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Allan Eskdale

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Joined December 2021

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The Roar Rugby Project: Part 7 – Why professional Rugby must be profitable and how RA has failed to respond to challenge

The Roar Rugby Project aims to document the challenges and opportunities facing rugby at all levels across the nation in the following articles. We are looking to Roarers’ experience as players, officials and supporters to find new solutions for the problems that have dogged the game over the last twenty-five years.

So much more depth than 2021, I am the eternal optimist, but it was hard to get excited about last year’s side. The board made no effort to be competitive.

Super Rugby Radar: Only way is up as Hooper and Coleman have Tahs fans frothing

Totally different side, especially, as TWAS said, if there are fewer injuries. The defence will be twice as good, better system and a more confident team.

Super Rugby Radar: Only way is up as Hooper and Coleman have Tahs fans frothing

Now we are talking Jez, the quality of the team is the players you are leaving out.

Super Rugby Radar: Only way is up as Hooper and Coleman have Tahs fans frothing

Nothing will bring the crowds back Malo, the 2014 Tahs probably lifted them about 3000/game.

They should be happy with 15k, until they completely rethink how the games are marketed and promoted.

Super Rugby Radar: Only way is up as Hooper and Coleman have Tahs fans frothing

Interesting, I also think he will go much better with a more settled side around him. Crucified by the defensive system, I could have made ground against them.

Super Rugby Radar: Only way is up as Hooper and Coleman have Tahs fans frothing

Spot on JC, they will be loving the underdog tag, should last a couple of weeks.

The ‘ins’ are great but the big impact is that the defensive system is surely ‘OUT’.

Easily the most dangerous team with ball in hand during the TT, with a significantly improved defence. Maybe not less tries per game against the Kiwis than the Aussie sides, but a lot less than expected.

Super Rugby Radar: Only way is up as Hooper and Coleman have Tahs fans frothing

We will be a threat again at scrum time when two TH are good enough to push HJH back to LH. Its probably been great for his growth as a player, but I think it has also reduced his impact elsewhere.

Super Rugby Radar: Only way is up as Hooper and Coleman have Tahs fans frothing

My plan would be to let them go. When you are on your knees begging, it never goes well.

You may need to review where we are in the world of rugby at the end of 2021. Not only is being ranked #7 and stony broke a reasonable measure of failure, it also heralds a very short term future.

The Roar Rugby Project: Part 7 – Why professional Rugby must be profitable and how RA has failed to respond to challenge

Sorry, I can’t cater for every possible interpretation of what is a necessarily brief overview. RA is subject to Australian Corporations Law and its directors have the same power as any other company.

As I said above, there is no evidence as to whether RUPA’s agreement is effective or appropriate. Two former players on a board of eight is probably over representation, and given the performance of the board, certainly requires review.

Guidance from Germany is only of any peripheral interest, especially as it pertains to companies with over 500 employees.

The Roar Rugby Project: Part 7 – Why professional Rugby must be profitable and how RA has failed to respond to challenge

I think it is a complicated beast. The big professional clubs in soccer and rugby depend on owners having a lot of money to start with.

MU might be a bit more mercantile with the Glazers, but they are falling behind the big spenders.

I read that most of the UK Premiership clubs took the PE money off the table as a distribution to the owners or to repay debt. So I am not sure just how ‘successful’ they are from a financial perspective. The Six Nations were all pretty keen to get their hands on the PE money as well.

Professional sports’ big problem is chasing trophies by paying for bigger and more expensive stars. For NZ and AU the problem you have pointed out is that we do not have enough star players to hold a premium competition.

Player costs will go up accordingly if we try to establish one, and the owners are two national unions, not oil sheiks or oligarchs.

The Roar Rugby Project: Part 7 – Why professional Rugby must be profitable and how RA has failed to respond to challenge

What is an elected supervisory board?

Whether the informal arrangement that the board must include two post 1995 Wallabies is appropriate, or has added any value, is open to question anyway. Union representation on boards is not that common yet.

The Roar Rugby Project: Part 7 – Why professional Rugby must be profitable and how RA has failed to respond to challenge

Thanks Mo, that is exactly what I meant. They start contracting them so young, but there will also be blokes that fall out as late as the U20s.

Imagine how many players would have been much better at 25, than the blokes preferred to them at 18. A lot of that just comes with attitude and maturity.

The big advantage rugby has is that it is a global game. Much more so than soccer because of the relative standards in Australia compared to the rest of the world.

The Roar Rugby Project: Part 7 – Why professional Rugby must be profitable and how RA has failed to respond to challenge

The thing that gets me, is that they are all on fixed term contracts as well, in public companies tied to the share prices. You can be a complete dud, yet the share price goes up with the market anyway, and then you get paid out when they sack you for incompetence.

I can see logic on both sides for players to be on fixed contracts.

Why coaches, sports administrators and public company executives are not prepared to negotiate contracts which allow for the failed promise of performance is beyond me.

Well it is not really beyond me, they are all on the same system.

The Roar Rugby Project: Part 7 – Why professional Rugby must be profitable and how RA has failed to respond to challenge

I would not disagree Micko.

There is a great meme floating around of about ten guys sitting down, each with a job title like supervisor, trainer, contract manager etc. They are watching a bloke called Dave dig a hole.

At the bottom of the photo it says that Dave is now to be laid off due to workplace cost cutting.

The Roar Rugby Project: Part 7 – Why professional Rugby must be profitable and how RA has failed to respond to challenge

Thanks Mark.

Although what I meant was that the AO would no longer be the 4th GS tournament, not that it would actually be going anywhere else.

I am pretty sure there was some talk of that some years ago, with another high profile tournament pushing for the honour, in the US I think.

Glad to hear it is no longer a problem.

The Roar Rugby Project: Part 7 – Why professional Rugby must be profitable and how RA has failed to respond to challenge

Similar to the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, light on for what is planned to be achieved and what is to be achieved. There is no basis for assessing performance, or the true financial position.

The Roar Rugby Project: Part 7 – Why professional Rugby must be profitable and how RA has failed to respond to challenge

Community rugby appears to be in decline on most of the Top 8 countries while professional rugby is losing money or struggling in most places.

The Roar Rugby Project: Part 7 – Why professional Rugby must be profitable and how RA has failed to respond to challenge

2027 will be our last chance. If we wait until 2028 to see how much money we made, and then decide what we need to do, then we will get the same result as 2004.

The whole game in Australia needs to be building towards 2027, maximising rugby support for the RWC as well as putting together the infrastructure required to absorb participation interest generated by the RWC.

That is also a risk management strategy for match attendance. Anyone who is just assuming the world can turn up in Australia on a given date must have been asleep for the last 18 months.

The Roar Rugby Project: Part 7 – Why professional Rugby must be profitable and how RA has failed to respond to challenge

It will be interesting to see what Hamish and Andy come up with this year, assuming they get their PE deal across the line. The SR Pacific competition is presumably much locked away for 2022 and 2023.

RA must start off with a clean sheet planning for 2024 and come up with a professional/international/community model that is tailored to our needs.

The Roar Rugby Project: Part 7 – Why professional Rugby must be profitable and how RA has failed to respond to challenge

No doubt there needs to be some form of ‘democratic’ model. I don’t think that an Australia wide membership voting annually on 2 or 3 directors will yield a much better situation than currently. The model I put forward in part 4 is still my preferred option.

The Roar Rugby Project: Part 7 – Why professional Rugby must be profitable and how RA has failed to respond to challenge

Me too, a lot of food for thought.

The Roar Rugby Project: Part 7 – Why professional Rugby must be profitable and how RA has failed to respond to challenge

I would assume I classify them the same as the other half of the teams.

The Roar Rugby Project: Part 7 – Why professional Rugby must be profitable and how RA has failed to respond to challenge

Thanks for the summary Terry, you are reaching new heights tonight.

The Roar Rugby Project: Part 7 – Why professional Rugby must be profitable and how RA has failed to respond to challenge

You tell me Terry, what was I railing on about? I would expect most players play club football and then NRC or Super Rugby. Have you identified other pathways?

The Roar Rugby Project: Part 7 – Why professional Rugby must be profitable and how RA has failed to respond to challenge

So did they learn their rugby in NZ or Australia Terry?

I would have thought most players come from grassroots, the NRL players being the obvious exception.

The Roar Rugby Project: Part 7 – Why professional Rugby must be profitable and how RA has failed to respond to challenge

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