Friday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News is jam-packed with misery, with the squads announced for next Bledisloe, a restructure of Super Rugby on the cards, Ben Ryan, Fiji 7s coach, deciding where he wants to go next (probably NZ), and Brett Papworth getting angry (again).

Squads Announced

Photo by Keith McInnes

Both nations have announced their squads for Saturday night’s second Bledisloe in Wellington.

Big news for the good guys is the return of Quade at flyhalf, with Foley filling in the problem inside centre spot. Next to Bernard Foley, Tevita Kuridrani has been swapped out for Samu Kerevi. At lock and flanker, 5 and 6, Adam Coleman and Scott Fardy have come in for Rob Simmons and Ben McCalman, respectively. Will Skelton’s on the bench, as is uncapped wunderkind Reece Hodge.

On the other side of the dutch, they’ve been sweating over the fitness of a few players, and the selectors have been scratching their heads trying to figure which 21-year-old maverick is going to come in the squad. Anton Lienert-Brown is the bolter in The Darkness’s squad, coming at 12 to replace the injured Ryan Crotty. Julian Savea is in for Waisake Naholo, and Joe Moody also comes into the squad. James Parsons and Seta Tamanivalu will also be starting off the pine.

For all squad news, including lineups, head over to Rugby Reg’s roundup.

Super Solutions


Georgina Robinson of the SMH is reporting that the SANZAAR reviews into Super, are bringing up some stern proposed models for the future of the competition. A few of those models include the dropping of teams in South Africa and Australia, while another one advances the idea of further expansion.

Accenture, the consultants hired to do the job, have talked to every major stakeholder (the rugby unions involved, plus the teams and the broadcasters), are now in the process of settling on a submission.

However, Robinson stresses that while there are many different models being bandied about, the ARU board got together on Thursday night to mainly discuss the ditching of an Australian team in time for 2018. The ideal structure in those models has a “more workable” (according to Robinson) 16-team,4-to-a-conference competition.

If the ARU were to ditch a team, it would be a retreat from their national strategy. However, as Robinson explains, “it would also be the most obvious and immediate solution to rugby’s intractable financial problems” – made worse by the dire situations at the Brumbies and the Force.

Apparently, the ARU has already told clubs to expect $500k less from head office next year, despite getting a bumper TV deal, while Asteron has decided to not renew their partnership with Super Rugby, which joins the Rugby Championship and the England series as also being naming rights-free.

Ryan Fielding Offers

Ben Ryan, the coach of the Fijian 7s mens’ teams (does he get a gold medal too?), is fielding “several” offers from Super Rugby teams, it has been revealed.

Fijivillage, a wee website, is reporting that Ryan has told them he’s currently looking at twenty offers, including ones from the Sunwolves, the Japanese 7s team, and Super teams from Australia and NZ (presumably the Force and the Highlanders).

The Fiji RU are beginning to expend all efforts to re-sign Ryan, despite their sports minister admitting that the island nation couldn’t afford to keep a man in demand. In the mean time, both Ryan and his wife have been offered Fijian passports, as well as the country’s top honour.

Having won the 7s gold with Fiji, there’s not much more left to achieve for Ryan, except possibly planting a bug in an All Blacks hotel room and getting away with it.

Papworth Pep Talk

In the blue corner... Brett Papworth

Brett Papworth has come out with another blazing rant aimed at the ARU.

Pointing out the amount of money spent by the ARU since 2007 – $777m according to Papworth – he then lists the paucity of achievements of Australian rugby since then (omitted here to spare Australian rugby fans more pain).

Papworth outlines a few solutions, pointing out the absurdity of high performance units (“[Cricket Australia has a] high performance unit whose sole job is to improve the weaknesses of our elite players. Like swing bowling in England, and spin bowling in the sub-continent. How is that going?”)

In short, Papworth says, spend that money on grassroots. He also says a few whack things, like the ARU should pull out of SANZAR and return to just grassroots.

Does he a have a good point? A bad point? The piece can be found on Rugby News.


 Gagr craft beer discount

Enjoy smashing a tasty craft beer from time to time? What am I saying, of course you do!IMG_3023 700
Well GAGR has organised for you to get a $20 discount when you order any of the ‘Tight Five’, ‘The Forwards’ or ‘The Backline’ Bledisloe special mixed cases from The Craft Beer Market. Each case has competing line ups of fine Aussie and Kiwi craft beers.
Make up for our super rugby showing – YOU decide who wins in this battle!
Just enter GAGR20 as a code on checkout to get a sweet lobster off as many of these three mixed cases as you order. Delivery is free anywhere in Straya!

  • Brendan Hume

    I think Papworth raises some great points, and then goes on to ruin his argument by suggesting Club Rugby is the future for Australian Rugby. Just because we did well before professionalism doesn’t mean professionalism is the problem. Sydney Club Rugby isn’t going to fix the Wallabies. Withdrawing from the professional sphere isn’t going to fix the Wallabies. Better coaching, better refereeing, better competitions, and a broader catchment for talent will in the long term.

    • Who?

      Agree. And it’s worth pointing out that the disappointment we currently feel is all fuelled by professionalism. Because the ARU (thanks to a few key people, like Macqueen) worked the change from amateurism to professionalism much, much better than most other nations, giving us a golden period. So it’s arguable that we actually worked professionalism very well, initially, and then we got complacent…

    • paul

      Yes its amazing how the AFL get a billion $ a year with there pissy little club teams

      • Brendan Hume

        You’re not comparing apples with apples here… rugby could have developed a model that focused on domestic rugby but chose instead to drive down the path of state based footy as it was already established and that’s what broadcasters wanted. If Australia don’t win the hybrid game of Gaelic football/AFL each year, you don’t hear people complaining that they should scrap the AFL and go back to state competition.

        • paul

          And you miss my point. That is whatever set up they chose does not work. And continuing doing the same is just stupid.

          Well anyway that broadcaster happened to be a pay TV operator who now pretty much owns the code here, so how was that decision then.

          I’m not calling for Super rugby to be dumped because the Wallabies are losing but because it is a dismal failure here in growing the code.
          Which in the end will kill the Wallabies of anyway, as no one is no longer watching or playing, as they are all watching or playing other sports.

        • Brendan Hume

          on what basis do you make the statement the code is not growing, or isn’t working? I’m not pro-ARU by any means – i think they’ve been shambolic the way that they’ve administered the code since the early 2000’s. However, despite being a somewhat niche sport in Australia, the Wallabies are always among top teams in the world and the ARU consistently report growing participation. Again, I’m far from pro-ARU and I question many of the numbers reported but I’d be surprised if they weren’t independently verified for funding reasons and I’m assuming all other sports report in the same fashion.

          Australia doesn’t have the population base to support a third domestic prime time football code on FTA – if it did, I’m sure it’d be the telly now. There are plenty of people a lot smarter than you or I that control these things – removing Australia from Super Rugby would be a fatal blow for the sport in our country.

        • paul

          Removing Australia would be like putting a drug addict in rehabilitation, they would have serious withdrawal symptoms, but given time, courage and determination, they could thrive.

        • Unanimous

          You exaggerate to the point of misrepresentation. More people play rugby now than in the 1970s for example. All codes have reducing attendance and ratings, and are struggling to optimise. For most of Super Rugby’s history Rugby was increasing in attendance and viewers.

  • muffy

    Can I go back to bed now?
    Its been a long week, I am seriouly stoked for the call ups getting a go, but to read that the ARU has in less than ten years spent… wait for it… more than three quarters of a BILLION dollars on rugby and have two thirds of fuck all to show for it!
    That can’t be right…can it????

    • Fatflanker

      Yeah, even ATSIC got more bang for its buck.

  • npivag

    I think Papworth is great at finding problems and not solutions. Sure, spent more money of grassroots is an easy thing to say, but there isn’t some bank account somewhere called ‘grassroots’.
    Do we spend it on SS clubs? Is that ‘really’ grassroots?
    Do we invest in junior clubs? If so, what specifically in? Coaches? Facilities? What?
    Primary school visits? Is that provably effective? And, if it is, we’re going toe to toe with the AFL who have more money then rugby ever could dream of.

    • Happyman

      Npivag I would happily have Brett Papworth as head of the ARU.
      He is the President of Eastwood which is a well performed club in the Shute Shield and if you go to Club games there he will be at the ground.
      I had the pleasure of meeting him when Souths Played Eastwood for the Australian Championship earlier this year join Brisbane. His point is well made when you consider that they had to raise all of the funds to travel up for the game. He is at the coalface and is extremely passionate about the game. You might disagree with some of his statements but if people like him and many others were in charge the game we all love would be much better off.

      • Braveheart81

        What makes you think that all the people involved in running the game in Australia aren’t passionate about it and trying to improve the situation? Pulver also can be seen attending club rugby/NRC/Super Rugby games etc. His salary is low relative to his predecessor and certainly lower than the other major codes (although it clearly needs to be based on the income).

        Papworth presents no solutions except to say that Shute Shield clubs should get more funding. He then makes grandiose statements about bigwigs in head office with nothing to back that up. He ignores the fact that the ARU under Pulver has made big cost reductions and trimmed a lot of fat in terms of staffing etc.

        Lots of improvements have been made in the last couple of years and I think the ARU are working hard to turn around a decade or more of bad decisions and mismanagement. It is a hard process though.

        The challenge is that we are paying the price now for problems in the past and it takes a long time for positive changes to start having an affect.

        • paul

          No were not. Were paying the price for Super rugby’s total and utter failure to grow the game in this country at a domestic level.
          All the ARU have done in the last couple of years is move the deckchairs around.

        • paul

          Yes he made a grandiose statement that since 2007 the ARU have spent $770 million. And look where its got the code.

          His point is that to continue doing the same thing and then expect a different result is the definition of stupid.

          And that is exactly what is being proposed to ensure that those with all the vested interests can continue.

        • Braveheart81

          Your points are incoherent and all over the place. What exactly are you suggesting and who exactly are these vested interests?

        • paul

          The vested interests come from your product being owned 100% by the one supplier.
          Yes we are paying the price for the mistakes of the past. That is being reliant on a product that does not work in our market place (Super Rugby), so re-brand it any way you want it will not change the outcome.

          My point being for the code to move forward in Australia will require sacrifices, but that ain’t gonna happen, because those needing to make the sacrifices are pretty much linked to its paymasters

  • Under the 16 team/4 conference model would that mean that NZ would have to drop a team? Doesn’t seem like the NZRU would be too keen on that. Plus I’m not sure the rest of the competition would be happy with the remaining NZ teams picking up the leftover players and getting even better.

  • Woolfe

    So the ARU hires consultants who think that fans and supporters aren’t stakeholders?

    • Braveheart81

      It’s not the ARU, it is SANZAAR and they did run a fan survey so presumably they had that information too.

      • paul

        So SANZAAR are proposing things to save themselves, with no doubt Australian rugby’s best interests at heart.
        And they did a survey did they, FFS

        • Braveheart81

          Well the ARU are part of SANZAAR so the interests are pretty reasonably aligned. How do you suggest they engage with fans outside of doing a survey? Ask one fan and assume they speak for everyone?

        • paul

          The interests of SANZAAR are predominantly aligned to its pay TV masters.
          The sad thing for the ARU is that they are so complicit in the set up that they will never make the sacrifices necessary to take a step back to move forward.

          So fan survey or not the game here will continue its slow decline to oblivion right in front of our eyes

        • Braveheart81

          What is your solution?

          The TV broadcast deal is a major source of revenue for the ARU like it is for the other SANZAAR nations.

          What sacrifices do you suggest should be taken? If it is to drop out of SANZAAR how do you replace that revenue? How do you keep the best players in Australia if you don’t have the money to compete?

        • paul

          But that is my point if you want to grow you have to go back to the beginning.

          Super rugby will never deliver growth to the code here, all it will ever do is hand out a bunch of paychecks to those dependent on it.

          You have to accept that to change to a domestic format that is proven to work here, You have to start at the bottom again and then build a sustainable model.

          What is the point of going broke just to keep players here when the people are still not watching.
          We have spent $770 million since 2007 for what. The whole thing is fucking broken

        • Braveheart81

          How do you go back to the beginning? It is a professional game and there is lots of competition globally for our players. Super Rugby does deliver paychecks to those who depend on it. The players.

          Rugby’s challenge is that it is a pretty niche sport in Australia and outside of the Wallaby tests is not an attractive product for FTA broadcasters because it doesn’t rate well enough to be shown in prime time.

          The domestic products that work here generally do so because they are captive markets where there isn’t competition for the players.

          What sort of quality of domestic product do you think rugby can build with just Australian teams to run a full season? How many teams would you have? How do you fund those? Which broadcaster would be interested in something that is going to rate terribly?

          It is a difficult problem to solve. The $770m spent for what is such a pointless comment. It has paid for the players, coaches and infrastructure that keeps the game going in Australia from the revenue the game has generated.

          It is no secret that rugby is in a difficult position in Australia but we don’t exist in a bubble. It is not feasible to think we can start again and everything will be rosy. The players won’t play for free. Millions of viewers won’t suddenly start tuning in because we have a domestic competition.

        • paul

          I Agree we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. And it is a niche sport here, but continuing down the same road will just ensure that it stays a niche sport.

          I think we should look at all the options. However i am a firm believer that first up we should base whatever set up on a domestic competition and look at all possible avenues from there..
          But to do that first we must accept that we have to stand on our own two feet.
          We cannot survive and prosper here when we are constantly relying on some one else to pay for things.

        • Braveheart81

          We have 5 professional teams that are struggling to stay solvent. How many teams do you increase that to as our domestic competition to replace Super Rugby and how do you fund them?

        • Gavin

          In my opinion the teams struggle because the format is not tailored for the market here.

        • Braveheart81

          Where are all the fans that are going to attend and watch additional teams. I just don’t think we have that many supporters. I think it is wholly unviable for Australia to say have 10 teams playing in a domestic competition as the level below the Wallabies. It would go nowhere close to generating the revenue to operate sustainably and the quality of players would be massively lower than what we can muster in Super Rugby now because you are spreading the talent much thinner.

          The ARU doesn’t have a captive market on the players. It’s not like we could offer everyone half as much and expect them to stay.

          This is one of the many reasons why there are no easy answers.

          The original Super Rugby competition needed NZ, SA and Aus because none of those countries had the depth or finances to have a wholly domestic professional competition that was of a viable standard.

        • Gavin

          What do you mean where are the fans? They are here in a country of 25 odd million. Super Rugby is a convoluted design-by-committee mess of a tournament.

          They need a competition they can get behind. Where they can see elite teams regularly in the flesh on tv.

          Look at how soccer, rugby league and afl thrive.

        • paul

          Exactly. the biggest market that will ever be available to rugby in Australia is guess what AUSTRALIA.

          You start off with 8 teams and your budget is tailored to whatever funding that you can come up with.

          We can’t compete with overseas budgets so don’t try, that will come in time.

          You have to start somewhere, the competition will grow in time. Look how the other codes have done it.
          Look at options like some trans Tasman games, Heineken cup format knockout games.

          The fans will come if you give them something to belong to. Sustainability will come in time, and so will quality but fans will become more attached if they relate or buy into there team, tribalism.

          Look at Super rugby it is the best quality in the world but fans are leaving it in droves

        • The King

          Paul, no one in Australia cares about the NRC except for crusted on fans like you and me.

          The reason people don’t care is because they’re not interested in “third rate players” playing domestic rugby. It’s the same reason many young Australians watch the EPL and NBA religiously, but couldn’t give a rats about the A-League or NBL.

          So if you drop Super Rugby (and more importantly the sack of cash that comes with it), the international market would have a feeding frenzy on our players. Young talented rugby players wake up to the fact that playing Union doesn’t pay as well as League, so they all line up to play NRL or leg it for France, Japan or England.

          All of a sudden, existing club players are all that’s left – and no one in Australia cares to watch them because they’re not considered elite enough.

          Fox Sports drops the coverage like they and all we have left is the ABC – who you’ll find don’t pay much at all to broadcast sport.

        • paul

          The NRC is 2 yrs old, and of course no one watches it, it is an 8 week development comp for the Super teams.

          If we drop out of Super rugby then the code here will finally have to learn to walk on its own two feet.

          Fox sports won’t drop rugby because it is the last captured that it has. Drop rugby and it will lose 20/30% of its subscribers, I’d be one of the first.

          Look the alternative comp may get a 1/4 of the money, but at least if the basic set up is right then growth will come.

          We may have to accept that we can’t compete with wages, but what is the alternative slowly going broke competing with the Europeans.

          You give the fans something that they relate to and the tree will grow.

      • Unanimous

        I wasn’t aware of a SANZAAR fan survey. Was it online? Is there a link to it?

        • Braveheart81

          It has finished now. It was promoted by SANZAAR on socmed and their website and some of the Super Rugby teams definitely sent out links to it.

  • Adam James Kramer

    Investing in “gradsroots” Rugby should be in juniors. The fute model for Wallaby players will be Schoolboy rep teams, Super Rugby Undes 20’s, Aussie Under 20’s, Super Rugby seniors, & finally – if they’re good enough -Wallaby selection. Sydney & Brisvagas club rugby should be an important amateur part of the game, but I see a day when a young player makes the Wallaby squad despise playing hardly any club Rugby.

    • The King

      Do you mean the current model?

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but a talented youngster makes the Junior Gold Cup U15s or State U15s in major states.

      Then he plays State U16s (and is imported to a GPS high school, if he wasn’t already)

      First XV Rugby as a 17 year old, then repeated Year 12 for an U18 season.

      Then he plays Junior Gold Cup U17s or State Schoolboys.

      From there, Australian Schoolboys.

      Then he plays Premier Colts at Club or Queensland Under-20s for two years, with Australian Under-20s each year of that he qualifies.

      From there, it’s Senior Club Rugby to National Rugby Championship to Super Rugby to Wallabies.

  • Adam James Kramer

    How ’bout making Super Rugby a 3 conference with 6 team comp (Saffas, Aussies plus Argies/Japan, & NZ plus Argies/Japan)? Each team plays everyone once on a home & away basis every 2nd year, but all teams in their conference twice – home & away. Top 6 finals stay, with top team from each conference, then next 3 best. Probably not fair to the Argies & Japan (no system will be with their travel anyway), but gotta be betta than the dogs breakfast SAANZA’ had this year.

  • Gavin

    Super Rugby will continue to struggle as long as the format exists.

    Make an ANZ competition, have a SA and ARG competition, and then have a Heineken Cup type competition running in tangent.

    These proposals are just going to make it worse.

    • Unanimous

      Something like this is good. There aren’t that many trips at the moment across the Indian ocean anyway.

    • Pearcewreck

      Exactly, I have been saying this for years. ANZ comp & SA/ARG comp run at same time, over about 15-18 weeks.
      Then have Super Rugby based on Heinken Cup style comp all over in 9-10 weeks.
      Also, re jig NRC, right idea for comp, but wrong teams so far. Pick top 4 Shute sheild & top 2 or 3 Brissy clubs plus Rays, Melb, Perth. So have a few based on geography, and Syd & Bris clubs picked on merit each year.
      How is that shute shield & bris clubs excluded from NRC, yet they can get healthy crowds.

  • Gavin

    My proposal

    Have an ANZ Championship with 5 or 6 Aussie teams
    (Waratahs, Reds, Western Sydney???, Western Force, Brumbies, Rebels) and 5 or 6 New Zealand teams. This would in time thrive and is the rugby the world wants to see. Massive marketing potential.

    SA have their own competition, feature South American teams if they want.

    Have a SH competition similar to the Heineken Cup running in parallel with this.

    Everyone is a winner here?

    • Braveheart81

      NZ wants to keep playing South African teams on a regular basis. South Africa and their time zone are important for the overall monetary value of the TV rights because those games alight with Europe.

      I think everyone agrees the current format isn’t good but I don’t think we’re going to see an Australia and NZ only competition anytime soon.

      • Rebels3

        Short term yes there prob would be a financial hit. However a major reason why Australian and kiwi investment is smaller than the South African investment is the fact that 33% of content is provided at unfriendly television times. There is also the fact that from an Australian point of view South African matches on home soil are poorly attended and little interest from the community.

        If you were to calculate the financial benefit of being able to go to sky and fox to get a better financial commitment with the promise that they will be provided with an improved product where all games are played at television friendly viewing times, I am sure they would be responsive. Also add the fact that the unions would dramatically reduce travel costs and the improved attendances from the Australia franchises the financial gap lost from not having South Africa would reduce. Then there is also the fact that the Australian economy is 4/5 x that of South Africa, so the potential for improved financial success is considerably more.

        Long term a move from South Africa would actually do more harm to the South African game than the Aussies and kiwis. They are in a sticky situation where they are a minimum of 7hrs flight between either Australia or Europe.

        • Braveheart81

          You’d need to get NZ on side first. Up to this point in time they have shown no interest in not including South African teams. I am fairly sure the ARU have suggested the idea of an Aus/NZ comp to the NZRU and it has been rejected. I agree it would probably work out better for the ARU but it seems unlikely that it would happen.

          We are also in a bad location to extract value from Europe in terms of TV broadcast rights due to the time zone. That was the point I was making about the South African games being good for European audiences (although I managed to type alight instead of align).

        • Rebels3

          Good points, agree with what you said.

        • Kevino

          Agree and Disagree with the SA times suiting European Audiences. When I lived over there I watched more delayed games from Aus and NZ than live games from SA. The reason being the South African games are a couple of hours two early for the UK and Ireland markets. Your also competing with the massive amounts of sport.

          On a side note, if the global rugby calendar were to go ahead, the SA games value would decrease dramatically as it would be clashing with the early French kick offs.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          absolutely mate. Trew has come out publicly and said that NZ needs SA and Australia and he also believes there is more expansion not less. He feels that without the money provided by expansion the competition isn’t sustainable

      • BadAtCricket

        That’s a false argument re the timings and Europe IMHO. I’d far rather watch a NZ game at 7:00 am or an Oz game at 11:00 am and then get on with my own rugby involvement in the afternoon than put everything to one side in order to sit through a SA borefest at 4:00 pm UK. “Peak time viewing” is not “Peak time *rugby* viewing”

      • Unanimous

        Gavin didn’t suggest no cross Indian Ocean games. Until you see the schedule for his Heinekin Cup style comp, you don’t know how many games NZ teams would play against SA teams, or how games involving Aus and NZ teams are in European time zone. There might in fact be more games in European friendly time zones.

        Unlocking the potential of Japan is also important. 20 M viewers for a world cup game was nothing to sneeze at. You surely wouldn’t get that for Super Rugby, but there is plenty there for a comp with successful Japanese teams.

    • jamie

      No. SA is where the money is.

      • muffy

        At the moment, it wont be long before corruption and mismanagement take hold

      • Gavin

        Yes but it is a small pie, and will remain a small pie as long as SA is dictating terms.

        ANZ rugby is the rugby the world wants to see (I say that as a European). No competition could touch it in terms of marketability. Look at how well the NRL is doing domestically here, and that is the flagship tournament of a mickey mouse sport

        • Braveheart81

          It is a complete myth that South Africa dictates terms. The expansion to 18 teams was the first time the ARU haven’t got exactly what they want (although they also accepted a lot more dollars with it from the broadcast deal). The previous expansions where we added the Force and Rebels were at our behest to increase our revenue share (to take a third of the SANZAR revenue). The conference system with home and away derbies was entirely at the request of the ARU and neither SA or NZ wanted it.

        • Gavin

          Obviously not a myth. You’re not for turning, as is your prerogative.

      • Unanimous

        The structure proposed by Gavin above can involve the same number of cross Indian Ocean games as now, or more, or less, it just depends on how many teams qualify for the Heinekin Cup style comp, how the games are scheduled, and how many rounds scheduled for the ANZ and SA/Argentina comps. In the Heinekin Cup, teams are drawn into groups from different leagues and so play a lot of cross league games. When Super Rugby was Super 10, just prior to professionalism, it also drew teams into groups from different countries and all except a few games were international.

        If the schedule ends up roughly the same as now due to TV money and politics, why bother with the change? This structure is easier to market, and easier to follow. It can have comps that work in a more straight forward fashion, and fits better into the AUS/NZ/SA sporting traditions better. There are currently a mix of interests trying to stretch one comp into some compromise. With three comps there can be less stretching of each individual comp.

        There are lots of other issues facing Super Rugby (I outlined some in another comment), many of them much more important, but this type of structure is an improvement.

  • Tim

    I don’t mind the super rugby conference. In saying that we should not expand the competition, South Africa has 2 team that are rubbish Australia has two and the sunwolves are crap. We have 5 teams in the comp that are shit . Australian rugby needs to focus on the grass roots more for all 5 teams. Public schools should be a target. As the NRL focus dominantly at Public schools compared to the ARU which focuses on Independent schools (which is only a minority)

  • cantab

    I’ve always thought that the key to long term growth in Australian rugby was to get more kids playing it at school. It’s currently pretty hard to find an Australian at a super rugby game who didn’t go to a private school.

    It’s a complicated game, if you never played it or grew up watching it the chances are you’ll never be much of a fan.
    It may not even lead to better quality players, but D,E,F,G,H school grade players will buy a lot of rugby tickets and Foxtel subscriptions in their life time.

    I put this to bill Pulver once and he pretty much just said ‘too hard as we have to compete with other sports for spots in schools’. But I really think it’s just a case of the results not being instant, so not worth his time and effort to make it happen.

    If you want to grow your revenue base, this is where I’d be sinking my investment.

  • A Fan

    So which team out of the Brumbies or Rebels will be axed? No chance of the Reds or Waratahs. Force aren’t going anywhere as long as South Africa remain in the comp with their bridging 930pm slot between east coast games and those in the republic. Way more favorable as a content filler for TV.

    • Tomthusiasm

      I thought Force would be first to go as the ARU own them now so could dissolve them easier than another team, but perhaps the ARU own other franchises too?

    • Kevino

      It’s scary to think that the Brumbies fate is out of their hands, if they lose and have to pay out to much the ARU would dissolve them to avoid the loss. Considering the small market in ACT the ARU might actually be hoping for this outcome.

  • Moz

    Not sure what it says about me, but my first team are the Force, and the second are the Sunwolves…. I might just go and put my hair shirt back on and whip myself…

    Out of interest, has anyone got a youtube etc link to the try that Brett Papworth scored against the darkness all those years ago – when he did that insane double sidestep?

  • Unanimous

    With regard to Super Rugby, all I keep hearing about are the number of teams and the groups/conferences they play in. This is almost beside the point. Just about every other competition in the world has some way of equalising representation/playing strength from various areas. Salary caps and player drafts generally apply to closed competitions that have a wide geographical spread. Profit generating leagues tend to have long seasons to help generate money – only the NFL doesn’t and it has no competing league.

    Super Rugby is currently run mostly like a development league for the national teams. It works okay from that point of view. NZ uses it this way and does the best. The ARU and SARU are mixed up in their approach – half development league and half commercial league. It needs to be one thing or the other.

    The long term problem is that the English Premiership and Top 14, who run their leagues on a commercial basis, are going to poach more players into the future, and this will cause Super Rugby to fail as a development league, and make it become a minor league (using US terminology) from a commercial point of view. What really needs to happen is that England and France need to be forced to have enough teams in their top level that their salary cap is in a similar range to Pro12 and Super Rugby. National team salaries can fill a salary cap gap to some extent, but we’re moving past that point now.

    There is probably little choice but to run Super Rugby in a more commercial manner – this means looking at season length, league-wide salary cap, movement of players between countries that are part of the league, placing teams based on market footprint rather than playing strength, and plenty of issues other than the groups in which teams play. You need a credible competition format, and I agree the current one is pretty poor, but really that’s about the fifth issue in the list of problems.

  • Adrian

    Some chance for Wallabies, instead of no chance. Injuries possibly helped the selections along.

    We will probably be better in kicking for field position, better at making a break and better in the lineout.

    Would have been even better without Moore, and with Timani, but it’s a start!

  • Rebels3

    A massive issue in Southern Hemisphere rugby is the following.

    The best team is in the smallest market and probably already been maximized in terms of revenue.

    The country that is supplying the biggest portion of the pie is in the most unstable economy.

    The country with traditionally the worst team, is in the biggest economy but isn’t maximized due to poor performances and high competition.

    For super rugby to even compete Australia needs to be the country supplying 50/60% of the pie. But in order to do this, massive reforms have to be made and reforms that potentially could lead to irreversible damages in all 3 countries where the game potentially couldn’t recover from. It’s a very sticky situation and one which is extremely hard to rectify.

    In a perfect world Australia would be South Africa, South Africa would be New Zealand and New Zealand would be Australia. On current trajectory it’s never going to happen

    • Unanimous

      Japan has the biggest economy.

      Competition wide salary caps, drafts, special drafts for expansion teams, and single player market are the normal ways to balance teams in a competition like this – fiddling with conferences is a relatively minor issue.

      Aus, NZ, and SA audiences are not used to watching second level teams – loosing top players to Europe is very damaging, more so in these countries than it is for Brazilian or Mexican soccer for example. You can select a team of Australians playing in Europe that would be competitive with the Wallabies.

      One of the biggest problems is that England and France have commercially run leagues with higher money per team. They need more top level teams to enable professional rugby to run well in the rest of the world, in fact to run well in the rest of their own countries. There is an enormous drop off from the top level in England and France.

      • jamie

        Japan is very northern for the Southern Hemisphere.


Hopes to play David Pocock in the inevitable biopic. Lifelong fan of whoever Jarrad Hayne is currently playing for.

More in Rugby