The whole concept of the Magners League is actually a questionable one.
Today we have four Irish provinces, four Welsh regions, (created when various clubs were forced to merge by the WRU) and two Scottish “super-clubs’ in Edinburgh and Glasgow (which were artificially created purely for the ML and have no history or club loyalty). And now we have two Italian sides to be artificially created.
This artificial structure does not allow for relegation (and promotion). There is no place for relegated clubs to go in their domestic environments and the arrival of two Italian regions will simply consolidate that fact, leading perhaps to an element of stagnation. I see once extremely successful club sides that are now struggling to recruit players, and club loyalty giving way to a very few individuals selling themselves to the highest bidder.
Will crowds turn out to watch the Ospreys play Treviso? Will Connacht attract large crowds in Italy?
How does this benefit Italian rugby? Will Italian youth see a way forward in rugby with a structure that does little, if anything, to show them a path to the higher levels? Will supporters magically be created for teams with which they have no empathy ?
Or are the Rugby Unions selling their heritage (and future) for 30 pieces of silver?