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Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s rugby news sees the senate inquiry getting underway in WA, breaking down the IPRC, France insisting they take the World Cup, and more NRC Goss.


A dog’s breakfast

Seru

Nup, the image has nothing to do with the actual dogs breakfast that were the early findings of the WA senate inquiry into the culling of the Western Force. But the bewildered face really says it all.

Force fans, look away. The next few paragraphs are not for pretty reading.

It turns out (and this will most likely be of no surprise to many people), the Melbourne Rebels received up to double the funding of the Western Force in the years leading up to the latter’s axing from Super Rugby.

Citing the ARU’s own statements, WA Liberal Senator Linda Reynolds pointed out to the ARU that in the last three years, the Force received the least amount of funding of Australia’s five teams, and the Rebels received the most.

Oh, and to rub a bit of extra salt into the wound, these figures also didn’t include a $13 million loan the Rebels had that which was written off by the ARU.

“Anyway you look at this the Force got the least amount of these Super Rugby grants than any other team, in some cases they get almost half of what the Rebels got,” Senator Reynolds told the hearing, which was reported in The Australian.

However, for all the events of the senate hearing, the answers of Bill Pulver were expected to be most critically analysed. Turns out, there wasn’t much in the way of answers.

Pulver reportedly made repeated references to cited confidentiality agreements when refusing to answer questions about how much support the ARU had provided to the Rebels. However, he expressly denied that the Rebels were receiving more money off the back of the demise of the Force.

Rather, he argued that the entire point of downsizing was to free up cash and stop the decline of the game in Australia.

He was then grilled over a hot fire by three WA senators, including Reynolds, who argued that (given the referencing to the ARU bank statements as mentioned earlier) it was surprising that Pulver was citing financial issues for the Force’s axing.

The Senate inquiry continues today. You can watch it here. 

Having a cold Indo-Pacific Pale Ale with the Boys

KMP-WARvLIONS-6418

Kick & Chase and all the Fox Sports lads in general can be pretty lacklustre at times, but in their defence they recently threw out a really interesting discussion around the newly proposed IPRC competition.

Chatting on the topic and how it will affect Australian rugby, with Stephen Hoiles, All Black Andrew Mehrtens, and Drew Mitchell had a lot of thought-provoking perspectives on how the competition may change the entire rugby landscape.

“I would like to think that we could potentially [cut] South Africa but I’d like to see us (stay) with New Zealand long-term,” Hoiles argued.

“I think that’s the best standard of rugby.

“We’ve got to keep thinking high performance here, we’ve always got to think what’s best for grassroots and at the same time what’s best for the Wallabies.

“So I think long-term, I’d love to see this be the one competition (Super Rugby and IPRC). We really do need to talk to Andrew Forrest and be very serious about it because no-one’s coming to our game with this type of money and this type of vision.

“We’d be so naive to ignore him and say ‘thanks but we don’t need you, we’ll take it from here,’ because where we are, it’s not working and we need to consider options.

“To be honest we’re fortunate to still have him in the game because his side is the Western Force and they weren’t happy with how they were treated.”

Mehrtens on the other hand argued that we should go all out and push rugby into the Asian Market.

“Well, it’s been 20 years since they talked about the WRC (Kerry Packer’s proposed World Rugby Championship),” Mehrtens said.

“And that was about playing in your time zones and it was about logically having competitions globally, where you had your preliminary comps in those time zones and then you had playoffs across the globe.”

Drew Mitchell then added that maybe, should the IPRC take off, it could lead to a huge reformatting of the NRC post 2020.

“For me, if this competition (IPRC) was to absorb the NRC in 2020, I’d like to see club rugby replace that NRC model,” Mitchell said.

“This is just throwing it out there but if the top four from the Brisbane competition, at the end of Shute Shield or their respective competitions, the top four from Sydney, one from Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, they make up what would be the new National Rugby Championship.

“And it gives teams in those competitions something to aspire to.”

Interested to hear all the GAGRs thoughts on this.

Donnez-nous la Coupe du Monde de Rugby!

Israel Folau, showing the pain of defeat as he was leaving the field following the defeat by Les Bleus in Paris.

Current bidding is underway for the 2023 Rugby World Cup, with the current race for the tournament between three contenders in South Africa, Ireland and France. And in the banter department, the French really stepped up their game yesterday.

A fight for Bill in France in 2023 would, according to the French, prevent the “death of international rugby.” The French, on top of their bid to host the tournament, have also guaranteed World Rugby nearly £500m of funds as part of their bid.

The French’s bid leader, Claude Atcher believes that a World Cup in France would change the dynamic of rugby hugely, particularly in regards to funding of the sport on a global level, but also in regards to changing South African, Australian and New Zealand players from decisions to play in rich French clubs.

“If we don’t do anything, in five to 10 years you will have two, three to four teams on the same level and that’s all, and I think rugby will die,” said Atcher to the Guardian.

“If you are looking at New Zealand, the best team in the world, their financial report in June showed they lost €3m [£2.65m]. South Africa, they lost €2m. Australia, they have a lot of issues with structure, teams, players and financially.

“Italy’s financial report in June showed that they lost £2m. Scotland, Wales and Ireland are not losing money but they are balanced in terms of budget. The only unions with a profit are England and France.

“We are not World Rugby and do not want to fight with them, they are a key body. But to develop rugby we need some new teams, a strong team in the USA, Russia and China, and emerging countries, to increase the capacity of rugby and to involve more people around the world.

“If we are awarded the World Cup it will accelerate our political changes with the professional championship in France,” he added.

“If we don’t change the rules in five years or 10 years, all South African, Australian and New Zealand players will play in France, in England.

“The best players are not playing for the national team so the results are not as expected by the unions, so it’s very damaging. If you look at the English Premier League in football, it’s exactly the same situation. All clubs are using foreign players and the results of England’s national team are the same as the French rugby team and we have to change that.”

By comparison, Ireland has responded by promising to play some of it’s games over in the United States, should their bid be successful.

“If the rugby community is genuine about wanting to expand the sport, if they want to inspire people from other countries as potential hosts, then we believe we’ve made it easy for them to do that,” said the Irish Rugby Football Union chief executive, Philip Browne.

“What we’d see as a tripartite partnership has to be put in place, between Ireland 2023 if we win the bid, World Rugby and US Rugby. It’s about what can we do to increase the footprint of rugby in North America.”

NRC Fixtures

AJ Alatimu makes a break to score for Brisbane City

AJ Alatimu makes a break to score for Brisbane City

The Rugby Championship is on it’s second break this weekend, which means the NRC will be the only rugby on this weekend. So, if there is a game nearby, head on an check it out! You won’t be disappointed.

As Brett McKay noted on Rugby.com.au a few days back, this year has been a good one so far for the NRC. Fiji’s inclusion in the competition has seen the comp pick up some much needed support, both in the very notable increase in attendance of people going to games as well as numbers on TV.

The only place where numbers are pretty average crowd-wise are in Sydney and Canberra, and even despite the improved numbers this year, many have wondered why the competition hasn’t gone where the people have gone. For example, having a couple of games as curtain raisers for Wallaby tests?

Any way, round four kicks off this week with a couple of interesting fixtures. Starting off, NSW Country will have their first home game of the season when they host the Canberra Vikings in Armidale. The Eagles are still to get a win on the board and have been looking way off the pace this year, but it’s amazing what one win can do. Add in that they were starting to pull some decent country crowds last year, and who knows what will happen? The Vikings have been one of the in-form teams of the competition so far, despite their loss against Brisbane City last week at the AON Uni Sevens. I reckon they’ll sniff plenty of blood here.

The Fijian Drua pulled in an impressive opening crowd in their victory against NSW Country last week, however this week the lads host Perth Spirit, who will be out with a point to prove. Easily the contender for match of the round, this may go a long way to deciding who the minor premier of the competition is. The Spirit won’t look like they’ll take Fiji lightly, and a win here will do much for them to open up a lead at the top of the table.

On the Sunday, the Sydney Rays will be back at Pittwater Rugby Park, and will hope they can drum up a bit more support when they take on Queensland Country, who have just come off the bye. The Rays accounted for Melbourne Rising pretty well at the end of last week, and will look to see this match as a big momentum builder. Win this, and many will rate their chances in this competition. Country meanwhile are looking like an intimidating beast this year with Brad Thorn as coach, and will look to get back into the top four with a win here.

Finally, Melbourne Rising will be back home for the last match of the round when they host the Greater Sydney Rams. They’re a young side, and are currently 0-3, but the Rising have shown plenty of talent this year, and judging by how the Spirit dismantled the Rams last week, they may sniff an upset. Both the Rising and the Rebels have played a combined eighteen matches this year for just one win, one draw and sixteen losses. They need a win badly. The Rams lost a lot of their composure that made them look so menacing against the NSW teams, but they will sense an opportunity here to get back to the top of the table, particularly when considering other results of the round.

Brisbane City will have the bye this weekend.

Get out there and support your NRC rugby this weekend. It’s looking like a cracker.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Even as a half Irishman I hope that South Africa wins. I love Ireland, it is a beautiful country filled with beautifully kind people, and the best pubs and live music in the world. The only place on earth better for live music than Galway is Dublin.

    That being said, South Africa is the most incredibly stunning and vibrant place I’ve ever been. Being there feels like an adventure, and the barbecues and the passion the fans have for rugby there is like nowhere else.

    France is a great country too, but c’mon, let’s never repeat the horrors of the 2007 tournament. Ugh. And I’m not quite sure as to how they draw the conclusion that France getting the WC will save rugby. Weird logic.

    • Bakkies

      Who is game enough to vote for the ANC backed bid?

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I can’t disagree with that, Bakkies, you’re right, except to say that South Africa is more exciting and more of an adventure

    • Who?

      As someone Irish-born, I’m looking to strip you of your citizenship! :-P
      Bakkies is right – SA’s a basket case, the ANC is NOT vaguely related to the party of Mandela.
      France is only worthwhile for consideration because of the scale of the financial guarantee to WR. I doubt Ireland can match it.
      I’d rather see games in Galway, Cork, Limerick, Wexford, Belfast, Derry, Donegal, etc than have them split the games to play in Philly, Boston and Chicago. The best RWC’s have (generally) been hosted in a single country, not shared. So I think there’s risk with that. But I don’t see that Ireland couldn’t host as successfully as NZ, and they’d make more on the broadcast rights. So I really hope Ireland get it, and I hope they don’t share with the US.
      I’d rather see the US and Canada share, and host in 2027. How good would it be to have games in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and the final in Phoenix..? Could be a truly awesome event.

      • Bakkies

        ‘SA’s a basket case, the ANC is NOT vaguely related to the party of Mandela.’

        I doubt even the ARU are stupid enough to vote for it.

        ‘The best RWC’s have (generally) been hosted in a single country, not shared. So I think there’s risk with that. But I don’t see that Ireland couldn’t host as successfully as NZ, and they’d make more on the broadcast rights.’

        The RWC will be hosted only on the island of Ireland. No games in Cardiff let alone the US.

        Ireland is far easier to travel around then NZ, has more hotel beds (no need for floating hotels) and bigger stadia.

        • Who?

          Ok, misread. If the IRFU decided to host the odd international in Boston or Chicago, I’m sure they could cover their costs quite comfortably…
          Glad it’s all games on Hibernia. One island, no earthquakes, much lower mountains, no snakes, the birds fly and of course no concerns about freaky big-footed short people or singular rings that drive people crazy with power…. :-P

        • Bakkies

          States won’t be an option. The IRB won’t allow multi country bids with sub hosts.

          The refurbished Pair ui Chaoimh in Cork has been completed. It will hold more people than all of the NZ stadiums bar Eden Park.

        • Who?

          I mean if Ireland decide to host a 6N’s game, or a November match in Boston or Chicago… That would be how they would return the favour to the US if they get the US vote, as listed in the article by Nick. Means the US gets games, but they don’t come out of the RWC, so WR won’t complain about that.

        • Bakkies

          Ireland would never host a 6 Nations game in Chicago as clubs can only sell the tickets and depend on the revenue from the sales (senior clubs get more ticket allocations). It would be a fourth AI like last year and I believe that the push for a US Pro 14 team is coming from Ireland.

        • Who?

          Ireland/Italy in New York could have a huge expat following, though… They could do it in June or November, of course.

        • Moz

          Bakkies, any sign of “Train” on the other site?

        • Bakkies

          Nope must be busy at Rebels HQ shredding documents.

        • Moz

          I’ve been told that the new Turbo 2000s can get through a mountain of paper!

        • Bakkies

          The ‘train’ has found its station on the other site.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Oh, mate, I have a lot of close South African friends and know the country’s political state fairy well. All I’ll say is that it’s my favourite country to travel, along with Botswana. Really, it’s great.

        I think Ireland would do a great job, although I suspect they’d have to expand a lot of stadiums? Bakkies is right and I believe there is still a surplus of hotel accommodation throughout Ireland (at least outside of Dublin) from the pre-2008 boom despite the numbers of hotels that have closed.

    • Tomthusiasm

      When Italy pulled out, my first choice, I started backing Ireland. France had it in 09, South Africa should get it again, maybe 2027, but Ireland have never sole hosted before.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I get that, but I feel that all of the British and Irish Isles offer similar things. South Africa would be more different.

        I could live with SA 2027 and Aus 2031 though.

        • Tomthusiasm

          They’re definitely due one.

        • Huw Tindall

          Ireland’s turn for sure. Would rather go to SA as haven’t been there in ages and it’d be more of an adventure/experience but I just couldn’t stomach the government claiming any credit off the back of it. Got a bunch of Saffa mates and the state of government over there is pitiful. Endemic corruption and so on. I know World Rugby shouldn’t really be making political statements but there is a chance to take the moral high ground. We don’t want to be FIFA awarding a world cup to Qatar with a human rights record that’d make Stalin blush.

    • Bakkies

      Pretty bad timing for the French bid as Macron has put more emphasis on the 2024 Olympics and Laporte is under investigation for ARU like behaviour (him and de Clyne would be great lunch buddies).

  • Adrian

    Nice array of stories Nick.

    Re the IPRC and the future of Rugby as we know it etc:

    My guess is that next year’s IPRC will be about as strong as this year’s SR. My guess is that the Australian team(s) will kind of be fed by NRC teams, including whilst the NRC is on. They’ll overlap as I understand it.

    The IPRC could provide a Wallaby or two

    I also think that next years SR will be a bit stronger, and there could be a genuine contender from Australia.

    Post 2020 I can see some sort of amalgamation of IPRC if it survives, with what’s left of SR, or NRC, but not both.

    As concerned as I am about this, I’m more concerned by a Planet Rugby thing that says Coleman could go to Munster, …or wherever Wessels goes

    • Pearcewreck

      Re Coleman and Wessels, I also saw that article on PR.
      Can’t believe everything on PR, but….
      It would be disaster if either went.
      We really need to keep both.

    • jamie

      Coleman is just about a done deal to the Rebels. As is both HP’s, apparently.

      • Bakkies

        How are they going to pay for it?

        • Huw Tindall

          ARU is guaranteeing their contracts so could probably fall outside the salary cap….like Wallaby top ups except these are special one off ‘top ups’.

        • Bakkies

          This is from the same organisation that can’t decide whether they are close to insolvent or have no debt.

          Pulver can’t even spin a lie about their books. I wouldn’t believe a word they promise.

        • Huw Tindall

          It’s a contractual matter and it the ARU has proven anything it’s that they’ve got gun lawyers…

        • Bakkies

          Gun lawyers as the VRU’s Tim North? They have only been tested on black and white from the screwjob Alliance Agreement.

          The ARU also didn’t pay much heed to contracts when they tapped up Kepu, Genia and Douglas when they were under contract to European clubs.

          It’s already in the press that the Rebels are seeking a salary cap exemption. How they are going to finance it is another question their mates in the ARU can answer.

  • Adrian

    I’ve been to France every few years for 15 years, and am going again in early 2018.

    I could probably wait another 5 years from then to go again,….if I’m still alive.

    • Huw Tindall

      Rugby players go to France to transition to retirement mate so you could follow them…south of France is lovely and really quite cheap. Buy a palace in Pau for price of a 2 bed flat in Bankstown.

  • Andrew Luscombe

    Strange argument by the French bid. They’ll make so much money that they’ll be able to put their own league (which is a separate body) back under control somehow and that will save world rugby.

    • Brumby Runner

      I think I see some logic in what they are saying. If they can get their house in order so that they can limit the number of imported players per team, then that will have flow on benefits to the countries who provide the bulk of those players, viz, PIs, SA, NZ and Australia.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Morning GAGR’s, and thanks Nick for an interesting array of news.
    – well the senate enquiry proved what we already knew. The process was a shit fight, the stakeholder engagement was non-existent. A pre-determined out come was already in place. The thing that staggers me is how much further the degree of dodgy deals and financial incomptence that exists. For an ex-CEO of NAB and a supposed business leader, we have two financial incompetents who have presided over the decay of Aus rugby.
    – The 2023 world cup, my vote is France. I grew up there for a few years. Love the plce the food the vino. Also that is an easy sell to the wife and tin lids. “Hey we are going to France for a month, oh and by the way I will be over there watching rugby!”
    Over to you GAGR’s

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate, I’ve travelled to both Ireland and France and I’d take either. Thinking seriously about a couple of weeks in Japan for 19 to take in the Qtrs, semis and final.

      Nothing new in the senate and probably nothing to come out of it.

      • Brisneyland Local

        I love Ireland, but even in its summer it is too cold! Unlike your Kiwi blood, anything below 25 deg is cold in my book. Hence why I am now Brisneyland Local!
        I guess the only thing that comes out of the senate enquiry is daylight and disenfectant! Clyne’s position is now untenable and he knows it. A few months will die down, and then he will quietly slink away. They leave him in to weather the storm. At least Billy Pulver had the good sense to jump.

      • Perth girl

        Nothing new KRL, did you know about the other company that was interested in buying the Rebels for actual money then and why a cash strapped ARU didn’t look at them?

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Sorry mate,. I didn’t mean to belittle the system or it’s affect. My statement was meant to be nothing new about how absolutley fucked the ARU management of this whole situation has been. It would be nice to see a way forward from this but I just can’t see it at the moment. My biggest fear is that certain high level people in the remaining franchises are going to dismiss all this without realising how much it is going to impact rugby throughout Australia including their teams.

          I personally think this whole mess has the potential to push people away from rugby throughout the country and that it will set Australian rugby back for years. If people keep staying away, the current sponsors will start looking elsewhere and then regardless of any ARU or SANZAAR sponsorship the reduced income will see less money available for players and the better ones will move away.

      • Hoss

        Afternoon KRL, BL – as usual i am a day late and a dollar short.

        The senate inquiry is of little use, they will find what we already know, even if they uncover new evidence what will it achieve ? Sure they will make the ARU squirm, maybe embarrass them – it might be a PR win, but the very nature of it is looking back at what happened, why and how – the horse has bolted I’am afraid. Here’s hoping that Twiggyball is a way forward that encompasses the best outcome for Rugby and a massive footprint in the West.

        As a young man i lived in Europe for a few years and frequently fell in love in Ireland – bugger the French, to paraphrase Monty Python – what have they (French) done for us lately………..

        • Moz

          I actually disagree that the Senate Inquiry of little use. The underhanded way that the ARU operated, possibly in partnership with the Rebels deserves to be investigated. So I don’t think it is reasonable to just say “It happened, can’t change it, lets move on”. These actions have shafted and effected a lot of people, as well as damaged the credibility of the ARU and the Australian rugby community in general. Its almost like saying once a crime has happened we should move on as it won’t change the fact that it has happened. The people in WA are not ready to let this go, even if there is the possibility of Forrest getting something else off the ground. I even think people from over East should be supporting this Inquiry as well, as what is coming out has affected the whole rugby community in Oz. If they have in fact squandered millions on the Rebels at the exclusion of the other 4 teams, plus grassroots, then I’d be pissed off, and would want some answers. Perhaps its just that some people have more skin in the game here.

          Rant over.

        • Brumby Runner

          Yep, matters like these ought not be able to be swept under the carpet.

      • jamie

        That’s awful arrogant… Who’s to say NZ automatically make it to even the Qtrs? ;-)

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yep but I’m backing them to make the finals

  • Missing Link

    I’d love to see the world cup on our shores again. Such great times in 2003

    • Brisneyland Local

      Yep I agree. But no one would financially back a world cup on our shores, with the state of the ARU.
      Besides ML, it will take until 2023 to get the Wallabies in a worthwhile position to play at a world cup!

      • Missing Link

        True BL, realistically zero chance, but one can dream.

        I’m actually seriously contemplating a Japan trip in 2 years, I’d be happy to see a wallaby pool game

        • Brisneyland Local

          Japan is always a fun trip. I am such a freak to the Japanese, I always get stopped and people ask to have there photos taken with the 6’8″ giant! hilarious!

      • BigNickHartman

        Twiggy might want to finance it…grand final in Perth, group games in Joondalup, quarter-final in Kalgoorlie, beach rugby daily at Cottesloe, aqua rugby on the Swan…

        • Moz

          Hey, but we might even throw the Eastern States a few bones, a couple of minor games!

        • McWarren

          So all Wallaby games then Moz

        • McWarren

          You’ve put far too much thought into that.

        • Bakkies

          Government still has to underwrite the bid fee

        • idiot savant

          That comment is beneath you BigDick. Not least because there aren’t any private school boy graduates from Sydney and Brisbane who have made something of their lives and are prepared to save the game. Theres plenty who are professional board members and want to fuck it up though.

  • Moz

    Sitting here drinking a calming morning coffee, and I had to go and look, Nick, even though you told me to look away…. Damn, there goes my morning! A lot of the information from the Senate Hearing wasn’t necessarily new, but still wasn’t pleasant to hear again. And especially to have the size of the funding difference between the Force and Rebels discussed . It makes me wonder about the checks and controls in place at the ARU, where they were able to administer the running of Super Rugby so badly. The amount of money pxssed up the wall is staggering. I had a boss once who squandered a significant amount of money on a poor investment (a company we bought into, which a number of us thought was a really bad idea) and naturally he was held accountable when it went tits up, and he was banjoed pretty bloody quickly. Investment offloaded, and the group recovered.

    Per The Australian today – “In an eventful hearing, Pulver admitted the Rebels were responsible for more than half of the $28 million in unbudgeted funds poured into Super Rugby teams by the ARU; the drain that prompted the ARU to cut a team.

    Pulver also revealed the Rebels were facing insolvency this year — which could have seen them shut down instead of the Force — before shareholders pumped in enough money to keep them afloat”. – keep them afloat, really until the next time they needed a cash injection.

    So, the Rebels soak up the largest share of the money, was still facing insolvency, and they decide to get rid of the Force as the ARU is going broke. This on top of the fact that the Force already had guaranteed their own financial viability (Own the Force, Mr Forrest, etc).

    More to the point, what started to come out yesterday was the incredible conflicts of interest going on at the ARU, in particular with Rob Clarke.

    I’m saying nothing new, so I will go now and find my happy place (the land of beer and ribs)…until the Hearing starts again this morning!

    • Bakkies

      Then you have the suggestions that Cox was nearly insolvent in NZ when he brought the Rebels for $1 and that they ignored bids that were willing to pay more than a buck.

      • Moz

        I read that….. More things for the Senators to look at. There we were thinking there was a whole lot of incompetence, and basic self-interests at work, but it may actually be of skullduggery.

        Well, I hope the Senators continue to pursue this with alacrity.

        • Rebels3

          I feel sorry for the Force, but at the end of the day the ARU could not legally get rid of them. What happened 1,2,3 years ago is of little relevance to what has happened recently. Maybe several years ago when the aru wrote off the rebels debt the mission statement was the keep 5 teams? Chance are if that happened 6months ago, the rebels would be gone. Apples and oranges

        • Bakkies

          So the 13 million write off, two dodgy sales and not being viable is not relevant?

          The Rebels wouldn’t be gone? No chance with de Clyne and Clarke colluding deals behind the scenes.

        • Rebels3

          A team was to be cut this year, not last year, not 2 years ago and at the time (unfortunately for the Force) the rebels were in a position where they could not be cut. End of story, there is no argument against this fact. It was essentially the choice between the brumbies and force, which at the end of the day was a race between a pony and winx.

          The real questions should be around the horrendous nature in which the decision was handled

        • Bakkies

          That’s the most deluded comment since Pulver spouted his rubbish. The Brumbies weren’t even in the last two so how could it be between the Brumbies and Force to be up for the cut?

          The Rebels were insolvent two months ago sold to an organisation with more liabilities than assets and ‘supported’ by deals that aren’t signed.

          That’s bollocks that they couldn’t be cut. That’s bile that’s come out from Clarke, de Clyne and Pulver who have been gunning for the Force last year to keep in a team that hasn’t got a pot to piss in.

        • Rebels3

          The ARU didn’t own the license, Imperium sports did. It’s a basic premise, you cannot sell or get rid of what you don’t own. The rebels were in the last 2 because the only realistic options were somehow buy the rebels license and close them up or the force were to be closed up. Through dealings out of the ARUs control they transferred licenece to another independent entity, hence the result we got. I cannot believe the amount of people that haven’t grasped this concept. The manner in which the force was cut was classless and lacked leadership but the result itself was the only option unless you look to round up the traditional entities

        • Bakkies

          That’s pure spin. Did you even listen to what was said yesterday about the sale of the Rebels to the VRU and whether the ARU had any intention of buying the junk status organisation?

          Pulver said that they wouldn’t even bring back the Force tomorrow if the Rebels went in to insolvency despite being required to put at least 4 Aus teams in the comp.

          They have been gunning for the Force and you know it.

  • McWarren

    So are France openly bribing World Rugby? And I thought FIFA were dodgy.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Well they are Cheese eating Surrender Monkey’s!

      • Moz

        I’ve just started re-watching the “World at War” BBC series lately, and just watched the Surrender of France. Geez struth they gave up quickly! I know they were crazy times, but…..

        • Brisneyland Local

          No appetite for it after world war 1. They had lost 65% of the breeding age males. The country was in serious problems.

      • McWarren

        Yes but they are my favourite cheese eating surrender monkeys!! As a citizen of the Emerald Isle I for one hope France get it. If I’m going to visit the outlaws I want to do it in Montpellier not Newtown Mount Kennedy.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Concur. Besides my French is getting rusty. I lived there for a while as a kid, need to work on it.

  • Tommy Brady

    Well played Nick – some very thought provoking material.

    My first point is I often wonder how well thought through this whole “South Africa will exit Super Rugby” belief really is. Yep, I get that they too expanded unnecessarily and diluted the competition – but that has been addressed. I get too the Bulls come and go in their effectiveness but they are previous competition winners and the Nothern Transvaal region is rich in rugby talent and tradition. The Sharks and Stormers are consistently competitive and the Lions have been a revelation these past 2-3 seasons. I also wonder how much a record 57-0 Springbok loss to traditional rival NZ enters the equation. Does the SARU decide this truly is the region offering the greatest standard of rugby to compete against and grow from – or do they decide to hightail to Europe because it’s all too hard over here. That really the typical SA mindset? Sure, chasing dollars is the easy tactical, short-term answer – but isn’t it the fiduciary responsibility of the governing body to make the code as strong as it possibly can be. Turning your back on NZ and AU rugby in no way meets that objective.

    My second point is how well thought through is this belief that NZ and AU can go it alone without SA? You lose South African sides, you lose South African money too. How many teams, sports, competitions believe they can survive without their single largest financial partner? Yep – I get it that losing South Africa would dramatically lower travel costs in overall team budgets but South Africa bring real presence to this competition (see comments above). There is zero chance a rugby competition in Asia will prosper and zero chance (actually less than zero) that region will emerge as a meaningful contributor to any Asia-Pacific rugby competition. It will not happen in our lifetime.

    My third point is how certain are we that an AU / NZ / Asia competition could generate the necessary revenue to retain Michael Hooper, Israel Folau, Kurtley Beale, Adam Coleman etc in Australia? Anyone fancy watching a Reds vs Waratahs game on a Friday night with none of the high profile players playing bacause they’ve all been lost to European money? Thanks – but give me an NRL or AFL game where the best players are on the park.

    New Zealand is simply a very large pacific islands country. They have the world’s deepest pool of talented rugby players, but they do not have the financial resources to match. Australia is currently both a mid tier producer of rugby talent and mid-tier financial player. Asian rugby produce zero rugby talent and are a minor financial contributor (ex. mid-tier Japan). None of that mix inspires me to be a base from which a strong, competitive, financially successful competition would emerge.

    Like many, I am more than open to change. However change must be positive and must be significantly better than the existing status quo. In a world rife with this mentality of “what have you done for me lately” I think a far more strategic thought process must take place over Super Rugby before running around like headless chickens trying to decide the next format. In the deeply competitive Australian winter sports market, rugby these past 2 years has copped the mother of all (self-inflicted) beatings. There must be proper strategic thinking, not tactical over-reaction to the current problems. Rugby must leverage it’s strongest core competitive advantage which is aligning with true international partners in forming and operating the premier professional winter code competition. Have the AFL and NRL green with envy – not red from laughter.

    Note: Apologies that was a BL style rant!!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      No apology needed I think you make some great points. I personally think a NZ/Aus competition would die a slow death as I don’t think it would attract enough sponsorship to pay the really good players enough to remain in the region.I also agree the Boks will want to stay down with NZ and ASustralia rather than run away and compete with Gorgia or Italy.

      • Rebels3

        Reduced costs as expressed but also content… our own partners (sky and fox) would potentially be prepared to pay more for product that is actually on at a marketable time. Which leads to competition and club sponsors being prepared to pay more for more visibility (once again matches on at reasonable times). Then there’s the factor our partners (sky and fox) would have dramatically more say over fixtures. Actual Anzac Day clashes, heaven forbid weekly Sunday matches, perhaps Monday nights.

        On top of this improved player welfare with less travel, improved family life (incentive to stay) and the undoubted cultural similarities which could be marketed on.

        South Africa has been a fantastic partner in many ways, but it surely isn’t the future for either parties.

        • Tommy Brady

          Your point about games played at marketable times is valid and I certainly do not have the right answer to this matter. The reality is every competition has poor fixtures that no matter what time of the day they’re played rate poorly. Ask NFL fans who’s looking forward to this Sunday’s Indianapolis Colts vs Cleveland Browns game? I will say though that the idea of watching the Rebels vs Singapore on a Saturday afternoon would have me drinking very heavily – very quickly.

  • Dally M

    Thanks for all the great leg work Nick.

    A few interesting tidbits in there. Despite being the best rugby team on the planet and having the most successful Super Rugby teams the NZRU still lost 3 million euro. I believe this is the driving factor behind NZ wanting to stick with South Africa in Super Rugby and not the talk of wanting to play South African SR teams for competition.

    I believe NZ need the money from SR just as much as we do and as traditionally the bulk of that has come from South Africa they are talking it up in the hope they will stay come 2020. With shrinking crowds, viewers on TV & no change to convoluted conference/draw for SR over the next 2 years I believe that South African rugby and their broadcaster will see the European competition as the best solution for their SR teams. With the rugby calendar aligned internationally by then, there is no reason why they cannot do this and remain in the Rugby Championship.

    I likewise believe this is why the ARU are looking to support the IPRC as this will provide options and some bargaining power come the end of Super Rugby. The basics would be there to assemble a new competition with NZ and other teams in a time zone attractive to supporters and views in the markets down here and throughout Asia. If we include Fiji, Tonga, Samoa there is also the potential of World Rugby funding. With CBS buying 10, there is the potential for free to air coverage as well.

    I suspect we will also see Southern Hemisphere teams take a stand over revenue sharing for their end of season tours to the North and to a lesser extend the June tours.

    I am hoping this is what the brains trust are thinking about, not just me dreaming.

  • Perth girl

    Senate inquiry next date is 11 Oct. but I’m sure Bill will be busy shredding as much paperwork as he can before then!. Part of his grilling was done off camera and we all had to leave the room, that’s when the real grilling would have gone on. I found Pulvers attitude to the Senators at times rude, condescending and arrogant but Senator Reynolds seemed to have the measure of him. I wonder if he has bothered to read her CV, it’s quite impressive!

    • Moz

      I think he probably did as much research on her CV as they did on the financial viability of the Rebels.

      As the decision to cut a team was originally done on the “financial criteria”, were any questions on the review they did on the Rebels? I know that RugbyWA stated that they were never asked to provide any actual information or submissions on their own financial position (even they they had raised it themselves). However, do you know if the Rebels ever had to provide any information themselves, bearing in mind the amount of funding they had already received, plus Pulver’s submission that the Rebels were basically insolvent again at the start of this financial year?

      • Perth girl

        Do you mean the Spreadsheet that has turned into the scorecard.? Enquiry has asked to see that including how the scores were weighted Pulver didn’t want to answer questions about Rebels as its all supposedly confidential l dont know what he was asked when we had to leave the room of course but it was mentioned that it would be followed up. It is early days yet and I expect Clarke and maybe North will be called up. I dont know when names of witnesses for next round on Oct 11th will be released I’ll keeping checking the website. Incidentally there was talk outside the room that the ARU hasn’t yet signed any agreement with the Vic Gov

        • Moz

          Well, I assume it would be in the spreadsheet, although I have also taken to calling all my spreadsheets “scorecards” now…. But I would have assumed there was a fair vigorous review of the financial capabilities of both teams under the knife.

          So, it really looks like one of the avenues the Hearing will go down at the next session.

        • Bakkies

          WA Government is going to be up and submitting documentation.

      • Bakkies

        And on Cox’s financial status in NZ!

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@Nick_Wasiliev

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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