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Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News has the good and the bad from the weekend, more on the Tahs performance, Andy Friend losing faith, and more on World Series Rugby.


Absolute Extremes

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The scenes in Perth on Friday night

That has got to have been one of the most fascinating weekends of rugby in this country for a long time. So I’m going to start with the positives.

That Force-Fiji match. What. A. Game.

Check out our review here. 

On Saturday at 1pm I sat down to watch it on 7mate and was treated to something really special, a game played in fantastic spirit in front on 19,466 fans, the largest rugby crowd so far this year.

Fiji turned up to play, and the second half saw a real arm wrestle. Aside from a couple of handling errors, the match was a brilliant display of fast-attacking rugby, and what was even better was that it was filled with young, up-and-coming talent: the Warriors squad was comprised of a lot of Drua players from the NRC, the Force also had a lot of Spirit players, not to mention the Vikings coach last year.

The Force eventually prevailed 24-14, but it was a night that rugby showed it’s potential when the community is put first. Even afterwards, the Warriors were treated to a warm reception from the Perth crowd. I tip my hat to the entire RugbyWA team, and I can’t wait to see the future upcoming matches.

The contrast could not have been more stark on the other side of the country. The next part of this news segment comes with a language warning, as this weekend finally broke me.

The Rebels turned up in the first half against the Crusaders, being down only 10-13 at halftime. Then the second half happened, and it all went to shit. Some questions really need to be asked about the defence of the Rebels in that game. Or their game plan in general. When you miss 38 tackles in a game, there is something seriously wrong.

You hear about how the Crusaders coaching methods are so diverse, how they even chatted to Craig Bellamy at the Melbourne Storm about how to close out games properly. Why can’t our guys think of that? It’s time to innovate, try something new. Because whatever is going on there now, this current strategy is not working.

For more, read our review here. 

Then we head to Brookvale Oval.

For fuck sake. I have to write about this performance that the Waratahs served up. The Blues were lower than any other Aussie team on the overall table. They are also in the midst of a terrible losing streak to Kiwi opposition. They’ve won only two games this year. They nearly got beaten by the bloody Sunwolves!

Add to that, the Tahs had 58% possession this game, and 72% territory. With stats like that, surely you’d find some way to win. Surely?!

But, in typical Aussie rugby fashion, the Blues won 21-24. Every mistake the Tahs made, the Blues made them pay.

I guess the only positive we could take away from this is that Brookvale looked an absolute treat that night. But even the fans were left wanting. I believe we just witnessed the equivalent of losing to the Kings last year. After that final siren, there was a couple of boos, but mostly just the mute acceptance of going home disappointed again.

Call this an overreaction, but this weekend has left me just plain over the entire concept of Super Rugby.

We just seem to be travelling further and further down this rabbithole of awfulness, and I’m morbidly wondering, how much further can it go?! Will we reach 50 down against the Kiwis? Are we that fucking terrible?

I’m still a young-un in all of this, and people who read this news column have been following rugby longer than I’ve been alive. For all the older GAGRs, how does this compare to the Wobblies of the early Seventies? Have we passed that threshold yet? Is it time to panic?

If I talk about this anymore, the migraine that this game put in my head is going to get worse. So for my sake and your sake, I’m calling it here.

You can read our review here. 

In other results, the Jags grabbed a second Kiwi scalp when they defeated the Chiefs 19-23. The Argentineans look like they’ve finally turned a corner and are starting to show the potential they have, which is great to see.

The Hurricanes meanwhile accounted for the Lions with 28-19 win, the Stormers knocked over the Bulls 29-17, and the Sharks continued their recent dominance over the Kiwi sides of recent weeks with a 38-12 win over the Highlanders.

Coaches Corner

Waratahs coach Darryl Gibson

Photo by Keith McInnes

Well, at least we know with certainty that the people who are hurting the most from the losses this weekend are the players.

For all the ranting, the site of the Tahs sitting dejected on the ground after the final hooter showed that this loss hurt a lot.

Daryl Gibson and Michael Hooper threw their two cents worth in as to why the game went the way it did.

“It’s disappointing to come away with no points off that pressure,” Gibson said to Fox Sports. 

“I felt we controlled large parts of that game and missed a lot of opportunities there.

“Definitely near the end there, I felt we lacked a little bit of composure there just to hold the ball for a little bit longer.

“Maybe the boys got confused that maybe they felt they were on a penalty advantage as opposed to an advantage, but I’m very proud of the team.

“I thought they showed some fighting qualities and that effort wasn’t rewarded with our technical execution.

“We go away, we look at our technical execution and we get that right.”

Hoops was even more blunt.

“This one hurts, it is disappointing, but we’ve got to go again,” he said.

“We can only control what we’re doing and the other teams are probably going to say the same thing.

“We’ve got another three games against these guys (New Zealand opposition), three good cracks, and we’re going to focus week to week.

“Every game’s tough and we’ve got to go again.”

And, in a big own up, Hoops admitted that the Kiwis dominant streak was a  “big narrative” in what played out.

Meanwhile, down in Melbourne Dave Wessels had to contend with a tale of two halves, one where the Rebels were right in it and one where they got smashed off the park.

And, to be fair, he was clearly very frustrated. And he wasn’t happy with the draw had meant his team had to travel 24 hours to get back home, whereas the Crusaders had to travel only from Canberra.

“The championship team travelled a 45-minute flight or whatever it is,” he said to rugby.com.au. 

“We travelled 24 hours and that’s something Super Rugby generally has to look at.

“One of the reasons AFL is so popular is they’ve got an equalisation model in whatever it is that they’re doing to give everyone a fair bite of the cherry and while the Crusaders might say at different times they have to do that travel, the difference is they’re a club that’s used to winning and have that momentum.

“I think Super Rugby needs to think about giving the clubs that don’t have the momentum some of that because if you look at the success that AFL’s had  with that model, why wouldn’t we be thinking about some of those things?

“I think if you were to ask me what has been our number one challenge this week it’s jetlag and the Crusaders didn’t have jetlag, the Crusaders came from Canberra.

“They’ve had an extra day’s training because we had the flight and I’m not saying that’s an excuse I just think it’s something that Super Rugby should be looking at because it certainly has made the week more difficult for us.

“Are we good enough to beat the Crusaders right now? No – I knew that before the game.

“What we have to keep sight of is what do we have to do to close the gap.

“We have to keep chipping away at that gap and keep people accountable.

“That’s really the key thing. That’s probably aside from the scoreline, that’s probably the difference in that last 30.”

You’re no Friend of Mine!

Andy Friend's last day as coach

Andy Friend’s last day as coach

Andy Friend has broken his silence only one month after being let go from the Mens Sevens coaching role.

For the last month, he has been witnessing what us fans have to put up with week in, week out. Fair to say, he’s not happy with what he sees.

He is so disillusioned by what he’s seen, Friend even went as far as to say that Rugby Australia and Super Rugby aren’t doing the game here any favours at all. Admitting that Australian rugby has been on the slide for a couple of decades, he added that he doesn’t even follow Super Rugby anymore.

This is a coach who has spent the last 23 years coaching in Australia, including coaching for the Brumbies.

In an explosive article with the ABC, he also admitted that he wanted to continue his role in developing the Mens Sevens team, but that Rugby Australia opted not to renew his contract.

In this article he said that “players would come to him without even the most basic skills because Australian rugby has plans for world domination, but was yet to exhibit the patience to create the foundations.”

“We’ve tried to build the pyramid from the top down. It doesn’t work.

“It’s not about the people that sit up the top and play Super Rugby and coach Super Rugby. It’s about the grassroots and about building the pyramid from the base.”

“I actually find it [Super Rugby] stale to be honest,” he added.

“I can’t understand the conference system. I can’t understand how you can have a competition where you don’t play everyone once and you can be the best of the worst, which is what we have in this country, yet you can still make a quarter-final. Doesn’t make sense to me.

“I still love the game of rugby. I’ll go and watch a club game because I still love the energy around that, but Super for me, it’s tainted.”

Pretty much sums up the thoughts of every Aussie rugby fan to be honest.

However, Friend express hope in the Sevens system, describing it as a ‘new frontier’ for rugby. So much so, he believes it is the way forward for the game in general, and if he was allowed back into the system, that would be his path.

It’s only the beginning

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It’s been a bit of a depressing read today, however we’re going to finish where we started, being the success from that amazing game in the west last Friday.

The match was a huge victory for the Force and sport in WA in general,  and for many, served as a defiant stand against the status quo of Aussie rugby.

Many, even in the west though, are curious to see whether the momentum that this match generated will continue into the coming weeks.

Add to that, the fact that the IPRC is still no closer to being any more finalised, at least to our knowledge.

But, as a first impression for the new era of WA Rugby, Friday night could not have gone any better.

Pre-game fireworks, dance shows,  parachute landings, a sold-out crowd, a cracking match – yeah it could not have gone any better.

With their next clash against Tonga set for Mother’s Day, Force coach Todd Sampson and captain Ian Prior were confident that fans would vote with their feet and return for the next few games.

“Over the next six games, I don’t think there is going to be any lack of motivation from the fans,” Prior said to WA Today. 

They’re going to have plenty of motivation to keep rocking up, and voting with their feet to show Australia and the world that WA means on the rugby front.”

Twiggy was so happy, he was actively seen celebrating with the team in the moments after the match.

“He was just saying how proud he was of us, and how WA is proud of us,” Prior added.

“We wouldn’t be here without his passion, without his generosity.

“He’s very energetic. He came into the huddle last year saying he was going to back us all the way, and he’s stayed true to his word.

“He’s a really special guy. It’s hard to put into words how much he’s done for us.”

“That sort of performance was beyond our expectations,” Sampson added.

“I just take my hat off to the players about how they went out and executed.”

We got any GAGRs who went to the match? Do we reckon fans will be back next time round?

  • ForceFan

    Thanks for the WSR comments Nick.
    The Fijiians were totally overwhelmed by the response from the WF fans.
    After the game they enjoyed a standing ovation as they walked along the full length of the pitch along the packed eastern stand. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/72fca6594689c98b0c7e7964d275a82b8eeaf6483a0b19c90956009722b69410.jpg

    A wonderful moment after the end of the Western Force v Fiji World
    Series Rugby game when ALL of both teams gathered together to give
    thanks and pray for 2 players injured during the game. (Peter Grant –
    concussion and Tevita Ratuva – broken lower leg) Well done Ian Prior in
    urging your team to join the Fijiians.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Fiji = Honour respect and integrity. I am so glad the WF fans shared that with them. Fantastic event! Go Fiji, Go the WF!

  • Kokonutcreme

    Fascinating admission by Michael Hooper that the Kiwis dominant streak was a big narrative that played out.

    In the Tahs v Blues match review I asked the question is it wrong to suspect that players are developing a mental bloc when they play Kiwi opposition? I don’t mean a lack of belief before playing the match, but during the game when fortunes ebb and flow, when you fall behind or establish a lead and then it starts to get chipped away, when you’re down to 14 players. That kind of mental bloc when you think to yourself “shit here we go again” and your thoughts drift or you lose composure and patience in trying to force the outcome of the match instead of focusing on nailing down your role and trusting that your teammates will do the same. When after being competitive for portions of the game, you concede some quick tries or are unable to convert pressure into points and you button off or worse panic.

    Australian rugby players aren’t managing situations of high stress well enough during a game. Anxiety leads to muddled thinking, frustration, poor discipline and decisions, skills also begin to deteriorate.

    When you hear the losing captain in post match comments say that players went away from their systems/processes that’s what they’re talking about.

    While Australian teams are having a tough time of it presently, the Jaguares are in a rich vein of form at the moment. They’ve stormed to second in the SA conference and it’s not inconceivable they could finish top of their conference. The SA conference overall is showing signs of improvement, and it’s becoming very competitive amongst the teams chasing the Lions. This is a good sign for Super rugby, the only thing better than having two strong conferences is to have three.

  • I rarely comment, but this weekend broke me too. I think it’s been death by a thousand terrible weekends of rugby. It’s clear that the fans are there who want to enjoy rugby, but what’s to enjoy about years and years of losing at a Super Rugby level? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

    We keep talking about the player drain being the cause of Aus rugby weakness. I would argue it’s the reverse: you can play here and have a losing domestic career (almost guaranteed), or play in Europe in a level competition.

    NZ has rugby as a part of life. In Australia it’s the smallest TV screen in the pub on a Saturday night. We’re living off the fumes of the 1990-2003 area of rugby. That was a time when professional transition for teams was taking place. Since 2003, all SR/Wallaby players have spent their full adult career in the professional era and we’ve been failing. We’ve failed the entire professional era.

    Playing NZ teams is supposed to drag us up – play the best teams and you’ll play at their level. It’s not happening, so we should abandon it. Rugby League has one NZ team in its domestic comp, same for soccer (I think), and AFL none – and everyone is loving it. Perhaps a modest but Australia-only comp where Australian players at least have a culture of winning (because some Aussie teams would have to win each week) would be a good thing. And give a free-to-air channel one freebie game a week so that SOMEONE out there not in the rugby inner circle might accidentally stumble over and enjoy a game of rugby.

    Why do we play the All Blacks 3 times every year for the Bledisloe Cup? We’ll never win it – so the answer is money. Why not play once a year, and at least have chance if winning it once every 10 years through random chance? When RA announced a double-header Bledisloe my heart sank – instead of a 50-15 aggregate, now it’s be 100-30 across two games that evening. Why is RA pursuing a business model that ensures the greatest chance of all our teams losing?

    I realize the answer is money, but I don’t get it.

    I don’t get it. New Zealand is not longer the answer for Australian rugby. At least not for another generation, while we wait for Australia rugby to implement a bottom-up development program that produces a culture of quality, skills, conditioned training, and winning (WINNING SOMETHING is better than losing to NZ players). If we stick with this, then as a 41 year old I expect I’ll be retired before I can again look forward to watching a senior Australian team CONSISTENTLY play well. Perhaps the most damaging thing for the Wallabies are those fall-over-the-line wins against six nations teams that convinces them they are “in touch” with the best. We aren’t.

    No-one is going to help Australian rugby except Australian rugby. Watch the interviews the past few weekends from Kiwi coaches. If they know what’s wrong (and they probably do) they aren’t going to share that knowledge advantage to help Australian teams. My advice – find an angel willing to donate $5-10 million a year for a couple of assistant coaches from NZ SR teams and a conditioning program, and another $5-10M on academies and an Australia A development tour each year.

    But given that this is a fantasy, let’s forget trying to stay toe-to-toe with NZ. Focus on NRC that people want to watch, with one or two more Pacifica teams (Samoa and Tonga?), promote club comps at the grassroots level (Shute, etc), circle the wagons, and re-generate a culture where people are at least happy watching a domestic comp that involves winning.

    Because what we have right now isn’t working, and is creating a culture of losing in Australia and winning in NZ that can’t be broken.

    • I hope someone reads this. With i could link to my angry post on Twitter!

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        The trouble is mate they’ll ignore it as ramblings from some blue collar worker who just doesn’t understand. Their heads are so far up their own arse they see the shit they dribble as normal

        • Brisneyland Local

          Agree!

        • Brisneyland Local
        • Dud Roodt

          They might be stupid KRL, but they’re not so stupid as to assume a blue collar worker even knows what rugby is

        • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

          Part of the problem is a dislike of blue collar workers. You can’t rise above 4th football in in Oz if you don’t want to include the working classes. On the same vein, without free to air TV, there’s no hope.

    • onlinesideline

      mate i have been saying the same thing for years. We could reduce our super teams down to one team, essentially the wallabies and we would still get beaten by kiwis. Its such a idiotic bandaid way to approach this problem. We need to go it alone completely, have 12 teams that mirror the NRL geographical regions, and all matches should be played at smaller grounds that represent those regions. Have an uninterrupted 20 weeks comp taht mirrors the NRL,with standard, final format. No stupid conference systems and all the rest that Super has. Then at test time we wil take on other nationals at test level. Pathways for schoolboys, more players to pick from for Walllabies, more coaches being blooded, more people watching on FTA. If we are held to ransom by good players going to Europe, the game will be finished. Besides these so called good players have lost 38 straight matches and 14 years of Bledisloes. This fat foxtel check has ruined the game. At the end of the season we could revert nack to what was state v state to be an entree for national selections. Piss the June series off which is happening, play the 4 nations and within 2-3 years the game will have organically grown teams across teh country with tribalism. But will never happen because aussie rugby is run by a bunch of self loathing delusional australians who dont be aussie and kid themselves they are upper crust. They are more insecure than the Poms themselves. They don care for the game, its just a romantic extension of their delusional notions of their australian selves, australian but just conveniently removed from bogansville. Its the australian wealthly, protecting their own bubble of recreation, a place to escape to thats in keepng with other parts of their lives, cushy, elitist and not all that australian. Where are all the fleet footed aborigines with mad skills – I could go in and on.

      • Richard Patterson

        Isn’t your 12 team competition that mirrors the NRL geographical regions and played on smaller grounds what the NRC is?

        • onlinesideline

          yesssssssssss – but my version is in the context of Super dissappearing completely and the players of former Super rugby playing in this. New marketing with all of out budget and support from everyone in the game across the whole of the country fully on board. Its basically NRL but in union. And I would have North QLD teams, country teams – the whole country. Do a small deal with FTA and start small … but make sure we are FTA …..Screw the fat foxtel checks. Each year it would grow. Otherwise we are stubbornly going to do exact same thing and the crowds are going to be an absolute embarrasment. No-one watches mate.Its failed, completely. No-one can convince me otehrwise.

        • Richard Patterson

          Didn’t a big vocal crowd turn up at Brookvale Oval on Saturday night?
          Aren’t crowds for the NRC disturbingly small?
          Whether does the money come from to retain Israel Folau, Michael Hooper, Kurtley Beale, Adam Coleman, Dane Heylett-Petty, David Pocock, Will Genia in your proposed competition?
          What makes you think Israel Folau, Michael Hooper, Kurtley Beale, Adam Coleman, Dane Heylett-Petty, David Pocock, Will Genia would have any interest in playing in your proposed competition? Don’t the really good players want to challenge themselves against the really good players – every week?

        • I agree that the really good players would want to challenge themselves every week. They are challenging themselves every week right now. And failing. Is the market there to watch them challenge themselves every week and fail? I’m not seeing it. I’m not being a cranky loser fan, I’m genuinely concerned for Australian rugby. I’d love an Aus/NZ comp (or a Super 12 or whatever) where I fire up ESPN and wonder – “WHO WILL WIN??” just like I could 15 years ago. It’s not the fault of NZ, it’s the fault of Australian rugby planning and development, and the reality of many sporting options for players and viewers.

        • Richard Patterson

          Very good points Matt. Australia traditionally competed very well at Super Rugby. They played the same NZ and SA sides they play now. New Zealand have improved because they established widespread buy-in to embark on a strategy to raise the bar – across all teams, across all levels. They addressed issues around collective information sharing across the 5 franchises. They addressed coaching systems, player development systems, academy systems. They addressed issues regarding player conditioning and player welfare. They addressed issues regarding culture and environment, community involvement, sponsor relations. There is nothing stopping Rugby Australia rolling out an identical strategy. The question is, are they willing to be that brave?

        • Gun

          In my opinion Super rugby is over Richard. The last 15 years attest to that. I’ll wager you are a Kiwi and and have no real interest in Australia.
          The evidence is in. All indicators are negative. The real problem is that the competition itself is rat shit. It’s not to acknowledge that sporting admin in rugby here has been poor, it has. Look at all our codes bar AFL and possibly netball recently.
          NZ are heavily invested in rugby (and the Americas cup), these are things that form part of your sporting legend and mythology, but the structure of the comp and other factors have killed the game here.

        • Richard Patterson

          I believe the quality of Super Rugby has never been higher. The unfortunate reality is that right now it is not consistently being displayed by the 4 Australian teams. They previously have – just not right now. That is what needs to change – not the competition.

          The quality of professional rugby is only going to climb as skills coaching, conditioning science and analytics further advance. Australia has to formulate ways to become more competitive otherwise the gap with the rest of the rugby world wil continue to widen. The rest of the rugby world are not going to come down to Australia’s level. Australia must formulate ways to elevate themselves up to them. I believe that challenge starts right now.

        • Andrew Luscombe

          Richard – the quality of a competition is its level of competitiveness. You can have all the spectacularly fit, strong, skilful players you like running around doing spectacular stuff, but if it’s not competitive, it’s not a quality competition, it’s a skill or strength exhibition.
          There’s hardly a league in the world that doesn’t have some way of balancing itself.

        • Richard Patterson

          Fair points Andrew. The English Premier League is arguably the most valuable competition in the soccer world. Excluding Blackburn Rovers and Leicester City who both won it 1 time, the competition has been been won by 3 Clubs only in the past 25 years. Competitive?

        • Andrew Luscombe

          Soccer is a low scoring sport, distinctly lower scoring than any other form of team-goal sport. It is also not very physical. These two things mean that even teams from lower divisions reasonably often beat top teams. The seasons are 40 or so matches long and top teams win out over that length of time, but each match is still fairly uncertain, so fans will show up to games with reasonable hopes of beating top teams.

          But even so, a 40 match round robin league is only part of the story. Soccer has a significant number of knock out comps, it also has significant comps involving groups and knock out stages. There is more luck involved in these structures, and this works together with the low scoring to randomise and widen the number of potential winners. Didn’t Wimbeldon once win the FA cup from the third division? English soccer needs the FA cup as much as it needs the premier league. In countries without an FA cup equivalent, they do have knock out finals to randomise things, and salary caps are not unheard of in soccer either.

          The overall situation is not as one sided as the list of premier league winners would suggest.

          Soccer has its equalisation mostly built into the rules of the sport and the structure of some of its comps. Rugby could do some of this by making scoring more difficult and random (e.g. only give points for converted tries and move the goal posts closer together), but I’m not sure how it could reduce the physical aspect without changing the nature of the game beyond recognition.

          There are plenty of equalisation measures in sports more similar to rugby than soccer. In fact all of them have something significant.

        • Richard Patterson

          Fair points on soccer Andrew. The chance to “nick a goal” and then putting 10 players behind the ball to win 1-0 is real.

          Equalisation is shown to be most effective with the implementation of A/ a player draft system and then B/ a salary cap. Teams can draft well, sign players to rookie contracts and then fill their roster with seasoned professionals. It’s only when you have the “nice” problem of rookie players with expiring rookie contracts and needing to get adjusted “to market” that salary cap problems begin. The Premier League has no salary cap. Sadly it has become a league where success can be brought. Look no further than Chelsea and Manchester City in the past 10-20 years.

        • Andrew Luscombe

          Player drafts are not as significant as salary caps. They typically only apply to the first two or so years of a player’s career. They do help, but there are other ways to equalise that can be tried first. Rugby doesn’t need quite as much equalisation as Aussie rules or basketball. I believe SR could use adjustable revenue splitting and budget controls similar to salary caps but that apply perhaps to coaching staff also to achieve effective equalisation, without forcing players to move too far across the world or to places they really don’t want to go. It really only requires agreement from the unions involved.

          The big problem is that each union represents a portion of the teams, and primarily repreents national teams that aren’t even in the comp. There is little voice within the administrative structure advocating impartially for the SR comp as a whole. It is dominated by national unions trying to develop players for non- SR teams. A development league is unlikely to succeed as a professional product. We were lucky there was reasonable balance for the early years of SR.

        • Richard Patterson

          Very possible. There is also is a legacy unwillingness to cooperate across unions. Everyone wants to dominate everyone else so they get all the bragging rights and stick it to the others. It’s only now when the end results are fully on display that the problem has been fully exposed. Those who had the ability to address all this either chose not to, tried different tactics and could not get buy-in, or were outright told to “F@*k Off – we have no interest in working with those c#*ts”. Now the ship has sunk.

        • Andrew Luscombe

          Now that I think about it, it wasn’t luck initially. They set it up with a commercial view given rugby capability and markets of the various nations at the time. They did quite well to start with. Unfortunately, since then they’ve become progressively less able to adapt.

        • Ed

          Valid point on the EPL Richard, but the comp has had four multiple winners.

        • Hi Gun,
          I can’t speak for Richard, but I am a kiwi in Oz, who still supports the ABs and the Hurricanes.

          The NZRFU (and all kiwi rugby fans) need a strong ARU and Wallabies. The SA Unions are all heading to the European competitions; without strong competition from Australia, the New Zealand will loose money and players to Europe.

          And that is entirely apart from wanting to watch good hard passionate rugby, where I don’t know if the Tahs (or any other Australian side) will find a way to loose a must win game, or where I know Rebels (or any other Australian side) won’t collapse and give away 30 or 40 unanswered points in the 2nd half.

          However, outsiders can only help so much. The resurrection of Australian Rugby must come from within, by someone (Castle, Twiggy, Eales, Kafer ?) saying, in effect “This is Bullshit, we need to fix it, and I don’t care who gets the credit or the cash or the glory”

        • Gun

          Hi Martin I generally agree with what you say but living here you will appreciate that rugby must compete both with NZ sides currently and for Australian supporters. It will not compete with AFL or league in the long term here. It does not pick up our best athletes or enough of our best athletes to compete with your market.

        • onlinesideline

          mate we have 2 other competing codes. In its present format there is ALOT stopping us getting success from your suggestions above. Its kiwi and saffas national game. Its our 4th code. If we dont take NRL head on, WITH the ideas you mentioned , we are f..ked. We are running away from the fight and it has everything to do with Unions relationship to League and the split that occured 100 years ago. We need to get OVER it and stop hiding in our Range Rover bubble and take the gloves off. They are laughing at our snobbery.

        • McWarren

          Mate we’ll still have the competing codes too contest with in your national comp. and then when we do play internationally we will get flogged by everyone because we’ve built up a false sense of how good we are in our little national comp.

          I think the part of the reason rugby is poor at present is because we seem to be full of whiny fucks who want throw the toys out of the pram, spit the dummy and take our ball, go home and not play with the big kids cause their just mean and rude.

          We’ve turned into fucking sooks not willing to face facts.

        • Gun

          If that’s true how do you change it?

        • McWarren

          Patience, planning, reverse the Cheika laws about players overseas (apparently we don’t have the talent to run a 5th team or even a 4th some suggest but Cheika happy to open up eligibility rules for os players), maybe some serious coaching courses for the clueless Mums and Dads who are the first coaches most kids have. Expand school boy rugby, take it out of the schools hands, if the private pricks don’t like it they don’t get picked for Aus Schoolboy teams. And stop buying leagies and devaluing the Wallaby jersey and EOY tour by taking the latest RA dick waving league steal. If we have to steal from league let’s take there defence coaches, let’s steal some afl kicking coaches. All we need is here in oz we just need the patience and strength of conviction in our ability.

          I’m sick of losing to Kiwi teams as well but I’m fucked if I’m willing to stop trying.

        • Gun

          Fight them on the beaches…I like it. As long as you can continue to get bums on seats to watch the struggle.

        • Richard Patterson

          Someone had to say it.

        • Sevenwithasixonmyback

          That reverse snobbery that exists is very real. Most of my mates follow NRL and EPL and have no interest in my rugby – can’t even begin to imagine why a Saturday afternoon on the sidelines at a local ground would be of any interest to anyone. And they mock and tease and do all the things that really good mates do – except come to the game with me and drink beer and eat sausages and watch great sport LIVE in front of them and witness and feel the passion in the stands and on the hill.
          They think it’s just ‘cos I went to a private school – yeah, ate a lot of sausage sandwiches with my silver spoon…Dumb bastards.
          It is a nation-wide stigma that must be overcome and no-one is identifying this and actually addressing this as a factor in a failing sporting code.
          We have no snobbery. It is the reverse snobbery of others that supports some weird ideal that rugby is for the elitists. I’m certainly no elite, elbow-patch wearing toff and I wish this inaccurate label would disappear. Until it does, we will always be a lesser code.
          Dumb bastards.

        • IIPA

          I see a lot of this and get a fair bit of it personally from mates. “Oh you like the kick-and-clap!”

          I agree there’s a lot of reverse snobbery and out amongst club rugby not nearly as much of the Range Rover / leather patch stereotype as a lot of people like to perpetuate and we as Rugby fans allow.

          That’s one reason I’m enjoying what I see over in WA. It’s almost a revolt against that stereotype.

        • onlinesideline

          IMO – we should leave state v state to domestic and meet the kiwis at test level only. That would rejuvenate and revalue test matches back to what they used to be. By playing super rugby state v state format at present we all pretty much know by test tim what the deal is – after playing crusaders ( half all blacks ) or hurricanes (half allblacks) – there is no mystery anymore in tests. They used to be total unknowns. Now they are essentially just one level up super sides. Wheres the allure ? International state v state is what stuffed the game.

        • onlinesideline

          yes brooky was a succes wasnt it ? – thats what would happen all over the country. No-one can be bothered with bumper to bumper treks across half of sydney to these oversized stadiums.

          With no Super NRC crowds would obviously increase.

          Let these player go. The switch over will be painfull but a new generation of players will emerge and grow into the comp just as the comp itself will do the same. As the comp grows media channels will start to compete and offer RA more money = better players. It wont be painless but within 3-4 years it will start to fire. If all we care about is our wallaby side we will never succeeed as a code. Rugby just feels empty and un aussie.

          With the Beales and Foluas are people watching Richard ?

          No-one is watching – I dont want to seem condescending but people just cant get that reality through their heads (with the greatest respect)

          You are essentially repeating the exact same fear I sited above. Good spectator sport is NOT about good players forming teams, they are about spirited teams representing people who can identify with those teams. Supporting a state side on a week by week basis is asking too much. Sides should be city sides at MOST and in some cases regional sides.

        • Andrew Luscombe

          Good points, but I think you’re underestimating the time it’ll take. It’s also possible to run a comp like you suggest including teams from outside Aus provided there is rivalry and effective equalisation.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        What is it that gives you confidence that the muppets running the show now at both state and national level will ever come to the table for a competition like this. I know you blame Super Rugby for a lot of the issues in Australian Rugby and in a lot of ways I agree. However, a lot of the mismanagement at RA level is becauser of the holds that the myopic muppets in NSW and Queensland have on the way rugby is run. These bunch of wankers will not let any national structure interfere with their little castle of fun, be that a structure for coach, referee, administrator or player development or a competition that involves a centralised approach to rugby in Australia. You can smash Super Rugby all you like and can look at any alternative to replace it but until the current people in the NSW and QLD boards start giving up their hold on power and their state biased approach there is nothing that you can bring in that will not go the same way as Super Rugby. Even worse it’ll be a much poorer version of Super rugby with less money and so any decent player will be in the NH anyway.

        • onlinesideline

          They are next KRL – they have to go too
          It will be a poorer level – no doubt about but its a must to start fresh
          but super rugby it will not be
          it will an all aussie affair maybe with island teams
          for me this is instant step in right direction but agree we need present admin given the royal flush
          birds are singing in budapest – shuteye time

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I actually think this does make sense in some ways. It’ll force Aus rugby out of the top 6 or 7 in the world ranking for a while but as you say; take some pain now for some gain later because what you currently have isn’t working that’s for sure.

        • Richard Patterson

          But the lack of follow-through success will then be blamed on the poor showing by the flagship Wallabies team and how Rugby struggles to compete for profile compared with the other sports and is therefore No. 4 in the rankings. Somehow there’s always a reason.

        • Richard Patterson

          Well summarised.

      • Julie T

        I think we in the west would have a BIG issue with the solution being 12 teams that mirror the NRL!!!! At least we still have a team in the NRC.

        For info, I think a large number of players in our premier grade comp and our rugby pathways fit your description of “diverse” backgrounds. Many from Kiwi and islander backgrounds sure. Courtney Hodder in the Force W is another example.

        WA Rugby needs to be part of any national solution going forward!

    • Kokonutcreme

      It’s hard for me to know how it must feels to be an Australian rugby supporter right now.

      The closest comparison was during the Brumbies halcyon days and that golden era of the Wallabies under Rod MacQueen and John Eales. Those were the days when Australian rugby had the smarts and mental strength of character to beat Kiwi teams more often than not. Those were the days when the Blues followed by the Crusaders flew the flag for NZ in Super rugby, the rest would be maddingly inconsistent.

      I’m not going to try and offer solutions because the truth is I don’t know. I know what worked for NZ rugby but you can’t just apply copy and paste here because Australian rugby is different.

      As much as results in Super rugby hurt, of greater concern is the result from the U20 match between Australia and NZ. Age grade performances have been woefully underperforming for the best part of 10 years, that’s the supply line to domestic and professional rugby. Are they leaving the school system and entering high performance environments? Results would indicate not.

      • My understanding (based on something I read on GAGR probably) is that Aus U20 had NEVER beaten NZ U20 till last year, so i absolutely agree with that point. I also understand that Rugby League continues to be an attractive pathway for rugby schoolboys and rugby colts players of high quality.

        I 100% agree and you put it succinctly: copying the NZ system won’t work, and it’s time to focus on trying to create a modest (budget/size) but high-quality pathways system and reinforce the national comp that already exists, with dramatically reduced matches against NZ.

        Nothing ever “shrinks to greatness” and RA are proving that with the removal of the Force – the benefits aren;t there. There was a sense it would be, but it was artificial because we hadn’t played NZ teams yet.

        (BTW nothing I’m saying is intended to cast negativity towards NZ rugby – quite the opposite – they are so good that they’ll kill the sport completely in Australia if we pretend that trotting out every week to get flogged is a product Aussies want, when there are so many other things to watch where there is winning).

        • Bakkies

          The under 20s result is a given. You only have to look at the annual flogging the Schoolboys receive from the Kiwis. The Kiwis could put out a team of year 10s and they would still hammer them.

          The way the schoolboys is selected is a farce as the Queensland comps start after the national championships have finished.

          With no tour to Europe or visits from the likes Ireland and England schools or under 19s there is no continuity being built to go on to the under 20s. Pretty sure the Pocock, Beale, Cooper, Leiliifano, Fainga’a twins schools era were the last to tour as a schools side and they went on to win the IRB under 19s world championship under Phil Mooney the twins and Cooper won a Super Rugby title not so long after that.

    • Will

      The rest of the South African sides (bar 1 but I guess that will change) are moving to the Pro 14 next year, just announced a few hours ago.

      Super Rugby is dead.

      Great news for Australia

      • Wow, I should be careful what I wish for! Timeline alignment is being cited.

        Maybe we switch to non-NZ IPRC with time zone alignment.

      • I should add that it totally makes sense for SA beyond time zone. If you are losing players to Europe, then join europe! Very smart from SA and they can technically satisfy the need to provide teams to Super Rugby – They never signed an exclusivity deal clearly.

      • Bakkies

        I take it the unnamed side is the Bulls as the Lions and Stormers will join the Sharks in 2020/2021.

      • Richard Patterson

        It is dreadful news for rugby in Australia and NZ.

        • Gun

          No I think it’s good news. The people steering the current competition are acting in their own interests. In this case they align with Australian supporters who are sick of SR.
          They must build our new comp along the lines of all other successful leagues with drafts, equalisation and a reasonable movement of talent.

        • Richard Patterson

          But without Super Rugby there will be a significant reduction in income for the sport as broadcasting fees collapse. The same income that helps ensure the marquee players remain in Australia and NZ and are on display every week. A competition without the best available players participating in it has no meaningful future.

        • onlinesideline

          those marque players have not brought any success – its an illusion. They are over rated and have held the code to ransom. Time to call their bluff. RA is petrified of losing them. Other kids will step up.

        • Richard Patterson

          Rugby in Australia has only gone one direction as key players such as Ben Mowen, Matt Giteau, James Horwill, Matt Toomua, Will Skelton, Scott Fardy, Adam Ashley-Cooper et al were lost to the game because the financial kitty was simply not deep enough to pay them. NRC games get 2,000 people watching them. Maybe it’s because people don’t like the jersey colours. I’d suggest it’s influenced by the fact none of the top players ever play in the competition.

        • onlinesideline

          Mate, James Horwill won a Super Rugby title and played many wallaby matches. He was slowing down and had a great career. Will Skelton couldnt cut it, too slow and temperment was bad, AAC had played 100 test matches and had a sterling career. Ben Mowen left because he said he wanted to spend more time with his new child and couldnt be on the road all the time. These are all natural cycle scenarios playing out.

          But its the comp itself thats failing mate. You seem to think aussie winning will change things. Kiwi crowds are way down and so are saffa crowds and THEY ARE WINNING. Its irrelevant.

          You keep on qouting me stats about NRC crowds today. Im talking about canning Super rugby and revamping NRC as the new national comp.Totally dfferent comp, same name, but built from ground up – cant compare.

        • Richard Patterson

          All those players provided a base from which Australian rugby could allow itself to be more competitive. We are seeing the results when they are removed from the playing ranks.

          Go ask the NFL how ratings were this season for Green Bay Packers games when Aaron Rodgers was injured and not playing. How about the Indianapolis Colts with Andrew Luck sidelined for 16 months? Maybe the Houston Texans when they lost JJ Watt and Deshaun Watson for the season or the NY Giants when a similar fate was dealt to Odell Beckham Junior? How about Real Madrid when Christian Ronaldo doesn’t lace them up? Maybe the Washington Nationals when Bryce Harper is out of the lineup? Bottom line is competitions thrive best when the best available talent is on display for fans to pay to watch or tune into. Australian rugby is no different.

        • onlinesideline

          Those players bar Toomua and Fardy were done. Horwill and Skelton were done. But when Fardy and Toomua were still here were we winning at Super level or national level ? No – no base there at all. The Rhoddas and Tuis and Thors are much better finds but still you are still maintaining that if we were winning the comp as a comp is OK. Im suggesting its not a good comp and so does the rest of OZ and the kiwis and saffas. Saffas are bailing anyhow. We seem to disagree. If you think sticking to 7000 a game crowd in a 40 000 stadium is good sport then we are on a different planet.

        • Richard Patterson

          Australia was very much winning at Super Rugby and test level. Australia had the best Super Rugby team in 2014. Australia had 2 of the 4 Super Rugby semi finalists in 2015. Australia had the 2nd best international team in 2015.

        • onlinesideline

          didnt we get done 3-0 by the Poms in our own back yard and beaten by the Scots too ?

        • Richard Patterson

          The downfall started in 2016 and has gathered pace since. It is what makes it so upsetting. This was no sudden collapse. This has been the end result of a systemic failure to govern the sport and for major stakeholders within the sport to come together for the greater good of Rugby in Australia.

        • onlinesideline

          yeah agree but what Im saying is that super rugby is not for the good of the sport in OZ, regardless of winning or losing. No-one watches. Yes the reds 2011 and Waratahs 2015 were upticks but good comps cant rely on teams winning. Reason – NOT EVERYONE CAN WIN. Good comps like the 3rd division englsih football succeed, despite lower standards, because their supporters identify with their local teams. 10 year old kids in melbourne dont identify with a team from Transvaal at 3 in the morning played on pay tv.

        • Richard Patterson

          Very fair points. All I know is that a collapse of Super Rugby (and with it the essential broadcasting fees) and some downsizing of competitions into quasi domestic leagues in Australia and New Zealand has no viable future. More importantly it will not be sufficient to compete with the revenues on offer in the NH and we will lose all the players (and coaches) we all love to tune into or pay our money to go watch. Maybe Rugby in Australia and New Zealand becomes like Brazilian soccer. A great factory of rugby talent for wealthy NH owners to pick up at their leisure. I hope I am wrong – I fear I am not. As a passionate rugby fan it breaks my heart. It should NEVER have been allowed to get like this.

          Maybe it all becomes like the existing Champions League in Europe. We all get up at stupid hours in the morning to watch our greatest players playing for English and French Rugby clubs in competitions financed by billionaire private owners. I feel ill thinking about it.

        • Richard the difference with Aviva, for example, is that as a national competition, players can move around from team to team – that isn’t possible in SR outside each country. That means that as teams fall behind, there’s no option for market forces to equalize team quality.

          Furthermore, in a national competition the national coaching/coordination can disseminate quality coaching and conditioning guidance. In SR, NZ are doing an amazing job at a national level with that kind of work, Australia not. So while it may be in NZRU’s interest that Australian teams play well, they’d never help them as it may disadvantage them at an international level.

          I realize that every comp is different, and Pro14 is multi-national, whereas the English and French comps (and US?) aren’t, but those two factors mean that when a country like Australia falls behind, it’s going to stay behind, and that makes SR a crappy comp.

          Now I ask you: should NZRU parachute in some (paid) members of their team to help Aussie teams improve?

        • Richard Patterson

          Excellent thoughts Matt. NZ Rugby turned a corner when there was an agreement across the provincial unions and professional franchises to lose outdated parochial thinking and work together to collectively share information, move players around and improve the game for everyone. Australia have consistently refused to follow this same strategy. Sydney University seem interested in dominating Sydney club rugby — not develop the game across the state. NSW want to dictate the sport in Australia and seemingly everyone is far more interested in small-minded parochialism than playing a bigger game.

          Should NZRU parachute in some paid members? Sure — but only if Rugby Australia asks for their help. No point getting involved where you’re not made to feel welcome.

        • Agree on all points.

          I can’t see ARU having the humility to ask for help/advice, and to be honest I can’t see NZRU helping – it’s not in their interest. I’m not being negative – it’s their entire brand and their job is to protect that competitive edge.

        • Richard Patterson

          Sad – but true. We will all collectively look back on this as a monumental failure of corporate governance and a monumental failure to think strategically and a monumental failure to adapt as the stakes went up. Rugby in Australia and New Zealand was for so long viewed with envy because of it’s skill, innovation and clever thinking. We never had the money — we survived on being clever. Now we’re stupid and somehow the curtain is coming down on a golden era. Oh – and that laughing you hear is from multiple sources. The NRL, the AFL, Soccer Australia and Rugby across the UK and Europe.

        • Ed

          Would we do it if the roles were reversed?
          Nah mate, we would stick the boot in.

        • Gun

          In all those examples of other competitions there is free movement of talent, drafts, combines, salary caps, equalisation etc SR is a flawed comp because it is run as a quasi international comp as well as time zone and travel problems. Where does an NFL player or a premiere league player go to earn more money or a change of lifestyle.

        • Richard Patterson

          Explain the free movement of talent in the NFL? Players are contracted to a team until they become restricted or unrestricted free agents. Yes – there is a Draftjust like the AFL — but the combine is just a trial workout for rookies to display their talent. There is a salary cap in Super Rugby too.

        • Gun

          Exactly so players in SR should be free to move around the competition on contracts.

        • Richard Patterson

          That happens doesn’t it?

        • Gun

          It’s restricted because if you are not contracted with your national union you can’t play for your national side. Hence all the good players are in NZ where it is the no1 sport, not no 4 and rapidly sinking.

        • Richard Patterson

          I wonder if it would still rank No. 4 Gun if Rugby in Australia demonstrated to young kids (and parents) that it was a sport that was well governed and had it’s act together. A sport that was intelligent with player player welfare and player development and showed clear pathways for success. A sport that offered the opportunity to get well paid as a professional player, travel the world, play against other countries in iconic global stadiums and participate in world-class events like the Rugby World Cup. See the NRL and AFL offering that complete package?

        • Gun

          We’re becoming hypothetical now. I am a rusted on guy although the rust is flaking. I spend prob $1000 a year on membership tickets etc. I don’t find it entertaining and I can’t change RA. The rude bastards don’t even reply when you email them.

        • Richard Patterson

          It will be a great case study for Business Schools across Australia. How to butcher a once great sport through arrogance and incompetence.

        • Andrew Luscombe

          Richard, there is no competition wide salary cap in SR, nor any effective form of equalisation. Rugby Australia placed a salary cap on Australian SR teams several years ago, but then undermined it with “top ups” so that it became an “un-equalisation” measure. The main concern was teams bankrupting themselves by spending too much on players in hopes of winning, not equalisation. NZRU has some guidelines for it’s SR teams that is similar in some ways to a salary cap, but set at a different level to Aus SR teams and with different inclusions/exemptions. NZ’s rules are more effective at equaising it’s own teams than the Aus salary cap is at equalising Aus SR teams, but of course that doesn’t equalise the comp as a whole, it just means the Crusaders don’t win 50% of years and some other NZ teams get a look in. SA has no cap or controls.

        • Bakkies

          The Salary Cap was brought as wages were going to be unsustainable and there were a lot of third party offers floating around which not every team can provide.

        • Dud Roodt

          I actually think the NFL ratings aren’t affected drastically by player losses. They are fairly consistent across the season.

        • Richard Patterson

          Data from this recently completed season suggest otherwise Dud. Ratings for scheduled prime-time Packers games when Aaron Rodgers was injured were well down.

        • Dud Roodt

          I’d be interested to see if that drop started when Rodgers was injured (i.e. post week 6) or if it is part of the wider trend of declining linear audiences in the NFL.

          Also would be interested to see the same for the Texans, Colts and Giants.

        • Richard Patterson

          Ratings were down this season across the board. What is contentious is how much of that was attributable to the whole “flag protest” nonsense, how much was pushback on concussion concerns, how much was simply because some very high profile players were lost to long-term injury (I won’t venture into the bigger issue of changing viewer habits). For what it’s worth, I didn’t even bother watching Packers games without Rodgers, or the Texans without Watt and Watson. I struggled to watch by beloved NY Football Giants – not because OBJ was out, but because they were so painfully horrific!

        • Don’t underestimate ‘concussion concerns’ – I live in the US and am amazed at the number of contacts I have who now refuse to watch NFL or support a team until the rules change significantly enough to remove head injury risks from the sport. It’s why now is a good time for rugby to rise in the US too…

        • Dud Roodt

          I think people blaming it on the kneeling is a false flag, viewing trends over the past few years have been down – and it’s most definitely due in large part to changing viewing habits.
          The games are accessible in so many more ways now that people are far less likely to sit down and watch a linear telecast on CBS or NBC or wherever.

          Concussions may have had an effect – as it has with the declining number of participants in the game over there.

          My point is that I think the NFL (and soccer) are unique in that they can handle the loss of big stars, I think primarily because injuries are so common in the sport.

        • Richard Patterson

          I do not disagree. I think the NFL also benefits from having such a short, condensed season. You have to tune in because the regular season moves VERY quickly and the entire season is over in 5 months. Compare that to the NRL which grinds through 26 Rounds of sameness and feels like Parramatta plays South Sydney every 4th week.

        • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

          Ben Mowen might have left due to family, but he also might have just been staying on message. He was Wallabies Captain at the time, and yet, unbelievably, was told by ARU that he wasn’t worth a Wallabies top up payment. I also would have been highly tempted to leave “for family” under those kick in the teeth circumstances. Call that unfaithful all you like, but my family needs me to be able to pay my mortgage, and if the furtherest I could get in Australia is to be Captain of the Wallabies, but not worthy of a top up, and overseas clubs were offering real money, then it’s “for family” here I come.

        • onlinesideline

          yeah I totally forgot about that part of it

        • Dud Roodt

          I would think by now he would be telling it how it is.

          On the Beau Robinson podcast late last year he said he’d made the call to leave Australia before he was named captain

        • Custard Taht

          Maybe this is where RA could eat a generous serving of humble pie, go to Mr Twiggy Forrest and do their best impression of Oliver and say, “please sir, may we have some more”.

          Then, sit down with Twiggy and nut out a solution where World Series Rugby and the NRC merge to be a national competition with pacific island teams.

        • onlinesideline

          yes please

        • fatman

          Once upon a time you played for your country for pride not money, too right these players have held the code to ransom, let them go, others will step up I 100% agree.

        • Gun

          It’s entertainment cobber and at the moment it’s not entertaining.

        • Richard Patterson

          Seldom is when you allow yourselves to go from competitive to uncompetitive cobber.

        • onlinesideline

          the kiwis are winning and the crowds are way down – can you explain that then ?

        • Richard Patterson

          Both the crowd numbers and TV ratings are fine for when the Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders play each other. The Crusaders versus Hurricanes game in 3 weeks time will be a sell-out and will rate very highly.

        • onlinesideline

          ok fair enof point. But the comp itself in OZ doesnt work.The Brumbies made the finals last year I think it was and the turnout in Canberra was sad.

        • Richard Patterson

          Yes. There have been multiple warning signs for everyone that the signals were not good. It is a travesty that Rugby in Australia finds itself in this current situation. It is upsetting for every single one of us who love the sport and wish to see it do well.

        • Gun

          We all know that Australia has performed poorly, we see it every weekend but it’s not just our doing. We don’t steer the bus you and the SAs do. It’s your game principle game but has to compete in our market and it doesn’t.

        • Richard Patterson

          You are 100% correct Gun. As we both know though, operating in a fiercely competitive market requires thoughtful planning and execution. The Australian Super Rugby franchises and Rugby Australia have failed dismally on this front as local parochial thinking was allowed to override the greater common good. Somehow though people wish to blame it on the format of Super Rugby. Or is it those foreign ref’s and foreign coaches? It seems to move around a bit.

        • Gun

          Geez don’t get me started about the professionalism or not of refereeing. How many NFL refs can you name compared to how many rugby refs.

        • Richard Patterson

          5-6 NFL and they are copping it there too. It’s all the age of social media, fantasy sports and gambling that has stirred all this nonsense with officiating.
          Go watch the officiating in the top of the table Melbourne Storm vs St George NRL game yesterday. Rugby is not alone.

        • Custard Taht

          If the players currently imitating rugby players are the best Australia has to offer….no wonder Australian teams at super and international level are performing so poorly.

          There are a few running around that are genuinely the best, but overall Australian Rugby is full of genuine imitations.

        • Richard Patterson

          True. Isn’t that often what happens when there is no real competitive threats for places, or when your culture does not demand certain standards of excellence?

        • Huw Tindall

          Still healthy revenue from TRC matches which nobody is suggesting should be canned and without Super Rugby there will be $$ for other comps. Sure, not as many $$ without SA but still a good whack of money to support a much cheaper to run NRC style comp! If you want to conceive how expensive Super Rugby is try and book 35 business class seats from Sydney to Bloemfontein.

        • Richard Patterson

          Yep I do understand all those cost savings Huw. I also fear that Broadcasters will also take a look at this revised domestic league and walk down their fee – a lot!! There will be no international audience to sell these games too because all the leading Australian players will not be playing in it.

        • onlinesideline

          its been brewing for 4 – 6 years and we have done nothing to prepare for it. RA are clever eh ? – instead of spending time chopping Force they could have started thinking about a national comp – idiots.
          Should be NRC including Force and add a few more sydney teams and north qld. Big Players can piss off to UK and we start growing a proper code in this country.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        where is this?

        • Everywhere – sanzaar trying to play down SA teams leaving but of course they would. Sorry – NZAAR I mean

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          sorry where is it reported?

      • Alister Smith

        https://www.smh.com.au/sport/rugby-union/sanzaar-rubbish-report-south-africa-set-to-leave-super-rugby-20180507-p4zdrl.html
        that article is a denial from SANZAAR regarding an article in the uk daily mail (which is probably behind the pay wall)

    • Missing Link

      Pet hate is going to a pub and the muppets turn over to NRL/AFL/lawn bowls just as I’m getting comfortable in my seat ready to watch rugby

      • onlinesideline

        AND WITHOUT THE SOUND – ARGGGGGHHH
        excusme me mate can you turn it up a bit ?
        sorry mate, people over there wanna watch the Panthers v Tigers match
        (yeah and am I chopped liver – we wanna watch the rugby)
        sorry mate

    • Perth girl

      RA had that person willing to put money into grassroots rugby but they turned him down. There needs to be a complete overhaul of the RA board before things will turn around and only the QLD and NSW Unions can change it

    • Sevenwithasixonmyback

      SPOT ON.
      I have struggled with how to best sum-up my disappointment and you’ve just done it for me.
      I’m a believer that Shute and other state Club Grade comps should be the pathway to a Gold Jumper, as it once was. If that pre-rep tier is now NRC so be it, but that Club tier must be fully supported as the proper path to NRC.
      And our acceptance in losing constantly to the AIG ABs is becoming mighty boring.
      AND we’ve been pulling wins out of our last-minute clacker since the John Eales days – which is a generation ago. We’ve not had a trusted winning culture for 20 years (but if you look at those late 90’s sides you’ll know why we won…)
      Thanks for making so many people’s points for them.

    • Alister Smith

      I have seen Brett Papworth, Alan Jones etc criticise Super Rugby and NRC (as well as Rugby Australia) but I was wondering if they had ever outlined their plan for comp and structures in Australia. Is it club rugby at the summit for the domestic competition and then to Australian Representation or are they looking at regular provincial games between those with comps strong enough to support it? That isn’t a criticism of them but genuinely wondering what their model is? Do they want any interaction between club rugby in NSW, Qld and ACT? or just drop out the Super Rugby and NRC and play a couple of games between NSW and Qld each year.

      I guess my biggest worries with Super Rugby are lack of FTA coverage and the spread is too much. We can’t often watch half of the games live. I think the travel demands on players may be a bigger part of the reason why so many leave for Europe. if you could get the same money but base yourself in one area (mostly) and just have one or two days that are interrupted it would be better than travelling and spending week’s outside of the country.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Nice write up Nick and we’ll done on pushing through the pain. I’ve got nothing today. The ongoing inability of the people running this game to bring in the changes needed to improve it from the bottom up just beggars belief. I think that things are going to get worse not better and I think that is actually needed because until it fails completely these people won’t pull their head out of their arse and make the changes needed.
    Maybe it’ll take all the sponsors pulling out to wake them up. I just don’t know and for all my ANZAC brothers and sisters over here I feel for you all.

    • Richard Patterson

      Well summarised KRL.

  • IIPA

    Friend is actually on to something and in 20 years time I could see the 7s Rugby World Cup being the premier intl rugby event. Much wider global participation, a really entertaining and marketable product and let’s face it traditional league/union contact sports are on the nose with parents and that’s unlikely to stop. In the same way soccer and AFL are seen as safer for little Johnny and Joanne than League and Union, I think Sevens can compete in that space too.

    In Australia look at crowd and atmosphere for the Comm Games 7s and the last three sevens series in Sydney. Compare that to an average Super game at AAMI Park, Allianz or Canberra.

    Guys like Longbottom, Porch and O’Donnell are great footballers but they are no longer big enough for traditional rugby which is in itself sad.

    • Bakkies

      They are big enough. Even though he got smashed by the Lions in a tour match Damien McKenzie has done really well in test Rugby. France have capped players like Gabi Lacroix and Antoine Dupont.

      • IIPA

        Bakkies you’re’ not wrong but guys like McKenzie and say Shane Williams before him are both freakish and freaks in the sense that they are outliers… Millner Skudder I guess is another. And on Saturday Cam Clark was probably one of the Tahs best.

        But the majority of small-mid sized guys who could make very good 9s, 10s, 11s, 14s or 15s are simply getting left behind by the behemoths or overlooked because of the focus on size/power.

        Case in point, Naivalu and Korobeite can continue to serve up non-tackling, poor finishing, wouldnt-have-a-clue-how-to-kick-a-football dross and there’s no way a smart, quick and skilled in the basics footballer like Henry Hutchinson will get a look-in to their starting lineup.

  • Xaviera

    To answer the easiest question you asked – the expectation in the 1970s wasn’t that high – the Bledisloe hadn’t been won since 1949. Winning it in the late 70s was an unexpected bonus.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Well good morning Ladies and gentlemen, and Hoss, Nutta & KRL ;-). Well I have been fairly quiet lately, letting my temper simmer, but alas, I can no longer contain my utter disdain for the administrators, some of the coaches, and unfortunately some of the players! So here is an infamous BL rant coming up, off the long run up, with a full head of steam, and off the top turnbuckle with the people’s elbow. Here I go:
    – Fuck RA! They are totally destroying the game, they have no idea how to fix it. They keep dipping into the shallow end of the gene pool of inbred limited experience, limited ability, limited skillset people to try and solve the problems, but these people are incapable of even spelling the word clusterfuck, let alone recognising one and fixing it. Rod Kafer, need I say more.
    – Hire a national coaching director / high performance manager what ever the fuck we want to call it, but hire some one who actually knows what right looks like. Till we can find someone, go and hire Sir Graham Henry pay him shit loads and get him to at least start the process of recovery for the game in Aus. Now I know a lot of people will bag me out for wanting to hire a Kiwi, but fuck me roman there aren’t many people in Aus who know what right looks like. We know he does! Some people will say a Kiwi wont understand the Aussie culture. Well most of the problem with Aussie rugby is our culture. A culture of ineptitude and nepotism!
    – Like a company when there are problems, you bring in specialist outsiders, who are a.) not part of the problem or culture and b.) specialists in un-fucking things, and let them get on with the job.
    – Andy Friend’s commentary is very insightful. In fact it further highlights just how fucked up things are at RA.
    – Watching the games this weekend, in fact pretty much this whole season has demonstrated that we have our Wallaby and most of our SR players that lack the basic skills to do their job. Mick the kick doesn’t have enough time or staff to un-fuck this issue. Our boys are struggling to understand the basic tenents of the game.
    – Whilst we are on this topic, how can players show up every week knowing that they can only pass in one direction with any certainty, if they have to go the other direction all bets are off. Jesus H fucking Christ, surely (Don’t call me Shirley) you think that is something that you would be working your ass off to rectify so that you are not shown up and embarrassed week after dismal week. But no, our over paid dross, do fuck all to try and rectify their deficiencies. We have backs that can only kick off one foot! WTF? Jesus even AFL players from U12 onwards are taught to kick off both feet!
    – I don’t give a fuck about our players sitting there dejected on the sidelines all hurt. It should hurt. In fact with these guys it doesn’t hurt enough! If it really hurt you would actually do something about it. Turning up week after training harder and harder isn’t going to fix it. Why? Well it hasn’t worked for the last two seasons so why is it going to work now. They get paid too much to dribble out this shit week in and week out.
    – Our coaches are clearly and manifestly out of their depth! The jury is still out on BT, and I am giving him to the end of the season to pull a rabbit out of his ass, but the rest of them are shite. Each week they are seeing the same problems over and over again and yet they can not develop and implement a plan to start fixing the problems. If all of us fans can see them, surely they can! And if they cant fix them, then fuck them off and bring in someone who can do the job.
    – The Tarts had close to 500 Wallaby caps on the paddock in the last half, you think that kind of experience would bring some control and measured decision making, but alas, it doesn’t. They have no idea of what their doing. No I know some people will say as a Reds fan I am being biased, well the Reds have no fucking idea what they are doing either! But at least they have an excuse of having an average age of 21 and other then George Smith, Slipper, and a smattering of others actually have any international experience. But alas the result is the same, they still fuck up!
    – I love this game, will always love this game, but man they are making it hard for me to love them.
    – The highlight of the year was truly that Force Vs Fiji Warriors. I don’t know if I am a fan of the new rules, but by god that was enjoyable to watch. Huge crowd, competitive match, pretty good skills on display, and my beloved Fijians playing hot potato was just enjoyable.
    – We are going to get absolutely worked over by the Irish. Cheika doesn’t have the brains or the ability to deviate from his pre-determined selections and plan to change the scenario. If Phipps, Robertson and a number of other players who shouldn’t be in the squad are, I am going to personally take out a half page ad in the Australian calling for Cheika to be sacked! I also don’t think that we are going to see a reformed Cheika, as soon as the pressure mounts, and adjudicator decisions go against him, he is going to launch it stupid ass clown tirades all over again. He is an embarrassing dickhead who should not be a national coach!
    Ok rant over. Over to you GAGR’s! BL out!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      And………….breathe…………..
      Not a lot of arguments from me mate. Personally I think the Reds results so far are enough for BT to stay around. At least they have moved forward and are showing some heart.
      The rest – Yep!

      • Brisneyland Local

        Afraid so.
        I think BT is a pass for the year so far. Some frustrating parts, but a 51%.

    • Hoss

      Thanks Briz – i think !!

      Proudly ungentlemanly me.

      I dont get all the doom and gloom here today.

      The Brumbies & reds were unbeaten over the weekend – giving us an Australian ‘not lose’ ratio of 50% for the weekend.

      Glass half full approach.

      • Brisneyland Local

        I think I am an engineer from a previous life.
        The glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

        • Hoss

          Look i am firmly in the RA camp here and don’t think they’ve gone far enough

          1. Cut the Rebels so we become more competitive
          2. Cut the Ponies – cause lets face it – Canberra sucks
          3. Cut the Red’s – we all know our founding fathers simply got federation wrong and Queensland should be a republic anyhow and have a banjo in its Republican Anthem
          4. leave the Tah’s as a stand-alone provincial side. We would be competitive, remove uncertainty around who wins the Aussie conference and make national selection less controversial as they are mostly Tah’s anyhow.

          There you go Alan Jones, my blueprint

          PS – your welcome.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yes but even after we did that the Tahs would still lose!

        • Hoss

          Yes, but i have developed a flow chart to track the blame from that point.

          Shit only goes one direction Mr B – away from the Tah’s (here-forth referenced as ‘the chosen ones’)

        • Brisneyland Local

          I love flow charts!

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          At least it wouldn’t be worse

        • Brisneyland Local

          No, but it still wont have improved! ;-)

  • Will

    The big news of the day is that 3 more of the South African Super Rugby sides are leaving the competition next year to join the Pro 14.

    PLEASE ARU now look to leave this dud of a competition. Tasman competition. What’s in it for NZ? Us or the most gimmicky Super Rugby beyond 2020 imaginable. This is the impetus we need to get the game back on track here and finally NZ needs us too

    • Missing Link

      If it’s true that the SA teams are heading North, then RA have 2 options. negotiate with NZRU or negotiate with Forrest (pending the ongoing success of world series rugby). Imagine thumbing your nose at the NZRU and telling them they can play with themselves, while forming a comp with 5 aussie teams, fiji, tonga, samoa, hong kong, japan and argentina. have proper home and away fixtures, not just everyone vs. the force :)

      The other option is to form a trans tasman comp with NZ and continue getting thrashed every week

      • Will

        Whatever we do I hope we don’t go for a geographically diverse competition, like Super Rugby, but with worse teams.

        NZ teams do beat us regularly but things would even themselves out if we were in the same system and had a platform to build the game. It’s not too long ago that we had winners.

        • I don’t think the North America option is a good one – Rugby is growing fast here – really fast- and MLR and the ARCbith clash with the Super Rugby calendar.

          As I mentioned above, given how fast things are moving today, Aus should lock down an Asia -Pacific oriented IPRC. No value in joining with NZ based on how badly we are doing.

    • onlinesideline

      That news couldnt be more relevant and timely to this thread. I swear MSM take their cue from GGR.

    • onlinesideline

      NZ doesnt need us. We need to go it alone. We need to meet the kiwis at test level only. May the best man win on test day. Test rugby will be retuned back to the mantle it sat on before. They should play their domestic comps and we should play ours, including state matches.

      • Missing Link

        I know some of their fans would be content to only play other kiwi teams. Maybe it’s time to go back to one off Bledisloes, winner takes all.

        • onlinesideline

          yeah I really dont think kiwi fans are enjoying watching the aussie matches. And to be perfectly honest, I dont get into playing them that much. Yeah they are great athletes but thats their world, their teams from their land. IMO NZ is too distant to enjoy on a week by week basis. Its another country. And TBH even if we were winning, I would till feel the same. Thats my point. Its not natural. Its hard to explain over a forum like this but for week to week stuff its more natural to play people in your general vicinity ie NRL style. Playing them is for test time. I would prefer seeing a side from North Qld play a Melbourne side, some aboriginal lads, some country lads – an all aussie affair. We know how to create good nationwide uniquely aussie comps. There good.

        • Bakkies

          NZ is closer to the east coast than Perth and Darwin are.

        • onlinesideline

          its not about flying distance Bakkies

        • Missing Link

          so true, we are so similar to kiwis in a lot of ways yet so different in others.

        • onlinesideline

          the 1950 green tiles in the pub dunnies are an ever increasing rarity. They are us and once you deviate from that its downhill. Look at pubs today. They are like lounge bars. We have to fight to keep those green tiles. And its the same in rugby. We have lost our identity, its not aussie, its an empty globalist corporate wank. We need to ockerise rugby in Australia quick smart or its dead meat.

      • Hoss

        with 38 in a row over us, maybe the games should be considered a ‘bye’ round and just allocate them the points.

    • Dud Roodt

      Looks like even if the Kiwis don’t want a trans-Tasman comp, that’s what they’re going to have to be happy with.

      • Missing Link

        Yep, so far, the NZRU has held a lot of power due to the All Blacks and Super Rugby success. If SA leave, it will put NZ in a position where we are their only hope in negotiating a comp going forward, so they’ll have to relinquish some of their power by compromising with the ARU simply because they are geographically isolated. Maybe kicking our ass for so many years will come back to bite them.

      • Nutta

        Don’t think for 1 moment they ever forgot or forgave the 2003 World Cup shenanigans both on-field and off. But the reality is they need us and we need them.

    • Gun

      No more NZ v Oz at this level. I don’t mind an integrated comp but get rid of these low level internationals and let’s let players move around the comp.

  • Knapsta

    Did DW really just say “while the Crusaders might say at different times they have to do that travel, the difference is they’re a club that’s used to winning and have that momentum”

    ?????

    So because they are good enough to actually win games jet lag only applies to teams who are losing. Yeah, no…..you’re not using it as an excuse are you?

    His post match interview was full of excuses as well, we have a lot of injuries blah blah, ignoring the fact the opposition had just as many if not more injuries over the last month. I’m liking him less and less every week

    • Joe King

      Don’t worry, I think everyone knows it’s a poor excuse. Aussie rugby fans don’t buy it anymore. Our teams just aren’t very good.

      • Knapsta

        I know but for once I’d love the coaches to stop sugar coating shit. I got the impression from his interview that he actually thought they played quite well and didn’t do much wrong.

        • Missing Link

          Post match interviews are a bit of a waste, we all know they’re full of platitudes and hyperbole. Wessels was never going to come out and say “you watched the game didn’t you, tell me we didn’t suck”, but I take your point, sometimes fans would be more engaged if they didn’t think their team sounded like politicians and more like real people.

        • Bakkies

          Less Kiss did that at Ulster and it was one of the reasons why he was let go. Sent the players under the bus publicly even though he was right. Mourinho did that at Chelsea and was gone two weeks later.

        • Knapsta

          You don’t need to throw players under the bus. Just a bit more honesty to engage better with your fan base. If my team was spanked on the weekend and many previous weekends before the last thing I want to hear is “it’s alright, everything’s dandy, I thought we actually did good” meaning more of the same next week..

          I wouldn’t mind if there was a change in approach but when it’s the same dribble game plan repeated again and again

          Sigh…..Deep breath….

        • Ed

          What is Les up to Bakkies?
          He would be a good experienced coach to have back here. I enjoyed his chats with Djuro on Ruggamatrix years back.

        • Missing Link

          We need to bring Les Kiss back down under!

        • Bakkies

          He is coaching London Irish with Declan Kidney.

          Like most Australian coaches he hasn’t evolved and isn’t head coach material. His defensive parties were ruthlessly exposed and he talks in riddles.

          In comparison like Shaun Edwards and Gustard are so ahead of the game it is not funny.

        • Ed

          Thanks Bakkies.

          Why do you think most of the Australian coaches haven’t evolved?
          As an example was Larkham saying last year that we, Australia, were around a decade behind NZ when it came to the benefits of counter-attacking off turnover ball.
          https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/may/09/australian-rugby-currently-languishing-about-10-years-behind-new-zealand

        • Bakkies

          It is about coaching a way instead of adapting to trends, changes and the players you have. Australian coaches believe what works then should work now.

          There aren’t any complete players like Larkham, Eales, Horan around these days so they have to provide work on their weaknesses to get better. Not enough has been done by the coaches and players. A good example is Latho. He wasn’t a good kicker when he first made the grade. From memory he took up the game late. He worked on his kicking and he became one of the best Wallaby kickers since Roger Gould. He also worked harder than anyone in losing causes. Even after getting dropped regularly in the early days of his test career. Folau has these weaknesses and done next to nothing to fix it.

          A back row of Hanigan, Hooper and Pocock won’t play the Cheika way so what has the coach done to change the game style to suit those players? Sweet fa I say.

        • Ed

          Thanks Bakkies.
          I remember watching Latho with the Tahs at the SFS. I never thought he would turn into one of our great fullbacks. But as you said, he worked on his kicking and I remember he put more time into defence.
          A mate went to a coaching clinic in the late 90s where then the instructor lamented on the passing of top-line players, especially left-to-right. Well, we saw Folau and Foley’s poor efforts before the first Blues try on Saturday, and Beale effectively shuffles it when he passes in that direction.

        • onlinesideline

          they should be scrapped – they absolutely suckkkk. Leave it to old school post match quickies outside the dressing room. Screw the media, they just reprint what was said and then put up a paywall to reread it.

    • onlinesideline

      they have to travel more actually – from bottom of the planet. Is there anything alive south of dunedin ?

      • Knapsta

        Haha, more truth from your statement than Wessels…

  • Bakkies
  • Ian Crawford

    Hi It’s pretty simple the Australia has put money into top players to cone across from League and bringing players back from overseas .That money should have gone into the grass roots game and develop players from there .Example look what Brad Thorn has done with players who wouldn’t have been picked if he wasn’t the coach and no Cooper, with no disrespect isn’t the full package.There needs to be a pathway for players.
    Should always be looking at other ways of doing things game wise structure and look at WA .
    Ian

  • Joe King

    “The Force eventually prevailed 24-14, but it was a night that rugby showed it’s potential when the community is put first.”

    And that’s the difference. Give the fans what they will most enjoy. This is what is needed to win participation at all levels.

    Along side this, coach the skills from the bottom up. My bug-bear: ensure every player knows how to draw and pass, in order to create that little bit of extra space for their teammates. Aussie teams always pass too early (easily defended against), or too late (way more chance of a mistake). Plus every other player without the ball supports the player with the ball. This puts the opposition in two minds (and so makes it harder for the opposition to defend against).

    Coaching across Australia also needs to happen within an information/best practise sharing system, for the good of Aussie rugby overall. If NSW and Qld look after themselves first, everybody loses. If they share for the common good, everybody wins.

    • Habitual offender

      re Coachng – Something has been niggling at the back of my head for a few yrs now, not agreeing or disagreeing with you particularly.
      All i hear from under-12s through to State squad coaches is the same.. right down to the techniques, keywords and calls.
      I guess what Im trying to say, is it appears some head coaches coach says something, and its repeated down through the ranks to the lowliest of us.
      Wonderful if its good advice, not so much if not.
      Maybe i should think more about whats in my head, then what Im typing, so it makes sense…

      • onlinesideline

        it makes sense – gossipy word of mouth consensus on things that are wrong. There needs to be some sort of official australian rugby bible drawn up re whats correct and how to play – that all schools, coaches drill into players from the beginning.

        • Habitual offender

          Who do we get to write it? Kafer perhaps? *coff*

        • onlinesideline

          Roy and HG

        • Bakkies

          It is already online. Type in Australian Rugby Coaching manual online and there is a link to the Reds who have put it up online.

        • Habitual offender

          Do we want to follow the current existing Australian one?
          Of course there is always the issue about the differing ways to skin cats.

  • RobC

    Thanks for the news! So… Lets see who the Blues play next. Thats the next chance

  • Nutta

    My favourite saying from my Dad was always a simple statement about priorities in life: ‘Meat and potato’s first Boy. Only a dickhead puts gravy on the plate first.’ For the sake of clarity, the Old man was talking about getting the first principles sorted first and leave the fancy extra’s until later.

    With that in-mind I make a couple of observations:

    1. The biggest problem with rugby in this country has long been best-exemplified by Matt Burke’s infamous comment that people like me have no right to comment. It’s a exclusionist, private-school, Eastern-incestuous wank-on and the disappearances up our own arse over the last few years demonstrate that better than anything else. No pressure to perform, no fresh blood, no new ideas and downward spiraling results as a consequence. It’s getting really hard for me to keep supporting.

    2. It’s remarkable that the one bit of rugby that Super and RA haven’t touched of late is the one thing that went well – well done WA and Fiji

    3. NRC is good footy and is a very real development opportunity in the same vein as NPC and Currie Cup if we choose to

    4. Having no Shute nor NRC club in western Sydney is myopic lunacy of the 1st order

    So with that in-mind, considering the reported exit of SA from Super, here is my 3-part strategic plan to reestablish our game before we expire:

    A. Talk with NZ and go back to a Super10 or Super12 competition (x4 Oz, x6 NZ plus either Poly’s ex Singo, Pingers and/or Jags if the cash makes sense). That comp ends in-time for the June Tests

    B. After the June Tests roll into Tri-serise and send ALL non-23 selected Wobblies to play in the NRC. Bugger me, we develop the domestic pool with good Club footy leading to NRC to Super to Test. The NRC teams should be:
    x3 from Sydney (Nth, Sth & West)
    x2 from Brisbane
    x1 each from Qld Country, NSW Country, ACT, Vic and WA
    And for the love of God get it on free-to-air telly.

    C. For the GOOD OF THE FKN GAME put an ARU under-wriiten club into Western Sydney to pick up where the Emu’s failed with preferential treatment to ensure Parra, West Harbour and Penrith form their own NRC team to guarantee a development pathway to Super. Give the Fibro’s a viable identity and a fair-dinkum path FFS.

    Simple structures, local connections, breaking out of the borderline apartheid-insularity that has strangled our game and instead create quality based step-up rugby with clear pathways. And then watch the quality/success/popularity that comes via that path.

    Meat & potato’s first Boy. Only dickheads put gravy on a plate first.

    • Richard Patterson

      Thanks Nutta. 2 questions…

      1. What do you believe would be the reaction to your revised Super10 or Super12 competition if the current level of NZ dominance continued?

      2. Who underwrites the cost of the Pacific Islands teams in this proposed format? These Rugby Unions have zero money. They do not have access to sponsorship funding for this sort of budget and whilst they have the fan support to host 1 Super Rugby game per season, those same fans don’t have the budget to support 5-6 games.

      • Nutta

        In terms of the NZ dominance I have 4 thoughts:
        1. Numbers will help address that. Currently we pull from an ever-decreasing clique. Open the game up (eg in the Sydney example beyond the Eastern Suburbs and Northern Beaches), put some fresh blood and numbers into it via clean pathways (eg from an extra 1.5m folk in western Sydney) and that will address that.
        2. Quality of competition will also redress that by a step-up programme that will cycle up and through not only better players with better skill levels but a more regular flow of them.
        3. NZ is in a rich vein of form. Good on them. It was borne out of their 2003 crisis/awakening. It took 5yrs to really show progress. We need to do same.
        4. NZ needs us. Without us, their game is too insular and it will shrink. It needs the platform. So they will stick with us even if only for their own good.

        In terms of the Poly’s:
        1. Pingers and Jags support themselves
        2. The Poly set-ups are undermined by $$ (and that is frequently corruption). They have the meat but not the oversight (which you quite rightly allude to). A Poly Warriors type arrangement operating ex Singapore was my vote to get the extra franchise spot over the Pingers originally. Singo corporate dollars and oversight on Poly talent would be a winner.

        • Richard Patterson

          Well thought out — thank you.
          Points 1-2 are real and actionable. Everyone of course will tell whoever is listening how dedicated they are to growing the game in Western Sydney. Sadly, evidence suggests in many occasions it stops right there.

        • Nutta

          Dude I make no representations that I possess Papal Infallibility. But surely I am not the only person who can see some really simple steps that need to be taken.

        • Richard Patterson

          That Nutta is what makes the whole situation so unacceptable. Growing the game and addressing some clear and obvious issues was not trying to find the cure for cancer. If this was the Board of a public company I would commence charges for negligence and failing on fiduciary duties.

        • Nutta

          Agree. However whilst no one seems to be able to afford pathway development, they always seem to have enough cash for consultants, lawyers and rent at 29-57 Christie St, St Leonards yeh?

      • Perth girl

        The PI teams are underwritten by World Rugby

        • Richard Patterson

          Very possible. But World Rugby oversee the entire project. There are no cash handouts which fall into the hands (pockets) of senior local government officials / administrators. Such corruption has left them in the dire financial situations they currently find themselves.

  • Alister Smith

    Found a couple of comments from Gibson interesting.

    “Definitely near the end there, I felt we lacked a little bit of composure there just to hold the ball for a little bit longer.”

    I personally felt the team looked panicked and looked to be forcing play almost from the start. From the moment the Blues scored that first try the Waratahs looked to me like they were playing catch up.

    “I thought they showed some fighting qualities and that effort wasn’t rewarded with our technical execution.”

    The way they play, while attractive at times, looks very complex and performed at a very high speed. Where it becomes unattractive is where the error rate takes over and they are unable to maintain that level of concentration or effort. I thought the on-field game management was lacking.
    I also think the skill level required to play the game plan (much like the Wallabies against England) is beyond the players current level of skill. It is worth considering adjusting the game plan to the skill level while they work to bring the skills up.
    The Western Force – Fiji game was highly entertaining. Hopefully, the crowd numbers, support and momentum can be achieved. They couldn’t have asked for a better partner than Fiji to ensure an entertaining game. I am not sure a $10 ticket price for a rock show and a rugby game is self-sustainable – the crowd certainly got great value for money – but I also realise its early days you have to do something to get the ball rolling.

  • Marilyn Macey

    I believe that NZ will pull out of Super rugby at the end of 2020. They will have a domestic comp. instead of travelling to Aus to whip our assess. The travel and cost savings will be used to finance possibly other teams or grassroots. Also right now, Brumbies and Rebels management will be on the phone to RugbyWA to see if they can get a gig in World Series Rugby. Meanwhile, back at RU, they will be patting themselves on the back thinking what a great job they are doing, while chanting” stronger as two, stronger as two”.

    • Will

      I wouldn’t be so sure. It’s a very small country with a very small population and their rugby superiority is a large part of their identity, and why not.

      Certainly the Super Rugby franchises can only continue in a larger competition.

      It’s only been a a couple of weeks since we remembered the sacrifices of the ANZACs. Australia and New Zealand share a deep cultural and historical link and should work together in this regard. A competition featuring ANZ sides makes sense. The makeup of Super Rugby never made sense.

      • Marilyn Macey

        I believe the decision will be made based on what’s best for the development of the sport in NZ at a particular point in time and not based on ANZAC traditions. Netball Australia pulled out of the Trans Tasman Cup to play a purely domestic competition. So the severing of the sporting ties between the two countries has happened before and I still believe it will happen at the end of the current broadcast deal in relation to Super Rugby.

        • Huw Tindall

          Would be interesting to see how much NZ relies on Super Rugby $$$ assuming it can be separated from TRC revenues. Can they literally afford to go it alone? I guess without Super Rugby there will be some extra dollars to go to other comps but with the tiny NZ market they can’t demand a lot, regardless of how good the rugby is.

  • Dud Roodt

    The old copy paste from you Adrian!

    Can’t see it happening.

    • Adrian

      Ha ha
      I think it probably will happen, sometime in the next 20 years, but I’m not sure of the likely circumstances.

      In business, it would be as a result of something like voluntary administration, or pending insolvency by RA.

      In sport, some amalgamations have happened to avoid losses by two parties.

      In this case, I don’t think it will happen without a crisis, either about money, or perhaps the Wallabies having to qualify for the World Cup, by defeating Uraguay

      Both aren’t out of the question

  • VINCENT HUTCHINSON

    hey guys

  • Kirsty

    Thanks for the glowing report on what was a night to remember in the Force history books… One note of clarification though, it is Tim Sampson, not Todd, who is coaching the Force. While the outcome of the coaching may be an amalgamation of Todd Blackadder and Tim Sampson, I can assure you that’s as far as it goes. Tim and the rest of the coaching staff brought the Force very quickly up to speed with the fast tempo of World Series Rugby, and their efforts paid off with a jaw dropping, energetic, rapid fire match.

  • Charcoal

    I’m all for an exclusive domestic competition, based on the NRC, with perhaps 10-12 teams played over a full season. Super Rugby has failed Australia and you can trot out all the reasons why it shouldn’t be abandoned, but at the end of the day, we’re going nowhere. Something has to change.

    I agree with others that we have to take League head-on and compete for the talent coming out of the school system, particularly in the heartlands of NSW and Qld. It may take some time to turn things around, but there is no other option.

    For the most talented Rugby Union/League players, surely the opportunity of playing on a world stage and ultimately earning greater income than playing in a purely domestic competition (i.e. League) has to create some incentive to choose Rugby Union. I don’t think RA has promoted this advantage enough.

    With regard to an NRC based domestic competition, it would need to have a substantially greater financial commitment to promoting it and it would be mandatory to having it on free to air. There is no alternative. The obvious choice would be the Ten Network, which doesn’t have any major sporting contract, despite the initial likely low broadcast fees.

    You can argue that RA can’t afford to forego the broadcast revenue from the SAANZAR broadcast contract, but what good has it done us anyway. Better to go it alone and take a risk that it could develop over time into a successful competition. That doesn’t mean to say that the 4 Nations Southern Hemisphere Championship couldn’t continue.

    A season long NRC competition doesn’t necessarily impact on the support for the State based Premier competitions such as the Shute Shield. Obviously there would be greater numbers of club players drafted into the NRC teams, but it would create opportunities for the best club players to experience a higher level of competition with professional training and conditioning over a full season, rather than the present short time-frame of the current NRC. At the same time it would create opportunities for aspiring talent to rise through the club ranks. It’s a win win situation. As a staunch club supporter, I would continue to attend and support local club matches and I’m sure there would be many others like me.

    Just for my final tuppence worth, I would suggest potential NRC teams could be Sydney North, South and West, Newcastle, Illawarra, Brisbane North and South (Gold Coast?), North Queensland, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

    • Huw Tindall

      Back your general view Charcoal. It’s close enough to rock bottom that we need to chance our arm. Compete head on with a beefed up NRC with a couple of pacific teams maybe. The Drua were a brilliant addition last year.

      Big question is what does this mean for the traditional state teams? With no competition to compete in what becomes of them? Does it even matter? We could do a state based comp or have a hit out with a much smaller Super comp (yes – 3 Aussie teams) and the best of SA and NZ or something like that. At this stage I’d even leave it up to Twiggy to run a new comp with minimal input from RA! I don’t have any answers but I sure as hell have the problem statement down pat – Super Rugby is broken in every way, from brand to the comp structure, and we need a new approach.

      • onlinesideline

        league are able to pick the Kangaroos from the NRL without state games. Are they needed. With a beefed up truly national NRC 20 weeks long and then a 4 nations comp and then EOYT thats plenty of footy. What I would do is try and have a mirror NRC comp for schools, where school team players get selected to rep in school version of NRC but obviously shorter season but longer than what is at present – to toughen them up early. Could be an awesome comp but it needs to eb from far northQLD through to country boys, coori kids, everyone.

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@Nick_Wasiliev

Die-hard Brumbies/Country Eagles fan now based in Sydney. Author, anthropologist, musician, second rower. Still trying to make sense of the 21st century. About to drop a book...

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