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Rank the top rugby union club/provincial leagues

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Re: Rank the top rugby union club/provincial leagues

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Fri, 06 Mar 2020, 18:10

Professional rugby leagues ranked by strength of teams and standard of rugby:

1. Super Rugby
2. Top 14
3. English Premiership
4. Pro 14
5. Pro D2
6. Currie Cup
7. Mitre10
8. RFU Championship
9. SLAR
10. GRR
11. MLR
12. Top 12
13. Top League
14. Russian Premier League
15. Romania Superliga
16. NRC
17. Division de Honor
18. Scottish Super Six

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Re: Rank the top rugby union club/provincial leagues

Postby Hinato » Fri, 06 Mar 2020, 20:20

La drogue c'est mal.

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Re: Rank the top rugby union club/provincial leagues

Postby victorsra » Fri, 06 Mar 2020, 20:40

No way Top League is below the Top 10...
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Re: Rank the top rugby union club/provincial leagues

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Fri, 06 Mar 2020, 20:57

victorsra wrote:No way Top League is below the Top 10...


Have you watched Top League? It's like professional wrestling with a ball. If Japan sets up its new professional league it will be top 10 without a doubt. Maybe even top 5.

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Re: Rank the top rugby union club/provincial leagues

Postby victorsra » Fri, 06 Mar 2020, 21:11

Yes, I have. But there's a tricky problem here to judge the leagues. Because the best of league X can be better than the best of league Y. The leading teams in one can be better than in the other. However, the bottom team can be the opposite. How do you rank? By the average (how you settle the average? or by the top ones? or the bottom ones?

For exemple, Top League and Top 12 have big differences between top and bottom.
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Re: Rank the top rugby union club/provincial leagues

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Fri, 06 Mar 2020, 21:34

victorsra wrote:Yes, I have. But there's a tricky problem here to judge the leagues. Because the best of league X can be better than the best of league Y. The leading teams in one can be better than in the other. However, the bottom team can be the opposite. How do you rank? By the average (how you settle the average? or by the top ones? or the bottom ones?

For exemple, Top League and Top 12 have big differences between top and bottom.


I think the only fair way is to choose the average by selecting the team that finished mid table last season.

Super Rugby - Highlanders
Top 14 - Castres
Premiership - Bath
Pro 14 - Ospreys
Pro D2 - Biarritz
Currie Cup - Sharks
Mitre10 - Auckland
English Championship - Yorkshire Carnegie
Top League - Ricoh Black Rams
MLR - New Orleans Gold

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Re: Rank the top rugby union club/provincial leagues

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Fri, 06 Mar 2020, 21:49

Russian Premier League - Kuban
Top 12 - I Medicei
Romanian Superliga - Tomitanii Constanta
Division de Honor - FC Barcelona
NRC - Brisbane City

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Re: Rank the top rugby union club/provincial leagues

Postby victorsra » Fri, 06 Mar 2020, 22:08

Not sure if this is fair. For exemple, Top League has 16 teams while SLAR has 5... Would it be more fair to compare SLAR with Top League's best 5 teams?
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Re: Rank the top rugby union club/provincial leagues

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Fri, 06 Mar 2020, 22:27

There are now only four tier 2 nations without any professional teams playing in the leagues listed.

Tonga - no professional clubs but scores of professional players worldwide. Domestic professional team is probably not feasible.

Georgia - no professional clubs but in 2020 a team is going to be playing in the Currie Cup First Division (not in my list of leagues).

Namibia - several professional players worldwide. Amateur Welwetchias team plays in the Rugby Challenge ( not in my list of leagues).

Portugal - no professional clubs

Belgium is not classed as tier 2, despite playing in Europe's second tier tournament (REC). Belgium does not have professional clubs.

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Re: Rank the top rugby union club/provincial leagues

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Fri, 06 Mar 2020, 22:39

victorsra wrote:Not sure if this is fair. For exemple, Top League has 16 teams while SLAR has 5... Would it be more fair to compare SLAR with Top League's best 5 teams?

I think using the middle team is fair. If Top League has 5 strong teams and 11 bad teams then it's not a strong league, it's a weak league with 5 strong teams. Why use the top 5? Why not use the bottom 5, or even the bottom 1? No, the only fair way to compare is to compare the middle team from each league. You can imagine those teams playing and what you think the outcome would be.

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Re: Rank the top rugby union club/provincial leagues

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Sat, 07 Mar 2020, 10:51

I am happy with the top 8 but below that it is very contentious. I think it's fair to rank a league based on its average team, i.e. middle team, but leagues with a very small number of teams should be penalised. I make an exception for the Currie Cup Premier Division because it is deliberately a small number of teams to fit into a short window, and excludes foreign teams.

Revised ranking showing number of teams

1. Super Rugby (15)
2. Top 14 (14)
3. English Premiership (12)
4. Pro 14 (14)
5. Pro D2 (16)
6. Currie Cup Premier Division (7)
7. Mitre10 (14)
8. English Championship (12)
9. MLR (12)
10. Top 12 (12)
11. Top League (16)
12. GRR (6)
13. SLAR (5)
14. Russian Premier League (10)
15. Romanian Superliga (7)
16. NRC (8)
17. Division de Honor (12)
18. Scottish Super Six (6)

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Re: Rank the top rugby union club/provincial leagues

Postby Salta » Sat, 07 Mar 2020, 16:51

About the SLAR, this is my analysis.

1. Ceibos. A team at the level of Pro D2, at least.
2. Selknam, Peñarol and Olimpia. Three teams at an immediately lower level (I don't know what level Corinthians will have).

I think this is going to place the SLAR (not now, patience) on the border between the second and third level of leagues.

This is my division into levels:
- Tier 1: Super Rugby, French Top 14, English Premiership, Pro 14.
- Tier 2: Pro D2, English Championship (maybe Tier 3), Currie Cup, New Zealand NPC.
- Tier 3: Australian NRC (maybe Tier 2), Italian Top 12, MLR. URBA Top 12 and Nacional de Clubes are here.
- Tier 4: others like spanish, romanian, portuguese, russian, etc. The regionals leagues in Argentina and Torneo del Interior are here.

My idea is like that: pick any team in a league (for example, Currie Cup) and put it in another league. If that team will have similar results, the leagues are at a similar level.

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Re: Rank the top rugby union club/provincial leagues

Postby victorsra » Sat, 07 Mar 2020, 17:13

Chester-Donnelly wrote:
victorsra wrote:Not sure if this is fair. For exemple, Top League has 16 teams while SLAR has 5... Would it be more fair to compare SLAR with Top League's best 5 teams?

I think using the middle team is fair. If Top League has 5 strong teams and 11 bad teams then it's not a strong league, it's a weak league with 5 strong teams. Why use the top 5? Why not use the bottom 5, or even the bottom 1? No, the only fair way to compare is to compare the middle team from each league. You can imagine those teams playing and what you think the outcome would be.

I don't agree. What matters is how many good teams you have. You can't consider a league better with less good teams, makes no sense.

One thing is how many top players and top teams a league has. Another thing is how competitive the matches are.
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Re: Rank the top rugby union club/provincial leagues

Postby victorsra » Sat, 07 Mar 2020, 17:15

Salta wrote:About the SLAR, this is my analysis.

1. Ceibos. A team at the level of Pro D2, at least.
2. Selknam, Peñarol and Olimpia. Three teams at an immediately lower level (I don't know what level Corinthians will have).

I think this is going to place the SLAR (not now, patience) on the border between the second and third level of leagues.

This is my division into levels:
- Tier 1: Super Rugby, French Top 14, English Premiership, Pro 14.
- Tier 2: Pro D2, English Championship (maybe Tier 3), Currie Cup, New Zealand NPC.
- Tier 3: Australian NRC (maybe Tier 2), Italian Top 12, MLR. URBA Top 12 and Nacional de Clubes are here.
- Tier 4: others like spanish, romanian, portuguese, russian, etc. The regionals leagues in Argentina and Torneo del Interior are here.

My idea is like that: pick any team in a league (for example, Currie Cup) and put it in another league. If that team will have similar results, the leagues are at a similar level.

You do know how Corinthians is. It is the Tupis.
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Re: Rank the top rugby union club/provincial leagues

Postby STMKY » Sat, 07 Mar 2020, 17:26

You overestimate the Italian championship. Do not forget that their best players play in Beneton and Zebre in Top14. And the champions of Italy constantly lost to the Russians in the Shield, even to the Germans. The championship of Russia used to be stronger than the Italian Top12. And now, after strengthening the all clubs compositions all the more.

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Re: Rank the top rugby union club/provincial leagues

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Sat, 07 Mar 2020, 17:47

Salta wrote:About the SLAR, this is my analysis.

1. Ceibos. A team at the level of Pro D2, at least.
2. Selknam, Peñarol and Olimpia. Three teams at an immediately lower level (I don't know what level Corinthians will have).

I think this is going to place the SLAR (not now, patience) on the border between the second and third level of leagues.

This is my division into levels:
- Tier 1: Super Rugby, French Top 14, English Premiership, Pro 14.
- Tier 2: Pro D2, English Championship (maybe Tier 3), Currie Cup, New Zealand NPC.
- Tier 3: Australian NRC (maybe Tier 2), Italian Top 12, MLR. URBA Top 12 and Nacional de Clubes are here.
- Tier 4: others like spanish, romanian, portuguese, russian, etc. The regionals leagues in Argentina and Torneo del Interior are here.

My idea is like that: pick any team in a league (for example, Currie Cup) and put it in another league. If that team will have similar results, the leagues are at a similar level.


I completely agree with your tier 1 and tier 2. Below that it becomes quite difficult to compare. You use the example of picking a team from the Currie Cup. One of the best things about the Currie Cup is every team is good and any team can beat any other team. Cheetahs won the Currie Cup, whilst in the Pro 14 they are pretty average and really have very little chance of ever becoming Pro 14 champions.

Thank you for including the Argentine leagues. They should be included in the rankings. SLAR must surely be tier 3 in your list, as almost half of the players will be some of the best Argentinian players, originating from the Argentine leagues and now playing professionally. GRR should also be tier 3, as 2 of the teams (Western Force and Fiji) are 2 of the best NRC teams, and one (BoP) is a decent NPC team.

You didn't include the Japanese Top League. Very wise, some people are getting very defensive. I would put it in your tier 4, but the Japanese pro league, when launched will no doubt be tier 3, probably soon becoming tier 2.

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Re: Rank the top rugby union club/provincial leagues

Postby Canadian_Rugger » Sat, 07 Mar 2020, 18:05

The Italian Championship used to be a decent League in the 90s and mid 2000s but it's lost its shine since Italy committed to the Pro14.

For one, it resulted in Benetton leaving which was the best club in Italy by a country mile. It also caused the dissolution of a number of bigger Italian clubs like Parma FC who had previously been a force in Italian Rugby.

The Italian League was one of the first adopters of professionalism and every club used to be able to count on a large number of Argentinians, Pacific Islanders, Journeymen from the Tri-Nations and a handful of other foreigners to ply their trade in Italy.

Even some of the best Canadian and American players were playing in Italy at one point and Italy was able to acquire many foreign converts as result.

From Canada:

Phil Murphy
Robert & Michael Barbieri
Luke Tait

Robert Barbieri is Canadian with Italian Heritage and went on to earn many caps for Italy after getting recruited and signed for Parma.

Sergio Parisse, Martin Castrogiovanni, Diego Dominguez, Ramiro Pez, etc. All Argentinian who were poached by Italian clubs with money.

For whatever reason, those days are over and the Pro14 has basically killed Italian Club Rugby. Clubs like Padova, Viadana, Calvisano, etc are shadows of their former selves. They used to compete in Europe and now they get knocked off by amateur German sides.

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Re: Rank the top rugby union club/provincial leagues

Postby victorsra » Sat, 07 Mar 2020, 18:11

Canadian_Rugger wrote:The Italian Championship used to be a decent League in the 90s and mid 2000s but it's lost its shine since Italy committed to the Pro14.

For one, it resulted in Benetton leaving which was the best club in Italy by a country mile. It also caused the dissolution of a number of bigger Italian clubs like Parma FC who had previously been a force in Italian Rugby.

The Italian League was one of the first adopters of professionalism and every club used to be able to count on a large number of Argentinians, Pacific Islanders, Journeymen from the Tri-Nations and a handful of other foreigners to ply their trade in Italy.

Even some of the best Canadian and American players were playing in Italy at one point and Italy was able to acquire many foreign converts as result.

From Canada:

Phil Murphy
Robert & Michael Barbieri
Luke Tait

Robert Barbieri is Canadian with Italian Heritage and went on to earn many caps for Italy after getting recruited and signed for Parma.

Sergio Parisse, Martin Castrogiovanni, Diego Dominguez, Ramiro Pez, etc. All Argentinian who were poached by Italian clubs with money.

For whatever reason, those days are over and the Pro14 has basically killed Italian Club Rugby. Clubs like Padova, Viadana, Calvisano, etc are shadows of their former selves. They used to compete in Europe and now they get knocked off by amateur German sides.


All true IMO, the analysis. But Parisse isn't a "poach". His father is Italian, former rugby player (in fact, his father was Italian champion playing for L'Aquila), moved to Argentina for work (Alitalia airlines worker). Sergio Parisse played for Italy U20s with 17 yo.

His biography http://en.espn.co.uk/statsguru/rugby/player/13952.html
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Re: Rank the top rugby union club/provincial leagues

Postby Canadian_Rugger » Sat, 07 Mar 2020, 18:15

victorsra wrote:
Canadian_Rugger wrote:The Italian Championship used to be a decent League in the 90s and mid 2000s but it's lost its shine since Italy committed to the Pro14.

For one, it resulted in Benetton leaving which was the best club in Italy by a country mile. It also caused the dissolution of a number of bigger Italian clubs like Parma FC who had previously been a force in Italian Rugby.

The Italian League was one of the first adopters of professionalism and every club used to be able to count on a large number of Argentinians, Pacific Islanders, Journeymen from the Tri-Nations and a handful of other foreigners to ply their trade in Italy.

Even some of the best Canadian and American players were playing in Italy at one point and Italy was able to acquire many foreign converts as result.

From Canada:

Phil Murphy
Robert & Michael Barbieri
Luke Tait

Robert Barbieri is Canadian with Italian Heritage and went on to earn many caps for Italy after getting recruited and signed for Parma.

Sergio Parisse, Martin Castrogiovanni, Diego Dominguez, Ramiro Pez, etc. All Argentinian who were poached by Italian clubs with money.

For whatever reason, those days are over and the Pro14 has basically killed Italian Club Rugby. Clubs like Padova, Viadana, Calvisano, etc are shadows of their former selves. They used to compete in Europe and now they get knocked off by amateur German sides.


All true. But Parisse isn't a "poach". His father is Italian, former rugby player (in fact, his father was Italian champion playing for L'Aquila), moved to Argentina for work (Alitalia airlines worker). Sergio Parisse played for Italy U20s with 17 yo.


He was born in La Plata and played for La Plata until U20, that is a poach anywhere else except Rugby.

I understand that Italians have a deep connection to the home country though so I also understand that they don't see this as poaching.

Every T1 country does it. Italy can't do it as much anymore because they put all their eggs in two small baskets.

Even Canada poaches. Shane O'Leary is about as Canadian as I am German.

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Re: Rank the top rugby union club/provincial leagues

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Sat, 07 Mar 2020, 18:21

STMKY wrote:You overestimate the Italian championship. Do not forget that their best players play in Beneton and Zebre in Top14. And the champions of Italy constantly lost to the Russians in the Shield, even to the Germans. The championship of Russia used to be stronger than the Italian Top12. And now, after strengthening the all clubs compositions all the more.


I still think the Italian Top 12 is superior to the Russian Premier League. There is nothing between their top 5 teams, and they will continue to send a team to the European Challenge Cup. The two Krasnoyarsk clubs dominate the Russian Premier League. And unlike the Welsh Premiership, the Italian Top 12 has decided to continue with professionalism.

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Re: Rank the top rugby union club/provincial leagues

Postby victorsra » Sat, 07 Mar 2020, 18:38

Canadian_Rugger wrote:
victorsra wrote:
Canadian_Rugger wrote:The Italian Championship used to be a decent League in the 90s and mid 2000s but it's lost its shine since Italy committed to the Pro14.

For one, it resulted in Benetton leaving which was the best club in Italy by a country mile. It also caused the dissolution of a number of bigger Italian clubs like Parma FC who had previously been a force in Italian Rugby.

The Italian League was one of the first adopters of professionalism and every club used to be able to count on a large number of Argentinians, Pacific Islanders, Journeymen from the Tri-Nations and a handful of other foreigners to ply their trade in Italy.

Even some of the best Canadian and American players were playing in Italy at one point and Italy was able to acquire many foreign converts as result.

From Canada:

Phil Murphy
Robert & Michael Barbieri
Luke Tait

Robert Barbieri is Canadian with Italian Heritage and went on to earn many caps for Italy after getting recruited and signed for Parma.

Sergio Parisse, Martin Castrogiovanni, Diego Dominguez, Ramiro Pez, etc. All Argentinian who were poached by Italian clubs with money.

For whatever reason, those days are over and the Pro14 has basically killed Italian Club Rugby. Clubs like Padova, Viadana, Calvisano, etc are shadows of their former selves. They used to compete in Europe and now they get knocked off by amateur German sides.


All true. But Parisse isn't a "poach". His father is Italian, former rugby player (in fact, his father was Italian champion playing for L'Aquila), moved to Argentina for work (Alitalia airlines worker). Sergio Parisse played for Italy U20s with 17 yo.


He was born in La Plata and played for La Plata until U20, that is a poach anywhere else except Rugby.

I understand that Italians have a deep connection to the home country though so I also understand that they don't see this as poaching.

Every T1 country does it. Italy can't do it as much anymore because they put all their eggs in two small baskets.

Even Canada poaches. Shane O'Leary is about as Canadian as I am German.


It isn't a poach when your father or mother come from the country you want to defend (he could apply citizenship since he was born, with the principle of jus sanguinis). Specialy when his rugby passion has roots in Italy and when his choice was made when he was still an U20s player (not for money). And that's not only in rugby.

According to you, Ireland poached Heaslip from Israel?
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Re: Rank the top rugby union club/provincial leagues

Postby jonny24 » Sat, 07 Mar 2020, 19:56

Chester-Donnelly wrote:Professional rugby leagues ranked by strength of teams and standard of rugby:

1. Super Rugby
2. Top 14
3. English Premiership
4. Pro 14
5. Pro D2
6. Currie Cup
7. Mitre10
8. RFU Championship
9. SLAR
10. GRR
11. MLR
12. Top 12
13. Top League
14. Russian Premier League
15. Romania Superliga
16. NRC
17. Division de Honor
18. Scottish Super Six


Putting SLAR in the top 10 after one weekend seems veeerrrryy premature.
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Re: Rank the top rugby union club/provincial leagues

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Sat, 07 Mar 2020, 20:29

jonny24 wrote:
Chester-Donnelly wrote:Professional rugby leagues ranked by strength of teams and standard of rugby:

1. Super Rugby
2. Top 14
3. English Premiership
4. Pro 14
5. Pro D2
6. Currie Cup
7. Mitre10
8. RFU Championship
9. SLAR
10. GRR
11. MLR
12. Top 12
13. Top League
14. Russian Premier League
15. Romania Superliga
16. NRC
17. Division de Honor
18. Scottish Super Six


Putting SLAR in the top 10 after one weekend seems veeerrrryy premature.


It's definitely not in the top 8. The top 8 rankings I am happy with. Below the top 8, SLAR certainly falls in the next tier along with other new regional professional tournaments, MLAR and GRR, and Italy's Top 12. But I am not sure about the order. Hopefully Japan will launch a professional league in the next year. That will certainly rank higher than SLAR with the resources they have. And I am also hoping that Australia will come up with a better domestic competition, including their Super Rugby teams plus Fijian Latui, Western Force and South China Tigers. That would be a competition on the level of the Currie Cup. That would push SLAR out of the top 10.

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Re: Rank the top rugby union club/provincial leagues

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Mon, 09 Mar 2020, 13:41

This club by club European ranking would suggest that the Pro 14 is stronger than the English Premiership. Whilst I do not doubt the data I still have no doubt that the English Premiership is a higher standard than the Pro 14. Pro 14 teams prioritise European competitions, whilst English Premiership teams prioritise not getting relegated.

It also reinforces my belief that the Top 14 is a higher standard than the English Premiership.

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Re: Rank the top rugby union club/provincial leagues

Postby erginclass » Mon, 09 Mar 2020, 16:03

In my opinion.

Tier 1 Premier
1) Super Rugby
2) Top 14
3) Gallagher Premiership
4) Pro 14
5) Currie Cup Premier Division
6) Mitre10 Cup
7) National Rugby Championship

Tier 1 Second Leagues
1) Pro D2
2) RFU Championship
3) Italian Top 12
4) Welsh Premiership
5) Scottish Super 6
6) All-Ireland League

Tier 2 Premiers
1) Major League Rugby
2) Global Rapid Rugby
3) Japanese Top League
4) Superliga Americana de Rugby
5) Russian Premier League of Rugby
6) Romania CEC Bank Superliga
7) Spain Liga Heineken

Tier 2 European Region Seconds
1) DiDi 10
2) Belgium Division 1
3) Portugal Liga de Honra
4) Deutschland Rugby Bundesliga
5) Swiss National League A

Tier 3 Euro
1) Polska Ekstraliga Rugby
2) Ceska Superliga
3) Netherlands Ereklasse
4) Regional Rugby Championship

Tier 4 Euro
1) Alpine Rugby Premiership
2) Baltic Top Lyga
3) Finland Division 1
4) Naim Suleymanoglu Rugby League

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