SVB makes RFU funding plea Championship support

JERSEY REDS returnee and ex-skipper Scott Van Breda is calling on the RFU to ‘not neglect’ the Championship after the league suffered heavy funding cuts this season, writes Luke Jarmyn.

SCOTT VAN BREDA in action for Jersey Reds earlier this season Picture: GARRY BOWDEN/SPORT IN PICTURES. (30819941)
SCOTT VAN BREDA in action for Jersey Reds earlier this season Picture: GARRY BOWDEN/SPORT IN PICTURES. (30819941)

Van Breda, ever present since coming back to the Island’s professional side on loan from Worcester Warriors, is among several Reds who are highlighting the closeness in quality between the Premiership and the Championship.

The 29-year-old playmaker believes that the length of time it has taken Saracens to truly get up to speed, and the fact that the ex-European Champions needed their full contingent of international stars in recent weeks, shows the quality throughout tier two.

He said: ‘Top teams don’t realise what it’s like coming down to places like Bedford, Pirates or Doncaster, which are all tough places to go and play, and you think it is just going to happen but it’s not.

‘It’s one of those where every time a big team comes down, that’s what everyone looks at on the calendar. When we are we are playing Saracens or Ealing, those are seen as fixtures where you can make a name for yourself or put yourself on the map. It shows that there isn’t this gap some say and the challenge is good fun.

‘The difference between the big and small teams isn’t that much – you’re talking about small fine details which separate the best. From international rugby down to the Premiership and the next level, it’s just the small little details. If there was more funding and input from the national bodies to the Championship, that would get smaller and smaller.’

Van Breda, who scored his first try for the Islanders in their last fixture against Ampthill, has backed Reds director of rugby Harvey Biljon, who recently spoke out about feeling that the governing bodies were ‘widening the divide’ between the leagues.

The South African, who featured for Southern Kings in the PRO14 league last season as well, believes some would be surprised at how narrow the difference in player’s ability in the leagues is.

He added: ‘That’s the thing. It’s those little details between the two leagues’ teams which make a big difference. The qualities of individuals lift it up but everything is just that one or two percent better and that all comes back to the funding. You can’t have the same quality with the funding.

‘The training is all the same and even when compared to the Southern Kings back home, its all much of a muchness and it makes you realise that most of the players in the championship, with the right opportunities and coaching, can challenge any premiership side easily.’

Full story in today's JEP.

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