Alan Quinlan believes that the compromised Champions Cup format lacks competitive credibility, as he explained on Friday's OTB AM.
As European club rugby competitions abandon remaining group stage games in favour of a straight knock-out format, Alan Quinlan believes that this decision dilutes the credibility of the competition.
Due to the uncertain spread of Covid-19 and the initial postponement of remaining group games last weekend, Munster and Leinster will progress to the last-16 of the Champions Cup, while Ulster and Connacht will likely contest the same round of the Challenge Cup.
"I don't know about a 16-team knockout tournament," Quinlan admitted on Friday's OTB AM. "Is that going to work? Does it take away a bit of credibility from the tournament?
"I don't really agree with it and they should have tried to find the weekends to play rounds three and four [of the group games]."
Following requests from the French Ministry for Sport, European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) confirmed the temporary suspension of both competitions earlier this week.
In an adjoining statement they explained how a new strain of coronavirus had urged the French government to direct French clubs to postpone their participation in EPCR’s tournaments for the month of January.
A solution to this structural issue has now been found via the 16-team knockout format.
"I think this is being driven by Premiership Rugby [in England] and their input into this," Quinlan suggested. "I wouldn't say they're not being flexible and I know they've got to finish their own competition.
"But, it just doesn't sit easy with me cancelling those two rounds completely. It is a bit of a mess really."
However, with the Six Nations due to commence early next month, Quinlan remains grateful that the European club competitions look like they will be completed at least.
"I think the competition will be finished," he stated, "and it is pushed back to April now and I think things will be a lot different by then, I really hope they will.
"The danger here is if the competition was cancelled and not played at all. It is better to have some competition rather than none at all, in my opinion."
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