ARU CEO Bill Pulver answers your burning rugby questions

Bill Pulver Columnist

By Bill Pulver, Bill Pulver is a Roar Expert

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    After Roar expert Brett McKay‘s summary of the state of rugby in Australia last week, The Roar put the questions from our experts, as well as some from Roarers, to ARU CEO Bill Pulver.

    » The Roar’s burning questions for ARU CEO Bill Pulver

    » Live Q&A session with Bill Pulver

    » SPIRO: The ARU Gospel according to Pulver

    He’s generously answered each and every one, and also held a live Q&A session on Wednesday 2nd April, 12pm.

    Brett McKay asks:
    Is all the cost-cutting having a positive effect on the game’s finances?

    Yes, it is, Brett.

    We’ll be releasing our formal financial report at our Annual General Meeting in May, but it’ll show that we had a good cash balance at the end of the 2013 calendar year. We wouldn’t have been able to achieve that without making some tough decisions, so those decisions have helped us reach the position we’re in now.

    Overall, we need to reshape how the financial management of our game operates, as we’ve relied too heavily on major windfalls in the past, rather than building a sustainable future.

    Our financial result for 2013 comes off the back of the incredibly successful nine-match British and Irish Lions Tour.

    This year, we have three inbound Tests in June (in addition to the four Tests we’ll host as part of the Rugby Championship). With next year being a Rugby World Cup year, we’ll only host two Tests – so our revenue will be impacted.

    Ensuring we have a sustainable business from a financial perspective is a real priority for me, so while some of the decisions I’ve made may not please everyone, they’ve been essential to ensure we’re adopting a more sustainable model.

    While we’re making progress, we still have lots of work to do to ensure we can build a financially sustainable future.

    What is Australia’s preferred model for Super Rugby from 2016, and how close will that be to what eventuates?

    Our preferred Super Rugby structure is a two-conference model, with Australia and New Zealand linked with Asia. However this option wasn’t supported by our SANZAR partners or the broadcasters.

    SANZAR – the joint venture between Australia, New Zealand and South Africa – has a tough job, because we’re trying to cater for the needs of very different markets, with different challenges, opportunities and perspectives.

    SANZAR modelled and considered a number of wide-ranging competition options and representatives from all unions, negotiated in the right spirit – one of collaboration and respect for the needs of all countries involved.

    This is a process that always involves some give and take and that has happened in recent months.

    My biggest priority for the Super Rugby competition now and from 2016, is that we add value to our potential broadcasting revenue and that our players continue to play against the best players and teams in the world, week-in, week-out.

    We were open to building a completely separate and new Australasian competition, and while New Zealand was interested, the desire to include South Africa in more regular competition is an important element for them.

    So it’s complex, but I’m feeling really confident that we’ll have consensus soon among the SANZAR countries, and then our next steps will be to speak to broadcasters before releasing more information to the public.

    Is rugby doing enough to promote and market itself in Australia?

    We know that Aussies love a winner – and winning on the big stage will certainly help us.

    Fan engagement is critical for the success of rugby in Australia, and we are looking at a number of ways to ensure we generate interest from our most avid fans and sport lovers in general.

    While we don’t have the large marketing budgets of some other professional codes, and the fact is we do exist in the world’s most competitive winter sporting market, our key focus is making sure the product – that is, the rugby being played – is being played in an entertaining way.

    Our coaches are fully aware that we operate in a competitive market and the fans want to see smart, creative, running rugby that ultimately wins games.

    We also want to make sure the fans of rugby get to know our players in a more fun and personable way. We realise that the players are our stars and it is important for rugby followers to get to know the players on and off the field.

    As a result, we will be using our digital and social media channels, our media partners in Fox Sports and Network 10 and our sponsors to showcase our players.

    Stay tuned for some entertaining TV commercials and social media activities during the Tests against France, Bledisloe Cup and the Rugby Championship.

    Also, we recognise we need to get out among the community and meet the fans and kids who play our great game.

    As a result, we have fan days planned in each state leading up to the Wallaby Tests. We’ll also have some exciting fan initiatives leading into the first Bledisloe Cup Test in Sydney – we’ll have more information on this soon.

    We’re also really concentrating on the fan experience at the matches, so I hope our rugby fans come along to our Tests and get involved in these activities and cheer on the Wallabies in 2014.

    Spiro Zavos asks:
    What are you doing about the loss of influence with John O’Neill’s resignation from the Rugby World Cup organising committee? O’Neill had a huge influence on the laws committee, the payment of SANZAR countries for Rugby World Cup year losses, and the politics of the IRB, such as the Rugby World Cup 2003 in Australia and 2011 in New Zealand.

    John has been a terrific servant to rugby in his time at Australian Rugby Union and also on a world stage. Fortunately for us, he did not resign from the Rugby World Cup organising committee until much of the planning and preparation for next year’s tournament had already taken place, so the event will still benefit significantly from his involvement.

    We continue to have representation and influence on the IRB Executive Committee and each of its sub-committees – the Rugby Committee; the Regulations Committee; and the Audit and Risk Committee.

    It’s worth mentioning in this context, that the IRB is currently going through a governance review in which we have been fully involved, including as part of the Governance Working Body.

    We are confident this review will result in a new governance model which promotes the most effective decision-making for world rugby but which also preserves the appropriate level of influence for Australia.

    What about the poor attitude SANZAR takes to supporters with the local referee system, the clashing jerseys, the lack of promotion of big matches and players and the general way SANZAR keeps everyone out of the loop? SANZAR needs reform – are you going to lead the charge?

    Spiro, I don’t share your views on SANZAR needing to be reformed. SANZAR is in a unique situation where it’s trying to bring together the interests of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa; as well as Argentina.

    It’s a tricky business trying to keep everyone involved happy all the time.

    SANZAR hasn’t really been set up to promote big matches or players – that’s primarily the role of the individual unions. SANZAR Management, while it certainly has a role in administering and advancing Super Rugby and The Rugby Championship competitions, in fact acts on directives of the unions.

    I’m not sure what you’re referring to about SANZAR keeping everyone out of the loop – and would be happy for you to get in touch with me with some examples so I can keep that in mind for the next SANZAR meeting.

    Clyde Rathbone asks:
    What do you consider the single greatest risk to the future of Australian rugby?

    I think the biggest risk for us is that we need to truly re-engage our fans, and if we don’t do that, our game will be under risk.

    I come across people all the time at functions, or junior club fundraisers who say they love and support rugby – but when I ask how many of them have been to a match in the past 12 months, generally three or four people put their hands up out of a room full of people.

    That’s not good enough and shows me that we’ve still got a lot more work to do to re-engage fans and build on the momentum that already exists across the country in relation to rugby.

    I know you’ve only asked for one risk – but there are a couple of others that I want to mention – they are financial and player welfare. I’ve probably covered the financial side of things in the questions from Brett McKay, but I want to touch on the player welfare risks we face.

    Players are the key to our game – they’re the people who perform for fans, engage our fans and create the magic of a great game of rugby.

    So we need to take care of our players – that covers everything from ensuring we take medical and sports medicine issues like concussion seriously and use the latest medical advice to guide our approach, right through to ensuring their travel schedules are suitable.

    Scott Allen asks:
    You’ve made significant cuts to the overheads in head office expenditure since you started – how do Australia’s overheads now compare to other top nations?

    In most businesses, people are one of the biggest costs, and we’ve made some tough decisions that have impacted people in the past 12 months or so.

    To be honest with you Scott, I don’t know how many staff the other top rugby-playing nations have, but we all operate in really different markets and my focus is on being smarter about the way we work, rather than getting too caught up in exact staff numbers.

    We also need to continue to look at our revenue, and look at more ways to increase our revenue, as well as how we’re spending our money – not only on staff, but more generally, in everything we do. That will continue.

    Questions from Roarers

    FWH asks:
    What, if any, are the plans to change the development path in rugby union from the age of 16 onwards? I have seen too often the best talent in rugby be taken to NRL clubs straight out of school, as the pathway and future is clearly laid out for them. Those who do stay in union are often athletically short of where they need to be to compete against other countries in Under 20s etc, as they have not been in a structured program or training institution.

    This is a really great question, because our development pathway hasn’t been very clear for kids who want to move from junior rugby right through to representative ranks and ultimately selection at the elite levels.

    We now have a really clear pathway that makes it easier for kids to see how they can transition through each stage of the pathway. Some examples are:

    Junior Gold Cup – national competition for Under 15 and Under 17 teams played February to April (the final will be held this Saturday, 5 April). The competition involved 48 teams, 1,400 players, 96 coaches, 86 match officials, playing 126 matches right across the country.

    Under 20s – we’ve changed the program for Under 20s, because it was clear that our teams didn’t have enough preparation going into the Junior World Cup competitions. This year, we’re holding a number of regional and national Under 20s competitions (NSW Colts won the National U20 Championships last week), and the Australian side will ultimately be picked at the end of those competitions, which will culminate in a 28-player national squad to play at the IRB Junior World Cup in New Zealand this June.

    Pacific Rugby Cup – this has just finished and gave our Super Rugby development players an opportunity to play against teams from the Pacific and Argentina. It means development players are actually playing hard rugby, rather than just training – and it also gave them a chance to impress the Super Rugby coaches – so we’ll be watching those who took part with interest as the Super Rugby season progresses.

    National Rugby Championship – you’ve probably heard some news about this, our new domestic competition to help bridge the gap for players between Premier Club Rugby and Super Rugby. It’ll be kicking off in August, and will include nine teams from across the country. It should be great.

    So, you can see that there’s a lot going on to help players develop, specifically through a challenging talent pathway that is based on playing, not training.

    Having a clear pathway is really important, because it will ultimately generate more successful national teams in the longer term.

    I would also add that the pathway has been created not only with players in mind, but coaches and match officials, because it’s important that we create pathways for them as well.

    We’re comfortable that the athletic preparation of our kids moving through the pathway is working well, as our players match up very well athletically in the 16- to 20-year-old age group. We may not match the overall size of other countries, but we’ve had success in providing quality training programs for our best young talent at state and national level.

    Players who recently competed in the Under 21 age group have proven that, including Super Rugby players Curtis Browning, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Sean McMahon and Australian Sevens player Cameron Clark.

    I’ve had quite a few emails from parents of kids who’ve been competing in the Junior Gold Cup in recent weeks, saying that they’ve been really happy with the opportunity, so hopefully that means more kids will be ready to take the next step up through our pathway.

    Viking asks:
    Is there any chance of some Super Rugby being shown on free-to-air TV? To me that’s one of the biggest impediments to growing the game beyond the traditional rugby viewership.

    Our current broadcast deal expires at the end of 2015, so we’ll naturally be exploring all options, including free-to-air options when we negotiate our next broadcast deal for 2016 and beyond.

    I would love to see more rugby on free-to-air networks to reach more people, but previously, there hasn’t been an appetite from free-to-air networks to make this happen.

    Our challenge is to secure the best broadcast deal possible – which helps fund our game – with the need to ensure there is access to rugby for fans across the country.

    You’d be aware that our Test matches are available on free-to-air TV, but with our broadcast deal for 2016 still a little while away from being finalised, I won’t have any updates for you on this for a little while yet.

    I do hear this feedback often when I’m speaking to rugby fans though, so I’m certainly aware that there’s a desire for more Super Rugby content to be on free-to-air for our fans.

    Simon Livingstone asks:
    Do the ARU have plans to take 100 per cent control of the Australia Super Rugby and Wallaby TV recording and presentation rights so they can be sold and distributed to cable, free-to-air and digital TV outlets in Australia and worldwide? And will they vary player contracting so Australian rugby benefits from Australian star players moving overseas?

    Simon, our broadcast deal is negotiated as SANZAR, and the money from the broadcast deal in each of the SANZAR countries (Australia, New Zealand and South Africa) is then divided up.

    So – we don’t have any capacity to do what you’re proposing at the moment, because as long as we’re part of SANZAR, the negotiations are done as a collective.

    Our starting position on all eligibility for players to play for Australia is that they need to be committed to Australian rugby. We’re not considering changes to that at the moment, but we’ll certainly let the rugby community know if that changes.

    James P asks:
    Given that Sevens is now part of the Olympics, and the success of the Big Bash Twenty20 cricket both in crowd numbers and  television audiences, does the ARU have any plans to use Sevens to grow the overall viewership across Australia?

    Sevens is a huge opportunity for us on a number of fronts – it’s encouraging more people to play rugby, particularly girls and women, and it’s also an opportunity to attract new fans to a new format of our game.

    You’ve made a good point about the comparison with cricket’s Big Bash and they’ve done a terrific job at making T20 a great event for families.

    Sevens is a really exciting spectator sport – we host one the legs of the men’s international series on the Gold Coast in October – but we do need to do more work to ensure the sporting and general public understands more about the game and how they can get involved.

    It’s also a game with a huge international flavour, with some of the leading Sevens teams coming from countries that aren’t as strong in the traditional format of rugby, so it’s exciting on lots of levels.

    Our women are currently number one in the world – and we have a big year ahead with our men and women needing to qualify for the 2016 Olympics, so it’s a really exciting time for Sevens and you’ll see and hear more about it.

    We’ve had great support from Fox Sports with Sevens, and they’ve been broadcasting many of the tournaments which is great – so we’re making progress to raise the profile, but I’d say that we still have a lot more work to do.

    The Roar’s burning questions for Bill Pulver.

    Bill Pulver live Q&A session.

    Bill Pulver was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Australian Rugby Union (ARU) in February 2013.
    Throughout his career, he has lived and worked in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia across a diverse range of industries including media, research, internet, sports marketing and linguistics.
    Mr Pulver holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of New South Wales.

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    The Crowd Says (138)

    • April 1st 2014 @ 4:33am
      David Baker said | April 1st 2014 @ 4:33am | ! Report

      I was surprised by the questions.
      Not one of the panel mentioned the NRC directly.
      Pulver referenced it well though and explained why it is an important bridge.

      Don’t the Aussie pundits or public appreciate how important the NRC is to domestic rugby?

      Then the Aus preferred 2 Conference (East and Central) – he mentions that Aus partners didn’t like it. I hope it means that both SA and NZ voted against it.
      For SA I couldn’t think of a worse idea.

      Which takes me back to e NRC. The reason why Aus want a long Super season is because they don’t have the NRC .

      Why Aus didn’t launch the NRC years ago Is beyond me?.. The teething problems would be over and you would have your established tourney

      • Columnist

        April 1st 2014 @ 8:47am
        Brett McKay said | April 1st 2014 @ 8:47am | ! Report

        David, a fourth question of mine last week was about the NRC, but I was able to answer it myself the next day. No point Bill giving us answers we already knew. Plenty of opportunity in the Q&A session to ask more NRC questions, though..

        • April 1st 2014 @ 9:00am
          David Baker said | April 1st 2014 @ 9:00am | ! Report

          Fair enough Brett, I don’t read all the Australian focused articles.

          I should be a dispassionate observer but Aus failure to get their domestic tournament going has indirectly harmed our local game in SA.
          It forced Aus to push for the Super system we have today. Why NZ backed it still escapes me today.

          Anyway if I was Australian I would be very happy about the NRC.

          Pulver seems to balancing things and pushing for the right things

          • April 1st 2014 @ 10:08am
            Ruminate said | April 1st 2014 @ 10:08am | ! Report

            I think on the whole we are happy about it though there are many points of view about how it should look and what the teams should be. Far too much infighting and self interest I the past, hopefully we can get past it this time. Essentially it is still a club game here with Super and Test rugby overlaid.. Far too many growth opportunities have been squandered over the years . We just need to get it up and running and improve from there.

            It must be remembered that Rugby is very much the 4th ranked of the football codes here in Aust. and that very much impacts the revenue and the player pool. Only half the country really play rugby and even in those states that do it would be the third ranked code now with soccer having leapfrogged rugby. There is no free to air coverage and that too is a major negative.

            So the code is up against it here and in many ways it is surprising that we have done as well as we have

            • April 1st 2014 @ 11:48am
              p.Tah said | April 1st 2014 @ 11:48am | ! Report

              “It must be remembered that Rugby is very much the 4th ranked of the football codes here in Aust” in participation numbers, but not in TV ratings.

              • April 1st 2014 @ 1:05pm
                Ruminate said | April 1st 2014 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

                p. Tah, as far as I can tell Rugby is 4th of the football codes in ratings. For the year 2012 the cumulative ratings as measured by Oztam and AGB Nielson were:
                AFL 123m
                NRL 124m
                ALeague 9.5m
                Super Rugby 7.8m

                To give an idea of the gap Collingwood had just over 24m viewers and The Broncos almost 23m viewers.

                Total revenue generated:
                AFL $425m
                NRL $135
                ALeague $95m
                Super Rugby $70m

                Game attendances* Total Average
                Soccer*. 1,834,982 12,922
                Australian rules football. 6,778,824 32,748
                Rugby league* 3,678,062 18,030
                Rugby union 810,511 19,769
                *includes international and representative games

              • April 1st 2014 @ 5:36pm
                David Baker said | April 1st 2014 @ 5:36pm | ! Report

                Thanks David. These numbers certainly put the ARU’s position into perspective.

                In SA we have basically zero Rugby League (apart from a few enthusiasts)
                Soccer has by far the most followers by people in the lower income groups.
                Rugby rules higher up the totem pole.

                As we racial economic transformation happens we are seeing two things
                – A lot more money in soccer
                – A more racially diverse and therefore growing rugby following

                This is good for both sports.
                Our Administrators have been historically awful. Rugby administration is improving though

                Free to Air TV is complete *&^& so anyone with even a barely sustainable income has Pay TV.

                We are different.
                In the last round of negotiations our Admins failed to explain what we need and more importantly why we need it.
                Since then we have a new CEO and things have gotten better

              • April 1st 2014 @ 6:49pm
                p.Tah said | April 1st 2014 @ 6:49pm | ! Report

                David according the 2014 Foxtel ratings Nearly all Australian games out rate the A-League games. Even some of the NZ games are out rating the A-League

                The cumulative totals can’t be compared because there are different number of games between the codes.

              • April 1st 2014 @ 9:54pm
                Rugby stu said | April 1st 2014 @ 9:54pm | ! Report

                Yeah that’s Super Rugby but when what about if we were to factor in Internationals, Wallabies would still be one of the biggest draws ratings and attendance-wise that would probably slot Rugby ahead of Soccer and the Socceroos I’m guessing.

              • April 2nd 2014 @ 9:51am
                Ruminate said | April 2nd 2014 @ 9:51am | ! Report

                P. Tah,you’re no doubt right for this year to date, but we might need to wait and see the entirety of the season. The numbers for super rugby are coloured by some mightily unfriendly broadcast times and A League impacted by SBS FTA broadcast.

                The point about number of games is correct, the averages are also included for relevance.

                Rugby stu, the internationals are also a good point, but where do you draw the line on soccer broadcast? The World Cup and EPL, champions league, etc are huge and all impact the sports popularity. Soccer is actually the highest participation football code in Aust just ahead of AFL then daylight to League and rugby last.
                As far as attendances go, it is hard to ascertain as the international schedules fluctuate so much that any one year is difficult to make a meaningful analysis on. For example the Lions tour last year vs France tour this year and only two internationals next year due to the World Cup. For soccer next year is the Asian cup, which I think will be a bit of a revelation for the game.

                The other point is that soccer ratings increased by over 20% whilst rugby declined after the Reds Super rugby winning title year

              • April 2nd 2014 @ 5:13pm
                In Brief said | April 2nd 2014 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

                Rugby is not far behind league on participation figures, had the 3rd highest average crowds in 2013 for Super Rugby (behind AFL/ A League) but ahead of NRL. Rugby has higher viewing figures on Foxtel than A-League. So not clearly 4th. Depends on what stats you use.

              • April 2nd 2014 @ 5:13pm
                In Brief said | April 2nd 2014 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

              • April 2nd 2014 @ 9:18pm
                Ruminate said | April 2nd 2014 @ 9:18pm | ! Report

                In Brief, you are correct in saying not too far behind League in participation rates. Rugby has higher viewer rates than A League but that excludes FTA. The lack of FTA for Rugby is a major part of the problem. There is next to no exposure outside of NSW/ACT/Qld.

                As for attendances, you are correct with respect to averages, and that just reinforce the point that there are just not enough local rugby games and a local comp such as the forthcoming NRC is what is required to build the game.

                … And yes, stats can rely you any story you want, dependant upon interpretation!

    • April 1st 2014 @ 5:07am
      shulzi said | April 1st 2014 @ 5:07am | ! Report

      What am I surprised about is that when it came to questions about broadcast no solution or idea has been considered in regard to creating any type of online streaming subscription that many sports in Australia and internationally have made available. I am talking of course about NBA TV, and the AFL and NRL mobile streaming apps. I understand that rugby is not as domestic as these competitions, making this harder to facilitate, but these obstacles should not diminish the importance of this. Having this option available not only allows those without access to foxtel in Australia another option to view the games they want to see, but also fans outside of the SANZAR nations. Southern hemisphere rugby is one of the best advertisements of rugby and if you can expose that to up and coming rugby nations (I’m thinking about the US in particular) the competitions have the potential to frame themselves as flagship competitions like the EPL does when it comes to soccer and draw significant revenue from outside of home nations.

      • Roar Guru

        April 1st 2014 @ 5:18am
        Eddard said | April 1st 2014 @ 5:18am | ! Report

        Hopefully this gets answered in the Q and A.

      • April 1st 2014 @ 8:32am
        Sam Taulelei said | April 1st 2014 @ 8:32am | ! Report

        I was thinking about this also after reading his reply.

        I would expect broadcasting rights for internet streaming to figure more prominently for the next Sanzar deal from 2016 to deliver more eyeballs to the screen.

        I know the NZRU successfully tested broadcasting live a couple of All Blacks tests last year on Youtube without any lead-in advertising but digital word of mouth generated a lot of hits.

        • April 1st 2014 @ 2:19pm
          Garth said | April 1st 2014 @ 2:19pm | ! Report

          only outside of NZ, it was blocked inside. Sky Sports monopoly you know.

      • Columnist

        April 1st 2014 @ 3:29pm
        Brett McKay said | April 1st 2014 @ 3:29pm | ! Report

        To be completely honest, Shulzi, Bill Pulver wouldn’t answer that on SANZAR’s behalf anyway.

        As it currently stands, Super Rugby and the Rugby Championship IS being streamed into countries without an existing broadcast deals, so countries like Germany, Russia, even the UAE, I believe. This has been happening for a few seasons now.

        Furthermore, the reasons for not streaming into countries with existing broadcast deals would be to protect those outlets paying significant amounts to do so.

        The current broadcast deal runs out at the end of next year, and the online sports market has evolved significantly since even the current deal was signed off. If the ARU are already looking at options including streaming for the NRC this year, you can bet that SANZAR will be too, from 2016 onwards..

        • April 1st 2014 @ 10:37pm
          Nashi said | April 1st 2014 @ 10:37pm | ! Report

          Hi Brett, Foxtel streams in Oz via Foxtel Play. $50 per month to 2 concurrent devices. I have it on my laptop and a large screen monitor attached to my desktop pc. Works pretty well despite the odd glitch. You need ADSL2 and big download limits (I have NBN, lucky me) but I can also turn it off again at end of S15 if i want. So for about $250 I get to watch every game of S15 for the season. I do agree that FTA or less expensive streaming options like PPV should be built into the next broadcast deal.

          • April 2nd 2014 @ 2:06am
            Pash from Manly said | April 2nd 2014 @ 2:06am | ! Report

            Hey nashi,

            Can you tell me if you can record the games and watch them later, as I don’t watch any games live, mostly on purpose, as I like being able to fast forward during the scrum resets, the penalty kick set-ups and half-time. At the moment I have HD foxtel with sport only option at $80/ month, and feel it’s too expensive. And now I can’t cancel til November (NRC).

            • April 2nd 2014 @ 10:33am
              Bakkies said | April 2nd 2014 @ 10:33am | ! Report

              How much do the HD channels cost to receive? Personally I think they are a waste and can’t justify forking out more for Sky. There aren’t enough hd channels either. I think Sky have copped that people aren’t picking up the hd package and are ringing me up regulary to sell me a deal. I already cough up an extra 30 quid a month for Sky broadband unlimited so hd is out.

            • April 2nd 2014 @ 5:53pm
              nashi said | April 2nd 2014 @ 5:53pm | ! Report

              Sorry Pash no recording feature that I can see, a severe limitation. You can start watching and then wait for the first scrum, then as soon as the first reset happens, grab a quick shower, put the kettle on, make tea, cook dinner for the family etc, then comes back and rewind to when play re-commenced.

      • April 2nd 2014 @ 5:06am
        linz22 said | April 2nd 2014 @ 5:06am | ! Report

        From Santiago Chile i completely agree with this issue and hope that SANZAR seriously consider the importance of multiple formats.

    • Roar Guru

      April 1st 2014 @ 5:17am
      Eddard said | April 1st 2014 @ 5:17am | ! Report

      This makes me wonder if being part of SANZAR – at least in certain respects (particularly competition structures and broadcasting negotiations) is a help or a hindrance to Australian rugby.

      I think it was a waste asking 2 fairly similar questions on the games finances. Especially as Bill has already said so much about it over the past couple of months.

    • April 1st 2014 @ 6:27am
      hog said | April 1st 2014 @ 6:27am | ! Report

      Thanks for that, was some interesting reading. Great article in SMH regards Rugby in Australia, albeit with a strange headline but pretty much sums up the problems facing the code in this country.

      “Either the management of Australian rugby has the courage to face up to reality and force change, or it will continue over the precipice it has now reached”

      Clearly it has chosen the path to follow whatever SANZAR dishes up. and so the slide will contine to minority status in this country.

    • Roar Guru

      April 1st 2014 @ 7:18am
      Shop said | April 1st 2014 @ 7:18am | ! Report

      I’m just impressed that the ARU has opened up and faced some question time instead of keeping everything behind closed doors. This, along with finally changing Bill Pulver’s online dating default photo, means someone at least is listening!!

    • April 1st 2014 @ 7:51am
      boomeranga said | April 1st 2014 @ 7:51am | ! Report

      Thanks Bill. I think you’re doing a good job. Keep it up.

      • April 1st 2014 @ 2:08pm
        Morgan said | April 1st 2014 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

        Well done to The Roar and Bill Pulver for making this Q&A happen. Brilliant to have access to the ARU CEO is such a format. Credit to all and the perfect tone for great foundations to be laid for the future of rugby in Australia. I’m very excited about this post-O’Neill /Deans era.

    , , ,