New CBA and re-brand means everything is actually okay after all

Jack Quigley Columnist

By Jack Quigley, Jack Quigley is a Roar Expert

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    In the first major rugby news of the year, Rugby Australia have splashed the cash in a new Collective Bargaining Agreement which will see pay increases for Super Rugby, Rugby Sevens and female players.

    The deal sees an increase in the squad sizes of Super Rugby teams, and an increase in the salary cap to accommodate, more than likely to offset, the demise of the Western Force and the 30 players who were left without contracts by rehousing the better ones across the four remaining franchises. Although it still sort of feels like most of the Force squad just ended up going to the Rebels.

    Female players will now earn the same as their male counterparts on the sevens circuit, and will be paid for Test appearances for the first time. However, at this stage, there are still no plans to pay players competing in the soon to be launched Super W competition which seems, well, amateur.

    Rugby is a contact sport and players – at the elite levels especially – put their bodies on the line. If the Super W competition generates so much as a dollar of revenue from advertising or broadcasts – and I plan to watch it if I can – then that dollar must be divided up between the stakeholders, with the players getting a cut of it.

    The new CBA cuts players (the ones who are getting paid) in on 29 percent of revenue – about the same as Australia’s cricketers get under their new deal.

    While it’s great for the players involved and for those Force players who had the rug pulled from under them, like anything with Rugby Australia caution should be exercised whenever money is spent.

    Bear in mind that the justification for cutting the Force was supposedly because running the fifth franchise was sending the game broke, and the money saved would, in turn, be funnelled into grassroots development so maybe one day we wouldn’t lose to the New Zealand-based teams every single time.

    Matt Hodgson Western Force Rugby Union Super 2017

    (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

    Since the axing of the Force, the only noteworthy news items out of HQ, with the exception of Raelene Castle replacing Bill Pulver and anything related to Karmichael Hunt, have been this pay deal and the completely unnecessary (and incredibly expensive) re-brand from the Australian Rugby Union to Rugby Australia. Neither of which really align with the promises and reasoning behind the Force decision.

    The re-brand reeks of the corporate equivalent of entering the witness protection program. Change the name and the logo and hopefully leave all of your troubles behind.

    “Aren’t you that organisation that haemorrhages money and couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery?”

    “Oh my, no, you’re thinking of the Australian Rugby Union. We’re Rugby Australia – see, it says so right there on the sign.”

    2017 was the darkest of times for the game in this country since rugby went professional – possibly ever. 2018 needs to bloody good.

    The new CBA is a good one for all parties, though in time I’d like to see the maximum Super Rugby squad sizes come back down again – the whole point of cutting the fifth team was because the talent was spread too thin and we were paying too many guys who weren’t really good enough. Wasn’t it? No, wait. It was for development. Or because they were sending us broke. Or was it that we needed that cash for other stuff like the re-brand?

    Anyway, with the ARU – *ahem* – sorry, Rugby Australia, always question everything.

    On to 2018, where the game of rugby rises like a phoenix! Or burns like a phoenix.

    Jack Quigley
    Jack Quigley

    A long time sports writer and podcaster, Jack has spent the majority of his media career covering football and rugby. He recently joined The Roar on the back of penning a viral Facebook rant aimed at the Wallabies which attracted 60,000 likes and more than 6,000 shares. You can follow him on Twitter @Jack_Quigley.

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    The Crowd Says (118)

    • January 11th 2018 @ 9:12am
      Redsfan1 said | January 11th 2018 @ 9:12am | ! Report

      So basically just squandering any savings from culling the Force and spending it on women’s rugby which is even less likely to make a return.

      Hope everyone gets good vibes and can spout about gender inequality as the games revenues collapse into further debt.

      • Roar Guru

        January 11th 2018 @ 9:38am
        PeterK said | January 11th 2018 @ 9:38am | ! Report

        at least if it all goes bellyup and fails in bankruptcy and no one gets paid then everyone will be equal and we won’t need to worry about the misrepresented pay gap.

        • January 12th 2018 @ 8:51pm
          Armchair Sportsfan said | January 12th 2018 @ 8:51pm | ! Report

          I agree with this totally. Its not a popular view, but Im not that interested in women rugby or women’s sport in general. And if we’re being brutally honest, neither are the majority of the population (including women), if they were, then as we live in a capitalist country, women’s sport would be the one driving the financials, not looking for handouts. The exception, of course, is every 4 years, when national pride means we all get behind that female athletes can push us further up in the medal tally (or maybe im wrong and you can all tell me how much women’s hockey you actively follow?…or any hockey at all to be fair).

          The stark reality is that with exception of a few sports, if most people had a choice between the mens and women’s version they would watch the mens. Now I know the two arent mutually exclusive, but I only have so much time in my day to watch sport. Lets say im going to watch the rowing…..why would I watch a crew that can cover the course in 6mins, when I can watch another one who covers the course in 5 and a half.

    • January 11th 2018 @ 9:27am
      Jeff dustby said | January 11th 2018 @ 9:27am | ! Report

      Every sports governing body is now known as
      Rugby Australia – ARU
      Basketball Australia – ABA
      Tennis Australia – LTAA

      Ground breaking – the marketing and advertising industries have fleeced sports for tens of millions

      • Roar Rookie

        January 11th 2018 @ 10:00am
        Chancho said | January 11th 2018 @ 10:00am | ! Report

        and CSIRO are changing their name to Science Australia

        • Roar Rookie

          January 11th 2018 @ 11:55am
          piru said | January 11th 2018 @ 11:55am | ! Report

          At least Tennis, Basketball and Cricket can claim they represent Australia

          Rugby “Australia” has no presence east of the dividing range

          • Roar Rookie

            January 11th 2018 @ 5:02pm
            piru said | January 11th 2018 @ 5:02pm | ! Report

            Do you ever get tired of writing nonsense and being torn apart?

            I don’t have the energy to waste on you today – go outside and play while it’s still holidays

          • January 11th 2018 @ 10:29pm
            AndyS said | January 11th 2018 @ 10:29pm | ! Report

            Yes, the failure of the sport to look outside it’s own bellybutton and expand its horizons in over a century is indeed an embarrassment. It is what happens with insular administration, and one of the things that ensure it will remain a niche sport dependent on forces outside their control for their financial future.

          • January 13th 2018 @ 8:48am
            Realist said | January 13th 2018 @ 8:48am | ! Report

            Not to worry Piru

            You can always carpool across the Nullarbor to watch a Rebels home game ?

    • January 11th 2018 @ 9:27am
      Boris said | January 11th 2018 @ 9:27am | ! Report

      Jack it’s good to see you haven’t mellowed over the Christmas break. Nice piece

    • January 11th 2018 @ 9:28am
      rock86 said | January 11th 2018 @ 9:28am | ! Report

      That is great about the women’s sevens players being paid equal to men, should always be the case.

      But the increase in each Super Rugby squad is a joke, sure increase the salary cap allowing you to pay your star players better and gain/retain talent that would otherwise be lost to Europe. But there is no use of increasing the squads as it’s just thinning out the talent pool again, so what was the point of culling the Force???

      Geez, you gotta love that “saved” money being funnelled into the grassroots don’t ya. Again a sign that the whole Force cull was nothing but smoke and mirrors for pure East coast dominance, and this coming from a Reds supporter.

      • Roar Guru

        January 11th 2018 @ 9:41am
        PeterK said | January 11th 2018 @ 9:41am | ! Report

        they had to increase the squads because they guaranteed the force players salaries.

        If they didn’t increase the squads then there would be all these unsigned players being paid full pay just to play for perth spirit in the nrc.

        At least they get something for the money.

        Agree about the women’s sevens. In fact a case could be made they should get paid more on average than the mens sevens.

      • January 11th 2018 @ 10:07am
        Ex force fan said | January 11th 2018 @ 10:07am | ! Report

        Surely, not even Mmm…h and TWAS, can clain with any sense of credibility that the ARU had to cut a team because it was going bankrupt or because they had to channel more funds to grassroot. This is just more of the same from the ARU, wasteful spending with no strategy for the game.

        It is time to ask the tough questions to the worst Board and Executives in Australian sport. Why have you destroyed professional rugby in WA, pulled rugby through the mud and courts in 2017 just to waste it all in 2018?

        Clyne and the ARU Board needs to go. We cannot afford another year of this kind of incompetency!

    • January 11th 2018 @ 10:17am
      Worlds Biggest said | January 11th 2018 @ 10:17am | ! Report

      How much of the Force savings is going to grass roots / junior Rugby ?? Good on the girls for earning some coin however once again it appears that the elite levels are being looked after but what about grass roots ?

      Agree the rebrand was a complete nonsense and waste of valuable money which again could have been directed where it’s needed the most. Has whiskey nose left the building yet ?

      • January 11th 2018 @ 1:36pm
        bluffboy said | January 11th 2018 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

        Sssssh WB, don’t be so nosey.

    • January 11th 2018 @ 10:39am
      Tim Rogers said | January 11th 2018 @ 10:39am | ! Report

      So players are relatively looked after. Now the mission impossible is to see what support they really promised for WA. The stonewalling of WA’s rugby options of Post SR existence and silence about their supposed support to help WA has been deafening. In mean time they have developed a whole state who are not just brewing but boiling with anger and hatred for this inept board. Fans in WA have been dudded, robbed and shown the door told our support is not necessary! In fact it feels as though it is unwanted.

      The board stinks of a group of people who did not have the stomach to do the hard yards and settled for a short sightedness option which they royally have messed up anyway.

      Their track record has most crying for a spill of the board as trust between the RA custodians of the game and the rugby public is at the lowest it has ever been. Only a fresh start with new faces and sport management intellect can heal this game in Australia which will be forever tarnished by the disgraceful behaviour of the current board.

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