Wednesday’s Rugby News sees RA set to get club rugby rights, Kiwis doubt SA move, coaches break ranks, and the Brumbies poor crowds.
RA Set To Get Club Rugby Rights
Raelene Castles TV Broadcasting package seems to be coming together with Rugby Australia expected to come to an agreement with Shute Shield about the sale of its broadcasting rights.
RA will now be able to shop their premier club rugby competitions to broadcasters in an effort to improve the appeal of showcasing rugby.
Although the competitions themselves have limited monetary value, RA believes it is vital to increase the viewership of the country’s main grassroots competitions.
Moreover, club rugby has been one of the few shining lights in Australian Rugby of late, with large crowds turning out in support of their sides. This support resulted in Fox Sports launching a late bid on the Sydney and Brisbane competitions which was ultimately turned down.
Castle plans to send out non-disclosure agreements to Foxtel, Optus, Amazon, Rugby Pass, and Australia’s three commercial free-to-air networks.
Kiwis Doubt SA Move
New Zealand Rugby’s CEO Mark Robinson has poured cold water on reports that South Africa plans to leave the Rugby Championship for the Six Nations in 2024.
According to Mr Robinson South Africa remain committed to being apart of Sanzaar until 2025.
“We’re very comfortable in our relationship and South Africa’s relationship with Sanzaar,” Mr Robinson said.
“They are people that we trust, they are very honest and they’ve been great partners over the last 25 years. We would like to think that we would be privy to those sorts of comments or conversations if they had been had,” Mr Robinson said.
The rumours of South Africa’s plans to leave the Rugby Championship, originally reported by British newspaper The Daily Mail, follows rumours that South Africa would also be leaving Super Rugby in 2025.
Coaches Break Ranks
New Chiefs Coach Warren Gatland and Highlanders assistant coach Tony Brown have criticised New Zealand rugby’s controversial “load management,” policy.
Kiwi Super Rugby sides must give returning All Black players restricted minutes through the first three rounds of Super Rugby, and then rest them from a further two matches throughout the competition.
Brown believes players should be handled on a “case by case,” basis.
“It’s always been the sort of Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Kieran Read plan, where they need to give those guys all a rest.”
“So as to keep it even they made it mandatory to rest every All Black. I think in the past it’s actually cost a few players their All Black careers,” Brown said.
Former Wales coach Gatland believes it should be left to the clubs to manage.
“Everyone is in a different boat. Some might need more than two games off,” Gatland said.
“The people in charge need to trust us and if we don’t do a good job then don’t let us manage them,” he said.
Still No Brumbies Crowds
Despite winning ten home games in a row, Canberra Stadium continues to see thousands of empty seats.
Despite the impressive winning streak and the development of a more attacking game plan, Canberra crowds are down 17 per cent this season at an average of just 7,267 fans.
Although the season is only two games old, this is the lowest crowd average in the Brumbies history.
But it’s not through lack of trying. Chief Executive Phil Thompson has introduced a number of initiatives to bring fans back, including, game-day initiatives for children, set up a new bar area, and even given away free beers this season (What a legend), but it still hasn’t worked.
It was thought the state of emergency in the ACT was to blame for the season-opener crowd against the Reds, but the crowd figure dropped further the following week against the Rebels.
The Brumbies host a third straight home game on Saturday at 7:15pm against the Highlanders. Here’s hoping a big crowd turns out.