One of the most competitive rugby union competitions on a domestic level is undoubtedly the Aviva Premiership. This English professional rugby union competition consists of twelve clubs, and is the top division of the English rugby union system.
The Premiership season runs from September through to May and consists of 22 rounds with each club playing each other club both home and away.
This particular rugby competition’s origins can be traced back as far as 1987 when the Courage Leagues were formed.
The Courage Leagues was a league pyramid that featured in excess of a thousand rugby clubs playing in over a hundred leagues. The competition evolved into the current Premiership system but not before the introduction of dramatic changes such as the concept of professionalism forever altered the face of rugby.
The game of rugby was subsequently run as a business and the sponsorship of Division One in 1996 catapulted the league into the limelight. Sponsorship changed hands in 2000 when the Allied Dunbar Premiership was changed to the Zurich Premiership.
Title sponsorships also included Guinness through the years of 2005 up to 2010 when the current title sponsor, Aviva took over.
During Zurich sponsorship more changes were incorporated into the competition, changes such as the development and evolution of the format as well as the introduction of the play-offs and a wildcard.
The current format sees the play-offs following the completion of the regular season with the top four teams progressing to the play-offs. The two teams that finish at the top of the log receive home advantage with the leasers facing the fourth-placed team and the second strongest team facing the third-placed team.
If that wasn’t enough, the Aviva Premiership’s top six teams qualify for the European Rugby Champions Cup. This annual tournament is the top-tier competition open to clubs from the participating Six Nation, namely England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. The club selection is based on the sides’ final positions in their respective leagues that include the Aviva Premiership, the Top 14, as well as the Pro14.
The most prolific teams that have featured in the Premiership over the years with the most title wins include the Leicester Tigers with 10 wins, Bath Rugby with 6 wins, the Wasps also with 6 wins and Saracens with 3 wins to their name.
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