Questions for the Australian Rugby Union - Green and Gold Rugby
Rugby

Questions for the Australian Rugby Union

Questions for the Australian Rugby Union

Since the Australian Rugby Union has refused to be transparent with fans, much less consult them, about its plans for the future, I thought I’d take this opportunity to lay out the core questions that the axing of the Western Force raises:

1

What is your vision for the future of Super Rugby, and professional rugby in Australia generally?

The fans are your core constituency – no fans, no money, no professional rugby – and yet we have *no idea* what your vision for the game in 5 or 10 years is.

2

Are the South African teams looking to leave Super Rugby in 2020?

If Sanzaar disintegrates, surely the competition will need to replace some of those teams with other “markets”. Please, tell us all about how much more financially feasible a Fijian team will be than simply rebooting the Force. In that situation, the costs for closing them down, legal fees, player contracts – not to mention the disruption and lost career opportunities of everyone associated with the Force – will be a lost opportunity.

3

What point is there in the ARU acceding to Sanzaar demands if Sanzaar is not going to exist in 3 years’ time?

Or is this really a case of the ARU being “forced” to do what it already wants to?

4

Why does the ARU think it can see off the Force’s resistance to this decision?

It’s true that the Force haven’t always lived up to expectations and have had financial issues. But the Rebels needed a huge loan written off a couple of years back and have a substantially worse record of producing Wallabies, either homegrown or otherwise.

Embed from Getty Images

5

If it is the right decision to go to four teams now, with one in Melbourne and none in Perth, was that always the case, or have circumstances changed?

In other words, was it a mistake to create a fifth team? And, before that, was it a mistake to create the fourth team in Perth rather than Melbourne? A bit of honesty would be good here.

6

What is the ARU saying to World Rugby in an effort to amend a market that is threatening to destroy national rugby in both Australia and South Africa (winners of four of the eight World Cups)?

It isn’t true that Australia isn’t producing enough talent for five Super Rugby teams. There are 80 players from Australian rugby, most Wallaby eligible, who have signed in Europe/Japan since the start of 2015 alone.

So the problem isn’t that we’re not producing the talent, it is that we can’t generate enough money to pay them. What is the ARU doing to bring in private ownership of the Super Rugby teams in Australia in a way that might bring in new (and more) revenue? And, again, what is the ARU’s five year, ten year, fifteen year plan for combatting this dynamic? Is there a plan at all?

7

Beyond appointing Rod Kafer as our new Coaching Tzar, is there a major plan in place to get more talented coaches to be able to give up their day job and become elite, full-time rugby coaches?

Of course, paying players assumes that they are static resources, which they are not. You have to develop them. Bringing in, investing in, and developing the best *coaches* gives you the best bang for your buck.

8

Does *anyone* still work at the ARU?

The top three figures there have all resigned in the last couple of months.


That’s about it. If someone from the ARU would like to respond, or come on our podcast, that would be great. Perish the thought that the governing body – which exists to serve the game – should think it worthwhile that major decisions affecting the future of the game in the country should be justified to the fans in forms other than short press releases infused with corporatese.

  • Huw Tindall

    the ARU will get back to you in 48-72 hours on the above

    • From NooZealand

      Maybe or maybe later or maybe not at all.

    • Andries Hendrik Pretorius

      and in their reply they may refer to a real or imagined “spreadsheet”, which may or may not include the cost of refreshments at ARU Board meetings.

  • boof77

    Honesty and the ARU??? Please explain? Plans for the future? What are these strange requests? Please explain?

  • Andrew Luscombe

    I would like to know what improvement they expect cutting a team will bring to the other teams in numerical terms – eg an average of 1 more win per season, or 6 more competition points, two positions on the ladder, or something like that. Also how many additional fans are expected to show up or tune in as a result.

    They said one of the reasons for it is to improve the remaining teams and attract some fans back, so what figures did they have for these things on the extensive spreadsheet that they referred to in the press conference?

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I agree. It is unlikely that all of a sudden the rest will get 20% better. I wonder how many Force players will say “Fuck you” to the ARU and look off shore.

      • Who?

        I wonder what that sort of thing does to the mind of a young player? Even the ones who get offers? If you’ve spent the last half a decade or more living in Perth to find your way to the top, who has your loyalty? Is it the national body and team, where you’ve found your feet, or is it the place that’s been home, where you’ve been ignored… I’m thinking DHP, I’m thinking Coleman. Mr R. Dwyer was – rightly – spruiking him a few years ago on this very site as a future senior Wallaby. If I’ve lived in Perth for 5+ years, I’d be pondering the trustworthiness of the ARU and value of that gold jersey, opposed to the significant cash available overseas.

  • The Blind Seer

    ARU needs to see fan anger re @westernforce axing, during the tests @10 min mark of each test, stand turn your back, chant FORCE for 1 min with fist pump if you don’t join in just cheer those that do, send a message

    • Perth girl

      The ARU will be seeing a mostly empty stadium for the test in Perth. Those who do go will be wearing their Force gear

      • Who?

        Or Boks gear…

  • Andrew Luscombe

    I would also like to know how they evaluated alternative means of controlling costs and equalising teams when they chose instead to cut a team. Things such as league wide revenue share with players, league wide access to players, and league wide salary caps are common in other sports. What efforts did they put into exploring those things with their SANZAAR partners, and what efforts do they plan to put in in the futures? How did they evaluate those alternatives?

    • McWarren

      With a spreadsheet ya big dummy!! They’ve got a big spreadsheet and it said, NO!!!

      Actually spreadsheets are very transparent. Why not release the sheet and let’s all see how it came to this completely illogical decision.

      I wonder if it’s the same spreadsheet Clyne used at the NAB?

      • Bakkies

        ‘Actually spreadsheets are very transparent. Why not release the sheet and let’s all see how it came to this completely illogical decision.’

        Unless they are password protected.

        • McWarren

          A quick google search reveals an easy program to break excel passwords. I do it regularly.

  • Who?

    I’ve another two.
    1. If the ARU believes, we were spread two thin in our talent across the five team era, please explain why our outcomes in that era in terms of titles produced are so much better than during the previous three and four team eras..?
    2. Please advise what’s being done to ensure that up and coming coaches aren’t just former players getting jobs for the boys? To further clarify, Coaching talent and Playing talent are two very different things – please advise that this is understood, and demonstrate examples.
    Gray and Larkham being assistants at the Wallabies are examples of the flawed logic that great players (or at least players skilled in one specific area) will be great coaches (at least in that specific area). This is too commonly believed, and not just in Rugby (look at the AFL, look at League). Our best coaches, for the very most part, did not ever represent Australia (Dwyer, Jones, Jones, Macqueen), and the same is also true of foreign coaches (Hansen, Henry, White, Schmidt).
    Ok, maybe a third question…
    3. Is there any point in following you guys, given you don’t seem to care one iota about your constituents/stakeholders, you are inordinately inward looking, and we have very, very little positive in terms of structures going forward that will enable a change in direction or improvement in leadership? Whilst I’m not sad Pulver’s gone, at least he can point to the NRC as something proactive that he did that will advance the game in Australia. I can’t see anything that the vast majority of the current board – certainly not Clyne – can point to as their positive legacy. Some will argue (such as Clyne) that deciding to write off millions of dollars in investment is a positive, but you’ve got to be a banker to do that. I question the value of his contribution to the game in the country – I ask, would we be any worse off if we’d never had his involvement..?

    • Bakkies

      Australian teams won the same amount of titles with three teams and that was with the Tarts underachieving.

      • Who?

        There’s always at least 1/3 – more commonly 1/2 – of the teams from any one nation ‘underachieving’… That’s just statistics. ;-)

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Point 2 is so relevant right now.

  • Nicholas Wasiliev

    So many questions! So few answers! Completely in agreement with everything written here.

  • Pedro

    I’d like to know how the aru proposes to grow recognition and support for super rugby and the nrc when it is only available to a very small sector through pay tv subscription.

    Why is there no stand alone streaming service like so many other sports?

    Is there any plan to expand the market through easier access to these products?

    • Wallabrumby

      I find it interesting that women’s big bash cricket now gets more coverage than our premier mens rugby competition. Nothing against women’s big bash cricket, just an indication on how poorly the ARU markets it’s own game

      • Pedro

        Yeah, it displays the emphasis on getting maximum cash for the product in the short term at the expense of long term growth.

        With women’s cricket I’d assume the former is far less attractive than the latter. Regardless they’re doing the best thing for their sport.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate that would be a huge step in the right direction. Trying to grow a sport with no free to air coverage is dumber than dumb

    • Andries Hendrik Pretorius

      I agree

  • ForceFan

    9
    Could you please provide the a breakdown of the $28 Million that has propped-up Aussie SR teams since 2013?

    10
    Despite the rescue of other franchises, including the Waratahs, why was it ONLY the Western Force that was asked to hand over its operating licence?

    11
    Is the spreadsheet that is still being used the same one which was presented to RugbyWA/Western Force on 10 April – which error-ridden and far from reality?

    12
    At the time of the WF rescue the ARU heralded a new era where the WF would get a lot of support from the ARU organisation. Please advise what this entailed?
    Hint:
    Ben Whitiker hasn’t been near the West since the initial set-up mid last year.
    Mick Byrne provided a short coaching clinic on passing during the pre-season.
    Cheika hasn’t been to the West since the Puma Test last year.

    13
    If it wasn’t JUST about the $$s, could you please provide a comparison of Force v Rebels on all of the other criteria.

    14
    If the ARU has no $$s then please explain how it can continue to provide t$$s to buy-back overseas players (e.g Cooper, Douglas, Beale, Genia to name a few), continue to pay top-up to Pocock while he’s having a break and pay huge sums to Union converts such as Folau and Hunt (I don’t know the details of Rona & Peni).
    Is this the $$s that was robbed from grass-roots rugby?

    • Phil Kcraig

      So the decision was based on a spreadsheet that some work experience kid did with some input from what intelligent folk from the ARU…sorry that was an oxy moron. Of course they did not get an independent consultancy to do that for them as that would mean not getting the right numbers to support what they could rather then what they should do. Complete farce….

  • Woolfe

    Can the ARU give me any reason why i should not wear Springbok colors to the Perth test for which i have tickets? I now HATE the ARU for its double dealing and out right fraudulent and possibly criminal behavior in its dealings in the matter of cutting a team.

    • Woolfe

      TWF site says to wear Force colors to the game, not wallaby. Great idea and i urge all that are going to this game to do so.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Or don’t go and have a stadium full of SA supporters. Mind you the ARU will see that as justification for their decision

        • Woolfe

          Already got tickets

        • Phil Kcraig

          Yes good point – would be better to go and in Force colours….

      • Wallabrumby

        Go support the Wallabies..and the Force players who will be playing in the team. Not right to punish the wallabies and disrespect all those who have played or aspired to play for that jersey because a bunch of knuckleheads took the cowards decision and cut the force.

        Wear the Force colours though. It’s not over till the fat lady sings!!

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          The money the ERU make from this game will be used for their legal fees against the Force. If you have not bought tickets don’t. If you have forked out the $90+ per ticket try to get a refund. It is important that the ERU makes a huge loss and that this drain their cash. If you are not successful make sure you wear blue (as Bok supporter, wear a Force hat of scarf) and join in on the F U ARU chorus. My view is that the Force players should not make themselves available for this game – fake an injury if you must. They cannot represent an ERU side against their own supporters. May the Boks put 50+ of the ERU Wallabies. We need a crisis so that the ERU Board resign.

      • Andries Hendrik Pretorius

        will be there wearing blue!

        • Julie T

          Me too. I’ll cheer for any Force player (assuming some make the 23)

    • Who?

      Boks colours – which ones? See their new RED jersey..? :-D

      • Bakkies

        It goes well with Cameron Clyne’s blood.

    • McWarren

      I’d like to see the entire Wallaby team sit down and refuse to play, if only for a ceremonial minute.

      • Bakkies

        Don’t you mean 80 minutes using Nathan Grey’s non defence patterns?

  • paul

    Why when we have only 3 years left of this broadcast agreement did the ARU feel it so important to put the code through what some consider its darkest hour.

    The cost to the code & ramifications of this decision are of such a magnitude, yet the ARU seem to have no real plan or explanation of why.

    They in one decision have effectively ceded rugby Union in Australia as one of the major football codes.

  • Wallabrumby

    While I understand ARU does have a fiscal responsibility in running the game in Australia and I do understand SANZAAR control the cash so they didn’t have much of a choice money wise to do what they were told, I do not understand why ARU were so passive in the whole process. Why were they not active in supporting our franchise’s and going into bat for them? even if they had already resigned to the fact that they would need to cut a team, for good PR and unity for the sake of the game that they are the caretakers if in Australia they should have been sending a message that they were doing everything they can to support 5 teams. All they have done is dragged the ARU name and the game through the mud. That is what upsets me the most.

    Agree would like to see the ARU put together a long term view and plan and why WA was to be sacrificed over VIC other than because of money. Or if because of money how that money will be redirected into saving the game in Aus

    I would also like to make a probably unpopular comment here that WA rugby should be equally as SANZAAR and ARU to blame for the force been cut due to poor money management. If they were never in such a position in the first place then it is likely this would not have been the outcome. In the end of the day they made ARU make thus choice. After all only 12 months ago they nearly went under without any talk of needing to restructure the tournament.

    If I was a force fan I would be blaming WA rugby, not the ARU for this happening to them.

    As for state of super rugby I blame SANZAAR entirely, while I blame the ARU for the state of the game in aus.

    For the record i strongly believed the rebels should have gone.

    • Perth girl

      Poor money management? You do k now that the Force has been given the least amou nt of money from the ARU than any other team don’t you

      • Wallabrumby

        Does not change the fact they were broke and ARU had to take over. If that never happened then what I am saying is they would have had a better reason not to be cut.

        As for money given is that the Force as individual team or Rugby WA as a organisation ? Vs Rugby NSW, QLDRU etc.

        • Perth girl

          All the aussie teams have had to be bailed out by the ARU (now known as the ESRU!) Only the Force was made to give up its license for the money. Force has cost the ESRU the least of all the franchises. To say the decision was based on financial reasons is a lie from Pulver and Clyne

        • ForceFan

          I think this order should be changed to Clyne & Pulver. I’ve gone back and had a look at every press conference since April. It’s very much Clyne calling the shots. Pulver has just been his lap dog and now the fall guy.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Good luck with getting answers out of the ARU. I certainly wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for any. I will put out a couple of points though.
    While you are correct about the core constituents being the fans there is no way the fans will ever bring in the money SANZAAR is able to generate and this is ALL about the money. This ties them to SANZAAR.
    I’m not sure that your points on SANZAAR or SA going away in 3 years is relevant as it is more likely that Super rugby will continue but in a different format. There is very little enthusiasm for the other SA teams to move to Europe and thinking they will is a bit of a pipe dream.

    • paul

      Yes and look where all that money has got rugby in this country.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Mate I’m not sure that all the problems faced by rugby in Australia can be blamed on Super Rugby. I think the nepotism displayed by the clubs in Sydney in particular but also Queensland where the power brokers in these clubs don’t give a flying fuck about Australian rugby as long as they retain their pathetic little power and continue to manage the game using the “old boys” network is much more damaging than Super rugby ever could be

        • paul

          While I agree, remember it was the setting up of Super rugby that allowed all that old school politics and nepotism to remain.

          Everything changed but nothing really did. The game here has never really tried to expand.

          The problem was always the easy money of super rugby allowed all the old school power bases to just continue as if nothing has happened.
          The game went professional but nothing else did.

          While i don’t dis-like the product Super rugby, it is my opinion that the game here will never really make the required changes while it exists, regardless of money.

        • Jack Mallick

          Nailed it, Oz rugby is most definitely it’s own enemy. The super rugby dramas have amplified all the existing issues

  • Adrian

    1.Professional Rugby will continue in some form for a few more years via 4 teams in SR. If SR collapses, we’ll have 5 teams in a trans-Tasman thingy with NZ and Pacific, but that’s unlikely.

    If it all dwindles away, Rugby League will “save” international Rugby Union in Australia by “buying” the rights to have their players play in the lucrative Bledisloe Cup and other tests. They’ll adapt to the different rules if the money’s big enough, …they always have.
    PS…. won’t happen for 20 years, but probably will happen eventually

    2. No more SA teams will leave SR, because NZ and broadcasters want them.

    3. SANZAAR will continue

    4. Why do ARU think they can see off Force resistance?
    GOOD QUESTION
    They must know something we don’t.

    Given Forest has already said a lot, and is unlikely to back down, he has the capability and money to tie down the ARU in the courts and potentially wreck them if he isn’t placated.

    I reckon that ARU will have to make it easy for him to put the Force into the Japanese competition, the Currie Cup, or a new Pacific comp with Fiji, Tonga, Samoa or some other replacement competition.

    5. A 4 Australian teams SR has already been decided on. Unlikely that SANZAAR, will let us back down, even if we wanted to to placate a raging Forest fuelled Force, ….but not impossible

    6. Australia isn’t saying anything to World Rugby, we’ll continue to pretend we are a heavy weight, even though Rugby is far from a main game anywhere in Australia, except for 1 suburb

    7. Coaching will improve a bit

    8. Changes of ARU staff won’t effect anything unless the board changes

    • If Forest has the money and the desire (I’m not sure about the first, I don’t know quite how much it would cost, he seems to have the desire) he could set up a rival to SANZAR. Keep the Force, invite Fiji, Samoa, Tonga etc. and open up a rival contest that way. Don’t do it with the ARU’s blessing, do it like Kerry Packer did with cricket all those years ago. Have a simple league structure so they all play each other, home and away, twice.

      With the greatest of respect to the Pacific Islanders, the Force will do better than they have done against their current opposition. However, the Islanders will, hopefully be able to keep of their players near home rather than having them scattered all over the world playing in other leagues in the build up to the 2019 RWC. And if the Aussie rugby fans see an Aussie rugby team winning, they might start watching again, you never know.

      On a different topic, I listened to the interview about how “coaching at all levels is going to make our teams win more.” Now, obviously having the Super Rugby and National side win more is desirable, but he kept reiterating this would happen at all levels. How is an Aussie team going to win more often when the opposition is another Aussie team? Barring draws (which aren’t that common in rugby), it’s always an Aussie team that wins after all… I’m not saying the actual desire to improve coaching isn’t very good, but the rhetoric is a bit empty.

      • Andrew Luscombe

        I was also wondering what it would take to set up a rival league. To have similar standard to SR, you’re looking at about $10 million per team per year. I don’t think 4 teams would be enough, more like 8 – so $80 million per year. To pay for it you’re looking at 20 million aggregate viewers, and towards a million aggregate attendance, per year. That’s about 350,000 viewers per match and 17,000 attendance per match for a 14 week home and away season. That’s not likely for quite a few years. You could play a 22 week season, and need maybe 200,000 viewers and 10,000 per game. Given super rugby as competition, you’d still not likely get that. You’d easily be risking $20-40 million losses per year, at least for a number of years.

        Still, despite the attention that sport gets, it is really not big business. Mr. Forrest could probably run it for 100 years before he ran out of money completely. There’s probably quite a few people rich enough to set up a sensibly run league. They mostly seem to like to keep most of their money however.

        • Ok, lets slice that the other way. For round numbers, and some pessimism lets say he’s looking at losing $50M/year (and that comes as a write off against tax of course, so it’s not entirely a disaster). If he could really afford to do this for 50 years, lets say he more sensibly has a 10 year plan. If it works, and he sets up a league that saves rugby in WA and improves rugby in (say) the pacific islands. If it’s working by then the Japanese might move after 2019 because it makes a lot more sense to them than all this nonsense about “oh, you’re a South African team” they’ve got at the moment.

          I don’t really know Mr. Forrest but it seems like he has enough of an ego, and enough money, that risking what would probably be less than $500M to hopefully be remembered as the saviour of union in WA is a gamble he might be willing to take. If it really doesn’t work, he still has a chance of turning around and be remembered very fondly for trying and really putting where his mouth is. The desire for a “legacy” for “being remembered” can take some odd forms.

        • Adrian

          Other things Forest said today ( not about Rugby) will mean that he won’t be well remembered by me, and I suspect will partly derail his “love in” with WA Rugby and the Force.

          Just a personal opinion though

  • Adrian

    All of this bullshit would certainly have contributed a bit to SR performances this year, though not the only thing.

    All of this bullshit, would be effecting the minds of everyone in the Wallaby squad.

    If there is anyone who can get them concentrating on “team Wallaby”, and “us against the world”, it’s Cheika, irrespective of whether he’s a good coach in other respects or not

    • Andries Hendrik Pretorius

      or just off the top of my head John Kirwan, Eddie Jones, Jake White, Rassie Erasmus, Warren Gatland, Johan Ackerman, Wayne Smith, Vern Cotter. All of these are better coaches than Cheika.

      • jamie

        You forgot Link and Laurie Fisher

        • Andries Hendrik Pretorius

          I did, and indeed both are also better than Cheika.

        • Who?

          Agree on them all being better coaches (well, maybe not JK – I don’t rate Sir JK as a coach. What do wingers know about playing Rugby? They just stand out wide doing their hair, don’t they..? :-P).
          But the point is that Cheika’s a master of creating a siege mentality, and I don’t know that the guys listed above are better at that one aspect than Cheika. It’s his key strategy.

        • Andries Hendrik Pretorius

          don’t get me started on back lines, they just follow rugby players everywhere.

  • Adrian

    All of this is a really cunning ARU strategy to defeat NZ by:
    1. Making them so complacent that we sneak a victory
    OR
    2. Making the All Blacks feel sorry for their opponents for the first time ever, and letting us win.
    OR
    3. Getting NZ to take us over as their East Island

    • You have to go East a REALLY long way from New Zealand to get to Australia…

      • Andries Hendrik Pretorius

        especially since Rugby is now run by the EASTERN Australian Rugby Union…
        staying and going West would indeed be a better options.

    • From NooZealand

      I am sure Hansen & co. will fall for either 1 or 2.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Hahahaha well at least it’s a strategy

    • Andrew Miller

      Baldrick (who in this episode looks suspiciously like Bill Pulver): I have a cunning plan..

      • Adrian

        Exactly….say no more…

  • TouchFinderGeneral

    As a certifiable ‘Tahs supporter I think axing the Force is a fantastic decision – we can adopt the entire Force playing roster, coaching posse, and staff, mix in a few deserving souls from our current troupe, and call ourselves the Hodgotahs!

    Though I notice, that during one of those rare periods when the medication for the aforementioned condition kicks in, I apparently wrote on the back of my tear-stained ’99 Wallabies jersey – “F**k this”.

    • Patrick

      Clever use of the adjective “certifiable” and not “certified”, love it

    • Andrew Miller

      yeah..good idea mate, but we need to clone Hodgo first

  • McWarren

    So The Force players in the Wallaby squad, have they just lost their Wallaby eligibility?

    • Andrew Luscombe

      No. They have ARU signed contracts that continue.

      • McWarren

        All of them?

        • Andrew Luscombe

          Yes. All SR player contracts are three way contracts between player, team, and ARU. The team participation agreements require it.

          The ARU has its fingers in all sorts of aspects of all SR team operations. None of them are really stand alone enities.

    • ForceFan

      All of the Force’s players only have one contract – with the ARU.

  • Adrian

    This will derail Forest just as quickly as his money bought him “credibility”

    Greens the ‘party for paedophiles': Twiggy snaps

    SMH Saturday
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/twiggy-snaps-branding-greens-the-party-for-paedophiles-20170811-gxucee.html

    • Perth girl

      What has this got to do with the situation with the Force Adrian?

      • Adrian

        A lot.
        People will withdraw their support for the Force when they see that the Force’s main benefactor says such crass things. Ordinary people’s money will dry up, if not his.

        • Andries Hendrik Pretorius

          I doubt that any rugby fan would turn their backs on Twiggy for making a disparaging comment about a politician or political party. We all know how virtuous politicians are.

        • Gun

          Particularly the Greens on this issue.

        • ForceFan

          This ordinary person thinks that Andrew’s comments about The Greens is very much on the money. Shallow idealistic opportunists on almost every issue.

        • jamie

          Even if he’s right?

        • Who?

          Genuine question – do you reckon there’s many Greens voters who are Rugby fans..? Rugby’s long term base is largely located in very secure blue seats…

        • Adrian

          Rugby probably supported by Greens in same proportion as Greens in population. ie 8% of Rugby supporters vote Green. Greens are middle class, and have 1 or 2 high profile Rugby supporters and players, who definitely don’t like this sort of language or these attitudes.

          This isn’t the main reason though.

          Main reason is that people don’t want partisan issues pertaining to politics or religion in their sport in Australia. Sponsors (other than mining industry) don’t want to be associated with other sponsors (or supporters) that have controversial views, especially views that infer intolerance.

          Qantas for example is very careful with what it sponsors, and who might be associated with that sponsorship.

        • Who?

          Twiggy’s not exactly a low profile person these days, not since he got close with Rudd the best part of a decade ago. I really have no issue with his statements. I think they’re overblown, but, read in context, they’re said by a bloke with a passionate history of trying to advance the plight of the indigenous people of his state (because, with Twiggy, everything has to be viewed in light of his position as a Westralian first, Australian second. He wasn’t born with all the wealth he has now, but he does come from the same family as the almost Baron of Bunbury, Sir John Forrest (who only failed to become the Baron of Bunbury because he died just before the letters patent were issued), so he’s as good as WA Royalty), who’s extraordinarily frustrated by people who won’t even engage in conversation about evidence-based policy. It’s one thing to disagree, it’s another to stand on the sidelines and shout down people who actually get out there and get their hands dirty. That’s not to say the Greens are alone in their foibles, or that they only have poor policies. They’re a political party, just like the others.
          Twiggy’s done more to assist the indigenous people of his state than most indigenous affairs ministers in the history of the nation. For a bloke to passionately speak out of frustration… More credit to him even in his frustration than to the people who won’t give consideration of what they consider to be inferior policies, allowing the theoretically perfect to get in the way of a step ahead of the hell many currently find themselves living in.
          And really, isn’t he doing exactly the same thing with the Force as he is with his fight for betterment for indigenous populations..?

        • Funk

          David Pocock

        • Who?

          I said fans, not players. :-P
          Had him in mind, but still think he’d be the exception, not the rule. But not sure even his family would vote green. Not even 100% certain that he’d vote green… Certainly has shared views on some items, but not sure it’d be across the board. People in the top 1% for incomes in the country don’t usually vote for significant tax increases. So I imagine he leans that way, but I’m not certain he’d vote that way. In the same way that I don’t know which way anyone on here would vote (neither do I need to know).

    • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

      This is not relevant to this discussion

  • dsb

    Geoffrey Stookes for Chair of the new Australian Rugby Commission representative of all States and Territories and convenor of local, state, national and international competitions. New Board, new strategy, fresh vision!

    • Julie T

      I’d vote for that! Maybe all members of clubs Australia wide deserve a vote. Juniors, community, super, whatever level

  • EngineRoom

    Twiggy to replace Pulver? Anyone agree.

  • Tommy Brady

    Interesting thoughts Jamie and some worthwhile questions. These are highly emotional times for rugby in Australia. However, to lay all the blame for the current state of the game at the feet of Bill Pulver, the ARU or even worse SANZAAR and/or Super Rugby is masking a lot of underlying truths.

    There may, as you point out be the playing depth for 5 professional sides in Australia. The facts show there is not the finances, nor public interest currently available to support them. As the banker, the ARU have discovered this and put an end to a model that would have resulted in financial bankruptcy. Surely a consolidation of talent, resources and finances into fewer professional teams may allow money to be spent on player and coaching retention plus build effective development systems so players and coaches can better transition into professional rugby. From that may emerge better success and with it fan support and improved financial performance.

    To point the finger at SANZAAR / Super Rugby is flawed thinking. The format of the competition is far from ideal, but is not necessarily the fault of the ARU. The facts are this year Australian teams played 45 matches against non-Australian teams and won just 6 of them. In 22 matches played at home, they won just 3. That has little to do with poor competition formatting and a lot to do with poorly prepared, uncompetitive teams. South African rugby has suffered far greater player and coaching loss abroad yet the Lions, Stormers and Sharks had good seasons. NZ rugby had another excellent competition. All played under the same competition format and structure.

    The single biggest issue that has ripped apart rugby in Australia is the deep-rooted parochialism that exists across the code. In their defense, the ARU on several occasions proposed a more centralized structure to align the interests and create a collective system of information sharing. On each occasion it was rejected by the state unions. The resistance to shared data, analysis and game thinking was because Queensland, NSW and ACT care more about the bragging rights from beating each other than they care about the greater good of rugby in Australia. The fact none of the big 3 remotely care for rugby in Victoria, WA or anywhere else in Australia is a whole different story.

    How is it the fault of the ARU that for the 2nd straight year we have the farcical situation where Wallaby players under coach Cheika are devoting time in August to fitness training because player conditioning data was prevented from being supplied to him and his staff through the season. How is that benefitting the greater cause of rugby in Australia?

    How is it the fault of the ARU that the QRU have intentionally chosen to operate a “Boys Club” in Brisbane which has set the strategically important Reds back enormously in terms of on-field performance, fan support and financial results?

    How is the fault of the ARU that A$11 million from the sale of a facility in Canberra went “missing”, prompting a Federal Police investigation and the ARU being forced to bail out the Brumbies to the tune of $1.5 million each year?

    How is the fault of the ARU that too many Waratahs in the crucial state of NSW suffer from a chronic case of entitlement and who wish to get paid like professional rugby players but not make the necessary efforts and sacrifices to perform like professional rugby players?

    How is the fault of the ARU that the Rebels were once again ravaged by injuries because conditioning levels remain so chronically poor. Every other side encountered the same weekly physicality – why could the Rebels once again not cope?

    How is it the fault of the ARU that the Western Force could not secure proper financial support from folks out west until it was too late? Or are folks out there just all talk when it comes to wanting professional rugby (and rugby league) franchises. The demise of the Western Force was not some overnight phenomenon.

    Right now the smartest thing the ARU can do is stop the financial hemorrhaging and build a base to grow from. A collective coming together across the country to re-build the sport would be a worthwhile endeavour. See it happening or will the finger pointing continue and local interests continue to override the greater good of rugby in Australia?

    • Pedro

      Putting the necessity of cutting a super rugby team to one side, I think what is most upsetting for everyone is the way all of this was handled. That surely is solely the ARUs fault. It was always going to be a bitter pill but the way it was administered could only be described as cowardly.

      • Tommy Brady

        Very hard to disagree Pedro. The lack of leadership was extremely costly.

      • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

        Coward, dishonest, unfair, incompetent and ignorant seem to be words that best describe the ERU

    • ForceFan

      Is not the ARU and its Board the custodians of the game of Rugby Union in Australia. The bucks stops with the ARU and ipso facto with the Chairman and the Board.

      • Tommy Brady

        They are indeed Force Fan. But underneath them, there has to be collective buy-in to also look after the greater health of the sport. It is here the ARU appear to have been let down. Perhaps they should have taken on the role of a dictatorship to best ensure the right decisions were being made across Australia.

        • paul

          Have the ARU been let down or are they simply a product of the system.

          What you point out though is that they have proven completely incapable of changing the system..

          So you come to the conclusion exactly what purpose do they serve.

  • Dean Powell

    I would like to know why we need to cut a Super Rugby Team when there are 50% more registered Rugby players in Australia as compared to NZ?
    http://www.worldrugby.org/development/player-numbers?lang=en

    • jamie

      Because we count anybody that does a school run program or a Viva 7s day as a registered rugby player. They could do a 3 hour activity and be considered Registered ruggers.

      How many professional players does NZ have overseas? Apparently we have near 100?

  • Bakkies

    Do you like pie? Which would you prefer in your faces?

    You get to choose from
    Apple
    Custard
    Meat
    Steak and Kidney
    Andrew Cox’s bodily fluids
    Bullshít

  • DK

    As a person who thought the rebels should go, business and rugby wise, I’d love to know what the selection criteria was. In saying that we had a giggle at the pub last Friday that we would take the loss of the force in return for Pulver going. Why does he need to wait for a replacement? Just go already, the place isn’t going to collapse (more so) without him.

    Perhaps he can go to the CBA and Ian narev to take over as boss of the aru. Wouldnt surprise after the recent decisions.

Rugby

More in Rugby