Back in August we reported that the European Trophy had again been cancelled but mainly thanks to the work of Switzerland it is back on again – and in a new form.
The 2018 European Trophy was cancelled in August when Sweden pulled out due to the cost of attending the four-day event in Switzerland.
This was the second time the tournament had been cancelled, but Switzerland – the original hosts – quickly made it clear that they were not going to accept another year with no competitive rugby for their ambitious XVs team.
So since August they have been working hard, first to set up their own competition, and then to get Rugby Europe to officially approve it.
And the great news is that this has all now happened. Although Sweden and also Russia from the original entrants have declined to take part, Finland have remained committed to the tounament - and Czechia have stepped in as well. And now Rugby Europe have given their formal approval.
The three teams will now each host one test match in a round-robin series, much as the men’s European tournaments are run, albeit this year smaller.
Switzerland begin this weekend with a trip to Myllypuro Urheilupuisto in Helsinki for their first test match against Finland. Czechia then join the tournament on 17th November when they travel to Yverdon in Switzerland, and after the winter break on 16th March Finland take a trip to Prague to meet Czechia – a much anticipated fixture which both teams have been trying to arrange for the past few years, but which the official sanction of a Rugby Europe tournament has finally allowed to happen.
Only one thing is unclear from this news. Prior to the August cancellation the European Trophy winners were being offered a place in next year’s European Championship. It is unclear this stage whether that will still be on offer – not least because the final game in this Trophy series would be due to take place at roughly the same time as the next European Championship is expected to be played. Watch this space!