You may think that English rugby fans have very few reasons to envy their football counterparts outside of the astronomical TV rights deals that have fueled the growth of the Premier League- but the weekend before last highlighted one other trump card their rival code possesses.
The FA Cup served up the kind of drama and fairytale scorelines that rugby union can only dream of with League One Bradford City sending Premier League leaders Chelsea packing, Championship side Middlesbrough man-handling Manchester City out of the competition and League Two outfit Cambridge United holding their own against the might of Manchester United.
English rugby has been without a national cup competition since the demise of the Powergen Cup,with the Premiership clubs now restricted to the Anglo-Welsh Cup alongside the Welsh regions. And you would be hard put to find much coverage of that outside the dedicated rugby press!
The demands of the rugby calendar may make the resurrection of such a competition unlikely without a major overhaul of the season but the “magic of the Cup” and the chance for the grassroots clubs to dream-and make some real money-could inject fresh impetus into efforts to grow every aspect of the game