RFU’s 'disgraceful' funding decision under yet more fire

Rugby | Published:

BOTH Jersey Reds director of rugby and scrum-half Will Homer have criticised the RFU’s ‘disgraceful’ decision to cut funding to the Championship for next season.

Jersey Reds scrum-half Will Homer has questioned the RFU's stance on the benefit of Championship rugby, given that 'around 20' former Islanders have made the step up to the Premiership or PRO14 in recent seasons Picture:DAVID FERGUSON

It was announced last Tuesday that clubs would see a 40% drop in annual funding to a 2015-level of £288,000 per club.

It has left Jersey and other clubs having to redress their plans and puts professional players at risk of losing their jobs, with clubs potentially having to bring in semi-pro or amateur players.

Speaking after Saturday’s 38-10 Championship loss away to Doncaster, Reds director of rugby Harvey Biljon said: ‘It’s a kick in the teeth, let’s be honest, all of our planning that we’ve looked at to the future ... that needs to be readjusted. Thankfully we’ve got fantastic support from our chairman and the club, but we will have to revisit a lot of areas and we’ve got to try and separate the politics going on at the RFU and just concentrate on the rugby.

‘I think the Championship is a great advert for rugby and a lot of players develop here. We’ve allowed a lot of our players to make the step-up to the Premiership which is great and three internationals in Gary Graham, Harry Williams and Nick Haining. That’s three players that have played in the Championship for Jersey in the past few years [that have gone to international level] and yet this decision is where we are.’

Will Homer added: ‘The way it has been dealt with and put out is disgraceful.

‘If you look at Jersey alone, since turning pro around 20 players have gone up to the Pro14 or the Premiership, it happens and it is there – a fact – and that’s Jersey alone. So clearly the Championship is a good stepping stone and in reverse if you’re a young player not getting game time there is nothing better than to play competitive game time in the Championship.

‘I think its valuable but this decision doesn’t reflect that.’

Exeter and England star Harry Williams, speaking to the Rugby Paper, also gave strong support to the Championship [he played for Nottingham and Jersey before moving up to the Premiership], not only for it helping develop and hone players, but also young English coaches, mentioning former Jersey coach Steve Boden, now at Doncaster, as an example.

Doncaster match report in Monday's Final Whistle.

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