Thursday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News has an EGM to be hopefully held soon, Simon Cron and his charges optimistic, and Will Genia not snubbed.


The VRU and RUPA have joined together to issue a demand for an EGM at the ARU, reports

The ARU has responded, scheduling a special meeting in 7 days. EGMs have to have 21 days’ notice, hence why it’s a special meeting.

“We acknowledge the request by the VRU, supported by RUPA, for a special General Meeting,” said ARU chairman Cameron Clyne.

“We must provide 21 days notice to voting members to convene a General Meeting, however in order to prevent further delays the Board is willing to meet with the major stakeholders within a shorter time-frame to detail as much information as we are able on the current process regarding Super Rugby.

“We will aim to hold this meeting within the next seven days.”

RUPA boss Ross Xenos has also had his say.

“The ARU’s intent to axe an Australian Super Rugby team has lacked transparency and consultation with key stakeholders,” he said.

“Today’s unanimous RUPA Board resolution illustrates the commitment of players from all across the country to take action towards a constructive solution to this ongoing fiasco. The ongoing uncertainty and secrecy of this process continues to do unprecedented damage to the reputation of the game and has placed unacceptable distress on players and their families.

“In every Australian team there are players and staff whose livelihoods and wellbeing have been compromised through this protracted process.

“If there is no clear way forward for Australian rugby that provides the necessary cost savings to justify altering our current professional rugby footprint in the middle of this broadcast cycle, then it’s about time we stopped uppercutting ourselves, backed the retention of five Super Rugby teams and got on with fighting our common enemies outside the tent.”

The RUPA board voted unanimously to demand this meeting. On that board? Stephen Moore, Dean Mumm, James Slipper, Matt Hodgson, Bernard Foley and Scott Sio.

Cron Positive

Australian u20s coach Simon Cron reckons Australia will be a-ok when his crop comes a-cropper.

“My belief is that all of these guys in the under-20s have the capabilities and potential to be professional athletes,” Cron told the Canberra Times.

“However, as I explained to them, they’ve got to do a lot of things before that happens. They’ve got to earn the right. They’ve got an opportunity to play now but being in a gold tracksuit doesn’t make you a great player. They’ve got a lot of work to do to prove they’re good.

“In terms of Super Rugby, I think there are a lot of really good players sitting in club competitions who have the potential to walk in. We just need to identify that so we’re not rushing the under-20s boys in.

“The odd kid can handle it, but I think there should be a process for them to make that transition.”

Cron, who ruled himself out of contention for Stephen Larkham’s job earlier this year, is looking forward, not backward, but always twirling towards the U20s World Cup to be held in Georgia next month.

“My main focus at the moment is obviously the under-20s and I think the [Super Rugby] franchises have processes of what they want and how they evolve,” Cron said.

“I’ll just see how things pan out for everybody. I’ve got to push my case by working with these under-20s boys more than anything.

“Every game for these guys is so important and it’s a growing experience for them. Some of these guys didn’t even know each other’s names. But this will make them better rugby players in the long run.”

His charges were in Canberra to take on the Brumbies u20s in a practice match at Viking Park last night.

Genia Not Snubbed

The Courier Mail yesterday reported that the Queensland Reds had “snubbed” Will Genia.

“Genia is believed to have been rocked that there is no room for him in the squad or under the team’s salary cap,” said the report.

“Those who are shaking their heads at the Reds’ 3-8 record in Super Rugby will find it hard to believe the club can knock back a 116-game club legend of such game-changing sparkle.

“If proof of his standing is needed, he is a certain call-up to the Wallabies squad for next month’s Tests against Fiji, Scotland and Italy while Frisby’s erratic form means he will forfeit his status as a Wallabies reserve.

“Genia’s desire to keep performing at the top level is guaranteed because the 75-Test stalwart is deeply motivated to help the Wallabies reach the summit at the 2019 World Cup in Japan.”

Well, the Reds have come back (in a way), with insiders whispering to that their decision to not sign Genia was far from a “snub” (or “snrub“).

“[Genia] initially signed with Bath for the 2015-16 season before moving to Stade Francais,” says this report.

“That means any potential release would have to be ticked off by his Paris-based club as well as Bath, which is no cheap venture. That is, of course, questionable to begin with considering Genia is contracted until the end of 2018 and still at the peak of his powers.

“Should both clubs release Genia, the next box that would need to be ticked is finding a Super Rugby club that has the cap room to meet his salary demands. The Reds’ salary cap has very little wiggle room to begin with and they have Nick Frisby, James Tuttle and Moses Sorovi contracted long term.

“It’s also understood Genia has not even approached the QRU to discuss a potential return and he isn’t interested in playing for another Super Rugby club.

“That means any return to the Reds would be contingent on ARU money and given Genia already qualifies for Michael Cheika’s Wallabies side under the Giteau Law, coughing up the kind of coin the 29-year-old’s management is asking for is a bridge too far.”

McCauley Positive

Waratahs youngster, lock Ryan McCauley, is raring to go at the u20s World Champs, his second crack at the annually-held tournament.

“It’s a great stepping-stone. A lot of the guys playing Super Rugby now were playing in this tournament not long ago, guys like Issak Rodda, Andrew Kellaway, Mack Mason,” McCauley told Rugby News. “You can see the pathway and that’s exciting but it’s going to be a really good test to play against the best 20 year olds in the world.”

Australia was toweled up by New Zealand 43-6 on the Gold Coast earlier this month, but McCauley isn’t much phased.

“We had Mario Ledesma and Mick Byrne down for the first few days of camp and we worked really hard on our basic skills and changing some of the bad habits some of us had,” McCauley said.

“Obviously our skills let us down on the Gold Coast so we’ve been working hard to sharpen up in those key areas. We start every session with a habit changing activity and we’ve been working a lot on our skills under fatigue.

“Cronny (Simon Cron) has challenged us to be the best Australian U20s team ever. That’s been a bit of a theme,” McCauley continued.

“As he (Cron) said, Georgia isn’t exactly a holiday destination, so we’re preparing to go over there to get a job done. It’s a bit of a joke but I think it’s a perfect metaphor because we’re not going over there for a holiday, we want to win and if we keep progressing as we have been, I think we can.”

Australia has been drawn in a group with the Soap Dodgers, Wales and Samoa in the 12-team tourney.

“Wales are going to be tough but it gives us a really good chance to make a statement early in the tournament with a good performance. Then we’ve got Samoa and England and they’ll both be very tough,” he said.

“That loss England last year really hurt, I think we left a lot out on the field that day and it’s something that has stayed on my mind since so I’m really looking forward to getting another crack at them. Plus, England won it last year so it would be great to knock them off.”

  • AllyOz

    I am never keen to criticise any organisation without knowing or understanding all of the details or information but it is very difficult not to be critical of the ARU executive management and full board at the moment. Having advised their decision to remove a team their failure to make a clear concise and timely decision on who that team will be is not only buggering things up for improved performances this year but now putting at risk our performance for next year. Having made the decision to suspend further contract negotiations for internal places we are now risking losing any potential in improved depth in squads from cutting from 5 to 4.

    • Ricky Johnson

      Its just one big clusterf*ck, and no one has been perfect in it.

      If I was Morgan Turinui I’d be asking for a cut of Ross Xenos salary. He has achieved more in one media conference than this guy has in the last 6 weeks.

      The timing of it all, in light of Turinuis comments says to me that Xenos and RUPA are not too far behind the ARU in regards to incompetence.

      • Alister Smith

        This will sound obvious but they shouldn’t have committed to cutting a team until they knew they could legally do it

        • Mr Wobbly

          Obvious, right. Especially since the ink has barely had time to dry on those contracts/agreements with the Force and Rebels. Surely someone at HQ would have remembered signing those things?

          They probably can cut a team legally; just not one of their preferred options.

    • Andrew Luscombe

      The lack of decision on which team is because it was pointed out to the ARU very soon after the anouncement that the board actually has no right to expel a team. It would be roughly equivalent to a company board expelling a shareholder without buying the shares back – just plain illegal.

      In this case, the ARU members would have to vote unanimously (other than the cut team) for it, and the VRU and Rugby WA would need an awful lot of pursuading to cut the team from their state. RUPA also is a voting member.

      The ARU then realised they had to pay someone to withdraw, and so some negotiations have taken place.

      Then there are agreements with state governments in place too, related to events and educational programs, and in the case of Victoria the funding of AAMI park was justified with an agreement with the three relevant sports to use it. I haven’t seen any knowledgable opions on the enforcability of these, but figures of $14 million have appeared in the media.

      Players aren’t able to sign contracts to play next year, and overseas teams need to get their rosters in order for next season. It’s possible the Rebels and Force will survive but with scraped together teams.

      At every step the ARU board has appeared to lack basic knowledge of what its situation is, or what the possible consequences are. It’s astounding.

      • Missing Link

        so the ARU decided a shoot first, ask questions later approach was the right way to go, except they forgot to take the gun out of the holster first

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah mate. Shot themselves in the foot instead.

      • Chinese Dave

        Well, it’s not like they had months to deliberate this decision. Also, they don’t have the budget to pay someone, I don’t know, 750K per annum to make these sorts of business decisions.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate you need to spend more time on this site. Blatent and completely biased criticism is the norm here. The site provides an avenue to release all the tension and frustrations that people have. You should try it, it’s a great stress relief.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Hilarious mate! Hilarious!

      • AllyOz

        I think my boss thinks I spend too much time on this site already KRL

    • OlderIGet

      The issue is NOT that there will be a team cut – the crowds, and the sponsorships are not working out with so many teams. The issue is: there is no clear and transparent process to decide which team should be cut. All of this creating confusion, mistrust and distress. The ARU should have;
      1. Got wider agreement on the issue of the un-economic situation at the moment
      2. The declared a process that everyone can see to make the change.
      At the moment, as we have is name-calling and a shit fight.

      • Missing Link

        we’ve had 5 teams since 2011 and there was never a problem with player depth, crowds or sponsorships. The circuit breaker for Super Rugby’s trouble was the rapid expansion to 18 teams and the move to a four conference system which meant some teams didn’t play others until the finals and unbalanced the whole competition. People walked away because it became too complex, which ironically is the reason a lot of people don’t follow Rugby.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          You have nailed it mate. 5 teams creates player depth not reduces it. I think you also make a good point on the advertising. The ARU are now going to market for sponsorship for a product that has less market share, less visibility and less presence for the sponsors. I’m not sure that this is a winning position to be in and I can’t imagine some sponsor saying. “Wow let’s increase the amount we give you now that there is less chance of our product actually being seen”

        • Bakkies

          ‘You have nailed it mate. 5 teams creates player depth not reduces it.’

          You need to have the players and structures first. Super Rugby is not a development tool. The ARU pitched for a 5th side while broke and cutting the ARC after one season, the Aus under 20s had no national interprovincial comp to prepare players and there was a Brisbane and Sydney focus while a fully pro side on the other side of the country had to maintain their structures for a competitive Super Rugby side

          It was about tv money and markets not Rugby.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Correct you do but reducing the numbers of teams will still reduce your depth regardless if this

        • Bakkies

          ‘Correct you do but reducing the numbers of teams will still reduce your depth regardless if this’

          The depth has to be of sufficient quality and have the skill set. That was never there when the Rebels were introduced. Any player worth their salt pushing for 2011 RWC selection would have been mad to move to a start up side that no doubt was going to lost more of the games in their first season.

          The 10 foreign players that the Rebels had in that season were never going to add to Australian Rugby depth.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah but even with the right structures and everything else you will never grow as much depth with 4 teams as you will with 5, its simple mathmatics.
          Maths is a science; beliefs don’t change the facts.

        • Dally M

          We also won Super Rugby twice in that timeframe, so the number of teams is not the problem.

          Sure we are going through a shit period at the moment but all countries have had teams that have propped up the bottom of the ladder at one point or another, even the Kiwis.

          Fix the format.

        • Ricky Johnson

          Good laugh thanks mate. The performance of one team gives a representation of all five?

          2011 – 3 of the bottom four teams were from Australia
          2014 – 2 or the bottom three teams were from Australia

          It may be painful to digest, but for Australian Rugby a mirror might be needed to find a solution.

        • Dally M

          Last I checked only one team can win the comp tiger.

          And it’s 2 different teams over a 4 year span.

        • Ricky Johnson

          Yes and I’m not some princess here stating in those years that NZ rugby was great. You’re saying because one team is doing well there is no issue with the others? Get real mate.

          Funnily enough the two Aussie teams that won aren’t even in consideration to be cut.

          If the average Australian rugby fan has your mind set, well heaven help us.

        • Dally M

          No NZ wasn’t great, but would cutting one of them have made them suddenly better. Is that what NZ did to get to where they are today? No they weren’t shortsighted.

          Not all. I never said there wasn’t an issue with teams or with Australian rugby.

          What i did say, was that cutting a team doesn’t solve those issues and that goes for South Africa as well. But you seem happy to ignore that in the belief that cutting a team will solve all.

          Exactly the Waratahs have had all the talent in the world and serially underperformed so player depth is not an issue either.

        • Ricky Johnson

          - NZ was not flirting with insolvency like the ARU is
          – I didn’t say cutting a team will solve all. Fact is, due to multiple reasons it is not sustainable at present. This isn’t a slump of Aussie Rugby, it is rock bottom!
          – What I picked you up on was your comment that because two teams (who are safe) have won the SR title, that justifies having 5 teams. It doesn’t. Two of them are loss making perennial underachievers.

        • Dally M

          Haha flirting with insolvency is not because we have 5 teams and suddenly 4 will make money magically appear.

        • Ricky Johnson

          Sorry how much has the Force and Rebels cost over the last couple of years surplus to what they have given the Tahs, Reds and Brumbies?

          That is the reason, and if it wasn’t for the extra Argentina/Japan broadcast moneys the ARU would be broke already.

          This conversation is like having my fly down facing a head win. Staggering. Nothing more to add on my part mate.

        • Dally M

          The Reds, Tahs and Brumbies have all been bailed by the ARU.

          Talk about tunnel vision. Clearly too much navel gazing trying to find your fly in the first place.

        • Ricky Johnson

          Play the ball mate, not the man.

        • Dally M

          Clutching at straws there champ. You are clearly a tad delicate if you took that as a personal attack.

          Oh and the money came from Sky in the UK, not Japan & certainly not Argentina.

        • Missing Link

          You’ve backed the wrong horse mate, cutting a team will be the end of rugby in Aus. When it doesn’t fix the problem, players and staff will be looking overseas as they’ll be worried they are next to go

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I don’t think it’ll be the end but by hell it will set it back years. Sponsors will go, fans will look elsewhere and money will dry up so even more will go off shore. I think you’ll end up with a policy to bring anyone back because so many will go. Then that will encourage more to leave. I see it getting worse before it gets better

        • Dally M

          Well its looking increasingly likely that the potential litigation and general backlash will force the ARU and SANZAAR to come up with another solution & hopefully a better one that addresses the actual issues rather than the band-aid one they are trying to apply.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Always a silver lining if you look hard enough

        • Parker

          That’s a fern you’re focusing on KRL.

        • Andrew Luscombe

          All teams in all sports depend on league income. Bail outs just means that the league is supplying money in a fashion where they respond to circumstances and are pushing teams to cut costs.

          The Waratahs are the team that has averaged the most ARU money over the years by far. They just call it player top ups not bailouts so that everyone in NSW feels good about it.

          Sport isn’t like any other business. Without multiple competitive teams there is no business, and it is the league’s responsibility to facilitate competitiveness of teams. If there are perpetually underperforming teams despite changes in personell, the league is failing in its job.

        • Missing Link

          The ARU made a profit

        • Missing Link

          Exactly, when NZ had a weak team, they didn’t cut back to 4, they fixed the underlying problem

        • Dally M

          1996 – 2 of the bottom 4 teams were from NZ
          1997 – 2 of the bottom 4 teams were from NZ
          2007 – 3 of the bottom 5 teams were from Sth Africa
          2009 – 3 of the bottom 5 teams were from Sth Africa
          2010 – 2 of the bottom 4 teams were from Sth Africa
          2013 – 3 of the bottom 6 teams were from NZ

          Each of those countries had 5 teams those years and also won the SR title.

          Like i said, the number of teams is not the problem and player depth isn’t either. You could put together a couple of teams using all the players plying their trade overseas.

          The problems go much deeper than the superficial view that 5 is too many therefore 4 is better & will fix everything.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Absolutely. I maintain it’s the conference system and the sheer idiocy that allowed poor teams to have a home finals that broke the competition not the number of teams

        • Bakkies

          ‘we’ve had 5 teams since 2011 and there was never a problem with player depth, crowds or sponsorships. ‘

          Really? The Rebels and Force both had more than two seasons without major sponsorship on the front of their jerseys. The ARU also have had to scrape the major Australian sponsorship for Super Rugby and the June tests. The Rebels started off with about 10 foreign players to avoid mass forays in to the other side’s ranks and the Force have had dispensation to recruit more foreign players than the Brumbies, Reds and Waratahs are allowed.

          Since 2011 there were teams that avoided playing each other due to the draw. Taking digs at the Lions this year is just spin. They made the Final last year playing Kiwi teams with a win against the Chiefs in NZ and no games against the Australian sides.

        • Perth girl

          And the Force now has the most lucrative sponsorship of all the Aussie teams. By the way Waratahs have about 5 mill of Wallaby top ups compared to Force who have about $ 280,000. Force never had special dispensation when they first started only in the last 3 years or so but now we have about half our list that are from local rugby. You kill the Force and you will kill rugby in WA

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          And the rest of Australia mate

        • Chinese Dave

          The Tahs have two mil and not 5, and Wallaby top ups are given to a team AFTER the players become Wallabies. I’m not saying it’s all a level playing field. A Waratah or Red has probably more chance of being picked than a Force player of equal talent, but it’s been bandied around a few times now that somehow the Tahs are just upfront given more money that the rest via the top ups and that’s simply not true. I’m hoping the Force are retained, and I’m sure that if they are they will have a much bigger top up soon because they’ve got some great players playing there who will surely get some of the top up money the Tahs are bound to lose. Just as an example, TPN’s top up money followed him to the Force.

        • Bakkies

          ‘Force never had special dispensation when they first started only in the last 3 years or so but now we have about half our list that are from local rugby. ‘

          The Force had the advantage of bigger third party agreements to top up contracts that the Brumbies and Reds didn’t have at the time. They were a threat due to the other three teams in the player market.

          Any business worth their salt wouldn’t have gone near the QRU who were in disarray on and off the field. The Brumbies didn’t have the big private sector in the ACT.

    • Nutta

      It’s called “Ready, Fire, Aim… Oh Shit” and it’s a tried & true Australian business philosophy.

      • Bobas

        Yet to hear the ‘oh shit’ part. They do mental gymnastics as well as Kanye in order to justify their usual slow and poorly thought through decisions.

        • Nutta

          I work in logistics. It’s usually me and the IT guys who get to handle that part…

    • Chinese Dave

      I think your criticism of the ARU is unfounded and unfair. After all, it would have been impossible to foresee that arbitrarily announcing, without any consultation or official foreshadowing, that one of two clubs will be cut, would attract legal action. Furthermore, mere trifles such as the fact that one of the clubs had a deal with the ARU until 2020, and the other was sold to a private investor could in no way be seen by any reasonable executive as grounds for such legal action.

      Saying that the ARU could have seen this coming is an extraordinary suggestion, and the implication is that their leadership is feckless and that their very very highly paid CEO only got his job because he’s got his good matey private school connections rather than the extraordinary skill he demonstrates on a daily basis. It’s heresy, heresy I say. For shame.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        That is gold mate. Didn’t pick the sarcasm initially – I think it’s an accent thing – but just friggen gold. You win today’s best comment

        • Chinese Dave

          All part of the therapy mate.

  • Kokonutcreme

    RFU CEO Ian Ritchie has announced his shock retirement after the England tour to Argentina in June.

    • Bakkies

      Is he willing to work free for the ARU?

      • Keith Butler

        Wouldn’t touch him with a barge pole.

        • Chinese Dave

          Can you hit the ARU executive with one though? Repeatedly?

        • Bakkies

          Keith, he is a far better sports administrator than the current lot on the ARU board combined.

          He turned around the basketcases that were the LTA and RFU in no time.

  • Ricky Johnson

    Hows Andrew Cox’s public reassurance coming along?

  • Mr Wobbly

    Turinui also mentioned in his comments that no one representing the ARU has spoken to any of the players or others at the coalface. I guess that would also apply to the Force’s players. That’s either contempt or cowardice.

    • McWarren

      Anyone listen to Cheika pathetic, actually disgraceful comment around this on Kick and Chase the other night. In short he says the players are in control of their own destiny and are free to do as they please. Just lost all respect for the man as a person and coach in that appearance the other night.

      • Braveheart81

        I agree they were strange comments. They put him in a difficult place though wanting him to have a crack at the ARU. What’s he meant to do though? He’s an employee of the ARU and has no involvement in their decisions regarding Super Rugby teams.

        • McWarren

          I thought they let him off scot free actually. All of them nodding in agreement. He wasn’t in a hard place, the lads were either in support or under orders to not delve to deeply. He could have shown some sort of sympathy. What he is saying in my view is ‘I agree with the ARU in that we don’t have the depth or talent to fill five teams and so natural selection will cull the weakest and I’ll be left with less people to shun from the Wallabies team’. In fact my opinion of Cheika has dropped so low I’m starting to think he’s on a retainer from European rugby to force as many Aussie rugby players to France, Ireland and England as he can.

        • Bakkies

          ‘I’m starting to think he’s on a retainer from European rugby to force as many Aussie rugby players to France, Ireland and England as he can.’

          If he is on a retainer to force players overseas than why is he flying overseas to lure players back and entice pay outs like Douglas from Leinster? I doubt those expenses are paid out of his own pocket.

          How many Australian Super Rugby games has he attended locally in Australia this year? Gatland, Eddie, Schmidt, etc are regularly watching club/provincial matches

        • Ricky Johnson

          Yea New Zealand has the same scheme going also.

          First Robbie Deans, now Andrew Cox.

        • McWarren

          he’s been to tahs training a fair bit.

        • Bakkies

          Lost more respect for Cheika when he was commentating on the sideline at a Champions Cup match in Dublin while there were key Super Rugby matches going on in Australia he should have been in the stands watching.

          No indication of when the Wallabies squads are going to be announced for the June tests. Even South Africa have named publicly various players that their coaches are looking at through training camps. The June window is only a couple of weeks away.

        • Bobas

          There was that one part when talking about “coaching summit”. Nick McCrandle attempted to pull Cheik up on a word he used while Chiek was trying to gloss over it and he was having none of it, denying he used the particular word that made the “coaching summit” sound important.

      • Ian

        I honestly can’t see why you are so upset by the comment? Seems totally innocuous and accurate to me……last time I checked, we actually do live in a free country…..

        • McWarren

          Well maybe because these guys who are professional rugby players have only 4 employers now left in this country. And those 4 can’t sign any new contracts. So yes your right, these guys are free to sit on there hands and wait and hope they get a new contract in oz or move overseas. Either way if there team is cut they have to uproot themselves and possibly a family and if they go and work for another Aussie franchise they remain completely under the control of the whim of the ARU. Thank god for freedoms hey. I guess these guys were free to take up employment with the Force or Rebels under the assurance of some form of longevity. I guess the ARU are free to cut teams at will with no regard to player welfare because we live in a free country. I love that catch all phrase, I can do anything I like to someone because as we live in a free country they are free to piss off if they don’t like it.

        • Ian

          There are plenty of industries in Australia where there are only 5 employers, or less MW (ie Free to Air TV)….and yes, there are a multitude of employment opportunities overseas that actually pay better.
          The only assurance you have of employment longevity in any commercial industry (anywhere in the world), is if you make a profit.
          So the business case here is flawed and needs to be addressed. If the players & Coaches don’t want to be paid and we return to amateur rugby, then there is no problem.

          Personally, I want 5 teams retained but that just can’t happen the way the competition is structured and the way these teams are playing at the moment…..the paying customers have voted with their wallets.

          The only people who are guaranteed employment are Public Servants….and even they don’t have the same employment security that they used to. It’s called commercial reality MW.

          I feel deeply for anyone who loses their job, no matter what it is that they do. The issues can run deeper than just money, it gets down to self esteem, depression and often impacts personal relationships.
          But Cheika’s comment is perfectly reasonable and accurate. You’re being distracted by the wrong issue on this.

        • McWarren

          Ian please don’t lecture me about commercial realities. I’ve been bitch slapped by them plenty of times to know that they hurt and that there are plenty of ways intelligent, compassionate and well meaning business leaders can ease the pain of the realities. I do think there are more important things than profit, but I guess thats just the human in me. Cheika was asked
          specifically to respond to Turunui’s point about the impact of the ARU’s conduct on the mental health of his players, particularly in light of all the efforts to raise awareness of mental health and depression. Cheika’s response was classic evasion, blame the players, cause we sure as shit wont take any blame. I think like Cheika your missing the point here. The players, like any
          employee deserve some clarity around what is happening, they don’t need their national coach pushing it back on them. But this is classic ARU behaviour, blame others and wait for the opportunity to back stab those not in the inner circle.

          You’ll note I did not take the opportunity to take the easy points by claiming ‘Other than public servants, Dean Mumm, Michael Hooper and Stephen Moore are gauranteed jobs for life’.

        • McWarren

          I do believe the ARU posted a profit last year?
          I’m not sure I understand you example of free to air media. I understand there may be or less of them, but surely someone working in free to air has the skills to transfer to pay per view or internet based media companies.
          As a professional rugby player in oz you have 4 choices now. Some may go to League I guess. But that’s a bit like an Carpenter moving into labouring.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate they’ll go off shore. Good players who won’t disrupt the season by playing tests. The clubs in Europe will be rubbing their hands and warming their cheque books

        • Andrew Luscombe

          There are basic things that other sports do to make their teams be competitive – revenue sharing, salary caps, drafts, equal access to the player pool, etc. Super Rugby has no effective version of any of these. The league as a whole is the product. Leagues provide cooperation off the field so that teams can compete on it.

          Also, SR has a split media market with its uncompetitve teams clustered in particular markets which exaggerates the effects of negative performance because the media in each market mostly focuses on the teams relevant to that market.

          Customers are voting with their feet against an uncompetitive competition run in a stupid manner, with a PR problem.

          A positive plan is necessary – it always is, but particularly when things are going poorly. If some people or organisations don’t fit into that positive plan, then that’s commercial reality. Just cutting something – whatever you can legally manage to cut – is not commercial reality, it’s poorly focused desperate management.

          All the cities in which there are teams have had good crowds in the past. All SR has ever needed to do is to follow proven league management practices. Some positive plan making use of these is required. They show no signs of doing anything positive to address the issues. Cutting a team is a further counter productive step. It will further degrade the sport in the eyes of the public. That’s the commercial reality, not cutting a team.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Nicely put

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Free to choose but others are providing the choices for them. No players is going to be part of what team stays and goes so they actually aren’t in control of their own destiny at all. They are waiting for the muppets at the ARU and SANZAAR to make the decisions that will then allow them to have a choice to then exercise their free will.

        • Bobas

          Spoken like a true baby boomer Ian.

        • Ian

          Responded like a member of the Sydney Uni Political Economy dept Bobas.

        • Bobas
    • Chinese Dave

      Wait, what? You’re expecting leadership from the ARU? From Billy Pulver? That’s like expecting a goldfish to sing an aria. The guy’s no leader, he’s just a marketer who’s bad at numbers.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Today BL will ignore the whole ARU clubs and teaming axing saga. Am over it.
    But I am prepared to rant on the Will Genia issue. If they are prepared to keep Frisby over Genia, I will lose my shit. The QRU have constantly mismanaged player recruitment. WIlly G will only play in Qld super rugby wise. so if they dont bring him home he is staying overseas. This is farked.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Interesting comment though on how much it may cost for him to play in Australia. Maybe his manager isn’t switched on to the current market here.

      • Brisneyland Local

        I dont fully know what his contract is. But I thought through 2018 where options. If he chose not to exercise them, then there was no pay out clauses. However I find it ludicrous that they are prepared to continue on with a sub-optimal solution, when potentially in less than 12 months a top shelf option would be available. Only sticking point is if the ARU are not prepared to top the contract off because they are completely broke from all the legal cases they are creating for them selves.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          That could be the big issue. Any hope of a profit from cutting a team is going to be lost as the ARU will be lucky to have enough money to fund anything for the next few years as they get over this

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep and they never disclosed the Millions they blew on the Di Patston settlement, so I know they wont disclose this fuck up either. And it will be lots. They will be in legal battles for years to come!

    • Bakkies

      Genia and Cooper are 29 I know it’s young enough but the Reds recruitment is very short term. They will be rebuilding again in a couple of seasons time when Moore, Smith will be pushing further towards 40 while the former are in their 30s. Blokes go overseas for various reasons not just money. When they are around 27 and make that decision leave them alone overseas. Develop the next players coming through and think long term so you are prepared for departures.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Bakkies, yes their recruiting is very short term at the moment. Which is dissapointing. They have let some very good long term prospects recently, and kept some really average ones. I agree that most of the guys headed elsewhere because of the whole Woody Graham era and the QRU absolutely crap man management! I think a lot of the current recruitments have been to fix holes and try and generate leadership, whilst attempting to at least keep the team semi-competitive.
        The Willy G issue I think is a vexed one, because he isnt that old, well for a 9 anyway. He is playing some really good rugby, and brings a leadership role, maybe not as Capt but definitely in the senior playing group. I would just be really dissapointed seeing him passed over because we have committed so long term options which werent worth pursuing in the first place.

  • Bernie Chan

    Cron is spot on…Super Rugby should look more to club rugby for players, as they are more ‘seasoned’ and have a greater capacity to compete physically. It seems that too often in Oz rugby we are looking for the “next big thing” to appear out of schools rugby and Youth rugby. In terms an enabling a transition to Super Rugby, the NRC (or similar…depends on what the ARU decides and that is anybody’s guess….) has an important role as well.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I’ll probably get smashed for this but the so called “Tongan Thor” is a great example. No NZ Super team went for him because, while he can run ok, especially against people smaller than him, his scrummaging is weak and he goes missing during a match because he’s a bit lazy. Yet on the basis of a couple of YouTube videos the Reds went for him. Whatever they spent on him I believe it was a total waste compared to where they could have spent it on local talent who are probably better anyway

      • Bernie Chan

        I am a fan of young Tupou, and I think he will eventually be a fabulous front rower, but schools/youth rugby is simply not tough enough. The transition to Pro rugby is almost impossible for most especially in the forward pack. Was Tom Lawton the last front rower to make the step up to State level rugby from schools successfully? Players, forwards in particular, need time in grade rugby against seasoned players to learn their craft. I suspect Stiles knows his limitations (should hope so as Stiles was a front rower…!) but is willing to invest in his development. Super Rugby is unforgiving for young front rowers though…Oz rugby ‘hypes’ schoolboy talent too much methinks.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I’m sure Stiles can help but he needs a change of attitude as much as the increase in skills

        • Bernie Chan

          Don’t disagree…the cockiness of youth is something else that can be addressed by the hard graft of grade rugby. Being ‘schooled’ by experienced campaigners in the club scene on occasion can’t hurt…

      • EngineRoom

        I’d actually like to disagree with you on that one. I remember hearing and reading about Taniela out of school (because my brother knew him through school, Sacred Heart) and every single New Zealand team was trying to sign him, Reds, Tahs and Brumbies too. Also there were some European clubs looking for his signature because he was a massive talent. Scrums can be taught, running like that is DNA and doesn’t come around often in Aus. When he signed with the Reds he said he always wanted to play for Australia and also his brother lived in Brisbane so it made sense. However all 5 NZ teams went for him, however Reds won him. One of the only recent examples of Aus beating NZ in rugby union.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate that’s not what has been reported in NZ. Yes all of the franchises were interested but all the NZ ones decided that he needed a few years in the Mitre 10 cup to mature and see if he could develop his scrum technique and his attitude to meet the standard needed at Super level. Quite possibly he would have but his performances this year shows he isn’t anywhere near that yet

        • EngineRoom

          That is the same as what happened when he moved here. He didn’t go straight into the starting xv, he played 2-3 years of nrc and club rugby.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Well with all due respect I don’t think he’s stepped up yet

        • EngineRoom

          Yeh neither do I, but he is definitely something different for Aus rugby and worth it

        • Bernie Chan

          That is correct. While Tupou may not have yet ‘hit the mark’ as a Pro prop, he was not catapulted directly into the Reds. He played for Brothers and then in the NRC. Still a “work in progress” but I still think he is a fab prospect and worth the investment…

    • Bakkies

      ‘Cron is spot on…Super Rugby should look more to club rugby for players, as they are more ‘seasoned”

      For front rowers due to scrummaging laws leaving schools. Certain locks yes but flankers and backs you need them earlier.

      • Bernie Chan

        Sure is easier for backs…but methinks there is still too much ‘hype’ about schools rugby. IMHO…even this website hypes school rugby a bit too much.

  • Hoss

    Roll on June so we have something else to talk about

  • Brendan Hume

    Will the change to four Aussie SR teams see a change in the foreign player policy? I think the foreign players have been great for some of the Aussie teams – Jac-Pot, Thomson, and Braid all added significant strength to the teams they joined. Delve, Toby Smith, Volavola and Jason Woodward are/were all good for the Rebels. The Force have struggled a bit with foreign players…

    It’s another big loss to the code when losing a team of 30 odd professional players (not to mention development squads, coaches and team staff), that the opportunities to improve the player pool by adding quality overseas talent is reduced (either because of less foreign players or fewer local players to learn from them).
    (*edit – forgot to mention Cubelli and Mathewson who were both very good – particularly Alby)

  • Dorothy Ball

    Whilst I don’t mind Cron’s psychological approach to his charges, Georgia is absolutely a holiday destination! I know because I live in Tbilisi. Terrain as diverse as NZ in a quarter the space and incredibly cheap. I hope the strategy works for the guys, but I also hope they get a rude shock about how great it is here. The food, the wine, the hospitality and the scenery are amazing.

    Now, about that bloody BMW logo on the U20 jerseys…


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

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