After English and French clubs announced the Rugby Champions Cup it looked as if the Heineken Cup was ready to wilt. But that has now changed after the French Rugby Federation told clubs in the Top 14 that they would not cooperate on player release and would not share television rights unless they came back to the Heineken Cup.

Additionally, the FFR has offered each Top 14 club two million euros to stay in the Heineken Cup. So far nothing has changed either way but rumors persist that some French clubs are leaning toward returning to the Heineken Cup. The Premiership is staying firm meaning that both competitions could be weakened next year if a resolution doesn’t happen.

Ireland 2023?

Ireland are seriously considering making a run for the 2023 World Cup according to Ireland’s sports minister Leo Varadkar. Ireland have hosted World Cup matches in the past but have never hosted the event alone. Enhancing Ireland’s big is the fact that the Gaelic Athletic Association has signed off on the use of their stadiums. According to Varadkar the World Cup would be a good fit because Ireland is too small for other big time events. Others to be considering a bid include South Africa and France. Argentina and the United States have also been rumored to be thinking about entering the bidding.

Barbarians Named

The Barbarians have named their team to face Fiji. The match is in celebration of the Fijian Rugby Union’s 100th anniversary. Eight All Blacks have been chosen along with eight Springboks. New Zealand coach Steve Hansen will lead the team. Five Argentines will also be playing along with Gavin Williams from Samoa. TJ Perenara is the lone uncapped player. The two sides will play at Twickenham on November 30th.

O’Connor & Evans

James O’Connor will be extending his stay at London Irish if the club gets their wish. O’Connor joined the club in October after being driven out of Australian rugby. So far he’s done well and the Exiles would like to keep him around for longer. However, Toulon have had their eye on O’Connor and he’s been spotted in France. If he chooses to go to Toulon we’ll be teammates with Ian Evans, who is the latest Welsh player to sign in France.

Eagles Training In London

Fresh off their victory over Georgia the Eagles have been busy training in London at Ealing’s home ground. The win over Georgia was the first in 2013 for the U.S. with a very winnable match against Russia to come. That match will take place at Saracens’s home ground Allianz Park, which is also the home ground of Eagles star Chris Wyles. Young prop Titi Lamositele could also soon join the club if he earns a start on Saturday.

Curtis Reed is the founder and editor of This Is American Rugby. He can be found on Twitter @ThisIsAmerRugby, on Facebook, and at www.thisisamericanrugby.com.