Friday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby
Rugby

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News sees Twiggyball now not happening, NRC Corner, a radical shakeup of World Rugby and news from the east and west.


The Angry Ones

ForceRally3a

Rugby Australia has annoyed a lot of people in the last twenty-four hours.

There’s a very angry man sitting in Perth this morning by the name of Andrew Forrest, and he has good reason to be.

Only a few weeks ago, he was posing for photographs with Raelene Castle and Steve Tew at the announcement of World Series Rugby, and with World Rugby interested too, the competition look set for a bright future.

Well, yesterday the NSWRU, Rugby Australia and our brothers and sisters across the Tasman announced that they would be blocking the rebel league in western Sydney and Auckland until after 2020.

In a way though, it is kind of understandable. With the current format of the Super Rugby and the international test schedule up in the air, both sides have indicated to Twiggy that while they want to be involved, they will not support a bid until both schedules are sorted out.

This means, aside from the Western Force, WSR won’t have any Aussie or Kiwi teams until the 2021 season.

Andrew Hore did try to emphasise that they will still want a team supporting western Sydney in the competition when he spoke to the Sydney Morning Herald.

In the end, he emphasised that it wasn’t a case of “never,” more a case of “not now.”

“There won’t be a World Series team there [in Western Sydney] next year. As we know there’s a lot of work to be done in and around western Sydney and nobody’s saying no to that but making sure it’s done in an effective way,” he said.

“Our whole focus at the moment has been on unifying the game so anything we do has to be tied to our new governance model and have the full support of the rugby community, otherwise you just end up with another fraction.

“That’s still open for discussion but I think everyone’s in agreement it could all be too quick. You’ve got 2020 on the horizon and the renegotiation of where rugby will be after that.”

However, Hore did mention that Castle has maintain strong contact with Twiggy, reportedly bringing the issue to his attention at a working dinner last month (which Tew was also attending).

“I think Raelene’s alluded to that and it seems that both her and Steve Tew have had some good meetings, which is good, and we had one meeting with his representative,” Hore said.

“I think everyone’s under agreement that you can’t put a professional team and build it on sand, it just doesn’t work. So all of the other variables that make a team like that sustainable and potentially, whether it will go ahead at all, needs further discussion.

“To try to put a professional team in by next March – nobody’s got the resource probably outside Twiggy’s group at this stage. Because at the end of the day we’ve got to look after 100,000 rugby players in our own state. With everything else going on it’s a lot of work.”

Twiggy and Castle are (as of me writing this on Thursday night), still to comment on the matter.

The other big news that has got folks riled up is the news that Rugby Australia will not intervene with Michael Cheika‘s coaching style, or remove him or any of his assistant coaches from the team.

Speaking with Fox Sports, Raelene Castle admitted that while she is concerned about the results, she does not think it is time for action “just yet.”

“I don’t think were there, I don’t think we’re at that stage,” she admitted.

“We’ve seen, as we’ve all identified, some inconsistent performances, but that’s what we’ve asked Michael to do [fix]. He’s a world class coach and he’ll be coming to us to present what he believes is the plan that can deliver some more consistent performances.

“What is the plan? To recognise that we can see improved performances. Michael is contracted through to the end of the World Cup, and he has a plan he has continued to work on to get us through to that World Cup and to make sure the Wallabies can be in a position to perform. He’s the head coach, it’s his responsibility to put that plan together, and he will be presenting that to the board.

“He runs the program, he leads the program. So, at this stage, he deserves that right to come and present what he sees as going to be the important parts to ensure we can deliver consistent performances.

“The reality is, we expect to go very deep into the World Cup. And the expectation is, the Wallabies will be pressing very late into the tournament.”

NRC Corner

The Horan - Little Shield

It’s the final regular round of NRC, and we’ve got two do-or-die clashes this weekend. This is going to be bloody brilliant.

For context, here’s the ladder:

Capture

For some context, five teams are in contention to finals positions, and the first one playing will be Queensland Country, who travel to Tamworth for for their match against their country rivals, the NSW Country Eagles.

QLD had a promising start to their season before they lost two on the trot, however last week they bounced back into form with a demolition of the Sydney Rays at home. Depending on the result over in Perth, they are a chance of a home semi-final if they grab a big win here, however I don’t think that is going to happen.

For all the frustrations with the NSW teams this year, at least the Eagles have been close to winning on multiple occasions, and aside from their match against the Melbourne Rising have been a competitive outfit. They’ve always proved a handful at home as well, and with this being their last game of the season I expect they’ll put everything into it to finish on a high.

I do think Queensland will take it, but not by much. QLD Country by 5.

We’ll also have a new podcast coming up where we chat to Eagles coach Darren Coleman about this game, so keep an eye out for that on Soundcloud. 

Next up is a contender for the match of the entire competition (and possible Grand Final rivals) when the Western Force host the Fijian Drua in Perth. As NRC games go, there aren’t many bigger than this. Not only will this decide the minor premier position, but the winner also goes home with the Horan-Little Shield for 2018.

The Force have been unstoppable at home, not to mention major contenders all year. With an unblemished home record (so far) and only one loss on the road in Canberra, they’ve been looking all around outstanding all season. It’s so hard to knock them off in front of such a loud and passionate crowd on the hill at UWA Sports Park. This weekend though, the Force fans are going to have to really get behind this team, because the Drua are the only other team that I think can challenge them.

While the Drua haven’t been as successful on the road, at home they’ve been on a whole other level. The fact they have such potential in their armoury is unsettling for even the best teams. As they proved against the Sydney Rays, all they have to do is flick a switch, and they’re on top of you.

This is up there, not just for game of the round, but for game of the season. The winner gets the silverware, the minor premiership, and the best run in the semi-finals. I think the Force will win, but this one is too tight to call. Rugby fans in WA, you are not going to be disappointed. Force by 2.

Sunday sees us head down to Ballarat for the last match between the Melbourne Rising and the Sydney Rays. With little on the line, this match will effectively be all about pride. However, Ballarat fans should still get along to this, as the solitary win hasn’t been a correct indication of where the Rising have been all year. This year, they’ve consistently threatened even the stronger teams in the competition, and it’s often been the case that they’ve either run out of steam or the roll of the dice hasn’t gone their way. They’ve often been so close, but in this competition, being so close often isn’t enough.

I expect them to be heavy favourites over this Sydney side. 309 points conceded in just six games. It’s been a long year for this Rays side. Let’s hope they produce a performance similar to their game against the Drua and give themselves something to smile about.

Rising should take this one, and I reckon by at least 30.

And lastly, the final match sees the other contender for game of the round (and the season), when fifth-placed Brisbane City take on the fourth-placed Canberra Vikings at Easts Rugby Club in Brisbane. It’s Roberts vs. McKay. It’s the 2015 Grand Final. Ohhh this is gonna be a good one.

The hosts started their season with two woeful losses, but since then have been utterly sublime, stringing together their most successful series of wins since 2015 (the last time they won the competition). Their wins against the Rising and heavyweights QLD Country have been most impressive, but this weekend they come up against one of the most consistent teams in the competition.

Fun fact: the Vikings have been half of all the NRC Grand Finals (2/4) and have never won a single one. They have been in the Top 4 for the nearly the entire season, and aside from their first round loss to QLD Country, have barely put a foot wrong. It would be a genuinely heartbreaking way to end their season if they were to fall at the final hurdle here, because they have the talent to win this competition.

No buts about it: this match is going to be a beauty! I honestly don’t know who to pick. Honestly, no idea. Flipping a coin. Brisbane by 1.

Honestly, if any of you folks haven’t gone down to an NRC match, now is the time. Enjoy your footy this weekend, ladies and gents.

League of Nations

National anthems

National anthems

So more light has been shed on the planned restructure of the international season post Rugby World Cup, with the three-Test series in June/July set to abolished by 2020.

In it’s place, as mentioned by World Rugby, will be a “League of Nations” strategy. Unlike the failed version that began in the 1920s, this version aims to enliven the international game.

Basically, during the June and July window there will be a rolling tournament that will see the top 12 nations in the world will play each other once a year.

The top four nations at the end of each year would then square off in finals to decide an annual champion.

According to rugby.com.au, this will fulfill two main aims: to up the stakes of each Test between the world’s leading nations and boost broadcast revenue for competing nations by selling it as a package. There will also be a promotion-relegation system and tier 2 competition, which will allow emerging rugby nations to have more game time, and also to potentially work their way up into the tier one competition.

But, to fit all the games in under the new model, teams would have to play three different nations in July. The Six Nations and Rugby Championship will also still continue, being incorporated into the League and being included for competition points.

“The premise is we need to generate more money for the international game and the more meaningful those games are, the more likely they are to generate broadcast revenue so we’re doing an exercise in the viability of a broadcast uplift in those fixtures,” World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper said.

“It just makes sense and it would seem to be the time to do this and there’s a consensus and a desire to try and do that.

“It’s not just Australia, everyone can do with more revenue in this area and the sport deserves to get the value it can get for those fixtures.

“The team coming south (in July) would have to play three teams, but it’s making sure each game count towards an end that is more interesting to the fans, and therefore a more viable product.

“I think we’ve now spoken to most CEO’s across the north and across the south as well as unions across the north and the south and I think everyone wants to see if the theory leads to higher values and the implications.

“It’s interesting from a rugby point of view but it’s also regrouping the rights of these international games at one purchase point which in itself creates an uplift in value so all international rugby, including World Cup, including all the November, July, Six Nations, Rugby Championship, all grouped together.”

British & Irish Lions tours will also not be hampered or part of the competition.

Both Raelene Castle and Michael Cheika have indicated that they are interested in such a competition (unsurprising, considering how desperate we are for money).

“Certainly the southern hemisphere are keen to make sure that we’re working more closely with our northern hemisphere colleagues and it’s not an us-and-them scenario, it’s actually how can we work together to make sure we maximise the opportunities for the game of rugby as a whole,” Castle said to when she was last on Fox Sports. 

“Rugby Australia’s on board and we’re very open to the conversations that are happening at a World Rugby level.”

“It’d be one hell of a mission to get all of the rugby playing countries from the north and south on the same page, that’s for sure,” Cheika added.

“But I think the idea of more meaningful series, even though every test match is very important, but maybe from the fan’s perspective, that could be something interesting.”

East to West

Wallaroos pre-game (Credit Keith McInnes)

Starting in sunny WA, Rugby Australia has confirmed that next year will see the Bledisloe double header continue, and have announced they will take the competition to the new Optus Stadium complex in Perth.

The Wallabies and Wallaroos played double-headers earlier this year against the All Blacks and Blacks Ferns, and while the Wallabies were woeful, every other team was not. The Wallaroos have shown immense progress under their new coach Dwayne Nestor, and their progress was rewarded by the fact that they had a record 28,000 reportedly turn out to watch the Womens game.

The move west will mark the first time in their history that the Wallaroos will play a test in Perth, and for WA local Nestor (who coached the Perth Spirit to their first NRC Toast Rack back in 2016, and is one of WA’s most promising coaching talents), the announcement is another step towards parity for the Womens game.

“It’s fantastic news that the Buildcorp Wallaroos will get to play their first Test match in Perth,” Nestor said to rugby.com.au.

“As a Western Australian myself I know personally how strong the women’s game is in the west and this is only going to help to inspire a whole new generation of female Rugby players in WA.

“Our team is building on the mantra of “influencing a generation” and we are proud of the steps we have taken with the program in 2018 but there is still a number of targets we want to hit.”

Raelene Castle was also over the moon that the double-header matches will now become a staple of Bledisloe events.

“We are really proud to announce that the Buildcorp Wallaroos and Black Ferns will play again in 2019 after two great Test matches this year in Sydney and Auckland,” Castle said.

“There is now double the incentive for fans to get out to what will be a memorable rugby event at Optus Stadium with the Bledisloe Cup heading to Perth for the first time, and the first ever women’s Test match in the west.

“I know many fans from across Australia and New Zealand will want to travel for this historic occasion, to experience outstanding Rugby and everything that Western Australia has to offer.”

And lastly, over in Queensland, the Reds are set to reunite two rugby league legends, except this time they’ll be in the coaching box. Peter Ryan, who formerly played alongside Brad Thorn in the Brisbane Broncos, has signed on as Queensland’s defence coach.

Ryan first got into coaching through working at the Brumbies during the golden when they won two premierships, and after that moved over to league, managing both the Broncos and Cowboys. The Reds showed a lot of progress under Thorn this year, however defence was a major weakness in their plans. Ryan is now tasked with changing that around.

“Brad and I have worked together on-and-off the field for many years and his role at the Reds played a big part in my decision to come to Ballymore,” Ryan said to rugby.com.au. 

“We have very similar views on rugby and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in with this group of Queenslander.”

Thorn also had plenty to say about Ryan joining the panel.

“I’ve known him since 1994 when we played at the Broncos together,” Thorn said.

“We had great success over the years, including winning the title in 2006 when I was still playing and he was in the defence role at the club.

“He was a tough operator as a player and I know he’ll bring that attitude and hard edge as a Defence Coach here at the Queensland Reds.”

As a result, Ryan’s inclusion means that Tony McGahan will no longer be in the coaching box. Instead, he will take up a role alongside former assistant Paul Carozza in the Reds academy.

  • ForceFan

    I’m interested to see what RA and NSWRU have planned for Western Sydney.

    • Kiap

      Shrink their clubs and salt their fields? Nah, they’ll give them a small top up from the broadcasting dividend and talk it up.

      Until a next time in the far future, when perhaps some big-money types come knocking and RA and NSWRU can wave them off.

      It does more harm than good, you see. Nobody understands the local game better than our rugby’s administrators who’ve done a great job in the west for decades.

    • Huw Tindall

      Not much from what I understand. It’s actually all grassroots stuff though including comps to give non ‘rugby’ school kids a setting up a branch of NSWRU in western Sydney. For mine though it’s all too little too late and they’d have done better to back WSR and let them help generate some real buzz. Don’t see why they couldn’t do that in parallel with NSWRU tinkering. We must remember though that the NZRU also put the kibosh on a Mitre 10 style team competing as well so it’s not just RA screwing the pooch this time. I hope twiggy can pull something off. World Rugby seem to have signed off so I assume they can get help from them on things like refs and judiciary procedures etc.

  • Nutta

    Many thanks Nic

    So RA and NSWRU blocked Twiggy Ball in western Sydney. For 25yrs or more they have done nothing out there. In the biggest, fastest growing, youngest, most likely rugby-friendly population in the nation they have done nothing for well over two decades.

    They stood by until Parra needed a Greek-style bailout. They made token efforts whilst Penrith imploded. They watched whilst Wanderers and GWS put down roots and all the while they did nothing.

    And now someone says ‘Well righto, I’ll have a crack instead.’ And they block it. THEY BLOCK IT.

    So now it’s clear. RA and NSWRU don’t want rugby in western Sydney. They have had 25yrs to do something and the chose not to. Not now. Not ever. This is clear evidence of it.

    I say RA and the NSWRU have dispensed with their stewardship of the game. I say now they have surrendered any authority they claim to have. They have willingly abrogated any legitimacy they had via this. They have shown here they are not working for the best interests of the game. They show here they serve only themselves and their own petty, incestuous interests.

    I say to Twiggy to run your comp anyway.

    I say to the ordinary Punters like me to support Twiggy Ball. Buy their memberships. Buy their tickets.

    Fuck RA and the NSWRU.

    • Patrick

      Twiggy is capable of replying Kerry Packer style. I hope he does.

      Double-plus bonus if Raelene goes along with it.

      • Huw Tindall

        I hope he does. The Shute Shield players won’t get selected to RWC so it’s not like they need RA sanction just so they can be in the national system.

        • RahRah

          I wonder if the “agitators” would have the balls to go with Twiggy and take the Shute shield comp with them to WSR? Wouldn’t the friends of Sydney Uni have an anaphylactic shock – beautiful.

        • GeorgiaSatellite

          Great team name for one of the newbies with sponsor good to go: the EpiPens.

      • Alister Smith

        He would only need to buy 3-4 players at most to buy all Australia’s world class players.

    • Huw Tindall

      Only question I’ve got is why NZRU also blocked a side from over the ditch competing too. They are a well run union so would like to know their reservations. For mine I’d have liked to see WSR get up in Western Sydney. Better than the small fry sh!t NSWRU has come up with so far. It’s too little too late. Need some real intervention and Twiggy has shown he can do it with WSR in 2018 already. Who cares if it’s not integrated into other stuff the NSWRU do? It’s not like a Shute Shield player will be worse off playing WSR! They’ll actually get an OK salary!

      • Nutta

        NZ wouldn’t like it simply because it’s competition for audience. Also because it’s mere existence may force RA to actually smarten up. Either way, the NZRU landscape gets tougher.

        • Bakkies

          Would have been a chance for unions in NZ like Taranaki and North Harbour that don’t get a lot of Super Rugby to get more action. NZ could also filter non contracted and returning players in to the side rather than lose them abroad. Gareth Anscombe, Hadleigh Parkes, Jake Heenan, etc left NZ to represent or qualify other countries after not obtaining Super Rugby contracts.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I’m not so sure, I don’t think it’sd going to compete that much with the Mitre 10 or Super rugby. I think that they probably don’t actually care that much one way or the other but do want to publicly back RA as that is the organisation they are aligned to with World Rugby.

          I actually believe if he was do a Packer and get 23 odd players from NZ to come and play they wouldn’t actually care too much and just say it’s not a NZRFU sanctioned teams it’s just a bunch of NZ players doing their own thing.

        • RahRah

          The difference is Packer had a TV station on which to air his product. Twiggy has the money but not the ability to put it to air. If he were to team up with Stokes (another WA boy and ex rugby player) he may have the ability to go FTA.
          While Fox have screened the RWC so far, would they do so if WSR diluted their SR product?
          In a perfect world Twiggy would have Fox and Seven on board and then go for broke.

        • disqus_NMX

          In a perfect world, Twiggy would completely ignore Fox and stick with FTA.

        • Perth girl

          WSR has been on FTA and Fox!

      • Do we know the way it happened? If RA was saying “No, no” then NZRU might have said “We’re not going to support a breakaway league without RA support” which isn’t quite the same as not liking the overall prospect of Twiggyball. But officially backing a rebel league in an union’s country… that sounds like some heavy political toe treading.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        I think NZRFU are keen to support the RA publicly as they understand the pressure happening there at the moment.

        In saying that if there was to be a bunch of players come over here and play in a tournament as a non NZRFU sanctioned team I’m not sure that they’d care.

        • Alister Smith

          I guess there may be some politics in supporting each others votes for World Cups and other key voting in the future.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Absolutely mate

        • Nutta

          NZ wouldn’t like it. Neither would I in their shoes. It won’t be a serious threat to them, but it would cost them a few percent of talent and be an unnecessary distraction in an already uncertain market. So RA would support them in that because:
          a. RA is still trying to square the relationship after the 2003 divorce
          b. RA seriously doesn’t want Twiggy to get wings
          c. RA is under the thumb of NSWRU which is under the thumb of SRU which is directly threatened by Twiggy-Ball

        • Bakkies

          NZ will never host it again and Australia shouldn’t until the game is sorted out which may not happen. Even with Government underwriting the £125 million bid fee it still costs the union money which they don’t have. SARU lost a bucket load on their RWC bid.

        • RF

          “NZ will never host it again”

          I have no doubt they will. They may need to spread some group games beyond their shores but the biggest name in World Rugby and they have leverage over other nations by offering lucrative test games.

        • Who?

          That capacity to offer test matches may be significantly diminished by the new League of Nations concept… Everything is very much up in the air at the moment.
          I don’t see how any nation could really feel confident they could find the massive hosting fees WR are now demanding.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          England will never struggle. Everyone else, might, if they don’t get government assistance (which it looks like the SA Government is willing to do).

        • Bakkies

          They won’t too small and isolated.

          IRB won’t accept cross border bids anymore and the bigger countries have paid over the bid fee. Other countries have learnt their lesson as last time nations voted for them to get ABs games which didn’t happen. Instead the NZRU went looking for more money by asking their hosts to cough up an appearance fee. The response was we will go find someone else to play.

        • Nutta

          Won’t make the WRB imposed stadium limits mate. They have to stump up the cash but must also have x3 stadiums with over 50,000 capacity so i believe. Won’t be able to do it when they are denied the 3 biggest games (semi’s and the final). We can do it: MCG, SFS (after rebuild) and Homebush plus the Perth stadium and maybe the Adelaide one. Even SA will struggle. It leaves it to European conglomerates, UK and … the USA. Everyone else is out mate. It’s a coup d’état and no one even saw it happen.

        • Alister Smith

          Yes but if no-one is prepared to pay the fee (or it’s just kept in France and the UK) then it will lose its appeal so maybe that fee has to come down

        • Bakkies

          A good Rugby environment stops players from going overseas. Ireland get it. Australia and SA clearly don’t.

          The tournament has become too big for NZ just look at the facilities and stadia other countries are offering.

      • Nutta

        See reply to KRL below.

      • RF

        I’d say that NZ want to be in a powerful position for forming the inevitable new Tasman tournament we will have in a few years. Twiggy’s ready-made replacement will weaken their position.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Absolutely Nutta, what a bunch of peanut brained dickheads. I can’t believe Hoare coming out with that line about their focus being to unify the game. They have done nothing except ensuring the game is not unified and that they retain their own small piece of power. What a load of crap.

      Mate if Twiggy sets up a Packer style competition I’ll go referee it if they need someone. Bit older and slower these days but still willing

      • Who?

        The hilarious thing is that the game’s actually pretty united currently. United in their complete lack of respect for the bodies that govern it, and for those who run our elite teams.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          So true mate

      • Nutta

        I reckon I might join you. It’s all I’ve got to offer but I’ll offer it!

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Too many people, groups and even unions in Australian rugby would rather be king of nothing than prince of something great.

      Just a very sad situation.

    • Geoffro

      Fair enough,we’ve seen it before where breakaway comps have ultimately benefited the particular sport’s landscape IE:WSC and Super League but there are always casualties usually amongst those who support the breakaway be it through sanctions that harm players careers or other parties left out in the cold when everyone kisses and makes up.History does repeat.

      • RahRah

        And if we continue down the current path?

        • Geoffro

          I like your moniker and I’m an old rahrah too but therein lies the prob.Shithouse development and retention of our young talent,an old boys mentality to the way the sport is run these days clashing with the reality that rugby needs to be a whole lot smarter to compete with other mainstream sports in Oz and an unwillingness to try and create a true identity amongst said mainstream sports is part of the problem,which also leads to an aversion to just can the underperforming elements (sorry cheik and co) and be a whole lot more proactive in the pursuit of what we all want as Aussie sportsfans-that winning feeling.

    • Waz_dog

      100% on board nutta!!!!! The more people wake up and realise it’s NSWRU farking up this great game in Australia the better!

  • joy

    Gagr bloggers blew out today. Wallabies record breaking win was just too much. Boo hoo, back to their cave collective. Just 8 posts, wow.

  • Two bits of news that fail to shock me while just disappointing me further.

    Dear Twiggy,
    See these two fingers? That’s how long you have to wait,
    love RA.

    Dear fans,
    See these two fingers. Please bend over while we perform a rectal probe using them. It’s going to be less painful than the performance in Japan when we win that many games and crash out in the pool stages.
    love RA.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Hahahaha yep in a nutshell.

      I do agree a bit with the hands off to Cheika. I think the only two choices are to sack him and his team or leave them alone. If they want to put in a system of selection panel or oversite it needs to occur prior to a new coach or as part of the setup. Putting it in now would be worse than leaving it alone.

      • RahRah

        At least it takes away his ability to blame shift – after all don’t you know the current malaise is due to the Brumbies playing a few Wallabies during the SR comp?

    • Brisneyland Local

      Keep going Eloise. You know you want to! ;-)

      • I’d rather they did leave me feeling like I was about to be anally probed by a stranger without lube, or even a polite “please bend over” first.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Pure gold. You have reeached the levels of Hoss and BL.

        • Too kind.

        • Nutta

          I’m interested to see where this goes if we keep prodding…

        • Time for me to bow out and leave it to the experts I think. Be that the proctologists or the more regular comedic experts.

    • Happyman

      One could suggest that the RA are in to the eyeballs as they cannot see for s$%t

    • GeorgiaSatellite

      We won’t have to wait that long to be violated in Japan.

      • In fairness, I think we could appoint… whoever you like Cotter (my personal favourite), White, Henry, Dwyer… anyone and struggle to win against the AB if they play well, even with a “reserve” team. I’m kind of resigned to that.

        The statement of “We anticipate going deep into the RWC” and that’s with the current setup really got my goat.

  • Kokonutcreme

    I want to pose a hypothetical regarding the League of Nations.

    The 6N and RC will continue but as part of the LON. As LON is a competition where the top 12 nations play each other once a year, that’s 11 tests and then a further two for the finals (13 tests for finalists) suggesting the current home and away format of the RC and the Bledisloe will change. The competition will be sold to broadcasters as a package providing an increase in revenue for all participants.

    Here’s my hypothetical – the LON opens the door for SA Super teams to leave the competition and play in the Guinness Pro 14 from 2020. Why? because one of the strongest reasons for SA to maintain their presence was test rugby. SANZAAR was built and paid for by test rugby between originally AU, NZ and SA and pays for Super rugby.

    Now with income provided by LON, and guaranteed tests against NZ, AU and Argentina every year that barrier has been removed.

    That will force the NZRU’s hand to look at a trans-tasman competition which is what RUPA has been recommending for some time. What this will mean for the Jaguares and the Sunwolves is anyone’s guess.

    LON also has implications for the Bledisloe Cup, it its reduced to a single test match each year, it effectively becomes a challenge match which increases the chances for Australia to reclaim the cup. Winning a series against the best team in the world is infinitely more difficult than just a one-off.

    RA and NZRU could negotiate to play a second BC outside the LON competition window but if they’re going to get a bigger slice of the revenue pie with LON, there’s no real need to.

    One-off tests could be just the shot in the arm the BC needs in Australia, it could become international rugby’s version of the Ranfurly Shield with the potential of it passing hands more regularly giving the match more spice.

    Am I off the mark? or could this eventuate?

    Watch this space.

    • Bakkies

      The RA are deluded if they think they can replace Super Rugby with WSR then take control.

      • Alister Smith

        Agree 100% and I think they are pushing Forrest almost to breaking point already and I think they will bite off more than they can chew if they decide to take him head on.

        • Bakkies

          They will be broker then Greece if that were too happen.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      The main issue with a Trans tasman competition is that it will never generate enough money to keep the Folaus, Hoopers and the like in the game. Any idea that it would is delusional. NZ isn’t interested in Trans Tasman cup because the costs would be huge and, unless there was some big changes here, the competition not good enough to garner any interest.

      The SA know that while there is some savings in having their teams play in the PRO 12 or whatever it would need to grow into, they also know that the TV rights for that competition will never match the TV rights for a competition of the SA, Aus, Argies and Jap team against the NZ teams. The money for Super rugby doesn’t come from the unions or the home crowds it comes from the TV rights where these games are watched world wide. A trans tasman competiton wouldn’t have the same impact nor would a NH Pro whatever game. Money would disappear and the player drain would be even higher, and the ability to keep players here and keep the Wallabies competitive would be even harder.

      • Kokonutcreme

        Valid points KRL

        Super rugby doesn’t generate enough revenue on its own to keep our rugby stars home, it’s the RC.

        So if the tests between SANZAAR nations are not a separate competition but sold to broadcasters as part of the LON then the potential revenue increase from those broadcasting rights will be a game changer.

        In the current environment you’re right the NZRU aren’t interested in a trans-Tasman comp. But if the conditions change and a SA exodus would certainly be a catalyst for reconsidering particularly if there’s reduced financial risk.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I don’t think either the RC or the Super one their own are the money spinners. Kings vs Crusaders is almost as popular to the TV audience as Books vs Argies.
          You are correct that a LON would trump both of these but whether it could replace the total revenue would be interesting.

          Without meaning to be too distespectful, but probably coming across that way a bit, I don’t think the audience in NZ would be that interested in a Mitre 10 type competition as a Trans Tasman. The NRC teams wouldn’t cut it as they are and the Super teams wouldn’t be acceptable as a replacement.
          Be interesting to see how it would pan out.

        • Gun

          If we have a functioning successful comp in Australia that keeps interest and gives fans of each team the hope that they can win the comp then it doesn’t matter if Folau et al head to France and England. Another kid will replace them.
          If we only play NZ once a year all for the better as even if the standard here is lower the game still has interest and can push back against AFL/NRL for hearts and minds. If our new domestic comp can get free to air, digital and a sponsor then we may be able to entice our mercenaries Home and the standard will get better. It’s not going to do that in the current SR format.
          NZ are then free to pursue their higher standard with clubs worldwide but our clubs won’t have to pay the cost of participating in such a tournament.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Maybe, Gun, but we would probably regress to a tier 2 nation.

          Maybe that is fine with you in order to better reconnect with the fans… But are you willing to accept that there is a very significant risk of this occurring?

          I personally see the power of the English and the French clubs growing so great that rugby ends up the way of soccer, where international rugby starts mattering every 2 years when there is a big comp, and, realistically, every four years at the world cup.

        • Gun

          Possibly Darryl but I fear the loss of the whole shooting match if we don’t get people apart from us watching the game here. I guess we’re looking at something like the NRC with most players returned. Seems a good product to me. It interests me far more than SR currently does. That comp isn’t garnering interest in Oz and I think the current interest in club rugby is the movement of the base to a comp they can enjoy even though the standard is not as good. We pretty close to tier 2 anyway.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          The NRC is already losing a lot of good players to the Mitre 10 Cup though… and those that stay basically stay because they have Super Rugby contracts.

          Without the Super Rugby carrot how many will stay?

          I’m not necessarily against Super Rugby either, I just think it’s an important decision and needs more than superficial reactionary comments from both sides.

        • paul

          Without the Super rugby carrot the NRC may actually have a chance to grow financially.

          The issue is how long can you sit on the fence, it would suit the RA, they can have a talk fest about the future until suddenly there isn’t one.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          There’s nothing to suggest that Australia can support a genuinely competitive domestic rugby competition without at least New Zealand if not Japan also involved.

        • Gun

          You’re probably right mate but if that’s true then the game has no future here in its present form because it’s currently farked.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I unfortunately wholeheartedly agree… Rock and a hard place…

          I suspect SA might go north and hold out hope that we will get a trans-Tasman comp + Japan…

        • Gun

          The comp has to be more than us v NZ though. It must have a central commission, equalisation, spread of players from both countries including other internationals etc. otherwise it will just be SR 1.0 again. The comp has to exist in its own right and not be a proxy international comp as it is now. Just like the NRL, NBL and soccer footy.

        • Charcoal

          What I think has been missing in this debate, is an acknowledgement that if a fully professional Trans-Tasman or even a purely domestic Australian competition replaces Super Rugby, the standard would be much higher than the current NRC or Mitre 10 Cups. The respective teams would also include the top tier of international players who currently play in Super Rugby, but not in the NRC or Mitre 10 Cup. It would lift these respective competitions to another level. I don’t think you can view it solely in the light of the current standard of the domestic competitions.

          In the Australian context, the one city teams like the Brumbies/Vikings, Rebels/Rising, and Force/Spirit (as it was) would be little different to their respective Super Rugby teams with all of their Wallaby representatives included as part of their rosters. The difference would be in NSW and QLD where, as the traditional major Rugby States, they could have multiple teams because of their greater player numbers. I’d suggest 3 teams in NSW – Northern, Southern and Western Sydney, and 2 teams in QLD – Northern and Southern Brisbane, to create a tribal following. In a fully professional competition, NSW and QLD should be able to support multiple teams in each State and open up opportunities for aspiring talent in the Premier Rugby competitions to rise to the next level with full time coaching and fitness training. Over time, players will move from State to State to even out the competition.

          In a Trans-Tasman competition, NZ could consolidate a number of teams in a revamped Mitre 10 competition, with a higher level Division 1. There’s also the option of including teams from Fiji and Japan. Super Rugby IMO has run its course and needs to be put to rest.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate I do get that and I am hoping that the NRC becomes that competition. It needs to have some serious changes first but I think it could absolutely be that.

          I’d still like a wider competition below test level like Super rugby as this raises the individual skill level and makes the test teams stronger. I don’t think this would work as a pure Trans-Tasman competition though as there isn’t enough world wide interest in that to get the level of funding to keep the best players here.

          I’m also not sure that Australia has the depth for the next Folau to come through. It may just be a selection issue but I’m not sure that’s true.

        • Gun

          You’re probably right about that but I don’t think we’ll get them through SR anyway. We’re currently shrinking our teams to greatness as you know. There is no doubt the standard would be lower but in the context of relevance it doesn’t matter. We might jag the odd win against a good side internationally but on the weekends you could watch your team go round home and away with a chance of winning the comp. Even if we were competitive at SR again I th8nk the geography and logistics of it are too great. A comp with the Kiwis would be great but understanding their desire to play better teams etc its probably a no go.
          We’ve had this convo a hundred times (ie flogging a dead horse) but I believe it a trans Tas comp would need equalisation, a draft, players within the comp playing for any franchise but retaining eligibility for national sides etc. I think the NFL/NHL are benchmarks in running solid comps respectively, nationally and internationally.

    • Keith Butler

      LON an interesting idea. At the moment Italy (6Ns cellar dwellers) are currently 14th in the world ranking so would not qualify for the 1st tier comp of 12 teams. Which begs the question, if this stays the same, would the 6Ns revert to 5Ns?

  • Bakkies

    Alan Jones answered some questions and threw out ultimatums to the NSWRU and QRU in his most recent article.

    The Club Association he is a part of is seeing this as a last chance saloon to save the game. The RA’s behaviour in the last 24 hours validates this.

    Why?

    – The RA’s full time staff head count still stands at 150
    – The clubs had a gutful over a decade ago which predates Pulver
    – Despite the RA having more involvement in the Aus Schoolboys the ASRU’s hands are still over it with coaching and selection. In comparison NZ have far more elite coaching
    – The response from clubs so far has been very strong
    – The high performance unit at the RA need to justify their roles as players and results aren’t getting
    – NSWRU and QRU have the voting power to overthrow the RA board who have done nothing to improve the game. They haven’t exercised their power to make changes.

    My own point. The NSWRU have had their own funding slashed by the RA in the Community Rugby allocation in the annual report. They themselves pointed that out to me in a response to an email when I made similar points to Alan in it. Their response was to slap their own levy on clubs to raise revenue that they are charging on top of the RA levy. This makes it very tough for teams outside of the elite to meet competition criteria by fielding the required number of grades. Famous clubs like Waratah in Newcastle have folded. Former test scrumhalf Steve Merrick has rebooted Singleton.

    The clubs need to do something and rattle NSWRU cages otherwise their state union will go down with the RA. Hore is too naive to realise that the NSWRU wouldn’t exist without clubs. Without clubs you won’t have competitions to get your hands on. They are screwing the clubs to cover their own incompetence. The NSWRU’s response to me was that they had to do something as they lost money on the Waratahs due to fans not turning up because of the bad weather. That is not the reason why they aren’t turning up. Just like their colleagues in Moore Park deluded.

    Would it take more NSW Country sub unions to leave to go to the Brumbies as a wake up call? They won’t be getting revenue from levies when they are gone.

    • Slim 293

      You lost me at Alan Jones…

      • Hoss

        Yep.

        Just what does someone have to do to be discredited ?????????

        Glory Hole in an English Pub – play on.

        Multi-million dollar defamation – just a hiccupp.

        Cash for comments – his opinion is for sale – No worries.

        Sponsor a gambling event on national radio – yessirrreee Bob.

        Yep – moral authority. I would sooner the Catholic Church run a childcare than take anything from The Parrott.

        • Happyman

          Yes he pulled the wrong string when he took on the boys from Toowoomba schooled is the word.

        • Who?

          Wasn’t the last thing he did that was worthwhile in Toowoomba to do with schooling..? Didn’t he teach at Toowoomba Grammar School? They’ve turned his home town (the place where he was born) into a coal mine, maybe he ought to take the hint… :-

        • Bakkies

          Taught at Brisbane Grammar and Kings from memory.

        • Slim 293

          You wouldn’t allow Alan Jones to be 100m from a school anymore…

      • Bakkies

        Well I take you happy for de Clyne to carry on ruining the game in Australia. This is the only way to get rid of the Clown and his associates as the unions with the voting power won’t do it.

        • Who?

          So, we can either have Labor or Liberal. We can either have Clyne or Jones. Same thing, isn’t it? Major issues either way… Where’s a third path?

        • Bakkies

          Not really Jones has at least people with a Rugby background like Marks, Kumar, Papworth, Dwyer, etc to address the multiple issues that we have discussed for years on here the RA won’t.

          De Clyne has Castle, a number of cronies and a bloated staff count that thinks it can do what it wants. Reminds me of the ACT Town Council.

          The third option is Twiggy who has threatened to go nuclear. The RA who are stalling Twiggy despite him addressing western Sydney off his own back. Twiggy would be able to collaborate with Dwyer’s steering group out west which is already on the ground. For the board to go and Twiggy to move forward we need Papworth and co to mobilise the clubs and start rattling cages.

        • Slim 293

          I would rather stick with the current rabble than let any of those germs run the game…

        • Bakkies

          So you would go broke and die. Got ya.

          I had this view a few years back however my mind has changed as things have got far worse and the swamp is contuining to be drained by the same usual suspects.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          If South Africa go north then that will force changes.

          South Africa would, I think, be insane not to look to move all their clubs north.

        • Bakkies

          SARU have posted big losses and have a number of teams/province said struggling financially which they can’t afford to bail out. The writing is on the wall.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Quite so. And as I understand the north made clear that they will only be able to get into the European Cup if the fully commit to the NH.

        • Bakkies

          Well that is another thing that won’t happen until 2020/21. We can’t afford to wait that long for changes.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Bakkies, nothing (and I mean nothing) will change until the current broadcast agreement runs out unless RA goes bankrupt in the interim. After cutting the Force they’ve invested too much in the current system.

        • Slim 293

          I don’t think your applied that metaphor right…

        • Alister Smith

          Is the Papworth model a national comp with the existing sydney comp at its centre? and if so does that fit with what Twiggy is trying to do? I am not sure if its better to cut the Force as RA did or whether the Force would never have been born at all (which might have happened under a Papworth plan as he has never been a fan of Super Rugby let alone an expansion into WA). A choice between abortion or infanticide.

          I don’t disagree with Jones, Papworth et al’s summary of the issues and failures of RA but I am not sure if they have the solutions or they will simply just look at serving their own vested interests. I agree that some of the personnel on RA need to change and that its structure needs to be more focussed on and answerable to all members of the rugby community. I am not sure that what Forrest wants to do fits with what is motivating the Jones Papworth group and whether than could necessarily work together.

        • Bakkies

          From reading it and listening to his recent interviews it is a national plan that is focusing heavily on the grassroots. Clubs can’t continually be underfunded and junior clubs are relying on their own money to fund development themselves. Very difficult when you are up against well run sports, have little support from the state union and having to pay levies to be able to field teams. In NSW the NSWRU to cover their shortfall have slapped down their own levy on top of their RA levy. I don’t know the smaller clubs finance it.

          He knows given the costs involved with the NRC that the clubs who don’t have much money couldn’t finance themselves at a national comp level. There is no mention of scrapping the NRC which is a positive thing and recognises the work other states are putting in to it.

          Their overall plans fits in to what Twiggy wants to do as getting rid of a lot of the bureaucracy will allow him to move quickly to establish his own plans and even roll out Rugby Roos nationally. Rugby Roos will save a lot of money and be efficiently run like the models that other sports have benefited from. Rugby has never really had that.

          Dick Marks’ coaching committee can link in with that roll out by supporting coach development. Go back to the national coaching curriculum which is what O’Neill should have never have scrapped. Dwyer and Jones both benefitted from that curriculum given the players they got to work with.

        • Alister Smith

          The early coaching develop I did as a level one was pretty good (late 90’s) the level 2 was a lot more “management focussed” and it had merit but what I needed as a coach personally was (1.) a better understanding of the basic (and more advanced) skills and techniques (2.) a better understanding of how to teach skills. There is definitely room for the managment side (planning sessions, planning seasons and parts of seasons – phasing i think they might have called it) but I don’t think it’s as important for the development of the whole game as ensuring basic skills are being taught.

          Then, in my day, which was during the Jones era, there was a big focus on phase plays. Our 1st grade players were doing scrum or line outs with the first 10-15 phases outlined for them. In 3rd and 4th grade we were struggling to complete 3-4 phases because of a lack of focus on skills and I think rugby as a whole may have suffered because of that. Coaching became more about moving players around like pieces on a chess board rather than giving them the required skills and making them better decision makers. That’s why i welcomed the Robbie Deans approach of “play what’s in front of you” but it never quite worked out for us.

          In an ideal world, after that first level 1 training we need the development staff and coaching trainers regularly following up with club and schools coaches making sure the skills are being taught correctly. You should have at least 5-6 visits annually to your training sessions I think as a starting coach to assist you and make sure you have those essential skills covered and are transferring them. Actually training session plans etc are something in those early days and at the lower age levels where it would be OK to use an ARU standard for the session and introduce the other learning around how to develop a programme at a later stage of the coaches development.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nic a good write up.
    Not really surprised with either the west Sydney or Cheika result. It just follows the normal myopic attempt by RA and NSW to protect their power base and ignore everyone else. Annoyed but not surprised.

    Looking forward to the NRC matches. I actually love the way the NSW teams are disappearing up their own arses in this competition. Makes the whole setup a laughing stock. People can say what they want about NSWRFU being involved or whatever but at the end of the day it’s two teams representing NSW and being shit. That reflects on the NSWRFU even if it’s just a perception.

  • John Miller

    “He’s a world class coach and he’ll be coming to us to present what he believes is the plan that can deliver some more consistent performances.”

    Plan B = Plan A. Screamed.

    • Damo

      I’ve got a picture of next week’s PowerPoint presentation in my head. First heading will be “The Season So Far”. Include a couple of roller coaster images to illustrate. 2nd heading “What we Have Learnt So Far This Season”. “…Shit, sorry guys, someone has deleted all of the information on this slide”. Last slide (A few other slides including “Skills Development” and “Selection Policy” have been left out here because they were full of wingdings), “How We Will Bring Home RWC 19?” Some bullet points.
      Mins 41-80 in Salta.
      Confusion in the coach’s box.
      It can’t be that simple.
      Team is currently working on adding complication and complexity layers to this approach. We will have to get back to you.
      Trust me.
      Coffee and party pies arrive at RA HQ.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Well Fuck me Roman GAGR’s. Nick, I dont know how you stay so positive whilst having to post such dire news. A credit to you. Secondly, apologies to all GAGR’s for my lack of input into a very passionate discussion yesterday. I flew to Melb for a meeting in the morning, then to Sydney for one in the arvo then home. Too much time in planes, and I am talking about the ones that I am not flying myself. But alas I am back. Here I go again:
    – Ralene what ever benefit of the doubt I was giving you is gone. “We are not there yet!” Fuck me, when will be we be there? WHat more do we have to fuck up and lose, and destroy any capability that the players have. They have no faith in themselves and no faith in their coach. Anyone would be better than Cheika now to just break the cycle.
    – Cheika doesnt see a problem with the coaches or his selections. Not surprised, he is a fucking ass clown. He lost the plot, and now is doubling down. The apologists for this class A 1 ocean going variety of Richard cranium need to get on board. The longer he stays the more damage he will do.
    – I hope Twiggy just goes and bankrupts RA by making all their sponsors walk away. Then steps in grabs control of the place, and runs theshow. Time RA and all of the inner circle Syd private school toffs learnt they dont own the game, and they have fucked the game.
    – Go the NRC! I cant wait for this weekends matches.
    Rant over

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Good rant though mate. You get points for the passion and the outcome.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Well really no it is all about venting. Becuase we know, absolutely sod all is going to change.

    • Alister Smith

      I had a brief vision of BL sitting in the back of the Kingswood in kids clothes with Cheik in the driving seat and Raelene in the front passenger seat and BL is asking over and over “Are we there yet?!?Are we there yet?!?”

      • Brisneyland Local

        Pure gold!

    • Nutta

      Whose Roman?

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Nutta, are you in Sydney? BL is coming down next week and we’re catching up one night. Email me at jcmasher@me.com if you might be free

        • Nutta

          Done. Check yr inbox.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Whose ever Roman we like!

  • paul

    “I think everyone’s under agreement that you can’t put a professional team and build it on sand, it just doesn’t work”

    Why not pretty much sums up the RA policy for the last 20 years, thought they would have jumped at that.

    • RF

      Western Sydney is the biggest growth area in Australia, new demographics and has the most potential for sport. Australian rugby has to do this properly, I agree (for once) with them and would be reluctant to rush it into existence.

      Whether that be putting a franchise out to tender or running it and going through the process of recruiting the right CEO and letting him/her build qualified administrative and marketing staff, build a club brand, putting out tenders for the right business and marketing systems, meanwhile identifying a sporting director and building out the sporting side of the club (facilities, staff, then hiring players) while simultaneously building a grassroots structure around a new club and budgeting for all of this.

      That’s a long process that requires a lot of planning and you have to do it properly. Even the MVP of a new club takes a long time.

      My dream for the game is that we play in a Tasman competition with teams from the major Australian cities and Western Sydney. If that came into existence then we would have a financially viable competition which would allow us to retain the same level of talent that we currently do but more importantly grow the game domestically. It needs to be done properly though. It can’t be rushed.

      • Bakkies

        RF the RA and NSWRU won’t do it all not enough money and interest.

    • Happyman

      Like the Rebels?

  • adastra32

    From a “business” POV, the smell of desperation in the SH League of nations convo, as described, is palpable….

  • Hoss

    Wooooweeeeee.

    Some steam on here today.

    Greetings from the Ponderosa – in what has been a loooooonnnngggg week -felt like a week of Mondays.

    Early in the week i had to encourage a Senior Exec to seek their happiness elsewhere or to enjoy the twin benefits of intercourse and oversees travel and just fuck off. Arbitration here i come, usual seat please water views and the spearmint mentos for my bowl – thanks very much, still, not sparkling water will be fine .

    Don’t know what your all so revved up about re ‘Western Sydney’. I live in the Hunter and we are always referred to as ‘North of Sydney’ – WTF ??? Us Huneterites go ‘down’ to get to Sydney – its a geographical fact. We contribute billions from our earth moving works and the largest coal port in the Universe and what do we get in return, a dancing goat named Trevor, light rail that’s taken 25 years to agree on and a promise that we are very very important to NSW – of course we are you City Slicker fucks – we fund the whole operation !!

    But i digress.

    Excited to see Two-Dads maybe rejoining the Tah’s. If form warrants he would be great on the pine for that sporting thingy in Radio-active Nipponville next year. Can cover 11,13,14 & 15 at a pinch – allow for Cheika some real flexibility re bench mix.

    NRC – chomping at the bit, two cracking games this weekend – go Brizzy City – would love to see QC in finals footy and it would mean Kerevi might get a run next week – good for his / our gold chance up North.

    My favourite quote for the week from Mr Cheika – now known as Steven Seagal – forever ‘Under Siege’………..’its not as if i pull selections out of a hat’………………..Steve, i wish you would, statistically we would be more likely to get the right actual players in their right actual position.

    Oh and Marto – the follow-up question re Lee Magors should have been – ‘your kidding, his not even our best 7 let alone captain’.

    See you next week – have a Hunter Red and just relax.

    • Happyman

      To quote the inimitable Paul Keating Marto’s grilling was like being beaten by a wet lettuce.

      I can only imagine the chat if anyone of about five people from this site were conducting the interview.

      • Hoss

        Funny you quote Dr Keating (i was / am a massive fan. As a young Economics Grad he & Hawke – wow, what a team, they were 20 years ahead in their visions – compare that to leadership on any side today). Was strolling the shopping district yesterday walking off steam and thinking and saw ‘Recollections of a Bleeding Heart’ for $5 at a Second Book Shop and snapped it up. Read it many moons ago and dived straight in again last night. Gold. After just finishing ‘Fear. Trump in the white house’ i needed a light hearted read. Yikes.

        • Happyman

          Agree mate I am a man of the extreme centre politically. But if you look at the quality of the cattle from post war Menzies to Keating. And then from Howard to now it is a fair drop in quality no matter which side of the fence you occupy.

        • onlinesideline
        • Geoffro

          With ya Hoss ,The Undertaker one of my heroes. His fireside chats that aired a couple years ago were brilliant

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Maaaaate you’ll never see those arse lickers at Fox give hard questions. I also like Cheika’s “we’ve got most of it right”. You see the plan has always been to perform badly and suck the rest of the world into a false perception so we can surprise them at RWC in the land of Radio-active Nipponville. Love that description

    • RahRah

      No Cheik, we don’t think they come from a hat, merely your arse.

  • Happyman

    Heading out to Easts on Sunday for Brisbane City V Vikings.

    Hopefully City get up they had it pretty tough against Force and Fiji first up and have built nicely since then. I really hope QC plays well and totally dominates the game so that MC and Fox can try and ignore his obvious case for the NH tour.

    Should be a cracker hoe to see you there. PS catch an uber if you have not been to Easts before.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    TMO and Ref in one package

  • Alister Smith

    What I like about the League of Nations is that the top sides are playing each other regularly and that every game counts to something. I enjoy the World Cup but I don’t like the cycle that in can create where players drop out or teams go into “re-building phases” and a player who is 31 is no good because he will be 35 at the next RWC (no matter that we have been in a re-building phase since Eddie Jones’s renovations began in 2004). We also have a situation where, for example, England haven’t played NZ since the last world cup and also some sides on top games because they might not draw enough revenue. I think the island nations would benefit too from more competition and at the next level down the tier two nations will be inspired to get in the top 12 so they can play in the LON. It will also mean the current ratings system will make more sense because everyone is playing each other on an equal basis.

    I will miss tours. It won’t be such a big deal going to the UK at the end of the season as that will still be much the same as a Grand Slam tour although we might never actually get one again (unless we beat England, Scotland and Wales and then beat Ireland in the LON final) and I personally think that having particularly England and Ireland come down to NZ or Australia on a three match tour really adds something – I am not sure if you will get the same numbers for trip where they are flying to Sydney then Aukland then Cape Town – although it it means we will never be beaten by England 3-0 again then it would have some advantages. They say the Lions tour will be uneffected but I am not sure how they’ll manage that.

    On the Forrest vs RA/NSWRU I think they are patronising Forrest and treating him like an idiot and I don’t think he will respond well to that – if its the banker vs the miner I reckon Twiggy has out thought a few bankers in his time and he will make short work of Cameron Clyne but who knows. He doesn’t need to get too many top line players to hurt Australia’s stocks. NSWRU probably think they have protected the local comps now but it frees Twiggy up to pick the bones of the club and junior talent and shift them into the OS teams – he says he can still get 8 without them.

    • Huw Tindall

      LON does have a lot of good points going for it like revenue sharing and bringing the PI teams a bit closer to the real $ and action. I think most people’s hang up is the Tours that’d we’d lose. The England and Ireland tours since RWC2015 have been sensational and would hate to lose those. In saying that however World Rugby said that B&I Lions tours would remain so how that fits into the LON schedule I have no idea. Maybe a compromise where LON is played in between the RWC and can act as a qualifier. Better than the system now where teams are seeded almost 4 years ahead! Australia has gone from 3 to 7 in the world rankings in that time and that would have made a HUGE difference to the draw if it was done today.

Rugby
@Nick_Wasiliev

Die-hard Brumbies/Country Eagles fan now based in Sydney. Author, anthropologist, musician and second-rower trying to kick start a writing career in an increasingly bonkers world...

More in Rugby