Warburton: Rainbow Cup was a ‘mishmash’ concept

Former Wales captain Sam Warburton has slammed the concept of the Rainbow Cup and hit out at PRO14 Rugby bosses for ‘almost shamelessly going wherever the money is’.

The Rainbow Cup was set to precede South Africa’s expanded entry into a touted PRO16 competition later this year.

This week, however, the original plans for the Rainbow Cup were scuppered after a failure to acquire the necessary overseas travel assurances for South Africa’s four sides.

PRO14 Rugby and SA Rugby will now operate dual tournaments with no cross-hemisphere fixtures, and although the Rainbow Cup has failed to materialise as planned, it’s been stated that this will have no impact on the long-term partnership.

Yet, speaking at Canterbury’s launch of the British & Irish Lions jersey, Warburton slammed the competition.

‘To be honest, my brother is a physio at Cardiff Blues and he said we are glad he was not going over, he didn’t want to,’ he explained.

‘I am not going to lie and I could not say this as a player, but I think the whole Rainbow Cup has turned into a mishmash competition. I think you need to keep your domestic leagues.

‘Ideally, I would have it as just a Celtic league and the Italian sides going into the French league. It would be much better for them logistically and I think they would agree with that as well and keep it to how it used to be.’

Warburton added that he would prefer a British and Irish league, felt England didn’t need the Celtic teams.

‘The PRO14 is changing every year and almost shamelessly going wherever the money is at and not where the best quality of product is going to be. I don’t think it makes much difference to me. Personally, I would rather watch Irish teams play each other, Welsh teams play each other, etc, and I feel they would be better games, to be honest.’

READ: Details of the dual tournament approach for Rainbow Cup

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Craig Lewis