New Trophy, Old Champions

The governing body of European rugby, FIRA-AER is about to bring to life the European Club Trophy, a competition that will determine the best teams of each European region and ultimately Europe itself. Central and South-Eastern Europe is already excited by the prospect of a two leg final to crown this season’s Champions. The two teams competing are CEE Energy Cup champions CSM Baia Mare and Nada Split, winners of RRC.

CSM Baia Mare have truly emerged 2 years ago, when they edged the Bucharest teams to become Romanian champions, a special feat by itself, considering the fact that the Romanian national team is the strongest in the region and they have been ever present on the international scene as well. The Baia Mare team joined the biggest international competition of the region, the CEE Energy Cup, and quickly asserted their dominance by storming to final victory in the cup, winning all their matches in the process. In the Autumn of 2010 they added a second Romanian Championship to their trophy haul. The teams also boasts 8 national team players, 3 of which are international stars, Dimofte has already featured for the World Select and Gal and Macovei are also considered top players on the international scene.

Nada Split is a team of similar magnitude. They provide the bulk of the Croatian national team and are perennial regional champions. They have been able to take home the Championship in each of the 3 seasons of the RRC, a league that includes teams from South Eastern Europe. After record last season with 12 teams from 6 countries, RRC started its 4th season with 10 teams from 4 countries. Nada is unbeaten in all official competitions since spring 2006 when hosted Slava Zenit from Moscow, Winner of the Baltic League (21-24). Two tests vs. Baia Mare will be ultimate tests for this generation of players.

The two games will be played on 20th November in Split and on 27th November in Baia Mare and will be broadcast on SportTV in 4 countries, all Central and Eastern European rugby strongholds. Out of the four countries, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania, 3 are members of the CEE Energy Cup, they give at least two teams to the Cup and are dominant forces in rugby in the region. These two unprecedented games will provide the public with a much anticipated “Champions Trophy” that will finally put an end to the speculation on who is the top team in the Central and South-Eastern European region.