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The Wrap: Is Super Rugby dead? Don’t bet on it just yet

Geoff Parkes Columnist

By Geoff Parkes, Geoff Parkes is a Roar Expert

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Popular article! 4,773 reads

    In the aftermath of the ARU’s decision to ‘discontinue’ the Western Force from Super Rugby, and Andrew Forrest’s promise to establish an Indo-Pacific rugby competition while also supporting the NRC, concerns have been raised.

    Many people have been quick to extrapolate this into a new landscape for professional rugby that, after expiry of SANZAAR’s current broadcast deal in 2021, will not include Super Rugby.

    I wouldn’t be so hasty to write off Super Rugby just yet.

    From Australia’s perspective, in recent years Super Rugby has proved increasingly problematic. Suffocating competition from other sports that are staunchly domestic, financial cost and chronic lack of success have all fed into a landscape for Super Rugby that is overwhelmingly negative for Australian fans.

    In that context, the emergence of Forrest – and the prospect of him working constructively with the ARU – is seen as a ray of light in a very dark tunnel.

    The very nature of professional sport implies that success is tied to money and, in the EPL, La Liga, NBA, Major League Baseball, F1, pro cycling – a fair chunk of the world’s major professional sports competitions – there is undeniable correlation between spending and success. Thus it is because Forrest has money, (which the ARU doesn’t), that there are bubbles of excitement and raised expectations.

    Optimistic fans, however, are potentially letting what they wish for get ahead of the realities that actually inform decision-making in rugby in the SANZAAR region. This comment is made without any scepticism towards Forrest himself.

    I have no way of knowing what is true motives are, the level of financial investment he is prepared to make and for how long, but there is nothing to suggest that he is anything other than genuine, and that his involvement in rugby is anything but good for the game.

    But in all of the excitement, there are two things being glossed over. The first is being drawn into a ‘fool’s gold’ scenario of relying on one solution to fix two separate problems; i.e. the state of Australian domestic rugby, and achieving a solution for regional rugby that is more fan-friendly and engaging. These are entirely separate matters.

    The second, more important point, is that irrespective of Forrest’s involvement, even if his IPAC competition gets off the ground, decisions about the game in our region are made by the national unions of South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina, as a collective, via SANZAAR.

    Be assured that the important strategic decisions that are made are only those that will benefit the partners. And in an era where these southern hemisphere nations are increasingly seeing their best talent picked off by northern hemisphere clubs, this invariably means decisions only that will protect or potentially grow the revenue base of each member nation.

    Andrew Twiggy Forrest Rugby Union Western Force IPRC

    (Photo by Daniel Carson/Getty Images)

    The proposed IPAC competition might be sustainable if Andrew Forrest bankrolls the whole competition, making up any shortfall in broadcast revenue not achieved, meeting the enormous costs involved with rugby in the Pacific Islands and maintaining salaries at competitive levels.

    A very rough estimate might place this investment at around $150m initially, then $100m annually. Is this the intended scope of Forrest’s intended involvement?

    If so, it seems a long way from his initial objective of providing West Australian players a pathway into top-level rugby. Hence the growing expectation that, once the IPAC is underway, and with Super Rugby so unpopular, a joining together of the two competitions will provide a neat solution.

    But even if Forrest is encouraged to extend his involvement into helping underwrite or assist Australian rugby over the next few years, are we to believe this now extends to all of Asia, the Pacific and New Zealand?

    The New Zealand Rugby Union has worked very hard to establish income streams that enable it to be fairly self-sufficient. But their position remains tenuous because, just like Australia, their primary revenue source remains SANZAAR broadcast revenue.

    Despite the problems with Super Rugby and the failings of Australia and South Africa, New Zealand still has too many eggs in the SANZAAR basket to let it fail or to leave its future in the hands of a businessman from Western Australia that it knows little about.

    South Africa too remains a crucially important player. The widespread assumption that the expiry of the current SANZAAR broadcast deal will see them shift allegiance to the northern hemisphere is unsubstantiated.

    Once again, what might look good on a whiteboard, or make sense to fans over a few pints, is not the basis on which traditionally conservative rugby governing bodies, desperate to maintain their financial viability, make business decisions.

    SARU CEO Jurie Roux has made it clear that South Africa has no intention of withdrawing from either SANZAAR or Super Rugby. The reasons for that are obvious; the northern hemisphere unions and club competitions cannot easily accommodate such a large, wholesale move, and it is not automatically in SARU’s best financial interest to do so.

    Instead, the SARU is in the process of trying to establish firm footing in both camps; the Cheetahs and Kings in the Pro 14, another two newly constructed sides entering the knock-out Anglo-Welsh competition, and the Lions, Sharks, Stormers and Bulls – the four strongest sides – remaining in Super Rugby.

    Roux, along with the New Zealand Rugby Union’s Steve Tew, clearly sees the best outcome for the SANZAAR nations to be to shore up the Super Rugby competition, to make it as attractive to broadcasters and fans as it can be, so as to extract maximum value from the next round of broadcasting rights negotiations; discussions which are scheduled to begin next year.

    Lionel Mapoe tackles Beauden Barrett

    (Photo by Gallo Images/Getty Images)

    It is no more or less this factor that drove the decision to revert to 15 Super Rugby teams, and the construct of a new fixture, announced last week, that provides for more home derby games in Australia, and the remarkably low number of four ‘graveyard shift’ matches for Australian teams in South Africa.

    It is interesting to note too how early clashes between Australian and New Zealand franchises have been avoided – another subtle move to try to prevent starting the competition off in another cloud of ‘here we go again’ negativity. Incredibly, Australian and New Zealand franchises don’t meet for the first time in a round until Round 7 – no accident.

    It is not that tinkering of this nature suddenly fixes all of Super Rugby’s ills – there are still imbalances and inequities in the draw. The Jaguares and Sunwolves remain problematic, and perhaps too much damage to the brand has already been done.

    But the SANZAAR unions will feel that this will at least provide them with a fighting chance. As Tew told me recently when we met in Wellington, despite all of the negative sentiment towards SANZAAR and Super Rugby, it was SANZAAR who provided the four semi-finalists for the most recent World Cup – proof that they can’t be doing everything as poorly as what some might make out.

    It is not a revelation to say that New Zealand takes its rugby seriously. And to point out that the New Zealand Rugby Union takes its responsibility to safeguard and maintain New Zealand’s presence in the game extremely seriously.

    That objective is achieved primarily through the revenue it obtains from broadcasting rights, and provision of a suitable product with which to provide broadcasters. In that respect, New Zealand offers schools rugby (low value), Mitre 10 Cup (low value) and the All Blacks (very high value, but limited by the number of matches/opportunities).

    Somewhere in the middle sits Super Rugby: moderate to high value, offering around 20 weeks of regular content across a number of different markets. While the value of the respective component parts isn’t split out in the overall SANZAAR broadcast deal (which is worth approximately $50m per year each to New Zealand, Australia and South Africa), it is undoubtedly a substantial piece.

    The notion that the New Zealand Rugby Union would turn away from this in favour of joining an almost certainly inferior Indo-Pacific championship, full of countries who have little ability to generate revenue but great capacity to add cost, is laughable. Ditto the idea that New Zealand rugby’s future lies in a solely trans-Tasman league.

    The emergence of new media into the sports broadcast space – companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple and others – appears to have come at an opportune time. The New Zealand Rugby Union’s recently announced partnership with Amazon potentially opens up a raft of revenue possibilities for the future.

    Most importantly, however, Sky TV’s whole business model in New Zealand is so reliant on sport – rugby in particular – that they will almost certainly fight hard to retain the rights. In South Africa, the retention of the four leading franchises in Super Rugby will also help ensure that the rights value is not diminished.

    Mitchell Drummond Crusaders Super Rugby Union 2017

    (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

    While fans might continue to groan about Super Rugby they shouldn’t forget that the primary factor which determines the value of broadcast rights for sport is not the content itself (and much of it remains excellent by the way), but the motivation and degree of competition from bidders in a contestable situation.

    With that in mind, while Super Rugby may indeed have a terminal slow puncture, to borrow an old phrase, its death appears to have been greatly exaggerated.

    To finish this week, I note the efforts of NRC referee Will Houston, who was either slyly swigging Kava from his water bottle or was enjoying the play of the Fijian Drua so much that he let the first half of their match against the Perth Spirit run for just over 45 minutes.

    Or perhaps the conspiracy theorists will have us believe that, considering the pasting the Drua were giving the Spirit, Houston was under instruction from the ARU to continue to make life difficult for the WA boys.

    To reference another old saying – when faced with a choice between conspiracy or stuff-up, go for the stuff-up, every time!

    Geoff Parkes
    Geoff Parkes

    Geoff is a Melbourne-based sports fanatic and writer who started contributing to The Roar in 2012 under the pen name Allanthus. His first book, A World in Union Conflict; The Global Battle For Rugby Supremacy, was released in December 2017 to critical acclaim. For details on the book visit www.geoffparkes.com. Meanwhile, his twin goals of achieving a single figure golf handicap and owning a fast racehorse remain tantalisingly out of reach.

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    The Crowd Says (393)

    • September 25th 2017 @ 7:59am
      Jock Cornet said | September 25th 2017 @ 7:59am | ! Report

      A comp that is not in tv , is on at all hours of night and early morning, high ground prices. No marketing , players don’t care just hope to avoid injuries, no wins against NZ teams. What a stupid set up. Can’t wait to see the Sunwolves flog the Rebels. It is a dead comp walking. Forrest is doing more than the ARU wtf.

      • Columnist

        September 25th 2017 @ 8:59am
        Geoff Parkes said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:59am | ! Report

        Great to see you up and about early Jock.

        • September 25th 2017 @ 9:54am
          Rhys Bosley said | September 25th 2017 @ 9:54am | ! Report

          He had to get up in time to yell at the paper boy for throwing his Daily Tele into his rose bush.

          PS Jock, just havin’ a bit of fun whicha 😉

          • September 25th 2017 @ 11:22am
            Sydneysider said | September 25th 2017 @ 11:22am | ! Report

            Disagree Geoff, and you watch the crowds and ratings next year.

            Super Rugby is a competition that doesn’t work in the Australian market.

            You watch it flounder and drop off next year.

            2020 can’t come soon enough for Australian rugby fans.

            • Columnist

              September 25th 2017 @ 11:33am
              Geoff Parkes said | September 25th 2017 @ 11:33am | ! Report

              Serious question Sydneysider re 2020

              What happens then?

              • September 25th 2017 @ 12:22pm
                mania said | September 25th 2017 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

                aus get kicked out of super and tbh its about time
                this lack of doing anything about grassroots is negligent.

                Sydneysider – cant wait for all of aus to realise they dont belong in this comp. until ARU sorts out its local rugby; no one wants to watch aus suyper sides anymore. sorry but your inclusion is doing more damage to super rugbys rep than good. sort your sht out or get kicked out.

              • September 25th 2017 @ 2:04pm
                Sydneysider said | September 25th 2017 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

                Agree with mania, I have no time for this competition now.

                It’s the reason why Australian can’t control it’s own destiny.

                Before professionalism came along, rugby was obviously still amateur, so for those old enough to remember, there was no professional competitions in Australian rugby.

                If it returned to that, so be it, because it’s obvious right now to me from an Australian perspective that Australia needs to concentrate on the grassroots and setting up a competition that resonates with the Australian market. Not NZ, not SA.

                Super Rugby is done for in Australia.

              • September 25th 2017 @ 3:26pm
                Rob9 said | September 25th 2017 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

                If I may Geoff; if it’s still steady as she goes for the remaining partners (and I still believe that’s a big ‘if’), then it’s time to cut the cord and go our own way in my opinion.

                Put together a 10 (or so) team domestic league (not the NRC) that caters to and attempts to grow our local fan base. The latter is something that simply hasn’t and won’t happen with Super Rugby.

                And get strategic about it by leveraging strengths the game has that are being under utilized while creating new revenue streams so we’re not left with some shoddy semi pro park league. Opportunities exist.

                For starters, build clubs that tap into and leverage that passion that clearly remains strong at the grassroots.

                As soccer has done with Lowy, establish that relationship with Twiggy and whatever other backers may exist our there. It’s amazing how one suddenly appeared when his local team was put on the chopping block. I have no doubts, with the games footing in the private school system, if the ARU becomes more internally focused and starts shaking trees locally, others will come to the fore. In any event, one of the wealthiest individuals in the country is a good platform to build from.

                Approach the remaining SANZAAR partners about a ‘Champions League’ style knock out tournament played in a 7 or 8 week window in addition to the regular domestic league(s). If they’re not interested, why not approach the Japanese Top League? There’s existing rugby infrastructure there, under company ownership who I’m sure wouldn’t mind exposing their brands to markets beyond Japan. Build that same sort of tournament with those teams and throw in the PI’s to add some spice. Suddenly there’s another revenue stream that truly captures the lucrative Japanese market as opposed to the one team getting flogged week in, week out in Super Rugby.

                And again, look internally and draw on the games strengths. With the overwhelming majority of players coming from NSW and QLD, why not build that State of the Union concept back up again to its former glory. I’m sure such a 3 game series could capture as much, if not more revenue than the current 3 inbound June tests do.

                I’m not pretending for a second that such a move doesn’t come without significant risks and enormous challenges. But as discussed, there are opportunities that haven’t been explored due to the ARU’s unwavering desire to remain a partner of SANZAAR. In my opinion something does have to change otherwise we’re setting ourselves down a path of a slow death of a thousand cuts.

              • September 25th 2017 @ 4:55pm
                Haradasun said | September 25th 2017 @ 4:55pm | ! Report

                Agree with most of this too. Aus needs a proper domestic comp and the current super rugby format is a massive constraint to that.

                The champions league is a better idea but what do you do then with the reds and waratahs and brumbies jerseys? They also have a long history which should be preserved.

              • Columnist

                September 25th 2017 @ 4:35pm
                Geoff Parkes said | September 25th 2017 @ 4:35pm | ! Report

                Rob

                Thanks for the considered arguments.

                I think what you’re describing might have worked if that was the model that was introduced when the game first went professional.

                The state of football/soccer in Australia (a low-mid world ranking league, with all of the elite players in overseas clubs) doesn’t seem so bad for their sport because they’ve never known any different.

                Australian rugby has won the world cup twice and is consistently ranked in the top few nations. Super rugby was regarded as the worlds best league (still is by many).

                So a football-like scenario represents a massive step backwards.

                It is a massive failing that Australia failed to build a healthy domestic league and has relied on Super Rugby to do that job for it. Now, when SR needs to evolve and adapt, Australia finds itself inextricably entwined, and – understandably – that’s why so many want out.

                But the question is… out to what? The sport is professional. And it is global. That bed is already made.

                Any option for Australian rugby that doesn’t provide sufficient revenue to fund all levels of the game AND keep the elite players here would consign Australian rugby to lower ranking status in the long run. Some may say, so what? But I think that’s not what the majority of fans want. I suspect that they still want to see Australia competitive at world cups.

              • September 25th 2017 @ 5:17pm
                Rob9 said | September 25th 2017 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

                The point is Geoff, I believe if we’re smart about things, there doesn’t have to be this massive step backwards. There are opportunities on our landscape to generate significant revenue for the game that simply don’t exist at the moment. Furthermore, with this model the ARU are selling a league built specifically for the Australian market with all games featuring Australian sides, played in viewer friendly time zones. Knowing that the derby games attract the most viewers, such a league has to go some way towards appeasing local broadcasters compared to this Frankenstein tournament involving teams from places the average Australian punter knows little about, not to mention trying to follow their team when they have a string of away games that appear on our screens at crazy o’clock in the morning.

                Losing elite players to northern hemisphere clubs isn’t a phenomenon we’re being threatened with – it’s well underway. Again, if we’re smart about things, I can see potential for the ARU to generate revenue that would at least go close to what’s currently coming in while having a shot at actually growing the pot – something I can’t see happening under the existing arrangements. So we should be in a position to maintain close to our current levels of retention or worst case, central contracting will ensure we can keep 30 or so of the best Wallabies with ARU top ups while losing fringe internationals.

                Again, I’m not pretending it would be a smooth transition – but that transition has probably already begun. It may mean short term pain for long term gain, but we’re in pain at the moment and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel as things stand.

      • September 25th 2017 @ 12:35pm
        ajg said | September 25th 2017 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

        +1

      • Roar Guru

        September 25th 2017 @ 1:24pm
        The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 25th 2017 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

        What is up with all these cries for FTA? These people don’t know about streaming? It is not exactly 100 % legal, but geez, all the rugby in the world can be found for free on the Internet since many years.

        • September 25th 2017 @ 2:41pm
          Council said | September 25th 2017 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

          This comment has been removed for breaching The Roar’s comments policy.

          • Roar Guru

            September 25th 2017 @ 3:11pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 25th 2017 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

            This comment has been removed for breaching The Roar’s comments policy.

            • September 25th 2017 @ 6:51pm
              Ken Catchpole's Other Leg said | September 25th 2017 @ 6:51pm | ! Report

              Neutral, many prople make this mistake. Of course anyone ‘can’ stream a game.
              In Australia we have FTA coverage of Rugby League, AFL and soccer (on a publicly funded station set up for ‘new’ Australians that has had its sport department hijacked by soccer).
              Getting leverage in the Australian sports market means FTA is crucial to getting popular exposure and market share of players, fans and money. Three important things.
              With respect, reference to ‘all ya gotta do is stream a game’ is a motherhood statement and utterly irrelevant to the discussion.

              • Roar Guru

                September 25th 2017 @ 7:24pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 25th 2017 @ 7:24pm | ! Report

                I hear what you are saying KCOL, but still, it is all there and it is for free. If anyone wants to see it, they have every chance in the world to do so.

                And would FTA really fix the problems? Are more people really interested to see OZ SR sides getting smashed by Kiwi teams?

                I say the product SR needs fixing before there is any point about thinking about FTA, hence it would be like the emperor’s new clothes putting SR on FTA today.

              • Roar Pro

                September 25th 2017 @ 7:53pm
                Crazy Horse said | September 25th 2017 @ 7:53pm | ! Report

                The major problem is that in Australia Rugby is largely invisible outside the dedicated fans whilst the competition is readily available on FTA and radio and massively promoted through the print media owned by the same companies.

                To watch any of the other football codes (or netball for that matter) all the casual fan has to do is turn on their TV. To watch Rugby they have to subscribe to Foxtel or go hunting for a streaming service that they can watch through. Rugby nuts like me might do that but that’s not going to attract new fans.

              • September 26th 2017 @ 5:10am
                Ken Catchpole's Other Leg said | September 26th 2017 @ 5:10am | ! Report

                Thank you Mr Horse. The question about access isnt about nuts like us (although even for us they dont make it easy) Its about the casual fan.
                “Theres a big game on? What channel?”
                Atm our answer is
                “Fox”
                OR
                “Just stream it?”
                The answer born out by increasingly poor numbers is
                “No thanks”

    • Roar Guru

      September 25th 2017 @ 8:05am
      sheek said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:05am | ! Report

      Geoff,

      In 50 years of following rugby, the “discontinuation” of the Force by ARU is the most disgraceful, most obscene thing I have witnessed.

      The circumstances of this mess were created by both ARU & SANZAAR, who then found other people to play the “fall guy”. It didn’t have to happen this way. There were other avenues.

      But it was done for the sake of expediency & saving face.

      Another way of describing it is ARU & SANZAAR committed a murder then found someone else to be accused of committing the murder.

      I do not want to see ARU succeed in any way from the “blood” on its hands, nor super rugby & SANZAAR. Nor do the Waratahs, Reds, Brumbies & Rebels deserve any success.

      In a disgraceful act of self-preservation, they mutely stood aside & watched Force being chopped up. It was a gross act of being un-Australian. It was beyond disgraceful, it was obscene.

      They all deserve to collapse in their own miss-management, intrigue & double-dealing as another lesson to humanity.

      Of course, none of this will happen. There is often little justice in life. The people who deserve to be pilloried too often escape justice.

      Rugby will continue because the sports junkies will do anything to get their weekly fix, including setting aside the non-existent morals & ethics of sporting organisations.

      Consequently, as long as there are sports junkies willing to pay, sporting organisations will continue to hammer square pegs into round holes & exclaim” “oh look, it actually works”.

      Damn them all to hell!

      • Columnist

        September 25th 2017 @ 9:06am
        Geoff Parkes said | September 25th 2017 @ 9:06am | ! Report

        Morning Sheek

        There’s plenty of reading to support the thesis that morals and ethics and professional sporting organisations are uneasy bedfellows. But it’s also dependent on your own starting point, and how wedded you are to amateur values and structures versus accepting that everything in the world changes over time.

        Your comment about the Force axing being “un-Australian” is really what this article is about, ie, for better or worse professional rugby in our part of the world is regional, it has to be to provide sufficient revenue, thus Australia has largely lost the ability to make unilateral decisions.

        • September 26th 2017 @ 11:57am
          Ex force fan said | September 26th 2017 @ 11:57am | ! Report

          Sheek, I have a little bit more confidence in Karma…

          What commentators here forget is that Forrest’s money and his willingness to support Australian rugby is conditional on helping the Force “thrive not survive”. The Eastern State view that Forrest will save Australian rugby and in the process NZ ruby without a solution for the WA rugby is naïve.

          Forrest will be unashamed to fight for what is best for the Force, and will walk away (reluctantly) if no solution is forthcoming.

      • September 25th 2017 @ 9:19am
        taylorman said | September 25th 2017 @ 9:19am | ! Report

        go sheek!

        Yes well adding minor teams just to capture the revenue then dumping a better side is about as low as it gets. Just another sign of the money grabbers taking their cut and running.

        Like you Sheek Im so thankful that I saw the best rugby during the amateur era, when playing for your local sides meant something, when the $ didnt make just about every decision going.

        Sadly the players and Youth of today will never get to see that.

        • September 25th 2017 @ 3:00pm
          Sterling said | September 25th 2017 @ 3:00pm | ! Report

          Hey Taylorman,

          The Youth of today will see what you describe. Just not at the level that has been replaced by SR.

          I’m pretty confident that is what you meant to day. But I think it is important to specify.

          I.e. Pretty much all through country QLD and NSW young guns are loving playing in their respective inter-region country champs.

          It’s still there. Just needs to be more recognised and significant.

          • September 25th 2017 @ 6:28pm
            Taylorman said | September 25th 2017 @ 6:28pm | ! Report

            Good to hear, its certainly strong here, to an extent, its just when players get to a certain level, theyre shot all over the place.

            With Auckland we have something like 200 ex rugby players playing League in Oz, ones even in the NRL final this weekend. Scouts are combing schoolboy rugby all the time so the ones that end up in the top side are really a result of luck. Auckland rugby gets rubbished since pro rugby started but thats mainly because theyre propping up teams galore, worldwide, union and League.

            • September 26th 2017 @ 7:20am
              bluffboy said | September 26th 2017 @ 7:20am | ! Report

              That has always happened, even in the 70’s and 80’s. Were we all witnessed Auckland draft players from all over the country for “employment”, “cars” and “accommodation”, but not being “paid” naturally. But at least these guys were still within the code, I guess welcome the world of professional sports.

      • September 25th 2017 @ 10:16am
        Rugby Tragic said | September 25th 2017 @ 10:16am | ! Report

        Love your passion Sheek .. 🙂

      • September 25th 2017 @ 1:34pm
        dru said | September 25th 2017 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

        Sheek, completely agree with you. Utter disgrace – well spoken.

      • September 25th 2017 @ 2:27pm
        Darwin Stubbie said | September 25th 2017 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

        Your problem is that you view the force through the Australian prism of them being a province … when in realty all the Aust teams are just franchises

        • Roar Guru

          September 25th 2017 @ 6:09pm
          sheek said | September 25th 2017 @ 6:09pm | ! Report

          Whatever…..

          • September 25th 2017 @ 6:59pm
            Ken Catchpole's Other Leg said | September 25th 2017 @ 6:59pm | ! Report

            Oh the irony, of Darwin leading with the ‘helpful’ phrase – ‘Your problem is’.
            Darwin I have to confess I have no idea of what your problem is but I would hazard a guess that your obvious need to start a post with the said phrase (aimed at a fan in a state of disappointment) might be a clue.

            • September 26th 2017 @ 3:38am
              Darwin Stubbie said | September 26th 2017 @ 3:38am | ! Report

              So accusing me of having a superior tone – with your own superior tone … but that’s different I’m sure

              • September 26th 2017 @ 5:23am
                Ken Catchpole's Other Leg said | September 26th 2017 @ 5:23am | ! Report

                Darwin, great, now that we have acknowledged ‘superior tones’ can we confine our discussion to the issues brought up by Geoff’s excellent article?

              • September 26th 2017 @ 9:22am
                Darwin Stubbie said | September 26th 2017 @ 9:22am | ! Report

                Which was what i was doing … all I’m saying is that a fair amount on Aust angst stems from their view that SR is their makeshift provincal competition. ..

        • Roar Rookie

          September 26th 2017 @ 7:15am
          Paulo said | September 26th 2017 @ 7:15am | ! Report

          But all the SR teams are franchises. And simplifying them to such, I can only assume you are deliberatley ignoring the fact that each franchise is based out of a specific region or province. No one is insinuating that a SR is a representative side.

          And whether they are a franchise or a rep team, does not change the way things were handled. And for the record, I dont have a proble with them being cut, I do however think it was handled extremely poorly.

          • September 26th 2017 @ 10:06am
            Darwin Stubbie said | September 26th 2017 @ 10:06am | ! Report

            True but where the lines start to shift is when commentators start making calls that somehow Aust rugby is selling it soul and it somehow unaustralian that a team is cut as its severing some long established provincal entity … i agree not a great process that was poorly handled – but to death ride the code is in my view ott

      • September 25th 2017 @ 5:12pm
        Stephen C said | September 25th 2017 @ 5:12pm | ! Report

        Holy smoke, Sheek!
        Everybody seems to agree that the ARU has chronically mishandled this situation, but to say that the remaining four teams deserve no success is probably overcooking the goose.
        I have played and watched Rugby since 1980 and won’t give up on the greatest game of all. Ever. Regardless of the poor administration, Rugby is still vastly superior to every other sport and despite the poor showing of the Australian teams over the last couple of years, in particular the heartbreak imposed on me by the under-performing Reds, the game has me until the day I die.
        Poor administration doesn’t equate to terrible product or lousy game.

        • Roar Guru

          September 25th 2017 @ 6:11pm
          sheek said | September 25th 2017 @ 6:11pm | ! Report

          Stephen,

          The provinces need to suffer a while along with the ARU for failing to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Force.

          It’s un-Australian & it’s despicable.

          • September 26th 2017 @ 1:01am
            Keith of WA said | September 26th 2017 @ 1:01am | ! Report

            I gotta say I whole heartedly agree with you Sheek.

            I’ve voted with my feet and don’t watch the Wallabies or any rugby anymore. I can’t in all conscience get any interest up for a code in such a state of disarray/grubby politics.

            Otherwise its just an occasional check in here at the Roar to see the same ol same ol….

            Until it changes I’ve moved on from years of passionate watching and travelling to games all over the world.

            Cheers

            • Columnist

              September 26th 2017 @ 9:45am
              Geoff Parkes said | September 26th 2017 @ 9:45am | ! Report

              Guys… the game has always been full of grubby politics. Even back in the glory amateur days.

              What’s so different about now?

              • September 26th 2017 @ 4:51pm
                Ex force fan said | September 26th 2017 @ 4:51pm | ! Report

                They way the Force was axed was done in such a disrespectful way that it will not be a forgive, forget and move on situation. It is like a gruesome murder of a family member, we who loved the Force will not rest until those responsible are kept to account. Specifically Pulver, Clyne and Eales have a lot to answer for. Interesting, I haven’t heard anything from Clyne for weeks… I still do not think he can continue in his role.

    • September 25th 2017 @ 8:18am
      moaman said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:18am | ! Report

      Geoff ” Suffocating competition from other sports that are staunchly domestic, financial cost and chronic lack of success have all fed into a landscape for Super Rugby that is overwhelmingly negative for Australian fans.”

      It strikes me that is is the third reason that is most important here—the “chronic lack of success”. Were that situation reversed, I think reasons 1 and 2 would be greatly reduced in seriousness.
      If the ARU could get their teams humming….public interest and bums on seats would result inevitably.The great aussie unwashed love a winner, let’s face it.

      • Columnist

        September 25th 2017 @ 8:39am
        Geoff Parkes said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:39am | ! Report

        Hi Moa

        Yes, I’ve got no doubt you’re right about that, particularly where the Bledisloe Cup is concerned.

        There are a whole raft of issues that need to be fixed or improved in Australian rugby, but the general sentiment and level of fan engagement can be turned around very quickly with a few wins.

        Easier said than done of course; issues around player coaching and development, state parochialism, player drain, finances etc… that all feed into performance, are such that there are no quick fixes.

      • Roar Guru

        September 25th 2017 @ 10:10am
        PeterK said | September 25th 2017 @ 10:10am | ! Report

        2014 proved that is not true at all.

        Waratah crowd sizes did not improve dramatically in 2014 when they won nor in 2015 when they were defending champions.

        • Roar Guru

          September 25th 2017 @ 1:27pm
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 25th 2017 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

          That is an eye-opener. Thanks for that PeterK.

        • September 25th 2017 @ 3:13pm
          Bakkies said | September 25th 2017 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

          Incidentally the Tahs crowds were far superior in 2008 when Link when was the coach. Averaging 30,000 a game and there were proper promotion. He did the same at the Reds shock horror their crowds went way up.

        • Columnist

          September 25th 2017 @ 4:37pm
          Geoff Parkes said | September 25th 2017 @ 4:37pm | ! Report

          I think the decline in crowd numbers in Sydney in recent years supports the opposite Peter?

          • Roar Guru

            September 25th 2017 @ 5:42pm
            PeterK said | September 25th 2017 @ 5:42pm | ! Report

            no not at all.

            Losing a lot means a decline and smaller numbers.

            Winning just seems to retain the ones you have but not improve them.

            Winning is not enough anymore.

            • September 25th 2017 @ 7:09pm
              Ken Catchpole's Other Leg said | September 25th 2017 @ 7:09pm | ! Report

              Agree Peter.
              Its not just about winning.
              Rugby has just lost a place innthe mass market imagination.
              Its invisible in this country. We went to the world cup final with true grit, an unbalanced pack and half a playmaker. But nobody cares.
              The vested interests are still squabbling over elite vs grassroots. Club grassroots vs all the other grassroots. GPS vs public schools and budget Catholic ones.
              All the while no FTA and little print coverage.
              NRC is playing but I have to dig to find out where my local team is playing. And I am a rusted on fan!
              It is not just about winning. It never was. It is about having a place in the OZ sport culture. Atm rugby is a footnote in the conversation.

              • Roar Guru

                September 25th 2017 @ 7:34pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 25th 2017 @ 7:34pm | ! Report

                It is not just about winning. It never was. It is about having a place in the OZ sport culture. Atm rugby is a footnote in the conversation.

                Very true KCOL.

                Everyone knows how great AFL is doing, but yet they did not give a trophy to all teams last time I checked, there is only one winner every season. So this argument that teams have to win to attract crowds is void. Sure, winning generally helps to boost interest, but any club that builds their everyday business on winning every year will be a failure.

                And if we look outside OZ, there are literally thousands of professional sports teams that are doing alright and engage the public and attract fans to the stadiums despite being very far from ever winning anything.

              • September 26th 2017 @ 1:06am
                Keith of WA said | September 26th 2017 @ 1:06am | ! Report

                I agree.

                I said some time ago that Rugby has followed the mistakes of basket ball in that they were seduced by the PayTV dollars and gave up FTA.

                Without FTA you lose the visibility in the wider market. It’s just the way it is… as someone else said, it’s easy to flick on the TV and watch.

                If you’re not there then you’re not there.

                Rugby is now trapped in their dependence on the broadcast deals and will continue this at their peril.

                Sooner or later the suits will wake up to the fact when their options become ever limited….

              • September 26th 2017 @ 11:48pm
                Wardad said | September 26th 2017 @ 11:48pm | ! Report

                But the AFL has all its fans and all its games here in Oz,if they were losing year after year to teams from overseas I bet the fans wouldnt be happy eh neutral ?That one winner every season is always Australian makes a difference.

            • Roar Guru

              September 26th 2017 @ 7:57am
              John R said | September 26th 2017 @ 7:57am | ! Report

              The Tahs set the Super Rugby record for attendance for the grand final though.

              There’s plenty of fair weather fans out there, you just need to be All Blacks dominant, in Sydney, to actually get them to turn up it would seem.

      • September 25th 2017 @ 3:10pm
        Sterling said | September 25th 2017 @ 3:10pm | ! Report

        Moaman,

        I don’t think it’s as clean cut as that.

        I think it’s more accurate to say that when Aus teams are winning, everybody seems to “think” that everything is ok.

        E.g. In the late 90’s and early 00’s everyone (including me) thought everything was rosie in Aus rugby because we were doing well on the paddock. But in retrospect, there was a lot of work to be done domestically.

        So we didn’t even attempt to strengthen our national game and spent money on SR franchises. And now we are paying for it.

        • September 25th 2017 @ 3:16pm
          Bakkies said | September 25th 2017 @ 3:16pm | ! Report

          The likes of O’Neill thought it could be done through the clubs and he was pushing for another side. The ARU were told to get your domestic side of the game right first so you can consistently put through players. This only occurred when he left the ARU and the clubs meddled in the modelling of the competition. The ABC were paid to put games on the air.

          When O’Neill came back to the ARU he got rid of the comp as it lost money rather than re-work it. He wasn’t prepared for it to lose money to make more. Instead what happened was he moved the third tier back to the clubs and they took the losses instead.

        • September 25th 2017 @ 3:37pm
          Sydneysider said | September 25th 2017 @ 3:37pm | ! Report

          “E.g. In the late 90’s and early 00’s everyone (including me) thought everything was rosie in Aus rugby because we were doing well on the paddock. But in retrospect, there was a lot of work to be done domestically.”

          Back then there was no A-League, rugby league just came out of the super league war, Socceroos hadn’t qualified for a world cup, no professional women’s netball league, no W-League, no Big Bash cricket for both men and women, no GWS Giants, Swans hadn’t won a premiership until 2005…etc..

          Now look at the competition that is out there from a variety of sports (as well as the Shute Shield rugby in Brisbane premier rugby competitions), AFL has even infiltrated the private school system in Sydney.

          Things change and they continue to change, if the ARU doesn’t get it’s act together I forecast even more bleak times.

          • September 25th 2017 @ 5:22pm
            Uncle Eric said | September 25th 2017 @ 5:22pm | ! Report

            Correct Sydneysider. By the way can anyone enlighten me on the ARU and SAANZAR’s marketing strategies? From what I can see they don’t exist.

        • Roar Guru

          September 25th 2017 @ 3:47pm
          sheek said | September 25th 2017 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

          Sterling,

          Agree with this.

          One of the most insidious expressions was: “we punch above our weight”.

          That may be a good thing as a short-term goal, but it’s destined for disaster over a longer period.

          Absolutely right. When we had our occasional ‘golden generation’ come along, we kidded ourselves that this was the new beginning that would go on for ever & ever.

          It never did, of course. Once the golden generation departed, Australian rugby slipped back into the mediocre.

          Anyone with a modicum of intelligence must have realised we needed stronger domestic structures if we wanted sustainable, ongoing success.

          • Roar Pro

            September 25th 2017 @ 8:32pm
            Crazy Horse said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:32pm | ! Report

            the ARU and SAANZAR’s marketing strategies? From what I can see they don’t exist.

            I see very little evidence of it. We even get ads for rival codes during the Rugby on TV.

            The current Board and it’s employeees don’t seem to understand basic PR and Marketing as evidenced by the fiasco with the Force.

    • September 25th 2017 @ 8:19am
      Julius said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:19am | ! Report

      Finally, a sensible article about SANZAAR on an Australian website. I hope all those mugs hanging out for the Forrest Fantasy rugby competition read it.

      • September 25th 2017 @ 8:43am
        hog said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:43am | ! Report

        Maybe, they probably haven’t quite finished reading all the Super rugby taking over the world “pots of gold” articles yet.

        • Roar Guru

          September 25th 2017 @ 9:38am
          sheek said | September 25th 2017 @ 9:38am | ! Report

          Hog – Like!

      • Columnist

        September 25th 2017 @ 8:43am
        Geoff Parkes said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:43am | ! Report

        Thanks Julius.
        To be clear, I’m certainly not on any anti-Forrest bandwagon, just skeptical that his competition is a long way from being the solution for high-level rugby in our region that some people believe it will be.

        • September 25th 2017 @ 9:41am
          rock86 said | September 25th 2017 @ 9:41am | ! Report

          Can’t be any worse then the all-mighty all-conquering Super Rugby………

          In all seriousness Super Rugby could be simplified where only 2 teams from each nation make it to a condensed finals series run over say 7 weeks.

          You then have your domestic comps, while still maintaining the regional club aspect.

          • Roar Guru

            September 25th 2017 @ 10:11am
            PeterK said | September 25th 2017 @ 10:11am | ! Report

            sure it could and the broadcast revenue would be cut in a major way

            • September 28th 2017 @ 9:10pm
              Sterling said | September 28th 2017 @ 9:10pm | ! Report

              As would the running costs.

          • September 25th 2017 @ 10:27am
            Julius said | September 25th 2017 @ 10:27am | ! Report

            @rock86
            “Can’t be any worse then the all-mighty all-conquering Super Rugby………”

            There is some truth in that. A fantasy competition conjured up for the desperate and very gullible has no flaws. Something has to exist to have flaws.

            Super rugby can’t start soon enough for me.

        • Roar Rookie

          September 25th 2017 @ 10:26am
          Don said | September 25th 2017 @ 10:26am | ! Report

          Then again, in an ideal scenario, should the disbursement of the better Force talent be done with some ARU control (given they are guaranteeing the player’s income for those with current Force contracts) and players actually end up with teams where they are going to be used correctly and develop, then we could be looking at better Australian sides next season.

          I’m well over any angst or bitterness for the Force dumping. I didn’t have skin in the game like WA fans did.

          For my side (Reds) I just hope we can pick up a halfback and offload one of our existing ones. Would have loved to get Jono Lance back as well to cover the utility back role.

          If we see 2 highly competitive Australian teams in 2018 SR then noise around the Force being punted and the Indo Pacific comp will get little oxygen.

          • Columnist

            September 25th 2017 @ 10:33am
            Geoff Parkes said | September 25th 2017 @ 10:33am | ! Report

            Plenty of merit in that idea Don, but it looks like being a missed opportunity to extract some positive outcome from the mess.

          • Roar Guru

            September 25th 2017 @ 11:06am
            PeterK said | September 25th 2017 @ 11:06am | ! Report

            no hope, players are choosing who they go to based on offers of course, and those teams will play them in whatever position they want, and develop them for their own needs.

            • Roar Rookie

              September 25th 2017 @ 12:07pm
              Don said | September 25th 2017 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

              Agree Peter.
              It was a bit of wishful thinking.

              We also need to address the issue of coaching across our sides. Stiles has shown he is a quality assistant and that NRC level is probably his limit. Amazingly, he’s found a way to recruit better players and yet not improve the side’s performance.

              Gibson is a dud too.
              But I get the feeling that Gibson is selecting based on what Cheika wants in the Wallabies.

              Then we have a scenario where none of our SR sides will select teams or play anything resembling how the Wallabies look and play.
              How could they when Cheika can’t get it to translate to consistent wins himself?

              • Roar Guru

                September 25th 2017 @ 12:10pm
                PeterK said | September 25th 2017 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

                the lack of development and pathways for coaches from juniors / subbies up is by far the biggest problem.

              • Roar Pro

                September 25th 2017 @ 8:35pm
                Crazy Horse said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:35pm | ! Report

                Why would any team want to emulate Cheikas dud strategy and tactics?

              • September 25th 2017 @ 8:53pm
                Reverse Wheel said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:53pm | ! Report

                What an innovative comment.

          • September 25th 2017 @ 11:14am
            Bakkies said | September 25th 2017 @ 11:14am | ! Report

            Don that’s easy to say when your team hasn’t been booted and now expected to run on an oily rag of eight staff members to run and develop Rugby in an enormous land mass.

            Geoff where’s the positive outcome of a team of booting out a team to keep a privately owned organisation that is supposed to be self funded but instead it has bled the game dry and taken away funding from the other states?

            • September 25th 2017 @ 12:46pm
              Muzzo said | September 25th 2017 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

              Well said Bakkies, & maybe Bill, below, should read the latter part of your post.

            • Columnist

              September 25th 2017 @ 1:18pm
              Geoff Parkes said | September 25th 2017 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

              Bakkies, I’m not saying (and have never said) that booting the Force out was the right thing to do.

              My comment here is to agree with Don that – once that decision has been made, for better or worse – it would have been a good idea to try to ensure that players went where they could most benefit Australian rugby.

              Obviously some utopian impossibility, but a nice idea nevertheless. Some might see that as dancing on the Force’s grave, but the reality is that’ what’s done is done.

              • Roar Rookie

                September 25th 2017 @ 1:52pm
                Don said | September 25th 2017 @ 1:52pm | ! Report

                Yes Geoff.
                My comment certainly wasn’t endorsing the ARU axing of the Force but definitely was more looking towards trying to ensure we don’t see ex Force talent stockpiled behind existing players at other States while we have a lack of depth any where else.

                And I fully understand that its a pipe dream…

              • September 25th 2017 @ 3:21pm
                Bakkies said | September 25th 2017 @ 3:21pm | ! Report

                ‘ the reality is that’ what’s done is done.’

                No isn’t and that’s rather accepting of the ARU’s bs. The ARU are going to pay for it eventually.

                Their plans of ‘strengthening’ the other sides is not going to happen. This is due to the salary cap, players making their own choice as the ARU can’t force them to move and sides like the Brumbies are interested in picking up a load of Force so it reduces the base further.

              • Roar Guru

                September 25th 2017 @ 3:50pm
                sheek said | September 25th 2017 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

                So my neighbour has just knowingly & wrongly murdered a family member & got off scott-free & I should just suck it up?

                Sorry Geoff, ARU & SANZAAR deserve no peace for what they have done to the Force.

              • Columnist

                September 25th 2017 @ 4:42pm
                Geoff Parkes said | September 25th 2017 @ 4:42pm | ! Report

                Sheek,

                My ex-wife’s grandfather so upset by Japanese atrocities during WWII that he refused to eat rice for the rest of his life – another 50 years.

                I fully understand the bitterness and resentment in WA towards the ARU, but… you don’t really want to go without rice for the rest of your life do you?

              • September 25th 2017 @ 5:22pm
                Haradasun said | September 25th 2017 @ 5:22pm | ! Report

                I can only talk from local experience but all my mates came from rugby schools in Sydney. We all used to be waratahs members but have all lost interest in the super rugby format and instead have invested more time in shute shield. Aru and super rugby have alienated even its die hard supporter base and im with sheek, i wont be watching another super rugby game. thankfully rugby exists in other formats which are succeeding despite the aru.

                Super rugby is dead in the water. Shamefully its fox that control the strings now at aru level. My only conclusion to all this is that fox wanted the force out, so that by 2020 there will be a new trans tasman comp with eastern seaboard (ie timezone friendly for tv) exposure only.

              • September 25th 2017 @ 6:16pm
                Bakkies said | September 25th 2017 @ 6:16pm | ! Report

                Geoff that’s what is going to happen. The ARU have provided no solution for WA Rugby and by sacking their staff they have made it harder for WA to sustain a NRC team next year.

                That’s why Twiggy has had to come up with a plan B.

                ‘My only conclusion to all this is that fox wanted the force out’

                Nope Fox Sports wanted five teams. It was the ARU who wanted the Force out.

              • September 28th 2017 @ 7:59pm
                WhoDunIt said | September 28th 2017 @ 7:59pm | ! Report

                Yep. Pay TV wanted the Force out and the ARU was happy to do their dirty work. I think that is a reasonable conclusion.

                Now the next thing to work out is the reason why?

                One thing is for sure, if an NRL team is proposed for WA anytime in the next few years I will not be supporting it.

          • September 25th 2017 @ 3:28pm
            EGC said | September 25th 2017 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

            Too true Don. In 12 months no one will remember the WF assassination except for us in the West. I do not hold much hope in Forrest’s claims – he loves talking the talk but rarely walks the walk.

            However, as far as Rugby considering itself as a national sport…..you can give that idea away. It is not a national sport. It is now firmly based on the eastern seaboard inclusively played among 3 States. Anyone else outside of those State is unlikely to get a look-in.

            Fundamentally the EARU decision will result in rugby not even coming close to being considered as a national sport under the current Federal funding funding structure. It will take a lot of hand shaking, palm greasing, and creative law fiddling to be had for the EARU to hold on to its tax payer funds over the next few years.

            I would also suggest the EARU to not waste our time with any Swamp Wallaby internationals in WA. You will just dig up the turf and achieve little else. We would be more than happy to host SA v AB anytime – the proceeds to go to local rugby and throw a few cents to the EARU, if there is any change.

            • September 25th 2017 @ 6:19pm
              Perthstayer said | September 25th 2017 @ 6:19pm | ! Report

              “hope in Forrest’s claims – he loves talking the talk but rarely walks the walk.”

              I won’t ask for two examples of this. Just one please.

              • September 25th 2017 @ 6:34pm
                EGC said | September 25th 2017 @ 6:34pm | ! Report

              • September 25th 2017 @ 6:36pm
                EGC said | September 25th 2017 @ 6:36pm | ! Report

              • September 25th 2017 @ 7:34pm
                Perthstayer said | September 25th 2017 @ 7:34pm | ! Report

                EGC. I accept neither. The first journalist has such an axe to grind that they lower themself to call his philanthropy “do gooding”.

                The second article is from a.publication for “citizen journalists and bloggers”. The content of the article has sparks flying from the axe grinding. Forrest has proven successful commitments to improving the lot of indigenous communities.

                I am not blind. Forrest is no saint. But criticism of someone’s character needs to be founded, on fact rather than opinion.

              • September 25th 2017 @ 11:02pm
                EGC said | September 25th 2017 @ 11:02pm | ! Report

                That’s interesting Perthstayer. I offered assessments based on facts – not opinions, yet you dismiss them. It smacks of denialism.

              • September 26th 2017 @ 1:20am
                Keith of WA said | September 26th 2017 @ 1:20am | ! Report

                Hmmm

                I took the time to read both of those excruciating attempts at journalism… Plenty of criticism of him… but am still waiting to see the example of not walking the talk ie making claims he hasn’t followed through on…

              • September 26th 2017 @ 3:10pm
                EGC said | September 26th 2017 @ 3:10pm | ! Report

                Keith – How many years to go by without action before you accept that there has only been talk?

              • September 26th 2017 @ 3:18pm
                Perthstayer said | September 26th 2017 @ 3:18pm | ! Report

                EGC

                It is good to provide sources, many Roarers just roar. But, having taken the time to read the sources, with an open mind and happy to be stood corrected, I just cannot see within them where they say he does not walk the talk.

                Until such time as I agree with such a comment then I will defend him against those that feel, based on this supposed character flaw, his idea may/will fail.

                BTW. I never said it won’t fail. I have no idea if it will or will not. I just commented on your statement re walking the talk.

              • September 26th 2017 @ 6:34pm
                EGC said | September 26th 2017 @ 6:34pm | ! Report

                Perthstayer. More than happy to be proven wrong. Unfortunately, the pattern is being repeated by Mr Forrest. About the only thing I would agree with the EARU comments on the whole sorry saga over the assassination of WF is “where was Forrest before the announcement?” If he does deliver on a new competition, who will finance it over the establishment period? Of what value would it be to WA Rugby? Will it keep home grown players here? Will it just be a second string comp to a second string league? The lack of details are astounding. Will this be another flash in the pan? Who will want or pay for media rights to this new untested and untried comp? Everyone seems to think how best to run it and just how far it will go but we have nothing at all from the man himself or associates. Until such time as something concrete comes out of it, I will definitely not hold my breath and continue as if Forrest never existed.

            • Roar Rookie

              September 26th 2017 @ 7:24am
              Paulo said | September 26th 2017 @ 7:24am | ! Report

              Rather self centric to feel that excluding WA SR team makes rugby not a national sport. I must have missed the Tassie team and the team from NT… and the team from SA…

          • September 25th 2017 @ 5:38pm
            Markie362 said | September 25th 2017 @ 5:38pm | ! Report

            And what happens if u have a worse year

          • September 25th 2017 @ 7:12pm
            In brief said | September 25th 2017 @ 7:12pm | ! Report

            You don’t have to have ‘skin’ in the Force to feel the angst. If you can support the ARU comp after the way they lied to all of us you have different values to me.

        • September 25th 2017 @ 2:04pm
          andrewM said | September 25th 2017 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

          Quite frankly Geoff, I don’t care – and I suspect most other Force supporters feel the same way – whether Twiggy’s proposal is the solution for Rugby in our region. All we care about whether it is the solution for Rugby for Western Australia.

      • September 25th 2017 @ 11:59am
        Bill Pulver said | September 25th 2017 @ 11:59am | ! Report

        Agree’d Twiggy’s club comp that’s set up like a Sonny Bill-Williams boxing match, where the Force get to play as Sonny Bill Williams will go broke before the Rebels do.

    • September 25th 2017 @ 8:23am
      Davo said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:23am | ! Report

      A Super Rugby comp with 4 Australian teams, 5 NZ, 1 Japan, 1 Pacific Islands. All in much the same time zone, a simplified 4 team finals system, and over before the mid year internationals start. I’d like to see that!

      • Columnist

        September 25th 2017 @ 8:45am
        Geoff Parkes said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:45am | ! Report

        That’s an important point Davo. Stopping SR for the June internationals has been a killer for the comp. Getting this window right on its own will be a huge improvement and provide for better fan engagement.

        • September 25th 2017 @ 11:16am
          Bakkies said | September 25th 2017 @ 11:16am | ! Report

          ‘Stopping SR for the June internationals has been a killer for the comp.’

          Super Rugby isn’t the only comp in the world that stops for internationals

          • Columnist

            September 25th 2017 @ 12:13pm
            Geoff Parkes said | September 25th 2017 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

            That’s true Bakkies and it doesn’t help them either.

            • September 25th 2017 @ 12:17pm
              Bakkies said | September 25th 2017 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

              ‘That’s true Bakkies and it doesn’t help them either.’

              The European soccer competitions stop for Internationals and they have no issues with it.

              • Columnist

                September 25th 2017 @ 1:21pm
                Geoff Parkes said | September 25th 2017 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

                They play multiple games a week at other times to make up for it though.

                Heaven help us if we ever end up like football Bakkies.

                How many times do you think Ange Postecoglou has put out his strongest side – the team that he really wanted – for the Socceroos?

              • Roar Guru

                September 25th 2017 @ 1:38pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 25th 2017 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

                Heaven help us if we ever end up like football Bakkies.

                Are you serious GP?

                Almost every single national team in the world (close to 200 teams) can field their strongest team when they play competitive (not friendlies) matches.

              • September 25th 2017 @ 1:55pm
                Taylorman said | September 25th 2017 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

                Yes, or like basketball. Be a cold day in hel?l before we get to see Steven Adams anywhere near our basketball side.

              • September 25th 2017 @ 4:25pm
                cuw said | September 25th 2017 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

                @ Bakkies

                ” The European soccer competitions stop for Internationals and they have no issues with it.”

                OH THEY DO !!!

                there is always , i mean EFD the country v club argument is there.

                many a club coach want to keep their prized assets free of injury and try as much as possible to keep them away from tests.

                in the last round for example, Ben Woodburn played for Wales despite Liverpool coach Klopp asking the Welsh coach not to play him.

                the number of times things have flared up between club and country coaches, simply becoz of players getting injured in tests is too many to mention.

                also not forgetting EPL has a lot of foreigners – far too many for some. Liverpool for example had around 20 players on test duty this September. that is like basically 2 effin teams !!!

              • Columnist

                September 25th 2017 @ 4:46pm
                Geoff Parkes said | September 25th 2017 @ 4:46pm | ! Report

                Not Australia NV.

                There’s also plenty of writing about linking the decline of Brazil to the decline of their domestic league relative to the EPL, La Liga and Bundesliga.

              • Roar Guru

                September 25th 2017 @ 5:31pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 25th 2017 @ 5:31pm | ! Report

                The regulations that are in place in football via Fifa are written in stone. If a national team plays a competitive match (qualifiers or Championship) clubs must release their players 4 days before the first game in the window is played (5 days before if the players home country is on another continent than his club).

                There is absolutely no way around these rules and any club who tries to take on Fifa at this would at first try get extremely high fines, and at the second try, they would be banned from all competitions for a couple of years. No one messes with these rules in the football world. Despite all the flaws Fifa have, no-one can blame for being an old boys club looking after the big nations at first hand.
                So I am very curious when Socceroos have played a WC qualifier or an Asian Championship game without their strongest players recently.

                There are of course cases when players themselves decline to play for the national team, but that is another issue. At large, every national team in football field their strongest teams in all competitive matches. All around the world.
                I say if rugby could even get close to that, it would be amazing.

                Brazil’s so-called decline – mind, they have been brutally strong post-WC 2014 and are going to Russia next year as one of the favorites – has nothing to do that their players play in Europe. Since the football player market went global in the early 90’s. Brazil’s record looks like this:

                1994: Champs
                1998: Finalist
                2002: Champs
                2006: QF
                2010: QF
                2014: Semi

                In a sport like football – where you have 8-10 powerhouses who compete for the top spot – that is hardly a bad outcome and any talks of decline are simply not correct.

                And if you look at results before the 90’s, Brazil’s golden period where between 1958-70. Between 1970-90, they did not reach one single final, and a bronze medal from 1978 is the best they got.

                We have talked about this before that South American football leagues are feeders to the big European leagues, and that is very true. But the similarities with rugby in the SH stops there.
                South American national teams always field their strongest players when they play competitive matches.
                In the last WC Argentina was in the final, Brazil in the Semis, Columbia in QF and even tiny little Costa Rica reached the QF, Uruguay reached the 1/8-final after beating England and Italy in group stages. So having players based in Europe seem to work just fine I say.

              • Columnist

                September 25th 2017 @ 6:28pm
                Geoff Parkes said | September 25th 2017 @ 6:28pm | ! Report

                Everything is relative isn’t it NV?

                That world cup record for Brazil might look ok to you and I, but for Brazilians, who have higher expectations, no cup since 2002 is a calamity. And that loss to Germany wasn’t just a loss, that was a national disaster. Imagine if NZ got hammered 50-7 in a Rugby World Cup…

                Something equivalent to Brazil’s record might be good for other rugby nations, but not for NZ. 1987 to 2011 was an inordinately long time in the wilderness for a country (like Brazil) that feels it is capable of much more.

                Those expectations might be unrealistic (both for Brazil and NZ) but they exist nevertheless.

              • Roar Guru

                September 25th 2017 @ 8:04pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:04pm | ! Report

                Everything is relative. No argument there.

                But to compare Seleção Brasileira de Futebol with the All Blacks is not fair in my opinion. There are simply too many powerhouses in the football world.

                As you might know I am a hardcore supporter of Die Mannschaft and naturally, I am pumped before every World Cup and harbor huge expectations and hopes for silverware before every World Cup. But the reality is just too clear, there are simply too many good teams around to consider every missed gold medal as a complete failure.

                For short periods there are teams that can dominate in football like the AB’s dominates rugby, but over a longer time it is just impossible and I believe most football fans are brutally aware of this.

                The 7-1 hammering was a complete shock and disaster (for me it was the best day ever watching sport), but that is a different story. If they had lost that game with let us say 2-1, Brazilian fans would no doubt have been very sad and disappointed, but most of them would have known they lost that match to an equal in the football hierarchy and would have taken it on the chin (Die Mannschaft’s record in World Cups is just as impressive as Seleção Brasileira de Futebol’s is).

                And the main point stands, that the Brazilian players played in European clubs had nothing to do with that 7-1 hammering. And as said, they have bounced back very quickly with a very impressive run of results post 2014, and they have done that with more or less the same players that got humiliated by Die Mannschaft.

              • Columnist

                September 25th 2017 @ 10:01pm
                Geoff Parkes said | September 25th 2017 @ 10:01pm | ! Report

                Fair point mate that the field of potential winners is bigger.

      • September 25th 2017 @ 9:07am
        Jacko said | September 25th 2017 @ 9:07am | ! Report

        Davo are you for real???? You would start an Aus NZ SR comp and NOT re-install the Force? I do agree about the Pacific islands tho as the Drua are killing them in the NRC…give them another season and they could easily play Super rugby but it would need to be based in either Aus or NZ I think as the infrastructure isnt that great in the PI’s

        • September 25th 2017 @ 9:34am
          Davo said | September 25th 2017 @ 9:34am | ! Report

          I said 4 Australian teams Jacko. Whether it’s Force or Rebels (or Brumbies) that gets cut is an unfortunate but ultimately secondary issue. The bigger issues for me are:
          – Games in South Africa and Argentina are in a bad time zone for Aust & NZ fans (and vice versa)
          – Australia can only sustain a maximum of 4 teams financially and competitively
          – The current SR competition is too long and complicated

          • September 26th 2017 @ 5:37am
            Ken Catchpole's Other Leg said | September 26th 2017 @ 5:37am | ! Report

            I am almost in agreement, Davo.
            Four team comp could be okay, as long as there is fair competition from all regions (incl WA) for one of the spots.
            Simple. We need a national comp to keep a Super style comp alive.

          • September 26th 2017 @ 5:37am
            Ken Catchpole's Other Leg said | September 26th 2017 @ 5:37am | ! Report

            I am almost in agreement, Davo.
            Four team comp could be okay, as long as there is fair competition from all regions (incl WA) for one of the spots.
            Simple. We need a national comp to keep a Super style comp alive.

      • Roar Guru

        September 25th 2017 @ 10:24am
        PeterK said | September 25th 2017 @ 10:24am | ! Report

        even better 5 nz 5 aust , 1 japan, 1 fiji, 1 tonga, 1 samoa

        14 teams

        8 team finals

        • Roar Guru

          September 25th 2017 @ 1:43pm
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 25th 2017 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

          If the idea of having Japan involved is to get some (a lot) extra dollars, surely they need more than one team?

          • September 25th 2017 @ 6:32pm
            Taylorman said | September 25th 2017 @ 6:32pm | ! Report

            Good idea, then maybe we could crack the first 200 nil-er?

      • September 25th 2017 @ 10:54am
        Akari said | September 25th 2017 @ 10:54am | ! Report

        I’d cut the whale hunters and there’s no point in playing top class rugby during Japan’s summer anyway.

        • September 25th 2017 @ 4:30pm
          cuw said | September 25th 2017 @ 4:30pm | ! Report

          that is bit harsh. every single match PLAYED IN JAPAN has had a full house.

          the issue has been that the silly suits who decided on this tournament, thought Japan’s home is Singapore !!!

          yes there is a lot of peeps who like to watch sport/games and many other things on telly , BUT , in certain parts of the world a hell of a lot like to go out and watch it live.

          what u need is people who can analyse and find out those places. some people for eg are talking of China and India as places to grow rugger. LOL

        • Roar Guru

          September 25th 2017 @ 8:10pm
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:10pm | ! Report

          The Whale Hunters is awesome team name for the next Japanese expansion SR team 😉

    • September 25th 2017 @ 8:29am
      robbo999 said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:29am | ! Report

      Gotta be fair to Houston – he did make up for it by ending the second half 3 minutes short

      • Columnist

        September 25th 2017 @ 8:43am
        Geoff Parkes said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:43am | ! Report

        🙂

      • September 25th 2017 @ 3:25pm
        Bakkies said | September 25th 2017 @ 3:25pm | ! Report

        Can someone tell the commentators that Houston is not pronounced Houseton.

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