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Club Champions Match Between Chiefs and Toulon Cancelled

HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 03: Craig Clarke and Liam Messam of the Chiefs celebrate with the trophy after winning the Super Rugby Final match between the Chiefs and the Brumbies at Waikato Stadium on August 3, 2013 in Hamilton, New Zealand.  (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
Hannah Johnston/Getty Images
Jeff CheshireAnalyst IIDecember 13, 2013

The proposed match to pit the Super Rugby-winning Chiefs up against Heineken Cup champions Toulon will not go ahead, according to New Zealand's 3 News. It was always something of a long shot, as Chiefs CEO Andrew Flexman had claimed the match was only to happen if the Chiefs could take a fulll-strength squad, which was not possible.

While many fans would have no doubt loved to see the champion club sides from the two hemispheres going up against each other, in reality the game would have been far less than it seemed.

For starters, it would have been a pre-season game for the Chiefs, meaning their players would be underdone and still be developing combinations. It is also not the same team as the one from last year, which can be said about Toulon too, which means it is not really a case of champion vs. champion.

And at the end of the day, there is only so much you take from a pre-season match. You see it all the time in rugby league, where the NRL champion takes on the Super League champion. The match always acts as a pre-season game for the NRL team, and consequently they are not match fit, look a touch slow and, having not gelled to the extent they will after a few more games, normally lose.

There was also the question of where the game would be played. Clearly the team playing away from home would have been at a major disadvantage, and as we have seen in recent years in Super Rugby, that could have been enough to determine the outcome of a game.

Ultimately though, it comes down to the question of whether it really means anything. Toulon were 2013's best team in Europe, and the Chiefs were 2013's best team in Super Rugby. Is it really necessary to go any further than that?

There has been all sorts of talk regarding expansion of the competitions and looking to include more of the world, as 3 News reported. But a lot of it is unnecessary, as at the end of the day, this is not a world championship. Keep international matches for special occasions; that way they mean more.

Regardless of all of this, it is not happening, not this year at least, and maybe that is the right decision.

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