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End of line for Churchill Cup

Organisers have confirmed that this season's Churchill Cup will be the last one to be held.

With Canada and the United States, who have played in every Churchill Cup, now included in the International Rugby Board's tournaments and tour schedule, it means they will play home Tests during June against top Test-playing nations from next summer.

The decision to end a Churchill Cup agreement that began with the inaugural competition in 2003 was taken jointly by the Rugby Football Union, USA Rugby and Rugby Canada, in consultation with the IRB.

"The Churchill Cup has provided what we had all hoped for - regular international competition for USA and Canada in a showpiece event, which has been hosted in 17 venues and included 13 participating nations since 2003," said Paul Vaughan, the RFU's business operations director and a Churchill Cup executive member.

"It has also given refereeing and coaching opportunities for all three unions and ultimately strengthened the relationship between us.

"The initial period of the alliance agreement was five years (2002-2007) and it was subsequently renewed on a two-year rolling basis.

"The latest agreement will expire at the end of the current tournament, and it was felt by all parties that Canada and USA should be fully integrated into the existing portfolio of international strategic investment tournaments.

"In addition, the success of playing additional fixtures in Australia and New Zealand in 2010 and the need to support three Test Series, has led to the conclusion that the development and performance of England's elite and potential elite players is best delivered in the future with midweek matches alongside the Test matches.

"We will continue to support USA Rugby and Canada as we much as we can, and wish their teams all the best at Rugby World Cup 2011."


From Belfast Telegraph