The recent announcement in the rugby world, in that next season (2023/24) Premiership Cup will also include, for the first time, Championship clubs, has been a one that excites Nottingham boss, Craig Hammond.
Having led the Archers to a ninth place finish this past season (2022/23), Hammond’s side winning just seven of the twenty-two matches, it’s been tough to say the least; however, they’ve done enough in which to keep themselves out of trouble, their heads above water.
Now though, and with the recent announcement of changes to club personnel over the upcoming summer, some eight players are set to leave the club including that of Carl Kirwan, James Peachey, and Toby Williams.
Although the Jersey Reds claimed an historic, maiden title, following victory over Ampthill, which saw them on finish on 100 points, just two ahead of runners-up, Ealing Trailfinders, however, Ealing are not eligible for promotion.
Only the runners-up, and Doncaster Knights, put themselves forward for assessment, the Knights finishing in sixth place; therefore, and with recent happenings at several, Premiership clubs, throwing relegation-promotion into a quagmire, the news of the two leagues entering the Premiership Cup, is a positive one.
“I think it’s pretty exciting, with opportunities to play against Leicester Tigers and Northampton, Sale, Harlequins, anyone, whether you draw them at home, or away, it’s class,” began Archers Head Coach, Craig Hammond.
“It’s an opportunity to get some big numbers at your ground, and an opportunity for our guys also to go to some of these big grounds and hopefully get a few thousand in supporting them, so that alone has to be a positive.
“It brings the two leagues (Premiership, and Championship) a little bit closer together, and it’ll be really exciting to start the season off really well, and a great challenge.”
During the past season alone, the Premiership has lost that of Worcester Warriors, and Wasps, both of whom have been relegated to the Championship for the season ahead.
There’s some big names in the Premiership as well, clubs like Bath and Harlequins, Leicester Tigers and Newcastle Falcons, Sale Sharks, Saracens, and the newly-crowned Premiership Cup winners, Exeter Chiefs – they topped Pool 1 with four-wins-from-four, before defeating Sale Sharks (who topped Pool 2), 46-3 in the semi-final, then London Irish 24-20 AET in the final, on 19 March.
However, what’s good for the goose is not always good for the gander, or so they say, and, in the case of Championship clubs being added to the Premiership Cup for the season ahead, might not be as welcome an addition for the Premiership sides.
Time will tell though….
“Maybe it’s a different story for the Premiership clubs,” added Hammond, looking ahead.
“But, for every Championship club, people I’ve spoken to about it say it’s a bonus, and a great opportunity.
“It’s certainly something a little bit different to start the season off, and means that the whole league season mimics that of the Premiership, so I think that those two align as well, so, hopefully, going forward, it’s a really good feat for the game.”
“I see all of our players already talking about it, there’s an excitement around it, and we’re only just finishing up this season, now, which is a great thing to have.”
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @NottinghamRugby Craig Hammond says it’s ‘exciting’ to be involved in the Premiership Cup.