Fiji’s NRC entry provides Twiggy’s Indo-Pacific template

Brett McKay Columnist

By Brett McKay, Brett McKay is a Roar Expert

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    Andrew Forrest was obviously busy last weekend, knocking up his plans and his administration structure for the proposed Indo-Pacific competition that he hoped he would never have to unveil.

    On the other side of the country, a team was making its competition debut under an initiative that the mining magnate should be actively chasing.

    The Fijian Drua’s initial foray into the NRC resulted in a 45-36 loss to Brisbane City at Ballymore Oval, but they certainly proved in running in six tries that they’re more than capable of competing at this level.

    But behind the scenes, the Drua’s presence in the NRC has come about because of a funding package put forward by World Rugby, primarily, and the Fijian Rugby Union to a lesser extent.

    World Rugby effectively covering all transport and accommodation costs makes this move possible, and those two elements will be the biggest costs involved. Though the Drua have been based in Brisbane and Melbourne for the first two rounds, NSW Country head to Fiji next weekend and will stay at The Warwick Resort for the length of their stay for the Round 3 clash. A cursory glance of a booking site noted rooms start at around AUD$300 a night!

    (And yes, I’m still open to offers to cover that game ‘on the ground’ – have your people contact mine to discuss.)

    But this is the same sort of developmental funding Forrest should be pulling out all stops to have in place?

    In confirming his plans for a new six Indo-Pacific competition so that the Western Force can remain a competitive rugby entity, Forrest reiterated his desire to grow the game into new areas of Asia, and into the Pacific Islands.

    Immediately, the speculation points to Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as Fiji, Tonga, and Samoa, and this is somewhat backed by Hong Kong proactively declaring their interest before Forrest’s people have picked up the phone.

    As an aside, this kind of geographic spread raises immediate alarm bells for me; the same sort of travel and time differences that plague Super Rugby fairly obviously stand out about this proposal, too.

    Regardless, Forrest’s plans would seem to marry up with up World Rugby’s visions for developing the game in the Pacific and the broader Asian region, and the same sort of involvement from the governing body as what they provide the Drua for the NRC could actually kill two birds with one stone.

    Obviously, the less Forrest has to pay of what will quite clearly be a substantial travel and accommodation bill in a competition of any length, the better. Sure, sponsorship opportunities will help in this department, too, and I have no doubt Forrest’s IndoPac people will have securing such sponsorship as a very high priority.

    (AAP Image/Richard Wainwright)

    But the other part of this is actually what could make or break Forrest’s plans at the first step.

    Having World Rugby involved means that the governing body’s approval for this competition is virtually guaranteed. World Rugby sanctioning would see the words ‘rebel competition’ disappear completely, and will allow players to sign for the new competition knowing that they national eligibility will be unaffected.

    This is of huge importance. Forrest has said that wants to ensure the pathways continue for young Western Australian players, to ensure their dreams of playing for the Wallabies remain in place. But that won’t happen if his competition doesn’t get World Rugby tick. Even if the ARU do follow through with their stated support, they wouldn’t have any obligation to pick Australian-based players from an unsanctioned competition.

    Beyond that, and assuming his competition includes the national unions being guessed at and suggested, Forrest should also seek discussions with SANZAAR. Knowing what we now know about South Africa’s plans, this new IndoPac proposal could, in fact, create the initial framework for a refocussed Asia/Oceanic-based Super Rugby competition from 2021 onwards.

    Drua debut had it all; now the hard work begins
    In running in the six tries they did against a Brisbane City side that already looks much improved on last season’s NRC disappointments, Fiji’s debut in the national competition had just about everything we’ve come to expect from them.

    Open rugby. Silky skills. Willingness to attack, with almost enough ability to match. Hard hitting defence. Horrendous discipline. And now, the longest suspension in NRC history, and the longest suspension I can recall ever handed down at this level or above in this part of the world.

    Drua hooker Samu Suguturaga pleaded guilty to a biting charge, after City hooker Andrew Ready’s ear required a couple of stitches and was left with a pretty gnarly set of teeth marks after a first half scrum on Saturday.

    NRC Judiciary head Paul Tully concluded the severity was on the high end of the scale, allowing for an entry point of 24 weeks, which was reduced to 20 weeks with “mitigating circumstances” and what you suspect would have been a healthy and humble amount of remorse.

    It’s not the sort of thing we need in the game, and it’s not the sort of thing the Fijian Drua should be known for in the NRC, because on one week’s showing we already know they’re capable of so much more.

    It resumes for them on Saturday down in Melbourne against the Rising, and the huge Polynesian and specifically Fijian rugby community in Melbourne means this will be another wonderful occasion. If you’re down that way, honestly, do yourself a massive favour.

    Nick Stirzaker Melbourne Rising NRC Rugby Union 2017 tall

    (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

    Brisbane City will have their hands full dealing with a Queensland Country side who will be disappointed with their second half fade-out in Canberra last weekend.

    And we’ll find out if my suspicions about Perth Spirit using ‘home’ and ‘away’ squads for the NRC again are true, when they head to Canberra to face the Vikings without their Kookaburras colours. Last year’s semi-finalists, the Sydney Rays will make their first outing of 2017, when they host what already to looks to be a very handy Eastwood no, *Greater Sydney* Rams side.

    Enjoy your NRC rugby this weekend.

    NRC ladder
    Greater Sydney 5, Perth 4, Brisbane City 4, Canberra 4; Sydney 0, Queensland Country 0, Fiji 0, Melbourne 0, NSW Country 0.

    Round 2
    Saturday

    1pm: Queensland Country v Brisbane City; Dolphins Rugby, Noosa – Live streamed
    3pm: Melbourne Rising v Fijian Drua; Harlequin Oval, Melbourne – LIVE on Fox Sports 501

    Sunday
    1pm: Canberra Vikings v Perth Spirit; Viking Park, Canberra – Live streamed
    3pm: Sydney Rays v Greater Sydney Rams; Macquarie University, Sydney – LIVE on Fox Sports 501

    NSW Country Eagles have the bye.

    Tips
    Happy with three from four last week, but a week’s worth of knowledge could be dangerous: Brisbane City and Melbourne on Saturday, Canberra and Greater Sydney on Sunday.

    Brett McKay
    Brett McKay

    Brett McKay is one of The Roar's good news stories and has been a rugby and cricket expert for the site since July 2009. Brett is an international and Super Rugby commentator for ABC Grandstand radio, has commentated on the Australian Under-20s Championships and National Rugby Championship live stream coverage, and has written for magazines and websites in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK. He tweets from @BMcSport.

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    The Crowd Says (263)

    • September 7th 2017 @ 4:48am
      Darwin Stubbie said | September 7th 2017 @ 4:48am | ! Report

      I’ve got random question …. even though the force has been cut – do the ARU still hold the IP / naming rights etc for the entity ….if so wouldn’t the first step needed to be undertaken by Forrest is a negotiation on buying back those rights and a strategy of softening of the rhetoric and threats coming from WA would seem wise to ensure ARU cooperation

      • September 7th 2017 @ 6:06am
        Ex force fan said | September 7th 2017 @ 6:06am | ! Report

        Instead of giving the ARU stinkers any money I would prefer rebranding that will help to sell merchandise next year. We could become the iconic black swans… as on the WA flag. Would not be too hard to convince the Sea of Blue that we would prefer not to give the ARU stinkers a cent.

        • Roar Guru

          September 7th 2017 @ 8:07am
          sheek said | September 7th 2017 @ 8:07am | ! Report

          I’ve never understood why WA wasn’t the Black Swans, or simply Swans, from the get-go.

          From when I first saw a WA rep jersey in the early 70s, the black swan was prominent on the left breast.

          But it’s because we had these marketeers trying to ingratiate themselves with Indigenous-like themes, Force & Spirit.

          Although the connection, especially of Force, with Indigenous culture would be lost on many.

          Anyway, the way I see it, the ARU & SANZAAR have won a battle on the way to losing the war – the public relations war.

          I suspect that super rugby (especially in its current guise) is doomed. Terminal.

          It’s just that the protagonists don’t know it yet.

          I also suspect this PRC being proposed by Forrest will serve the same purpose as WRC back in 1995. It won’t get off the ground, but will act as a catalyst to bring the administrators to the senses of their folly.

          Maybe…..

          • September 7th 2017 @ 10:46am
            ethan said | September 7th 2017 @ 10:46am | ! Report

            That’s interesting, All this time I never knew why they were called the Force, or of any indigenous connection.

            I also have no idea why they didn’t adopt traditional WA colours of yellow and black? Sure, they may be Hurricanes colours, but every other team in SR is already blue, so I’m sure two yellow and black teams would not be an issue. I wonder what the reasoning was?

            • Roar Rookie

              September 7th 2017 @ 10:59am
              piru said | September 7th 2017 @ 10:59am | ! Report

              My understanding was that the Force referred to weather etc

              The emblem is reminiscent of both a cyclone seen from above and includes a stylised swan – I actually think it’s very clever.

              • Roar Guru

                September 7th 2017 @ 11:32am
                sheek said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:32am | ! Report

                Piru,

                This is partly correct as I recall the original blurb. Force was designed in part to represent the power of the weather & also the geographical vastness of state.

                It was also meant to tap into the Aboriginal dreamtime/walkabout, although that was possibly more the Spirit.

                The pale blue colour was chosen instead of yellow/gold to represent the vastness of the sky & ocean.

            • Roar Rookie

              September 7th 2017 @ 11:00am
              piru said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:00am | ! Report

              My understanding was that the Force referred to weather etc

              The emblem is reminiscent of both a cyclone seen from above and includes a stylised swan – I actually think it’s very clever.

              • Roar Guru

                September 7th 2017 @ 2:44pm
                Timbo (L) said | September 7th 2017 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

                Me too but I am not sure who owns the graphic.

                RugbyWA and Perth Spirit use it too, perhaps under license, perhaps not.

          • Roar Guru

            September 7th 2017 @ 4:40pm
            Corne Van Vuuren said | September 7th 2017 @ 4:40pm | ! Report

            Sheek, only way I see Super Rugby prevail is with less is more.

            SANZAAR must see Super rugby as an elite competition, 10-12 teams max.

            • Roar Guru

              September 7th 2017 @ 4:51pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 7th 2017 @ 4:51pm | ! Report

              The way Sanzaar could have fixed this, even with 18 teams and an open door for expansion, was to create two tiers with relegation and promotion. But they have opted not to.

              Every expansion team – even the Kiwi one – has suffered a lot the first few years in SR. And of course, they have been thrown to the wolves.

              If we would have the 8-9 strongest SR team in Tier 1, pretty much every game would very competitive and most likely entertaining to watch.

              And the games in the second tier would have a little less quality, but they would be competitive and even, and building a winning culture in the second Tier is probably the perfect preparation to take on the big boys in Tier 1.

              But well well, this will not happen.

              • Roar Guru

                September 7th 2017 @ 5:42pm
                Corne Van Vuuren said | September 7th 2017 @ 5:42pm | ! Report

                Yes, the two tiersystem have been suggested a few times over the years, but for some reason have never been on the radar of SANZAAR.

                Maybe there is no interest from the broadcasters, I have no idea.

                I would certainly like the idea of two tiers

              • September 7th 2017 @ 5:46pm
                Wozza said | September 7th 2017 @ 5:46pm | ! Report

                2 tiers wouldn’t work in Australia. Sponsors, crowds and as much as possible players would abandon the 2nd tier. If all the Australian teams were in the 2nd tier that would be the equivalent of taking the competition to the car park and putting a bullet through it.

              • September 7th 2017 @ 5:54pm
                DavSA said | September 7th 2017 @ 5:54pm | ! Report

                The argument that SA and AUS has to cut sides to reinforce quality holds no water . SA sides by joining NH comp makes a mockery of that reason . Closer to the truth is that SANZAAR wants to cut COSTS . Rest is just a smokescreen . A 2 tier comp is a good idea but that simply means no cost reduction.

            • Roar Guru

              September 7th 2017 @ 6:32pm
              sheek said | September 7th 2017 @ 6:32pm | ! Report

              Bilton,

              Yes certainly, but it would mean more trumped-up regions than we presently have.

              I’m massively opposed to Australia having its five provinces in super rugby just so as SANZAAR can thrash them, as has happened with the ARU being requested to discontinue the Force.

              i find this obscenely disgraceful.

              If Sunwolves is so important to SANZAAR, we can go back to S12, four NZ regions, three each from Australia & South Africa, & one each from Argentina & Japan.

              The BBL T20 cricket is very popular in Australia despite having purely artificial franchises that have no historical or traditional connection with the major cities.

              Since most fans are mostly interested in only being entertained, give SANZAAR a whole heap of trashy teams. If they cull any, it won’t be a loss of any magnitude.

              Gawd I have come to despise super rugby & SANZAAR with every fibre of my body.

        • Roar Guru

          September 7th 2017 @ 8:12am
          sheek said | September 7th 2017 @ 8:12am | ! Report

        • Roar Guru

          September 7th 2017 @ 9:10am
          Kashmir Pete said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:10am | ! Report

          concur, Black Swans

          • September 7th 2017 @ 11:55am
            MitchO said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:55am | ! Report

            There is a pretty good footy team called the Sydney Swans. I reckon their ‘brand’ if pretty solid. Probably best to give up the name swan even if you wish to keep the logo. Otherwise you risk a marketing head to head.

            In a regional comp it is best to have the city name in the title. Perth ******** so people know where the team is based.

            • September 7th 2017 @ 1:53pm
              TommyM said | September 7th 2017 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

              They should be and have always been the ‘Stingrays’! Would add some particular spice to games against QLD

            • Roar Guru

              September 7th 2017 @ 6:34pm
              sheek said | September 7th 2017 @ 6:34pm | ! Report

              The nickname/emblem Swans is not owned by AFL.

              Any other team in any other comp can use similar names – Tigers, Lions, Eagles, Magpies, Blues, Reds, etc.

              What you don’t want is two teams within the same comp/sport with the same nickname/emblem.

        • September 7th 2017 @ 1:31pm
          kaiviti said | September 7th 2017 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

          Even though I’m a Fijian Drua supporter, naturally, my Grandson introduced me to the Force years ago when I visited Perth and I have been an avid Force backer ever since. I would willingly support the rebranded ‘Black Snaws” if it ever happens.

      • Columnist

        September 7th 2017 @ 9:09am
        Brett McKay said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:09am | ! Report

        Yeah, it’s a fair question Darwin, and my assumption is that the ARU do still own it all, based on comments made in the last few days about ‘coming up with an arrangement’ to keep using the Western Force name.

        And realistically, what benefit is there for the ARU to prevent it’s use? My suspicion, based on their own comments about wanting to support plans to play in alternate comps, the ARU won’t have too much trouble with the Force remaining the Force..

        • Roar Guru

          September 7th 2017 @ 9:39am
          Train Without A Station said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

          Even if the ARU kept ownership of the IP I imagine they’d let them use the name in perpetuity.

          • Columnist

            September 7th 2017 @ 9:47am
            Brett McKay said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:47am | ! Report

            Yeah, I don’t see it being a great issue. It could even go some way to claw some ground back in the PR battle..

            • Roar Guru

              September 7th 2017 @ 9:59am
              Train Without A Station said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:59am | ! Report

              I doubt it.

              The PR battle isn’t based on any actual facts.

              • Columnist

                September 7th 2017 @ 10:01am
                Brett McKay said | September 7th 2017 @ 10:01am | ! Report

                the truth is out there mate, somewhere..

              • Roar Guru

                September 7th 2017 @ 10:03am
                Train Without A Station said | September 7th 2017 @ 10:03am | ! Report

                Yeah. But nobody is interested.

                I’m sure the ARU have said some things that are not completely truthful, but nobody is willing to accept anything coming out of Rugby WA is not 100% gospel.

                Even comments about the Force having to promote locals in their Super Rugby team this year due to injuries is garbage.

                They didn’t use a single local that was not contracted before Jan/Feb when they announced their final squad.

              • Roar Rookie

                September 7th 2017 @ 11:01am
                piru said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:01am | ! Report

                But without injuries those locals would never have seen game time.

                How is that not true?

              • September 7th 2017 @ 11:02am
                Jacko said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

                TWAS the PR battle is based on the ARU doing an absolutely stupid thing in dropping the Force from SR when it was NEVER the smartest decision….That is FAC….The ARU lied to everyone over this…That is FACT….The ARU has lied on why the Force was dropped….That is FACT…..These are the facts that have Pi$$ed people of and these FACTS are what has been a PR disaster for the ARU

              • Roar Guru

                September 7th 2017 @ 11:09am
                Train Without A Station said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:09am | ! Report

                Jacko you don’t know any of that.

                Piru,

                Most of them made their debuts in 2016 or earlier. No locally produced players debuted in 2017 from my understanding.

                The closest is James Verity-Amm, a Western Province Under 21 player.

                Most teams will use around 40 players over the course of a season. The Reds used 45 in 2016.

                Sorry that’s incorrect. Rona and Peni, made their debuts in 2017. But were fully contracted from NRL.

              • September 7th 2017 @ 12:49pm
                rock86 said | September 7th 2017 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

                Well we’ll find out soon enough how much the ARU has been telling porkies.

                The senate inquiry has the go ahead.

              • September 7th 2017 @ 5:55pm
                Wozza said | September 7th 2017 @ 5:55pm | ! Report

                TWAS but NRL contracted them from the Perth club comp didn’t’t they so I don’t think many would begrudge them being labelled locals. Just wondering, are you a lawyer as a lot of your arguments are based on what’s legal as opposed to what’s perceived by many to be morally right and in saying that I think even you have stated the Force shouldn’t have been axed

            • Roar Rookie

              September 7th 2017 @ 11:12am
              JPR said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:12am | ! Report

              The Western Force needs to keep its identity and should be allowed to buy back its IP.
              The alliance agreement stated that they could buy it back at any time.

              It is also come to my attention that SA has not penalised either the Cheetahs or Kings from leaving the Super Rugby conference either in naming rights or ability to play for SA.

              IRB,SANZAAR or ARU should be assisting a new Australasia conference to stop the flow of players to Europe and keep players in employment especially the Western Force and its strong grassroot programme in Rugby WA.

              • Roar Guru

                September 7th 2017 @ 11:27am
                Train Without A Station said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:27am | ! Report

                The alliance agreement stated that they could buy it back at any time.

                Actually it stated conditions on being able to buy it back.

              • Roar Rookie

                September 7th 2017 @ 2:05pm
                piru said | September 7th 2017 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

                TWAS do you know what these conditions were?

              • Roar Guru

                September 7th 2017 @ 2:15pm
                Train Without A Station said | September 7th 2017 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

                No.

                I can’t recall if it specified by it was mentioned in the judgement this week.

                I think it was just about meeting certain criteria.

                Reasonable guess would be things like cash on hand, sponsorship, etc.

                The way I took was so that they could just get somebody to front up the exact amount and say “Ok. Problem sorted. We’ll have that back now.” but rather about setting certain sustainability criteria that all franchises should be under.

            • September 7th 2017 @ 5:12pm
              kkovak said | September 7th 2017 @ 5:12pm | ! Report

              Sorry the ARU will never recover in WA from this debacle > The ARU board should follow pulver out the door but I have yet to meet a banker who had an ounce of decency in them as long as the trough was there to be snaffled .

          • Roar Guru

            September 7th 2017 @ 3:11pm
            Timbo (L) said | September 7th 2017 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

            Not under the current contract.
            The ARU would “Exit” the Force team the moment Channel 10 changed their broadcast from SD to HD sighting a submarine clause written into the contact.

            If the ARU want any respect they will hand it over for $1, I will raid my piggy bank to pay for it if they want.

            If not, Twiggy will create new branding – let’s say the “Western Foresters” and use an Argentina like jersey in FMG blue and white.

            • September 7th 2017 @ 8:51pm
              Percy P said | September 7th 2017 @ 8:51pm | ! Report

              How about The Western Ore?

        • September 7th 2017 @ 10:21am
          Bakkies said | September 7th 2017 @ 10:21am | ! Report

          Rugby WA VP John Edwards has confirmed that the Spirit was a part of the Alliance Agreement

          • Roar Guru

            September 7th 2017 @ 10:45am
            Train Without A Station said | September 7th 2017 @ 10:45am | ! Report

            And?

            Nobody disputed that the Alliance Agreement included obligations to the Spirit too.

            • September 7th 2017 @ 11:10am
              Bakkies said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:10am | ! Report

              and? That’s not a question

      • September 7th 2017 @ 9:20am
        P. Danntick said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:20am | ! Report

        ARU owns the trade mark registrations for the Force.
        Unlike Waratahs, Reds & Brumbies, which are owned by respective Rugby unions.

      • Roar Guru

        September 7th 2017 @ 2:42pm
        Timbo (L) said | September 7th 2017 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

        $1 should do the trick.
        The Franchise is worthless to the ARU.

        If that doesn’t work, Who owns the IP for Perth Spirit?

    • September 7th 2017 @ 5:04am
      Clyde said | September 7th 2017 @ 5:04am | ! Report

      What is it about 8-9 time zones for this competition? and it will be in direct competition with Super rugby? I say go for it Forrest..

      • September 7th 2017 @ 7:48am
        Bamboo said | September 7th 2017 @ 7:48am | ! Report

        It won’t be a direct competition to Super Rugby. If it was such an amazing concept why have the Force been fighting in court to stay in Super Rugby?

        I’m all for more rugby, and good luck with it working, but this is a step down for the Force if indeed it does get off the ground.

        • September 7th 2017 @ 9:34am
          664 the neighbour of the beast said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:34am | ! Report

          Direct competition to Super Rugby…hilarious! Go for it! People in New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina can’t wait to see the Black Swans play Fiji. Or that exciting clash between those heavyweights Singapore and Hong Kong.

          The Australian rugby community who want to change the “game” or the “competition” need to understand you are not that important in world rugby….stop thinking because you are going ordinary on and off the field that world rugby needs to change to benefit you and competitions and rugby need to be tinkered with to make you feel secure. Where was the bleating when South African teams were axed? Did you want to run another competition then or change the current one? No, because NSW won the Super competition that year and every thing was Rosie….seriously when did Australia get so arrogant when it comes to Sports? Get a reality check, Your not that important!!!!!

          • September 7th 2017 @ 10:52am
            Chooks said | September 7th 2017 @ 10:52am | ! Report

            The South Africans were given a lifeline into a top flight comp in Europe.
            What do you care if WA plays minnow teams? We just want to see our team compete.
            If that upsets you, better to keep your nose outta it.

          • Roar Rookie

            September 7th 2017 @ 11:05am
            piru said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:05am | ! Report

            Ok – I love your handle but:

            No one’s trying to change the game, WA just wants to play rugby, there’s been no talk of changing anything except if you consider a new comp ‘changing things to suit Australia’.

            I feel like you’ve fundamentally misunderstood the subject or just created your own to have a rant about an unrelated topic

          • September 7th 2017 @ 8:29pm
            Goldenaxe said | September 7th 2017 @ 8:29pm | ! Report

            Yeah no-one wants to watch Singapore V Hong Kong except if they have the Barret Brothers, David Pocock and Siya Kolisi playing for them. But that will disqualify them from playing for their national teams? Yeah right – just ask the Chappell brothers, Dennis Lillee and Thommo about that.

            • September 7th 2017 @ 8:42pm
              RahRah said | September 7th 2017 @ 8:42pm | ! Report

              For which they were well paid and then returned back to the mainstream when the establishment folded.

    • September 7th 2017 @ 5:11am
      Terry Tavita said | September 7th 2017 @ 5:11am | ! Report

      I don’t know why the media calls it a rebel competition and compares it to the IPL and the murdoch super league..if it is endorsed by the Pacific Island and Asian rugby unions, then it wouldn’t be a rebel comp would it?

      • September 7th 2017 @ 6:36am
        Ken Catchpole's Other Leg said | September 7th 2017 @ 6:36am | ! Report

        One man’s rebel is another man’s statesman Terry.

        • September 7th 2017 @ 9:08am
          Dave_S said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:08am | ! Report

          That, plus “rebel” is just a sexy word for lazy journalists. Wouldn’t read too much into it.

      • September 7th 2017 @ 10:48am
        ethan said | September 7th 2017 @ 10:48am | ! Report

        Because the Force wish they were the Rebels.

        • Roar Guru

          September 7th 2017 @ 10:49am
          Train Without A Station said | September 7th 2017 @ 10:49am | ! Report

          Only the licence part to be fair.

          • Roar Rookie

            September 7th 2017 @ 11:05am
            piru said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:05am | ! Report

            Nah, still don’t like the hokey uniform

            • September 7th 2017 @ 12:37pm
              mattocks said | September 7th 2017 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

              I like our uniform Piru.
              I like the Force one as well
              Neither are “hokey”
              Ultimately we tend to like whatever our team colours are.
              Stay nice, you’ve not usually been derogatory to the rebels.
              Don’t start now.
              I tend to think if the rebels had been dropped we would see many of the same articles and opinions but just swap the rebels name for the force.
              I have always said five teams is best and am upset the Force have been dropped.
              And very upset with the debacle the ARU have put us all in.

              • Roar Rookie

                September 7th 2017 @ 1:21pm
                piru said | September 7th 2017 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

                Don’t be too precious, I’m only joking.

        • September 7th 2017 @ 11:38am
          redbull said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:38am | ! Report

          Is that why the place is full of associates?

    • Columnist

      September 7th 2017 @ 6:44am
      Geoff Parkes said | September 7th 2017 @ 6:44am | ! Report

      Hi mate – just a small one but you’ve got your days mixed up in your tips. And no doubt the WA crowd will say you’ve got your tips mixed up as well!

      I’m skeptical about Twiggy’s proposed competition. Not for $50m anyway, to operate it for any length of time will need much more than that, and whatever assistance WR might provide, it won’t extend to any substantial ongoing funding of a loss-making competition.

      To host one SR match in Suva cost $2m. All of the infrastructure was shipped in and out from NZ, including people. Let’s say they downscale everything to keep costs down, then it becomes unsuitable as a TV product. Locals in Samoa, Tonga and Fiji can’t afford to attend regular matches, unless the ticket prices are next to nothing. So it’s hard to envisage where any revenue is going to come from.

      And it just doesn’t feel right. An Australian/Pacific competition featuring the one Australian side that is from as far away as possible? If it was Qld we were talking about then this would make a bit more sense.

      In the meantime, the best Force players will join other SR teams. So we’re talking about creating a competition for a side that doesn’t resemble the Force any more but will be more or less be the same as the Spirit. What for? Just to give these boys a game during the first half of the year? Admirable, but worth burning tens of millions of dollars on?

      There is a fantastic opportunity lurking somewhere in here to harness something valuable out of all of this mess. More so if the ARU and Twiggy are able at some point to end up on the same side of the table.

      But this smacks to me of cobbling something together to solve the problem of providing the PI nations with rugby and keeping the Force alive, when I’m not sure that this is a viable single solution to two very different problems.

      • September 7th 2017 @ 7:07am
        Rob9 said | September 7th 2017 @ 7:07am | ! Report

        Well said Geoff. Right on the money.

      • September 7th 2017 @ 7:55am
        Bamboo said | September 7th 2017 @ 7:55am | ! Report

        That is the problem in a nutshell.

        Feel sorry for Force fans, but the heart has been overriding the head for a while on this topic.

        • Roar Rookie

          September 7th 2017 @ 11:06am
          piru said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:06am | ! Report

          Aussie rugby could maybe do with a few decisions made with the heart.

          The head doesn’t seem to be doing so well to be honest

          • Roar Guru

            September 7th 2017 @ 11:10am
            Train Without A Station said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:10am | ! Report

            Nothing stops decisions from the heart (and consequence) being considered with the head.

            • Roar Rookie

              September 7th 2017 @ 11:41am
              piru said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:41am | ! Report

              That’s not the issue

              The issue is the head making decisions with no concern at all for the heart.

              This is business, but it’s still sport and runs on passion – how many times can the powers that be ignore the heart to make head decisions before it all falls in a heap?

              They need people to care and be passionate about their product, and that’s the very thing they are killing off.

              • Roar Guru

                September 7th 2017 @ 11:44am
                Train Without A Station said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:44am | ! Report

                Without enough passion you must unemotionally be able to make a call to walk away if it’s unsustainable though.

              • September 7th 2017 @ 1:30pm
                Selector said | September 7th 2017 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

                Hey TWAS
                Open question just looking for your insight.
                Do you think the ARU underestimated the kickback in both WA and beyond for this decision?
                Or do you think they knew it would come and just knew they had to wear the heat and hope to come out the other side?

              • Roar Guru

                September 7th 2017 @ 1:39pm
                Train Without A Station said | September 7th 2017 @ 1:39pm | ! Report

                I could be wrong but I think they knew it would be bad in WA and that the consequence could be to basically lose the market.

              • September 7th 2017 @ 3:30pm
                Selector said | September 7th 2017 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

                Thanks, despite the anger at the ARU, if this Twiggy concept comes off and the Spirit continue in the NRC, it may just be the best possible (given the axing decision) outcome for Rugby and the West.

              • Roar Rookie

                September 7th 2017 @ 11:59am
                piru said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:59am | ! Report

                Perhaps it would be more sustainable if they stopped killing people’s passion with cold, emotional decisions.

              • Roar Rookie

                September 7th 2017 @ 12:10pm
                piru said | September 7th 2017 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

                *emotionless

              • September 7th 2017 @ 12:53pm
                rock86 said | September 7th 2017 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

                Spot on Piru, it’s something bankers don’t get. Yet we have one running the show, go figure…

      • Roar Guru

        September 7th 2017 @ 7:56am
        Machooka said | September 7th 2017 @ 7:56am | ! Report

        Exactly G… which is why I kept asking myself why am I having cynical thoughts about Twiggy’s involvement in all of this.

      • Columnist

        September 7th 2017 @ 8:20am
        Brett McKay said | September 7th 2017 @ 8:20am | ! Report

        Yeah, you’re right mate, I have too. I’ll fix that shortly..

      • Roar Guru

        September 7th 2017 @ 8:35am
        sheek said | September 7th 2017 @ 8:35am | ! Report

        Geoff,

        Why would Twiggy engage with an organisation that has effectively cutoff his state from rugby, despite any platitudes to the contrary?

        It’s Twiggy’s money & I support him 100% that giving that money to ARU is conditional on the Force remaining in super rugby.

        Not that super rugby’s going to be around much longer in its current guise, I suspect.

        The ARU & SANZAAR are going to discover next year I suspect, that Australian rugby fans are deserting the comp in record pestilence numbers.

        This is the most disgraceful episode I have witnessed in following rugby for 50 years.

        • Roar Guru

          September 7th 2017 @ 9:40am
          Train Without A Station said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:40am | ! Report

          Because it offers no real benefit for WA Rugby.

          The reason he got involved.

          • September 7th 2017 @ 10:05am
            Bamboo said | September 7th 2017 @ 10:05am | ! Report

            Part of me thinks Twiggy got blind drunk at Force vs Waratahs game, went on a rant, and has too much pride to back out of it.

            • Roar Guru

              September 7th 2017 @ 10:09am
              Train Without A Station said | September 7th 2017 @ 10:09am | ! Report

              I just think the more ludicrous his supposed plans become, the more support he gets without any logic, so the more ludicrous he makes them.

              • September 7th 2017 @ 10:24am
                Bakkies said | September 7th 2017 @ 10:24am | ! Report

                Your definition of logic is very strange

              • Roar Rookie

                September 7th 2017 @ 11:08am
                piru said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:08am | ! Report

                Yeah you won’t be laughing when the Perth, Moon, Mars zero G rugby comp kicks off.

                In seriousness, this is not as outlandish as people seem to want to think. Flying to Asia from Perth is really no different to flying east or to NZ and a lot closer than heading to SA or Argentina.

              • Roar Guru

                September 7th 2017 @ 11:11am
                Train Without A Station said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:11am | ! Report

                No the concept of the competition is not at all.

                More so the prospect of Forrest underpinning it financially to make it successful in any way, due simply to the cost of that.

              • Roar Rookie

                September 7th 2017 @ 11:42am
                piru said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:42am | ! Report

                Have I missed something as I’ve seen no suggestion he is planning on paying for the whole thing. Just that he’s looking to set it up.

                What I took from him was that his role was more about levering contacts in Asia and getting interested parties on board – I doubt they’re all expecting a free ride.

              • Roar Guru

                September 7th 2017 @ 11:45am
                Train Without A Station said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:45am | ! Report

                So is he only setting it up if it’s financially sustainable without any (or limited) cash injection from him?

                Because that has not been said.

              • Roar Rookie

                September 7th 2017 @ 12:00pm
                piru said | September 7th 2017 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

                I don’t know, but a lot of people seem to have jumped to this conclusion

              • Roar Guru

                September 7th 2017 @ 12:13pm
                Train Without A Station said | September 7th 2017 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

                Twiggy’s promises tend to leave that open (i.e. they have not been definitive.)

              • September 7th 2017 @ 12:59pm
                rock86 said | September 7th 2017 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

                From what I’ve read, there’s already been unions in Asia who have expressed they’d like to play in such a competition, if true I can’t see them expecting a free ride for it all.

                The way I see it, Twiggy will definitely pour a fair bit of money into the comp to get it off the ground, but I reckon what’s going on behind the scene’s would be him leveraging his vast wealthy contacts throughout Asia to see how many sponsors he can get on board with the comp.

                I can’t see why some sponsor’s wouldn’t either, there’s currently being a fair bit of money spent in those unions to promote rugby, this type of comp would be ideal for them if they really are wishing to grow the game in their county.

                Is the comp going to be difficult to get off the ground, sure, but it’s really not as ludicrous as some people are making it out to be.

              • September 7th 2017 @ 1:37pm
                Selector said | September 7th 2017 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

                Agreed, they just need to not overstate it to start.
                This is what I would love to see happen:
                1. This comp it set up with Force and some Asian and Pacific teams in 2018
                2. Super rugby is abolished in 2020
                3. Force returns to the National or Trans Tasman/trans Pacific comp and takes the Pacific teams with it
                4. Asia has its own comp with these teams and Japanese team/s (Sunwolves etc).
                5. A club championship comp is set up where the best of these comps meet against the best of the UK, France, South Afirca etc

            • September 7th 2017 @ 11:05am
              Jacko said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:05am | ! Report

              Bamboooooo the other part of you doesnt think at all

      • September 7th 2017 @ 9:12am
        Dave_S said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:12am | ! Report

        Geoff, I agree and as I said elsewhere, I suspect Twiggy is playing a longer game on this.

        He’s creating a bit of leverage, maybe to get a WA side back into SR by way of re-re-negotiation of the whole SR operation (which I think we all agree would be welcome anyway).

        Purely speculation on my part, of course.

      • Roar Guru

        September 7th 2017 @ 9:18am
        Hoy said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:18am | ! Report

        I agree with the issue of the Force, over in WA, playing in a Pacific type comp… Wrong side of Aus.

      • September 7th 2017 @ 10:59am
        ethan said | September 7th 2017 @ 10:59am | ! Report

        Why do people think this competition is going to be funded from Twiggy’s $50m only? Obviously they will need to get sponsors and broadcasters involved to foot the costs, or it won’t happen. If they don’t think it can run at a profit or break even, it won’t happen. I haven’t heard Twiggy say that, but it is the only logical conclusion. He has repeatedly talked about the large economies of the places he is looking into – which obviously means Asia and not the Pacific Islands. He has also suggested the favourable time zones of these places compared to Perth, which again, points towards Asia and not the Pacific Islands.

        If he does have a PI team I’d be surprised if its any more than one. But if he gets 6 Asian teams involved (China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Phillipines, South Korea are a few places that comes to mind) there could be a large potential audience appealing to sponsors and broadcasters.

        Sure, maybe it won’t appeal to the rest of Australia, or NZ, or SA – but that won’t matter to him, because those are not his markets.

        Geoff you ask what the point of this competition would be? The same as any other competition. Opportunity for the athletes. Product for the businessmen and fans.

        • Roar Rookie

          September 7th 2017 @ 11:10am
          piru said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:10am | ! Report

          Yeah the $50 mill was his offer to the ARU, he’s made no mention of costs with regards the IndoPacifc thing

        • Columnist

          September 7th 2017 @ 11:23am
          Geoff Parkes said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:23am | ! Report

          That’s true Ethan but using the costs for running Super Rugby as a guide, I just don’t see how a new competition such as what this one is speculated to be, will be anything but an endless money pit.

          I went to a SR game in Singapore earlier this year – lucky if there was 2,000 people there. Would come nowhere near covering the cost of hiring that massive stadium. So they play somewhere else to keep costs down? It then compromises the tv product and any potential broadcast revenue.

          I’m not trying to be negative, but I just don’t see this working on its own merits. If the running costs are so high that payments to players are kept low, then what players exactly will this league attract?

          • September 7th 2017 @ 12:22pm
            Moz said | September 7th 2017 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

            I know its still small, but the Sunwolves were averaging 7,000 – 9,000 per game. Its just thats its a bloody big stadium that can hold 55,000 that made it look so small. But there are other grounds there where they play the local soccer games, which does allow for broadcasting etc. They can hold 10,000 (for comparison, thats on par with how many the Tahs got in their last home game) They were also getting 25,000 – 30,000 on the Sunday for the Singapore 7’s, so there is a market there.

            • Roar Guru

              September 7th 2017 @ 2:01pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 7th 2017 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

              Singapore is a tricky one.
              If the world ranking is anything to go by, rugby is not that big in Singapore. ATM they are ranked at number 60 in the world. That means the local player base is both very small and poor.

              However, I think it is not entirely fair to use Sunwolves games in Singapore as a measuring stick, hence Sunwolves is a Japanese team with a strong Japanese image. We can’t know, but if Singapore had their own team in SR, the local support might have been bigger.

              As I remember it, a consortium of businessmen tried to set up a Singaporean SR team that would be filled with PI players, but Sanzaar turned their offer down and opted for the Sunwolves instead. I don’t know the exact reasons why Sanzaar turned it down, but my guess would be that SR and Sanzaar are run by national unions and the business model all teams are using is to use local players that hopefully will boost the Test teams.

              • September 7th 2017 @ 2:13pm
                moaman said | September 7th 2017 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

                “That means the local player base is both very small and poor.”
                Do you know this for a fact Neutral or are you just guessing?
                According to Wiki (on a par with the Bible I know) there are nearly 10,000 registered players (doesn’t state age/gender) which is about the same as Georgia.
                If that figure is accurate and is senior players–then it is a decent amount.

              • Roar Guru

                September 7th 2017 @ 2:45pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 7th 2017 @ 2:45pm | ! Report

                I think the world ranking number 60 (Singapore) and the number 12 (Georgia) can be looked at as facts. And very telling facts.

                But if you can read something different from those two numbers, I am all ears moaman.

              • September 7th 2017 @ 4:08pm
                moaman said | September 7th 2017 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

                Neutral.
                I’m not quite sure where you are coming from here. I was replying to your statement that the numbers were “low and poor”.(Having spent a short bit of time in Singapore in my youth, I was a little surprised to hear that so I had a look.)
                If the numbers are to be believed—then they aren’t particularly” low”-that was the only point I was attempting to make.With some good coaching and a structure behind it—there would seem no reason why Singapore can’t forge themselves a decent rugby I.D.
                Around the world we see a similar story where numbers of players don’t necessarily reflect world ranking.

              • Roar Guru

                September 7th 2017 @ 4:36pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 7th 2017 @ 4:36pm | ! Report

                Sorry if it came through in a bad way moaman. Not my intention.

                Player numbers are always tricky since it seems there is no universal measuring stick. We don’t know if those 10 000 players – “according to the bible” – in Singapore are senior players playing in proper competitions or that number includes 10-year-old kids playing rugby in school twice a week.

                But the world ranking is a universal measuring stick that gives us a very fair picture what kind of quality the rugby has. And number 60 is way way down the pecking order.

                I have spent a lot of time in Singapore also the last six years. My take is that the rugby that is played is mainly played at international private schools as a part of the education. But after school, it seems rugby has very little hold over these privileged kids.

              • September 7th 2017 @ 4:48pm
                Moz said | September 7th 2017 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

                I think you’ll find there are actually more local kids playing than those in the International schools.

                There’s 3 divisions in the club competition, again with a lot of local participation. There is also a local schools comp, covering under 14, 17 & 19.

                If you go to the SCC 7s there are schools and aged comps which have a fair component of local teams.

              • Roar Guru

                September 7th 2017 @ 4:56pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 7th 2017 @ 4:56pm | ! Report

                Since you seem to know about rugby in Singapore Moz, do you have any idea why Singapore is so bad a senior level?

                It sure does not make any sense if they have a vibrant youth scene, but are hopeless at senior level.

              • September 7th 2017 @ 5:10pm
                Moz said | September 7th 2017 @ 5:10pm | ! Report

                Its an interesting question, and may be due to several reasons.

                One is that they possibly suffer from what other Asian countries experience – their general size is not conducive to playing against bigger opponents. We used to see that with Japan, who were quick and skillful, but would get smashed by larger teams.

                Possibly the main reason, and a bit of a generalization, is a cultural issue in Singapore. People (with an awfully large influence and pressure from parents) do not general gravitate towards professional sports as a career. It can be tolerated whilst at school, but thereafter its time to get serious, and get a real job, preferably with a bank…. You can see that across all sports here. Overall, it is not considered a respected option. Even work pressures, spending significant time in the office (whether efficient or not) is the norm here, which therefore makes even amateur participation difficult. You can even see this to some degree with the arts, music, etc.

                The also have the 2 year National Service issue. There was a recent case where one of the national soccer players was not eligible for a competition as he had to go off for his national service – no exceptions given!

              • Roar Guru

                September 7th 2017 @ 5:47pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 7th 2017 @ 5:47pm | ! Report

                Thanks, Moz (can’t help thinking about Morrissey every time I see your nickname)

                To me all you say make sense.

                But I am afraid that it would be very hard to change this Singaporean way about what is important in life. So to expect Singapore to take off and become a rugby playing nation of good quality is optimistic, to say the least…

                Maybe a 75/25 split between imported players and Singaporean players might work, but it would be very expensive to set it up. But with a clear Singaporean label on the team, it would probably have a better chance to get more local support than the Sunwolves had.

              • September 7th 2017 @ 7:04pm
                Moz said | September 7th 2017 @ 7:04pm | ! Report

                Neutral, my last name is actually Morrissey, and I still get the occasional comment even up here (he’s got a bit of a following here!). Even managed to see him when he played here last year!!!

                I think they definitely need to follow a long game here – majority of inports with some locals, and maybe one day they can grow it. However, it will never really take off like countries such as Japan – the population is not there for a start. However, it does have a strong expat community, which they can always tap into to support it. Possibly one issue with the Sunwolves was that they were always playing a Jarpie team. I think the numbers would have been better if they played the occasional Aussie or Kiwi team.

                One thing I have noticed is that women’s numbers have been increasing, both in 7s and touch.

              • Roar Guru

                September 7th 2017 @ 7:32pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 7th 2017 @ 7:32pm | ! Report

                Ah, then we have been in the same room once, I was in Singapore last year to see Morrissey. I am a massive fan since my teens. But I do have a little bit of trouble to ignore Morrissey’s flirting with some far right movements these days. But no-one is perfect… and he is a world class singer, poet, and performer.

                It would be great if rugby took off in Singapore, but as you state, it is a long long term project for sure.

                And 7-9 000 for Japanese team in Singapore is not to be sniffed at. There is something to build on. But I have my doubts about a possible “Twiggy Quick Fix” will do the trick.

            • September 7th 2017 @ 5:04pm
              mtiger said | September 7th 2017 @ 5:04pm | ! Report

              So let say, we have Malaysia and Singapore combo for 1 team, Hong Kong another, and then we have retiring allblacks/wallabies coach playing in those teams. That is 6 teams with Perth, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.

              Rugby is pretty small in these 3 countries. And of course, ticket pricing will hurt. But you do not need to spend Super Rugby level to get a product. You can look at say 50% of Super Rugby costs.

              It is still a made for TV product to have a decent chance of success.

              • Roar Guru

                September 7th 2017 @ 5:53pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 7th 2017 @ 5:53pm | ! Report

                If you read what Twiggy has said, nothing indicates that Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga is on the radar.
                The PI’s do have the players, but their time zones is not ideal and if we look at financing it is mission impossible. If it would be possible to run pro rugby on the PI’s, they would have been included in SR or in the NZ competition a long time ago.

                Not sure about combo team from Malaysia and Singapore either. Do you know about their history?

              • September 8th 2017 @ 12:21pm
                mtiger said | September 8th 2017 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

                Malaysia is currently 4th in Asia, hardly biting at South Korea. Singapore is probably 3 teams below. Malaysia is thinking of RWC 2019 (real long long shot, but who knows in 2027).

                In this decade, Tana Umaga had been planting rugby seeds in Sabah, so within Malaysia, that became a very decent team in South East Asia.

                By themselves, it would be pouring money into the desert, it will still be dry.

                But a South East Asian team, where both owners stump up 50% players, a few retiring Allblacks, regional MNCs pitching in, it would be good profile for rugby, competitive team, and helpful for both in pursuit of higher quality games and catching up with Hong Kong and South Korea.

          • Roar Guru

            September 7th 2017 @ 1:40pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 7th 2017 @ 1:40pm | ! Report

            but using the costs for running Super Rugby as a guide, I just don’t see how a new competition such as what this one is speculated to be, will be anything but an endless money pit.

            An important point. As far as I know, SR is not what brings in checks to Sanzaar, it is TRC that is the golden goose. And those who pay – by far the most – for TRC is SA and European broadcasters. I can’t know for certain, but I would predict that both SA and European broadcasters would find very little interest for a Tier 2-3 IndoPacific competition.

            The only Asian country ATM that is interesting to look at for Twiggy and Force is Japan IMHO. If the survival of the Force is the most important thing, an inclusion in the Japanese Top League looks like the only realistic option (but far from a given). Since all the teams in the Top League are owned by big Japanese companies, I can see a possibility that Twiggy could open some doors, hence he probably has some connections among the top brass in Japan.

            • Roar Guru

              September 7th 2017 @ 1:55pm
              Train Without A Station said | September 7th 2017 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

              Apparently Super Rugby at least used to account for 40% of ARU TV Revenue.

              So that would be somewhere upward of $20M for the Aus conference.

              I don’t know about the Top League structure and motivations. But if Forrest was happy to dump money into a dump that would bring little in TV revenue (like the rest of the Top League teams do) then I don’t see how it would be an issue unless the league was against non-Japanese teams.

              But to put together a close to competitive team, it wouldn’t be cheap.

              Take the Perth Spirit. That team is put together on the back of over 20 Super Rugby contracted players.

              To equal that standard you are going close to a Super Rugby team salary, plus travel, plus millions in off-field costs.

              Maybe it could work, but I don’t see the revenue matching the costs when we are talking about a League without any known large TV revenue.

              • Roar Guru

                September 7th 2017 @ 3:00pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 7th 2017 @ 3:00pm | ! Report

                Apparently Super Rugby at least used to account for 40% of ARU TV Revenue.

                Sounds about right. But that is for five teams (soon to be four). And the cost running five SR teams exceeds the costs running the Wallabies by… you have any idea TWAS?

                I recognize it is not an entirely fair comparison, and the SR teams and the Wallabies business models are tightly knitted. But I think there can no argument what it is that brings in the most money.

                Tha point – as I see it – for the Force to seek inclusion in Top League is just to stay alive and participate in a meaningful competition (with all foreign imports in the Top League, it is by some distance the best comp in the AsiaPacific outside SR and Mitre10).
                After 2020, we will most likely see another SR reshuffle. And if SA jumps ship, looking towards Japan seem like the best option for ARU and NZR. And that could open the door for the Force to rejoin.

                I think it is overlooked that there is already today enough money and players active in Japan to form a 4-5 SR teams. They could carry their own conference.
                I know it is not that straight forward, these players are contracted to private clubs and so on, but if one looks at the pure potential at the moment, Japan dwarfs anything else in the AsiaPacific.

    • September 7th 2017 @ 7:01am
      Jock Cornet said | September 7th 2017 @ 7:01am | ! Report

      Good luck Twiggy , try and involve the east coast as well. We don’t want to give ARU a cent as well. I would follow Twiggys comp rather than NRC and super rugby that has no soul

      • Roar Guru

        September 7th 2017 @ 9:41am
        Train Without A Station said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:41am | ! Report

        Old Jock the hypocrite.

        Calls for the ARU to cut the Force in 2016.

        Now says he doesn’t want to give the ARU a cent because they cut the Force.

        • September 7th 2017 @ 11:28am
          RahRah said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:28am | ! Report

          TWAS, YOU posted this this morning

          “If you can’t change your opinion when you become aware of more information, I question how you got to your opinion in the first place”.

          Who’s the hypocrite here, you or Jock?

          • Roar Guru

            September 7th 2017 @ 11:33am
            Train Without A Station said | September 7th 2017 @ 11:33am | ! Report

            Nothing has changed that Jock derived his opinion from.

            He just felt Australia should cut teams because he is a SS devotee.

            • Roar Guru

              September 7th 2017 @ 12:08pm
              PeterK said | September 7th 2017 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

              exactly many shute shield devotess want super rugby and nrc punted so they can regain their former glory , who cares about the development, and national footprint of rugby in aust.

      • September 7th 2017 @ 3:37pm
        andrewM said | September 7th 2017 @ 3:37pm | ! Report

        Well I have to hand it to Jack. At least he has been open to different POV and brave enough to post on his changed position.

        • Roar Guru

          September 7th 2017 @ 3:41pm
          Train Without A Station said | September 7th 2017 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

          He hasn’t changed his position.

          He just wants to complain about the ARU.

        • Roar Guru

          September 7th 2017 @ 3:43pm
          PeterK said | September 7th 2017 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

          no not really, he has been against super rugby and the aru ever since shute shield clubs didn’t get the funding they wanted.

          Nothing has changed.

          • Roar Guru

            September 7th 2017 @ 3:45pm
            Train Without A Station said | September 7th 2017 @ 3:45pm | ! Report

            Except his excuse for it.

          • Roar Guru

            September 7th 2017 @ 3:55pm
            Train Without A Station said | September 7th 2017 @ 3:55pm | ! Report

            The funniest part is all these people who think that people who have been gunning for them on pure principle are their allies, but the people who have supported them on principle and merely accepted their fate on reality are their enemies.

    • September 7th 2017 @ 7:16am
      Damo said | September 7th 2017 @ 7:16am | ! Report

      So people hate Super Rugby because of the timezones, playing in different countries, playing against teams no one cares about etc but for some reason some Mickey Mouse Super Rugby light comp is going to save Australian Rugby???

      • Roar Pro

        September 7th 2017 @ 2:16pm
        Crazy Horse said | September 7th 2017 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

        Nothing will save [Eastern] Australian rugby whilst any of the current board remain but this may very well save Western Australian Rugby which ATM is all we are concerned with.

        • September 7th 2017 @ 6:11pm
          not so super said | September 7th 2017 @ 6:11pm | ! Report

          still over estimating the size of your pitiful little state rugby union

          • Roar Rookie

            September 7th 2017 @ 6:19pm
            piru said | September 7th 2017 @ 6:19pm | ! Report

            pitiful little state

            Tas: 68,401 km2
            Vic: 237.629 km2
            NSW: 809,444 km2
            QLD: 1, 853, 000 km2

            WA 2,646,000 km2

            These are things you’d learn in school if you’d get off the internet long enough

      • Roar Guru

        September 7th 2017 @ 2:49pm
        Timbo (L) said | September 7th 2017 @ 2:49pm | ! Report

        A lot of people can’t follow it because it on Foxtel also.

        When Aussie games are scheduled for times that aren’t family friendly you get guys like TWAS spewing forth stats about the woeful turnout.

        If the games were played at a time that didn’t clash with local comps or witching hour with kids, the turnout might be a bit different.

        But are we more interested in eyes on screens, bums on seats or grassroots elite player pathways?

        The answer is all of the above.

        • Roar Guru

          September 7th 2017 @ 3:01pm
          Train Without A Station said | September 7th 2017 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

          But the most family friendly timed game (that didn’t clash with club rugby), a Sunday afternoon game, was still only attended by 8,400 people.

          That was less than your season average.

          It’s perfectly excusable to point to things like a Thursday night game and say they impact crowds, but you need the games that aren’t at those times to do well.

          Sunday afternoon games are also a rarity in Super Rugby. So every team deals with the lack of family friendly kick off times.

          • September 8th 2017 @ 3:02pm
            lobby said | September 8th 2017 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

            At least 8402, my 2 daughters came free on family day without tickets

            • Roar Guru

              September 8th 2017 @ 3:15pm
              Train Without A Station said | September 8th 2017 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

              Not purchasing a ticket doesn’t necessarily mean people weren’t counted.

              It’s in the venue’s best interest to publish every single fan for advertising reasons.

          • September 8th 2017 @ 9:08pm
            ForceFan said | September 8th 2017 @ 9:08pm | ! Report

            Gobsmacked how TWAS presents absolute rubbish as facts.

            The Western Force average attendance in 2017 was 9,600.
            This was marginally above the Brumbies 9,500 and Rebels 7,600.

            The Rugby “heartland” teams: Reds 15,100 and Waratahs 14,500.

            I don;t think that any of these numbers are anything to be proud of but I can confirm that they are averages from the best information available (all rounded to nearest ’00)

            The Waratahs numbers were difficult to get as the Tahs stopped reporting the low attendances early in the season.

            I can present the FACT (as I know it’s true) is that the WF attempted to gets bums on seats by a number of initiatives during the year but they were vetoed by the ARU as the ARU believed that it would “cheapen the brand”. Personally I’d rather see a full stadium.

            For the last home game against the Waratahs, finally the ARU approved one of the initiatives with $20 family passes (2 Adults/2 kids) but it was already too late as the axing of the Force was already gaining momentum and the forecast was for rain all night.

            Those who attended certainly enjoyed Matt Hodgson being sent off in style.

            There was little or no effort in planning appropriate game times for the Force and often home games were up against local AFL games.
            It didn’t help fan support to have only the single home game in the 1st 7 rounds.

            • September 8th 2017 @ 9:22pm
              ForceFan said | September 8th 2017 @ 9:22pm | ! Report

              It was the Sunday afternoon game against the Kings which drew a crowd of only 8,500.

              What a great piece of timetabling that wasn’t.

              Week 8 of the season and the 1st home game for 7 weeks (Played Reds at home is Round 1).
              Great family opportunity – Sunday afternoon.

              EXCEPT – it was the 1st weekend of the 1st Term School Holidays and and those who can in Perth head down south before the onset of Winter. It’s the same every year.

              To give an indication of the impact – attendance at my home church was only 25% of normal that same morning.

        • Roar Guru

          September 7th 2017 @ 3:08pm
          PeterK said | September 7th 2017 @ 3:08pm | ! Report

          you should record the games then timezones don’t matter

        • Roar Guru

          September 7th 2017 @ 3:15pm
          Timbo (L) said | September 7th 2017 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

          Spew…

          12 degrees. pi$$ing down rain.

          Get some context!

          I went to 3 games without my kids because the timing was wrong.

          They aren’t a rarity in SA. Ever wonder why this is?

          • Roar Guru

            September 7th 2017 @ 3:21pm
            Train Without A Station said | September 7th 2017 @ 3:21pm | ! Report

            https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/australia/perth/historic?month=4&year=2017

            Nope.

            Sunday 9 April 2017. 27 degrees and Sunny.

            It’s somewhat irrelevant what SA does. We are in Aus doing what Aus broadcasters will pay for. Without them there is no professional game.

            • Roar Guru

              September 7th 2017 @ 4:28pm
              Timbo (L) said | September 7th 2017 @ 4:28pm | ! Report

              The Kings Game?
              I was there with the family (Kids don’t appear in the stats because they were free) and there were a lot of people there.

              I think it was the Landers Game.

              The times are dictated by SANZAAR, in conjunction with the 3 Broadcasters
              It dictates the draw as well.
              Do not delude yourself, the broadcasters have their bony fingers controlling everything.

            • Roar Pro

              September 7th 2017 @ 4:45pm
              Crazy Horse said | September 7th 2017 @ 4:45pm | ! Report

              That one was against the Kings who nobody expected would be competitive.

              • Roar Guru

                September 7th 2017 @ 5:01pm
                Train Without A Station said | September 7th 2017 @ 5:01pm | ! Report

                So it’s not just family friendly times?

                Needs to be the right opponents also?

              • Roar Pro

                September 7th 2017 @ 9:13pm
                Crazy Horse said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:13pm | ! Report

                Yes. People want to see a contest, not a walkover and/or in the case of expats their team play. The Chiefs and Crusaders for instance always draw a large crowd in Perth as do some of the South African teams.

                That’s not to discount the effect of unsuitable times. the Chiefs on Sunday afternoon may well have filled nib. The Kings were never going to. Anyone from Perth could have told you that 6;00 PM on a Thursday night will get very small crowds no matter who is playing.

              • Roar Guru

                September 8th 2017 @ 12:22pm
                Timbo (L) said | September 8th 2017 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

                add 2,500 kids to your stats and they don’t look so bad!

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