A way forward for rugby in Australia
Kurtley Beale starred as the Rebels conquered the Crusaders (AAP Image/Martin Philbey)
Well here we go. This is my first post to The Roar, and it’s about something dear to my heart: rugby union. How did we get to our current state?
We have billion dollar deals for the AFL and now the NRL, the A-League signing European superstars and rugby union looking like something out of an old western movie pub brawl.
To me, rugby union in Australia is at the crossroads. We can talk all we want about Quade Coopers tweets but is that really the problem?
The whole infrastructure of rugby is the problem. We are top heavy. There are five Super Rugby teams but below that we have Sydney club rugby and maybe a couple of teams from Brisbane.
I am a passionate Rebels supporter. I joined on the first day that membership was available.
Do I care that they play expansive rugby? No. Do I care that they have the best rugby players? No. Do I like them because they are the best? No.
I care because they are my team, I want to wear my Rebels polo shirt and walk around with my Rebels key-ring.
I want ownership and they are my team and I am along for the ride.
Every Monday morning I log onto The Roar for my weekly beat-up of rugby. We hear criticism of the game, the referees and the administration.
When you read the wash-up of NRL of AFL on a Monday, there is a lot of criticism but the coaches, players and referees are the targets – not the game.
Why do we criticise the game so much? I think it is because we haven’t got the same tribalism as the other codes. I think it is because we don’t feel ownership of our teams.
How are the Rebels and Force suppose to survive, and more importantly how will rugby grow in these states, to a level where an aspiring club player in Victoria can make the next step to the top division?
These franchises will never be able to create a pathway from local club rugby to Super Rugby.
To me Super Rugby is the problem, it is a made up comp to suit pay TV and create revenue for short sighted rugby administrators
It’s not about having the best rugby comp in the world. It’s about having a competition that supporters care about.
My solution? Scrap Super Rugby. Replace it with the Itm (NZ), Currie cup(SA) and an ARC comp played side by side from March to June.
Each comp should have 8-10 teams that suit individual countries.
There should then be a June Test window followed by a Heineken Cup/knockout style comp with all teams eligible to play July to Late September.
The Rugby Championship must be played alongside the knockout style competition.
What do you think Roarers? Is this the way forward for rugby in Australia?
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