Premiership rugby is England’s top rugby competition.

It followed a knock-out competition for the RFU Cup which was first established in 1972 before the Anglo-Welsh Cup followed.

After that came regional competitions with merit tables, followed by national club competitions in the mid-1980s.

The late start to competition rugby was the result of the English rugby administrators’ wariness that a league system would increase dirty play.

Before that the clubs played on a basis of traditional friendlies while there was also a competition between the counties.

The top 12 clubs in England now play English Premiership Rugby with a promotion and relegation system in place for the annual competition.
The league system for an estimated 1 000 clubs in 108 leagues was formed.

The competitions at various tiers were played on mutually acceptable dates to the clubs, but in 1988 the RFU allocated weekends to the clubs for competition purposes for the single round fixtures.

A double round was implemented in 1994. Clubs in the Premiership qualify to play in the European Championship Cup, the top European rugby competition.

Leicestershire Tigers have won the competition 10 times, followed by Saracens (5), Exeter Chiefs (2), and Newcastle Falcons, Sale Sharks, Harlequins and Northampton Saints have one title each.

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