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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News looks at the Force’s new signing, Liam Wright’s response to Matt Toomua’s claims of delaying tactics, a fixture swap between Waratahs and Rebels and Rod Kafer’s thoughts for the future of Australia’s domestic competition


Force nab Kahui

Richard Kahui - has penetration

Richard Kahui – has penetration

The Western Force continue to bolster their squad after announcing that they have signed New Zealand outside back Richard Kahui.

Kahui joins the club following a seven-year stay with Japanese Top League outfit Toshiba Brave Lupus, having played an integral role in the Chiefs 2012 Super Rugby-winning title squad.

The 17-cap All Black had been isolating in Queensland since the Top League’s shutdown, revealing that the opportunity to join a side ‘that really stands for something’ was too hard to turn down.

“I was at the beach with my son and I got a phone call from my manager asking, ‘Do you have any interest in playing for the Western Force?’, I think that was the Wednesday two weeks ago and by Friday they said, ‘We want you to come,’ and I was asked to make a decision,” he said during his press conference.

“In the recent years, I’ve played rugby to support my family and look after our future and I thought as I’m coming to the back end, I’d love to play for a club that really stands for something and in a competition I really love.

“This opportunity’s popped up at a perfect time, it’s close to home for me, my family’s going to come and join me which. It’s hard being away from home in Japan. It really happened quickly, literally from the first call to when I turned up here maybe five days.”

Force head of rugby Matt Hodgson was ecstatic with the signing, believing that he brings much-needed experience to the squad.

“With 68 Super Rugby caps and a number of domestic and international honours to his name, Kahui is another quality signing for us,” he said.

“His knowledge of the game, defensive ability and the level of professionalism he brings to training will be huge for our season, we can’t wait to see him out there in the blue and black.

“It’s not just his on-field exploits that we’re excited about, as his insight and winning mentality are sure to prove invaluable for the entire team.”

The Wright serve

Liam Wright offloads

Liam Wright offloads

After Rebels flyhalf Matt Tommua lashed out at ‘delay tactics’ after their 18-all draw against the Reds, captain Liam Wright has fired back, telling them to have a long, hard look in the mirror.

Toomua was critical of the time-wasting tactics used by both teams throughout the 90 minutes, calling on the referees to crack down on them (here’s an idea Matt, stop doing them!)

When asked about these comments, Wright brushed off any concerns regarding their fitness, suggesting that the Rebels were more at fault.

“With people going down, I definitely don’t think that was on our side,” the Reds skipper said.

“Our guys are a fit team and want to play footy, and were up for it the whole time.

“We won’t see them for another five weeks…but we’re not too worried about what Matty is down there saying at the moment.”

Both managed to find a common point though, with Wright liking his idea of shifting ‘Super Time’ to ‘first try wins’, believing that the current system offers little reward for risky, attacking plays.

“It was a bit of a battle of who could not make a mistake instead of trying to play real decisive attacking footy,” he admitted.

“Especially entering the side of the attacking ruck, so why would you play in your half?

“There’s just not real reward for playing in your half, which is part of what it was.

“That (a try to win) could be a good change … that could one to look at.”

Wright was more concerned with his side’s disappointing lineouts, believing that they will need to take advantage and control momentum swings during their clash against the Force.

“We haven’t been too happy with them in the last two weeks,” he said.

“We had a lot of lineouts (against the Rebels) so we won a lot of ball but then we also ended up losing about five on the trot with a few mistakes so that’s something we’re trying to clear up this week.

“I think it’ll come but we’ve just got to make sure it’s crisp come Friday.”

Waratahs offer swap to Rebels

Reece Hodge through the gap Waratahs v Rebels 2019 (Credit Keith McInnes)

With Victoria continuing to deal from a second coronavirus wave, the Waratahs have confirmed that they have swapped home games with the Rebels.

Pending travel and other restrictions, the NSW Waratahs will (hopefully) head south for their final regular-season game in Round 9, with their round four clash moved to the SCG.

NSW Rugby CEO Paul Doorn believes that the move is in the best interest of the competition and the two teams.

“The Rebels are in a really difficult situation [with travel restrictions] and we sympathise with the challenges they’re currently facing on a number of fronts,” Doorn said in a statement.

“We have a responsibility as a game to support them as best we can, and it was a great example of two clubs and Rugby Australia coming together to reach a beneficial outcome for the competition.”

Along with this, the Waratahs confirmed that they will also host the Reds at the famous ground in round six, locking in their home venues for the competition.

With their future secured, Doorn was pleased to have secured a consistent home ground for their side as they prepare to face the Brumbies at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.

“It was a great night at the SCG [against the Force] and we’re so excited to be able to lock in the rest of our home games,” Doorn said.

“We’ve been working closely with the [SCG] Trust to coordinate these fixtures in a very busy and challenging sporting landscape and they’ve once again been fantastic in helping get this over the line.”

“The consistency of venue will be extremely beneficial from a high-performance perspective and I know the players enjoy playing at the SCG – a ground we have an excellent record at in recent times.

“Our Members and corporate partners were able to enjoy the game live at the SCG and we’re now working towards expanding that offering in line with bio-security protocols.”

Kafer calls for standalone comp

Kurtley Beale and Rod Kafer

Kurtley Beale and Rod Kafer

As both sides of the Tasman continue to bicker over what a potential domestic competition looks like, Rod Kafer has joined the chorus of people that are calling for an Australian-only tournament.

In an exclusive piece with Rugby.com.au, Kafer believes that the Super Rugby model has failed to set the foundations for a competitive Wallabies lineout, pointing out the Wallabies declining world ranking and a lack of Bledisloe success.

“In 20 years, Australia has slipped to seventh in the world, lost 17 consecutive Bledisloe series and only won the Tri-Nations or Rugby Championship titles in World Cup years where the tournament is shortened,” he argued.

“As we look towards 2021 and beyond, with the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, the chance for change is here. So many competition models have been thrown up by many influential figures in recent months and a trans-Tasman option seems to be the one that continues to come up.

“Despite everything we’ve seen over the last two decades, we’re still contemplating an Australia-New Zealand competition. That is a fundamentally flawed concept.”

He points to codes such as the NRL and A-League, who have found success whilst operating as a primarily domestic competition, believing that a similar Australian-centric model will create a positive outcome for rugby both on and off the field.

“Super Rugby’s major Australian competitors in the NRL, AFL and even the A-League have a positive Australian narrative out of each weekend they play,” he believes.

“Australia’s biggest rugby stars spend more time playing overseas than they do in Australia, when you factor in internationals and Super Rugby tours.

“Meanwhile, aspiring rugby players and fans of the game are swamped with stars of all the other major codes.

“Why not create our own competition, invest in ourselves and then be able to reinvest in the Australian rugby community?”

  • Huw Tindall

    The more I read about Hamish and Twiggy and following on from the insulting approach of Hansen and some of the NZRU board I’m kind of hoping we do go it alone. Blow the whole thing up and chuck some real money behind it. Let the GRR organisation run the comp as they’ve got experience in setting up a new comp from scratch. Get a team in Western Sydney and resurrect the Drua and a Barbarians team in say Japan. I don’t know what the answer is but have a go. 2021 is the opportunity that needs to be taken to experiment. See if we can get a domestic+ comp going and chuck in a top of the table clash with the Kiwis or Saffas and Argentina to wrap it up.

    • Nutta

      There is merit in what you say. Put a team in Singo instead of Japan (closer, more control and better governance) and put x2 Polynesian teams in the outer suburbs of Syd & Bris (eg Sydney Warriors and the Brisbane Drua or something appropriately catchy) for cost and governance reasons plus a BaaBaas outfit with no restrictions on foreign content (international flair) and that makes a 9 team comp. The Polynesian populations will support their lads, the general interest in the BaaBaas would be huge, Singo I reckon would be easier to integrate than Japan, the Force brings Twiggy and the rest get to ply a trade without the travel. I reckon it would fly.

      • Hoss

        Brilliant and a team at Singleton to boot. Got my vote.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      TBH mate I think the idea was more of a start point for negotiation than anything else. I think going it alone is risky and with only internal play I think you’ll find standards and skills drop and getting up the world rankings even harder. If that doesn’t matter then fine but if it does then…….

      • Yowie

        Unless Australia comes up with its own rule variations. Then the Wallabies can be the No. 1 team in the world at playing that particular set of rugby rules.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          good point and not one I’d thought of

        • Damo

          We already did it. And called it AFL.

        • Yowie

          And the Kiwis have stuff-all AFL world cup trophies. Chew on that cuz!

        • Andrew Luscombe

          And Rugby Lesgue too really. Australia has been the driver of most rugby league rules since the 1920s.

        • Yowie

          From Wikipedia:-

          The invasion of France by Germany in May 1940 divided the country into Occupied France in the north and a southern pro-Nazi Vichy France, the latter of which roughly corresponded to the rugby-playing heartlands. The Vichy Government under Philippe Pétain associated rugby league with the pre-war socialist government, the United Kingdom and General Charles de Gaulle. Some of the French Rugby Union’s senior administrators took advantage of their close relationship with the new regime to have rugby league outlawed as a “corrupter” of French youth.[6] All funds as well as grounds and equipment belonging to the French Rugby League Federation were confiscated and handed over to rugby union. The figure of assets stripped has been estimated at two million 1940 French francs, none of which was ever returned.[7] In addition, rugby league players were forced to switch to rugby union or other sports or quit sport altogether.

          The federation was reinstated in September 1944, but the damage caused by the Vichy Government’s actions proved to be long-lasting and rugby league struggled to regain its pre-war momentum.

          I know it’s not popular to talk about the good things done by murderous fascists, but…

        • Damo

          Yes, there was an H. Goering who played 10 tests at tighthead for the Vichy national team in the early 1940’s. (Citation Required).

        • Yowie

          He had the figure of a prop so that checks out.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          That’s gold mate

        • Who?

          I’ve seen that put forward by Leaguies before as why French League sucks today. What they can’t explain is why it was strong in the 70’s – strong enough to beat the Kangaroos.

    • onlinesideline

      right behind that a million percent

    • Dally M

      At least the option to go it on our own is not just a bluff, the bare bones, the structures and the money is there already.

      What do the Kiwi’s have to back up their brinkmanship?

      I expect a Trans Tasman centric model will still be the one we end up with, but we certainly won’t be shoehorned into accepting whatever NZ would seemingly prefer.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Arte you sure the money is there? I’ve not seen anything to support that statement. I think Australia and NZ need each other to get the level of sponsorship needed to keep players from running to the NH

        • Dally M

          Mining magnate Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest says he is open to making a large-scale financial investment in Australia’s Super Rugby replacement, but only if the code makes massive reforms to its state-based administration.

          In an exclusive interview with the Herald ahead of the Western Force’s return from a two-year exile from Australian rugby, Forrest said he would be willing to point Tattarang, the private equity arm of his $14 billion empire, at rugby, if the conditions were right at head office.

          “We didn’t look like making a dividend for the first eight years with Fortescue Metals Group. This is long term, patient, private equity and that’s the difference between Tattarang and every other private equity outlet working in sport. They all want a return in two or three years, which is a negative for a game. If we want long term results, we need long-term thinking.”

        • Reds Revival

          How good are Twiggy’s comments! A private equity firm that wants to change all of the issues with the State administration bodies, and is taking a long term view of the sport. If you also overlay that with his philosophy to put money into grass roots rugby, and our beautiful game may came surging back to life.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      I still think the real issue here is; Would there actually be some “real money” behind this? I’m not so sure that a purely local comp with a couple of tier 2 teams thrown in would garner enough support to find a decent sponsor

      • Dally M

        Sponsorship won’t be the problem. Just look at the Force and their sponsors even if one of them is Twiggy’s FMG.

        The Broadcasting revenue is what will be key.

        Twiggy has hinted he’s interested in being a private equity investor, long term, provided RA get their governance sorted.

    • Hoss
      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Wow! Talk about adding fuel to the fire. I’m not sure this is in the best interests of either NZ or Australia to be carrying on like this. I do sort of get his point that we need a stable competition that can survive with support to get the necessary sponsorship and as I’ve mentioned elsewhere I’m not sure a purely domestic competition here with a few 2nd tier teams thrown in would do that. BUT (and a big but) this could be presented better and while it’s obviously written in a way that will upset as many Australians as possible, it could have been presented better

        • Hoss

          Its media diplomacy or Trumpisms at its best. Leak the message through a few well placed Lieutenants before higher ranking Generals come out a few days later and deliver the same message. The public have had a chance to absorb it, its still unpalatable but its no ‘shock’.

          I think you nailed it though. As good as the Dark Lords are at Webb Ellis-Ball they are still only a poxy little outcrop of 4 million souls so the money potential income generated is finite. Throw Australia in, Japan, PI’s (love Nuttas idea here) and the Slingers and now were talking 150 million plus, bigger purse, more corporate’s get interested and wham bam thank you mam, Robert’s your fathers brother.

          Its a risky move Cotton. If the new Scottish Chairman of RA, Hamish McBurglar does get private equity backers , well NZ could be left WAAAAAAAAAAY out in the cold. This has ‘2003 Coke Sign-gate’ from the RWC writ large all over again. Hubris & self-interest could cot NZRU rather a lot of money. Surely the prudent decision is an ‘interim’ competition with the right to review in 2-3 years for all parties. Any type of long term deal on this shaky covid ground seems rather brave (aka – stupid). Do a deal for ‘now’ with the option to review soonish.

        • Huw Tindall

          You don’t “negotiate” with a legitimate partner, let alone slag them off. You design a mutually agreeable solution in good faith. NZRU can go die in the dutch with this attitude. Not once has Hamish thrown shade on NZ. Not even O’Neil in his comments about 2003. His assessment was the harsh truth backed by NZ’s own report into the schemozzle. For once I feel we have the moral high ground.

      • Yowie

        All Blacks coach Ian Foster has suggested Australia does not deserve equal rights in any potential trans-Tasman rugby union competition, saying there is no room for non-competitive teams.

        I don’t think you should just stand there and take that Waratahs sledge Hoss.

        • Hoss

          Gold mate.

          Wait, what did you say…..

        • Andrew Luscombe

          So it’s the Crusaders in a single team league then.

          When will these people administering the sport learn something about administering sports? Successful leagues make all teams competitive. Individual teams can not do that.

          Soccer uses it’s rules that cause super low scoring to even the teams, every other sport on the planet uses salary caps.

          How high level people running a sport cam fail to know basic stuff is beyond all reason. These people are killing the sport.

        • Dally M

          First we have Hansen piping up to try and retain relevance and now this from the guy that most NZ fans don’t think should have got the job…lol

      • Happyman

        Gents you should always look at the NZ position through this lens in my view

        They are all about the All Blacks first and foremost.

        They are smart operators and realise that if they made the comp equitable with say everyone in the league available for there own country players would follow the money. BB to say the Tahs or the Moondogs team. They have almost bankrupted themselves keeping this golden generation. Reid etc.

        They also realise if they are not the dominant entity from the start and give Australia the scraps eventually we would overtake them as Rugby became more financially viable against the NRL money for the players.

        Like all great marriages of convenience we both need each other. We just don’t like each other that much.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Nathan, WOW Kahui! There’s a name from the past. A great player in his day and it’ll be interesting to see what he still has. He’ll certainly bring as lot of experience with him.
    Wright is impressing me in the same way that’s Rennie does. Just seems to say the right thing and comes across really well. His play is pretty good too. Could be the new 7 and Captain if he keeps this up.
    I hope Victoria sorts itself out and they manage to get some home games. It’ll be a long season with none and could really affect the players.
    Whatever Kafer. The drop in Australian standards has been more due to incompetent coaches and managers with unswerving support from people like yourself who looked to blame everything and everyone else rather than face up to the fact that the inter state old boys influence and incompetence from the coaching is what has brought Australian rugby down. Going it alone with a couple of teams from the 2nd tier will only ensure that Australian rugby retains its low standing in world rugby. About time these muppets faced up to the fact that they are the problem

    • Cunning Linguist

      Well said, my friend! I have nothing more to add.

    • Nutta

      You didn’t miss there.

      My pref is for a comp that involves us with NZ, a Northern Hemisphere focused BaaBaa team in Singo (plenty of those lads want to play ANZAC/Super rugby for the test of it) plus Fiji and Samoa & Tonga (if they can stand up financially). But I don’t think the x3 Poly teams would stand up to being based on home soil and survive the complete absence of governance. They would be money pits unfortunately. So that’s why I reckon give the Poly teams a de-facto ‘home’ in the western suburbs of Syd and similar in Bris & Melb. Their local connections would back them hard and ensure a crowd. Having a corporatised team out of Singo plus the Force (Twiggy) gets some cash into it and that combination gives Oz a platform to negotiate with NZ for a decent carve up.

      And THEN if Hand-solo has support and they want to go solo then let them. We would be better off with them, but if it is ‘too hard’ then we go solo.

      Off we go either way with a fantastic product that will draw a crowd and sponsors = sustainability.

      Oh yeh – fk the Japies.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        I’m not such a fan of fucking off the Yarpies as I prefer to play against good opposition. This is one of the things I have against GRR, the players aren’t going to develop the skills they need playing against Malaysia, unless of course you no longer care about the Wallabies. I’m not that interested in bringing in a couple of lower tier teams as I’m not sure it helps build the skills needed to get the national team up north and beating the NH teams. I don’t believe it was Super Rugby that stuffed Australia as much as it was the lack of coaching and management in the Wallaby team that caused them to lose so many games. I think that mutton approach flowed down into the Super teams rather than the other way.

        • Nutta

          I agree a big issue is coaching and development. But i see that as an extension of popularity. Every year we get fkd over by Yarpie threats of going north. That forces the game onto pay tv at obscure timeslots. The oz public does not care about about 3am games vs fk knows who. This is part of what keeps the game trapped in Oz. Give it relevance by keeping it local (NZ is local). Give it resonance by introducing the Poly teams but owned/controlled by RA. Give it local timeslots to get an audience. That gets FTA involved.

          This will then hugely assist in moving it out of Private school obscurity and into the mainstream. That brings increased participation…

          And then it takes off as a self-sustainable model.

        • Yowie

          The oz public does not care about about 3am games vs fk knows who

          Private-school educated ice addicts disagree.

        • Damo

          I don’t know what the competition structure will be going forward, but what I do know, and it’s one thing the SR experience has taught us, is that if it involves 12 or so latitude time zones it is doomed. In the early days of SR we looked forward to watch SA rugby because it had been so long in the wilderness. Now it is really a logistical nightmare and is so difficult to support as a meaningful competition. Unless our mate Elon invents a teleporter sometime soon It just can’t work .

        • Dally M

          Were the South African teams good opposition of late though, with a lot of their best players in Europe and hometown refereeing assisting with a number of wins at home.

          Funny how NZ never really complained about their competitiveness when they were taking their money

          You def want to keep the Boks in the RC and expand that to 6 teams with Japan and Fiji

        • UTG

          A South African team hasn’t won a Super Rugby Championship for a decade. They’ve consistently had multiple teams in the bottom 5 in the competition for at least the past five years. By what metric are they good opposition?

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          I think they bring a different style of play and force our teams to play differently

  • Dally M

    No surprise that today Fox is talking down the value of any TV deal for next year.

    Claiming that a domestic comp would only be worth $10M/year with the Wallabies tests only valued at another $10M.

    Gotta love our current broadcast partners!

    • Crescent

      Fuck em. They are part of a dying media landscape, having reached their peak penetration with a subscription model, rugby is better off without Foxtel. If no deal is signed, I will certainly be canning my subscription – rugby is the only reason it exists.

      Better to look at a streaming partner and taking revenue from that line. Yes, shouldering production costs will be a burden – but hey, opportunity for a private equity partner to broker that deal. Wrap up Premier Rugby/Shute Shield/Dewar Cup/FMG Premier Cup, whatever Super rugby deal/replacement and internationals and there is a decent value proposition that plenty of rugby fans would subscribe to, and put a package out for free to air so we can generate new eyeballs – something any Foxtel deal will fail to do.

    • Hambone

      Fox needs to be out off the picture moving forward, even if short term hurt.
      They constantly pile kindling ontop of the smoking heap that is RA for their own financial gain, devaluing the product and robbing Australian rugby of its chances to stick head above water.
      They run a great smear campaign, and newscorp have plenty of practise, but seriously they need to fuck right off now, and all of their little elves that have helped usher the demise, I’ve had enough.
      This is Australian rugby and the wallabies.

      • Dally M

        The figures are deliberately misleading too as they appear to be what Fox is paying for Super Rugby AU only, and we know that all sports have been forced to re-negotiate based on whatever content they can deliver for this year. Some like the NRL and AFL have also been forced to renegotiate their longer term deals also.

        • Hambone

          Uncle Rupert manufacturing numbers. Surely not ;)

    • Hoss

      There was time they would cut their nails before the regular rectal examinations / contract negotiations, now the romance seems to have faded a touch.

    • Huw Tindall

      It’s like an abusive relationship and RA has, in the past, believed they deserved it. No more. With Dr McLennan overseeing RA’s psychological treatment, following on from Dr Castles initial assessment, they’ve finally realised Fox is steaming pile of turd and are looking to move onto to a mutually beneficial relationship.

  • UTG

    Geez, a lot of gloating from the RWC semi finalists across the ditch.

    Funny year to try and strongarm us over the quality of teams when Australian teams won the same number of games against NZ teams in NZ (could have been 3-1 to us as well if the Reds had got up in that thriller in Christchurch). Maybe the hapless Chiefs will actually win a game if they get to play against some of the weaker Aussie sides.

    Playing the NZ sides who are actually a cut above once a year has not improved our skills in the past and will not in the future. Change my mind.

    • Dally M

      Yeah, they conveniently forget also that the Blues were horrible for a number of years too but no one called for them to reduce to 4 teams.

      • UTG

        The Highlanders were also consistently in the bottom 3-5 from 2007-2013. That 2016-2018 period where all the NZ were formidable was an outlier rather than the norm.

  • Who?

    Ah, Kafe, you’re a genius. Let’s copy either a comp where there’s no all but no competition worldwide to compete against for players (the NRL), or a comp where none of the best local players are involved and where all I’m hearing is that it’s failing (the A League).
    Let’s go to a stand alone Aussie comp. Because that’s financially sustainable. We have then either increase the number of teams (and therefore professional players – a very significant cost), we play each other three to four times to have a viable competition duration, or we pay guys professional wages to play for three months of the year. That’s workable…

    Both sides (RA and NZR) need each other. Both sides have had people external to the executives making some arrogant claims. Hopefully the people who have to do the deal will be far more fair and pragmatic. I’d love to see a 12-ish team comp, 5 Aussie sides, 5 Kiwi sides, at least 1 PI side, more than open to Japan. But with freedom of movement for national team players across the comp, set up with guidelines about rests/workload management/etc that are consistent for players of all nationalities (i.e. an All Black playing for a Japanese team would have equal rest required to a Samoan test player at the Tahs). It’s achievable, it just needs good will and a little imagination.

    • Dally M

      We could also end up with a best of both world scenario where Oz, NZ & SA & Japan all have their own domestic comps like now, then the top team or teams from each come together for a mini-tournament.

      • Who?

        Doesn’t work unless it’s a Cup/Plate/Bowl arrangement. Because you still end up with most of your ‘professional’ players sitting at home after playing less than 3 months of the year.
        I’ve actually long advocated doing Super Rugby as a Cup/Plate/Bowl arrangement (i.e. do your conferences first, then break into pools based on results from the conferences that result in Cup/Plate/Bowl winners each season), but as a secondary, potentially lower cost solution (compared to ‘play everyone once’).

    • Damo

      Who, I wrote here last week supporting a similar model to what you have suggested here. Particularly in terms of freedom of player movement. There would certainly be teams that get regularly beaten up. But eventually they can recruit their way to success- as long as the competition is well supported and financially viable. The KC Chiefs won Superbowl this year- 50 years after their last win. I’ve been to some of their games. Their fans kept supporting them through the half century in the wilderness.

      • Who?

        Did you wear hearing protection? Isn’t Arrowhead – along with CenturyLink – one of the loudest outdoor stadiums in the US?
        Keep matriculating the ball down the field…..
        Though they did have plenty of divisional appearances, and some decent players and teams in that time (including a couple of seasons with Montana).

        Freedom of movement is something I’ve wanted for a few years now. I know there’d need to be rules set in place, but surely that can be handled competition wide now.

        • Damo

          Interestingly, half time entertainment at one of those games were 2 college teams playing rugby. And yes, very loud.
          The competition needs to be relevant and supported in its own right- not just an audition for the national teams which it will still be of course.

  • Crescent

    Which buffoon decided that the SCG is great venue for watching rugby? Distant from the on field action, how exactly is the best possible option? Well done NSW rugby, another up yours to the fans wanting to part with their hard earned cash to watch the match live – at that distance I might as well watch it on the big screen at the pub, it will be a better experience than something shoe horned into a cricket ground.

    • Nutta

      Oh now come on – it’s close to the office…

    • Dally M

      Not sure there were too many choices available with the NRL getting in first with their return to the field.

    • UTG

      They’re playing at ANZ this week. I enjoyed the SCG last weekend now they’ve reorientated the field. The amenities were also fantastic.

      It’s not exactly an easy job organising venues this year but anything to bash NSW Rugby…

      • Crescent

        It’s laziness and self interest. A quick and cursory search limited to metropolitan Sydney throws up venues like North Sydney Oval, Bankwest Stadium and Brookvale Oval as having availability on a number of those dates. They were willing to have the Tahs go touring last season, suddenly it’s all too difficult. Far from “anything to bash NSW Rugby” – it’s laziness and should be called out as such.

        • UTG

          None of those grounds are suitable.

          Brookvale was used the day before by the Rebels and Reds.

          Bankwest is used multiple times a weekend by the NRL and has had significant issues with the turf, they are unwilling to host multiple League games and a Union match a weekend.

          As for NSO, well that’s also a cricket ground where you are distant from the action which was your original criticism.

          Tickets are also currently restricted to members given the limited capacity. Making members travel to suburban grounds isn’t really a good way to get people through the gates…

        • Crescent

          Just had a look at Ticketek – general public tickets are available for Brumbies match this weekend – so it has gone past the members only stage (for now – with new outbreaks, who knows for future fixtures?).

          Not saying all matches should be parked at one alternative stadium, just pointing out these stadiums are available on a quick search, and have been deemed suitable in the past – and that was without trying for a deep look. Given members come from all over Sydney each season, some will find alternative venues closer to home, and some further from home.

        • UTG

          They’ve been able to open general access this week because they can get up to 10 000 in at ANZ (and the SCG).

          Grounds under 40 000 are only allowed to be at a quarter capacity. At Brookvale that’s a little over 5000 and at NSO 4000. There’s a high probability of losing ticket sales by operating at these ‘alternative’ grounds with capacity reduced that far. Especially since a greater portion of available tickets are used by members.

          As you say, they’ve had no issues using alternative grounds in the past, since they’re not using them now it’s highly likely because it’s not in the best interests of rugby in NSW. There are a lot more moving parts than just seeing what grounds are available and turning up on the night, calling the use of the SCG ‘laziness’ is shallow and myopic and pretty disrespectful to a group of people who, on the whole, have done a good job getting live rugby back up and running. Is now really the time to be complaining about the shape of the stadium? I don’t see how we expect to make others more enthusiastic about rugby in Australia when the game’s own supporters are so unashamedly negative.

      • Tah Tragic

        Not sure I agree with the “fantastic” amenities. The F&B was shocking given the number of people at the game. Some bright spark had handed out F&B vouchers to half the fans (not sure where they came from) but forgot to tell the stadium staff. Every single person with a voucher had a 5-10 min argument with the cashiers. They all left pissed off.

        At least the lines for the loos were short.

        • UTG

          One bloke in front of me tried to barter with the cashier, I didn’t see anyone else having the same problems. Buying beers was seamless and took all of 30 seconds.

    • Tah Tragic

      Totally agree. I was at the game last Sat and I couldn’t see what was going on. I had to watch a reply at home to see what had actually happened. At least they rotated the field from the setup last year.

      Terrible ground to watch rugby. With that number of people you could easily have the game at Concord or Brookvale or any other suburban ground. And this is from a fan that lives 5 mins from the SCG. I’d prefer to go to Bankwest even with the extra travel.

  • Charcoal

    Of course the Kiwis conveniently overlook the fact that both the Australian Schoolboys and U20s Junior Wallabies comprehensively beat their NZ counterparts last year with the U20s narrowly being beaten by France in the U20s World Championship Final. With the changes now underway in pathway development for Australia’s emerging talent, in part arresting the drift to NRL, it won’t be long before Australia will be more than competitive with the Kiwis. That’s something they should be reflect upon before shooting their mouths off about how superior they are based on current playing standards. They could finish up with egg on their faces.

Rugby
@NathW1997

Loved rugby since the day I could remember, got the nickname Footy to show that, I watch Matt Dunning's dropkick every night before going to bed

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