The Wrap: For the good of rugby, it’s time to muzzle the Parrot

Geoff Parkes Columnist

By Geoff Parkes, Geoff Parkes is a Roar Expert

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    Anyone familiar with parrots know that they talk – it’s their ‘USP’ if you like. They also like to repeat the same things over and over, none of which guarantees that what they are saying is worth listening to.

    In recent weeks, broadcaster and ex-Wallabies coach Alan Jones has stepped up his attacks on Rugby Australia, via a regular column in The Australian.

    Jones has been a long-time critic of the administration, and while he hails originally from country Queensland, it can be said that he aligns with a group of antagonists who believe that rugby should focus on its traditional strengths in Sydney and Brisbane schools and club rugby.

    That stance, while overly simplistic, is a valid position, representing the view of a group of genuine rugby people who would like to return to the times when Australian rugby was both more successful and easier to follow. If only it were that easy.

    On Friday, Jones narrowed his sights to include new Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle, launching an extraordinary attack on her leadership and questioning her suitability for the role.

    “It is not believable that the only thing Raelene Castle seems to have done, after months in charge of Rugby Australia, is to haul in ­Israel Folau for comments that he made about homosexual people and the Bible,” Jones wrote.

    “Haven’t Rugby Australia lost BMW, Lion Nathan and Buildcorp as sponsors in recent times? What are you doing about that, Raelene? Does Rugby Australia spend more time checking with its lawyers than it does with checking the wellbeing of the game?”

    Jones makes a living delivering rants. Most rants, however, are founded on emotion and preconception rather than logic and reason, and are often used as a vehicle to reinforce existing prejudices or to pursue agendas.

    In this case, Jones blames Castle for not doing enough to recover lost sponsors or engage new ones, yet in the same breath berates her for “grandstanding” about Israel Folau, when her management of this issue was clearly aimed at walking the tightrope between keeping Folau in rugby and placating major sponsors Qantas and Land Rover.

    Jones is an intelligent man who must know that the problems that beset Australian rugby are deep-rooted, complex and far more nuanced than would allow any new CEO to resolve in the three months Castle has been in the role.

    Raelene Castle at a Rugby Australia press conference

    AAP Image/Daniel Munoz

    He has travelled the world – London springs to mind – and should know that it is the UK and France, and commercial developments in rugby there since the game became professional in 1995, that are the primary driver of Australia’s misfortunes today.

    Maladministration has occurred, particularly with respect to allowing a gulf to develop between the professional and amateur games in Australia.

    But rugby is now a global, professional sport. There is no ‘bubble’ that Australia can opt to inhabit, to incubate itself from the negative effects of player (and coach) drain, and its over-reliance on its SANZAAR partners.

    Grassroots fans and club members who are told that Australian rugby can withdraw from professional competitions like Super Rugby, or shut down the NRC – its semi-professional national competition – and have the Wallabies remain competitive are being sold a pup.

    In recent articles, Jones has named individuals – many of whom who are now working overseas – he believes should be ‘brought home’ and appointed to key coaching and administrative roles. The implication is that Rugby Australia has driven many of these people away, or does not welcome them back.

    Jones conveniently chooses to ignore that clubs and national unions in the UK, France and Japan have the wherewithal to offer substantial salaries and an opportunity to see the world. These people are, for the most part, rugby players and coaches making financial and lifestyle decisions, not refugees from some evil, totalitarian rugby administration.

    In 1995, the English and French rugby unions – paralysed by the transition into professionalism – sat on their hands and allowed their players to be contracted to clubs, instead of retaining them under their own control. This inaction and its flow-on effects shaped today’s rugby and forced the hand of financially weakened southern hemisphere unions, manifested in decisions such as the exclusion of the Western Force from Super Rugby – not some plan hatched by incompetents who would deliberately and willingly see rugby development in a key growth state set backwards.

    Instead of acknowledging these external pressures, in the Parrot world, Castle is consigned to being one of the “no-hopers who are running the game”. She might count herself lucky that, so far at least, Jones has not called for he to be thrown into the ocean in a chaff bag, as he did ex-Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

    Who knows, that may yet come, particularly if Australian Super Rugby sides don’t break the run of 34 matches without a win against the Kiwis, or the Wallabies don’t immediately turn around a 15-year Bledisloe Cup losing streak.

    Like all stakeholders in Australian rugby, Jones has an opportunity to be part of the solution. Rugby people are a family and people at all levels, administrators at all levels, are approachable and willing to discuss and consider any idea that help. But any such discussions which sit outside of the governance of the game remain nothing more than chatter.

    As in Australian politics, where leaders such as Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott promise to work for the greater good of the team, then proceed to ‘white ant’ regardless, Jones has taken the soft, easy route, of using his platform to denigrate individuals and distort problems, instead of genuinely offering realistic alternatives.

    Jones is a destructive influence on Australian rugby, and even if a majority see through his ranting, his profile commands him a platform from which to continue his attacks.

    Israel Folau Australia Rugby Union Championship Bledisloe Cup Wallabies 2017

    Photo by Matt King/Getty Images

    In weekend rugby action, the Hurricanes consolidated their position at the top of the New Zealand conference with a 22-13 win over the Chiefs. While there were the now almost regulation star turns by Ben Lam and Beauden Barrett, it was the consistency of performance across the team that impressed most.

    From living in the shadow of Dane Coles, and with another shadow looming in the form of Asafo Aumua, Ricky Riccitelli continues to impress with his high workrate and eagerness to play on the front foot. Jordie Barrett, too, refuses to hide in the formidable shadow of his brother, cool and accomplished with the ball and deadly on the tackle.

    The Chiefs, as is their wont too often, were typically creative but let themselves down with handling errors, mistimed passes and – in the first half – a non-pass by Nathan Harris which almost certainly cost them a try.

    The Blues righted some of last year’s Tokyo wrongs with a 24-10 win, Reiko Ioane’s silky catch and pass for their final try a sign that he will be well suited to the All Blacks’ 13 jersey whenever he and Steve Hansen decide it is time.

    The Rebels left AAMI Park frustrated with a home loss, 25-22 to the Jaguares, once again losing their way in the second half, this time over-playing the influence of some rain and playing too narrowly. There was also a noticeable drop-off in intensity and spark, which coincided with Will Genia leaving the field with a leg injury. Other senior players must accept responsibility for providing this, if they are to continue to push for a finals spot.

    After a disrupted travel schedule – a day lost in transit and the final kilometre to the stadium undertaken by foot after the team bus became snarled in heavy traffic – the Jaguares showed impressive resolve, growing into the game and finishing strongly.

    Their defence in the final stanza was outstanding, as indeed was their discipline – encouraging signs from a side with a previously demonstrated weakness in mental fortitude.

    The Brumbies paid the price for too much side-to-side attack and an over-reliance on David Pocock. If the 43-17 scoreline perhaps overstated the difference between the two sides, full credit is due to the Highlanders for playing on after the final siren, despite already having secured a bonus point, and scoring a final try to Fletcher Smith. That’s how you provide value for fans and get them to come back next time!

    The Reds looked fantastic in their ‘old school’ uniform of maroon shirts and blue shorts, but that was as good as it got for them, as the Waratahs were much faster and more cohesive, stretching out to a deserved 37-16 win. NSW are building momentum, have figured out how to utilise Taqele Naiyarovoro, and now that they have found the top of the Australian conference, they will be hard to toss.

    Sharpshooter Rob du Preez missing an easy penalty from in front signaled trouble for the Sharks, thrashed 40-10 at home by the Bulls and, in the process, undoing all of the promise shown on their New Zealand trip. The Bulls now rise to second in the South African conference, with a game in hand over all their opponents, but we can expect that these sides will continue to take points off each other when least expected, and a finals spot is still wide open.

    It seems strange to acknowledge any New Zealand rugby win as an ‘upset’, but congratulations to both the New Zealand women’s and men’s sevens sides for claiming unexpected Commonwealth Games gold medals over the respective Olympic champions, Australia and Fiji.

    The women’s final, in particular, was a thrilling affair, once again a great advertisement for rugby on a wider stage.

    Now that’s the sort of rugby story that’s well worth parroting, Mr Jones!

    Geoff Parkes
    Geoff Parkes

    Geoff is a Melbourne-based sports fanatic and writer who started contributing to The Roar in 2012 under the pen name Allanthus. His first book, A World in Union Conflict; The Global Battle For Rugby Supremacy, was released in December 2017 to critical acclaim. For details on the book visit Meanwhile, his twin goals of achieving a single figure golf handicap and owning a fast racehorse remain tantalisingly out of reach.

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    The Crowd Says (368)

    • April 16th 2018 @ 4:02am
      Bakkies said | April 16th 2018 @ 4:02am | ! Report

      The Parrott is right in a lot of his views about the RA. I completely disagree about scrapping the NRC and returning club Rugby to the third tier last time they did that it led to Sydney Uni fielding two grades of Super Rugby players from the Tahs, Brumbies and the Force. This led to Sydney Uni with no junior base dominating the comp.

      Yes pro players signed to play on the other side of the country played club Rugby in Sydney. This did nothing for the Perth comp and shock horror improved when these players played for Perth clubs and local players got pro experience in the NRC.

      Sydney clubs spent too much money on professionalising their Rugby programs some clubs like Gordon and Randwick are still recovering. Easts and Southern Districts fielded Brumbies players in these flighty days.

      Blaming Australian Rugby’s woes on England and France is pure deflection. Even with poor revenue streams the RA would have made a profit had they not thrown money away at lawyers, the Rebels, re-branding and Pulver.

      The person that needs muzzling is de Clyne oh Cameron what you have done this time.

      Rugby Australia aid saved the Melbourne Rebels, sealed Western Force’s fate
      Nick Taylor | The West Australian
      Sunday, 15 April 2018 1:20PM
      Nick Taylor
      Foundation Force player Matt Hodgson has been the face of the club’s pain.
      Foundation Force player Matt Hodgson has been the face of the club’s pain.Picture: Nic Ellis
      Rugby Australia money helped clear the debt that saved the Melbourne Rebels and effectively signed the Western Force’s Super Rugby death warrant.

      The revelation comes after this week’s RA announcement of a $3.8m loss for 2017, citing the messy axing of the Force as one of the factors.

      Confidential documents obtained by Seven West Media show the Australian Rugby Union — now RA — agreed to pay former Rebels owner, New Zealand businessman Andrew Cox, $300,000 and then-director Peter Sidwell $200,000.

      The money was then paid to the Rebels.

      The payments, contained in a Deed of Settlement Release, relate to “disputes” with the Rebels over RA’s threats to axe the Rebels and directs the money to the Melbourne-based club.

      The documents also state two other directors Lyndsey Cattermole and Bob Dalziel “gift” the Rebels $250,000 each. The combined amounts effectively cleared the Rebels debt of $789,811 that allowed Cox to sell the club to the Victorian Rugby Union for $1 under a Put Option agreement, effectively spelling the end of the Force as the Rebels could then not be closed.

      The document says, among others, Cox and Sidwell “had suffered loss and damage as a result of statements alleged to have been made by or on behalf of the ARU on and from 10 April 2017”.

      The end of the Force’s Super Rugby life hit the WA rugby community hard.
      The end of the Force’s Super Rugby life hit the WA rugby community hard.Picture: Justin Benson-Cooper
      On April 10, RA chairman Cameron Clyne said a decision on which team would be cut would be made after consultation with the Force and rebels.

      Four days later the Rebels issued a statement saying they “unequivocally” rejected that RA could “chop or cut” the club and had notified it of its intention to seek compensation.

      The deed of settlement says Cox and Sidwell: “ … respectively direct that the respective payments to them be paid to MRRUPL for the purposes of MRRUPL satisfying the Debt Free Requirement and MRRUPL agrees that these payments will be used solely for this purpose”.

      It also says Cattermole and Dalziel promise to the ARU “… they have each gifted $250,000 to MRRUPL for the purpose of MRRUPL satisfying the Debt Free requirement and MRRUPL agrees that these gifted amounts will be solely for this purpose”.

      Cox used the put option and sold 11,625,000 Rebels shares to the VRU on August 4 for $1.

      RA and the Rebels did not respond to questions.

      • April 16th 2018 @ 7:49am
        concerned supporter said | April 16th 2018 @ 7:49am | ! Report

        Wonderful reply Bakkies,
        Jobs for the boys, correct, doled out by FOSUFC, C. Clyne, R.Davis & T. Sukkar in particular.This is the main problem, their major ambition, together with Wallaby & Waratah, is forming a Ruby powerhouse in Sydney University
        Last Saturday, Sydney Uni. v Penrith 1sts 97 nil, 2nds 137=7, 3rds 98-5,, 4ths 87 nil, Colts 1sts 90-7,2nds 67 nil, 3rds 33-5.
        Would this have happened in the AFL or NRL?
        They are too well administered, $$$ from Broadcasting Rights dwarf Rugby.
        AFL & NRL have achieved this by their clubs having large membership bases, and as much equalisation as possible in their competitions, with their grants.and other measures.
        SU 1st colts, with no juniors, have not lost one game since 2015.
        Geoff, what an embarrassment for the ARU and their Western Force culling, the crowd on Saturday night at the Rebels game was only 5,583. A record low?

        • April 16th 2018 @ 7:58am
          Fionn said | April 16th 2018 @ 7:58am | ! Report

          5,583…. is this a joke, or serious…?

          • April 16th 2018 @ 9:46am
            Malo said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:46am | ! Report

            Cull the rebels

          • April 16th 2018 @ 11:56am
            Ex force fan said | April 16th 2018 @ 11:56am | ! Report

            5,583 really? With a re-enforced team with the prospect of making a final? With cheap members tickets and even giving away tickets? The Force even got 8,500 at a Thursday game.

            Cameron Clyne clearly backed the wrong horse. There is no interest in rugby union in Melbourne. Let’s see how the Force will be doing against Fiji in the World Series that is not even a proper competition.

            • April 16th 2018 @ 1:04pm
              Bakkies said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

              To put a side in Melbourne you have to have a massive war chest which the RA hasn’t had since 2003. The owners should have been told that you have be prepared for big losses until the side was profitable.

              It has to be a winning side that is marketed well so people know there is a game on. Time to stop making excuses about the opposition on the day.

        • Columnist

          April 16th 2018 @ 8:18am
          Geoff Parkes said | April 16th 2018 @ 8:18am | ! Report

          It was a poor crowd cs.

          There were extenuating circumstances,

          – It was an afternoon game, not evening. Club rugby and Masters rugby was being played at the same time – big chunk of the potential crowd right there
          – Jaguares are a poor drawcard for all Australian franchises
          – It was the first cold day of the year and there were heavy showers late morning and early afternoon, and then more during the match
          – Richmond (over 90,000 members) was playing across the road, starting a wee bit earlier, traffic in the area was horrific

          Regardless, it wasn’t a good look. Expect to see a far better turnout for the next home game against the Crusaders.

          • April 16th 2018 @ 8:30am
            Onside said | April 16th 2018 @ 8:30am | ! Report

            Plus Comm games.

          • April 16th 2018 @ 8:47am
            concerned supporter said | April 16th 2018 @ 8:47am | ! Report

            Thanks, Geoff for your prompt explanation.You say,
            – Richmond (over 90,000 members”
            You hit the nail on the head, 90,000 members, including Infant & Pet members of course, but still an outstanding achievement by Richmond.
            A major problem with NRC is that they have no members, certainly in NSW, not sure about other states.
            I live in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, I have no proper team to follow & support, no disrespect to NSW country.There are thousands like me.

            • April 16th 2018 @ 8:59am
              Malo said | April 16th 2018 @ 8:59am | ! Report

              The nrc is a farce with no support

            • April 16th 2018 @ 9:05am
              Bakkies said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:05am | ! Report

              CS, Penrith won’t be around much longer after those results.

              Did you read the article about the RA paying Rebels’ directors money to clear their debts so they can be sold for a dollar? I believe ASIC already have that information.

              • April 16th 2018 @ 9:25am
                concerned supporter said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:25am | ! Report

                Hi Bakkies,
                Yes, I did read that article.What a disgrace Clyne is to the name of Rugby in Australia. Major manipulator.

              • April 16th 2018 @ 12:18pm
                Bakkies said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

                He is, I said on another article Búmchin Bill purchased a horse stud in Braidwood so he can offer cut price or free horse manure for the RA boardroom and Chairman’s office.

            • Columnist

              April 16th 2018 @ 9:06am
              Geoff Parkes said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:06am | ! Report

              That’s the biggest issue for me cs, re the NRC. The lack of clear identity and connection from club to NRC team in NSW.

              It’s much better in other states, as you’d expect, because there is just one side, or in QLD, a better delineation between city and country. But Sydney is the biggest rugby market, and a national comp isn’t going to take off unless this piece is solved.

              The NRC won’t work if it continues to be seen as ‘competition’ to the Shute Shield.

              • April 16th 2018 @ 9:38am
                AndyS said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:38am | ! Report

                I might disagree with Jones on what he thinks the fix is, but agree that there is a problem and it lies predominantly with administration. Their solution seems to be just more of the same, fingers crossed, with nothing new to add and I can’t see that as much of a strategy. They may get lucky, but I doubt it.

                The problem is that they may be institutionally incapable of fixing it, as they and the people that put them there are too heavily invested in the status quo and amateur dogma.

              • April 16th 2018 @ 9:41am
                Malo said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:41am | ! Report

                The nrc has no history or meaning. You probably should visit Sydney to see why the nrc is a complete joke

              • April 16th 2018 @ 12:04pm
                AndyS said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

                You have only to visit Sydney and watch Shute Shield to see exactly why the NRC is necessary. The stupid thing is, if the SS bosses could pull their faces out of their own fundaments and breathe some fresh air, they’d realise the NRC is their best shot at getting some of their players paid and on someone else’s dime.

              • April 16th 2018 @ 9:55am
                Fionn said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:55am | ! Report

                Nothing, not even the Shute Shield, had no history or meaning when it first started, the history and meaning of things develops over time….

                Imagine if people took your view that you apply to the NRC to the Shute Shield when it first started?

              • April 16th 2018 @ 11:45am
                Malo said | April 16th 2018 @ 11:45am | ! Report

                Nsw country consists of Randwick and easts players. Nothing to do with country so guess what they go to the country and have no supporters. Fion you must live in Greenland

              • April 16th 2018 @ 1:45pm
                Fionn said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

                And you live in 1994.

              • April 17th 2018 @ 11:35am
                Malo said | April 17th 2018 @ 11:35am | ! Report

                Oh the 90s when we had decent professional players that had strong domestic structures and we won Two world cups. The best decade in Australia’s history.

          • Roar Rookie

            April 16th 2018 @ 11:34am
            piru said | April 16th 2018 @ 11:34am | ! Report

            Regardless, it wasn’t a good look. Expect to see a far better turnout for the next home game against the Crusaders.

            When the Crusaders fans come out?

            • Roar Guru

              April 16th 2018 @ 3:53pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | April 16th 2018 @ 3:53pm | ! Report

              My exact thought also.

              Getting decent crowds against arguably the two best rugby franchises in the world (Saders and Canes) in a big metropolitan city with a huge Kiwi expat community will not set anyone on fire.

              • April 16th 2018 @ 5:37pm
                Bakkies said | April 16th 2018 @ 5:37pm | ! Report

                That’s pretty dismissive. It is about getting Rugby fans together.

              • Roar Guru

                April 16th 2018 @ 6:32pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:32pm | ! Report

                How is my comment dismissive Bakkies?

              • April 16th 2018 @ 8:20pm
                Bakkies said | April 16th 2018 @ 8:20pm | ! Report

                Targeting away support not just your home fans is a way of boosting attendances.

          • April 16th 2018 @ 11:58am
            Ex force fan said | April 16th 2018 @ 11:58am | ! Report

            There is no excuse for 5,583 in that stadium. Strange that the timing of games, the opposition, the weather etc were never seen as valid excuses when the Force played and still manage to get about 10,000 per game.

            • Columnist

              April 16th 2018 @ 1:10pm
              Geoff Parkes said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

              EFF, you might frame everything as Perth v Melbourne but,

              – there was and is widespread support for the Force in Melbourne. Myself included. Any mature view doesn’t frame this as a state v state matter.

              – the players and coaches moved on from this type of petty parochialism very quickly. As have many fans.

              – you or anyone can go back though crowd numbers and SR results for as long as you like, and pick out numbers that suit your argument. If you trumpet 5.5k as a win for your cause, is the 16k crowd at the previous game a loss for your cause?

              – what is your cause anyway? Is the decision going to be reversed and the Force readmitted to SR?

              Piru, don’t understand your comment about the Crusaders supporters. Yes a big section of the Canes crowd was ex-pat NZ’ers, but isn’t that a normal part of rugby in Australia, in all states? What percentage of a Wallabies v AB’s Test crowd are AB supporters? Sometimes it feels close to half.
              What percentage of fans at a Force home game are ex-pat Kiwi’s or Saffa’s?
              Why does that matter?

              • April 16th 2018 @ 2:23pm
                Keith of WA said | April 16th 2018 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

                Whether or not you think it’s framed as Force V Rebels, the fact is that the contents of the newspaper article reveal the machinations by the ARU… Is this not an example of Alan Jones accusations? … or ‘maladministration’?

                Yes the horse has bolted re the Force, at least while those behind the decision remain in power…

                But that’s another article

              • Roar Rookie

                April 16th 2018 @ 2:28pm
                piru said | April 16th 2018 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

                It doesn’t matter Geoff, I was simply asking if that was why you assumed more fans for the Saders, or if more Rebels fans are expected.

              • Columnist

                April 16th 2018 @ 2:53pm
                Geoff Parkes said | April 16th 2018 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

                Both Piru.

                Clearly the Crusaders will draw way better than the Jaguares. Not as well as the Hurricanes though – there’s a Barrett factor there, and a lot of support for the type of game they play.

                So more Kiwi ex-pats, plus returning to a Friday evening time slot, away from the clash with club and Masters rugby, will better suit Rebels members and fans. If it’s decent weather I’d say they’ll be expecting around 12k or so.

              • April 16th 2018 @ 4:12pm
                Daveski said | April 16th 2018 @ 4:12pm | ! Report

                The pity of it is, if this comp had better marketing and a sense of identity the Jaguares should be one of those games you circle on the calendar to go and see. They play attractive, entertaining footy, have close to a dozen internationals from one of the top 8-10 nations in the world and there’s always a chance of some fireworks and fisticuffs.

                Instead of their exoticism being a prompt to go and watch them it’s symptomatic that this international competition is no longer resonating with the majority alas.

              • April 16th 2018 @ 3:33pm
                Akari said | April 16th 2018 @ 3:33pm | ! Report

                It matters because a lot of those rusted-on rugby expat NH/Kiwis/Saffas and PIs are not attending or rather the bulk are picking and choosing when it suits them to go. I don’t profess to have the answers but rugby is in a rut right now and needs help.

                Arranging for that game to be played at the wrong time and possibly day suggests that the administrators responsible must be held accountable and penalised with a commensurate pay cut for a start. I’m sure they won’t make that mistake ever again.

              • Columnist

                April 16th 2018 @ 4:17pm
                Geoff Parkes said | April 16th 2018 @ 4:17pm | ! Report

                Yes Akari, I wrote following the Hurricanes game that the challenge for the Rebels (same for all Australian franchises) is to convert these people to Rebels fans, so that they attend other matches, even as their 2nd team, or just out of interest for rugby.

                Some of the issue is economic. Even with reduced ticket prices, it’s still a fair expense to bring a family into the city from many suburbs, so yes, people are picking and choosing a couple of games to attend.

              • April 16th 2018 @ 5:39pm
                Bakkies said | April 16th 2018 @ 5:39pm | ! Report

                Daveski nail hit head mate. Brumbies undersold the Sharks match (a team that there has been a rivalry against) by saying SA teams are generally a tough sell. Face meet palm.

              • April 16th 2018 @ 6:06pm
                Ex force fan said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:06pm | ! Report

                The crowd that comes to every game forms the core support group. It is those that will carry a franchise through the tough yesrs. It looks like there is only 5,500 or even much less of them in Melbourne. The 16k includes the good weather crowd that only turn up for one or two games a year. You cannot build a franchise around them. In a city of almost 4 million there is only 5,500 true Rebel supporters…..and the ARU picked them over the Force. As long as Clyne is leading the ARU, I will continue to highlight his dumb decisions. By the way it was the ARU that framed it as Force vs Rebels. I though a merger would have been far more sensible.

              • Columnist

                April 16th 2018 @ 6:31pm
                Geoff Parkes said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:31pm | ! Report


                It’s a telling point. No competition can afford to have fixtures that are ‘written off’ as duds.

                For me, the Sharks was an opportunity to see an excitement machine like Curwin Bosch, and for the Jags, a host of test players.

                But SANZAAR’s marketing isn’t sharp enough, and perhaps some of the home sides let themselves down in this respect as well.

                But Daveski, your concern is well put, if that is symptomatic of the overall attractiveness of Super Rugby, in the eye of the ‘average fan’, or typical administrator, then that’s a deeper, serious problem.

              • April 17th 2018 @ 1:53am
                Bakkies said | April 17th 2018 @ 1:53am | ! Report

                Not by officials anyway. Brumbies have brought back free tickets for registered juniors recently.

                Sanzaar marketing is atrocious it should have been addressed years ago.

                As for the Canes they had the widest catchment in NZ and up until 2007 the biggest attendances in the comp along with the Stormers. Their fan base is quiet large despite the drop off in crowds.

              • Roar Pro

                April 18th 2018 @ 8:24pm
                robel said | April 18th 2018 @ 8:24pm | ! Report

                all very well if you live in Melb.

                The West Aus rugby supporters want the people who made the shameful decision to raze rugby in WA to be held to account and made to take the consequences of their decisions and actions.

                At the moment the people paying for this shameful decision is WA clubs, supporters and players. How about the Rebels get shut down and moved to WA, who’d be feeling agreed then?

                Telling a state to suck it up is an appalling response to a legitimate outrage against a body who have reneged on their responsibilities to nurture the game nation wide.

            • April 16th 2018 @ 1:30pm
              Malo said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

              Compare the teams of the 90s to these teams of no names today. The majority of players in Oz aren’t up to standard , hence low crowds. In the 90s the players were all wallabies or fringe wallabies .

              • Roar Guru

                April 19th 2018 @ 1:34am
                Mick Gold Coast QLD said | April 19th 2018 @ 1:34am | ! Report

                Excellent point well made.

                Similarly at that time one could enjoy watching Horan and Little galloping about for the Australian Sevens and a decision to spend a few days in Hong Kong was easily made. Now there is a Sevens competition played somewhere in the world every month, by a team of unknowns on handsome salaries; and a wymminses team of Sevens unknowns which we are required to get all breathless about, or be branded misogynist.

                Can the ARU afford it? Of course not. They will spend the game into oblivion nonetheless.

            • April 16th 2018 @ 1:36pm
              Malo said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

              You could get more to a 14c Joeys or Scots game

          • Roar Pro

            April 16th 2018 @ 5:45pm
            Melburnian said | April 16th 2018 @ 5:45pm | ! Report

            Geoff, I think you are understating it, the Bureau of Met described it as an Extreme Weather event with winds between 40-55km/h, rain and hail and whilst scheduling footy in the afternoon is stupid in Melbourne, I think the weather and the clash with the start of the community rugby season all played a significant part. Richmond Tigers drew a crowd of 30,000 to the MCG at the same time the Rebels were playing. Compare that to the 85,000 Richmond vs Carlton drew on 22/03/18 at the same venue.

            The acid test will be the Rebels next home fixture to see if they can build on the 15,000 that turned up to the Rebels vs Hurricanes game.

            Quite why who ever is responsible for scheduling Test & SR in Melbourne in the arvo continues to persist with this is beyond me.

            • Columnist

              April 16th 2018 @ 6:35pm
              Geoff Parkes said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:35pm | ! Report

              Point well made Melburnian, the Tigers would have been expecting many thousands more at their game, regardless of it being against Brisbane. It was an easy day to decide to stay at home, even if it didn’t actually turn out that badly.

              In a smaller market like Melbourne, clashing with club and Masters rugby really makes an impact.

              Hopefully that won’t happen again.

          • April 16th 2018 @ 10:59pm
            In Brief said | April 16th 2018 @ 10:59pm | ! Report

            So in the one breath you defend this appalling crowd number and yet in your article you justify the culling of the Force, Australia’s third biggest playing state, with the following appalling piece of sophistry:

            “This inaction and its flow-on effects shaped today’s rugby and forced the hand of financially weakened southern hemisphere unions, manifested in decisions such as the exclusion of the Western Force from Super Rugby – not some plan hatched by incompetents who would deliberately and willingly see rugby development in a key growth state set backwards.”

            Completely wrong. The ARU were not influenced by powers outside of their control to cull the Force, it was a decision hatched the ARU to serve the ARU. It was a hatchet job and grand case of incompetence.

            • April 17th 2018 @ 2:00am
              Bakkies said | April 17th 2018 @ 2:00am | ! Report

              They blamed Sanzaar in front of the Committee even after Jones himself telling de Clyne in that famous interview they had the right to veto. They also fell for the line from SA that they were reducing their sides to increase the quality of the comp. That didn’t occur they moved them to Europe and loaned players to the Kings as their squad had short contracts which was understandable.

              The Kings lost their best players Cloete and Mapimpi as they couldn’t wait around for SARU to announce the Kings were staying even though they had been in talks with Celtic Rugby for a year.

            • Columnist

              April 17th 2018 @ 7:13am
              Geoff Parkes said | April 17th 2018 @ 7:13am | ! Report

              You’re verballing IB.

              I’m on record as supporting the Force’s retention and I’m not justifying the ARU’s decision to cull them. I am saying that the underlying economic and political environment for professional rugby led to RA being required to drop a side – that’s not the same thing.

              • April 17th 2018 @ 8:50am
                Bakkies said | April 17th 2018 @ 8:50am | ! Report

                Mostly caused by the RA by giving tens of millions to the Rebels for little return.

      • Roar Rookie

        April 16th 2018 @ 11:32am
        piru said | April 16th 2018 @ 11:32am | ! Report

        Bakkies you have to give it to the Rebels lawyers don’t you?

        That’s some serious legal kung fu.

        ARU “We will cut a team, one of them might be the Rebels because they owe $x”

        Rebs lawyers “WHAT! You can’t cut us, how dare you, we demand $x in settlement of this outrage”

        ARU “Ok here’s $x”

        lawyers “Pay it direct to the Rebels please”

        • April 16th 2018 @ 11:44am
          Bakkies said | April 16th 2018 @ 11:44am | ! Report

          Blackmail much?

          It would have saved the RA a lot of money stating that the Force were the team to go as according to the August 2016 minutes conducted just before the assassination Agreement was signed they were going to decide in October 2016 in regards to which team was to go.

          • April 16th 2018 @ 11:46am
            Fionn said | April 16th 2018 @ 11:46am | ! Report

            August 2016 minutes?

            • April 16th 2018 @ 12:35pm
              Bakkies said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

              Yeah they are up on the Senate Inquiry website under Submissions 13 and 13a. De Clyne thew his toys out of the cot when questioned about them at the Inquiry.

              • April 16th 2018 @ 12:50pm
                Fionn said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

                Thanks, Bakkies, appreciate it, I just had a read through.

              • April 16th 2018 @ 1:06pm
                Bakkies said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

                No worries.

        • Roar Guru

          April 16th 2018 @ 6:13pm
          Timbo (L) said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:13pm | ! Report

          I Hope Train Without A Terminus reads this.

          It is proof of the inconvenient truth that the ARU rigged the deck.

          Us Force orphans all knew something shifty went on pull the Rebs out of insolvency.

          It feels illegal, but I am not sure why. If the Force were a person, they would have a case under the workplace bullying laws, all employees shall be treated equally.

      • April 16th 2018 @ 12:43pm
        Harry said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

        Stay at it Bakkies and others, the back story that led to the Force being cut and the Rebels protected needs to come out. Too much coverup and dissembling.

        • April 16th 2018 @ 5:44pm
          Bakkies said | April 16th 2018 @ 5:44pm | ! Report

          Thanks Harry, if it takes the people to keep the bástards honest than that is the way it is going to be.

        • Roar Pro

          April 16th 2018 @ 5:51pm
          Melburnian said | April 16th 2018 @ 5:51pm | ! Report

          Late last year I did hear from someone I know that’s connected with the VRU / VRRA that the ARU told SANZAAR that the ARU would cut one SR team if SARU committed to cut two in the belief that SARU would never agree to this. When SARU said OK, then the ARU had nowhere to go and the politics started. Imperium Sports simply out manoeuvred the ARU and the Force ended up being the casualty. Of course this might all be apocryphal but I wouldn’t put it past this shower.

          • April 16th 2018 @ 6:27pm
            Bakkies said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:27pm | ! Report

            See my post below in response to Fionn with the minutes from the August 2016 meeting. The RA decided in August 2016 they would axe a team, the Force signed an Assassination Agreement with the RA with IP included just after the meeting and in that meeting stated that they vote on the side to cut in the October 2016 meeting.

            The idea of SARU cutting sides was to consolidate the SA talent in to four sides. Instead they got played one by SARU (and that is bad). Jurie Roux said at the Pro 14 launch in Cape Town (press conference is in on You Tube) that his union had been in discussions with Celtic Rugby for over 12 months to join the league. They had been expecting this and unlike the RA had a plan B. The RA were happy to kill a Rugby community.

            The RA got done one. SA didn’t cut any teams. It was announced on the weekend that Rassie Erasmus the Bok director of Rugby and Jurie Roux will join the Pro 14 board. This states they are in for the long haul.

            • Roar Guru

              April 16th 2018 @ 6:42pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:42pm | ! Report

              The RA got done one. SA didn’t cut any teams. It was announced on the weekend that Rassie Erasmus the Bok director of Rugby and Jurie Roux will join the Pro 14 board. This states they are in for the long haul.

              Saw this also. Pro14 does not seem to waste any time or effort to bring SARU closer to them. Not saying they will succeed, but Pro14 would be crazy not try to get a couple more Saffa SR teams (possibly all of them) when SANZAAR and SR future is in the balance.

              • April 16th 2018 @ 8:23pm
                Bakkies said | April 16th 2018 @ 8:23pm | ! Report

                SARU is a far safer bet than putting teams in Germany and the US like they have been suggesting.

              • Roar Guru

                April 16th 2018 @ 9:22pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:22pm | ! Report

                From what I have seen Pro14 have toned down their expansion talk regarding the USA and Germany et al since they started to co-operate with SARU. And that makes sense if they are fishing for a much bigger fish.

                Interesting times ahead for sure.

              • April 17th 2018 @ 2:07am
                Bakkies said | April 17th 2018 @ 2:07am | ! Report

                The implosion of the German union and respecting the new US pro comp put paid to that. USA Rugby are also in serious financial difficulties.

                Martin Anayi the Pro 14 CEO is independent as he is from England is a serious operator and he has Gerald Davies working with him. SA have been threatening to go to Europe for over ten years, the Sharks have made no secret they are keen to move (John Smit when he was CEO mentioned that) and the RA have sat in silence they made their move.

                The alternative in Twiggy’s comp is on the table however it is clear they want control.

              • April 17th 2018 @ 4:16pm
                Bakkies said | April 17th 2018 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

                Further information from the Pro 14


                Munster brought with them at least 200 fans to SA while it doesn’t seem a lot there wasn’t much notice to save. Hopefully the league gets the fixture list out soon so fans can plan and save. A thousand or more Munster fans in SA will serious craic.

              • Roar Guru

                April 17th 2018 @ 6:22pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | April 17th 2018 @ 6:22pm | ! Report

                Thanks for the link Bakkies.

                As said before, Pro14 have their sights on SARU and t makes sense on so many levels. If they can pull off the big coup and get all the Saffa SR teams eventually, it would bring Pro14 (Pro18) pretty close to the same financial level as Top14 and Aviva P.

                Still, find it fascinating that this is almost completely ignored by media fans in OZ and NZ.
                But I am pretty sure they are sweating at the SANZAAR HQ. I just wish they could start acting and not only reacting when it is probably too late.

    • April 16th 2018 @ 5:58am
      Cynical Play said | April 16th 2018 @ 5:58am | ! Report

      What you’ll find Geoff, is that Jones cannot stand a women in power. I’ve observed over many years his attacks and campaigns and wondered why he chooses some targets and not others. Often it’s politically based, and we have found out in cash for comment that he has ulterior motives for much of his hate campaigns. But sometimes, when you have a good look at it, it’s because the target is a woman who has the audacity to be in a powerful role.

      He reserves his most vehement and spiteful language for women. Misogyny is not restricted to the heterosexual broadcaster, and his language and vehemence puts him in a class off his own in this regard. Remember “drown” Gillard, lynch “Clover Moore”, then his mad attack on Audre Ziebelman. Dozens of powerful women in recent memory have become his target. Even off the air, when he has quite ill last year he rose from his death-bed to put the boot into Gladys B., who he thought should never become Premier. It was because she was a woman. There are many examples.

      Jones is a misogynist off the highest order, working for a boys club radio station (no female announcers), and if one realises that, his attack campaigns are more easily understood.

      It was only a matter of time before he loaded and sprayed his bile at Raelene. He won’t stop now.

      • April 16th 2018 @ 7:08am
        Daveski said | April 16th 2018 @ 7:08am | ! Report

        Absolutely nailed it CP. For what’s it’s worth I quite enjoyed Jones’s circus ringmaster, pot-stirring antics as Barbarians coach last year. After all Pulver and Clyne had as many boots to the backside coming as there are people with feet.

        But we should get used to hearing Jones screech “that woman” at Castle. He was also savage in his attack she against Marina Go when she was in charge of the Tigers.

        Disappointments of the weekend in escalating order:

        Brumbies only being able to match the Highlander’s for a half.

        Rebels going to sleep against the Jaguars.

        A pretty meagre heritage round crowd at the SCG ( but where can I get one of those Tahs jerseys?)

        Dom Du Toit not being able to catch Kelly Brazier over 85m.

        • April 16th 2018 @ 9:07am
          Bakkies said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:07am | ! Report

          Even though they’re skint the NSWRU aren’t putting those jerseys up for sale.

          • Roar Pro

            April 16th 2018 @ 5:54pm
            Melburnian said | April 16th 2018 @ 5:54pm | ! Report

            I have to say I don’t understand the merchandising strategy in Australia. England have a new kit every year and sometimes more than one – anyone remember the Regal Purple kit they wore exactly once, or the Armistice day shirts with the VC motif embossed in the fabric. Its a huge source of income for the RFU but in Australia we continue to stick with the vile yellow jerseys. I’d like to see the Wallabies revert to something akin to the Old Gold colour from the heyday of Australian Rugby and what’s more I’d probably be happy to buy one for myself and each of my boys.

            • April 16th 2018 @ 8:24pm
              Bakkies said | April 16th 2018 @ 8:24pm | ! Report

              Bit hard to shift any jersey regardless of the design when they retail at $150.

              • Roar Pro

                April 16th 2018 @ 9:06pm
                Melburnian said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:06pm | ! Report

                Fair point. Five minutes showed me the RFU store charging $50-$120 for a replica shirt and the ARU charging $159.


                Which reinforces the point the RA marketing of merchandise is crap. Cut the cost to $50 and change the style regularly. Bound to be a percentage who want to buy the latest. besides, it’d probably stop that sad state of affairs when you go into any sports shop in Australia after the latest Test debacle and see Wallabies jerseys at half price.

              • April 17th 2018 @ 2:12am
                Bakkies said | April 17th 2018 @ 2:12am | ! Report

                One of the first basics of marketing that you learn at school is price the RA and the Super Rugby sides don’t get that.

                The Wallabies used to be very popular particularly with expats in the U.K. You would see them in the crowd at Wimbledon and at the Ashes. They should have been able to attract a big kit deal from the likes of Adidas, Puma and Nike instead they got Kooga when Canterbury didn’t renew.

        • April 16th 2018 @ 6:09pm
          Akari said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:09pm | ! Report

          Nailed it, indeed, CP.

          A little harsh IMO on Dom Du Toit, Daveski.

          Kelly Brazier was reported as saying that she prided herself on her fitness. Even Kiwi speedster, Portia Woodman, did not or could not provide any support to Brazier herself as she was (like everyone else) also spent by then. Credit to the 20 year old Toowoombabwean for trying but Brazier’s experience and fitness were telling factors as Brazier was able to quickly make a call, increase her pace and go for the try from mid-way when she realised that help wasn’t coming.

          • Columnist

            April 16th 2018 @ 6:38pm
            Geoff Parkes said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:38pm | ! Report


            I’ve never seen that before. 🙂

      • Roar Rookie

        April 16th 2018 @ 11:14am
        Don said | April 16th 2018 @ 11:14am | ! Report

        Whilst I understand that Jones’s historical links to Rugby means he gets recognised and, amongst some fans supported, for his rants about the code.
        However, the days of him being a kingmaker and the most influential person in Aus media are well and truly past.

        His reach to a largely ageing and or right wing listener in Sydney is still significant and that demographic has also been a chunk of Rugby watchers and influencers.

        But no business who is trying to talk to younger people, particularly women or centre / left leaning voters should give him the time of day. He will always make headlines and noise in the mainstream (read declining) media because that’s where his base is.

        The biggest mistake Rugby or any sports could make is to give his views oxygen by responding directly to him.

        Just say “we recognise and thank Alan for his contribution to Australian Rugby and he is entitled to his opinions…”

        • April 16th 2018 @ 11:45am
          Bakkies said | April 16th 2018 @ 11:45am | ! Report

          He still has the highest radio ratings in Sydney and if you want to get votes you have to get him onside.

          • Roar Rookie

            April 16th 2018 @ 1:58pm
            Don said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

            Not so Bakkies.
            He has 12% of breakfast radio with a significant skew (almost 70%) to over 50s and 54% of those male. Over a third of his audience are aged pensioners.

            And 12% of the Sydney breakfast radio audience only equates to just over 150k total listeners.

            As the years pass and Radio sees further declines in listeners and Jones’s audience gets older he will be even less relevant.

            The notion he has such influence is now only touted by his station and the Liberal Party.

            • April 16th 2018 @ 5:45pm
              Bakkies said | April 16th 2018 @ 5:45pm | ! Report

              Australia is going to have an ageing population for some time.

      • April 16th 2018 @ 12:41pm
        Harry said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

        Nailed it CP. Sadly, Jonesy will just get more squawkier. A pity, as he does make some good points occasionally. However its quite funny when (as he did a few weeks back) he goes into bat for those poor downtrodden outsider types like err Brian Smith and Scots College.

        • April 17th 2018 @ 9:19pm
          Bakkies said | April 17th 2018 @ 9:19pm | ! Report

          Well he has got a point about Brian Smith the Aus Schoolboys the job was advertised and Smith was rejected due to low teaching experience. The rot starts with Aus Schoolboys and they turn a coach who has coached at test level.

    • Roar Guru

      April 16th 2018 @ 6:20am
      Harry Jones said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:20am | ! Report

      Thanks for the Wrap, Geoff.

      The Parrot sounds like he’s just a fame hound.

      Try of the Week?

      For me, the Jags 14 miraculously running through three Rebels.

      Or the Pollard to Gelant chip.

      Or the Bun Smith special.

      • April 16th 2018 @ 6:22am
        Diggercane said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:22am | ! Report

        I would parrot my own lads, like the Lam meat pie or BBBBB getting around guzzler. Good times.

        • Roar Guru

          April 16th 2018 @ 6:19pm
          Harry Jones said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:19pm | ! Report

          The Lam try was a peach.

          He’s got several of the season’s Top Ten Tries, IMO.

          • April 17th 2018 @ 1:48am
            Cuw said | April 17th 2018 @ 1:48am | ! Report

            he was quick on that one.

            but if u go back and look – he showed the pace when Ngatai tackled him near the line.

            if u watch – u will see how he gets away from the chasers with each stride.

      • Roar Guru

        April 16th 2018 @ 6:23am
        Kia Kaha said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:23am | ! Report

        Gelant must get a prize for judicious use of the boot to score his tries.

      • Columnist

        April 16th 2018 @ 7:27am
        Geoff Parkes said | April 16th 2018 @ 7:27am | ! Report

        On the Pollard to Gelant chip Harry… very clever move and deserved a try, but…

        It looked to my eye that Gelant was half a step offside.
        The referee (and viewers) sat through a number of replays that didn’t show Pollard and Gelant in the same picture.
        The one that did was replayed only once and not frozen at the moment of the kick.
        On that (lack of) evidence the try had to stand.

        Two points,

        – SA seems particularly roughshod when it comes to providing consistent, relevant and fair video replays
        – is it time for implementation of an offside line on the screen, to show the relative positions of the kicker and the chaser at the moment of the kick? The technology is there, broadcasters use it in soccer.

        If we’re going to stop the game and look at replays, to make important decisions off, I don’t understand why we don’t make the best information available?

        • Roar Guru

          April 16th 2018 @ 10:41am
          Ralph said | April 16th 2018 @ 10:41am | ! Report

          “an offside line on the screen”

          Very good, simple and obvious solution.

          • April 16th 2018 @ 11:03am
            Perthstayer said | April 16th 2018 @ 11:03am | ! Report

            Never. NZ wouldn’t allow it.

            • Roar Guru

              April 16th 2018 @ 1:55pm
              Ralph said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

              NZ drew the line at slow-mo shots of Richie stealing the ball, but now that Pocock is on song we’re all in favour 😀

              • Columnist

                April 16th 2018 @ 2:55pm
                Geoff Parkes said | April 16th 2018 @ 2:55pm | ! Report


                Yes, urgent action is required re Pocock.
                Eliot Dixon had a go, but that’s not really what I had in mind. The laws need to be changed.

          • Columnist

            April 16th 2018 @ 11:15am
            Geoff Parkes said | April 16th 2018 @ 11:15am | ! Report

            Although I complain as much as the next bloke about offside defensive lines Ralph, I wouldn’t want to see it used for general play. Too intrusive and there is too much of a grey area about when the ball is actually out of the ruck.

            But for adjudicating offside from kicks, on a TMO review when the officials are already looking at a reply? That’s surely a no brainer.

            • Roar Rookie

              April 16th 2018 @ 12:22pm
              piru said | April 16th 2018 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

              Would that not then be putting part of the outcome of the game in the hands of a TV producer?

              The NFL use the lines for first downs etc, but it’s always made clear that the line is not official.

              • Columnist

                April 16th 2018 @ 1:14pm
                Geoff Parkes said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

                Possibly Piru.

                Cricket seems to be sorting this out, the third umpire seems to have control over what he requests and receives. Like he is directing the TV producer what images he wants to see, rather than the other way around.

                Otherwise the next step might be “neutral” TV producers at each match 🙂

              • Roar Rookie

                April 16th 2018 @ 2:30pm
                piru said | April 16th 2018 @ 2:30pm | ! Report

                The ‘old’ NFL tv replays used to involve the ref going to a special booth on the sideline and watching the play himself – I reckon that was a good fit for rugby, no one else involved, just the referee getting access to more info.

              • Roar Guru

                April 16th 2018 @ 4:03pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | April 16th 2018 @ 4:03pm | ! Report

                I say a “war room” like NRL and NHL have is the only way to go if we want this plague to go away.

              • Roar Rookie

                April 16th 2018 @ 4:43pm
                piru said | April 16th 2018 @ 4:43pm | ! Report

                I think the NFL is doing that too now NVFS, but rugby has that pesky law that the referee is the sole judge of fact and law.

              • April 17th 2018 @ 1:52am
                Cuw said | April 17th 2018 @ 1:52am | ! Report

                but in cricket most of the visuals are standard and more or less the same point.

                also they rely on artificial techno more than the visual in many cases.

                like snicko and hawk eye

        • April 16th 2018 @ 6:15pm
          Ex force fan said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:15pm | ! Report

          The offside line on the screen makes a lot of sense. If you read South African press they also complain about bias in TV replays in NZ and Australia. My view is that all producers are are guilty of bias.

        • Roar Guru

          April 16th 2018 @ 6:20pm
          Harry Jones said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:20pm | ! Report

          I support greater enforcement of the offsides line. It will not affect the SA or Jags teams the most. That’s all I’ll say…

          • April 17th 2018 @ 1:53am
            Cuw said | April 17th 2018 @ 1:53am | ! Report

            shrks will be – most of the time their wingers are in front of the line.

    • Roar Guru

      April 16th 2018 @ 6:21am
      Kia Kaha said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:21am | ! Report

      Thanks, Geoff.

      I remember Jones made a video saying Australia was not going to be intimidated by NZ and was going to teach them a lesson. They were beaten soundly and someone meshed his speech with the highlights.

      Always be careful of someone with a microphone. That’s what my gym instructor friend said. He wasn’t joking…

      • Columnist

        April 16th 2018 @ 7:49am
        Geoff Parkes said | April 16th 2018 @ 7:49am | ! Report

        Hi KK

        Jones will always have a grand slam as his legacy – no-one can take that away from him.
        And his reputation as an orator, a stirring motivator of men, is legendary.
        But a megaphone approach like that has a shelf life.

        • April 16th 2018 @ 9:08am
          Bakkies said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:08am | ! Report

          and a series win in NZ.

        • Roar Guru

          April 16th 2018 @ 9:19am
          RobC said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:19am | ! Report

          Megaphone approach are the echoes of white Aussie era GP:
          -. It will eventually pass
          – The parrot is a last squawk of its generation
          – His followers are not happy for the inquisition of one of their believers

          Having said that I’m wary of Castle as the CEO. But I will see the next 12 months

    • April 16th 2018 @ 6:23am
      Hugo said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:23am | ! Report

      Bakkies – that’s such a formidable comment you may get arrested for insider trading.

      Geoff – The Australian has a paywall so I don’t get to read Allan Jones. But I did read Ms. Castle’s comments re. Folau and they were rambling and repetitive. Almost groveling. In short, she rolled over like an airedale.

      Re your summation of the weekend’s games, once again we note that the NZ sides are beyond talented. Their brand of rugby is so much better than anybody else’s, plus they have an amazing ability to discover relatively new players who seem to emerge from the Tasman fully grown. How many storming wingers/FBs do you need to win the RWC anyway? Take it easy on us, Kiwis, you’re making the rest of us look bad.

      • Columnist

        April 16th 2018 @ 7:44am
        Geoff Parkes said | April 16th 2018 @ 7:44am | ! Report

        Hi Hugo

        I’d argue that Castle’s ‘softly softly’ approach was exactly the right one to take.

        The issue needed the heat taken out of it – a knee-jerk or forceful reaction would only have inflamed things.

        She was on a hiding to nothing, potentially in danger of losing two major sponsors or losing one of Australia’s best players, if she pushed too hard in any direction.

        If that comes across as “rolling over” I’d say that’s a small price to pay for keeping everything intact.

        • April 16th 2018 @ 11:11am
          Perthstayer said | April 16th 2018 @ 11:11am | ! Report


          His foolishness is most notable on commercial matters. RC will be in talks. The progress of these is never public.

          RC and prospective sponsors will have CA’s flying around faster than Folau trying to cross the road at Sydney Mardi Gras.

        • Roar Guru

          April 16th 2018 @ 1:53pm
          Ralph said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

          “I’d argue that Castle’s ‘softly softly’ approach was exactly the right one to take.”


          • Roar Guru

            April 16th 2018 @ 4:25pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | April 16th 2018 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

            Short term RC has done the right thing, but anyone working with brands and values knows that if you don’t live as you learn, people will call you out eventually. And I think there is a pretty big chance that this kind of “issues” will surface again and the “softly softly approach” is – at the bone – only a quick fix.

            You can’t fake the funk…

            • April 16th 2018 @ 6:20pm
              Ex force fan said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:20pm | ! Report

              I think ypu can be firm in a civilised way. The CEO does not have the ability to change Falau’s believes, but she can explain the impact of publicly expressing his believes on the organisation.

            • Columnist

              April 16th 2018 @ 6:42pm
              Geoff Parkes said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:42pm | ! Report

              I expect she’s banking on there being no repeats NV.

              But if there is a repeat from Folau and/or other players, then yes, clearly it will require a different response.

              • Roar Guru

                April 17th 2018 @ 12:24am
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | April 17th 2018 @ 12:24am | ! Report

                It appears that Izzy has no plan whatsoever to be quiet on this GP:

                As you have probably read, last week I met with Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle and Waratahs general manager Andrew Hore.

                During the meeting I told them it was never my intention to hurt anyone with the Instagram comment, but that I could never shy away from who I am, or what I believe.

                They explained their position and talked about external pressure from the media, sponsors and different parts of the community, which I understand.

                I acknowledge Raelene and Andrew have to run things in a way that appeals broadly to their executive, fans and sponsors, as well as its players and staff. It is a business.

                I didn’t agree with Bill Pulver taking a stance on the same sex marriage vote on behalf of the whole organisation, but I understand the reasons behind why he did.

                After we’d all talked, I told Raelene if she felt the situation had become untenable – that I was hurting Rugby Australia, its sponsors and the Australian rugby community to such a degree that things couldn’t be worked through – I would walk away from my contract, immediately.

                I feel I need to explain this part in more detail because at no stage over the past two weeks have I wanted that to happen.

                There have been things written about me angling to get a release from my Rugby Australia deal to pursue an NRL contract. That simply isn’t true. There have been rugby offers from the UK, Europe and Japan that are way above anything I could earn in Australia.

                This is not about money or bargaining power or contracts. It’s about what I believe in and never compromising that, because my faith is far more important to me than my career and always will be.

                After the meeting I went home, turned on the TV and was really disappointed with some of the things that were said in the press conference.

                I felt Raelene misrepresented my position and my comments, and did so to appease other people, which is an issue I need to discuss with her and others at Rugby Australia.

                That aside, I hope Raelene and Andrew appreciate my position, even if it differs with theirs.

                I love rugby union. It has allowed me to travel all over the world and meet some fascinating people along the way.

                It is one of the best things about the game in my opinion.

                I do not want to bring hurt to the game and want as many people playing it as possible, so when I spoke to Raelene about walking away, it was to help the game, not harm it, in the event we couldn’t come to an understanding.

                I used to believe I was defined by my actions on the footy field, but I see now that’s not true.


              • April 17th 2018 @ 1:00am
                Cuw said | April 17th 2018 @ 1:00am | ! Report

                as is said when this thing first broke out – i think he wants out.

                maybe he has a contract lined up or maybe he feels got enuf money.

                ” After we’d all talked, I told Raelene if she felt the situation had become untenable – that I was hurting Rugby Australia, its sponsors and the Australian rugby community to such a degree that things couldn’t be worked through – I would walk away from my contract, immediately. ”

                the problem for aussy is they have invested so much money on him – can they afford to write it all off as s sunk cost?

              • Columnist

                April 17th 2018 @ 7:22am
                Geoff Parkes said | April 17th 2018 @ 7:22am | ! Report

                Well if he’s chosen to keep the matter alive that’s his call, and yes, Castle will now need to respond appropriately.

                It does seem however that he has a type of death wish happening. He’s certainly not being forced into a corner, he seems intent on painting himself into it.

            • April 16th 2018 @ 11:11pm
              In Brief said | April 16th 2018 @ 11:11pm | ! Report

              The biggest issue, as per Spiro’s article, is the alienation of both the polynesian community who provide so much talent to Australian rugby, and the silent majority of Australians who are sick to death of identity politics. I am not Christian but I cannot fathom the depth of ignorance required to be offended by a Christian quoting from the Bible. For example, the Bible states that adulterer’s will go to hell. Adultery is defined as beyond physical – it also includes lusting after women. Based on this I am a serial adulterer so I am definitely destined for hell. That’s according to the Bible. How can I complain if a Christian when asked confirms this to be the case – the plebiscite on gay marriage was not a plebiscite on religious texts.

      • April 16th 2018 @ 5:47pm
        Bakkies said | April 16th 2018 @ 5:47pm | ! Report

        ‘Bakkies – that’s such a formidable comment you may get arrested for insider trading.’

        I hope they do Cheeky Watson style.

    • April 16th 2018 @ 7:02am
      Bob Wire said | April 16th 2018 @ 7:02am | ! Report

      Yep, Kiwi teams look good. Australian look pedestrian, when will the reduction in teams from 5 to four become apparent? I can’t see the Wallabies looking much different from last season. Ireland’s biggest problem will be complacency

      • April 16th 2018 @ 10:00am
        Reverse Wheel said | April 16th 2018 @ 10:00am | ! Report

        I would argue it’s already becoming apparent:

        Aussie teams are at 15 wins (plus a draw) from 28 matches – in 2017 it was 21 wins and a draw from 75 matches
        Waratahs & Rebels have already had more wins than last season
        Reds at not quite the halfway mark are 1 win short of last season
        Brumbies are on pace to match last season’s 6 wins

        • April 16th 2018 @ 8:13pm
          Malo said | April 16th 2018 @ 8:13pm | ! Report

          They have won against themselves, they play the Nez sides now.

      • Roar Guru

        April 16th 2018 @ 10:43am
        Ralph said | April 16th 2018 @ 10:43am | ! Report

        I thought the Blues looked pretty pedestrian against the Sunwolves, made very hard yards of their obvious advantages.

        • April 16th 2018 @ 6:33pm
          Akari said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:33pm | ! Report

          I haven’t seen that game yet but the close result seems to support point.

          • April 16th 2018 @ 7:21pm
            Akari said | April 16th 2018 @ 7:21pm | ! Report

            Sorry, Ralph, as I meant to say, “I haven’t seen that game yet but I can now see why the final result was bloody close”.

      • April 16th 2018 @ 11:16pm
        In Brief said | April 16th 2018 @ 11:16pm | ! Report

        Cutting a team made no difference at all to performance. The poor play last year was based largely on poor coaching, not talent. The Waratahs were almost a Wallaby team and played terrible rugby. They didn’t improve depth or talent from the Force demise (Rona excepted). If they improve this year it probably will indicate something else has changed, maybe Gibson has improved.

        That’s not to say talent isn’t an issue – who would want to play super rugby when you could play in europe for less travel and more money?

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