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Club rugby’s inability to sell itself calls for planning and innovation | Robert Kitson

Staging the Champions Cup final in Bilbao showed the benefit of taking a risk or two instead of clinging to the tried and tested

The word final is a relative term in rugby. Leinster’s European Champions Cup victory in Bilbao should logically have represented a high-profile full stop but for many it is not yet the end of the season – far from it. The Premiership and Pro14 have yet to play their semi-finals, the Top 14 final in France is not until 2 June and this summer’s hectic international tour schedule would cause even a travel agent’s head to spin.

Talk to the Champions Cup organisers and they freely admit they would prefer their tournament to mirror football’s Champions League final: a natural conclusion to the season for every club in Europe. As things stand Leinster have just won the ultimate prize but, as with Saracens last year, now have to prove themselves all over again. It is a bit like hosting a royal wedding and then arranging the stag night on the subsequent weekend.

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