Alan Quinlan questions ‘credibility’ of Rainbow Cup’s new structure

The new structure of the Rainbow Cup has a serious “credibility issue”, according to former Munster flanker Alan Quinlan.

The Pro14 announced that the Rainbow Cup would be split into two separate competitions, as the South African sides weren’t given any assurances that they would be able to travel to Europe without having to quarantine.

Quinlan was speaking on OTB AM and questioned how the fixtures after the initial three rounds of derbies would be decided after it was announced the South African sides would not play the existing Pro14 teams.

“Do you know what frustrates me most about this? We have three rounds of fixtures and then where do we go from there?” Quinlan asked.

“There have been three or four days for them to come out with some sort of a structure to say, this is what’s going to happen. We’ve been told that there’s going to be six rounds of fixtures and a final, but how does it work?

“Do you randomly pick who you play after the [inter-provincial] matches? There’s a credibility issue.”

‘There should have been an alternative plan.’

The first round of the Rainbow Cup kicks off this weekend, with a repeat of last month’s Pro14 final between Leinster and Munster taking place at the RDS Arena on Saturday evening.

Munster have named a full-strength side for the game, while Leinster have named a largely second-string side, with the exception of Garry Ringrose and Caelan Doris who have both returned from injury.

While the prospect of three rounds of Irish inter-provincial derbies does interest Quinlan, the former Ireland international bemoaned the lack of a back-up plan in regards to the South African teams pulling out.

“Of course I’ll be looking forward to the derby games for the first three rounds, because there’s always an intrigue there from an Irish point of view,” Quinlan said.

“But where do we go from there? That’s what is frustrating me. There should have been an alternative plan that if the South Africans were gone, here’s a different structure.”

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