Thanks Bruce good article and I have 7 points I would like to say
1. The health of Australian franchises in 2013 and onwards. I feel I have seen enough good signs by all five teams. Rebels and Force have good future signings. Waratahs have verged on impressive more often and Brumbies building on from 2012 but would like to see them more expansive.
2. ARU KPI it seems is a strong Wallabies but does not filter down to the standard of competion in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth or even Armidale.
3. Unknown Australian's abroad possibly being confused with Imported Development Players (IDP). In the last few years we have seem the number of these rise. Fairbrother formerly Force, Sekope Kepu and Mike Harris Wallabies. Others Leon Power, Winston Stanley, Sam Christie, Grayson Hart, Smith twins and Murphy (IRB disagree) and next year at the Rebel's Smith, Sexton and Lahiff. Whilst our IDP have been Sias Ebersohn, Jayden Hayward, Ettiene Oosthuizen, Henry Speight, Jason Woodward and Scott Fuglistaffer. Up until now the balance has been good.
4. Shute Shield v Local Competitions. It seems that one of the Jake white legacy have been having all Brumby contracted players remain in the John I Dent Cup and to distribute these players. This may have encouraged other players to stay. Additionally Jake has tried to accommodate the local competition. I note a few weeks ago Manly complaining about Rebels that may not be released to the Shute Shield. Qld do not release players so why should Rebels and Force players be released. We want the local Perth and Melbourne competions to be better.
One of the worst thing I saw was the announcement of JOC (James O'Connor) with West Harbour, a player who has not played in the local competitions.
5. WA and Victorian representatives for Australian Schoolboys incl A and Australian U20 representatives. Have they been tracked and what is their best development. Could they be additional to numbers and salary cap. I note some have finished up in the Sydney University nurserary.
6. Academies where is the direction. Cost cutting and in Sydney and Brisbane but divorced from the Super franchises. Before there was the tied level of professional and amateur. I remember in 2005 where the ARU had HP contracts where they wanted TPN (Tatafu Polota-Nau) to change from flanker to prop/hooker and each franchise had 5 players training with them and could only be called up with horrific injuries.
7. Australian U20 and 7's we need to find a spot where these teams sit. Olympics help the 7's and should they be on national contracts at wallaby standard. I like the idea of a national U20 competion as curtin raisers.