The answer for World Rugby is clear: Regulate or perish

sheek Roar Rookie

By sheek, sheek is a Roar Rookie

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    I’m halfway through Geoff Parkes’ outstanding book, A World In Conflict. And I’ve got some ideas about the future of rugby.

    For those who haven’t read it, put it on your list. It’s a must-read – full of detail, depth, stats and anecdotes. Considering the massive amount of information Parkes presents, it’s an easy, enthralling read.

    I’ve just finished Chapter Six: “Rugby learns how to swim…in cash”.

    Even before I started reading this chapter, the idea was forming in my head about the direction World Rugby must head. It’s a single word.

    Regulate.

    Some 15-20 years ago I read an article from the then MLB chief commissioner about his philosophy regarding sport, in particular the MLB.

    He said basically it was incumbent upon the board of commissioners to retain the 30-odd teams in the MLB at all costs. Inefficient and careless franchises could be punished through fines, but no franchise could be allowed to fold. As a worst-case scenario, franchises can be moved to other locations.

    I wish I’d kept the article because the truth of his insights keep repeating themselves over and over.

    The inference was clear. In the business world, consumers will change companies and products at a whim, but, in sport, fans support a club for life. The narrative of building and continuing the tradition, history, tribalism and heritage between clubs was vital. Irreplaceable, in fact.

    The point is that while competitors will try to wipe each other out in the business world in order to gain more market share, they need each other to remain in sport so they can bash each other all over again next season.

    Parkes goes on to support this argument by pointing out two of the most successful sports codes in the world are also the most regulated – the NFL and AFL.

    The argument is compelling. Just look at how the AFL introduced the Gold Coast Suns and GWS Giants, and compare their governance and assistance to what has happened in Super Rugby in the past two seasons.

    Over in the good old US of A – the most capitalist nation on earth – the big four sports have a socialist approach to their administration.

    It seems counterintuitive but it’s true. They actually believe the Musketeers creed: “All for one, and one for all”.

    Sadly, I don’t have any confidence in World Rugby to rein in the monetary excesses of French and English rugby. But if the game is to retain an international flavour, and be able to flourish beyond France and England, then regulation must be introduced.

    Matt Giteau

    (photo: AFP)

    Rugby is in danger of going down the football path. I say danger because there’s a massive difference between football and rugby.

    Football is so huge in playing numbers and popularity across the globe that it can absorb the obscene excesses of the major clubs and leagues. Rugby cannot.

    If World Rugby fails to regulate the international market, keeping an excess of players deserting their home countries to find fortune in Europe, then the international game will collapse.

    We’ll all be left watching French and English club matches on pay-TV, where all the best players in the world will be plying their trade.

    Basically, everyone has to give up a little for the benefit of all. Otherwise, the entire artifice will come crashing down. Good luck to those who make hay while the sun shines before everyone loses.

    The figures in Parkes’ book make for stark reading. More than 350 South African provincial players are plying their trade off-shore.

    No wonder the famous Currie Cup is struggling. 350 players would make up almost nine provincial squads.

    In Australia, it’s estimated nearly 200 players are based overseas. That’s five NRC squads without counting those that remain in Super Rugby.

    The 2016 New Zealand Almanack records 354 New Zealand players registered with professional clubs overseas.

    These figures are ridiculous. Instead of many players remaining in their home countries, building domestic competitions, providing depth for the national team and mentoring young players, they’re boosting the game in foreign markets.

    The message is clear, regulate or perish. The NFL and AFL can do it. Does World Rugby have the mettle to save its game before it’s too late?

    Have Your Say



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    The Crowd Says (236)

    • Roar Guru

      February 13th 2018 @ 2:36am
      The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 13th 2018 @ 2:36am | ! Report

      Thanks for this sheek.

      GP’s book is very much a must read for anyone with a serious interest in the game.

      I will try to write a more in-depth reply later (it is bedtime for me here in Chiang Mai), but one thing I would like to put on the table right away, What is World Rugby at the bone? Is it an organization that looks after the global game or is it an old boys club for the chosen few? A quick glance at their board and how their executive decision making is done shows me that World Rugby is just a tool for the Tier One nations to sing their gospel, and it is anything but a democratic organization (FIFA looks like a very modern and fair organization compared to World Rugby).

      To expect World Rugby to take a leading role to level the playing field is a beautiful thought, but a very naive one (no disrespect mate, I know your intentions come from an honest place with genuine care for the sport).

      To be continued…

      • February 13th 2018 @ 9:06am
        sheek said | February 13th 2018 @ 9:06am | ! Report

        Hi Swede,

        It’s okay, I’m not being naive.

        I know what World Rugby should do, but I suspect what they WILL do is….. nothing.

        And yes, despite the superhuman efforts of Augustin Pichot, WR essentially remains an old boy’s, closed borders, club.

        • Roar Guru

          February 13th 2018 @ 9:23am
          Carlos the Argie said | February 13th 2018 @ 9:23am | ! Report

          Superhuman efforts of Pichot? He is only in it for his own ego.

    • February 13th 2018 @ 2:36am
      lesterlike said | February 13th 2018 @ 2:36am | ! Report

      We’ll all be left watching French and English club matches on pay-TV, where all the best players in the world will be plying their trade.

      Good, the sanzar system is garbage anyway. England and Frances domestic system is the best to watch anyway with variety of teams, competitive league system and no franchises. International Rugby isn’t the be all and end all.

      • February 13th 2018 @ 12:11pm
        KCR said | February 13th 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

        I can’t speak for anyone else but I know that I would rather watch the World Cup final or the Bledisloe cup than the premiership final. International rugby captures the attention of a wider audience better than European club rugby.

      • February 13th 2018 @ 12:15pm
        Taylorman said | February 13th 2018 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

        Absolute garbage.

      • February 13th 2018 @ 4:41pm
        Markie362 said | February 13th 2018 @ 4:41pm | ! Report

        Spoken like someone whos international team sux

      • February 13th 2018 @ 11:02pm
        Wise Old Elf said | February 13th 2018 @ 11:02pm | ! Report

        Agreed, we should be looking to set up our own league with traditional clubs.

    • February 13th 2018 @ 2:50am
      Malo said | February 13th 2018 @ 2:50am | ! Report

      The horse has bolted. Everyone at a high level has their faces fully in the trough and their own greed will continue to disregard the grassroots and smaller rugby nations. The aru are regulating and how is that doing for our game. An elite group just pilfering the coffers.

    • February 13th 2018 @ 3:13am
      Taylorman said | February 13th 2018 @ 3:13am | ! Report

      Yep been saying this for a while now. NZ, SA and SA, the best rugby nations in the World Cup and pro era, are all being strangled by the north at all levels.

      And I don’t believe our rugby public will tune into anything northern as our main source of rugby entertainment. We’ll wait for our diminished comps, or go back to watching the local clubs.

      Regulation is one way of stemming the tide but for me it adds too much political interference, too much back room dealing. I’m just glad I’ve seen the very best years of the game. Those coming in to watch it now get a scrambled mixture of our best players playing in cities and for jerseys and trophies they’ve never heard of and don’t care about.

      Rugby is about sharing the game with your own, like a family, not about seeing how much player X would get in France.

      • Roar Guru

        February 13th 2018 @ 11:49am
        Rugby Fan said | February 13th 2018 @ 11:49am | ! Report

        You have been saying that for a while now, and I think even your harshest critics have some sympathy for your concerns.

        What you haven’t been doing, however, is proposing any structure for the game which does anything other than serve the interests of New Zealand rugby alone. As Sheek says in his piece, to get to a better outcome, then all major parties will likely have to sacrifice something.

        Where is NZ willing to give ground? Fewer tests, or more against Tier Two nations? Moving your season to align with the north? More employment of non-SANZAR players in Super Rugby?

        • February 13th 2018 @ 12:21pm
          Taylorman said | February 13th 2018 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

          Where are we willing to give flipping ground? Isn’t 354 professionals and half your test coaches enough ground?

          I don’t have a solution because there isn’t one for what I want to see, and that is NZ rugby’s best playing in or around and for NZ.

          Don’t need sympathy because that’s not worth the paper it’s written on. If the north want to destroy what’s left of SH club and test rugby they will and be it on their heads.

          Give ground. Pff.

          • Roar Guru

            February 13th 2018 @ 12:43pm
            Rugby Fan said | February 13th 2018 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

            Hang on, you want NZ exports to Northern leagues stopped, so how does that count as an area of compromise for you?

            • February 13th 2018 @ 2:41pm
              taylorman said | February 13th 2018 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

              It doesnt, because it doesnt matter what we do, its just a matter of time.

              The trend has gone from non ABs to now the best bench players. That will evolve into full test playing AB’s and even worse onto the most promising ones after U20 World cups etc because they’ll be cheaper at that point.

              They’re not going north cos the rugby’s better, they’re going because there are more fat non playing a!rses with dollars who want to watch. That means more teams, more demand, higher salaries.

              Been saying this for years and only now everyone starts discussing it. We can put all the effort into tying our guys to trees in one way or another but it wont matter.

              For me it wont be the same, ever. Once the demise of the Super rugby, Boks, Wallabies and finally ABs is complete, once they stop the pointless tours north and south they’ll start lowering the qualifying rules and anyone who’s ever had a pint of Guinness will qualify for Ireland, anyone who’s ever thrown a dwarf can make the English squad- why have all this talent floating around the north and not have them in the 6N they’ll say…thats so wrong!

              It’ll come to a point where there’s no point, or reason to leave the NH to play rugby.

              Argue away but I saw what was happening long before everyone was even denying it all.

              Only a mater of time.Sure we’ll have the push pull merry go round, but in the end that’ll just delay the inevitable.

              • Roar Guru

                February 13th 2018 @ 2:50pm
                Rugby Fan said | February 13th 2018 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

                No answers, then.

              • February 13th 2018 @ 5:43pm
                Taylorman said | February 13th 2018 @ 5:43pm | ! Report

                Other than including dwarf tossing in training sessions and drinking Guinness after it, or both? Not really.

              • Roar Guru

                February 13th 2018 @ 7:26pm
                Rugby Fan said | February 13th 2018 @ 7:26pm | ! Report

                Then all your complaints are hollow.

              • February 13th 2018 @ 8:44pm
                Taylorman said | February 13th 2018 @ 8:44pm | ! Report

                Like the depth of your rugby. The reason we are here.
                So what’s your solution to avoid us having to fix all your problems and inability to play and coach the game rugby?

          • February 13th 2018 @ 1:53pm
            Perthstayer said | February 13th 2018 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

            TMAN – That is not correct.

            The 354 are not overseas as NZRFU “gave ground”. They went of their own accord and NZRFU actually tries to stop people going overseas by keeping the “leave NZ leave ABs” rule.

            • February 13th 2018 @ 2:45pm
              taylorman said | February 13th 2018 @ 2:45pm | ! Report

              yes I’m aware of that. I wasn’t actually answering the question. Asking NZ to compromise on anything in this debacle is just silly. Because if we dont itl happen anyway, if we do, it wont ever be enough.

              • Roar Guru

                February 13th 2018 @ 2:49pm
                Rugby Fan said | February 13th 2018 @ 2:49pm | ! Report

                Why do you think any other stakeholder in rugby would feel differently? How has everyone operating in their own self-interest benefited the game so far?

              • February 13th 2018 @ 9:58pm
                Taylorman said | February 13th 2018 @ 9:58pm | ! Report

                Your saying France nor England are operating in their own interest? Really? I’d say they are the very epitome of it.

          • February 13th 2018 @ 2:46pm
            Bakkies said | February 13th 2018 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

            ‘Where are we willing to give flipping ground? Isn’t 354 professionals and half your test coaches enough ground?’

            No one is telling them to go.

            • February 13th 2018 @ 10:01pm
              Taylorman said | February 13th 2018 @ 10:01pm | ! Report

              Yeah they are Bakkies. When the players says ‘ I want to earn the most I can earn’ as does any employee. They’re told ‘well, you have to come over here sonny’. Players are forced to move to earn to their potential.

              • Roar Guru

                February 13th 2018 @ 10:36pm
                Train Without A Station said | February 13th 2018 @ 10:36pm | ! Report

                Players choose to move if they want to earn their potential.

                Most of us on negotiated salaries could possible earn more somewhere else. We general choose to remain where we are for some reason.

              • February 13th 2018 @ 11:07pm
                Bakkies said | February 13th 2018 @ 11:07pm | ! Report

                Then the NZRU needs to improve their revenue streams at a domestic level. When was the last time the union had a counter offer to what Sky are stumping up for NPC and Super Rugby rights?

                Test Rugby is not enough to pay for the game.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 8:42pm
                Jacko said | February 14th 2018 @ 8:42pm | ! Report

                Yes thats where Amazon may come in. Why do you think NZ takes games to America and Japan? It aint coz thats where they want to play its for the $$$$$$$$$
                Even with these games its still not what the NH clubs can offer

              • February 15th 2018 @ 1:10pm
                Bakkies said | February 15th 2018 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

                It’s a start. The NZRU needs to stop signing 30 plus players on lengthy contracts while younger players are leaving under their nose in their prime.

                I would rather allocate money to that than offering deals to injury prone players like Cory Jane is close to his mid 30s.

      • February 13th 2018 @ 11:33pm
        Rugbyfan in WA said | February 13th 2018 @ 11:33pm | ! Report

        What about mandatory transfer payments similar to football that clubs or unions must pay to the country where a player or coach was originally developed. Its all about $$ at the end of the day.

        • Roar Guru

          February 14th 2018 @ 8:10am
          Train Without A Station said | February 14th 2018 @ 8:10am | ! Report

          Sorry to be rude. But how on earth does this keep coming up?

          Football Clubs aren’t paid for coaching or development.

          They pay the rights for the remaining contract on a player.

          We lose players when they are free agents.

    • Roar Guru

      February 13th 2018 @ 4:18am
      Derm McCrum said | February 13th 2018 @ 4:18am | ! Report

      Brett Gosper was recently asked about this issue and he said that WR didn’t see it as an issue to be tackled currently.

      Agustin Pichot’s attempts to rein it in through changing the residency qualification may have some effect. Pinchot wanted to have lifelong qualification i.e. you play for the country you’re born in or your parents are from and that’s it. That eventually watered down to five years as the realities of what lifelong would mean sank in.

      Sheek references from Geoff’s book the number of SA, Aus and NZ players playing abroad. No reference is made to the numbers of players from Samoa, Tonga, or Fiji playing outside their countries. What’s ironic is that the restriction on the number of NZ players appearing in French squads for European action is being got around by these players declaring their links/heritage with PI countries which fall outside the European Cup restrictions.

      I’m not convinced that regulation will work, or more certainly that it won’t work on its own. There needs to be other measures, positive rather than punitive or restrictive, to balance out the numbers.

      In a recently published Roar article, the news about the FFR imposing further restrictions on T14 teams to have a maximum of 5 foreign players in their squads (the T!4 club owners want 7) was greeted with enthusiasm that there might be a sudden influx of players back into their home countries. Except, the reality is that if numbers are reduced (and the signs are that the T14 teams have started on this), then it is the low value players or those at end of contract through age will be the ones to depart the French club scene.

      Is there a job for them back home or will they have to retire from the game? If there are 200-300 PI players currently employed across the English and French leagues, should they all have to depart with the financial and economic consequences for them and their families?

      It’s all very well to say that there could be 200-300 players back in SA, Aus or NZ playing in lower leagues/comps and earning less money as long as the fans are happy, right?

      Or if regulations come in that gradually impose restrictions on players moving then are we saying to players, sorry you can’t move to X, you have to stay at home and go do something else to earn a living?

      “Rugby is about sharing the game with your own, like a family, not about seeing how much player X would get in France. Those coming in to watch it now get a scrambled mixture of our best players playing in cities and for jerseys and trophies they’ve never heard of and don’t care about.” said Taylorman.

      Yes it probably was – in the years before amateurism was shown the door and professionalism was welcomed in with open arms. Fuddy-duddy unions like the IRFU and SRU who opposed professionalism in the mid-nineties warned of the inevitable financial race that would ensue and the impact it would have on the game in smaller unions. They were roundly derided and barracked by the Big 5 unions who wanted to move ahead with the times and the loadsamoney investors in their countries waiting to pour their money into the game.

      The SANZAR chickens have now come home to roost and found they’re sharing the henhouse with a pair of wealthy, hungry foxes.

      I haven’t seen much mention of it here on the Roar, but I thought the recent news about NZRU looking to create links with a number of like-minded clubs in other leagues to create an agreed pathway for NZ players to leave and return had some merit. I’ve argued before that there needs to be greater collaboration and cooperation between union-run comps and clubs and dispense with this nonsense of SH and NH which simply polarises and ignores the realities of what’s actually happening, and where the player vortex really lies.

      There are 98 SANZAR born players (including parental and grandparental qualifying) across the 12 club teams from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales – four of the Six Nations unions. And 500 odd SANZAR players in England and France.

      Spot the foxes.

      • February 13th 2018 @ 8:29am
        sheek said | February 13th 2018 @ 8:29am | ! Report

        Thanks Both,

        Some points.

        You’re right. Regulation won’t work by itself. For example, to keep more players within their own boundaries also means giving the Pacific Islanders a meaningful international test roster. At present why would you represent Fiji, Samoa & Tonga for a handful of tests per year & no provincial exposure?

        Augustin Pichot is the one shining light in WR. President Bumbling Bill Beaumont has no idea & probably no great desire, despite anything he might say, to expand the game beyond its narrow current borders.

        Someone in Geoff’s book, I can’t immediately recall who, said every player when they turn 19 must declare their allegiance to one country. That’s it.

        It can be the country of their birth, the country of their heritage or the country where they’ve attended an academy. But you get one choice to make one decision, then you’re stuck with it for the remainder of your career.

        I like that.

        • February 13th 2018 @ 9:01am
          Bluesfan said | February 13th 2018 @ 9:01am | ! Report

          Whilst I like the idea about players declaring their allegiance at age 19 and which then effectively warehouses them to their home unions etc.

          The reality is that is it really fair to ask a 19 year old to decide which country they are stuck with for the rest of their life?

          Whilst I don’t enjoy watching players like a Bundee Aki playing for the Irish – is it fair to impose restrictions on his ability to maximize his remuneration via a decision making process at such a young age?

          • Roar Guru

            February 13th 2018 @ 9:27am
            Derm McCrum said | February 13th 2018 @ 9:27am | ! Report

            He’s not maximising his remuneration now.

            • February 13th 2018 @ 10:08am
              Bluesfan said | February 13th 2018 @ 10:08am | ! Report

              Yip absolutely – understand Bundee plays for just a 6 pack of Guinness and being allowed to keep his Jersey and shorts.

              • Roar Guru

                February 13th 2018 @ 11:35am
                Derm McCrum said | February 13th 2018 @ 11:35am | ! Report

                You’re misunderstanding and missing the point, Bluesfan.

                If Aki was tied to NZ or Samoa at 19, he would still be able to move to Connacht. He had the option of playing for NZ or Samoa. He could have finished his contract in Connacht and taken up one of the offers from French or English clubs who were looking to sign him on much better money. Match fees for Ireland are a lot lower than other unions. He’s not on a central contract. He could maximise his remuneration a lot more. In fact a NZ capped or a country-tied player in France or England is a lot more useful/valuable because they know he won’t be selected.

              • February 13th 2018 @ 12:40pm
                Bluesfan said | February 13th 2018 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

                I get that, but the reality is that he left to play overseas to maximize his earnings and all power to him for that (as much as I dislike seeing him play for Ireland).

                Once he hits Europe and performs in the team that he is playing for, he can decide who he plays for based upon his and his families requirements.

                Reality is that I would imagine that the amount he earns playing for Ireland is a lot more than it would be if he turned out for Samoa (his only other Intl opportunity).

                How much do players get for turning out for Ireland – know that England is circa 20,000 Pounds a game – is Ireland match fee comparable?

              • Columnist

                February 13th 2018 @ 2:08pm
                Geoff Parkes said | February 13th 2018 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

                That’s a good point PA and shows how NZ Rugby’s policy of not picking players based overseas for the AB’s works both for them but also against them. French clubs are more attracted to NZ players than say an equivalent South African player because they know for certain that they’re not going to lose them for international duty.

              • February 13th 2018 @ 2:50pm
                taylorman said | February 13th 2018 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

                Exactly, and up until now that was a reason the best ones havent gone. That wall has now been breached…on to the next one…

              • Roar Guru

                February 13th 2018 @ 11:33pm
                Derm McCrum said | February 13th 2018 @ 11:33pm | ! Report

                If he wanted to maximise his earnings then moving to France or England and residency qualifying there could have been the way to go. Instead he went to a club that was ranked around 34th out of 38 professional teams in Europe. In a recent comparison of player salaries between PRO12 and English Premiership by Esportif Intelligence, the 12 midfielder is ranked 2nd highest in England and 2nd lowest in the PRO12.

                In response to the scenario where he is tied to a country at 19 – let’s say either NZ or Samoa – you say he is warehoused to his home union. But that doesn’t stop him moving to another country to earn more money.

                Playing for Ireland is secondary in the context of maximising earnings. Your club contract is what brings in the money consistently and on which you rely. If you’re not selected one week, or are injured, you still get paid. If he’d stayed in NZ and been selected, then he would have earned more in test match fees from NZRU.

                Here’s a list that I found of match fees from 2016

                England £22,000 per match plus performance bonuses for example if England win Six Nations, the whole squad will share a 1 million plus bonus pool.

                Australia AU$10,000 per match plus performance related bonuses for example reaching world cup 2015 final every squad player was paid AU$50,000 in bonus

                New Zealand NZ$7,500 per match plus performance bonuses for example every member of 2015 world cup winning team was paid NZ$140,000

                Wales £5,300 per match (Wales players will earn around £45,000 in bonuses if they win the 2016 Six Nations title)

                South Africa $6,000 per match (plus team performance bonuses)

                France €12,000 per match (plus performance related bonuses)

                Ireland €7,000 per match plus performance bonus.

          • February 13th 2018 @ 9:32am
            sheek said | February 13th 2018 @ 9:32am | ! Report

            Bluesfan,

            This is not directed at you personally but I find it interesting how current generations are so much more flexible about what country to represent than my generation (age 50 plus). Of course, you may be from my vintage anyway!

            It comes with being too peaceful for too long. The next major war will make people quickly realise the importance of where they belong.

            I find the idea of country-hopping repulsive, to be honest. i understand people moving to different countries if they’re genuine refugees from war-torn countries, or oppressed freedom countries, or simply seeking a better life for their families.

            But to use country-hopping in sport, I don’t agree with that.

            But that said, I can understand the plight of a young Pacific Islander who comes from a low economic background, but has a prodigious talent, & in his culture, is expected to make a lot of money to feed his immediate & extended family.

            I like to think he can still do that from his own homeland. But that also requires WR giving the Pacific Islands a meaningful International test roster & provincial program.

            The “haves” have to give up a little for the benefit of all.

            The English & French clubs won’t give ground willingly. Only WR has the power to force the changes.

            • February 13th 2018 @ 10:07am
              Bluesfan said | February 13th 2018 @ 10:07am | ! Report

              I’m 50+ plus as well and agree around your comments around Country Hopping.

              But at the individual’s level – can I stand and say to a 19 year old, you need to pick a country and then stick with it – no matter any change in circumstances.

              And realistically that Pacific Island kid who is now playing for Ireland or Fiji – with the income that the is deriving from playing in Europe – is it ethical to limit his ability to generate income that he will utilize to set himself up for life and/or support a lot of his family?

              In regards WR, they can-not give a meaningful test or provincial program – the Islands can’t sustain them – it will always comes down to the $$ now.

              Remembering also that the WR is effectively a toothless Tiger e.g. look at how the French bribed their way into hosting the WC over SA and Ireland.

              • February 13th 2018 @ 11:48am
                sheek said | February 13th 2018 @ 11:48am | ! Report

                Bluesfan,

                Of course, there are rarely any easy answers.

                But it’s better to stand for something than get splinters sitting on the fence!

              • February 13th 2018 @ 12:25pm
                Taylorman said | February 13th 2018 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

                Well I don’t see it as country hopping. I see it as giving to the needy. Remember that ad… meanwhile… a little club waits…

        • Roar Guru

          February 13th 2018 @ 9:24am
          Carlos the Argie said | February 13th 2018 @ 9:24am | ! Report

          I really don’t know why you are so enamored of Pichot!

          I would not trust him.

          • February 13th 2018 @ 10:41am
            sheek said | February 13th 2018 @ 10:41am | ! Report

            Carlos,

            Obviously I don’t know Pichot as well as you do!

            • Roar Guru

              February 13th 2018 @ 11:12am
              Carlos the Argie said | February 13th 2018 @ 11:12am | ! Report

              Read Nobrain’s article this past week.

              • February 13th 2018 @ 12:44pm
                sheek said | February 13th 2018 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

                Ha ha Carlos,

                i’m gathering from your exchange with nobrain, “you know who” refers to Pichot?

              • February 13th 2018 @ 2:20pm
                Carlos the Argie said | February 13th 2018 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

                I deny ever acknowledging that statement.

        • February 13th 2018 @ 6:50pm
          sheek said | February 13th 2018 @ 6:50pm | ! Report

          Sorry Poth,

          The ‘Both’ is the fault of the rogue auto spellcheck who assumes to think it knows what I was meaning to say.

          I’m getting very sick of the auto spellcheck.

      • February 13th 2018 @ 9:34am
        Bakkies said | February 13th 2018 @ 9:34am | ! Report

        Irish Rugby has actually benefited from professionalism with competitions like the Heineken Cup pushing players out in to the mainstream and players are now coming out of non traditional areas. Had Rugby remained amateur interprovincial matches would still be played in front of small crowds and the national team would remain unsuccessful.

        Scotland hasn’t and like the RA have tried to shrink their way to greatness. They have previously had four pro sides. Caledonia was merged in to Glasgow. They have tried to get Caledonia back up and running. If they make it back again playing out of Aberdeen. That what cause a reaction for Glasgow to address their player base as they have a number of Caledonia products in their squad.

        Borders merged in to Edinburgh. Since the mergers no league games have been played Melrose, Galashiels, Aberdeen or Perth. It is not like Glasgow and Edinburgh haven’t had opportunities to do so.

        • February 13th 2018 @ 10:42am
          sheek said | February 13th 2018 @ 10:42am | ! Report

          Yes Bakkies,

          Ireland is a good news story. For now.

          There are always exceptions to the rule.

          • February 13th 2018 @ 11:15am
            Bakkies said | February 13th 2018 @ 11:15am | ! Report

            Sheek the IRFU have had their Bill Pulver moments over the years
            – Threatening to cut Connacht’s professional arm off which they told was a daft idea by a Limerick car salesman Frank Hogan and a Kiwi official working in the IRB. The IRB official and Frank Hogan both said if you cut off a team Rugby in that area will struggle to recover and the national side won’t have sufficient depth to cover for injuries and loss of form. Connacht has now grown from 400 to 4000 season ticket holders and looking at their stadium situation
            – The IRFU hiked up test ticket prices and forced supporters to purchase tickets for two consecutive test matches which was unrealistic for families Philip Browne’s rationale was to see how loyal those new supporters are. There was outrage and tickets at the AIs weren’t sold out. Prices were dropped and the second AI offers packages to schools and clubs to entice them to come to the match. There are mini Rugby carnivals run on this weekend
            – They neglected provincial Rugby for a couple of seasons to focus solely on the national side. Provincial performances and crowds dropped. The IRFU was criticised for going the way of Wales and weaker provinces will see the national side suffer. Fortunately they listened and assisted the provinces.

            • February 13th 2018 @ 6:52pm
              sheek said | February 13th 2018 @ 6:52pm | ! Report

              Yeah thanks Bakkies,

              I know Ireland have had their trials & tribulations but you’ve added a few extra things I didn’t know.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 1:11pm
                Bakkies said | February 15th 2018 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

                Funny how a car salesman has more Rugby and business sense than the bankers that have ruined Aussie Rugby.

    • Roar Guru

      February 13th 2018 @ 4:55am
      Corne Van Vuuren said | February 13th 2018 @ 4:55am | ! Report

      Good thoughts Sheek, but if we are honest with ourselves we knew when rugby turned professional this was going to happen.

      The fact is those who have gets more, the rest just struggle to remain alive.

      • February 13th 2018 @ 8:34am
        sheek said | February 13th 2018 @ 8:34am | ! Report

        True Biltong,

        But then, as many people argue, while sport is now a business, it is still different from the business world.

        In the business world, the idea is to get rid of the competition so you can increase your own market share.

        Sport doesn’t work like that. In sport you need your competition so you can belt the crap out of each other even year & celebrate it.

        Sport will become meaningless if clubs come & go. There will be no historical narrative of tradition, no historical narrative of tribalism.

        • February 13th 2018 @ 9:37am
          Bakkies said | February 13th 2018 @ 9:37am | ! Report

          Sheek try and explain that to the parasitic Chairman ruining Aus Rugby.

        • February 13th 2018 @ 2:56pm
          taylorman said | February 13th 2018 @ 2:56pm | ! Report

          Yes but what if all that competition comes from within Europe.

          If the fans, World rugby the NHers, and the players themselves are all prepared to watch the drift north without doing anything now, why would they save SH teams that fail to compete, fail to get support and finally fail to get teams to be even bothered to long haul it here?

        • February 13th 2018 @ 8:43pm
          cuw said | February 13th 2018 @ 8:43pm | ! Report

          ” In the business world, the idea is to get rid of the competition so you can increase your own market share.”

          not really.

          market share without capacity to service the demand will only result in new competitors coming in.

          market share without proper R&D / cost efficiencies / visibility will result in new competitors coming in.

          also u cannot paint all businesses with the same brush. there are businesses heavily capital intensive to setup and continue – aircraft industry , medical drug industry , defence industry a few ….

          one needs to look at what is peculiar to sports and games – as a business. there are some comments that wonder if NFL is a good example? ( i have no idea about NFl as a business so wont say anyting).

          the point is one needs to compare apples with apples and then look at a benchmark , to see what they are doing right.

          also what is right now may or maynot be right in 10 or 20 years time. there are many books about strategies and the importance of adopting to changes in the environment.

          sports does have certain traits as a business – but all are not the same for all sport / games. what works for footy or golf or grand prix racing may not be good for rugger.

          what powers that be shud do is to look at the successful business-sport/games and then formulate strategies that will suit rugger as a going concern.

        • February 13th 2018 @ 11:43pm
          elvis said | February 13th 2018 @ 11:43pm | ! Report

          Sport will become meaningless if clubs come & go

          Cmon, that’s just rubbish. Newtown, Fitzroy, Valleys, Teachers, etc etc, life goes on. Just because someone said it in a book, all that means is they are trying to sell a book. Consultants get it wrong just as much as they get it right, their aim is just to get paid.

          And as to people changing countries, the pencil arrangers have taken over. If a country wants to play someone and they want to play for them, then it’s no one else’s business. When did we all become such nosy busybodies? Some of the great stories in sport wouldn’t have happened. Kepler, Topo, half the early ashes players..

          • February 14th 2018 @ 7:20am
            sheek said | February 14th 2018 @ 7:20am | ! Report

            The Sydney rugby league comp has been diminished by the loss of Newtown & norths, although it’s a moot point since it is now national.

            The Brisbane rugby league comp has turned into a basket case, so debating the loss of Valleys is pointless.

            The VFL, now AFL, hasn’t lost Fitzroy or Souths, they transplanted them.

            Kepler & Topo are entirely different stories to today. For starters, they didn’t change countries for money.

            • Roar Guru

              February 14th 2018 @ 8:11am
              Train Without A Station said | February 14th 2018 @ 8:11am | ! Report

              It’s been diminished by the loss of Newtown?

              It has become bigger than it ever was in the Newtown era.

            • February 14th 2018 @ 10:16am
              elvis said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:16am | ! Report

              Nothing wrong with the Brisbane Rugby league comp. Tell that to the players who play passionately for their teams every weekend. Or for the players who enjoy playing subbies every weekend in the Union.
              We don’t want to all live vicariously through the success of the Wallabies, I get more enjoyment watching the school firsts run around.
              If the whole of the Reds took off to Paris, who cares? They aren’t even a real rep team. Your whole article is based on telling other people what to do with their lives so you can enjoy the type of Rugby you like watching the most. Which is usually the case when people want more laws, trace it back far enough and it comes down to pure self interest.

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 10:26am
                Train Without A Station said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:26am | ! Report

                I think it’s reasonable to say that the QLD Cup isn’t what the BRL once was.

                But the whole point, should we criticize other competitions for being too successful? Suburban competitions basically have not survived, so it may not even be the NRL that killed/hamstrung the BRL, as had it not been for the NRL, fans may have migrated to another sport.

                Market forces mean that broadcasters favour national competitions as broadcasting 1 game to 5 states is more economical than 5 games to 5 states.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 3:26pm
                Bakkies said | February 14th 2018 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

                ‘Nothing wrong with the Brisbane Rugby league comp. Tell that to the players who play passionately for their teams every weekend. Or for the players who enjoy playing subbies every weekend in the Union’

                There is actually something wrong with it. Having gone on to the BRL wiki page a number of clubs have folded.

                I see Fitzroy mentioned some of their fans went to support the Brisbane Lions others chose another club to support or to not support a team at all.

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