Thursday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby
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Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby news sees Jordan Petaia facing another injury setback, pressure mounts for Australian Super Rugby sides for round four, Nick McArdle returns to give a State of the Union, and the Western Force go head-to-head against a Shute Shield club in a curtain-raiser.

 


Young flyer busts wing

Jordan Petaia bundels Cameron Clark into touch

Jordan Petaia bundles Cameron Clark into touch. Photo Credit: Stephen Tremain

In news that will send disappointed groans throughout the Reds organisation, and Australian rugby in general, young gun Jordan Petaia has been ruled out for the 2020 season.

The Reds confirmed that Petaia has suffered a dislocated shoulder which requires surgery, sidelining him for up to 20 weeks. This means Petaia, after two games, will effectively be out for the rest of the Red’s campaign.

Rugby.com.au reported that Petaia underwent scans on Tuesday after arriving back in Brisbane with his Reds teammates on Monday night. Further consultation with surgeons and Reds and Rugby Australia medicos determined he will go under the knife for a full reconstruction.

It will be a long road through rehabilitation, casting serious doubts on his ability to be ready to play in the Wallabies July Series.

There is still hope he could make a comeback during The Rugby Championship in August and September.

The question is, should he be rushed back into top-flight rugby considering his age and his horror run with injuries?

The Reds are hosting the Sunwolves for their first home game of the season, with a reshuffle needed in the backline to compensate for the loss of Jordy. Hunter Paisami is tipped to start in the 13 jersey for the game.

Pride on the line in round four

Bryce Hegarty and Angus Scott Young. Photo credit: Reds Rugby / Brendan Hertel

Time for senior players to step up this round. Photo credit: Reds Rugby / Brendan Hertel

Aussie fans will see a return of Saturday arvo rugby, with the Rebels hosting the Sharks in Ballarat at 2.45pm AEDT for their round four clash. This is the first time the Rebels have taken a regular season round to country Victoria, and it is hoped the move will win the hearts and minds of fans and players out in the region. On Tuesday, Melbourne Rebels and Rugby Victoria hosted a rugby clinic at Ballarat Highlanders Rugby Club, with more activities planned for game day.

Later on Saturday afternoon, the Brumbies take on the Chiefs in Hamilton at 5.05pm AEDT. After a heartbreaking loss to the Highlanders last week, the Brumbies are out for redemption, and are hopeful they can be the first Aussie team to notch a win against a Kiwi side this year. They haven’t won in New Zealand since March 2014 when they beat the Hurricanes. Rob Valentini has the belief that the Brumbies can win against a classy Chiefs side.

“It’s about fronting up as a team,” said Valentini. “We’ll get the job done if we get around each other. If we bring the energy, we can pull an upset.”

Immediately following that, the Reds host the Sunwolves at Suncorp at 7.15pm AEDT. The Queensland team are looking for their first win of the season against a dogged Sunwolves team containing a mish-mash of mercenaries from around the world rugby landscape, including a crop of Aussies.

It’s a must-win for the Reds, who are under pressure to deliver on their potential after a steady rebuilding phase under Thorn. It will be interesting to see how the backline shapes up after Petaia’s injury. Also, whoever is named at 12 will potentially line-up against Ben Te’o, who was rumoured to be joining the Reds before signing with the Sunwolves.

Across all Aussie Super Rugby teams playing this weekend, it is time for the experienced heads still running around to step up and take these games by the scruff of the neck. Check in for all the team sheets here.

West vs East in Perth

Heath Tessmann charges during the NRC 2019. (Credit Delphy)

Heath Tessmann charges during the NRC 2019. (Credit Delphy)

The Western Force will host Shute Shield side Eastwood at Success Sportsplex on Saturday in a pre-season trial, as a warm up for the second season of Global Rapid Rugby.

“Eastwood is a very successful Sydney club and it will be a good test to see if things are working on the field and where our conditioning is at,” Force captain Ian Prior told Western Force Media.

The game will act as a curtain-raiser to the RugbyWA Women’s Super W round two clash against the Queensland Reds. The Western Force will take on Eastwood at 2:00pm AWST⁣⁣⁣, directly followed by RugbyWA Women playing the Queensland Reds at 4:00pm AWST ⁣⁣⁣for Super W round two action.

“It’s fantastic, between RugbyWA and the Force, we are one club and it’s great to represent the WA rugby program and pathway as a whole organisation and we are honoured we can add to the women’s event,” Prior said.

“It’s going to be great to get our first competitive match out of the way and then enjoy some top-class rugby when we watch the RugbyWA side play afterwards.

“The team (RugbyWA Women) have some young exciting talent, WA always seems to produce good players male and female, so I think we’ve unearthed some stars there.”

The Force will also play a trial game against a Newcastle representative side at No.2 Sportsground on 29 February before the Global Rapid Rugby season kicks off on 14 March.

Super Rugby conundrum

Dan McKellar is in the conversation for higher honours.

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar is tipped to push for higher honours.

The question of dropping another Australian side of Super Rugby has again been a topic of conversation. On Sky Sports’ The Breakdown it was suggested that the Sunwolves remain in the competition and one of the Australian teams fall out following their poor start to the season, where Australian sides are 6-0 against foreign competition.

A welcome face has returned, as Ex-Fox Rugby host Nick McArdle was invited on the show to provide an insight on the state of rugby in Australia.

“The game is struggling here and that’s a part of the discussion, do we reduce once again after having lost the Western Force just a couple of years ago. Do we get rid of another team and go back to three,” said McArdle. “At the time there was even talk about maybe keeping the Force and merging the Brumbies and the Rebels, that’s still on the table in some people’s minds anyway.”

The old argument that in Australia, rugby is behind League and AFL in the pecking order was raised, as was resources dedicated to juniors and grassroots. Interestingly, discussion turned to concerns over the resources being devoted to the coaching system.

“Why do we have a New Zealand coach coaching at our biggest province in the Waratahs at the moment?” asked McArdle.

“Why have we got Dave Rennie just about to start as coach of the Wallabies? The reason is he was the best man for the job and everyone’s comfortable with that, except that: why was he the best man for the job? He was the best man for the job because we haven’t put the resources into the coaching structure and the coaching pathways. There was nobody ready, nobody was ready to take over the Wallabies. That is an indictment on the Australian system at the moment.”

Is there any coaches from ClubLand ready to step up to Super Rugby level?

  • Mortahs Incoming – custardtaht

    The problem with cutting, you eventually run out of things to cut. The problem is not the number of teams, it is the administration off field

    • Crescent

      I am yet to see a “shrink to greatness” strategy work. All sport, regardless of code, is effectively a pyramid – the broader the base, the higher the tip. The lack of investment in the juniors and clubs over the long term has left us in our current position, and it will take years to effectively rectify.

      I also am not on board with the idea that being 0 for 6 against international teams is the be all and end all. We have had our arses handed to us for some time against better organised opposition – for some of those 0 for 6 games, we were in it till the death – it could have readily been a 2 for 6 or 3 for 6 had we been able to hold on – this season we certainly feel closer to the mark with the Brumbies and Reds, the Rebels have much promise and need to start delivering, leaving the Tahs as a shit fight that will take a few seasons to sort out.

      • AllyOz

        There are certainly businesses who shed business units and returned to growth through the focus/concentration on core skills and businesses. But I don’t know if its the same thing. But I don’t think, with limited resources, that it hurts to look at how they are best allocated. If the TV money is down a bit (or even if it says at a similar amount) there will be commercial pressures on all spending in the game. It is OK to say we shouldn’t cut more franchises, and I would agree, but if we don’t have the revenue to meet the costs of Super Rugby and all the other levels of the game that need funding where does the money get cut from. I don’t know what it costs to fund a Super Rugby franchise – i think the player salary costs alone would be more than $5 million (that’s only $167k per player across 30 squad members – some on more some on less). So I think it’s fair to ask the question “is it better spent elsewhere?”. But I am happy if the answer is keep all the teams and find the money to expand.

        • How much do the tier one players cost all up @ yr?
          The most obvious would be Hooper, $5m for 3 yrs?

          Not saying he’s not worth that amount somewhere else.
          Less money may drive him overseas to EU or wherever, maybe he’d stay, pride in the jersey an all that…
          Does it matter losing top players if more are coming through to replace them due to strong pathways etc?
          Maybe a Top Tier tempory paycut would help.

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          I suspect that this was more a political and legal decision than a business decision. Axing the franchise in an area that is growing fast and where you are establishing yourself as the second largest football code in favour of areas where you are losing market share isn’t sound business. I think it is more opportunistic, Australia was pressured by partners and financially to cut a franchise at the same time when to WA was going through financial hardship (like every franchise did). This provided RA with an opportunity to manoeuvre themselves into a legal position where they can cut a franchise – the only franchise they could legally cut.
          Let’s not pretend that there was a strategy or business merits in the decision to axe the Force, as RA were not in the position to choose.

        • AllyOz

          No I think you are correct in they cut the one that was easiest to cut from their perspective. I personally think that a four model team that included WA was a better option because of the junior development and less competition from other sports. However, that hasn’t meant that the melbourne franchise has worked any better since the Force left.

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          Spot on. The most sensible outcome would have been a merger, an option the ARU didn’t want to consider.

  • Reds Revival

    I’ve never heard of a sporting code shrinking its way to success.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Or any business

  • AllyOz

    Agree with the final comments of Nick McArdle re: coaches, particularly his acknowledgement that while Rennie was the best man for the job we need to ask why he was the best man.

    I didn’t agree with the removal of the Force – shrinking our way to success and all that. I liked the fact that there had been strong junior growth in that area that had been fostered through the pathway to Super Rugby. However, I think the question does need to be asked as to how we allocated limited resources.

    I wonder if the resources allocated to the Rebels and Western Force, for instance, were directed to junior development in those areas and the NRC was able to develop as a genuine national competition of the standard of the Mitre 10, if that might be a better way to go. Then, when those sides are producing enough players of Super Rugby standard we are better placed to elevate them to Super Rugby. I guess it largely depends on Super Rugby’s survival beyond 2025 and what might replace it but, for the moment, I would rather we retain the competition as it was with the 5 teams in this conference (4 here and 1 in Japan). Having a foot in the Japanese market and their strong performance as a club in terms of crowds etc could be a good thing for us as the game develops in the future.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Not just the Rebs and Force. All of the club’s at some stage in the last 5 years or so have had significant financial assistance.

      • AllyOz

        Yes true – everyone has had a bailout of some sort.

      • Jason

        The Reds have actually probably been the most financially stable, once you account for the fact that they have to pay for Ballymore.

        • Yowie

          Yeah! As of recently we’re the least-worst of a bad bunch. Cop that other clubs!

        • Reds Revival

          For once…

        • Mortahs Incoming – custardtaht

          That is why you have 2 bonus points for good behaviour.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      I think the need for a national framework to grow players, coaches, administrators and referees is essential or having a foreign coach will be the norm. While I think Rennie is a great coach and will do better than most I’m not sure that’s where Australia rugby wants to be

      • Dave P

        Was Rennie truly the best available or were others available not considered because they were from the wrong school / club / province? The best credentialed Australian coach would be Laurie Fischer, was he even considered?
        For the ‘tahs was Darren Coleman considered?

        • Reds Revival

          Laurie Fisher was head coach in Europe (Ireland, I believe), and by his own admission, he wasn’t cut out for the Head Coach role. Having said that, I think that he is by far and away our best option for Wallabies forwards coach.

        • Who?

          Totally agree. He’s like NZ’s Wayne Smith – an incredible part of a coaching team, someone who’ll make their head coach far better, but somehow not a great fit for the head role itself. And when guys like Smith and Lord Laurie work that out, their value only increases in my eyes. Because they only ever devalue themselves when they put themselves into roles where they’re not suited – they go coaching teams that end up with terrible records, whereas, as assistants, they enter underperforming teams and make them truly great. Better a great assistant than a terrible head coach.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          That would be an interesting question to get the truthful answer to

        • Hoss

          I think timing is the most important ingredient in all of this. The current Tah’s are not something you would drop on an emerging coach. Gibson 101% rooted the poodle when he said he was staying on, Cronn thought ‘bugger this i am outta here’ and then Mr Gibson (Jehovah love him) said ‘you know what, no stuff it, i am done and voilah, the Tah’s are rudderless, succession plan shot, recruitment shot (how does a player make a decision when the org dont know who the coach will be), player confidence shot and hello 3-4 years in the doldrums and again how do retain young talent when the club gets its taint fed to it over and over for a few years.

          As for Rennie – i reckon the only reason Segall kept the gig post 2018 is they wanted the right man as his successor, not a ‘stop-gap’ coach to the RWC, but the real deal – hence the wait for Rennie. I am a big fan of RC and i reckon shes played it right on just about every front so far. She inherited a pile of excrement at the start of her tenure and so far (broadcasting rights pending) she is about to roll out a quiet pleasing Soufflé

        • Who?

          Hoss, don’t forget that Gibbo was helped by Hore, who also departed to the east… How does an organisation make a call on players when it has not only an empty head coaching role, but also no CEO?
          .
          Rennie – I think you’re basically right. No money to pay out the Chef in 2018, and too hard to get Rennie or a similar option.
          .
          It’s impressive just how much sentiment towards Castle has changed in the last month, especially on here. :-)
          I’m not saying she’s perfect – far from it – I don’t know that we’ve seen enough yet to make a full call. Positive signs (some of which were there last year), but still early days, really. But many were making very premature calls in the negative towards her based of situations that were effectively beyond her control.

        • Patrick

          I’ve always been a fan, I think what you are referring to is the dropping of the scales from many NSW-eyes. Maybe world cup humiliation was needed!

        • Hoss

          Afternoon Dr. I well remember Mr Hore and his participation in the shite-fight that is my Tah’s. I have been a fan of RC since she started, there was still the stain of the Force fiasco that I believe unfairly tainted her appointment and early days
          for some but it’s hard to point to where she has got something wrong thus far and the tv deal could still be her crowning glory.

      • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

        National framework needs to cover more than just the Eastern States.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Yeah you’d hope so wouldn’t you

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          Australia Rugby doesn’t seems to realise that rugby is played outside NSW and QLD.

    • Then, when those sides are producing enough players of Super Rugby standard
      Which states have been doing that lately could be a question.
      Depends on the perceived level I guess?

      As far as junior development resource allocation –

      It seems the roll-on effect on numbers in WA following the dumping of the Force, showed that concept didn’t lead to great junior participation.(strangely)
      I don’t think it would improve Melbourne’s either.
      More resources to juniors/pathways etc no doubt would be more beneficial, comes back to where do the $ come from…

      Dropping any team would weaken rugby further…defeatist idea

      • AllyOz

        My understanding is all the money coming in comes from clubs (who pay a contribution to RA but don’t get much direct funding back) and what the Wallabies earn. I don’t think any of the Super Rugby teams make any net contribution to revenue, they are a cost.

        • Reds Revival

          While all registration fees go to RA, they only take out the insurance cost and pay the rest to the state RU bodies. That covers the super rugby teams (along with broadcasting fees and sponsorships). Local clubs therefore should be supported by their state bodies, not RA.

        • Who?

          Unless that’s changed in the last two years, I don’t know that’s exactly true… When the RA (then ARU) levies were brought in back in 2014 (late enough to completely change club cost structures after we’d already started advertising pricing), there were three components. Insurance (which was actually slightly cheaper for juniors, dearer for seniors, but even more negatively for seniors, was a ‘per player’ affair, rather than the ‘per team’ structure previously afforded), a state cost, and a national cost. In 2015, it was $8/Insurance, $40 State Levy, and $27.50 National Levy. I’m unsure how much it’s increased since then…
          .
          There’s also a significant cost from the local sub unions.

  • Reds Revival

    I also believe that the more Australian rugby players we expose to this level of competition, the more options and competition for places we will have at Wallaby level.

  • Keith Butler

    A full shoulder reconstruction at 19, bloody hell that is tough. With the support he will get, he should make a good recovery and I sincerely hope that it does not impact on what could be a great future. Good luck Jordan.

  • Gottsy

    Feel for Petaia, poor kid can’t get a streak of games together without an injury and every time he does he has the media pressure on him. Hope he can get his body right, he probably hasn’t even stopped growing yet

    • John Tynan

      I’m reminded of $BW early in his career – a string of knee and shoulder issues that stabilised as he grew into his body. I reckon kids go too big too early “these days”.

      • Gottsy

        Yeah good point. Similar amount of hype at that age too!

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Jack, Shit that’s bad luck for Patia, poor Bugga cant get a look in. I hope he comes back from this ok.
    BIG weekend for Australia rugby. I’m thinking the Reds should take the Sunwolves at home, Rebels could beat the Sharks but will need to be on top of their game, I think the Brumbies will struggle in Hamilton but if they keep it tight and keep a good defence you never know.
    I cant believe people are seriously considering losing another franchise, if the reason they couldn’t drop the Rebels last time was about ownership, does this mean it’ll be between the most successful Australian Super team and the other two? That’ll get the blood flowing although maybe the Sydney elite will be happy to lose the Waratahs so they can live in their Shute Shield bubble and continue to bemoan the passing of the old days.

  • AllyOz

    We always think that NZ Rugby is cruising while we are struggling to keep up but this article suggests it’s a struggle over there too.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/sport/409554/rugby-in-worse-shape-than-we-thought-bidwell

    I don’t know the author, he may be a serial complainer, NZ’s answer to Alan Jones, KARL will be able to help us out no doubt, but it looks like the game faces serious challenges everywhere.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      There’s absolutely some truth in this but a lot of it is him taking shots at the NZRFU because he backed Robinson to be the coach and he missed out. TBF he usually writes some good stuff but getting more and more like those Trolls Rattue and Reason who I never read anymore because they just dribble shit.

    • Hoss

      Morning Mr Oz,

      Interesting read. Is it just me or is anyone else getting jaded by the ‘rugby sky is falling’ prophecies that abound ? I mean at its zenith Rugby in Oz will be #3 ranked sport, that’s our lot in life and we can carve out a profitable niche at #3.

      Rugby will survive. Sure, formats, sides and structures will evolve – it’s when they don’t we should all get panicked. The old adage ‘if you hate change, yo’re gonna hate extinction more’ rings true. Eighteen months ago here on GAGR conversations occurred re the Saffas chasing the Euro, IMO its great for for a Pacific Rim Contest (always thought this was a sex move – but there-you-go) too bad, so sad. Personally i would always rather lead the change process than being forced to react to it – so roll on changes, new formats, new broadcasters, new teams, markets and comps.

      I am bullish that out of the ashes of SANZAR a new, stronger, more local (timezone friendly) comp will arise. I see Twiggy involved, a Force side, PI, NZ, Aus and Jap teams added to make up PINZAJ or JAPINZ, may ANZJIP even, but whatever the future holds we are better without the Dutch Dirt Diggers anyhow. SANZAR served Rugby well for a while but the SAFFA’s have wielded their financial clout as a Claymore for too long and we were all addicted to the drug. Sometimes the best way to get off a something is just going cold turke y and then all the colours and options of the world seem clearer again.

      As for the NZ journo – so his whole criticism of the new coach is that during a ‘fluff piece’ tour, the coach has just shook hands and kissed babies and dolled out benign offerings – so the death of NZ rugby is imminent…………FFS, really? Its the equivalent of writing an article when there’s nothing to write about. Give me a break already.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Mate I’m almost with you The two issues I have with the whole Pacific Ring thing is that firstly the PI teams don’t have finances, management and good practices in place and they will suck millions just to stay afloat, I also question their sustainability and what teams are we talking about. Do you mean international PI teams against the current super teams? I mean it’s not as though they have such a strong club competition they can have a team between the clubs and international. Lots to do in this area by them, not waiting on hand-outs from WR or anyone else, before they can get something together. The second issue is the lack of quality opposition for the ABs and Wallabies. Putting the last 5 years aside as we can blame that on the coaching team more than anything else, NZ and Aus have been at the top of the field and a lot of this is due to the quality of opposition in the RC and then northern tours. If we lose SA then the quality will drop off and maintaining standards will be harder.

        • Yowie

          ..NZ and Aus have been at the top of the field…

          Don’t forget “daylight” putting in a good showing within those top 3.

        • Hoss

          Details, details, details – pffft. I am more a ‘broad stroke’ leader mate and the minions can fill in the minutia.

          Without waffling – i was on board with the proposed Single Season World Rugby idea last year (bar the exclusion of Japan & Fiji) – that’s more the concept i see, but briefly

          – A combined PI team (perhaps based in Western Sydney for natural reasons – that NSW Rugby just cant grasp !!)
          – A tiered system with promotion and relegation available
          – A comp with 16-20 sides (spread over the two tiers). Perhaps the second tier is spread across Oz & NV club (NRC / Mitre 10) comps.
          – A draft and salary cap limits
          – Guaranteed financial support with a carrot for ascension into tier one (exactly like EPL set-up)
          – Covered on FTA & mixture of stream / pay / telco’s
          – Lends itself to an annual North v South type club challenge as well (like Crusaders v Leinster for ex)

          Not proposing we lose SAFFA’s from RC, but not afraid if that happens either. SH rugby, like it or not, is the pre-eminent rugby in the world, thats not ragging on the quality up North, but theres a reason SH has won all but 1 RWC !! We need to harness it, have a plan and execute and the EPL is a programme worth looking at closely, very closely.

        • AllyOz

          I am not sure how the Pacific countries would work. I don’t know how much people there would be prepared to pay for tickets. I assume a $100 – 200 to take a small family as is the case here wouldn’t be too realistic for very many families there – maybe if it is based in Western Sydney or Townsville or Singapore it works better. Twiggy seems to have tied some of his new franchises with limited playing numbers to countries or areas with a rugby tradition – Beijing is with Bay of Plenty and the Malaysian team with the SA Valke.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Absolutely mate. There just isn’t any money in the PI’s and while I agree a solution maybe having the team based in Sydney or Auckland the affect of this on the local team would have consequences that need to be addressed.
          I like the idea of a mixed team with costs and revenue shared amongst the various nations but I think they need to come up with the solution not have it forced on them

        • Hoss

          All fair points mate, but Aus, NZ et al have raided the PI cookie jar for years in terms of pilfering talent (i know the issues are far greater than that and quality of life, futures, economies, all comes into play). BUT – it’s incumbent on especially Auz & The Sheep Shaggers to develop and foster the game in the PI. We have built fortunes and in NZ case, a dynasty out of the talent of the PI’s, its critical we nurture PI Rugby, support it and help it garner it’s independence and provide them pathways that don’t necessarily see them end up in a French Winter.

          It won’t be easy and yes, there are governance concerns, but then again, nothing worthwhile is easy.

        • Yowie

          “…quality of life…”

          I suppose some PI players just have to make sure the money is worth it to be living in Auckland or Dunedin.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Not sure I agree with all that. Most of the PI players in the ABs, and I think the Wallabies, have been ones born in NZ or come over as kids with their families. I would like to help the PI get better but they also need to help themselves instead of sitting their crying and blaming the rest of the world for their problems.

      • Tomthusiasm

        Perfect description, there are so many Henny Penny journalists in NZ. I assume it’s just to garner readership/viewership. Gets pretty tiring, I honestly just switch off.

      • Keith Butler

        I think you need a couple of Maker’s Mark mate. Two excellent posts on consecutive days is a bit of a worry. Not sure that the Saffas will head north unless there is a massive financial incentive particularly for their SR teams. Similarly given the state of the finances of Premiership teams would they be able to afford trips to the Republic. And as for the NZ piece you’d think that after one defeat in the RWC, the sky was falling in, although the exodus of players either retiring or chasing the dollar would be a worry. I reckon the Darkness teams will bounce back and take the Championship and the SR trophy.

      • Geoffro

        I’m with you and ready to dump the Saffas.Ultimately the Kiwis have been and will continue to be the benchmark in world rugby so we may as well concentrate on trying to get a bit of parity with them.We can involve the Japs too because they prefer our style of rugby and have heaps of dough.

        • Hoss

          I only know what i read here and on dedicated news sites. But its a catch-22 for the Saffa’s. They contribute big bucks to SANZAR and it gives them clout, but the big bucks are given to them essentially because it gives them NV Rugby content and to a lesser extent ours. So they huff and puff (get Kings into comp, push for the Force to be squeezed and then just shit on the Moon-Doggies all together) because they pick up the tab, so to speak. But if NZ said, hang on, there’s another option on the table post 2021. One that provides content at more reasonable viewing times, more tribal derbies (i am still not 100% sold on the veracity of the commercial claims of these – but i will include it as a ‘possible win’), one that provides pathways & retention options for the code, helps develop new markets in Asia & gives our PI cousins a platform and financial wins.

          Now if this ‘rebel comp’ was to capture 5-10m new subscribers, fans, sponsors in emerging markets well then all of a sudden you have a product to sell, a global product to and audience of billions. Suddenly the Toyota’s, Samsungs, LG’s of the world start to look at mega million (hundreds) for naming rights, China’s interest twigs and bing bam boom – Rugby breathes in an echelon never dreamed of before.

          Never be afraid to aim at the stars, if you miss, you will still hit the moon..

          Add yes i am available for an obscenely ridiculously high paying CEO job to get this vision up and running

        • JJ

          Hoss, You should put the words Global Rapid Rugby in there instead of “rebel comp”” and Twiggy instead of “twigs”” and you could become the next Nostradamus!

        • Hoss

          Bastards stolen my ideas again. I should’ve known. 25 years ago over a cold one i suggested to him we should look into some iron ore leases out west, might be a penny or two in it………

        • JJ

          So you really are the new Nostradamus.

        • Hoss

          So French guy once said ‘victory belongs to the most perservering’

          Stay the course.- get the biscuits.

        • Yowie

          At a different time, a large group of French guys said:

          Oh merde! A putain-load of Panzers is heading straight for us. Let’s putain-off away from this Maginot Line before they get us!

        • Geoffro

          Ordered Putain at a takeaway in Qubec once.Nearly got thrown out of the joint

        • Yowie

          At the same time, some poor chap must have ended up with chips & gravy at a Qubec house of ill-repute.

        • Geoffro

          Mind boggles what you’d end up with if you asked for chips and gravy at a brothel………….OK,I’m outta here

        • JJ

          So did you tell Bonaparte that invading Russia will end in tears? And Waterloo could flush him down the toilet totally?

        • laurence king

          Napoleon may have said that, but Josephine said ‘perverse’

      • mortlucky

        Quite. And let’s not forget that the Wallabies in the professional era will always be rocks and diamonds – the French of the Pacific (sorry New Caledonia). That too is “our lot in life”.

        • Hoss

          merde !

        • AllyOz

          putain de bordel de merde

      • AllyOz

        I wasn’t so worried about the bit about the new coach, it was talk about dropping back to 10 a side rugby and developments in the schools programme. That has been raised in a number of books like The Jersey and falling participation numbers etc which we experienced too, just a few years earlier.

        I share some of you bullish optimism and I think the way is North and around the Pacific. If there is a way we can call it PIZAZZ then our marketing “creatives” will just love it, darling.

        I think there was a time early in the 2000s when we were threatening to move into the 2nd place, that RL (a game I played from U12s) was going to die out or at least dwindle and that Rugby’s greater acceptance around the world would eventually see it grow into the second sport here. But something happened between 2005 and now. Over that period I think the NRL has done better than us (and maybe not getting mass FTA exposure was part of it) probably for a variety of reasons but I think, if the right decisions are made, rugby will become the more relevant sport of the two.

      • Damo

        Good stuff Hoss.
        I know we have hashed over this before, but seriously, you would rationally think that if someone had suggested an annual, week in week out ,home and away style sporting competition that was played by teams from 4 continents, 2 hemispheres, across 16 time zones where teams were taking 40 hours plus to get from A to B you would have rightly be considered fanciful.
        However, back in the mid 90’s I for one was very interested in SA provincial rugby. We had seen very little of it in our lifetime and the idea of pitting our Local provinces against these teams that had combined to win the world cup was very appealing. On top of that we had never really had any meaningful regular competition against the NZ provinces either. I was very excited at what was about to unfold.
        In spite of the logistics the idea of Super Rugby and the 3 nations playing each other regularly hooked us. The fact that Foxtel was hell bent on creating product that would shoe horn us into their pay tv space gave this thing life.
        It’s now 25 years later, the intrigue of the competition has faded as things inevitably do- kind of like the law of diminishing returns. Over time the desire to make it more interesting through expansion has made the negative aspects of the travel etc even worse. In the 90’s we would have parties designed to end in time for us to sit down and watch Tim and Jason do battle with Natal in Durban. Now we hit the record button. Do I give a rats about the Bulls?
        The realities of this very difficult to stage competition are starkly in front of us now. As you say Hoss, change is inevitable and necessary. We need to stop flogging the dead horse and buy a new pony and maybe different “owners & trainers”. Some people were very smart back in ’96, hitting the reset button and coming up with something gave every rugby lover in the Southern Hemisphere something we could cheer on.
        I know it’s a complicated issue and a difficult fix- $$’s, cultures, politics, distance etc- and I certainly don’t have the answers, but there should be no shame in accepting that after 25 years it’s time it’s time to throw the balls in air again.
        Suffice to say I’ll still be here watching and supporting this fantastic game no matter what happens. Thanks for listening.

        • Hoss

          Good read mate. Yep, were on same boat. Its not like SANZAR or SR hasn’t been good or worthwhile, but it has run its day. Bit like owing a 25 yo Commodore. It was great, trusty, worthwhile and provided great memories. But now it’s time to update to something better, more modern, more of its time, more practical to modern needs. I deliberately use Commodore as an example, once great, refused to adapt and whammo…..

      • laurence king

        I agree and sooner the better. Getting Twiggy and the Force involved would also heal a lot of wounds.

        • Hoss

          Everyone has their price, the secret is knowing where to start

        • laurence king

          With goodwill I think. Certain Sydney types may be a little nervous of someone like Twiggy. They would be concerned that the balance of power goes west. But I think that there is a pretty big upside to an Australasian/Pacific based competition that would make everyone happy. Even a Californian based side would be a possibility.

        • Perth girl

          There has been no goodwill, ever, from RA to the West. Why should Twiggy get involved with them, they are only interested in his money

        • Reds Revival

          Perth Girl, I could certainly understand your scepticism, but RC is showing to be keen to re-unite the game under the one banner. Getting NSWRU and SRU on the same page is no small feat! I think that she understands that for our game to be the best that it can be, we need each state and region to be involved and help to grow the game. All I’m saying, is give peace a chance…

        • Perth girl

          Ha so that’s why there is no team from WA in this proposed “National” competition! That’s just BS!

        • Tassie squad on the cards eh Laurence?
          Just, how do you fit all those heads in the front row?

        • When the offer was made would have been a good time, one would have thought.. Shows what I know about such things I guess.

        • Hoss

          It’s hard to know what the inner machinations are HO. I will say RC is far shrewder the many have given credit and I recall early on the piece Twiggy saying something to the effect of he respected her and liked his dealings – bot so much CC as I recall.

          I just reckon RC has played the long game to perhaps get your mob back in the big dance – whatever that may end up looking like. I wouldn’t yet entirely discount a Forest / Castle undertaking at some point soonish. RC has had some fairly shitty cards dealt at the start of her tenure and come through pretty well thus far.

          To be continued…..

        • No doubting the shrewdness of lawyers and bankers, or the occasional billionaire mining magnate…
          Some may use other words that are even more descriptive.
          I agree with you though. Rugby will find it hard to survive with further fragmentation.
          Whatever will be will be, hopefully for the good.

      • AllyOz

        could we just go straight into the Japanese Top League with five sides. Just find the companies to bankroll them – the Force will be fine, they just become the Fortescue Force, get James Packer on board (if he still has some shares left) and it becomes the Crown Rebels, Huawei are always looking for a way in (to a 5G network) so they can have the ACT (they are a Raiders sponsor), that leaves the Adani Reds and the Holden Waratahs…might have to work on that last one.

        • Yowie

          Huawei are always looking for a way in (to a 5G network) so they can have the ACT

          haha, gold. I look forward to the ribbon-cutting ceremony on the new deal.

          “…and i’m also proud to say that, thanks to our sponsor, the Brumbies have the most sophisticated electronics fitout of any Super Rugby club. Just look at that huge antennae tower and dedicated electronics floors here at Brumbies HQ. Staffed 24 hours by Huawei’s own people free of charge, right here in the heart of government in this fine country….”

        • AllyOz

          Steve “Skylab” Cutler could be a patron. Replica jerseys would come with actual tracking devices, just like the players have. Sam Dastyari would be on the board along with Harold Holt.

        • Yowie

          “Is it just me, or is Lake Burley Griffin shrinking because a military base is springing up out of the water?”

  • Hoss

    Two things i know with resolute confidence:

    1. The Tah’s will not lose this weekend
    2. The Tah’s win-less streak will continue this weekend.

    I think there’s something in that for all of us.

    • Yowie

      Ha – reminds me of one of those re-subtitled Downfall ranting videos (about the Reds it think) where the character with the moustache was ranting sarcastically “Can we beat the bye?!”.

  • Jason

    Let’s just cut the Waratahs?

    • Yowie

      If we do, some sort of Orwellian “Emmanuel Goldstein” type club/figure/organisation would need to take the Waratahs’ place so that I can continue to channel all of my Reds insecurities and frustrations onto an external agent.

      • Geoffro

        Just do as the yanks and relocate a franchise.NSW Sunwolves anybody.

        • Yowie

          haha, lets see how dedicated the Sunwolves fanbase really is. Eg. Homebush Stadium at capacity full of Japanese people who have flown-in for the home game.

        • Geoffro

          Bruddy oaf mate.Err , you mean Sydaney Suntory stadium dont you.

        • Yowie

          The half-time entertainment could be like those apesh!t Japanese game-shows. I like where this is going.

        • AllyOz

          Maybe if we used Homebush as a Coronavirus quarantine station for all those stuck on Japanese cruise vessels we could get a good crowd (and hold them there for 14 days, selling them food and NSW Sunwolves branded face masks)

        • Yowie

          Food at stadium prices for 14 days?
          The NSW GDP is back in the black after all the bushfires!

        • AllyOz

          oh good…I thought that comment might have been disrespectful and was waiting for a backlash but Yowie has commented on it so it MUST be PC friendly ;)

        • Yowie

          Either that, or i’m headed for a big fall at some point. On the topic of my impeccable judgement, I have genuinely had a tutoring contract terminated because of how I told (via email) a group of students to stop being lazy. In my defence, I had enjoyed a few drinks that night…

        • AllyOz

          I was being a touch sarcastic, to be honest, as you do play near the edge at times…which I enjoy immensely…yes it’s difficult to be critical these days, even if its for the students benefit.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Hahahaha that’d get some blood boiling

    • Keith Butler

      Such blasphemy. Mass heart attacks amongst the old tie brigade in NSW.

      • Patrick

        Wait where do I sign up?

      • Jason

        The said fact of the matter is NSW have been the almost singular focus of the ARU for a long, long time. With the Reds and Brumbies being an after thought. Cutting them would force some much needed re-balancing in the Australian Rugby landscape.

        But seriously, 5 was a fine number of teams for us. 4 is okay too.

  • Nutta

    Morning Cobbers

    Has cutting the Western Force made the Wobblies perform better? That was the plan/motivation wasn’t it? That answers that and should frame any discussion surrounding that.

    If Jordan Petaia is seen in a franchise or national jersey any time in the next 18mths then someone needs to be sued for reckless endangerment. Simple. The kid needs to heal and mature and individuals who insist/influence him otherwise are acting solely in their own commercial interests not acting in his or the games best interests.

    I think it’s grand the Forcies are getting games. However I wonder about the risk in playing a semi-pro club outfit. Where is the upside? Either the Forcies blow them away and everyone says “as they should” or the Forcies lose and everyone says “What? Against as club side?”. Even worse, if the Woodies win it truly shows the SRU approach to NRC as the great farce it is.

    Of great note to me is the simple fact the Forcies v Woodies is the the first time I am aware of a decent game of open-men’s rugby involving proper professional players is the pre-game for a women’s game. Take note of the changing public sentiment here folks.

    Go Rebs. Victorians show up for letter-openings so they say so it should be a better crowd than your average Tarts game at least (or Donkeys for that matter).

    • Yowie

      Has cutting the Western Force made the Wobblies perform better? That was the plan/motivation wasn’t it?

      Without getting into the Force-cutting debate properly, there is probably a dominant reason for the Wallabies’ decline since about 2015 that other factors won’t put much of a statistical dent in.

    • Well, if we lose we have an excuse ready.
      Just sent all our top players to SR remember

    • Geoffro

      I like the sentiment on Jordie but for better or worse he has chosen the life of a professional athlete.He will be competing as soon as he’s able I’d say and If The Force dont smash the Woodies something is awry

      • JJ

        Geoffro, It is a trial game, with coaches trying new players and combinations and resting their stars, but I will be disappointed if the Force dont beat the Woodies by a margin of at least 10 tries or more.

  • paul

    All this talk of dropping teams, shrinking our way to greatness.

    But we are not addressing the single biggest issue, that is Super rugby itself.
    This competition simply does not generate enough interest especially in the Australian market.
    Until the issue of Super rugby itself is addressed, then you can go down to one team it ain’t going to make any difference when know one is watching.

    • Dave P

      The Australian market is shrinking because RA in their wisdom decided when the game went professional that attracting kids to play the game was not necessary, as kids chose to do other things when they turned 15. Prior to this they had the Run Wallaby Run ad campaign featuring Tm Horan which was helping to increase junior numbers. Turn the clock forward 25 years and kids who would now be young adults with disposable income have never played rugby so don’t have a love or understanding of the sport going out to watch AFL, who did put money into junior players.

      • paul

        To many short term financial decisions made ignoring the long term implications of those decisions.
        From day one everyone at the top echelon of the game in this country has been paid well.

  • Reds Revival

    While there is some negativity around the talk of cutting yet another SR team, I have room for a little optimism for our game.
    I think several of The Pirate’s initiatives are starting to pay dividend (such as the Juniors fighting fund, as well as the better preparation of the Juniors for tournaments). If we consider that during this next few years, there will be the Olympics, another World Cup, followed by a BIL tour to Australia, and then possibly (hopefully??), Australia can secure the 2027 World Cup. Both of these will provide a significant boost to the sport.
    If the Wallabies can win the Bledisloe back in the next couple of years, that will help put us back on a better keel. How much would it take to bribe the AB’s to throw a series?

    • Yowie

      How much would it take to bribe the AB’s to throw a series?

      More to the point, will Suzie the South African waitress come out of retirement to do some Bledisloe catering?

      • Reds Revival

        Great idea, but that still doesn’t guarantee a win, The AB reserves could still probably dust us up. I think we might get down to the Taranaki U11’s before we can feel really confident of a win.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Well I always said the U15 from WAgga Wagga would do a better job than the Wallabies

  • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

    I think Tim S,the current Force coach can especially step-up into a Superugby coaching position. He is pretty good and have done wonders with a lot of young upcoming players. I noticed the improvement of the Force players and team during the NRC, a lot of them was new to that level and at the end of the season better players than those that are playing Superugby today.

    • JJ

      Ag nee Boet, I hope Twiggy has got Tim Sampson and Van Humphries on fat contracts that no Super side can match. Anyway what do you mean by “step-up into a Superrugby coaching position”

      • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

        He may be our best local coach at the moment and is certainly the best at NRC level. I am impressed but not convinced as I am not sure how large the quality gap between Aussie Superugby and GRR really is.

      • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

        What I mean with step-up! It is a different challenge to coach a young team than a diverse team made up of international, provincial and young upcoming players. Also the logistics and demands are more taxing managing and developing a team across different time zones and continents where you are often away from your support base for weeks. Also you need to ensure that those that are not touring are developing while you are away. It is certainly a step-up in my view.

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Mad rugby supporter from Newcastle. Offering unbiased takes on why the Brumbies are the best team in Super Rugby.

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