Podcast 255 - Quality Rants - Green and Gold Rugby

Podcast 255 – Quality Rants

Podcast 255 – Quality Rants

Rugby Reg, Matt and Hugh chew the fat on all the latest in Aussie rugby, and in light of the most recent match between the Reds and Waratahs (and other Super Rugby results this week), some ranting was well overdue.

WARNING – Mild language

1. Were the Queensland Reds robbed?
2. Which is the better race in the Australian conference currently: the race for first or the race for last?
3. If a Super Rugby team is cut, should the foreign player policy be cut as well?
4. What is the most damning statistic in Australian rugby at the moment?
5. Who will be playing on the wing for the Wallabies in 2017?

  • Nickwaiheke

    I’m not going to listen if it’s mild…

  • Merrow

    Brumbies play the Lions in Canberra…although not sure that’ll make a difference.

    • Pearcewreck

      Might reduce the margin of the loss, but that’s probably all.

  • Pearcewreck

    I look forward to listening when I poke around in the backyard on Sat arvo.

  • Tommy Brady

    Credit to Matt Rowley for spearheading an intelligent discussion on Australia’s best way forward in Super Rugby. The winds of change are blowing across many sports and on the realization that high water marks may have been hit in many areas (read TV revenue) is resulting in adjustments being made that are meaningful, and in many cases painful.

    I believe for rugby in Australia to have a future it must return to being competitive, something that it is not right now. There has to be consolidation and a base from which competitive sides can emerge. For Super Rugby that is 3 sides. With 3 sides,costs reduce and greater competition for playing spots emerge. Only funding 3 teams would allow a greater ability to pay players and ensure more of the elite players and coaches remain in Australia.

    Most importantly, a reduction back to 3 sides would better allow Australian Super Rugby sides to be competitive and create better interest from rugby (and sports) fans across the country. As the stat’s in the discussion highlighted – a played 15 lost 15 record versus NZ sides and an overall Played 27 Won 3, Lost 23, Drawn 1 record against all foreign sides shows Australian sides are not competitive. Even worse, the gap in 2017 is wider than 2016 (which was wider than 2015). A record Bledisloe Cup points deficit, a 3-0 home series loss to England and a total 9 loss season for the Wallabies in 2016 highlights the fact that Super Rugby is failing to produce a competitive Wallaby side as well. Anyone expecting better things in 2017?

    Australian rugby right now needs to be brave. It must make some brave (albeit painful) shorter term decisions in order to produce a better longer term future for the sport. Reducing the number of Super Rugby teams from 5 to 3 feels a very smart step in the right direction. The current model is broken beyond repair.

    • Bruce Lyle

      12 teams in super, great competition, continue with NRC. It is so easy to watch what ever you want and if it’s not a great spectacle people just change it to some thing it else.

    • lee enfield

      I think going back to 3 teams will in the long run be bad for Aus rugby. All it will result in is more young talented players take up overseas/nrl contracts, as there are fewer chances to make a living in Australia.
      Players like Hodge, DHP, Goodwin, McMahon, and pretty much any Wallaby or Fringe wallaby from the force or rebels would most likely have been lost to Aus rugby under a 3 team model.

      The player talent is there to field 5 teams, the coaching and development talent is not. The wallabies are not necessarily suffering from a lack of talent, but more so a lack of sound selection.

      • Tommy Brady

        You imply players such as Hodge, DHP, Goodwin, McMahon etc would not get spotted, recruited and bought into development systems of either the Brumbies, Reds or Waratahs.

        You imply that player movement would only be one way (away from Australian rugby towards NRL or overseas rugby). You discount the possibility that if Australian rugby had 3 quality, competitive sides in Super Rugby it would not attract talented NRL players to the code, or lure overseas based players back to Australia.

        You imply that many talented young players raised in Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide or wherever don’t have aspirations to play for the Wallabies and would be more interested in making money overseas than moving to Sydney, Brisbane or Canberra to fulfill their dream of playing rugby at the highest level.

        You imply that because the ARU player salary pool would effectively decline 40%, there would not be scope to pay the remaining 60% more and be competitive with overseas contracts.

        You imply that all these Shute Shield and NRC quality players will somehow rise to Super Rugby quality level and all these comprehensive losses and consistently poor win/loss records by the Reds, Force and Rebels can be attributed to poor coaching, not a lack of player depth.

        You imply Australia has the depth to avoid having to fill rosters with NZ players unwanted by any of their 5 professional franchises.

        • lee enfield

          These guys only got their gigs because the force and rebels are around. They clearly weren’t on the Reds, Waratahs or Brumbies radars, cause if they were, that is where they would be, instead of with the Force and Rebels.

          Coaching and development are the major problems in Australia, not player talent. The talent is there, the development isn’t.

    • Pearcewreck

      I sort of agree, sort of don’t.
      I agree that “The current model is broken beyond repair” , and too me that means the whole comp is busted. We need to look after ourselves, as NZ have said they don’t want to change .
      So, I believe ARU needs to suggest Super Rugby be shortened to a European Cup style competition, 16 to 20 teams, 4 or 5 pools, then knockout stages, all over in 9 weeks.
      For the rest of the year we need a new club/city based domestic comp using strongest Shute Shield & Brisbane club teams plus a team from Canberra, Melbourne & Perth, 12 to 14 teams, comp goes for 20 weeks at most, play everyone at least once, with as many cross town local derbies as possible.
      Shute Shield & Brisbane club comps still continue, NRC still continues as well, but maybe some small changes to it. Must get some games on Free to Air TV.
      If SA & NZ won’t agree to Super Rugby being a European Cup style comp then we can increase the length of our new domestic comp to 25 weeks or so.
      What I don’t agree with is just reducing teams to 4 or 3 or whatever. It is shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.
      We need to get out and go our own way, Super Rugby is stuffed.

      You are also right about TV deals, the writing is on the wall. Pay TV will almost certainly decline over the next 5 to 10 years.

      • Tommy Brady

        Wouldn’t a characteristic of “a busted comp.” be poor or declining levels of rugby on display across all the matches? I think the quality of the rugby in the NZ derbies and also by the Lions in SA has never been higher. I don’t hear complaints from NZ about a busted comp. I do hear concerns though that matches against traditional Australian rivals like the Waratahs, Reds and Brumbies are not capturing the interest or drawing the crowds they once did. NZ rugby knows very well they benefit more when rugby in Australia is healthy and competitive across all levels.

        • paul

          So what happens when we reduce to say three teams and are still not winning, do we go to two or one, why not just have the Wallabies play every week.

          I simply don’t understand how the answer to the codes popularity here is simply being the best in the world, then the game will be popular. well that’s pretty simple then isn’t it.

        • lee enfield

          They do, but during the non-international window they go by the name ‘Waratahs’.

        • lee enfield

          Jokes aside, reducing the teams to 3 or 4 will not save Australian Rugby. We currently have 5 teams, and its arguable that we don’t have 1 good coach.

        • Pearcewreck

          Sorry Tom, if you think for a second that NZ care too hoots about us then you are deluded.
          They couldn’t give a stuff about us, they don’t need too, everything about the current set up is going perfectly for them. They are laughing at us.
          Super Rugby is totally busted from an Australian point of view.
          Your comments about NZ derbies and Lions only reinforces this point.
          We must get out ASAP.
          In saying this, I have been a huge fan of Super rugby in the past.
          But that was then, this is now.

        • Tommy Brady

          So the current Super Rugby competition with it’s schedule, travel, player attrition and week to week intensity is a winning competition for NZ rugby, but a busted competition for Australian rugby? Or is it that across the board, Australian rugby have been found out in how to advance the sport and how to be successful in Super Rugby. What is most peculiar is that I never heard anyone describing Super Rugby as a busted competition in 2014 when the Waratahs were lifting the trophy.

          Australia could get out ASAP as you propose – but where do they go? Organise a domestic NRC type competition in March – June before staging the real NRC in August – September? Think that will fill the coffers of the ARU, retain the leading players in Australia, draw viewer interest from sports fans and help produce a competitive Wallaby side for Bledisloe Cup tests and UK tours? It is essential Australia stays in Super Rugby – just with a smaller foot print.

        • Pearcewreck

          Super rugby in Australia has been on a down hill slide since 2004, when the Brumbies beat the Crusaders in Canberra, for the following reasons:
          1. No free to air TV coverage.
          2. Lack of success by Australian teams, only 2 titles across the whole country since 2004, with occasional grand final appearances by Waratahs & Brumbies. Nothing builds a fan base like winning the tittle. Every single year our main rivals, AFL, NRL A-League & Big-Bash have an Australian team who win the tittle. EVERY SINGLE YEAR!!! We have had winners in 4 years out of 21, and we won’t win it this year either, so 4 out of 22. In NZ it is the exact opposite, they always win it, and there is no competition from other sports. Super Rugby is struggling in SA as well because they never win it, 3 out of 21, will be 3 out of 22 soon.

          3. Competition from above codes in Australia, as mentioned above, not really relevant to NZ or SA.
          4. It so boringly predictable, as proof I offer that even an average tipper like me has had at least 3 perfect rounds so far this year in my tipping comp. The Hugh Cavell Co-efficient works, never tip Aust teams, never pick SA teams against NZ teams. So predictable.

          5. Aussies aren’t interested in state based sport, no one watches Sheffield Shield, even AFl can’t get a SOO concept to work. All the popular week-in-week-out comps in Aust are club/city based. Why? I dunno.
          6. Tyranny of distance. In NZ you have 5 teams in an area the size of Vic & Tassie combined, in SA it is 6 teams in an area the size of NSW & Vic combined. In Aust we have 5 teams spread over an area the size of Europe. EUROPE!! 5 teams!! Soon to be only 4.
          7. No true, real local rivalries, due to tyranny of distance.

        • Pearcewreck

          You say “Organise a domestic NRC type competition in March – June before staging
          the real NRC in August – September? Think that will fill the coffers
          of the ARU, retain the leading players in Australia, draw viewer
          interest from sports fans and help produce a competitive Wallaby side
          for Bledisloe Cup tests and UK tours?”

          Mate, Super Rugby is failing dismally in all those areas in case you haven’t realised. You defeated your own argument.
          My suggestions as to what we need to do can’t be any worse than it is now.

          It is essential Australia gets out of Super Rugby.

        • Tommy Brady

          Given the AFL and Big Bash are all Australian teams whilst the A-League, NBL and NRL have 1 NZ team each it’s not difficult to assume an Australian team will win the competition every year.

          The AFL and NRL do well because the world’s best players in each sport play in their domestic competition. Rugby in Australia could not boast the same fact so lengthy domestic competitions as you propose simply would not work.

          I strongly believe rugby’s point of difference in Australia is the international flavor of the competition. Super Rugby could still match those interstate rivalries – and add a unique dose of AUS vs NZ and AUS vs SA rivalry into the mix as well. The problem is because Australia has diluted it’s playing and coaching resources too thinly across 5 teams, the result is none of them are competitive and therefore not a good draw card. It’s why Free to Air TV has no interest. That can only change by reducing the number of teams to 3, channel all the resources into those 3 teams and maybe then the product improves, winning ratios lift, profile climbs, TV gets interested and every other rival sport is envious of the international favour and/or patriotic nature of all Australia supporting an Australian team (whichever one) vs a NZ or SA team.

          Having an all-Australian rugby competition to compete with the AFL and NRL on Friday nights and on the weekend would fail – miserably!

        • Pearcewreck

          Quote “I strongly believe rugby’s point of difference in Australia is the
          international flavor of the competition. ….. TV gets interested and every other rival sport is
          envious of the international favour and/or patriotic nature of all
          Australia supporting an Australian team (whichever one) vs a NZ or SA

          That is exactly what I used to think, but it is a pipe dream. Harsh reality is Aussies don’t care about the overseas teams much, most Aussies have no clue who SA teams are.

        • Pearcewreck

          Quote “Given the AFL and Big Bash are all Australian teams whilst the A-League,
          NBL and NRL have 1 NZ team each it’s not difficult to assume an
          Australian team will win the competition every year.”

          That is exactly my point, and …..nothing builds a fan base like winning the comp.

        • Tommy Brady

          You paint a very bleak future for the code in Australia.

  • ForceFan

    A warranted rant Rugby Reg. The Reds did not deserve a 16:4 Penalty count. A rant very similar to many of mine in the past. At least there is a an improving consistency in handling the head-high stuff – but still too much going on uncalled.
    Welcome to Western Force World where penalties are inconsistently applied at critical stages in the game invariably killing momemtum.
    The lower end of the SR table constantly live in the space of officials on “L” plates at SR level.
    However, surely consistency and fairness still should be there?

  • Twoilms

    Agree with the rant largely, don’t agree with including it in your podcast. At odds with most of what makes it a great listen.

    • RugbyReg

      interesting. Can you extrapolate on that thought? Just whinging you think?

      • Twoilms

        Yeah ‘spose,

        You generally approach your analysis with light-hearted and knowledgeable/intelligent insights. It’s usually pretty amusing. You don’t generally single out individuals for too much abuse.

        Rant was angry and ultimately pointed out little that any semi-serious rugby fan doesn’t already know. Yes all we want is consistency and yes when it isn’t there it entirely ruins the game.

        Yeah, it was a pretty bad refereeing performance (though i doubt it was as bad as you suggested) but as everyone always points out after a referee has a shocker, he’s a bloody human. These games are always going to happen every now and then, particularly as Super Rugby is missing depth in peripheral roles like coaching, management, referees etc.


  • Kiap

    Problem here is the delusion of clinging to Soup.

    Forget any talk of the ONLY way back for Super Rugby.

    There is NO WAY back for Super Rugby.

    The 4-continent, full-season, World Club Rugby model is dead.

    The week-on-week of dumb travel schedules and wasted time zones need to go. A champions cup, maybe, but short duration only.

    And that’s before even addressing the home-grown decline within AU (and SA) rugby.

  • Bobas

    intro q we need a PM taking morning walks in wallaby tracksuit (it’s goodluck) & I agree with Rugby Red, regs were robbed.

  • Happyman

    Excellent and accurate rant Reg I thought many of the same things but managed to stay away from my keyboard. So as not to go full rant mode.


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

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