Moseley captain Gareth Taylor has questioned the Rugby Football Union’s plans to create a 12-team Championship next season.
The experienced scrum half, whose side lost its third match in a month of inclement weather when their clash with Otley was called off last Saturday, believes the initiative is both ill-conceived and rushed and fears relegation this season might endanger the future of some clubs.
As things stand five teams will drop out of the First Division at the end of the current campaign and with just one coming up from National Two – potentially Birmingham & Solihull – Moseley could be guaranteed just 11 home matches next term.
That will depend on whether agreement can be reached with the Welsh Premiership about an Anglo-Welsh cup competition but more worrying is the governing body’s insistence the dozen who do make it into the Championship will have to be fully professional.
Unless the RFU funds that transition appropriately or allows it to be phased in over several years, that could leave Moseley facing a difficult choice of going full-time or missing out altogether.
While the tone emanating from Twickenham suggests the latter will not be forced on anyone, there is sufficient doubt about the future to concern Taylor who also has a teaching career.
“It’s difficult to shoehorn full-time professionalism on to a club that’s not ready,” he said. “That’s why it might be a year early and why they have perhaps not given it the thought they should have done.
“I think it’s still a league where part-time and full-time players can play. You do need that experience, it’s not just a full-time division. There are quite a number of part-time teams playing good rugby and still pushing teams like Exeter and Leeds most of the way.”
Indeed Taylor not only wonders why the proposals are being forced through at breakneck speed but is also worried by the consequences.
“When you limit that to 12 full-time teams I think you will see some go under and some really struggle within that first year,” he said.
“The teams that go down out of this division now where are the funds going to come from? It’s going to be very difficult for them.”
About the only consolation in a reduction of league matches would be the avoidance of the sort of fixture congestion now facing Taylor’s men.
Mose had to trek all the way to Otley at the weekend only for their suspicions the pitch would not be playable to be confirmed just 45 minutes before kick-off.
That leaves them with a third game – they must also reschedule their match at London Welsh and home one against Exeter – to fit into a packed fixture list with progress in the EDF Energy National Trophy almost undesirable.
Coventry have the same number to make up – a frozen pitch cost them their home encounter with Sedgley Park at the weekend – while Bees, without a game since December 20, must find a time to play Cambridge and Mounts Bay.
Stourbridge also had to cancel their appointment with Blaydon.