Podcast 249 - Radio Silence - Green and Gold Rugby
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Podcast 249 – Radio Silence

Podcast 249 – Radio Silence

Rugby Reg, Matt and Hugh do as they do and wang on about Super Rugby, Australian rugby and anything inbetween.

The five burning questions:

  1. What was the best and worst from this weekend of Super Rugby?
  2. Is the silent treatment by the ARU the best approach to the Sanzaar decision?
  3. Is the national coaching structure working in Oz? (Mario Ledesma and Mick Byrne)
  4. If you were CEO of the ARU, what would be your first focus?
  5. RWC 2019 rankings band have been confirmed – who do you want the Wallabies to avoid?

  • Gottsy

    I like Reg’s idea about bringing the comp back back to Aus only. I would expand further on that though.

    I think the thing that kills interest for most people I know that are casual rugby fans is how difficult it is to engage with the competition as a whole. They have no idea who the other teams are, and pretty much no idea who is in their own team.
    To me, this is down to a couple of reasons; the biggest one though being accessibility. Not having games on free to air is a massive killer, and it always will be, as long as it stays on Fox they will always be struggling for viewers. I know that they paid for the NRC, but the ARU has to grow some balls and get it on free to air.
    Having a 7 team national comp + the fijian side that is coming in this year is a good start, you could still have the super rugby teams but add in a few extra (qld country could stay on the gold coast, with brisbane city reverting to being the reds, etc) then you could have a champions league style set up where in certain parts of the season you could have the top four teams from aus and nz play each other, and so on.

    I really think that the ARU needs to realise that they need to make people give a shit about rugby again, and that doesn’t just mean bringing back the fair-weather fans, but engaging new ones.

    • Pearcewreck

      Yep, something has too change.
      What you say about fans finding it difficult to engage in the competition as a whole is spot on.

    • Muzz

      But does this idea have any legs when it comes to money? I like the concept but it’s all moot if the finance side of it wont work.

      • Gottsy

        Well considering the finance side of it isn’t working at the moment, because nobody is showing up, then I would say that increasing fan engagement might lead to increased ticket sales and increased tv ratings.

        • Muzz

          A fair argument Gottsy

  • paul

    Wow guys great podcast and what a question.

    But i really think you answered it.
    When is a solution simply no longer a solution.

    Sooner or later Australian rugby simply has to wake up and smell the roses, we can’t go on with a competition that just does not work for the game here and hasn’t for a long time.

    We all know its about the money, but at what cost. How longer do we simply keep the finger in the dyke.
    I agree we have to bring the game back to Aus only.

    Get the basics and foundation right and we can grow from there.

  • Tommy Brady

    Thank you for the podcast – an interesting conversation. The mood is clearly down. Trust thoughts and commentary remain constructive as you work through the season.

    Intrigued by the discussion on Q4 and the focus for the ARU CEO. I was particularly interested in Reg’s comments on the Super Rugby competition and a desire for Australia to move away from it. Is it really the competition that is at fault here, or more the fact that Australian sides are currently proving uncompetitive in it? An Australian side won this competition only 3 years ago whilst 2 of the last 6 champions have been Australian. Were these same thoughts in the minds of Australian rugby fans in those more halcyon days? Shouldn’t Australian fans be somewhat grateful the current conference system at least ensures one Australian team a home play-off match every season? Developing a side that then can go deep into those play-off’s feels a highly worthwhile task.

    I believe the concept of an all Australian, expanded type NRC format is flawed for the following reasons.

    1. Isn’t there agreement Australia currently lacks the player and coaching and financial resources to field 5 sides. How is expanding a competition to 8 professional sides addressing those concerns?

    2. Agree TV want “good content” but how could Rebels vs Gold Coast on a Saturday night be deemed good content? The AFL, NRL and Netball pull it off because they have the world’s best players. Rugby must showcase itself as an international game that brings the world’s best players to Australia.

    3. Such a competition would be of no benefit to the Wallabies come the international fixtures that require playing games at altitude in South Africa, at Eden Park in NZ, or the travel issues to Argentina. Shouldn’t the fortunes of the flagship team be considered in any plans?

    4. What happens to the existing NRC which was put in place to fill the gap left after club rugby ends? Everyone goes back to playing each other again, only this time without the Wallaby players?

    All this chatter about rugby fans not understanding Super Rugby is a mere smoke-screen for the fact Australian teams right now are just not very competitive. Anyone in 2014 hear Sydney folk say they wouldn’t attend Waratahs matches because they couldn’t understand where the opposition team was from or the make-up of the competition? They went along because the Waratahs were playing great rugby and they were winning. Simple. Returning to those days must be the priority.

    Cynical rugby fans are entitled to be critical of the contribution to Super Rugby by the Sunwolves, Kings and Jaguares. If balanced in their thoughts, they should also be extremely complimentary of the Lions who turned themselves around and have been brilliant now for 2 seasons. Surely there is far greater benefit for rugby in Australia in producing the next Lions equivalent than taking your ball and going to play by yourselves.

    If I was the CEO of the ARU I would be openly encouraging as many Australian schoolboy teams to go on a 3 game 1 week NZ tour to learn as much as they can. I would be getting as many Australian youth coaches into NZRU coaching clinics and importing that knowledge back to Australian rugby. I would also be setting very direct, very accurate, very specific targets for the flagship Wallabies side. Get your base right and your apex right and good things happen. Oh and to be the best, you got to beat the best. Learning how to achieve that is the art.

    • paul

      1 We have the players and coaches for 8 teams, we
      won’t have to compete every week with NZ franchises, we will have winners every week.

      2 So we need the best players in the world playing here or it’s a waste of time. Well how’s that approach worked for the last
      20yrs

      3 The wallabies are currently playing 15 tests a year, since when have they not been the priority, and where has that got them.

      4 The NRC is a 4yr old 8-week development comp, you want to base the whole future of the game here on being unable to disrupt its schedule.

      So, all this confusion is just a
      mere smokescreen then, is that until the grand SANZAAR master plan is released.

      And your answer is we just have to win everything, well that’s simple, with what 4/5 teams in a 18 team comp,
      well then we should at least be able to look forward to every 3 or 4th year then.

      And finally, simply send all our
      school kids and coaches to NZ, okay.

      And simply set specific goals and targets, now if only the ARU had been doing that for the last 20yrs.

      So as long as we win the Super
      comp every year and the Wallabies are the best in the world then everything
      will be dandy.

      • Tommy Brady

        Excellent points Paul. To answer your questions, in the last 20 years…

        1. the Wallabies have competed in 3 of the 5 World Cup finals and finished Top 3 in 4 of them. That is impressive.

        2. Australian sides have won 4 Super Rugby titles so your assessment of every 3-4 years is not too far off the mark.

        It looks like a format that is generating results. The problem is that results in the past 2 years have turned down so everyone now wants to walk away and go play by themselves. Maybe it’s a model that raises match-day audiences, lifts TV ratings and brings international trophies to Australian rugby. History would show that cutting oneself off from strong competition does not.

  • Johnno

    Club rugby needs to Unite. In soccer now all the NPL clubs and lower division clubs have formed an association, Association of Australian Football Clubs. Rugby clubs in OZ should do something like that call it rugby clubs of Australia. The lower division soccer clubs want a spot on the FFA board and want to form a national 2nd division and some revenue from FFA.
    If i was Ceo of ARU I would listen to clubland more, not cut funds from it and make it part of the structure not try to tear it down.

  • Muzz

    Here’s a good way to get reinvigorated in rugby- go see your local club play a trial game and have a few beers with your mates. It works for me.

  • Cameron

    A note on QC’s tackling. The guy clearly can’t/won’t drop his body height and tackle with his shoulder which is evidenced by the numerous cards and ridiculous tackles we’ve seen.

    Could this be because of all the shoulder troubles he’s had throughout his career? He has to have broken his collar bone so many times now that he can’t take too many more.

    Also worth pointing out that Beale has the same issue where he can’t bring himself to make a proper tackle.

  • Cameron

    Thoroughly agree that free-to-air is needed.

    Are we all perhaps being a bit short sighted about the state of Australian rugby at the moment? It wasn’t all that long ago that the Reds won the comp and made the finals for the next two years running. Same thing with the Waratahs winning the comp and the Brumbies being right up there for a while with a chance to take the trophy.

    I think it was 2014 or 2015 that there was only one NZ team that made the finals. It’s fair to say that we’re in a pretty epic ‘down’ period at the moment and one of the inevitable outcomes of that is that people are going to change the channel or not bother coming to the games. When the Reds were on their run to winning the comp they were drawing bigger crowds than the Broncos for a while.

    Could the fact that ‘everyone loves a winner’ be the major issue with game attendance and television ratings?

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

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