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McCafferty working towards WCC

Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty has revealed a world club championship could be introduced within the next five years.

McCafferty has long championed the idea of pitching the best from the European club game against the champions from the Southern Hemisphere.

He said: "The national championship is something to treasure and Europe is very successful. Ideally we would like to bolt on top of that an international club event, something that answers the question 'who is top dog'?"

He added: "Is it the Crusaders? Is it the Bulls? Is it Toulouse, Leinster or Saracens? That would be such a compelling event that sooner or later it will have to happen because people would love to see it.

"Club rugby at its best now is every bit as entertaining and enthralling, if not more so, than international rugby. Season structure is the biggest issue. We have had plenty of indications from our partners and from a TV point of view it would work.

"It won't happen before 2015, before the World Cup. There is a possibility it might happen after 2015. It is a matter of the stars coming into alignment to make something possible."

While England and the Rugby Football Union have endured a turbulent last 12 months, the club game is in rude health. The 2000th Aviva Premiership fixture will be played on Sunday, when Saracens tackle Bath.

Attendances since the World Cup are up 7% on last year and Harlequins sold a world-record 82,000 tickets for their Premiership game against Saracens on December 27.

McCafferty joined the organisation in 2005 and is proud of how far the club game has developed since the Premiership made its debut in 1997.

"In 15 years, professional club rugby has come an awful long way from the early days when people doubted whether it had any sort of future at all," McCafferty said. "We do genuinely feel club rugby is where there is phenomenal potential growth over the next 10-15 years."

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