RFU Championship to Receive Major Play-Off Changes from Next Season

The play-off system in the Rugby Football Union (RFU) Championship is set to be revamped from next season.

The Championship promotion and relegation pool stages have been abolished by the RFU. From next season the top four teams in the second tier will play a two-legged semi-final and a two-legged final.

There will be no relegation play-offs at all, with the bottom team automatically demoted to National One.The system is intended to streamline the league and reward the best teams throughout the regular season.

Since its inception in 2009, the Championship’s top eight clubs were split into two pool groups, while the bottom four clubs formed a separate relegation play-off.This format was adopted to increase revenue, as every club would end up playing an extra two home ties after the regular season had finished, and it is thought that these additional games will now be filtered into the British and Irish Cup fixtures.

The current system has received widespread criticism, especially from the best performing clubs, as their push for promotion was based on their performances after 22 rounds had concluded.

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