Knives out for the Brumbies: Et tu, Bill Pulver?

Rob na Champassak Roar Guru

By Rob na Champassak, Rob na Champassak is a Roar Guru

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170 Have your say

    Just over 21 years ago, amidst rugby’s first few steps into the professional era, the Australian Rugby Union commissioned a new top-tier side, residing in the nation’s capital city, to take part in the Southern Hemisphere’s new-look Super 12 competition.

    The Brumbies, as they were named, were a reward for the achievements of the ACT’s hardworking clubs and a natural expansion at a provincial level.

    The Brumbies’ meteoric rise in the competition saw them become Australia’s most successful Super Rugby team of the professional era. The ACT side won two premierships, built epic and storied rivalries with the Crusaders and Waratahs, defeat the British and Irish Lions, and unearthed so much talent that if I were to list all of it here this piece would practically turn into an honour roll.

    To have been a Brumbies fan over that period – through periods of triumph and grief – there really has been nothing like it.

    But I did not write this piece to be a eulogy, so let’s get down to brass tacks.

    This week, reports emerged that the ARU would agree to dump an Australian team from the Super rugby competition, apparently at the behest of SANZAAR partners.

    It made an unpalatable kind of sense that the Force or the Rebels might be facing the axe. It is a sad fact that since their inceptions, both have struggled to keep pace with the competition – especially that from overseas.

    Dane Haylett-Petty of the Force

    That SANZAAR partners might want to hound the Force or the Rebels out of the competition for being uncompetitive seemed within the realms of possibility. I nevertheless felt disappointed that the ARU has apparently folded to pressure over the issue.

    I do not support cutting any of the Australian sides. Evidence may suggest Australia does not have the depth to sustain five teams, but if performance is the issue, there are other teams that should go first – including the one whose boss’ comments set this whole firestorm ablaze in the first place.

    What has become clear, however, is that this whole debacle is not about performance. Not on-field performance, anyway.

    Perhaps fittingly it was on Wednesday – on the Ides of March, no less – that it was revealed the ARU may be intending to stick their knives into the Brumbies.

    I had naively assumed that Super Rugby clubs would live and die on their merits. I had not reckoned with the ARU’s commitment to a moribund strategy of expansion that is already a proven failure.

    I felt sick. I still feel sick. It’s not confirmed yet, but if the Brumbies axing does go ahead (and it increasingly seems that’s the way things are heading), it would be the most unexpected gut blow in my 20 years following the sport.

    More than that, it’d be a betrayal.

    Leaving aside for the moment all the good the Brumbies have done for Australian rugby over the years, it is dumbfounding that the ARU would fail to stand up for its clubs. I mean, for what? For the sake of appeasing the selfish conditions of SANZAAR partners?

    I wonder what the great rugby patron His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove would think of the ARU deciding that parts of Australia just aren’t worth fighting for. Do white flags start to look like green and gold ones when somebody’s waggled enough cash in front of your face?

    Push back! For god’s sake, show some backbone. If the abolishment of your country’s most fertile development ground is the condition of Super Rugby’s continuity, then maybe some questions ought to be asked about Australia’s future in the competition.

    Because one thing I have no doubt about is that both Super Rugby and Australian rugby will be weaker without the Brumbies.

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    The Crowd Says (170)

    • March 17th 2017 @ 4:05am
      Darwin Stubbie said | March 17th 2017 @ 4:05am | ! Report

      The process. timing and ARU handling has been poor …. if the cull happens you have got to hope that with it will come an ARU announcement regarding a restructure of the pathways and grassroots …. Without that it could turn into civil war

      • March 17th 2017 @ 8:59am
        Selector said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:59am | ! Report

        One thing I can 100% agree on. As well as an investment in better structure and pathways for Australian Coaches.

        I still pray that all 5 teams will remain. The format just needs to be changed. I would like to see a break back into National competitions (But the inclusion of some potential pacific teams and keeping the expansion into Asia. Then this leads into a Champions league style competition. That will generate excitement across time zones.(Obviously it needs much more thought than this, but a concept at least).

        One more thing in my rant – If all 5 teams remain, I implore all Australian fans to stand up and make an effort to support your team. What is going on behind closed doors is a mystery, and I hope the ARU are fighting for the history and future of Australian Rugby. If they succeed, we need to show our appreciation. People are happy to let their feet do the talking when they are unhappy, but let’s also do this if our teams remain.

    • March 17th 2017 @ 4:15am
      AnD said | March 17th 2017 @ 4:15am | ! Report

      I’ve been a Serious Brumbies fan since they began but can see how we have arrived at this point. They’ve reached the peak of their market powers. The Brumbies have also shown contempt for appropriately managing their club over the last couple of years. Appointing Joe Roff as interim CEO and then Thompson while the investigation remains ongoing, and there are many serious questions unanswered, seems to show contempt for the fans of the club.
      I hope they stay, they’ve given me so many amazing memories but the Canberra community hasn’t necessarily helped here either. The turnout at last year’s home final was appalling. Sure, the early start was not helpful but using the rain as an excuse was poor.
      The ARU should think seriously about ceding the ACT though. We never get decent test matches, while places like the Gold Coast and Newcastle have. Canberra definitely produces a lot of talent relative to its size. It is very much a rugby town and removing that team could change that. I suspect AFL will seize that opportunity with the Giants and the Raiders won’t complain either.

      • March 17th 2017 @ 12:36pm
        Stronger Together said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

        This contribution goes to the nub of the problem for the ARU: having established five franchise clubs with various levels of local support, any withdrawal will now hurt the game. In defence of the ACT Brumbies (which also takes in the greater southern NSW region), it has strong rugby-playing schools; a decent culb comp; pathways from junior to senior rugby; and a winning culture. It is competitive at all levels within Australia including schoolboys, club, womens, sevens, NRC, SR and has produced many great Wallaby players. Rugby is part of a strong sporting community which has the professional team at the apex. Opportunistically stripping the top of the structure out of Canberra in the hope it can be replicated elsewhere – eg Malbourne or as Bernie jokingly suggested Adelaide – makes absolutely no sense at all.

      • March 17th 2017 @ 2:24pm
        AlBo said | March 17th 2017 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

        I feel like the Brumbies missed the opportunity a while ago to change from ACT and become the Country NSW Brumbies. All of the Brumbies fans I know live outside of the ACT and I know that doesn’t mean that the majority doesn’t come out of Canberra, or maybe it does… I don’t know, but the fact is I think that the Brumbies could have been a great team to travel to a few locations outside of the capital. They started as exiles and I think it suits the culture. If the Brumbies played in Wollongong, Canberra and maybe even Newcastle then they could have built something really marketable.

        Ok, maybe this might be naiive but sustaining growth in one of the smaller capital cities in the country was always going to be hard, especially sharing it with an already popular league outfit.

        It’s a tough situation for Brums fans. I just hope something works out which is relatively fair.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 6:44pm
          Bakkies said | March 17th 2017 @ 6:44pm | ! Report

          AlBo you do realise that the Brumbies are subsidised by the ACT Government and have a contract with them to play at Bruce

        • March 17th 2017 @ 8:07pm
          AnD said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:07pm | ! Report

          The ACTRU is responsible for all rugby in southern NSW. This includes the far south coast, Monaro and Riverina regions. They regularly play pre season matches in their feeder areas such as Wagga and for any of that region to come for a game it’s only a couple of hours drive.
          All those leagues also have senior players competing for spots in the provincial Brumbies squad. I would say there’s a solid support base out there for the club. I can’t imagine the Tahs liking the idea of the Brumbies turning up in Wollongong and Orange to steal their support.

      • March 17th 2017 @ 3:26pm
        Maroon Kev said | March 17th 2017 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

        And haven’t turned a profit for 14 seasons!!!!

        • March 17th 2017 @ 8:03pm
          AnD said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:03pm | ! Report

          But does a SR club need to turn a profit? I’m not an accountant and I’m not sure about their financials specifically but I do know that Everton in the English Premier League never record operating profits, because that would be terrible for their business model. If the Brumbies make a contribution to the overall Australian rugby set up that exceeds their losses then it doesn’t matter.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 8:17pm
          Realist said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:17pm | ! Report

          They haven’t had to be bailed out like the Reds and Tahs though.

        • March 18th 2017 @ 3:24am
          Bakkies said | March 18th 2017 @ 3:24am | ! Report

          AnD absolutely no otherwise they would get hit by corporation tax

          • March 18th 2017 @ 5:17am
            AnD said | March 18th 2017 @ 5:17am | ! Report

            That was my thinking Bakkies, and that their losses were probably structured that way rather than being 17 straight losses of significant proportion.

        • March 22nd 2017 @ 9:10am
          Slim 293 said | March 22nd 2017 @ 9:10am | ! Report

          That statement isn’t correct.

          The Canberra Times has reported multiple times, including the same week of this article, that the Brumbies have actually recorded 3 profits since 2003.

          They definitely turned a profit in 2004, and an older article from the Crimes seems to point to 2010 as another year.

    • March 17th 2017 @ 6:18am
      Ken Catchpole's Other Leg said | March 17th 2017 @ 6:18am | ! Report

      Saanzar should consider 2 or 3 conferences that allow smaller, less international regular seasons, leading to a play off series that is fairer and less dependant on national ranking. If one team has to go frim a competition that is worthwhile, then the Brumbies are a fair choice to drop.
      But the key question is ‘Is Super Rugby worthwhile?’
      At the moment, with current set up, the answer is ‘No’.
      So, if dropping the Brumbies is the answer, maybe we are asking the wrong question?

      • March 17th 2017 @ 8:18am
        Unanimous said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:18am | ! Report

        I agree that if dropping the Brumbies is the answer then we are asking the wrong question.

        Professional leagues put things in place to enable teams to be competitive – eg. competition wide salary caps, drafts, transfer fees, promotion/relegation, equal access to player talent. Soccer also has lots of knock out comps and is low scoring so that lots of teams get to win things and beat teams of superior talent sometimes.

        Super Rugby is the opposite. National team players are not distributed evenly. Salary caps apply within nations hamstringing some teams. National player payments don’t count in salary caps. The span of timezones makes it too difficult to follow teams. The season is too short to finance the retention of top players. The uncompetitive teams are grouped in national markets so that the sport is denegrated throughout entire nations. It’s got to be one of the worst run leagues in the history of world sport.

    • March 17th 2017 @ 7:59am
      Peter Hughes said | March 17th 2017 @ 7:59am | ! Report

      ah Rob
      You’ve hit the panic for no good reason.
      Brumbies are not going anywhere.
      Just like Tahs and Reds they are untouchable.
      The Force will be dropped because

      1) they have the worst financials.
      2) they have the worst venue crowds.
      3) they have the worst TV ratings
      4) they have the worst performance record.
      5) they have the least potential for improvement.

      Paul Cully in SMH article nailed it last Sat imo.
      I agree 1 aussie team should be dropped too.

      • Roar Guru

        March 17th 2017 @ 8:21am
        Rob na Champassak said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:21am | ! Report

        While the Brumbies axing is the worst outcome I could imagine, I don’t particularly consider the Force being axed to be a great outcome either.

        I have conceded that Australia don’t have the depth for five teams. Blind Fred could have told the ARU that before they made their ill-advised expansions in the first place.

        But while I might once have objected to the Rebels and Force being commissioned in the first place, now that they’re here, I don’t think we should let them go without a fight.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 11:23am
          Akari said | March 17th 2017 @ 11:23am | ! Report

          I’ve always been in the 5 team camp and your voice of reason is refreshing, Rob, and thank you for this article too.

      • March 17th 2017 @ 8:22am
        Lincoln Lense said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:22am | ! Report

        I hope the Force get cut too.

        The are an utter embarrassment to Australian Rugby and play the most horrendous uninspiring style of play.

        They get pumped by all overseas teams and consider their season a success when they cause 1 or 2 upsets in the Aus conference.

        Time to remove this malignant tumour and rescue players like Adam Coleman from the abyss

        • March 17th 2017 @ 8:54am
          Unanimous said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:54am | ! Report

          Amateur era thinking. Professional sports put things in place to enable all teams to be competitive. The league controls the rules under which teams compete. If there are uncompetitive teams it is the leagues fault. If a team is competitve and marketed well but still doesn’t draw a crowd then it might be moved or cut. If Super Rugby doesn’t start functioning this way it will become defunct.

        • Roar Guru

          March 17th 2017 @ 8:56am
          Fionn said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:56am | ! Report

          C’mon, mate, they are a massive step up from the Rebels. The Rebels are an embarrassment in 2017. The Force have had a couple of reasonably successful seasons, the Rebels have not.

          The Force play in an area where there is room for rugby growth (lots of South Africans), very few people in Melbourne even know there is a difference between Union and League, and they don’t care about either of them anyway.

          • March 17th 2017 @ 11:22am
            Chris said | March 17th 2017 @ 11:22am | ! Report

            But there are a lot more people in Melbourne – over twice as many. So a lesser penetration is still a bigger market. There are plenty of Polynesians, Brits, NSW/QLDers, South Africans and any other nationality who play rugby here.

            • Roar Guru

              March 17th 2017 @ 12:21pm
              Fionn said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

              I get that it is a bigger city (by far) that being said, I think there are a number of reasons that the Force still make more sense (1) Melbourne is really very close to both the Waratahs and the Brumbies, meaning that prospective rugby players from there are exposed can more easily get involved with high quality rugby from those markets; (2) the number of South Africans in Perth, I would imagine, would far outnumber the South Africans in Melbourne and even possibly the South Africans + Kiwis there; (3) Melbourne is so oversaturated with sport, and is so AFL and soccer focused especially, that I can’t imagine rugby ever making a mark on the market, whereas in Perth, I can.

              My uncle/cousins there are huge sport fans: play and pay to watch watch soccer, Aussie rules and cricket. When I asked him about it he knew that the Rebels played rugby and the Storm, league, but he had no idea what the difference was, and when I asked my cousin he said he and most of his mates at an (expensive) private school didn’t even really know what rugby was, let alone who the rebels were.

              Let’s be honest, neither are great growth areas. But I think that Perth still offers more, and they are a better team (both historically and now) than the Rebels. It’s very sad that any team should be cut though.

              Stupidly, however, it’s looking like the marketing gurus and technocrats in charge think that the Brumbies should be the ones to go.

              • March 17th 2017 @ 1:25pm
                Chris said | March 17th 2017 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

                Totally agree in that Melbournians as whole, dont know the difference between union and league and wouldn’t have a clue about the Rebels.
                Why are they even there? They dont pull in any crowds and dont rate.
                And they get flogged to boot.

              • March 17th 2017 @ 1:39pm
                James P said | March 17th 2017 @ 1:39pm | ! Report

                In 2015, the Rebels won 7 matches and the Force 3 and in 2016, the Rebels won 7 matches and the Force 2. I wouldn’t be arguing that the Force have had a couple of recent reasonable seasons.

                And on crowds for 2017
                – Force v Reds – 7008
                – Brumbies v Force – 8647
                – Brumbies v Sharks – 8738
                – Rebels v Blues – 10,265

                Yep, they are all crap and well down on previous years but using crowd sizes as an argument why the Rebels should go rather than the Force or Brumbies isn’t exactly a strong point.

              • March 17th 2017 @ 2:29pm
                Chris said | March 17th 2017 @ 2:29pm | ! Report

                Fair points but my main argument is that Melbourne will never be a Rugby town. No passion and no real fans which are the lifeblood of any successful sporting club.
                Melbourne/rugby/Rebels is all window dressing with no substance.

              • March 17th 2017 @ 2:39pm
                James P said | March 17th 2017 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

                Don’t agree. I’d consider myself a real fan. I’ve had membership since day 1 and go to all the games.

                But I definitely don’t want to see the end of the Brumbies. In fact I can’t believe we are even considering it.

            • March 17th 2017 @ 3:05pm
              AndyS said | March 17th 2017 @ 3:05pm | ! Report

              In 2011, with all the excitement of the new team, the Rebels opened with a crowd of 25524 people and averaged 17140 for the season. That was not much more than the Force, who in their sixth season averaged 16200.

              The Force on the other hand opened their first season with a crowd of 37037 people and averaged 28424. I would have said the difference in penetration and underlying support was self-evident.

              But I wouldn’t support cutting either team, or the Brumbies. The challenge and problems for mine lie at the administrative and marketing levels, not the playing levels.

              • March 18th 2017 @ 3:25am
                Bakkies said | March 18th 2017 @ 3:25am | ! Report

                The Force had over 20,000 members and oversubscribed corporate boxes

        • March 17th 2017 @ 9:02am
          Selector said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:02am | ! Report


          Whilst I agree this is a stigma that was relevant and appropriate in the past, I would urge you to watch one of their games this week. I love watching the Force. That backline is by far my favourite backline to watch. And I am a die hard Brumbies man.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 12:54pm
          In Brief said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

          The most boring team in Super Rugby is ‘Jake Ball’ Brumbies. They also get the worst crowds and have the most dysfunctional management team. Having said that, I still don’t want them cut. Australia needs five teams.

          • March 17th 2017 @ 1:53pm
            markie362 said | March 17th 2017 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

            If they ban the rolling maul the brumbies may never score another try

            • Roar Guru

              March 17th 2017 @ 2:48pm
              Fionn said | March 17th 2017 @ 2:48pm | ! Report

              Or maybe they’d change their tactics?

              Also, In Brief, you clearly haven’t been watching them in 2017, mate, not many of their tries have come from the rolling maul. Larkham may finally be getting the coaching thing right.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 9:46pm
          Piru said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:46pm | ! Report

          Guess you haven’t watched much rugby this year.

          Just watched the rebels give up another bonus point loss, and yet no one is calling for their heads.

          This whole situation is utter bs – if teams need to go, get rid of an sa team, or the joke sides from Japan and Arg – ARU stand up for your damn competition

      • Roar Pro

        March 17th 2017 @ 9:34am
        robel said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:34am | ! Report

        I completely disagree with you.
        Re-check your facts:
        1. The Force have had less financial support than any other super club over the last 10 years, even Rebels who have only been around for 6 of them. When the ARU stepped in last year it was to own their IP. The times the Reds, Tahs and Rebels were supported to more or approximately the same level it was a pure handout.
        2. For many years the Force had the 1st or 2nd largest memberships. This year over 6000 Westralians are willing to pay $1000 to buy out the ARU.
        3. the worst ratings….
        4. There are teams from other conferences that spent longer periods near the bottom of the table despite having decades of history in which to build their clubs. Not 10years as the Force have had to.
        5. Despite the player top ups supplied to the Reds and Tahs, effectively breaking the salary cap and concentrating the experienced players in those clubs. The Force has enabled many players to get into the Wallaby side by providing a platform to play and be recognised on.

        The ARU is acting foolishly if it dumps a side, any side as the fans in that state/territory will be lost for decades and the player pool available to the Wallabies will shrink.

        If the Force get dumped I would like to see the WARU disaffiliated from the ARU and affiliate with another Union as it would be the biggest betrayal of the in sporting history, just as dumping the Brumbies would be.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 1:53pm
          Republican said | March 17th 2017 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

          …….I believe the Force are currently being managed by the ARU due to financial insolvency.
          The Brumbies have yet to put their hand out for any such support while they have been integral to Australian Rugby far longer than the Force have been.

      • March 17th 2017 @ 10:46am
        ScottD said | March 17th 2017 @ 10:46am | ! Report

        Peter, have you actually watched any rugby this year? The worst team in the southern hemisphere is the Rebels, closely followed by the Sunwolves. The Force have matched it with the Reds/Brumbies and Tahs and clearly there is nothing between them.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 12:33pm
          Celtic334 said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

          I am going to reserve judgement until the other franchises play the Hurricanes away from home.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 1:26pm
          jon said | March 17th 2017 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

          sunwolves from japan, northern hemisphere.

      • March 17th 2017 @ 11:52am
        Rugby101 said | March 17th 2017 @ 11:52am | ! Report

        Peter can you post the crowd figures please. I’ve been searching for the crowd figures for the Australian teams for the past few years but can’t find them. Thanks

      • March 17th 2017 @ 12:53pm
        In Brief said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

        The Force have bigger and better crowds then the Brumbies, they probably have more home grown talent in their starting 15, they have the finance sorted and for the past few seasons have been playing more entertaining rugby then the 10 man Brumbies. I wouldn’t worry about the ratings – as far as I can tell they just make those numbers up anyway. Still don’t want to lose them though, Australia needs to grow not shrink its rugby.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 8:34pm
          Realist said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:34pm | ! Report

          Far more entertaining? How many games have the Force won at home over the last 2 years? 1? The Force don’t produce a lot of Wallabies and they have done nothing as a side . WA Rugby has no pedigree. FFS, ACT beat Wales in the 70s. The home grown ACT side thumpedvNSW in 94 which led to the Brumbies. Rugby in the ACT region has been played for over 100 years. The strongest rugby schools in Canberra would beat anything in WA or VIC. I read somewhere that Brumby games have the second highest number of TV viewers of all the Oz sides. VIC and WA are AFL states – always will be.

          However, Rugby as a product is dying a death in this country. The rules haven’t changed fast enough (professionalism and extra fitness/size of players requires rule changes) and the game is just not as entertaining as it was in the 90s, 2000s, and amateur era. It’s overly technical and to see a side penalised when they are in attack makes for bizarre viewing for new fans. Tries are not worth enough points.

          • March 17th 2017 @ 9:48pm
            Piru said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:48pm | ! Report

            For the record, Rugby isn’t dying in wa, it’s had strong growth since The Force’s inception.

            The only state to do so I believe

      • March 17th 2017 @ 1:35pm
        markie362 said | March 17th 2017 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

        Is it guaranteed that dropping a team and losing all those future wbs will fix oz rugby i doubt it

    • March 17th 2017 @ 8:32am
      Steve said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:32am | ! Report

      The most ridiculous thing about all this is that Australian rugby shouldn’t need depth to have 5 teams. I keep hearing that rugby is played in many countries around the world, just get some players. Does San Antonio have the depth for an NBA basketball team, does Toronto have the depth for a Major League Baseball team.

      Comment from The Roar’s iPhone app.

      • March 17th 2017 @ 9:03am
        Unanimous said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:03am | ! Report

        Spot on. The closest example to Rugby is Ice Hockey. Canada produces half the players but has 1/4 of the teams in the NHL. Salary caps and drafts are competition wide. Income is distributed fairly across all teams. They do not allow an entire nation’s set of professional teams to be under resourced. Expansion teams have always had immediate access to a good roster of players.

        If the NHL was run like Super Rugby it would be a much smaller league with way less fan interest.

      • March 17th 2017 @ 10:18am
        James P said | March 17th 2017 @ 10:18am | ! Report

        But we do have the depth to have 5 teams. We just have too many players playing overseas. You can’t tell me that the following wouldn’t add a huge amount to the super rugby strength
        – Genia
        – Giteau
        – Mitchell
        – Pyle
        – Luke Jones
        – Mark Gerard
        – Palu
        – Burgess
        – Chisholm
        – Kingi
        – Elsom
        – Ioane
        – Brock James
        – Ashley Cooper
        – Cummins
        – Cooper Vuna
        – O’Connor
        – Horwill
        – Douglas
        – Blair Conner
        – Alo-Emile
        – Alfi Mafi
        – Ulugia
        – Mike Harris
        – Nic White
        – Mowen
        – Gill
        – Beale

        And I’m sure there are players that I have missed. A team selected from the above would be significantly stronger than any of the current Super rugby teams. Depth is not the problem. Retaining players is the problem.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 10:51am
          ScottD said | March 17th 2017 @ 10:51am | ! Report

          Yes, I agree. Player retention is an issue however $$$$ is a motivating factor and I don’t know how to fix that.

          • March 17th 2017 @ 11:05am
            Unanimous said | March 17th 2017 @ 11:05am | ! Report

            Lengthen the season. Make the teams competitive to draw crowds. The Kings drew 40,000+ for some matches in their first season a few years ago. That is the market potential for a competitive team in East London, but not many people have shown up to watch the team get pummeled week after week. Why would you?

            The way Super Rugby has organised the expansion teams is ridiculous. Any other sport would have a special draft, salary cap exemptions, and/or provision of marquee players for an expansion team. There would have been a financial audit prior to letting them join, or the league itself would have financed the team.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 11:13am
          P2R2 said | March 17th 2017 @ 11:13am | ! Report

          James P – you may be right about ?player-depth, but the ARU doesnt have the money to pay all of them….so it is moot

          • March 17th 2017 @ 2:27pm
            James P said | March 17th 2017 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

            But then how is reducing the number of teams going to help? It is going to significantly reduce our revenue so we will be in exactly the same position except with 4 teams and more players overseas

          • March 17th 2017 @ 2:27pm
            BBA said | March 17th 2017 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

            I think it is also fair to say NZ and SA have probably even more people plying their trade overseas. The difference is that other countries have better been able to handle the player loss. It is hubris that Australia thinks they can support the same number of sides as NZ and SA can have more teams.

            Both SA and Aus have used SANZAAR to fund their expansion without doing the ground work at grass root levels.

            It is not right that the Kings had entry into superugby before they had entry into the Currie Cup. Aus has done similar things with developing rugby in Victoria and WA.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 10:59pm
          Lincoln Lense said | March 17th 2017 @ 10:59pm | ! Report

          Elsom, Palu, Chisholm, Gerard, Brock, Blair Connor

          Perhaps you should have added Allan Border, Ian Thorpe and a couple of players not good enough to play Super Rugby (eg Josh Valentine or Pek Cowan perhaps)

          If you’re going to present ‘evidence’ try to keep credibility within an arm’s length please

          FFS Elsom retired 3 years ago

    • March 17th 2017 @ 8:39am
      Sul said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:39am | ! Report

      Rugby in this country needs a big reset and this may be the window of opportunity to do it. It doesn’t matter how you dress it up there is going to be some pain.

      • March 17th 2017 @ 12:36pm
        Celtic334 said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

        Someone set up a facebook page where if we can get a couple of 100k likes towards the subject of demanding change from the ARU.

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