Tuesday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby
NSW Waratahs

Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News sees alarm bells for the Tahs, Ellia’s ankle, Eddie warning the Six Nations bosses and, that broadcast deal.


Alarm Bells In Tah Land

The Waratahs have had a nightmare of a start to their Super Rugby Season! They’ve been smashed by both the Crusaders and the Blues in their first two games. They currently sit fifth in the Australian conference with a for and against of -38.

But it’s not all their fault. Yes, I’m going to defend them. Yes Really.

When Rugby Australia snavelled Tatsy Taylor from Scotland to put some muscle into the Wallabies defence it probably didn’t realise it would cost the Waratahs a defensive coach. Steve Tandy left at the last moment to take up Taylor’s old position in Scotland and his replacement really hasn’t had time to put his stamp on things.

Phill Bailey is no mug, a League international and a respected coach, but the Tahs haven’t had time to work out what Phill has to offer.

“Our defence was a bit vulnerable, that’s a big work-on for us, and it’s nowhere near where we need to be with that,” Penney said.

“I did feel like a couple of times we were short out wide, on reflection I don’t actually know what that is at the moment. That’ll be something we look at,” halfback Jake Gordon said.

 “In wet conditions we spoke about kicking the ball out, not giving the back three too much loose possession. I thought for parts of the game we did that, but there were a few crucial ones where we gave the ball away very easily and opened the game up and allowed their outside backs to put us to the sword out wide.”
NSW winger Alex Newsome was caught out a couple of times as the last line of defence but Penney and Bailey will be looking at the defensive patterns overall. The Blues made gain line metres at will as the Waratahs struggled to switch on.

Ellia Greens Ankle

Fans lost their shit this week when this photo showed up on Ellia Green’s Instagram feed. Especially when the caption stated “Definitely not ideal but not Impossible either, challenge accepted” immediately worst-case scenarios seemed to be everywhere.

Green was inundated with well-wishes from teammates and World Series stars alike, with Carlin Isles replying: “Better be speedy! The Olympics needs you.”

So what’s the story? Is Green, gasp, in danger of missing the Olympics?

Breathe easy because Aussie sevens officials say no.

The ankle surgery was a general clean-up, and the expectation is while Green may miss tournaments in the next month or two as she rehabs, the 173 days before the start of the Aussie women’s title defence begins at the Tokyo Olympics should be more than enough to see the star flyer back on her feet and scoring tries.

 

Eddie Jones Warning Six Nations

Happy Eddie Jones at post-match press-conference.

Hot on the heels of the news that South Africa wants into the Six Nations is a timely warning from Eddie Jones. Jones warned that expansion to seven or even eight teams could stuff the Six Nations in the same way as expanding from 12 teams to 14 stuff Super Rugby.

It’s hard to disagree with Eddie on this one.

As calls persist for World Cup champions South Africa, Japan and Georgia to be added, Jones believes tinkering with a winning format is ill-advised.

“It’s called the greatest rugby tournament in the world and I think it is. So why would you want to add other teams that are going to decrease the level of competition,” Jones said.

“I can only talk from experience. Super Rugby was the golden egg of rugby – brilliant, 12 teams, competitive. As soon as it had gone to 14 and 15, it had lost its allure.”

“You want the best teams playing against each other. There’s something about the Six Nations – because of the history of the relationships between the nations, it makes it more outstanding.

“The competition is much harder contested than the World Cup. It’s become a lot more physical and it’s only going to get more so.

“You don’t want this type of game every week, but southern hemisphere coaches certainly admire the Six Nations.

“From the first Six Nations I did to now, I think we’ve seen a general rise in the quality of the teams.”

 

That Broadcast Deal

Raelene Castle and Cameron Clyne

After, what seems like, weeks of Chicken Little articles claiming ‘the sky is falling’ on Australian Rugby a couple of articles yesterday were, shall we say… Less hysterical.

Firstly Green and Gold Rugby founder Matt Rowley talked sense here. Rowley stated ‘

According to a coalition of self-interested voices led by Newscorp (65% owners of Foxtel), RA have recklessly passed on Foxtel’s offer for the next 5 years of Australian rugby broadcast rights that would price them flat for a decade. Reckless, apparently, because rugby in Australia is a hot mess being led into TV rights oblivion by a team who need to know their place, take what they’re given and be grateful for it.

The only way RA can test the value is to take those rights to market. Not only is this Governance 101, but at a time when ASIC is taking Harold Mitchell to legal task over allegedly manipulating Tennis Australia rights, there is no real choice.”

Then Georgina Robinson stated that it’s not just about money and that ‘Sports place their prospects for exposure and growth in the hands of broadcasters and must take a hard look at competing business models when they sign multi-year deals.’

Up until now Australian rugby has grabbed the money and hoped that they could buy exposure and growth with it. But it really hasn’t worked out for them. Foxtel never had enough subscribers to really showcase rugby like RA wanted it showcased. And understandably Foxtel wasn’t keen to let free to air broadcasters have a live feed of their product.

‘Robinson continues with: As reported in the Herald’s media section on Monday, Rugby Australia will this week send out non-disclosure agreements to Foxtel, Optus, Amazon, Rugby Pass and Australia’s three commercial free-to-air networks.

The agreements are the precursor to the sport’s first open-market tender process for the broadcast rights to its club-to-Wallabies schedule until the end of 2025.

Not all those parties will sign and return them, but by week’s end the ones who have are the ones that will be regarded as seriously interested in what the next five years of Australian and international rugby has to offer their businesses.

That Foxtel is on that list gives the lie to five days of furious speculation that the majority News Corp-owned pay television provider has walked away from the game it helped champion for the past 25 years.

 That Optus is there too confirms its interest is real in growing its sport business beyond several levels of football. It does not guarantee a bid at the end of the process but it suggests, with former FFA director and new chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin at the helm, it is seriously weighing one up.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    I’m a fan of this Raelene Castle.

    • It seems like most people do. At least in my circles.
      There will always be people with built in preduces against women or people who look a little different or just successful people. Unfortunately Raelene Castle is all three.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I personally don’t think there are that many that dislike her for being a woman. In my experience, those who dislike her all fall into two linked but slightly different categories, and then may point to different things to justify it:

        a. the ‘old boys’ who want to go back to the ‘good old days’ of amateur club rugby feeding directly into the Wallabies; and

        b. those that dislike everything about RA, everything it does and everyone attached to it in any way.

        • Xaviera

          Agree with your “a” and “b” but definitely add a “c” that captures Sully’s summary – the misogony in some of the commentary is disgusting, as well as the comments about her personal appearance. Overlay that with general ignorance and it becomes appalling. The irony is, I’d bet that those doing that sort of commentary have never met her.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Maybe. But another way of looking at it is that those that display dislike towards Castle because of her gender or nationality (and I do think they’re a loud tiny minority) generally fall into one of the two above categories anyway, and bash RA endlessly. I wonder whether they’re just matching into those things as an excuse for their endless tirades against RA? If she was instead talking about finding club rugby and ending super rugby, I imagine they’d do an about face and love her instantly.

        • dane

          The funny thing about l the a) and b) crowds are that a) there IS a shifting focus to prioritise club rugby and b) there is a shake up to remove toxic members (Clyne) and a restructure of coaching and pathways. If you didn’t like the old R.A, great, have a look at where it is and where it’s going.

        • Who?

          I think we’ve seen less comments using ‘The Pirate’ and certainly fewer references to ‘The Vicar of Dibley’ lately, which is a very good thing.

        • Xaviera

          True, although I’ve been trying to avoid reading the trash. Let’s hope it’s a sign the tide is turning in a favourable direction. That said, those two references are far less offensive than some of the other epithets used.

        • Who?

          Absolutely, and not everyone who uses them does so in a clearly misogynist manner. But they’re the start of the slippery slope…

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          And it is still incredibly nasty, whether it is motivated by misogyny or not.

        • Hoss

          Doesn’t sexism breath and lurk in the spaces where we treat people differently based on gender ?? I say take the piss out of all equally – it’s egalitarian. As for the Greek Island of Misogyny, i toured there beaches once, but the fucking women – Jesus.

        • Who?

          Hence why I say that not all who use those epithets are being sexist. Some are genuinely even handed in such endeavours (such as your good self). The issue is that even if you’re not being misogynistic, the average person isn’t to know. So people take the wrong impression. For example, I know people who insisted that Adam Goodes was a well known stager for years, but when they complained about him post 2015, they were branded racists, because they were using the same excuse as those who also abused him with racially insensitive taunts. The fact they genuinely thought he had been a stager (equivalent to a diver) meant they suddenly appeared to be racists. So, even when you’re ‘right’, sometimes it’s better to discriminate, treating people differently based on their points of difference, purely to avoid looking like you’re treating people differently because of those differences… The cause of the different treatment gets lost.
          .
          That’s not at all confusing! :-P
          .
          Misogyny… Which was your favourite island? Santorini? Mykonos? Milos? Rhodes? Lesbos?

        • Nutta

          Santorini – I just felt sorry for the donkeys having to haul all those fat arsed ponces up the hill.

          I am working on converting my misogyny to fat-shaming instead. It’s like getting off smoking by drinking harder. Small steps. But I’ll endeavor to be gender neutral and even-handed in doing so.

        • Who?

          Fat shaming… But you’ve gotta be body positive, like Lizzo!
          But you’ve got to be healthy…
          Stuff it, pass me another pizza! :-P

      • formerflanker

        I’ll go out on a limb here and say criticism of Raelene Castle can be fact-based, not misogynistic.
        Her failure at the Doggies is documented yet she was promoted to the top job in Australian rugby.
        Her ties to the Qantas advertising dollar saw Australian rugby follow social justice to the massive detriment of one of our best players, our results, and free speech.
        Her only way of dealing with the Cheika coaching problem was to impose another expensive layer of management in the coaching staff.
        Our disaster at RWC 2019 happened on her watch, including the embarrassing Embassy public flare-up.
        The current broadcast rights negotiations have seen her dismiss a long-term supporter in Fox, and the multi-million offer they made. This before ‘going to market’, an unusual negotiation tactic.
        She has appointed another New Zealander as Wallaby coach, ignoring all aspiring Australian coaches.

        Listing Raelene’s mistakes is not a result of predjudice.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Sully, I must admit I did wonder what the league coach would bring to the game. It always amazes me that rugby in Australia has such a fascination with league and seems to think the players and coaches can just transition and add value to rugby when it so rarely happens. League is such an easy and softer game. Yeah there’s the odd big hit but unless the ball comes your way most players spend the game running 10 meters forward and back then right back or forward for the kick. They do a tackle or have a run, make contact and then stop as there’s no contest for the ball, then spend the next 10 mins recovering as they run forwards and backwards until the ball comes there way again. The different positions in rugby all have different roles in attack and defence and it takes time to learn these until they become instinctive. Even a freak like SBW took 4 or 5 years before he nailed it – although some will still say he never completely did get it. NSW would get a hell of a lot more bang for buck if they actually developed their own rugby players and coaches and stopped relying on leagies for this.
    Hope Elia does recover well. She’s dynamic on the field and a pleasure to watch.
    Good to see RA doing well. The more I hear from Castle the more I like what she does

    • Dud Roodt

      It might not be the case in NZ, but league defensive coaches have been mainstays in the world of rugby union for yonks

      • idiot savant

        Yeah and there’s been some good ones like Muggleton and Kiss.

      • Who?

        Exactly. Generally Aussies. But not all. After all, the best defence in Rugby – until the RWC QF – was the Farrell defence. NZ worked so hard to overcome it that, by the time they got those patterns ingrained (and ran out big winners), they couldn’t adapt to face any other form of defence.
        .
        That doesn’t mean Bailey’s a good or bad choice, just that League players with a willingness to learn – people with inquiring minds and different perspectives – can give new insights.

    • Nutta

      KARL I disagree a bit in that Mungo is a game largely about fatigue and we see the evidence of that in the comparison of general player size. Mungo runs high-percentage plays repetitively in specific areas of the field to the point where inside defenders fatigue out and so can be exploited. It’s what they are looking for. And we see that in that their players are consistently 6ft and 95-105kg. There are exceptions outside that bracket, but that’s the standard and players outside that standard cannot keep up with the game (thus are either short-careers or very specialised & low-minute players). It’s a game built around fatiguing your opponent to be exploited. They are even now reconsidering the size of their bench to get back to that core-root of fatigue in their game. I applaud that and I admit that over the last few years I’ve been increasingly admiring Mungo for that. And that was rammed home last weekend watching more and more minutes gets burnt in pre-scrum collective meditation sessions. I’m over it already. I get that rugby players are bigger, stronger and faster than ever before and so the kinetic energy of the impacts are heavier and heavier especially in the Pigs. However that is over-compensated with having half a bloody team on the reserves bench. So I say stop friggin about with scrums and lineout rest sessions. Either drop the bench back to 5 or 6 and force players to play the minutes or under law 6.A.4 the referee orders that teams be ready to play in (say) 20sec or else short arm them – and in doing so force the use of the bench to cover the fatigue being forced back into the game. And if I short arm your team for a 3rd time over this then yellow-card the Hooker firstly followed by the 9.

      • Dud Roodt

        SBW walked from rape college the bulldogs in 2008 and made his AB’s debut in 2010 starting at Twickenham

        • Nutta

          Yeh but that was only to make sure he didn’t go back to mungo. It was a sympathy pick. But facts are facts so I’ll take that on the chin.

        • Yowie

          facts are facts so I’ll take that on the chin

          You’ll never make it in politics mate.

        • Nutta

          I reckon there is a place for honesty in politics. I would love to see the old Demo’s get rebranded and turned back on again. A slogan of “We will keep the bastards honest” would go a long way these days. Compared to the current mobs of BS artists, they would be welcome I reckon.

        • Ads

          the balance of power is best served by a centrist party, rather than the far left/right dickheads.

        • Nutta

          I tend to agree. Firstly though we recognise that by global standards even our right is decidedly left. But beyond that, looking locally, currently neither main-line mob can pull better than 40% primary on the best of days so we can either pick the outright pinko wealth distributionalists hiding behind the green flag, or the survivalist nutjobs hiding behind farmers overalls. Funny how they both wear Blundstones though…

        • Ads

          Yep. Also funny how they often have similar policies too. No immigration cos it ‘s bad for the frogs, or no immigration cos we don’t like smelly foreigners. A circle might be a better illustration.

        • Nutta

          Horse shoe theory has its place. It can be simplistic, but I don’t necessarily see that as an altogether bad thing (compared to over-complication just for the sake of it).

        • Yowie

          I have a set of Blundstones. I’ll have to ask around which end of politics that makes me at my next meeting for the Trotsky Poetry and Native Plant Appreciation Club.

        • Nutta

          Native Plant Appreciation? Mushrooms or the 7-pronged rising-star leaf variety? Sorry Dude but neither are native.

        • Yowie
        • Brumby Runner

          Actually Nutta, I think our Left is decidedly Right by world standards (USA excepted of course).

        • Nutta

          I started to write a reply. But I refrain. I had a wee bit of disagreement with Cost Centre 1 (aka Miss 16 “I know everything”) last night and I’m not up for it today.

        • Yowie

          Agreed.
          I found it very funny when half of them were sweating bullets about dual citizenship and running “close enough hey mate?” type arguments in the High Court.
          If you or I make an error on our tax return or Centrelink’s robot decides we owe money we’ll go through hell, but a Frontbencher wants to weasel around the constitution (and claim all kinds of BS as “expenses”, and use fabricated documents without consequence, and weasel around donor disclosure, and pork-barrel like a motherf…

        • Nutta

          The whole Angus Taylor vs Clover thing is gobsmacking. Now I’m no fan of the Clover and I’m certainly no Labor sympathiser. But from the outside looking in, what’s gone on there is just P.L.A.I.N.W.R.O.N.G.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        I played it for 3 years and while I admit I did learn a bit in tackling technique I got bored if the ball didn’t come my way. I think mungo defence skills are good but I’m not sure they get the subtleties of midfield and wing defence in a game where the contest starts at the tackle rather than stop

        • Nutta

          Agree. Boring game. It actually needs the fatigue element to force some mistakes and get some action.

        • Who?

          What I tend to see in League is an ability to make dominant shoulder tackles – tackles on the dominant shoulder only. The emphasis is to make the hit, not to get the player to ground, so some bad habits are accepted that will get you found out in Rugby… Much more gang-tackling.

      • juswal

        I recollect about a year ago I was driving on a Sunday afternoon and the car radio could only pick up Triple M, so I got stuck with some pre-season league discussion. The information that stood out was that the Canberra Raiders’ 2019 squad was an average 10 kilos lighter than 2018’s.

        • Nutta

          In the early 00’s the mungo game was very fast. Then in came the Storm wrestle and pace slowed down. Then came the bigger bench and it slowed down again.It’s starting to get quick again now. The reflection for us in rugby is that all the focus on the scrum led to both an increase in bench-size and an increase in frontie size. With the bench size increased and more and more lost time at scrums and lineouts along with northern hemisphere game-style in general has come bigger and bigger players across the board. We need to get some fatigue back into the game or else soon the only folk capable of playing it will be genetic monsters.

        • And then there’s the SA winger whose name eludes me before my first coffee… Or Josh Adams, who at 1.85m and 94 kg would fit on the wing comfortably in most of the decades I can remember, sometimes as a slightly big winger, sometimes as a small one but never a freakish one, and has been scoring tries at all levels for fun.

          I think the change to rugby being a full-time profession made a real change, as at least a chunk of the players became gym bunnies and there was this move to <2% body fat and all the rest of it. There are definitely swings as different styles of rugby come through as well. But we're seeing it balance out a bit as the gym bunny mentality is drifting away, thankfully, and we're starting to see specialist players in the positions again, at least in a lot of countries.

        • Nutta

          Yeh I agree in terms of the professionalism impact. The change in player dimensions from 1996 to 2006 was clear evidence of that and that was before the “new generation” who pushed tin growing up rotated in. It also swayed into coaching territory as simply making squads meant adhering to almost NFL Combine style minimums (must have a static jump of… must have a 10m sprint of…) and that morphed into selecting players on “Coachability” of physically capable of robotically doing x/y/z and thereby dumbing down the player group across the board.

          But the bench went from 4 to 7 to now 8 and it’s overwhelmingly a 6-2 bench. Most of that is a 3man replacement front-row plus a monster-lock and a couple of loosies plus a 9 and a generalist back.

          So I say either cut the bench or cut the on-field delays. Or else we may as well just all go & buy helmets and swap codes.

        • Who?

          Or… Keep the size of the bench, but limit it. Make it so that you can only use 4 of the bench, with the exception of HIA’s and blood after the use of the 4 players. That means, if you lost a scrumhalf, you still have a scrumhalf to sub on. It means we retain specialist substitutes, and don’t degrade the quality of the contest because of injury.
          .
          But we should still cut the on field delays.

        • Nutta

          So you can nominate 8 on a bench but you can only use 4? That would work. Although I would feel more comfortable with a closer alignment (eg 6/4)

          However I’m wary of the exceptions as we’ve seen blood-bin pathetically abused before and we are seeing Mungo’s clear “strategic use” of HIA already to not burn their rotations. It would need to be an independent Doc or Ref using a Blue-Card type approach.

        • Who?

          Definitely needs to be an independent doctor. After all, it was a Rugby match where we saw fake blood capsules on the field, to sub on better goal kickers for a penalty shootout…
          .
          I only stayed with 8/4 to maintain the specialisation of roles on the bench. Particularly around the front row and backs. Because a game struggles if you end up with a 6/2 split on the bench and three injuries in the backs. The Wallabies and Tahs are lucky that Hooper’s so quick, he can go and cover out there, but most teams, that’s game over. It’s simply a matter of time before it all falls apart, they get found out on attack as unable to exploit the width, and get caught short in defence.
          So, I don’t see, even cutting the bench to 6, that you’d see anything less than a full front row, given the specialisation of those positions now. Even compared to 5 years ago. So 6 would mean only three subs to cover the other 12 jerseys. Which just feels a little skinny…

        • Nutta

          Be brave…

        • I think what I’d rather see is a move to substitutions only in the case of injury and HIAs. Lose the “finishers” tag and tactical substitutions and have substitutes, broadly at least, as an injury thing only.

          I think there’s a case for one nominated tactical substitution per game to allow young players to gain experience in the last 20. You make that someone with less than 20 caps to stop coaches cheating and, say, swapping 10’s when they can’t make up their mind… Perhaps a nominated second where you have a “sick note” for a rehabbing player, but you pick them in a special way as bracketed with their sub somehow, so they still take 2 spots in the 23 but the sub can only replace them or something. That’s a fine detail that I’m too coffee-deprived to work out right now, but that kind of route back in still needs to be there I think.

          I’m not 100% sure of the consequences of this. But I think you’d probably lose the 6-2 split, because you’re not thinking I’ll replace the whole front row, the 9, a lock, and then have a bit of cover. You’d want the whole front row by law still, then genuine injury cover. Maybe your one or two tactical subs depending on your development cycle and your injury situation.

          But you’d also train the players differently if everyone has to be fit enough to expect to last the full 80. Carrying massive extra weight, even if it’s muscle mass rather than fat, becomes undesirable because the coach can’t sub you after 60 minutes. I suspect 9’s at least become smaller on average (I know de Klerk isn’t exactly huge but there are some big 9’s because they’re going to get subbed). I think centres might shed a few kg and a few cm too, on average. Props and hookers will if they’re not getting subbed after 60. And top flight rugby becomes more of a game for all shapes and sizes again… maybe?

        • Nutta

          For me that’s the important bit – the beauty of our game is that historically it was a game built by & for the standard player and there happened to be folk who played to a higher standard. The problem over the last 20yrs is it has been more about modifying the game for the higher standard and the standard players have tried to keep up. But ultimately that means the standard player can not sustainably survive.

          I’m not saying go back to amateurism, no lifting in lineouts and fighting for the loosehead. But I am saying we need to be careful we don’t loose touch with the roots of the game. The beauty of our game is that all are welcome and all can play and that’s what it must remain. Or else, given the transitions history has already shown us, the game will be elite-only in 25yrs. And given where we stand as a sport (esp in Oz) it will be the death of us. Keep it a sport the ordinary player can play.

          There’s something else I want to touch on. I reckon the front row is becoming LESS specialised. Hear me out. Pre about 2005 it was bloody rare to have state/international props who could play both sides. There were exceptional circumstances, but they were rare (eg Richard Loe and Dan Crowley were just about it). These days they nearly all play both sides. Kepu, 6A’s, 7A’s, Slipper, Dr, HJH et al all play both sides. Topou doesn’t (but he could). Plus we have de-powered the hit enormously. Ok, the pressure coming through is more and more (given the increasing size of folk and the fact the depowered engagement allows us to scrum lower without collapsing), but that’s a strength & physique issue to stay straight & stand the pressure and not necessarily a skills issue per-se. As an example, the last time I played reasonably serious footy was 2012 for a reasonably well-known Sydney Club who won a premiership of good-standard footy. I was actually playing 2nd grade and 1sts would use me off the bench from the start of the 2nd half to firstly rest the loosehead for 10min then I would move to hooker to 10min (whilst he took a spell) before moving to tighthead for 10min (whilst he had a spell). Maybe I would finish the game or maybe not depending on the situation/game. The point is I covered the whole front row. And I’m not that special – I’m 5ft10 and around 105kg. So if an old broken-down never-was like me can do it…

          Whatever. My point is I reckon cut the bench and stop the CWA tea & scones at scrums. It pisses me off. Harden the fk up a bit and put some fatigue back in the game so that backyard chook-farmers like me can keep playing.

          And I reckon no-lift lineouts were more fun. But I confess the lifted lineout is a thing of beauty when done right.

      • Keith Butler

        Read an article the other day where none other than Bill Beaumont was suggesting a drop in bench size. Just a complete front row for safety reasons and 3 others. Forcing teams to be ready to play in 20 or 30 secs is fine but would it be open to more gamesmanship . Nice little front row chat about who was ready first.

        • Nutta

          I see it a bit like penalties for back-chat or the the service-clock in tennis – very rarely actually used but just “there” to force folk to get on with it.

          Penalise one team once and it will be fixed.

        • Yowie

          Can we save the back-chat penalty thing for after Michael Hooper is done with being Wallabies Captain?

        • Nutta

          I reckon both Owen Farrell and Jonny Sexton both need a few 10metre marches and even a 10minute march or two to get the message.

        • Who?

          Sexton’s first line to Poite after POM was taken off and he became stand in captain in 2018 against Australia was, truly, exceptional…
          “Now, I know you hate me, but…”
          :-D

        • Patrick

          Hopefully not for long then! :)

        • Patrick

          I’m a big fan of this.

  • juswal

    Snippet from Robinson’s article today:

    ‘RA . . . has the permission of the Sydney and NSW Rugby Unions, and the Queensland Rugby Union, to shop their premier club competitions to interested broadcasters, as well as a new combined competition featuring the top teams from the Shute Shield and Brisbane’s Hospital Cup.’

    So, no NRC. Or the NRC with old clubs instead of franchises.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Sad on the one hand. But if it achieves community buy in, then perhaps it is for the best.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Not sure the new combined competition would be worthwhile because it would alienate those clubs not part of it and still wouldn’t provide the step up to Super rugby

    • Reds Revival

      I am bitterly disappointed about the decision to cut the NRC. Being from a regional area, I really couldn’t give a shit about Sydney or Brisbane club rugby, but Qld Country were my team. I supported them and followed the results every week, and watched the games on this site whenever I could. It was definitely a step up from club rugby.
      I think that we (regional Australia and states outside of NSW & Qld) are going to suffer because SRU and NSWRU never got their heads around the NRC, like Qld did. They failed to make it work for them, and now the rest of the country has to suffer. Our Super Rugby teams will also suffer, because they won’t have that next step up from club rugby that the NRC provided.

      A short sighted decision from NSW (and to a lesser extent RA, because they caved into their wishes). I also feel sorry for the ACT, because they seem to have been completely shut out of this deal, in spite of being the most successful rugby franchise and producing innumerable Wallabies.

      • idiot savant

        I wonder if we have all of the information. Its hard to imagine that RA would cut WA out of any new structure so there must surely be some higher tier competition (than club) being contemplated.

        • Reds Revival

          There is history there, IS with WA. While they may be willing to include them, it would probably be a token gesture as Twiggy is already up and running.
          I would love to think that there is a bigger plan, but that would be putting just a bit more faith in RA than I currently have

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Was RA’s inclusion of WA really mere tokenism? While RA did cut the Force from super rugby, WA has still he included in the NRC and continues to get very good Wallaby tests (arguably better than before).

          Another way of looking at it is that a decision to cut a super rugby team was made, and while the axe fell on the Force it isn’t demonstrative of a lack of compassion for fans of WA rugby. The Force were just unlucky with circumstances.

        • Reds Revival

          That is a fair point, and I heard someone say on a podcast that Twiggy rates Realene (although he’s not a fan of Cameron). He said that she has come to the table with a good approach and keen to mend the ways, which reinforces your point.

        • Brumby Runner

          They get the test matches because the WA Govt and WA Rugby Union guarantee the financial success. Otherwise, I for one would be most surprised if WA got any look in to test match rugby at all.

          I do wonder what might happen if the NRC is replaced by a club championship competition that only has a select few teams from Sydney and Brisbane. Force would be left out in the cold in that scenario as would the Canberra and Melbourne competitions. Just might set the scene for an exodus from RA to GRR.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I mean, maybe, but at this stage it is all what ifs. Castle has done alright so far, so I’d back her to make a good call on this too.

      • juswal

        I hear you, RR, but there is no decision yet. It looks like RA wants to offer broadcasters content running from February to November and some sort of third tier comp is the obvious fill-in for the spring months.

        There will be arguments every which way about who could and should be part of that comp, but it doesn’t exist yet.

      • LBJ

        I accept you don’t care about Shut Shield (why would someone from country Qld?) – but the NRC was killing rugby in Sydney – it simply has no relevance at all to us – people supported it at first and crowds fell off a cliff in year 2.
        .
        So what are Sydney RU supposed to do (given their fiduciary duties)? Continue to accept relegation to the 4th tier and all the implications that go with it? Its not like they’ve been treated with respect for implementing and paying for that competition thus-far.
        .
        Shute shield is having a revival largely due to it being two fingers up the establishment that created it. And that’s why Fox offered them such a good deal. I’m Glad SRU went with the ARU, but only on the basis that a good outcome for the Shute Shield is reached.
        .
        The challenge we all face is finding a strategy that works for everyone – and that is funded – and i’m not seeing much so far – it seems the problems are pretty well understood, and i assume they are working on it, but i’m not clear on why its such a secret?

        • Reds Revival

          I understand your point LBJ, and was probably a bit on my high horse when I posted earlier. Certainly, club rugby in Brisbane and Sydney seem to be pulling reasonable crowds, but there is a big gap between club rugby and Super rugby. The talent is spread too thin across the number of teams to be able to compete with the intensity of the next step up.
          Unfortunately, NSW got it wrong with the NRC in the early stages, and the lack of success meant that the punters turned away from the game. However Qld have benefited much more from NRC, not only based on results, but also crowd numbers and as a development pathway through to the Reds (don’t think that I am holding QRU up as a shining example, as they have made more than their fair share of bad decisions). However, in this instance, they did get it right. Which comes back to my original point that all other states get good benefit out of the NRC, and 1 didn’t, so now it is being disbanded. That seems a little unfair.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          If Sydney thinks Shute Shield rugby is more important than NRC they should ignore the NRC and continue with SS. I’m sure other players in Sydney would be happy to have the gateway to higher honours that the players in SS would no longer have.
          It’s a good club competition with a lot of support but the reality is it’s not a high level and doesn’t prepare players for Super Rugby. I think those players wanting to play for higher honours would realise this and go play for a team that gave them access to the NRC

        • LBJ

          Well that says a lot about you and nothing about what’s good for Australian rugby – but thankfully, the people in charge are more interested in a good outcome for everyone and not just their own corner of the world (and you wont catch me saying that every day).
          .
          There were 47 players at the RWC ’19 across various countries who played in the Shute Shield over the past few years – I’m not sure how many Super players have come through this gate, but i recon its a pretty good number. And not many go through the NRC gate (Harry Potter was signed to Rebels from Sydney Uni before the NRC even started – i.e. coaches don’t care about the NRC at all). Whether you like it or not, SS is a pretty good platform for higher honours in anyone’s book. And that is despite all the forces working actively against it – hopefully that will change under this new deal.
          .
          Importantly, independence from the ARU is precisely the opportunity that was presented to the Shute Shield – but thankfully for the ARU, the SS management were enlightened enough to make a sacrifice and go with the ARU – thankfully, because the ARU’s ‘end2end broadcast deal’ strategy would have been completely blown out of the water if SS had chosen to go with the FOX/ Seven offering.
          .
          Australian rugby is in a hole of its own making – I hope we can work together to find a solution that works for everyone. SS has done their part, and I support their sacrifice, but will other parts of the country come to the table?

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Good numbers for sure but I don’t see how ignoring the rest of the country in a club deal is going to help develop the game. I also don’t see any of this players going straight from ss to that level which shows there needs something in between.
          We can disagree on the level needed, no harm in that, but I can’t see how club rugby prepares players for Super level and from what I’ve seen so far this season it seems to be proving correct.

        • LBJ

          Maybe Super Rugby level is too high?
          Maybe we sould be looking to commercialise at Currie Cup/ Mitre Ten Cup level.
          Maybe paying super rugby standard players millions of dollars is the key issue.
          Maybe the professional arm has forgotten what this is supposed to be all about…

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Mate I agree 109% that some super rugby players get paid too much, especially when they don’t deliver. I’d like a results based structure myself but that’s never been really considered. I think the reason Currie Cup and Mitre10 aren’t as commercialised is due to so much going to Super rugby and tests.its a shame but only so much to go around

        • Who?

          Question is, what’s the Currie Cup/Mitre Ten level..? In Australia? I’d suggest it’s NRC. Because those competitions aren’t intra-city. It’s one team per region.
          And the way I read KARL’s post, he’s talking about the level of Super being too high about Club for it to be viable. You can’t seriously then suggest the solution is to lower the level of Super Rugby, because that then just increases the gap in quality between Super Rugby and Tests…

    • Ads

      I did think it was odd the Shute Shield so willingly agreed to the end to end thing. They know they have the crowd numbers. So it seems the price Raelene might have agreed is the NRC. Assume it might be NRC with the Sydney and QLD teams replaced by the top Shute teams on promo/relegation basis?

  • AllyOz

    OK so it looks like the writing is on the wall for the NRC. A bit of a shame really from my point of view but maybe we were flogging a dead horse a bit to try and invent a new audience. It certainly has worked as a development tool though from my perspective.

    The alternative appears to be some sort of National Championship but how would that work. Sydney has 11 teams and Brisbane 9. So you could either take 5 from 1 and 4 from the other or, in the case that they both have a five team semi finals team then you could have all finalists. But lets take the top 4 sides from each just to get the numbers to work. For Canberra the two finalists from the ACT comp. Similarly the Force are at a higher standard than club rugby so we in WA could have the two finalists. Melbourne I am not sure…. I don’t know how many players in the Rebels squad would actually be club players in Brisbane or Sydney but lets say two from there as well allowing the club sides to draft Rebels players. That’s 14 teams. All NSW and Qld players who play for clubs that aren’t represented in finals could go into a pool to be selected by the teams in the championship or, alternatively, we form a NSW Country side (playing out of Newcastle) and a Qld Country side (playing out of the sunshine Coast – Gold Coast is already represented) who take all the left overs from their respective states. These would be able to make use of the existing set ups for the NRC and could, as the NRC does, use existing coaching staff from the Reds and Waratahs.

    So that would give us

    Sydney Top 4
    NSW Country (Newcastle)
    Brisbane Top 4
    Qld Country (Sunshine Coast)
    Perth Top 2 (incl. Force)
    Melbourne Top 2 (incl. Rebels)
    ACT Top 2 (incl. Brumbies)

    A 16 team championship. We split into two conferences (3 NSW, 2 QLD (reverse NSW QLD in the other one), 1 ACT, 1 WA, 1 VIC) and play each other once (7 rounds). Top 3 from each conference play a 6 team finals series). So players are getting 7 – 10 games and that would be similar to an NRC system so probably fits the calendar.

    You need to have a way of ensuring all the best players from a development perspective are able to compete in this so some form of draft or the ability for a club to add to their squad from outside those selected for others needs to be allowed but you also need, at least to a degree, to preserve the club traditions and avoid situations where the weaker clubs lose their players permanently after they have had an experience of playing with another club ie Randwick keeping the 2 or 3 Parramatta players they might use in their squad for the championship for the next club season. Does this work?

    • LBJ

      I recon this sounds pretty great.
      .
      It might be interesting to leverage ideas from other competitions:
      .
      – use the previous seasons rankings and play the games interspersed through the existing season (possibly in just a couple of locations – tournament style).
      .
      – Draft for all contracted players – not for amateurs
      .
      Not sure how it works to have fully professional outfits (eg. Rebels & Brumbies) competing with semi-pro outfits
      .
      Very keen to see country sides compete – but how are they selected if not from a competition?
      .

    • Who?

      People always talk up promotion/relegation competitions. As if it’s a good thing. Yet every successful comp eventually ring fences their competition. English Rugby’s currently in the process of doing it, the Saracens debacle will likely force their timing.
      .
      It’s too hard for clubs who are relegated to retain their talent. Why would a top flight player in an otherwise poor side stick around? Even if it means they play for NSW Country instead of the Two Blues in the ‘promotion’ season – come March, they’re not going to want to play for a second division team. And if the Two Blues somehow make finals (generally off the back of someone throwing huge sums of money at them), then to truly continue to compete at the high level, they have to have even more money. The first thing that happens with a promotion/relegation system is that whoever’s relegated loses massive amounts of sponsorship, and whoever’s promoted has to find that sponsorship, and use it to buy players in order to remain promoted. Which is usually a losing cause.
      .
      And Perth, Melbourne and ACT top 2 can’t include what is a city-wide rep team (Force, Rebels/Rising and Brumbies/Vikings). And the Sunny Coast… Not sure they’re the best host for Qld Country (it’s been at Bond Uni, the GCDRU’s a long term part of the QCRU, does the SCRU have the required facilities..? I think Ipswich has a MASSIVE new sporting complex underway…).

      • AllyOz

        Yes but Gold Coast is already in the Premier Grade so you have to have an alternative. SCRU had played in the Brisbane Comp and they have the ground that the feeder club for the Melbourne Storm uses. Ipswich would also be a good choice and, if the NRL were smart this is where they would base their second Brisbane team but they probably won’t.

        I was just trying to come up with a way of getting a National Club Championship to do meet its goals and also do the job that the NRC is doing. One thing that the NRC did was give an opportunity to those fringe Wallabies to be involved in a reasonably high level competition when they missed selection for the Wallabies in the Rugby Championship or didn’t get a lot of game time. It also allowed some players, like Cooper and some other examples (perhaps better ones) to play their way back into contention for spots on the end of season tour.

        With a National Club Championship, if you are a fringe Wallaby in the Two Blues set up and they don’t make the NCC where do you get your game time? how do you become involved? The only way to do it is to realign yourself or be realigned with one of the stronger clubs. And then we have the same situation as you have suggested. Whether it’s done administratively or its general market forces that do it, we get the same outcome. And that’s why it probably doesn’t work, unless you want to make those strong clubs stronger which leads to even further or bigger gaps between the Sydney Uni’s and the Two Blues or The Qld Uni’s and Norths in the Brisbane equivalent.

        One thing that could work (but will never be tried) would be for the contracted players of the Super Rugby Franchises (and perhaps the Force) to remain in their squads and fill the gaps left by the Wallabies that leave for tests and those five teams participate in the Mitre 10 against the NZ sides (which won’t happen unfortunately) or in the Global Rapid Rugby (moving it to the second half of the year). That would give the Pacific sides some games at a decent level (hopefully funded by World Rugby), start to get the comp feeding into Asia a bit more and opening up the potential for growth their and bring WA back into the fold. Anyway, it probably doesn’t work for a variety of reasons but I think, using players that are already contracted to their Super Rugby clubs and using it a development comp from that perspective is perhaps more likely to achieve those goals than an NCC. And they should already have a following so we don’t have to worry about creating a fan base. NSW could move their games out to WS Stadium which is a smaller venue for that second half of the year maybe.

NSW Waratahs
@Only1Sully

Just another Rugby tragic. Shane "Sully" Sullivan has been in man love with the game since high school in the 70's. He inflicts his passion on family and anyone who will listen. He can't guarantee unbiased opinion but he can tell you the Reds are Awesome! To read non-rugby content head to http://www.onesully.com.au

More in NSW Waratahs