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Quinlan: The Rainbow Cup has a serious 'credibility issue'

With the Rainbow Cup set to commence on Friday evening, Alan Quinlan did not hide his frustration...

Quinlan: The Rainbow Cup has a...

Quinlan: The Rainbow Cup has a serious 'credibility issue'

With the Rainbow Cup set to commence on Friday evening, Alan Quinlan did not hide his frustration with how the competition has been structured on OTB AM.

After the South African clubs set to participate in the maiden tournament were forced to pull out earlier this week due to travel restrictions, Alan Quinlan is struggling to see the point of the Rainbow Cup.

Initially sold for its unusual cross-hemisphere appeal, there will now be northern and southern editions of the competition without any real end-point in sight.

"Do you know what frustrates me most about this," he explained on Friday's show, "we have three rounds of fixtures and then where do we go from there?

"There have been three or four days for them to come out with some sort of a structure to say, this is what's going to happen. We've been told that there's going to be six rounds of fixtures and a final, but how does it work?

"Do you randomly pick who you play after the [inter-provincial] matches? There's a credibility issue."

The Rainbow Cup will commence with Connacht visiting Ulster and Zebre travelling to Edinburgh on Friday night. Following that, Irish interest will be drawn toward the clash between Leinster and Munster on Saturday.

Across the following two game-weeks, each Irish province will compete against one another. It remains unclear what will happen thereafter.

"Whoever loses in [the first round] could potentially be out of the running to win it," reasoned Quinlan. "The first games are tonight, so why haven't we got some structure?

"I know the Pro 14 have been blindsided a bit, but we have three [inter-provincial games] and nothing to talk about after that. There's 12 teams [in the northern] competition and three rounds of fixtures! Where to from there? How do you play six fixtures and then a final?"

Highlighting some potential solutions to the structural uncertainty, Quinlan ultimately feels that the Rainbow Cup has lost what excitement there had been surrounding it.

"Of course I'll be looking forward to the derby games for the first three rounds," he admitted, "because there's always an intrigue there from an Irish point of view.

"But where do we go from there? That's what is frustrating me. There should have been an alternative plan that if the South Africans were gone, here's a different structure."

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Alan Quinlan Connacht Irish Rugby Leinster Munster Rainbow Cup Ulster