 1991
22 London Irish 1992–1994, 1997–2015
2 London Scottish 1993, 1999
2 London Welsh 2013, 2015
4 Moseley 1988–1992
18 Newcastle 1994, 1998–2012, 2014–2015
23 Northampton 1991–1995, 1997–2007, 2009–2015
5 Nottingham 1988–1992
10 Orrell 1988–1997
2 Richmond 1998–1999
4 Rosslyn Park 1989–1992
2 Rotherham 2001, 2004
2 Rugby 1992–1993
22 Sale 1988, 1995–2015
24 Saracens 1990–1993, 1996–2015
28 Wasps 1988–2015
2 Waterloo 1988–1989
5 West Hartlepool 1993, 1995–1997, 1999
9 Worcester 2005–2010, 2012–2014

Player records[edit]

Most matches[edit]

Player Team Pos Span Mat Start Sub Pts Tries Won Lost Draw %
1 England Steve Borthwick Bath/Saracens Lock 1998-2014 263 256 7 30 6 161 94 8 61.22
2 England George Chuter Saracens/Leicester Hooker 1997-2014 262 200 62 80 16 171 78 13 65.27
3 England Hugh Vyvyan Newcastle/Saracens Lock 1998-2012 245 191 54 105 21 120 116 9 50.81
4 England Simon Shaw Wasps Lock 1997-2011 237 212 25 98 19 142 84 11 62.23
5 England Duncan Bell Sale/Bath Prop 1997-2012 230 167 63 50 10 113 106 11 51.52
6 England Alex Brown Bristol/Gloucester Lock 1999-2012 227 212 15 35 7 113 107 7 51.32
7 England Tom May Newcastle/Northampton Centre 1999- 221 199 22 407 52 93 121 7 43.66
8 England Chris Fortey Gloucester/Worcester Hooker 1997-2012 219 129 90 25 5 102 106 11 49.08
England Tom Voyce Bath/Wasps/Gloucester/London Welsh Wing 2000- 219 200 19 330 66 116 94 9 55.02
10 2 players on 218 matches

Most points[edit]

Player Team Pos Span Mat Start Sub Pts Tries Conv Pens Drop
1. England Charlie Hodgson Sale/Saracens Fly-half 2000- 191 179 12 2133 33 255 448 38
2. England Andy Goode Leicester/Saracens/Worcester/Wasps Fly-half 1998- 182 155 27 1771 27 236 355 33
3. England Olly Barkley Bath/Gloucester Centre/Fly-half 2001-2012 181 163 18 1588 19 169 383 2
4. England Jonny Wilkinson Newcastle Fly-half 1997-2008 138 129 9 1489 25 196 302 22
5. Ireland Barry Everitt London Irish/Northampton Fly-half 2000-2010 131 95 36 1267 7 100 319 25
6. England Tim Stimpson Newcastle/Leicester/Leeds Fullback 1997-2005 121 107 14 1243 22 160 269 2
7. England Paul Grayson Northampton Fly-half 1997-2005 119 104 15 1238 9 148 290 9
8. New Zealand Glen Jackson Saracens Fly-half 2004-2010 112 102 10 1192 13 148 265 12
9. England Shane Drahm Bristol/Northampton/Worcester Fly-half/Fullback 2001-2008 134 106 28 1185 15 147 258 14
10. England Dave Walder Newcastle/Wasps Fly-half 1999-2011 162 122 40 1037 13 108 230 22

Most tries[edit]

Player Team Pos Span Mat Start Sub Pts Tries Conv Pens Drop
1. England Mark Cueto Sale Wing 2001- 178 174 4 375 86 0 0 0
2. England Steve Hanley Sale Wing 1998-2007 135 126 9 375 75 0 0 0
3. England Tom Varndell Leicester/Wasps Wing 2004- 142 120 22 350 73 0 0 0
4. England Paul Sackey Bedford/London Irish/Wasps/Harlequins Wing 1999-2010 2013- 185 180 5 340 68 0 0 0
5. England Tom Voyce Bath/Wasps/Gloucester/London Welsh Wing 2000- 219 200 19 330 66 0 0 0
6. England James Simpson-Daniel Gloucester Wing 2000-2013 177 160 17 315 63 0 0 0
7. England Neil Back Leicester Flanker 1997-2005 128 114 14 295 59 0 0 0
8. England Ben Cohen Northampton/Sale Wing 1997-2011 184 173 11 290 58 0 0 0
9. Ireland Geordan Murphy Leicester Fullback 1998-2013 201 187 14 428 57 28 24 5
10. England Josh Lewsey Bristol/Wasps Wing/Centre 1997-2011 203 187 16 291 56 1 3 0

Media coverage[edit]

In the United Kingdom, the rights are currently held by BT Sport under an £125m deal signed on 12 September 2012 to broadcast 69 live matches per season for three years from the 2013–14 season.[20] In Australia the Aviva Premiership is available on Setanta Sports. Since the 2008/09 season there has been a highlights show on ITV4, repeated midweek on ITV. In the United States, the Aviva Premiership is currently available on Fox Soccer Plus.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Premiership Rugby announce long term partnership with Aviva Premiership Rugby, 7 July 2010
  2. ^ "Partners | Sky Sports". Premiership Rugby. 2012-06-28. Retrieved 2013-07-31. 
  3. ^ "Club History". London Scottish FC. 2013-04-13. Retrieved 2013-07-31. 
  4. ^ "Leicester livid as seasons spoils are left up for grabs". The Independent. 10 February 2001. Retrieved 28 January 2009. 
  5. ^ "History". Premiership Rugby. Retrieved 2013-07-31. 
  6. ^ "Premiership semi-final: Northampton 21-20 Leicester". www.bbc.co.uk. 16 May 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  7. ^ "Premiership final: Saracens 20-24 Northampton Saints". www.bbc.co.uk. 31 May 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "Aviva Premiership Final: Saracens 20 Northampton Saints 24". www.premiershiprugby.com. 31 May 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Dart, Tom (11 May 2013). "NFL joins plan aiming to create professional rugby union league in US". theguardian.com. Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  10. ^ Dart, Tom (5 June 2013). "US professional rugby union project delayed to 2014". theguardian.com. Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  11. ^ "America to host Aviva Premiership matches?". ESPN Scrum. 4 August 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  12. ^ "London Double Header 2012". RFU. 2012-09-01. Retrieved 2013-07-31. 
  13. ^ "Harlequins 26-15 London Irish". BBC Sport. 2012-12-29. Retrieved 2013-07-31. 
  14. ^ "St George's Day Game - Wasps v Bath". RFU. 2011-04-23. Retrieved 2013-07-31. 
  15. ^ "Aviva Premiership". RFU. 2012-07-05. Retrieved 2013-07-31. 
  16. ^ "Salary Cap changes confirmed" (Press release). Premiership Rugby Limited. 16 September 2014. Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  17. ^ Mairs, Gavin (2012-06-29). "London Welsh to join Aviva Premiership after winning appeal against decision to deny them promotion". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-07-31. 
  18. ^ a b c "Future of European Rugby resolved" (Press release). Rugby Football Union. 10 April 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  19. ^ "Future of European Rugby resolved" (Press release). RFU. 10 April 2014. Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  20. ^ [1] Guardian Media, 12 September 2012
  21. ^ "Fox Soccer Plus Set to Launch March 1 with DirecTV, DISH Network, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon FIOS" (Press release). Fox Cable Networks. 26 February 2010. Retrieved 7 April 2010. 

External links[edit]