WCR wrote a great article on the NRC on The Roar, and we exchanged posts and well here I am today – a little but not much more educated.
WCR said I should go and have a read of a couple of rugby forums.
I did and from what I read the good folk of rugby seem worried about the future of the sport in Australia. In a sense the five-team Super competition hidden as it is on Fox is seen by some as a terminal problem.
Others see walking away from Super Rugby as an act of suicide due to the revenue shortfall that would occur.
The issue seems complex, with no easy answer. Effectively rugby in Australia has no national domestic competition akin to AFL, NRL, A-League, basketball and soon netball. What rugby does have at this level is five teams playing a fraction of the games locally the other codes play.
The five could also fall to four, if some commenters are believed.
Further the competition has been on Fox since 1995 I think and will be until 2020 as I understand it. This means 25 years with no free-to-air exposure.
Adding to the complexity is the NRL raiding rugby juniors, and over the past five or so years so has the AFL, particularly rep teams at U15 to U17 levels.
This has resulted in a loss of talent to rugby. Compounding this football has invested in keeping its best and today loose few of their players to other codes at the U12 to U17 age bracket.
In NSW at the state school level rugby is almost non-existent. In the CAS and GPS schools rugby is under pressure from both football and AFL. This again equates to a loss of potential players.
Is rugby at a crossroads? Does the ARU sign the next TV deal or prepare and set up to walk away and start its own national domestic competition? Many questions about players leaving to go overseas and persevered revenue abound.
What do you think Roarers? What would you do as head of the ARU?