Gregor Townsend has blasted critics of the Guinness Pro12
The Scot insists the league is of superior quality to both the Premiership and Top14
Townsend is confident playing standards will continue to rise
Gregor Townsend has blasted critics of the Guinness Pro12 and insists the league is of superior quality to both the Premiership and Top14.
He told The Rugby Paper: “We’re competing all the time with other sports and competitions to attract supporters, but the league itself has come on leaps and bounds.
“My last Borders game was in 2007. The league wasn’t great and crowds weren’t good but progress over the last four or five years has been fantastic.
“Ulster are selling out a big, refurbished stadium; Munster moved into a bigger stadium; Leinster are redeveloping theirs; and you’ve seen the rise of Connacht and Glasgow. Both are developing their grounds and selling out.
“Supporters are backing it and having a big sponsor like Guinness for another four years is another great indicator that they’re happy with the progress.
“But probably the most important thing is the product. Some of the Pro12 rugby last season was brilliant – and I watch a lot!
“I watch Top14 and Aviva Premiership and in terms of quality and ambition, I believe the Pro12 surpasses them. You saw that with Connacht last year in how they played, where it was aggressive defence but really playing to space, and it was a brilliant final against Leinster in front of a huge crowd.
“We know we’re a relatively new league and it’s only six years since the Italians joined, but I think the improvement is showing every year and there’ll be a lot more to come.”