The Bears to replace the London Irish in the Champions Cup
European Professional Club Rugby has officially confirmed that Bristol, fondly known as ‘The Bears,’ will fill up London Irish’s spot in next season’s Champions Cup. The latter team was suspended from the Premiership due to financial problems and won’t be allowed to compete in any league next season.
Bristol finished ninth on the Premiership table and were not qualified for tournament play. However, they now have a chance at glory after being given this opportunity following their impressive performance last year.
London Irish missed an important deadline which led them into trouble with EPCR. They failed to pay players and staff or complete a takeover which resulted in their suspension from all sorts of competitions, including Europe’s top club competition.
The west London-based club is owned by Mick Crossan and backed by a US consortium who couldn’t reach an agreement. As such, they’ve filed for administration leading to crucial changes ahead of the new season.