Tuesday’s Rugby News delves into, RA’s big offer, To’omua happy at 12 and, World Rugby fiddling with eligibility again and guess who benefits.
Super 8 Is Not Your Uncles Film Camera.
After Kiwi Rugby said ‘We’re having this choice footy comp next year cuz. All our humble boys are in and a team from a yet un-named island with no player or coaches or management, maybe one, at a push two, of your teams could come play? And Australia said ‘Yeah Nah, good luck with that.’ Things have been pretty quiet… Until today.
RA Ceo Rob Clarke announce the deal they’re offering for next years broadcast rights.
- A domestic or Trans Tasman Comp
- A Super 8 comp
- The Rugby Championship
- Wallaroo’s Tests
- A State Of The Union Comp
- Brisbane’s Hospital Cup
- Sydney’s Shute Shield
- Premier Schools matches
- and a National Club Championship
Not a bad little package is it? RA are happy to split the rights if necessary.
The domestic comp could be the five Australian teams or could include the five New Zealand sides if they indicate they’re interested before September 4.
Clarke said Rugby AU would not be budging on its commitment to field five Australian teams going forward and “D Day” was coming for New Zealand Rugby around its desire for a trans-Tasman competition model or otherwise.
“We have put a deadline for broadcast submissions of the fourth of September and before we enter into any final negotiations with a broadcast partner this has to be settled,” he said.
“So D day is coming.
“We can’t make much longer on the whole trans-Tasman competition decision.
“That has been going on now for some considerable period of time and I think it is only fair on the broadcast discussions we are having with potential partners that we are able to give them as much clarity about what the future looks like as soon as possible.”
If New Zealand opts against agreeing to a trans-Tasman competition with five Australian and five New Zealand teams, Clarke said Australia would continue discussions with Japan and also the Pacific Island nations around having teams in Australia’s tournament.
“It’s five Australian teams, you can guarantee that,” he said.
“We are in detailed discussions with the Japanese rugby union about potential involvement of Japan in any future competitions and indeed the pacific, Fiji and other nations in the pacific, are always looking to get involved.
“Having the Drua involved in our National Rugby Championship paved the way to show just what they can do both on the field and the engagement with fans and that’s something we’ll look to explore as well.
“There will be options into the future but at this point in time, we’ve said there are five Australian teams and we’re happy to go forward on that basis.”
Super 8 is the top two sides from the Australian, NZ, South African, one Japanese and one Argentinian domestic comps. There is no indication if anyone has heard of this idea before today’s announcement but, I like the idea, It’s almost like Super Rugby in the early 90’s with more travel.
The State of the Union comp would be based on Rugby Leagues State Of Origin games and appears to only include Qld and NSW for now.
Eligibility criteria for that game to feature a Queensland and New South Wales representative sides will be released later in the year Clarke said, with a view to encompassing as many players as possible.
“There may be some other little caveats around but it will be very much building on, in the first instance, NSW versus Queensland and the 130 years’ worth of proud history that those states have had playing rugby against each other, bringing that to the fore.
It’s this interstate clash that Clarke hopes will be a carrot for a free-to-air broadcaster.
“We know that porting broadcast rights have seen some challenging times in both Australia and in other markets around the world,” he said.
“That said, I think rugby has an enormous amount to offer a broadcast partner and not just in the quantity of content we know have available as part of this rights package but the quality at every level from grassroots all the way through to test matches.
“We do know the rugby audience typically is a very defined audience with the ability, spending power to actually get behind the game and I think that has a lot of attractiveness to a range of broadcasters. I’m naturally an optimistic person so I’ll say I’m hopeful we’re going to get to a great result, I’ll let you know in a month’s time.”
Clarke said a “number” of broadcasters had shown interest in acquiring rugby rights.
“As I said right at the beginning, we need to make decisions in the best interest of rugby in Australia and we have had wide-ranging discussions with a number of organisations, both here in Australia and overseas,” he said.
“I don’t want to go into specifics obviously but I’m confident that there are a number of interested parties based on the three months’ worth of work I’ve done up to this point.”
To’omua happy at 2nd five
He might be super keen on the Wallaby ten jersey but the Rebels Matt To’omua is happy to jog out wherever he’s needed for his club side and even went as far as to say ‘It was a great selection call’ when talking about his shift to inside centre to accommodate Andrew Deegan and flyhalf.
The Rebels out-kicked the Brumbies and forced them into uncharacteristic errors with their pressure and simple game-plan of playing the ball at the other end of the field paying dividends.
But even in attack, the Rebels looked more slick with To’omua predominately at second five-eighth.
Predominantly because for the Rebels’ opening try, it was To’omua who jumped into first-receiver before passing on to Deegan who with quick hands sent Reece Hodge in to score out wide.
Two hours after that opening try To’omua and Wessels were sitting next to each other under the Leichhardt Oval grandstand, but there was no kicking the coach’s legs under the table with the playmaker more than happy to play his role.
“No, as much as I like making it about me, it’s not about me,” the 30-year-old veteran of 52 Tests said.
“No, to be fair, I came in and I sat at the 10 number and I was like ‘shoot, move over’.
“It was a great selection call. You look at Deegs how he played, I thought we moved the ball better at the back there.
“I’ll play the role that we need to play. We’ll take 30-12. It doesn’t matter what position you’re playing. At the end of the day, Billy Meakes was playing flanker and we’ll play anywhere if we get the win.”
While To’omua said the new competition structure allowed for head to head battles each week, he added that playing a part in your side’s success would have the dual benefit of pushing your case for higher honours too.
“He’s (Rennie) probably been watching all of them as well,” To’omua said.
“One thing that’s great about Super Rugby AU is there’s five teams so you’ve got four people you’re competing with for a spot really, so it kind of becomes simple if you’re looking at that equation.
“In terms of Wallabies stuff, it’s quite motivating for a lot of the guys, obviously Dave keeps a close eye on that. There’s a lot of little side stories and I think the main story for us is the little piece that we’re putting together in terms of really building into the year and trying to get a win there.”
World Rugby Drop The Ball On Residency
World Rugby has voted to defer the implementation of its five-year residency rule for 12 months as a result of the COVID 19 claiming the pandemic constitute ‘exceptional circumstances’.
Rugby union’s global governing body voted to extend the residency period from three years to five in May 2017. The rule allows a player to become eligible for another nation provided they have not represented the designated ‘senior’ representative team of a union for which they qualify on different grounds, such as birth.
The original cut-off date for World Rugby’s adjustment, marked for December 31, 2020, has now been pushed back to December 31, 2021.
Edinburgh loosehead prop Pierre Schoeman is an interesting case due to the change of date. The destructive scrummager arrived in Scotland in the summer of 2018 from the Bulls franchise in South Africa.
Under previous guidelines, he would need to wait until 2023 to represent Scotland. Now, the South Africa Under-20 international would appear to be free to do so in 2021.
“The World Rugby Executive Committee approved an adjustment to regulation eight (eligibility) in July to combat the exceptional disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic on the necessary residency criteria for players wishing to qualify for a national union,” said a World Rugby spokesman.
“Currently, the residency criteria is due to increase from 36 months to 60 months on December 31, 2020. In order to be eligible on that basis, players must meet the residency requirement and have represented their union before the cut-off date.
“In light of the exceptional circumstances caused by the ongoing pandemic, the executive committee, having consulted with unions and International Rugby Players, determined it was appropriate to extend the 36-month residency requirement set out in regulation eight to December 31, 2021.
“EXCO confirmed that a player must meet both the 36-month residency requirement and have represented the Union on or before December 31, 2021, otherwise the player will fall under the 60-month rule.”
In May 2018, before officially joining Richard Cokcerill’s Edinburgh, Schoeman expressed his desire to play Test rugby.
“I’m going to work my flipping ass off to get into the Scotland team,” he told BBC Sport. “If it takes three, five, seven years, I don’t care.
“If I’m good enough and get the opportunity, I’ll be honoured and humbled. That’s a big goal of mine.”