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Page last updated at 06:51 GMT, Friday, 11 April 2008 07:51 UK

Magners set to bring in play-offs

Magners League

The Magners League is expected to bring in end-of-season play-offs to determine its champion.

The format, mirroring the successful Guinness Premiership model, is set to be introduced in the 2009/10 season.

The top four clubs at the end of the regular campaign are expected to enter into semi-finals and a final to determine the overall champion.

"It'll maintain interest in the league through to the end of the year," said league chief executive David Jordan.

606: DEBATE

"We will avoid situations like this year where Leinster are so far in front that the last few weeks of the season could all be dead-rubber fixtures.

"Some will say that the league is won over the long distances not the short yards, but we need to create stimulation in the tournament and this is the best way to achieve that."

The catalyst for the reorganisation of the league is the EDF Energy Cup, as the current format of that Anglo-Welsh competition ends in 2009.

"At the moment the Welsh regions are in the EDF," Jordan told BBC Wales' Scrum V on the Radio programme.

If you look at Super League and the Guinness Premiership, crowds at their play-off games are growing and growing and growing

Scarlets director of rugby Phil Davies

"That agreement ends in 2008/9 and after that there is a real opportunity to bring in the play-offs.

"I can't say it will definitely happen because we have to agree a policy for the format, but there is a genuine willingness and enthusiasm to build towards that as teams right down the league will still have something to play for."

The play-off idea was welcomed by Llanelli Scarlets director of rugby Phil Davies.

"I've always said that the Magners League is a fantastic tournament, but we must look at how we can make it more sexy and competitive," the ex-Leeds Tykes director of rugby told BBC Sport Wales.

"If you look at [rugby league's] Super League and the Guinness Premiership, crowds at their play-off games are growing and growing and growing."

Jordan says that there will be further benefits from the change in format.

"One advantage is that we will be able to structure our league programme for weekends when - by and large - all the international players will be available," he said.

"We will have hugely competitive games week-in, week-out, helping to build the rhythm to the tournament, home and away.

"We are looking to build competitiveness and high standards throughout."




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see also
BBC Sport Wales coverage
07 Aug 07 |  Wales
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14 Aug 07 |  Scrum V Extras


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