División de Honor takes a Spanish Rugby siesta

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We’re in the middle of a Spanish Rugby siesta after Spain’s season came to an end with a hard-fought victory for VRAC against challengers Alconbendas in the División de Honor final. However, the third triumph in a row for Alconbendas in the Copa Del Rey de Rugby confirms them as Spanish Rugby’s second force.

With this wrapped up, we should have been looking forward to a big international for Spanish rugby but, sadly, no.

This week, it was announced that the Rugby Europe match between Spain and the Netherlands was off due to Covid.  This may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Spain, who were handed a fixture list that benefitted Georgia and Romania at the expense of everyone else. Fortunately, we get a Spanish Rugby siesta and watch Portugal take on Russia.

The maths now is pretty simple for Spain, they have to win six of their remaining seven games. This seems a tall ask but thanks to their bonus points Spain are not dead yet. If Spain can grab a bonus-point win versus Holland they will be back in the hunt.

It’s hard to underestimate the commercial opportunity of qualifying for a Rugby World Cup. Spain has four home qualification games left. Money from ticket sales and increased coverage could be vital to re-building the momentum in Spanish rugby.

Spanish Rugby – Up for the Super Cup

This isn’t the only news for Spanish Rugby as Rugby Europe has announced a new competition for next season. Two conferences of four teams will compete to be crowned the inaugural Super Cup winner in May 2022. Representing Spain will be the new franchise of the Castilla and Leon Iberians, drawing players from the two traditional Valladolid powerhouses as well as Burgos.

The new competition will span across Europe from Portugal all the way to Tel Aviv in Israel. Luckily for the Iberians, the conference system means they will only be flying as far as Holland. Enticingly, they can add a club Spanish-Portuguese rivalry to go with the brewing National team competition. The competition is intended to provide a new elite pathway for tier 2 nations’ development talent.

Of course, of more interest will be whether this joint Rugby Europe and World Rugby Super Cup can become commercially viable and offer the nations who have been effectively locked out of entry into elite European rugby a meaningful pathway. Previously, some teams outside of the big 6 did play in the Challenge Cup but with South African sides now on board, the door looks to have closed.

As a result, teams and nations will need a viable vehicle for young players and new commercial sponsors. Hopefully, in time, the winner can be given a clear pathway into Europe’s second-tier competition. Of course, there are many questions to be asked and answered about whether this can be a success for tier 2 nations including Spain. For now, it’s another exciting development for Rugby in Spain.

Last Word on ‘the Closed Shop’

A quick note from the closed shop courtesy of our Senior Editor Robert Rees, on another failure for Scottish Rugby in the Under 20´s Six Nations…

Why highlight this? Well because Scotland’s junior side found themselves relegated from the elite tier 1 World Rugby U20 Championship in 2019. If not for Covid, they would have been battling the Tier two sides their senior teams are protected from. Spain was due to host the 2nd tier event in 2020 and 2021 was also binned but is due to resume in 2022. We will all get a chance to see what the likes of Portugal can do against their traditionally protected tier 1 rival.

Digressing, and with a cool bottle of water following the Cup final, players and management enjoy their well-earned, Spanish Rugby siesta.

You can keep up to date with Rugby Europe and the new Super Cup via Rugby Europe. After this short Spanish Rugby siesta, LWOR will be bringing regular coverage of the league, cup, and international Spanish rugby.

“Main photo credit”