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Where to for Super Rugby?

Discussion in 'Rugby Discussion' started by Quick Hands, Mar 5, 2017.

  1. Quick Hands Rod McCall (65)

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    After 2 weeks of the 2017 super rugby season, is it time for a major revamp?

    It seems clear that for Foxtel and similar pay TV operators, the super rugby provides multiple hours of content each weekend. (Yesterday's marathon went for something like 17 hours of rugby).

    Rugby authorities also benefit for the money obtained from broadcast rights.

    Can rugby and the SANZAAR partners do better and still maintain the attraction for TV?

    A quick analysis reveals that NZ teams are going from strength to strength. It could be argued that rugby in NZ would go from strength to strength regardless of the model implemented by SANZAAR.

    I think that it is widely agreed that the current Super 18 model is flawed on so many levels; the draw is confusing, the conferences unbalanced, the finals system is incomprehensible. Crowds in South Africa are down (Ellis Park looked almost empty yesterday on a fine sunny afternoon in what was a pretty good game). Crowds in Australia are down. Playing standard in both Australia and South Africa is well below that of the NZ teams - surely not a healthy situation for any of the SANZAAR partners, including NZ?

    One of the things that we often hear from NZ officials that they want more games against SA teams, yet the current structure has reduced this to an almost negligible level. No NZ and SA teams play each other in the first 5 weeks, in weeks 6-9 there is one match per week NZ v SA, in weeks 10-13 there are two NZ v SA matches and in weeks 14-17 no NZ v SA matches. In fact we know for example that the Sharks don't play an NZ team at all in the competition.

    South Africa say that they don't want too many local derbies as it would just be the same as the Currie Cup, yet the current structure of two Africa conferences gives them more games against each other.

    Australia want more local derbies, but this system gives us less.

    And on it goes.

    From an Australian perspective, our super rugby teams need to be at home or on TV in the same time zone as often as possible. How can this be achieved?

    Some options:

    2 x conferences of 10 playing home and away - one conference Aust/NZ the other Africa/Asia/Americas, finals top four in each conference

    3 x conferences of 6 - home and away within your conference and a set number of out of conference games - one conference Africa (they want 6 teams), one Aust/Japan and one NZ/Arg, finals top two from each conference

    No doubt other options are just as valid, but if we want to really spread the game in Australia we need to have a competition which is accessible on a weekly basis to the fans and has an easily understood structure..
  2. No4918 John Hipwell (52)

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    So many options.

    I have two points that are must have and am assuming conferences will be similar format and likely reduced teams.

    1. Each team in a conference to play each other home and away.
    2. Each team to play every other side. Didn't know Sharks don't play an NZ side. How is that possible? Completely ridiculous.

    Wishful thinking.
    3. More content on FTA or via digital streaming.
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  3. The torpedo Dick Tooth (41)

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    IMO your second option sounds better. I would propose playing 2 of 6 teams in the opposite conferences (1 home, 1 away). The schedule would work out to this (for AUS/JPN teams):

    12 intra-conference matches

    2 matches vs NZ/ARG conf.

    2 matches vs SA conf.

    16 games, 5 finals games using the 2011-2015 finals structure
  4. Rugbynutter39 Chilla Wilson (44)

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    I
    Yes I agree the izzy experiment should be over at 13 and whilst was initially supportive come to realise he is best at the back with open spa
    Current format needs changing but if whatever option involves less oz teams I won't support it.

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  5. Strewthcobber Peter Johnson (47)

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    I've watched 4 games so far this year, the skill level in all 4 games has been rubbish, and they have just not been entertaining.

    All the talk around competition structure is pretty much irrelevant as long as the games continue to be as ordinary as they are now, and have been for too long.

    There's issues with weather, humidity etc etc but really the causes don't matter, too many boring games and too much time taken out of each game.

    Crowds and TV audiences are proof alone of this problem, if any is required
    chibimatty, Rugbynutter39 and Gnostic like this.
  6. TOCC Jason Little (69)

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    Burn it
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  7. Gnostic Paul McLean (56)

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    I have to agree with MR Cobber. The Brumbies played well for about 20 minutes. The Reds and Force struggled to find a Rugby game, The Rebels were not even amateur club Rugby standard and the Tahs little better than that. The Australian Conference is a joke and a very very poor one. I have watched most games played in a decent time slot and a few on replay and the Australian teams have struck me as slow, lacking intensity and most especially fundamental skills.

    I have maintained my Fox subscription since the 90s for the sole purpose of watching Rugby, and mainly the Super competition. The ridiculous format adopted recently made me question that ongoing cost especially since the kids now watch everything they want via streaming services.

    I think the total lack of quality AND importantly improvement in Australian sides may well be the last straw for me. Our sides were just as shit last year and all the usual "disappointment, sticking to our plan, gutted, sorry for the fans they deserve better...." etc etc etc was trotted out then as well as it has with increasing frequency. Why should I continue to sacrifice other discretionary spend items to watch "professionals" who obviously don't give a shit about improving their base skill levels since they have obviously achieved their goals at selection, and that includes the coaches.
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  8. TOCC Jason Little (69)

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    I think there would only be a few who fit that description in Australian Rugby, simply blaming the players efforts ignores many other factors.
  9. Omar Comin' Dick Tooth (41)

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    It seems most of us agree that the best thing for rugby in Australia would be a Trans-Tasman or Asia-Pacific tournament that links up with South Africa and South America only for a few weeks at the end, in either a separate cup tournament involving everyone, or a champions league for the best 8 or 12 teams plus a challenge cup for the rest.

    But if the NZRU aren't willing to do this what is our plan B? Would it be better to downsize to 4 teams and stay in a full length multi-continental super rugby, or go off on our own outside of test rugby? And if the latter what is possible?

    Could Australian rugby prosper with a new home and away tournament featuring say our 5 existing teams, a 6th in Western Sydney (the Rams?), a Fijian team and the Sunwolves? Our 6 teams could be allowed to sign up to approx 25% international players. Is this a workable plan B? If not then what is? Because we need one.
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  10. Rugbynutter39 Chilla Wilson (44)

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    Nz and SA are not as reliant on super rugby as we are for any professional opportunities with domestic competitions.

    We go down to 4 professional rugby sides without a plan b I may as well cut my Fox sports subscription and forget any interest in watching professional rugby as it won't get better as will destroy grassroots. As what brainless fuckwit can't understand growing grassroots is not about limiting professional opportunities.

    We be pasties to super rugby as the only thing that matters and go back 4 professional teams with nothing else I am abandoning supporting professional rugby in oz as will only be supporting a sport in terminal decline.

    Men's Oz sevens team done well in las Vegas so.maybe just enjoy a bit of sevens.



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  11. WorkingClassRugger John Hipwell (52)

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    I think it would be fairly ballsy for us to up and decide to realign ourselves with Asia. Not saying I don't like the general idea of it in fact if there was the money available I be all for it. I tend to believe Asia is a huge potential market for Rugby and any organisation brave enough to make the jump on a larger scale.

    It just would be incredibly ballsy but I think it would be an interesting exercise.

    I'd go with the current 5 and look to link up with Japan for at least another couple to bring it to 8. From their look to involve Hong Kong and talk to Alisports about their plans. If you could manage a 10 team Asia-Pacific league that was worthwhile I'd say pull the trigger.
  12. Rugbynutter39 Chilla Wilson (44)

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    In simple terms being pitched against a country like nz who have rugby ingrained at birth and have rugby as national sport by country mile means how can we compete in this sort of super rugby competition. Hence a conference system which sees conferences only play in finals seems better suited. Hence like to see conference structure that better supports where we are playing against competition that reflects where we are with opportunity to step up for top teams in finals format.

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  13. RedsHappy John Hipwell (52)

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    The issue of 'too many S18 Aus teams', 'S18 model broken', 'we have too few players for 5 Super teams' etc etc are all red herrings that detract from the real heart of the Australian rugby problem(s) as we helplessly watch this wonderful code slowly but surely die here.

    The core issues for Australian rugby are these:

    (a) the chief supervisory body within Australia - the ARU - has for a decade or more demonstrated low to zero competence in designing and managing an institutional system that adequately develops both the core skills of Australian rugby players and the type of coaching depth at all levels essential to building such skills and coaching effective rugby team management practices.

    Our problem is not one of volume and player numbers and shuffling the Super comp around. Our problem relates to adequate coaching depth and breadth and the institutional ability to build genuine excellence in even a much smaller number of Super or equivalent teams. Clearly we are not able to attain this end even where we have a developmental player base of reasonable size in Sydney and Brisbane- both the 2017 Reds and Tahs are almost as lamentable in fundamental skills and genuine team excellence as are the Rebels, Force and Brumbies where the core cluster of player numbers and grass roots platforms is way less.

    Then we face on top a new Darwinian reality smashing us in the face. As we inexorably degrade to new lows of base rugby skill and aptitude, NZ has in parallel totally and utterly raced ahead of Australian rugby in every core element of the game's required attributes and the gap has very likely become an un-breachable chasm affecting the entire rugby system competitiveness between our two countries, not just at the AB level.

    Our ARU and State RU's D grade managerial outcomes are in marked contrast to the NZRU's which exists as an exemplar organisation displaying how to design and execute a total rugby developmental system that enhances deep quality in its players and teams.

    We have learnt nothing from the NZRU as we have no motivation in our elite ranks for genuine change and institutional reform, period - see why in (b) below.

    People rabbit on about player depth etc in NZ as some kind of assuaging cop-out but that is not the key: the key is they manage the code and its systemic foundations as a whole far, far better than Australia does. (Like one dying business competitor Nokia (as once it was) as Apple makes them eat dust and gets further and further ahead.)

    (b) Very few persons in elite positions within Australian rugby are (i) objectively competent and chosen on a rigorous, independent, merit-based system and form of conduct and (ii) ever held genuinely accountable for anything in their charge despite often appalling performance and governance outcomes. This is a profound reflection of a set of historical practices deep within the bowels of Australian rugby dominated by self-centred networking, nepotism, insularity and then relentless self- and crony-based protectionism in relation to objective performance standards and stakeholder expectations.

    Sports codes with a degree of base line athletic and school-driven talent and the exploitation of glories past can survive for a period with poor institutional governance.

    But ultimately that elemental survival is not enough, the laws of Darwinian competition take charge and the institutional toxicity, negligence and incompetence renders itself more and more visibly with more and more disastrous consequences.

    At that tipping point, and the fix for it, the only remedy is not tinkering and mild alterations, radical change in leadership and core structures is the only way out followed by deep cultural and institutional reform at all levels.

    Reducing our core to 4 or even 3 Super teams will answer, on its own, nothing.
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  14. Slim 293 Tim Horan (67)

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    The funny thing is that since we've had 5 teams in the competition there's been 2 Australian Super Rugby champions (Reds 2011, Tahs 2014), runners up (Brumbies 2013), and two teams make the final four (Tahs and Brumbies 2014 & 2015)... the most success Australian teams have seen since the Brumbies of the early 2000's.

    There's no doubt we're currently in a rut, and the current Soup format is a massive clusterfuck... but I don't think that reducing teams is going to be the best long term option.
  15. Slim 293 Tim Horan (67)

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    I think it's also important to note that things were looking up a few years ago in a period when we had Link, Jake White (and Laurie Fisher) and Cheika coaching in Super Rugby.
  16. Rugbynutter39 Chilla Wilson (44)

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    Best post I have ever read on this subject. Way better than my own knowledge and intellect has summed up the problems and challenges. In fairness I understand many at top understand these challenges and constraints and trying to address them but enacting change on political landscape that is Australian rugby far from easy and tough work. Thanks for your post.


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  17. NTT Banned

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    You really are a [deleted - Ed - no more please] if you think a semi amateur club side would have done better vs the Hurricanes. The naivety of your argument is understandable though seeing as you are a believer that the Earth revolves around Sydney.
    So, Australia had a dominant period on the international stage from the late 90s to the early 200s, my question would be what was done to consolidate Australian rugbys pathways to ensure that dominance would continue into the future during that period?
    New Zealand revamped their whole national setup during this time and are rightfully reaping the rewards. What was the ARU (whilst under majority NSW influence) doing?
    They were standing back patting each other on the back and investing their money poorly, not at moment did they map out a blueprint for future success. They expected it to continue, much like our government and the mining boom. The 2003 world cup money was completely wasted propping up and paying Sydney clubs to poach each others players, or pissing it up against the wall to put it more eloquently. There was no blueprint, no forward planning and no refinement and development of our future pathways. Where does that leave us now? Playing catchup to our New Zealand neighbours.
    It took until 2014 for the ARU to wrestle control of the national finances from the Sydney old buys club and realise that we need to be shoring up our pathways to super rugby by introducing a 3rd tier national comp and academy setups at each of the professional franchises to focus on elite development. Training twice a week and playing a game on Saturday is just not enogh any more to develop elite athletes. Exposing the next generations to the rigours of the full time professional set ups of the Super Rugby teams is a much better apprenticeship than learning from part time coaches who simply cannot give them the same programs or resources afforded to the best players.
    These pathways will also go a long way to improving our coaches as more coaches will be exposed to what it takes to make it to the top. This is the major area for mine that we need to improve and with the National coach and the Super Rugby and NRC coaches starting to work together and more idea sharing happening i expect it to improve. Seeing as the majority of club junior coaching is done by a volunteer parent whose trying to do their best, you cannot expect the volunteer parent to run a professional rugby standard coaching set up. To get accreditation to coach is simply a 1-2 hr smart rugby course that does not prepare the volunteer parent with enough knowledge in most cases to pass on the correct skills and knowledge to players. There are exceptions of course of ex players getting involved but it is simply not the case for every junior team in Australia. This is where the work of development officers and junior elite pathways are needed to bridge the gap between the volunteer parent trying their best and players starting the journey towards the elite levels.
    As ive stated above, as a whole Australian rugby has sat on its hands and let our competitors get ahead of us in terms of development work. We sat back and thought we could rely on semi amateur clubs to get us through and it didn't work. Now we are playing catchup. We need what New Zealand has, 100 kids competing for every pathway opportunity in each position in each state at every level, age to grade rugby. The quicker we get on with the job of deepening our talent pool the better off we will be. If we shrink the talent pool back from Super teams and NRC back to clubs, then we are consigning our rugby future to Australia being consistently a nation ranked between 10 and 30 in the world. Its gonna take a bit of patience and a couple more years but the talent is coming and our pathways need consolidating and critical analysis for us to reap the rewards, not backwards thinking and major regression of what we are building.
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  18. The torpedo Dick Tooth (41)

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    Nail on the head RedsHappy. As I was insisting yesterday, change starts at the top. We need to bring in several men and women from outside the boys club (and none are in their own old boys/girls club) for the CEO and board, along with a Frank Lowy-style person for ARU Chairman.
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  19. The torpedo Dick Tooth (41)

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    Also - paging our NZ friends - what is your opinion on this whole thing?
  20. Dan54 John Thornett (49)

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    I not sure how this will help rugby in Australia though Rugbyn, while I see the point that Aus teams will win more games, the Wallabies will go backwards at a rate of knots because the only way forward is ALWAYS pit yourselves against the best you can. And take my word for it if the Wallabies became everyone's whipping boys the code would definitely suffer, as I believe if you play against Japanese and maybe Asian teams your rugby in general will become that standard. Aus rugby teams are not far off the pace in truth, and maybe I think the biggest thing holding them back is when things get tough they use the 'get out' card!!

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