Extra Championship game could return, says Plymouth chairman

By Brent PilnickBBC Sport
Plymouth Albion beat Jersey in their extra game at Exeter's Sandy Park last year
Plymouth Albion beat Jersey 41-27 in their extra game in Exeter last season

Plymouth Albion chairman Graham Stirling says a 23rd game in the Championship could make a comeback.

The extra match has been scrapped for this season after being introduced at the start of the 2013-14 campaign.

The 12 teams in English rugby's second tier were split into three groups and played double-headed fixtures at a neutral venue to start last season.

"It's not been ruled out for following seasons if we can get the right format that suits everyone," Stirling said.

Albion played Jersey at Exeter's Sandy Park alongside Bristol and the Cornish Pirates, and Stirling felt that a number of clubs made a loss on the fixture.

"We broke even, but we were one of the few clubs that broke even. In fact, a number of clubs lost money," Stirling told BBC Sport.

"I imagine it was a loss-maker for most of the clubs, certainly those who had any travelling or overnight accommodation.

"We were just up the road so it was very convenient for us and Sandy Park had the best gate of all the venues for the double-headers."

Rugby League has its annual Magic Weekend where an entire round of the Super League fixtures are played at one venue, most recently at Manchester City's Etihad Stadium.

"It doesn't work the way it was done," Stirling said.

"But if we can find the right weekend it could work, maybe at Twickenham or another high-profile venue where we can make it a real weekend spectacle and really drum up the interest.

"I'm sure there is a format that could make it work and would serve as a real good season start."