ERC - Driving European Club Rugby Competition

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Amlin Challenge Cup
Heineken Cup
Cardiff 2014
Statistics
Heineken Cup | The Epic Journey

The Epic Journey

Season Review

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Constanta may not be one of the rugby capitals of the world, but it was in the unlikely surrounds of the Romanian Black Sea resort that one of the greatest initiatives of rugby's professional era kicked-off.

The game between Romanian champions, Farul Constanta, and the French champions, Toulouse, may have been played out in front of only a few thousand people, but it was the first step towards attracting more than 14 million fans over the next 18 years.

What began as an experiment with a mere 12 clubs from five countries soon exploded into the main course of European club rugby, bringing with it new rivalries and new money. Soon the dozen clubs doubled, there were six nations involved, and two tournaments were providing elite competition for the best clubs and players in the northern hemisphere.

Almost two decades on, and the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup represent the highlights of the club season across Europe, providing the players with a stepping stone between their domestic leagues and test rugby while pouring millions of euros into the professional game each year.

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