This mess makes it clear: It’s time for major change in global rugby

moondoggie Roar Rookie

By moondoggie, moondoggie is a Roar Rookie

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    The lesson to learn from the Western Force’s drawn-out culling is that rugby must transition into the next stage of professionalism and become a united game globally.

    Andrew Forrest’s proposed Indo-Pacific competition will create more headaches in the short term.

    For example, will Australian players be eligible for the Wallabies if they play for the Force (or indeed another team)? I suspect the ARU will say no, as a major reason for culling a team was to concentrate talent.

    Will it be financially viable? How much money will Forrest sink into it if it doesn’t make money? Will they be able to attract star players? What effect will the rival competition have on Super Rugby? Will it stem the flow of players from south to north?

    And what happens in 2020 when a new broadcast agreement is made? Will the Force be invited back? Would they accept?

    Messy stuff.

    But it presents an opportunity for World Rugby, SANZAAR and local unions to redesign the global calendar and competitions, to make rugby a truly professional, global sport.

    The first era of professionalism has been successful, and the game is in strong health, but to build on this foundation the time is right for evolution, so the game can strengthen existing markets and expand into new territory.

    The current Super Rugby model has run its course. Fans have lost interest, crowds are down and South African franchises want out. We should let them go north, but to accommodate this, the global season will need to be tweaked.

    I doubt the Springboks will want to stop playing the All Blacks, so the national team will stay in the Rugby Championship. But if their club go north, the global season must accommodate this. Therefore, Southern Hemisphere competitions may have to align their seasons with the Northern Hemisphere season to allow the best players to be available for Test Matches.

    This may mean rugby in summer, but why not? It worked for the A-League.

    I like the idea of having the Jaguares in a professional competition, but logistically this is not working for Super Rugby. A new professional competition needs to be established in the Americas, possibly involving Argentina, Uruguay, USA and Canada. It’s a massive market, with huge room for expansion.

    This leaves space for an Asia-Pacific competition involving clubs from Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and Japan. Drop the Super Rugby brand, do away with illogical conference arrangements, play a simple home-and-away competition.

    If the quality is there, it will be marketable.

    This also leaves room for expansion further into Asia, particularly China, in the future. Ideally, the current Rugby Championship will remain, with the possibility of adding Japan and Pacific teams once they are more consistently competitive.

    Aligning club seasons to timezones in this way will provide for more stable and marketable local competitions, while retaining the quality and integrity of Tests. Ideally there will be more incentive (financial and otherwise) for Southern Hemisphere players to play locally, especially Pacific Islanders, who for too long have been poached by the bigger unions.

    Sadly, I doubt anyone involved in the game at the moment has the foresight to implement such a change, but major change is needed.

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    The Crowd Says (24)

    • September 6th 2017 @ 7:06am
      kkovak said | September 6th 2017 @ 7:06am | ! Report

      The ARU represents only the East coast

    • September 6th 2017 @ 8:07am
      DavSA said | September 6th 2017 @ 8:07am | ! Report

      so far I see no discernible benefit for Argentinian in Superugby . If anything their national squad has regressed. it is becoming clear the South African teams want to all go North , chase Euros and re unite all their ex pat players with their supporters. Clearly a global calendar can be the only way forward for all and that includes Australia who now have nothing to lose and New Zealand who are already the iconic global rugby brand. NZ in particular are staring down a barrel with NH teams itching to sign their stars.

      • September 6th 2017 @ 8:32am
        Fionn said | September 6th 2017 @ 8:32am | ! Report

        If South Africa goes north do you think you’ll see a flood of the NH-based South African players returning to play for the South African teams if salaries are commensurately higher? I remember the du Plessis brothers were almost in tears when they left.

      • September 7th 2017 @ 6:02am
        P2R2 said | September 7th 2017 @ 6:02am | ! Report

        …NZ in particular are staring down a barrel with NH teams itching to sign their stars….why down the barrell, the lure of the AB Jersey is what keeps NZ players in NZ…anyone can go North and earn money for their pension….AMAZON is about to buy into the TV Rights for the ABs….BIG MONEY….so financially the NZRU will be looking good.

        But I do agree, a GLOBAL CALENDAR…but it will be the NH who will put up the barriers, as long as NZ/AB’s continue to dominate world rugby, all other teams will want to play them….

        I watched the first round of the Aviva P/Ship and couldn’t believe how many overseas players are playing in it, add to that the PRO14 and that is alot of players who are keeping OUT UK and FRENCH players…..it will end up like the EPL where any of the big teams will be lucky to have 2 or 3 English players in their teams…now that can’t be good for NH rugby??

        • September 9th 2017 @ 3:44am
          DavSa said | September 9th 2017 @ 3:44am | ! Report

          I hear you P2R2 , but if rugby does go global as incidentally is being propagated by none other than the NZRU then buying and selling of players becomes a huge reality . Money is money . Would a Messi , Neymar or Renaldo prefer to play for their home clubs , I don’t know but they do prefer playing for cash.

    • September 6th 2017 @ 8:10am
      Ron49 said | September 6th 2017 @ 8:10am | ! Report

      2 major errors. While your thrust is based on the weakness of Australian rugby it is the opposite for NZ so your argument for a complete change in the way global rugby is run is invalid as it stuffs up a perfectly run chain of NZ competitions,producing top rugby and top players by the bucket load.Secondly, the English and French competition, including players, are privately owned severely limiting changes on a global scale. It’s similar, though not as big, with the Scottish, Welsh and Irish club competitions. Australia’s weak and fragile position is unique when compared to the major countries and only Australia can fix it.

      • Roar Rookie

        September 6th 2017 @ 8:33am
        moondoggie said | September 6th 2017 @ 8:33am | ! Report

        Fair point, I can’t deny Australia bias! But my the rationale for aligning the southern hemisphere with the north (so the northern season may not change much) was more about allowing South Africa to play in the Northern club season and also have their best players readily available for the Springboks to play in the Rugby Championship. If not the rich/powerful european clubs may not always release players (despite the current WR laws), or players may make themselves ‘ineligible’ for selection. I think it would be in New Zealand’s interest to keep regularly playing the Springboks at their peak, and if they only have a potentially weak Wallabies and Argentina to play every year, they wouldn’t be tested regularly enough. And it would only need the professional side of the game to alter the season, not the lower levels.

    • September 6th 2017 @ 9:35am
      puff said | September 6th 2017 @ 9:35am | ! Report

      This article is almost a play on words, the author believes because the ARU are so dysfunctional and inept at managing their purview the rest of the SH needs to change direction. Australian rugby at the top end of town is poorly coached, trained and managed when you peel back the layers, if we are not competitive against NZ teams. Highly motivated European clubs would be less than excited about our inclusion. If we are struggling to attract lucrative sponsorship now because gate receipts and the viewing public are becoming despondent, how would this venture be financed? The only teams that would capture NH curiosity would be NZ teams as they are the sporting bench mark. As reiterated before, at this time we can’t even cross the ditch and make a splash.

      • September 6th 2017 @ 7:36pm
        markie362 said | September 6th 2017 @ 7:36pm | ! Report

        Play in summer.now we know why they cut the force.it hits mid 40s for weeks on end here in perth

    • September 6th 2017 @ 9:38am
      Objective said | September 6th 2017 @ 9:38am | ! Report

      You say major change is needed globally, but that statement is incorrect. The game is powering ahead in all the major Rugby nations except Australia. This is OUR issue, not the rest of the world’s. They are not going to implement major change just to accommodate Australia.

    • September 6th 2017 @ 9:42am
      Mac said | September 6th 2017 @ 9:42am | ! Report

      I tend to agree with the direction of the article. The zone need to realign to take up the new opportunities although tradition is a strong component of Rugby. Forrest’s Asia Pacific idea is one I have held for some time as a second tier comp to Super Rugby. And these could be cross referenced as well with the a qualifying Wild Card from one to the other. Top team in T2 replaces lowest T1 team.

      Anyway the code needs to develop to offer the talent pool or they will simple go OS, as they are already. As for China, don’t bother with that. Too big and too far away to develop. But Pacifics and Japan and closer location should be part of new comp. And their population will secure the funds and TV rights as they open up more players in that market than FOX and some ailing free to air station in Australia.

      And lastly without Free to Air, the NRC, Super Rugby and new comp just won’t fly to far. Just watch the ABC and see who gets the news headlines every day and consider who has the Free To Air component of those main sports get. Rugby, has Free to AIr, Test at all hours, poor repeats if any, No Super Rugby, can’t say on NRC, never heard if they get any FTA. I don’t watch Soccer and don’t know a single player so I imagine if you can’t watch Rugby you’d have the same issue and same lack of interest.

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