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Championship points and Nations Cup triumph

27 August 2009

August 27, 2009

Rob Andrew believes rugby's new Championship will add a vibrant level of competition to the game in England.

The RFU's Elite Rugby Director led Newcastle Falcons out of the old second division to the summit of the game in the 1990s.

And he tells this week's rfu.com podcast that the new 12-team tournament - which climaxes in promotion play-offs and a Twickenham final - will reward the ambition of everyone involved.

"It's all about ambition," said Andrew. "Ambition for clubs who want to get to the Premiership, ambition for players and coaches to come through the system and ultimately for referees to come through the system.

"You've got to give ambition at every level otherwise the game gets stifled."

The RFU's Tournaments and Competitions Director Terry Burwell explains how the new structure will add a new sense of purpose to the game below the top flight and we hear from coaches and players who will be fighting for the prize over the next nine months.

Mike Rayer (Bedford Blues) and Russell Earnshaw (Birmingham Solihull) emphasise the opportunities for players and coaches, while captains Roy Winters (Bristol), Nathan Bonner Evans (London Welsh) and Michael Whitehead (Rotherham Titans) look forward to the new season

Captain Catherine Spencer reports on the England Women's team's triumph in the Nations Cup in Toronto, where they completed a clean sweep of victories against the USA, France, South Africa and Canada.

They're next in action at Esher against New Zealand on November 14 and meet them at Twickenham in the Investec Challenge Double Header on November 21.

"It was a great tour for us and fantastic preparation for us leading up to New Zealand later this year and the World Cup next year. We've enjoyed some really good games against quality opposition," said Spencer.

For the full interviews, check out today's rfu.com podcast. Here you can listen to the weekly podcast or subscribe to itunes and have it delivered straight to your inbox each week.

The rfu.com podcast takes you inside English rugby from the grassroots to the elite.