16 de octubre de 2007


The English Premiership (known as the Guinness Premiership because of the league's sponsorship by Guinness) is a professional league competition for rugby union football clubs in the top division of the English rugby system. There are, at present, twelve clubs in the Premiership. The competition has been played since 1987, and has evolved into the current Premiership system employing relegation to and promotion from the National Division One competition. Clubs competing in the Guinness Premiership qualify for Europe's two club competitions, the Heineken Cup and the European Challenge Cup. The current champions are the London Wasps.

Beginnings : English Domestic Rugby until 1972

The governing body of rugby union in England, Rugby Football Union (RFU), long resisted leagues as it was believed that leagues would increase 'dirty' play and put pressure on clubs to pay their players (thus breaking the amateur ethos). Instead, clubs arranged their own friendlies and had traditional games. The only organised tournaments were the County Cups and County Championship — the former played by clubs and the latter by County representative teams. The Daily Telegraph and a few local newspapers — such as the Yorkshire Post — compiled 'pennants' based on teams' performances, but as the strength of fixture lists varied, it was at best an estimate of a team's performance throughout a season.

Cups and Leagues : 1972 - 1995

In 1972 the RFU sanctioned a national knock-out cup now known as the EDF Energy Cup followed first by regional merit tables and then, in the mid 1980s, by national merit tables. One of the casualties of the move to competitive leagues was the loss of traditional games as the new fixture lists did not allow enough time for them.

The league system has evolved since its start in 1987 when the Courage Leagues were formed - a league pyramid with 1000 clubs playing in 108 leagues each with promotion and relegation.

In the first season, clubs were expected to arrange the fixtures on mutually convenient dates. That first season was an unqualified success, with clubs in the upper echelons of the national leagues reporting increased crowds, interest from both local backers and national companies as well as higher skill levels among players exposed to regular competition. The fears that leagues would lead to greater violence on the field proved largely unfounded.

By the next season, the RFU allocated fixed Saturdays to the league season, removing the clubs' responsibility for scheduling matches. There was no home and away structure to the leagues in those early seasons, as sides played one another only once.

Initially two teams, Bath and Leicester, proved to be head and shoulders above the rest in the Courage League, and between them dominated the top of the table.

In 1994 the league structure expanded to include a full rota of home and away matches for the first time. The 1994/1995 season was the first to be shown live on Sky Sports, a relationship which continues to this day.


Courage League

1987–88 Leicester Tigers
1988–89 Bath
1989–90 Wasps FC
1990–91 Bath
1991–92 Bath
1992–93 Bath
1993–94 Bath
1994–95 Leicester Tigers
1995–96 Bath
1996–97 Wasps RFC

Allied Dunbar Premiership

1997–98 Newcastle Falcons
1998–99 Leicester Tigers
1999–00 Leicester Tigers

Zurich Premiership

2000–01 Leicester Tigers
2001–02 Gloucester
2002–03 London Wasps
2003–04 London Wasps
2004–05 London Wasps

Guinness Premiership

2005–06 Sale Sharks
2006–07 Leicester Tigers
2007–08 London Wasps
2008-09 Leicester Tigers

Fuente: www.wikipedia.org