RRW looks back to the future as new Europe begins

With the opening weekend of the new European rugby competitions approaching, Regional Rugby Wales remembers some memorable wins for the four Welsh regions in Europe.

The Scarlets, Ospreys, Cardiff Blues and Newport Gwent Dragons kick off their campaigns in the newly formatted European Rugby Champions Cup and European Rugby Challenge Cup this weekend with the Blues first up with a big home tie at the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park against French Super 14 side Grenoble on Saturday afternoon (kick off 2.30pm).

To mark a re-birth of the European Rugby competition, the following games have been nominated by the Four Regions as an excellent reminder of some of the great results achieved by the Cardiff Blues, Newport Gwent Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets.

Ospreys 17-12 Leicester Tigers

January 23 2010, Liberty Stadium, Swansea

A Tommy Bowe try and 12 points from the boot of Dan Biggar saw the Ospreys book a place in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals as they knocked out four-time finalists Leicester.

Cardiff Blues 28-21 RC Toulon

May 23 2010, Stade Vélodrome, Marseille

The Blues beat Toulon in the south of France to win the Amlin Challenge Cup and become the first Welsh side to take a European title after a stunning second-half display.

Newport Gwent Dragons 39-27 CA Brive 

March 31 2007, Rodney Parade, Newport

This high scoring win for the Dragons came in the European Challenge Cup quarter final against Brive, who had previously won the Heineken Cup in 1997.

Stade Toulousain 34-41 Scarlets

December 16 2006, Stade Ernest Wallon, Toulouse

Scarlets claimed a famous win in Toulouse, twice coming back from a 21-point deficit as fly-half Stephen Jones superbly marshalled his team and contributed 16 points with the boot.

RRW CEO Mark Davies said:

“The start of the brand new European Rugby Champions Cup and European Rugby Challenge Cup competitions create a fresh new perspective and greater focus for professional regional rugby in Wales; we are looking forward greatly to the opening weekend.

“The new competitions and structures provide a positive way forward for Welsh Regional Rugby and the ability to drive forward commercial revenues of the most significant rugby club competition in the world – with clubs taking a greater stake in growing the value of the professional game, which is so crucial to long-term success.

These stunning victories nominated by the Four Regions really focus the eye on what the Welsh regions and Welsh rugby can achieve in European cup rugby.

He added:

“Good luck to Cardiff Blues, Newport Gwent Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets this weekend and throughout the rest of the competitions. RRW hopes all the regions do their fantastic supporters and the whole of Wales proud in their respective competitions this season.”