Participation has plummeted, finances are dire and the structure of the men’s game below the Premiership is broken

Nothing lasts forever, as numerous proud old English rugby clubs can testify. Orrell, West Hartlepool, Wakefield, Waterloo, Rugby Lions, London Welsh … all of them have been in the top two leagues in the country in the past 25 years before disappearing off the radar when financial reality struck. The downward spiral, once it commences, can be desperately hard to arrest.

Which begs a question: how will English domestic club rugby look 10 or 20 years from now? Here’s a fun piece of trivia for you: a time capsule was buried in Twickenham’s South Stand in 2006-07 containing, among other things, predictions of the future made by Rugby Football Union officials of the day. It is tempting to be flippant – will blazers really be back in fashion by 2042? – but futuristic change could yet arrive sooner than many people imagine.

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Source: Rugby – The Guardian