Monday’s Rugby News has the Brumbies CEO saying yes to arvo games and no to scrum resets, Daryl Gibson reading his team their rites, and a Super round up
No 2 Resets
A few boffins are scratching their heads after 6,311 turned out to the conference-leading Brumbies win against South African City and/or region Bulls on the weekend. Some people said it was because the ACT had a long weekend, and then some people say but the Raiders got 16,000 the day after.
Lots of people are saying lots of things, and one of them is Brumbies CEO Phil Thomson. Thomson reckons its the scrum resets what done it. The bad crowds, that is.
“The level of (spectator) interest is always concerning because it’s a number of areas of your business: your ticket sales, your membership sales, your merchandise, right through to your corporate hospitality,” Thomson said, according to rugby.com.au.
“It’s concerning for your business model as we have it set up at the moment.”
Thomson’s comments come with Brumbies coach Dan McKellar’s request on Friday to have the Super Rugby on FTA TV, which means that Canberra is currently the hotspot for rugby leadership and vision in this country.
“Across the whole of rugby, we need to look at how rugby presents itself as an entertainment product,” Thomson said, putting pins into an RA-shaped voodoo doll.
“People don’t pay money to stand around and watch people packing and re-packing scrums.
“I have to say it is one of the biggest blights on our game at the moment: the waste of time and the lack of ball in motion.”
Thomson, who was the manager during the Brumbies golden age, and then the manager for the Wallabies for a while after that, and then the ARU’s integrity manager for six years as well.
“People want entertainment. They want to see a product which is fast and entertaining,” Thomson said.
“We have guys standing around for whatever time, with no play whatsoever.”
Yes 2 Arvo
Thomson’s back at it again (same article), and this time he’s talking about arvo games.
To get the community back, Thomson and the Brumbies are putting on a Pasifika game when the Reds will come down, with food stalls and other cultural things going on pre-game.
“We’re hopeful that will be a good engagement with the community,” Thomson said.
“The team will wear a special jersey for the match and we’ll just continue to just try and connect with all areas of the community, from kids right through to people who play rugby or support rugby.”
That community feeling is what Thomson wants, with potentially more arvo games on Sunday and Saturday.
“We would like to have two, three, four afternoon games to attract families, especially at this time of year when it is cold,” Thompson said.
“But we also realise TV broadcasters have a fair say in that given their investment in the game. [But arvo games are] a way of re-engaging with the public I guess, for a number of parties.
“If they come out to a game and have a good experience, and you sitting there and watching a 3pm game, if the next game is at night you’ll be more likely to watch it if they have an interest and are following the game.”
Asked if he backed McKellar’s call for FTA games, Thomson said: “I have been seconding that for 23 years, but that’s a bigger question there.”
“Obviously the more exposure the game can get in more areas of the community and population is better for the game. But I understand there are bigger issues at play there when you are negotiating to get maximum value in a broadcast deal.”
Tahs nightwatchman Daryl Gibson has admitted to the Daily Telegraph that the Tahs have pretty much no hope of making the finals after their 23-15 loss to Jags.
Semifinalists last year, the Tahs have this year only won 5 times and sit on 26 points, 1 win/4 points away from the final spots. The 3 games left for the Tahs are the Rebels, Brumbies and Highlanders.
“It’s going to be very difficult from here on in, isn’t it? In terms of those three games, we’re very much still wanting to play the rugby that we’ve set out to play all year,” Gibson said (via Fox Sports).
“That hasn’t changed for us. I know our guys will turn up and keep fighting, keep answering the bell and that’s what I expect.
“While we have that disappointment we know that we’ve got a lot of pride in our team and a lot of pride in our jersey. So plenty to play for there.”
The Tahs, who would have got their 5th losing bonus point this season if not for a full time whistle penalty, have struggled without Israel Folau, the perma-suspended Tolu Latu, and had to prematurely substitute Karmichael Hunt, Damian Fitzpatrick and Cam Clark during the game on Saturday night.
Gibson reckons he knows what to fix, and he’s got the answers.
“Obviously the kick duels, kick battles, the Jags did a better job there in terms of relieving their pressure. And metres gained on their kicks, they seemed to be able to get out of their area much more efficiently than what we did.
“And then when we had possession, we looked a little bit impatient, we wanted to score off every possession as opposed to being satisfied to go through the phases.
“Obviously the first half we struggled to get possession and territory but by the end of the game we had our chances, particularly during that period where they had a yellow card. I felt we converted some pressure but there were some opportunities there that we could have done better with.”
Hunt, meanwhile, is out for the rest of the Super season.
There were 2 wins for Aussie teams on the weekends – the Brumbies beating the then-conference-leading Bulls, and the Rebels beating the Sunwolves by a lot. The Tahs lost, and the Reds did, getting a bonus point against the Chefs.
That means the Brumbies and Rebels are top of the conference, on 33 and 32 points, with the Tahs and Reds 7 and 9 points behind the Brumbies.
In terms of the Super conference, the Brumbies are in at 3rd out of the conference winners, and the Rebels are 2nd-best of the rest, behind the Hurricanes and more or less level on points with the Shorks, Bulls and Lions. With the Crusaders (obviously) and the Jags leading their conference, at this stage, 4/5 of the South African conference are in the finals.
On top of that, the Stormers have 30 points, like the Lions, and are currently coming 9th – one place outside of the playoffs.
Check out Brett McKay’s excel sheet table for more info. (Brett’s table is better and more accessible than the one found on the official site…).
Oh and after 15 rounds, do you know who’s the leading try scorer, with 10 tries? The answer is in the pic.
Chefs 19 – 13 Reds; Brumbies 22 – 10 Bulls; Moondogs 7 – 52 Rebels; Tahs 15 – Jags 23.
Crusaders 19 – 11 Blues; Stormers 34 – 22 Highlanders; Shorks 27 – 17 Lions. Bye – Hurricanes
*Rah! The Australian mens’ 7s will play France in the London 7s semi-final at 1148pm. They beat South Africa 29-22 in the quarters, and if they beat France they will face either the US or Fiji in the final. This is great news as the boys haven’t performed well enough to automatically qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Make sure to check the result in the morning, I’m going to bed!