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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News looks at the players’ response to a Super Rugby ‘deadline’, how the Reds are planning to bounce back, RA’s hopes for the Bledisloe and NZ’s response to Australia’s future plans


Unity on deadline

Jordan Uelese

Jordan Uelese

There are not many things that will bring Australia’s Super Rugby forwards together besides from a half-price, all you eat banquet.

However, we can one more thing to the list after they came together (without them knowing) to applaud the move by Rugby Australia’s CEO Rob Clarke to put a deadline on their Kiwis counterparts for rugby’s domestic future.

The deadline for potential broadcasters to respond to the broadcast package offered by RA has been set at September 4, which is the timeline Clarke set down as “D Day” for the Kiwis to declare their position for their domestic future.

Wallabies and Rebels hooker Jordan Uelese applauded the bold move by Clarke and RA as it provides players with much-needed clarity and security regarding their future.

“Many of us players in Australia are not too sure about what the future’s going to hold,” he said.

“So having this kind of plan, having a (set) date, is huge and it’s big ups to the RA and the board putting plans ahead so then we can lock in our future.

“Our life span as footy players is not very long so having that future here in Australian rugby is huge for us players who want to stay here and hopefully for future Wallabies who want to stay in Australia.”

These sentiments were echoed by part-time rockstar and Waratahs prop Harry Johnson-Holmes, who suggests that they need to push for a decision so they can plan their futures.

“Clarity’s massive for us as players,” he said.

“We’re focused on the current competition being Super Rugby AU and that’s where our minds are at the moment.

“To have a bit of certainty around where the game’s going is great.

“I think it’s good to be able to push the Kiwis along to make a decision, regardless of which direction they go.”

Back to basics

Angus Scott-Young QLD Reds v Western Force (Photo Credit QRU Brendan Hertel)

As the Reds look to bounce back after their shock thumping against the Waratahs, Brad Thorn’s men have emphasised going back to basics as they push for a finals berth.

Whilst their disappointing lineouts have been a talking point across the season, loose forward Angus Scott-Young believes that they need to simplify the process in order to avoid over-complicating the issue.

“I guess if you think about it a lot you can build it up to be a big issue,” Scott-Young said.

“Lineouts they should be pretty simple, we should get in, get up, steal the ball, win the ball and play on.

“I think for us this week, massive focus for us is going back to basics. Using those options that we know, find space and focusing on our drill.”

With the prospect of playing more state v state games on the horizon as part of the new broadcast deal, Scott-Young believes that rugby union’s version of league’s ‘gem’ will develop some much-needed excitement after a turbulent 12 months.

“I think State of Origin’s the gem of rugby league. I think we can translate that to a union context and I think it should generate some excitement, which I think is well needed at the moment,” he believes.

“We’ve had a tough time with COVID in the past and any new innovation, any new product we can really bring to entice broadcasters is awesome.

“I think it’s pretty exciting.”

For now, the Reds are relishing the thought of back-to-back games on home soil after a series of FIFO games that had them arriving back home in the middle of the night.

“Those two interstate trips, they’re pretty long, long haul. We get back, I think 2am at the airport so this weekend Suncorp and then next weekend the Gold Coast I believe will be awesome,” he revealed.

“Not as much travel time, can sleep in our own beds, I think that’ll be really good for our game prep and hopefully we start well.”

A New (Bledisloe) Hope

Wallabies vs All Blacks 2018 Bledisloe 1 ANZ Photo Courtesy of Keith McInnes

Wallabies vs All Blacks 2018 Bledisloe 1 ANZ
Photo Courtesy of Keith McInnes

Before they sort out the rugby schedule for 2021 and beyond, Rugby Australia has still got to figure out the delicate matter that is where the Bledisloe Cup will be played.

RA CEO Rob Clarke has indicated that they are still hoping for at least two games to be played in Australia, however, has conceded that troubles related to the COVID-19 outbreak may put a hold to that.

“Ideally you would want them in Australia to reward your fans, so they could come and watch the game and certainly from a commercial point of view, we have many corporate supporters and we’d want to reward them as well,” he said.

“Our number one priority is to try and get these games in Australia and we’re working with various governments to see what the potential crowds might be and what limitations might be placed on match day crowds.

“That will have an influence on at least where one of the games might be played.

“If everything turned negative then, yes, one of the scenarios could be that we play those two Bledisloes in NZ capitalizing on the opportunities they present and that has been factored into our thinking but certainly isn’t our preference.”

If they get the clearance, Clarke has revealed that they will go ‘star wars’, with games 3 and 4 played in Australia in October before they play game 1 and 2 in The Rugby Championship in the following month, which has been all but confirmed to be played in NZ.

However, any further delay will likely limit the series to two games as the code attempt to avoid a Boxing Day Bledisloe.

“That’ll be Christmas, that’s the issue,” he said. “At this point in time, the TRC’s scheduled to kick off on the 7th of November and not finish until possibly the 12th of December.

“There’s no time at the back end of the TRC to play any more matches.

“The two Bledisloes, it’s a bit like Star Wars numbering system, numbers three and four Bledisloes will be played first on the 10th and 17th of October, hopefully here in Australia and then numbers one and two will be played as part of the Rugby Championship in New Zealand later in November.”

All Blacked into a corner

Photo Courtesy of Keith McInnes

Photo Courtesy of Keith McInnes

With Rugby Australia making their intentions clear, their NZ counterparts have been scrambling to work out their future for 2021.

According to The Australian, there have already been enquiries from NZR to Pacifica players from NZ and Australia about their eligibility for a Kiwi-based Pasifika Super Rugby team in 2021.

In a further sign of disrespect to Australian rugby, they also suggest that New Zealand officials have approached the Western Force about giving the ‘east coast mafia’ the middle finger and join their domestic competition.

The bold call from RA has forced their NZ counterparts to weigh up their hand after their initial ‘expression of interest’ bluff, with All Blacks coach Ian Foster flouting the importance of having a ‘competitive competition’ just a fortnight ago.

“We’ve got to do whatever we can to get competitive teams against our teams,” he said.

“We‘re pretty secure in our five so once they (Australia) get their number, I guess we sit around and have a conversation.

“It‘s got to be competitive, it’s got to be financially viable.

“We‘ve seen in the past (with Super Rugby) that if you let in teams that actually can’t survive, then you’ve got to keep changing the competition around.”

With their buff called and a re-raise from Clarke and co, NZR could now be forced to reopen negotiations in order to come to a compromise or fall victim to their own concerns of a ‘watered-down’ competition.

This could see the prospect of regional teams that are currently competing in the ITM Cup being added to the competition if they fail to attract interest from overseas teams.

Meanwhile, South Africa remains the Shannon Noll of the group as they try and get over the initial hurdle of restarting their domestic competition before sorting out their future.

Only last week, the South African government has approved the return to play conditions for professional rugby, with the first matches set to be played in early to mid-September.

  • Geoffro

    I’m glad everyone is being so optimistic but I doubt we’ll see any Bledisloe games this year

    • Too Little Too Late

      I would have thought as the Bledisloe games are the biggest money spinners they will certainly go ahead. Two weeks training camp / isolation will allow Wallabies to play in NZ or vice versa.

      Public posturing certainly doesn’t help anyone.

      • Geoffro

        Hardly public posturing,just a statement of fact.Do you believe that the players will endure 4 weeks iso (two when they go and two on return) to play a couple of games ?

        • D-Box

          Yes.

          They will do it like the Perth AFL hub. Both teams in isolation but they can play each other during the time.

          For these boys on tour hotel to training ground to hotel to game venue to hotel wouldn’t be that much of a stretch from what they are used to. Just find a resort withe a golf club

        • Geoffro

          Don’t hold your breath, (regardless of current health directives)

        • Too Little Too Late

          My apologies, the public posturing line wasn’t at you. It was in the context of the Aus and NZ rugby boards discussions.

          I do think players will put up with 4 weeks isolation with their teammates to both play international rugby and also to ensure they get some money. They and all professional rugby players took big pay cuts, any way they can claw some of that back they will.

        • Geoffro

          All good.I do have my doubts ,especially going on the antics of players and coaches in league and AFL (and the public in general) and their determination to flout rules put in place.The reality is that these restrictions are quite debilitating mentally.I don’t think a large group of young players and support staff are up for it voluntarily or otherwise.The costs to support the group would be quite large also.I think we need to concentrate on domestic matters until restrictions have eased a bit.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Nathan, some clarity would be good and to be honest I don’t really care which way it goes as long as it happens. I still would rather see a combined competition of some sort but maybe let the competitions happen in isolation and then have a play-off between the top 2 on each side and a final after that. I’d really like the people on both sides to put their ego away and stop being so “I’m bigger than you” and just work together but I guess that’s gone.
    I’m sure the QLD and NSW will love SOO. I’m also sure most others couldn’t give a shit and that it’ll increase the them vs us in the rest of Australia. Good move on getting unity – NOT!
    4 Bledisloe games! Really! So 2 good games and then a bore fest that no one will care about. With the infantile way the two national organizations are being at the moment I’m almost hoping no Bledisloe games happen and people spend the break growing up and working together.
    Good idea Reds, back to basics like holding onto the bloody pill and no it giving away possession by either ship play or stupid penalties. That was the sort of basics that were drilled into me at primary school

  • Brisneyland Local

    Morning GAGR’s! Well sitting on my deck in Qld having coffee and reading GAGR, has me in my happy place before the little shit bags emerge from their nightly hibernation and feeding time at the zoo starts! Random thoughts whilst having coffee:
    – This whole NZR and RA shit fight is embarrassing. Organise a video teleconference. Lock the doors on both parties, and sit down and hammer it out til you have a mutually accepted deal. We need each other to exist, we are not yet big enough in our own rights to exist unilaterally. Sort it the fuck out like a bunch of adults would. It is not becoming to either party to carry on this way. It is a business decision, make it like one instead of carrying on like a pair of scorned divorcing parents. For fuck sake it is an embarrassment! Nuf Said!
    – Reds. Yes going back to basics would be a major stop forward after the disgraceful outing. Letting your self get owned like a submissive play thing, and to the bloody Tarts!
    Over to you GAGR’s

    • Yowie

      I hear that you can get a broadcaster in the mood to write a massive cheque for a sporting competition if you demonstrate a total lack of professionalism and “shit-sortedness”.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Apparently it seems!

      • Max Graham

        Fml.
        The real problem with Oz rugby are the bitch fans. You blokes are the most annoying clowns. Thank Christ I don’t have to listen to this nonsense in real life.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      It shits me that both of them seem more interested in demonstrating that they are king of the shit hill than in looking after the game the profess to be responsible for

      • Brisneyland Local

        Zacchary!

      • laurence king

        I think that maybe it was the spat that we had to have. Would ARU have pulled their collective fingers out if NZ hadn’t given them a dose of reality. Also, if finally Aus start to demonstrate some unity and not just when the roof is falling in, then NZ will most likely want to talk.

    • laurence king

      Tend to agree, but our descending into chaos especially over the last few years, the problems with covid has rightly concerned our near neighbours. But their solution would have further damaged rugby in our country and have rightly been rebuffed. The ARU, considering our dire financial position have finally, seemingly got their act together. There are time constraints but I see it as primarily as something that NZ has to decide upon. The individual overtures to our sides was extremely ill advised and divisive. I think that it could easily all go away with a phone call, but to me, I think that it’s NZs call to make.

      • Brisneyland Local

        I agree with all of what you have said. The fact that any of this makes it in to the public domain just highlights the immaturity of these goat fuckers! You are professional sports administrators for your country. You are being paid well. Just get the fucking job done and get on with it. the fans are sick of the bullshit. And the devisiveness.

        • laurence king

          The thing about the term ‘mature adults’ is that it’s usually concerned with watching or participating in something that one would be better advised not to have anything to do with. There’s a little too much pride and not enough humility in the proceedings but as I said, it’s NZs call to make.

        • Brisneyland Local

          YEp agree 100%

        • Brumby Runner

          Not sure that I agree wholeheartedly BL. If everything that has gone on lately had been in camera, not in the public domain, then we, the fans, would have been harsh in our criticism about the lack of any apparent progress.

          There is a time for the fans to be brought into the picture, and that has been over the past couple of months regarding this year’s competition and next. Just a pity both parties couldn’t have been singing from the same song book.

        • Brisneyland Local

          In business I am happy for stakeholders to get a little upset with me for not hearing as much detail as they would want. But when you actually deliver the goods they are happy. If these guys fight in public and deliver fuck all we would be pissed. If they say nothing but deliver the goods we will be a little pissed but will forgive them.

        • Max Graham

          That’s not true though. Raelene Castle was doing the work and keeping her mouth shut and she got run out of town by loud mouths backed by the idiot peanut gallery that ‘wanted answers’.

        • Max Graham

          Should they take a bad deal? You’re super angry because why? RA didn’t take an awful deal? The bloke leading this is really good and the bloke standing beside him is the richest Australian in history. Stop reading News Corp tripe and take a chill pill. They’ve got this.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        I don’t agree that it’s all on NZ. I think both unions have come up with a bit of a shit approach. NZ for starting it and being public and then the response from RA about a so called top 8 or something and then respond by 4 Sept or fuck off. Both groups are acting like fucken spoilt children

        • Yowie

          Both groups are acting like fucken spoilt children

          It’s funny, i was saying exactly the same thing to Nanny when I was on my way to hit-up Father for another big cheque from the family trust fund.

        • laurence king

          I feel that because of the dire financial state of the ARU something pretty credible had to be presented to broadcasters. And because NZ basically gave a take it leave it approach, our board had little option. Hasit been played out too much in the media? Yes.

        • Brumby Runner

          KARL are you sure that AR is telling NZ to fuck off if they don’t agree to the Super 8? Seems to me that the proposed Super 8 must have been discussed with at least some of the other parties before being included in RA’s package and that Covid allowing is pretty much a done deal.

          I think NZ’s only decision is to take part in the TT or not.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          To be fair i dont know but the article from RA was the first I’d heard about it in any way at all. Considering all the leaks on everything else I’d be surprised if this bit was not leaked if it had been discussed

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          I thought the September deadline was for it all and it was all or nothing

        • Max Graham

          How can you not have a deadline when you’re talking about plans for 2021? The whinging here is ridiculous. RA hasn’t put a foot wrong on this.

    • Happyman

      BL RA and the NRR need to look at this from a simple business perspective.
      They need each other to be strong. A simple risk analysis would suggest the local threat is NRL so the first thing they should do is what they want the least which is a decent two country approach.
      Other threats are Japanese rugby European and soon American rugby. So unless they look at it from an economic approach both sides will be screwed in twenty. Australia in 20 minutes. NZ in twenty years

      5 teams in each and any player in the comp is available for his country. Aus, NZ, Tonga, Samoa or Fiji.

      I have faith both sides will screw this up.

      • Brisneyland Local

        You and I have a similar faith. I am a simple and humble business man, I own and run companies and I make deals. That is what I understand. I dont understand how they are going about things! It makes no sense

        • Yowie

          For some reason, when I read your post, the voice in my head was Vito Corleone (older version) with the implied menace.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I take that as a compliment. But read more into it, a bewildered voice that is more like Kelvin Cunnington!

        • Happyman

          Ditto and the funny thing is that in real terms they are not large turnover business.
          They bones of they deal could be put together in about a four hour meeting and the detail in about a week.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yes they are not overly complex. But it is all about agendas and viewpoints and ego!

      • laurence king

        Not disagreeing, but the biggest threat to Aus rugby over the years has been Aus rugby and if that can be dealt with then yes all of the above.

  • Jason

    Something something something, COVID in New Zealand…

  • formerflanker

    Surely the new lockdown in NZ will cause problems to any planning of travel, crowd attendance, and the actual playing of games.

    • Brisneyland Local

      They have 2 Islands. they will sperate north form south and will be fine.

      • Think you may have your directions mixed up BLL.

        Isn’t Australia west?

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        I think it may prove to be more of an issue mate. Won’t be surprised if the Government pulls the plug on this.

        • Hopefully your wrong KaRL.
          ‘Unknown source’ doesn’t sound promising.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Yeah it doesn’t mate and I think that’s the issue. NZ seem intent on eliminating rather than managing and that requires extreme measures

        • ya, just been reading the latest on it.
          can see why the Govt is reacting though.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Potenitally. But at the moment the Hot Spot is FAuckland! If they are smart they limit travel between the islands to they are able to establish proper contact tracing. In th emean time the games can be held on the South island.

        • Damo

          Interesting scenario. In just about any other country in the run up to an election, the PM would probably cancel any event that might risk a C19 breakout and with it electoral fallout. But this is NZ and it’s rugby. So, who knows? Politics will be in there somewhere.

        • Brisneyland Local

          It is the worlds second oldest profession, with even less morals than the first oldest profession.

        • Damo

          “Every action has its pleasures and its price”- Socrates

        • Alister Smith

          I am not a Kiwi nor am I probably from that side of politics but the way I read Jacinda Ardern I don’t think she will make a decision based on the politics of it – not around COVID anyway – I think she will take advice from medical authorities and decide if it is worth the risk from a health and economic position and then she will try and sell that decision to the electorate.

        • Apparently an issue with previous travel to Rotorua by one of the 4 known cases.
          ‘close contacts’ stand around 400 ppl.
          Hopefully will just blow away, storm in a teacup kinda thing.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Let us hope so! Heaven forbid they end up like our own Socialist state of Victoria!

  • Perth girl

    A Bledisloe Hub after the AFL Grand Final in Perth sounds good

    • Mica

      Adelaide may argue about that one and in fairness, they’re more likely to have a local team in the GF. I’ll standby for the incoming fire……. :)

      • heh, where is that?

        • Mica

          oooohh good one – now we’ve annoyed two states :)

        • No offence intended to anyone Mica. :)

          Lovely place I’m sure, suburb of Geelong isnt it?

      • Perth girl

        Haha Adelaide’s population compared to Perths? Interest in rugby in Adelaide compared to Perth?

  • Here’s hoping The Kiwis positively respond. A Trans Tasman 5/5 or even 6/5 (with a combined Islands team) would be more likely to entice the broadcasters. Good to see RA standing up to the NZRFU.

  • Tomthusiasm

    Re Bledisloe, it’d take NZ to keep covid cases to around zero, but I’d love to see an ol’ fashioned Aussie tour to NZ, like a Lions tour. Send 40 blokes over for 5/6 weeks, first 2 weeks in isolation (ideally with training facilities etc.) Play three or four tests, Eden Park, Cake Tin and Dunedin (and either ChCh or Hamilton), play an Aussie Baabaas side against the Maori ABs, put out some midweek teams to play the provincial unions (areas that won’t get a test like Northland, Tasman, Hawkes Bay, Manawatu etc.). Rennie gets to take a larger than usual squad and tinker during the midweek games.

    • Mica

      I’d be happy with this, but may change my mind once the results came out. It’d certainly be a very tough tour for Aus. Still it could also be the making of them.

      • Tomthusiasm

        I agree, also it’d be tough going being away from family for so long, but that’s how they did it in the old days and, like you said, it could be the making of them. You could look at the Warriors in the NRL and the Phoenix in the A League for example, being stuck in another country away from family and friends has seemingly made them play better. Perhaps there’s less distractions or a siege mentality in play.

    • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

      I like the idea….maybe South Africa, Argentina and Australia can tour New Zealand if there is enough time over the next couple of months. It may be the only place in the world that is isolated enough to play rugby. 14 day quarantine and then a tour of New Zealand to get players test ready. This half backed idea of a Rugby Championship with the Boks and Pumas poorly prepared will do more damage than good.

      • Tomthusiasm

        A Boks tour would be epic, looks like SA will have sport returning in September so they will indeed be under-cooked for any sort of RC, as will the Pumas.

        • Alister Smith

          How about a Boks tour of NZ and an Argentina tour of Australia (played out of non hot spot states – so play the Force in WA and Reds in Qld [maybe Townsville]) and then they all hook-up for the Rugby Championship

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          Great idea!

    • Max Graham

      Stuff the provinces. Let’s play the Saders!!

  • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

    I am reading between the lines that Rugby Australia does not have much confidence that a trans Tasman competition will get up for 2021. There are many flaws in their proposal:
    – Will the best four from the Trans Tasman competition play in the Final Series or will we repeat the hated conference system where two places will be reserved for Australian teams?
    – There is an uncomfortable overlap between the “Finals series” if the Trans Tasman competition with the same teams playing each other. Surely the one competition will impact the integrity of the other.

    If there are only domestic Superugby competition, what will happen with the teams that that do not make the 5 week “finals series” especially if the NRC is dumped. Is 8 games enough to contract a professional playing squad? Maybe play GRR?

    • Alister Smith

      That might be an option. Go on bended knee to Twiggy. Ask if he will continue to run GRR and include 4 more teams which those clubs and RA will fund. Potentially allow some of the players to be dispersed throughout the other teams in the comp to build up the other teams and even out the talent but say that all eligible players can be selected for Australia. I personally don’t think the law variations or the adjust in minutes are that significant. But if a comp is going to start in February that is only 6 months away now. And it is difficult to see things evening out before then unless Putin’s vaccination works.

      • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

        Some great ideas. I was looking forward to Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Singapore and China playing GRR. Maybe if we add the 3 Aussie teams that do not make the Finals series and when the internationals are played continue with GRR if can fill the niche that the NRC use to enjoy,

        • Alister Smith

          great idea

  • Квх

    Hello to Australian friends from Russia. Its Russian bid on RWC2027.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b796bd419f05361fd4033850396f8c69d0300da8a82aada9adc1335f20ae6678.jpg

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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