Former Clermont and France scrumhalf Morgan Parra has come out strongly in his criticism of the South Africa provincial sides joining next seasons Champions and Challenge Cups.
Although neither tournament have been officially the European Cup, the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup have historically been European Rugby’s top club competitions.
From next season the Bulls, Cheetahs, Lions, Sharks and Stormers will be entering the fray, following their inaugural season in the United Rugby Championship.
Parra made his feelings known that he did not believe their addition was a positive for the tournaments as a whole.
“Before, it was the European Cup – with real meaning and history, too. I have nothing against the Southern Hemisphere but today it is no longer the European Cup.” Parra said.
Despite his reservations the former petit general did acknowledge the South African players ability.
“I’m going to be honest: it’s a great experience for the players who are going to face these franchises but for me, it’s no longer called the Champions Cup,” Parra said, translated from French.
Parra then finished off by doubling down on the fact that tournament is no longer about who is the best team in Europe.
“Let it be called something else and say that the European Cup no longer exists. And it’s the same for the Challenge Cup, it no longer exists. For me, the two competitions should not be played with South African clubs.”