It’s time for an international window across all rugby leagues

Gavin Cohen Roar Rookie

By Gavin Cohen, Gavin Cohen is a Roar Rookie


119 Have your say

    It’s an old adage, in fact we hear it at least twice a year. Bath recently got fined £60,000 by Premiership Rugby for allowing Taulupe Faletau to play for Wales against South Africa in early December.

    Now this is something that has always amazed me, growing up I always thought that a player’s highest goal was to play for their country. That is not entirely true – especially in other sports – but in our rugby it should be as rugby internationals are highly attended, loved and supported both at the stadium and on our couches.

    In football they call them international friendlies, in rugby we do not, we just call them internationals.

    Effectively there are no actual friendlies in international rugby, every time a player turns up for international duty he gives 100 per cent, he is excited about the occasion, no matter what the quality of the opposition is.

    Some countries have rules about whether or not a player is eligible for international duty, but what is clear is that every rugby player desires to play for their respective country.

    Now let’s look at the £60,000. Where does it go? Maybe we need to look at who benefited? Wales benefited, Bath lost, Aviva Premiership lost. Looking at this is seems clear to me that Wales should pay and not Bath. In fact the club (Bath) should never pay. How did they decide on that amount?

    Should there actually be any internationals outside of the window? I say no, it’s silly.

    In South Africa, Australia and New Zealand we do not have this problem. Super Rugby takes place 100 per cent outside of the window and the Currie Cup in SA and the Mitre 10 New Zealand Cup take place during the winter rugby season in the southern hemisphere when the Rugby Championship is happening.

    In the UK the Six Nations takes place at the same time as the Aviva, Pro 14 and French Top 14. This seems crazy as these are big sides, in fact just as big as the Super Rugby franchises, why they would have local matches at the same time as the internationals is beyond me?

    Let’s look at the year. There are two three-week windows, total six weeks, the Six Nations is five weeks the Rugby Championship is six weeks. Effectively a team like Australia would play 12 matches and a team like England would play 11 matches, considering that there are 52 weeks in the year where rugby is played the international games take up around 22 per cent of all the weeks available, effectively there are 17 weeks (33 per cent) in the year that there will be a Tier 1 international being played.

    That is not a lot at all. Surely the rugby bosses could come up with a solution that allows for international only weeks and club only weeks?

    In summary, I also think that all player contracts should allow them to play for their country should they be selected.

    It is ridiculous that local games are being played on the same weekends as internationals. It is ludicrous to fine a club. If anyone is to pay it should be the country that is benefiting, in this case Wales.

    The amount should go to the right place and the amount should be a fair reflection of the actual loss incurred by losing the player in question.

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    The Crowd Says (119)

    • December 30th 2017 @ 10:15am
      Bakkies said | December 30th 2017 @ 10:15am | ! Report

      In Europe there are other competitions. Not the Heineken Cup sponsored by Heineken takes up 9 weeks out of the season. The Anglo Welsh Cup is often played in test windows as the best players never play in that comp anyway.

      They usually have a couple of free weekends which are often taken up by rescheduled matches. They are going to need them with the ongoing snow fall wrecking havoc. Even if the grounds are fit for play but the roads aren’t safe for the teams and spectators to travel on they will postpone the fixture.

    • Roar Guru

      December 30th 2017 @ 10:26am
      Poth Ale said | December 30th 2017 @ 10:26am | ! Report

      As ever, it’s worthwhile looking into the facts.

      Faletau agreed a contract with Bath that allowed him to play test matches for Wales whenever he was called up. Bath signed the contract with him knowing that it was likely that he would be asked to play an out of window test. So the issue has nothing to do with the player or with the WRU. That was the signed agreement by the club. Northampton had previously been in the same position with George North when he was called up outside window. They paid a fine to Premiership Rugby too.

      The fine amount was negotiated between Bath and PRL and covers any remaining tests Faletau may play before end of his contract.

      The reason for the fine is at the insistence by the English RFU under the terms of their test player release agreement with the English clubs. They pay for access to their players from the clubs. Therefore, they don’t want other unions getting access to their players outside of windows and the English clubs do not receive payment from other unions for foreign players playing tests in or outside windows.

      The 12 English clubs are the only ones with this proviso in place with their union. The other 28 clubs in the Top 14 and PRO14 and the six unions involved don’t have the same problem.

      Calls for changing the whole NH season because of a few players in one league is completely over the top and unnecessary.

      Unions that play tests outside of the November test windows are mostly NZ, Australia, South Africa, Wales. England do it occasionally, Ireland less so. Scotland and Italy rarely. They do it for one simple reason – to generate revenue.

      The Super Rugby season runs for 18 rounds plus playoffs. The Top 14 has 26 rounds plus 3 playoffs. The PRO14 has 21 rounds plus 3 playoffs and the Premiership 22 rounds plus 2 playoffs. In addition, the European Cup has 6 pool rounds and 3 playoffs. The Six Nations runs for 7 weeks in Feb-Mar.

      With the new global season starting in 2020, the mid year tests will now happen in July. The PRO14 intends to expand by 2 more teams and reduce the number of rounds so that no games are played in test windows. The Premiership will extend its season to end June and take games out of test windows. The Top 14 has yet to decide what changes if any it will make since it doesn’t finish until mid June anyway.

      • Roar Guru

        December 30th 2017 @ 2:46pm
        The Neutral View From Sweden said | December 30th 2017 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

        With the new global season starting in 2020

        We will see how things play out. RIght now I see very little support for this change among players and coaches in the NH.

        • December 30th 2017 @ 3:53pm
          AM_Bokke said | December 30th 2017 @ 3:53pm | ! Report

          A strong Southern Hemesphere is what gives rugby a chance at being a global game. If rugby becomes a sport that is only played in southern France and the British isles it has no future. Nobody else will care.

          • December 30th 2017 @ 7:02pm
            Bakkies said | December 30th 2017 @ 7:02pm | ! Report

            What are you getting at? The season was moved to accommodate Super Rugby. It will be a complete waste of time and hot air in the likely scenario that the tournament is canned after 2020.

            • December 31st 2017 @ 12:21pm
              AM_Bokke said | December 31st 2017 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

              Well, I wouldn’t call Super Rugby being canned in 2020 as “likely”. But it is clear that the club game has not found equilibrium. I think that the 11 or 12 test match season is working well. Some country’s fans might have issues with who they play but it is a good amount of games for all. A continuous test season is good for the SH regardless of if Super Rugby has the calendar it does or not.

              The question now is how the next tier works. Super Rugby is at a low ebb but first South Africa, then Argentina and now Japan have always needed someone to play. It’s not a new problem that these countries are far from each and not located on the European continent. Yes, it is more complicated but doing away with Super Rugby will not shift the plates and bring these countries closer together. It will always be an issue.

              I think that it is more “likely” that the premiership will have fewer teams in 2020 than Super Rugby no longer exists.

              • January 2nd 2018 @ 8:20am
                Bakkies said | January 2nd 2018 @ 8:20am | ! Report

                How can you say that a continuous test season is good for the SH where it consists of different countries with their own issues.

                It is not helping Australian Rugby due to the top players not playing in domestic competition for several months and due to the time zone a lot of those tests are on when people are sleeping. Only a certain age group has the stamina to stay up and watch the matches live and recording matches is not the same. When I am in Australia I have a stack of matches on record that I haven’t got around to watching.

                It’s the same problem with Super Rugby and your team is likely to have no home game/s for a month due to travel and byes. The RA have kicked out a team to support a side they have wasted at least 30 million dollars on non budgeted funding so people in WA have an unstructured schedule for a year at least we hope and aren’t going to follow Super Rugby.

                NZ have it more difficult with time zones and their top players haven’t played NPC for over a decade reducing it to a comp for left overs and development players.

                I have already mentioned the state of your Currie Cup to you.

                Domestic competitions are the bread and butter and week to week shopfront to keep people involved in top level local Rugby. Due to test teams running around like a jet setting club side for months with coaches having to rest players or pulling players from tours it has reduced domestic comps to tier 3.

              • January 2nd 2018 @ 12:16pm
                AM_Bokke said | January 2nd 2018 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

                FYI – I am American. Never been to SA, AUS or NZ but will be attending my first professional rugby match in Tokyo in April. Sunwolves vs Waratahs.

                I have been a Bok fan since the 2007 World Cup but have only started following more closely in the past year.

                I would bet that the Currie Cup and the NPC would be in the same shape today without Super Rugby, just that all the current Super Rugby players would be in Europe. They were amateur competitions. Amateur competions can be engaging and successful – Olympics, American College Football, Canadian Junior Hockey – but those comps were never going to keep top class professional sportman in their respective countries.

                NZ is not large enough for a professional league in an international sport. In theory Super Rugby with just NZ and Aus could work but rugby is not popular enough in Aus (for audience or to supply players) so South Africa was brought in.

                I greatly respect that NZ keeps their players. They developed them! They should reep the rewards when they are full grown, top functioning sportsmen and not let foreign people grab all the revenue that they create. I wish that SA had the same attitude.

                I think that the time zone issue is overstated by Aussies. It is only 2 games that Aus and NZ teams will play in an awkward time zone. All of the others will be in NZ, Aus or Japan. NZ knows that their time zone is crappy and don’t complain.

                Sure, it makes following ALL games pretty hard but only journalists watch all games in any sport anywatly. Very few fans do. And again, it’s only two or three games a week, out of six or seven, that are played in SA or Arg.

                And byes are great! Rugby is a physical game and players get physically depleted week-in and week-out. The euro leagues should have more byes. They are way better than perpetually injured players.

              • January 2nd 2018 @ 12:24pm
                Bakkies said | January 2nd 2018 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

                The Currie Cup and the NPC have not been amateur for a long time now.

                The time zone is a problem for Australia as all games in Europe and SA are on late at night or early in the morning.

              • Roar Rookie

                January 2nd 2018 @ 12:41pm
                piru said | January 2nd 2018 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

                I think that the time zone issue is overstated by Aussies.

                Agree with this, vastly so.

              • January 3rd 2018 @ 9:59am
                Bakkies said | January 3rd 2018 @ 9:59am | ! Report

                Disagree Piru it heavily affects the tv deal as News Corp aren’t going to cough up more money to televise the matches when people are asleep.

                The extra money this time around has come from Europe who can broadcast the bulk of the matches when people are awake and have competition for rights.

                Foxsports haven’t had competition for rights in Australia since Optus Vision went out of business and the likes of Eurosport, BeIN and ESPN haven’t put up bids. They all rely on the FOXTEL monopoly to broadcast their channels in to Australian homes so probably don’t want upset the apple cart.

        • Roar Guru

          December 30th 2017 @ 11:21pm
          Poth Ale said | December 30th 2017 @ 11:21pm | ! Report

          You see very little support among players and coaches for the changes to the global season in the NH?

          Which players and coaches in the NH are you talking about?

          • January 1st 2018 @ 9:43pm
            cuw said | January 1st 2018 @ 9:43pm | ! Report

            @ Poth Ale

            i think there is confusion re 2020 vision and the Aviva’s plan to increase the number of teams to 14.

            as i recall many players were not in favor of an extended season.

            Billy Vunipolla and many others publicly stated they would rather take a pay cut.

            am not sure where that proposal stands as of now.

            • Roar Guru

              January 2nd 2018 @ 8:15am
              Poth Ale said | January 2nd 2018 @ 8:15am | ! Report

              There’s no ‘vision’ for the revised global season in 2020. It’s happening. Full stop.

              As a consequence, the PRL proposes to extend the English league (that’s one Union) to end of June and keep their start date the same. There’s been no mention of expanding to 14 teams in this context. Yes some English players and a couple of English coaches (from one Union territory) oppose the season extension proposal from PRL.

              The PRO14 (five unions) and the Top14 (one Union) have not said anything about this English proposal to its own league since it has nothing to do with them. The only common competition is the European Cup which finishes in May currently. The PRO14 intends to start its season later in September when new global season starts in 2020/21.

              • January 2nd 2018 @ 4:05pm
                cuw said | January 2nd 2018 @ 4:05pm | ! Report

                so ur saying , there is no vision to expand aviva to 14 teams?

                and even stop the current demotion- promotion system that happens every year ?

              • Roar Guru

                January 3rd 2018 @ 12:12am
                Poth Ale said | January 3rd 2018 @ 12:12am | ! Report

                There has been discussion of ringfencing the Premiership for a number of years now. It’s not linked to the WR discussions and decisions made at beginning of 2017 on the revised global season due to start in 2020. The main change was to accommodate Sanzaar completing their expanded Super Rugby 18 comp in June.

    • December 30th 2017 @ 10:48am
      RahRah said | December 30th 2017 @ 10:48am | ! Report

      Frankly I’m tired of the whole bloody rugby circus. The game has become the domain of pimps, whores and sundry other maggots feeding from the carcass of a once honorable game.
      Local Club games, a place where they play the game for the love of it will be where I spend my time and money.

      • December 30th 2017 @ 12:05pm
        Dave_S said | December 30th 2017 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

        You’re lumping a lot of decent and honourable administrators, coaches and players in with those slurs.

        • December 30th 2017 @ 12:16pm
          RahRah said | December 30th 2017 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

          Clearly the post does not include everyone ever associated with the game, however I call it as I see it.

          • December 30th 2017 @ 9:15pm
            Dave_S said | December 30th 2017 @ 9:15pm | ! Report

            Right, so just everyone currently associated with the game. Apart from everyone in WA of course ….

            • December 30th 2017 @ 10:22pm
              RahRah said | December 30th 2017 @ 10:22pm | ! Report

              However you wish to read it. Like most virtue signalers I’m sure you will – fill your boots. You could even wish me dead as you did to another poster on a previous topic ?

              • December 31st 2017 @ 8:20am
                Dave_S said | December 31st 2017 @ 8:20am | ! Report

                Who’s the virtue signaller? You’re the one professing to be holier than the rest.

              • January 1st 2018 @ 9:20am
                aussikiwi said | January 1st 2018 @ 9:20am | ! Report

                The term “virtue signaller” has become the ‘go to’ cheap insult by the far right to be used against anyone who dares to express a view based on principle rather than naked self interest.

              • January 2nd 2018 @ 8:05pm
                FunBus said | January 2nd 2018 @ 8:05pm | ! Report

                AK, if I wanted superficial, facile political comment, I’ve got lots of options – people come on here to talk about rugby.

              • January 3rd 2018 @ 7:12am
                aussikiwi said | January 3rd 2018 @ 7:12am | ! Report

                Haha right Funless, and if i want pompousity personified I look for your posts.

              • January 1st 2018 @ 8:30pm
                AndyS said | January 1st 2018 @ 8:30pm | ! Report

                So I assume you would be holding up 2017 as a shining demonstration of all that is good about professional rugby and even handed administration of a sport then…?

    • Roar Guru

      December 30th 2017 @ 2:42pm
      The Neutral View From Sweden said | December 30th 2017 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

      What baffles me is that Test rugby is the big money making machine in the rugby world, still, Test rugby is plagued with Test teams that cant field their best players (and thereby putting the whole concept of Test rugby in jeopardy) and Test teams that have far from ideal preparation time.

      • December 30th 2017 @ 4:02pm
        AM_Bokke said | December 30th 2017 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

        Test rugby doesn’t create enough content to play the players. That is why Super Rugby was created. Content to sell broadcasters that can be used to pay players.

        I like Super Rugby and think that it has basically worked.

        In Europe, wealthy men are speculating on rugby and trying to fit it into the association football model of constant games all the time, zillions of different comps going on at once. It is not working. They are losing money. Which has created a Cold War over the players that create the product.

        Everyone likes test rugby the most, except the wealth speculators that lose money paying the players the highest salaries.

        • December 30th 2017 @ 9:27pm
          Dave_S said | December 30th 2017 @ 9:27pm | ! Report

          Yes it’s an interesting study in “market failure” from an economist point of view, assuming that consumers value the Test product most highly.

          But as Geoff Parkes notes in his great new book (still reading it), it can’t be assumed that all consumers value tests most highly – for eg it seems there are plenty of French fans who put their club’s success before their national team. Similarly, I suspect many European football (soccer) fans would put a club premiership ahead of a national World Cup victory.

          • December 31st 2017 @ 12:05pm
            AM_Bokke said | December 31st 2017 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

            It is hard to judge France because of the language difference but it is pretty clear that international tests have higher broadcast ratings and drive greater fan engagement on social media than the club game. This includes England and the Celtic nations. European champions cup finals do not sell out. I am sure that there are fans that love the clubs more than they support more their national teams, but there are not enough of them to make English clubs profitable.

            France also has the issue of having to play 6 nations tests in Paris while the rugby heartland is in the south.

            What is interesting economically is that private investors can absorb losses in the short but still must do whatever it takes to make money in the medium term aka England club owners. While nonprofit NGOs must break even every year in the short term but can focus on the long term mission of the social activity aka World Rugby and the NZRU.

            The Premiership needs to grow its revenue and soon. Worcester, London Irish and now Northampton cannot compete.

            • Roar Guru

              December 31st 2017 @ 10:33pm
              Rugby Fan said | December 31st 2017 @ 10:33pm | ! Report

              Growing revenue has not been a problem for the Premiership. There is far more money in the game than before. The problem is that costs have grown faster.

              • January 1st 2018 @ 12:32am
                Dave_S said | January 1st 2018 @ 12:32am | ! Report

                Cost, and more so inefficient allocation of resources and rent-seeking behaviours. Of course these are problems of all maturing markets. But it is sad when there are clearly some groups who lose more than others – I’m thinking the Pacific Islander players in particular.

              • January 1st 2018 @ 3:08am
                AM_Bokke said | January 1st 2018 @ 3:08am | ! Report

                The costs represent the quality of the product. In the long term the revenues must match the costs for the product to maintain it’s quality.

                If investors, even ones that are emotionallly driven rugby fans, thought that the priemiership had a reasonable shot at growing revenues then maybe Worcester would have a buyer by now.

                I understand that Exeter makes money but the fact that the most isolated club, in the smallest catchment area with the least entertainment competition is the money maker is an odd fact for me.

                Super Rugby also has also continuously grown its revenue.

              • January 2nd 2018 @ 8:30am
                Bakkies said | January 2nd 2018 @ 8:30am | ! Report

                Exeter charge high ticket prices, focus on local development and don’t buy in big name foreign players.

                The clubs have to finance their stadiums as the councils don’t pay for redevelopment which is why clubs like Saracens have heavy debts. A lot of clubs have redeveloped their grounds in recent years. Bath have always had issues due to their council which hasn’t allowed them to increase their capacity. They have looked to move but the options are further afield within Bath.

                The salary cap has also gone up.

              • January 2nd 2018 @ 11:17am
                AM_Bokke said | January 2nd 2018 @ 11:17am | ! Report

                Thank you.

                But I would think that if the newly renovated grounds are full of fans paying high prices then the clubs should be able to break even. Debt and operating costs should be paid by the business.

                Lots of clubs don’t want the salary cap to go up. Worcester has shrunk it’s player budget because they have no money. Northampton complains about the high salary cap in the media. They also suck now. I am not necessarily a fan of salary caps in general but they do help take risk out of the business for owners.

              • January 3rd 2018 @ 10:41am
                Bakkies said | January 3rd 2018 @ 10:41am | ! Report

                ‘But I would think that if the newly renovated grounds are full of fans paying high prices then the clubs should be able to break even.’

                Try upping the ticket prices in Europe and watch the fans vote with their feet. The majority of the clubs are based in towns and cities where the average salary is far lower than the capital that’s what people who have never been there need to understand.

                Ticket prices are a huge issue in English Football mainly due to fans being able to take their family or purchase season tickets. Wages are very low particularly up north. The likes of Thatcher put paid to that. She shut down the mines and manufacturing plants also closed. They haven’t been able to replace those industries with jobs that provide a stable income and so they are relying on the service economy which pays just above minimum wage for employment. Some service industry jobs have zero hours contracts or the right to reduce your hours with no sick pay so you aren’t guaranteed a stable wage. You barely clear a thousand quid a month on that kind of salary.

            • January 3rd 2018 @ 10:30am
              Bakkies said | January 3rd 2018 @ 10:30am | ! Report

              ‘It is hard to judge France because of the language difference but it is pretty clear that international tests have higher broadcast ratings and drive greater fan engagement on social media than the club game.’

              The tests in France, Ireland and the UK are broadcast on terrestrial tv channels that are subsidised by tv licence fees of course they are going to have more viewers.

              ‘European champions cup finals do not sell out.’

              Majority of them do. Particularly when there is an Irish team involved.

              ‘France also has the issue of having to play 6 nations tests in Paris while the rugby heartland is in the south.’

              Big business and the broadcaster is located in Paris. That’s why the union has a contract with the stadium in Paris and wanted to build a new national Rugby stadium there.

              ‘The Premiership needs to grow its revenue and soon.’

              They have recently signed a new tv deal for more money.

        • January 3rd 2018 @ 3:10am
          Taylorman said | January 3rd 2018 @ 3:10am | ! Report

          Losing money? Excellent.

          • January 3rd 2018 @ 10:52am
            Bakkies said | January 3rd 2018 @ 10:52am | ! Report

            What a ridiculous thing to post.

      • Roar Rookie

        January 2nd 2018 @ 12:44pm
        piru said | January 2nd 2018 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

        Because test rugby is and always has been the recognised epitome of the game.

        The fact that some countries put their club scene ahead of the international game doesn’t subtract from this.

    • December 30th 2017 @ 11:20pm
      Silent1 said | December 30th 2017 @ 11:20pm | ! Report

      These tests outside of the windows are held for the sole reason of creating revenue, predominantly for SH nations as they can make 5+ million a pop for each of these games.

      This will not change untill WR and Int Unions agree on a revenue sharing model for games in the Test Windows (6 Nations and RC excluded), as matches held in the NH generate more $$$ and SH unions are always looking at ways to hold off the euro clubs and their ever expanding contracts.

      Games between Tier 1 sides could see the host receive 75% of all revenue and the guest 25%. Tests between a Tier 1 side and Tier 2 should see the host take home 60-65% and the developing guest 35-40%.

      This would even out the revenue between Tier 1 sides as it would include the mid year tests held by the SH nations and the NH’s EOYT, both generating differing amounts of cash and sides will rotate matches so as not to allow the richer sides wanting to host the most marketable ones each year. Also it will pump huge amount of much needed cash into the 2nd Tier Unions to grow and develop and pay their players something closer to the top sides.

      If any of this is a must it has to be for the Tier 2 sides as some truely are cash strapped with small stadiums and unwillingness of big sides to play them in their home country. Leaving little chances to grow revenue, training facilities and in the cases of P.I eligible players with dual nationalities, only having the pride of their heritage to play for as without change to status quo these sides with huge potential haven’t got a big chance of winning RWC’s or playing in other big tournaments.

      On a side note Taulupe Faletau knew what he was getting into when he signed a deal in a different country, which is why he added an Int Clause. So the blame has to go on Bath who knowingly signed a contract that breaks the rules of the competition they participate in and also for the WRU who allow players based overseas to play for them (even if its only a handful), a possible best case scenario could be to onlt allow players playing in the Pro14 to be eligible?

      But yes the pro rugby calender needs a clean out and some comps do need to reduce matches to create space between club and country and stop overworking players (NH as SH has a clear separation between club and country). It seems that the clubs thinking is more matches equals more revenue (especially with talk of the AP and Top14 wanting to add more matches when the calender changes), but you could also argue less matches could generate more $ also as each match would become more meaningful and stadiums more likely to sell out with fans wanting having less chance to see their side viewing these matches would become more meaningful to them also.

      • Roar Guru

        December 30th 2017 @ 11:34pm
        Poth Ale said | December 30th 2017 @ 11:34pm | ! Report

        I don’t agree with your line of argument.

        Wales and England host 4th internationals because they want to make money. Particularly Wales who have had massive stadium debt from the Millenium Stadium.

        How would a revenue sharing policy on Tier 1 test matches as you outline even out revenues for the unions in Italy, Scotland, Ireland, Wales?

        I agree that some revenue structure should be put in place for some of the Tier 2 nations.

        • December 31st 2017 @ 10:36am
          Taylorman said | December 31st 2017 @ 10:36am | ! Report

          Wont matter in the end, England want the money level at the club level because theres more teams there. Same as Football. No one really cares about internationals until World cup time. Rugbys headed that way.

          Currently they need a window to protect test rugby when it used to be the biggest show in town.

        • December 31st 2017 @ 10:50am
          Silent1 said | December 31st 2017 @ 10:50am | ! Report

          It would mostly help out the SH sides as they don’t make as much $ off the north vs south games as the north do. But as I stated sides would rotate hosting the bigger SH sides eg ABs to generate bigger match revenue by more fan engagement and not by the current arrangement of the bigger NH sides hosting a side like the ABs twice in a month. Also sides like Italy and Scotland could feature in a midyear series in NZ which is something from memory I can’t recall seeing. Obviously a 25% match fee isn’t going to make the biggest difference in the world but it could make a small difference.

          • Roar Guru

            December 31st 2017 @ 2:27pm
            Poth Ale said | December 31st 2017 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

            None of that makes sense. Why would the Celtic or Italian unions (all are Tier 1 Nations) reduce their income by giving some of it to the NZRU which makes more revenue than them?

            There is no current arrangement for any of 6N teams to host NZ twice in a month.

            Italy and Scotland decided not to do 3-match series with SA/NZ or Aus. Instead they opted for June tours involving Tier 1 and Tier 2 teams in places like Fiji and Samoa. There isn’t any money to be made from stadia revenue in SA, Aus or NZ – the stadia are either too small or they don’t get filled and the tours are badly marketed.

        • December 31st 2017 @ 11:33am
          Bakkies said | December 31st 2017 @ 11:33am | ! Report

          Exactly those unions you mention don’t have the money to throw away at bent unions like SARU and the RA who would have more money if they were managed professionally instead of being used as a personal fiefdom.

        • January 3rd 2018 @ 11:19pm
          Chris said | January 3rd 2018 @ 11:19pm | ! Report

          Millenium Stadium should of been a 50000 seater stadium and the Cardiff Football club could of been the weekly tenant.

    • December 31st 2017 @ 12:32am
      Bakkies said | December 31st 2017 @ 12:32am | ! Report

      Pretty sure that Faletau is going back to Wales at the end of his contract so this issue won’t arise again with him.

      • January 1st 2018 @ 9:48pm
        cuw said | January 1st 2018 @ 9:48pm | ! Report

        also what many are missing is that Sarries excluded the “country first” clause from LIAM WILLIAMS’ contract !!!