The Roar
The Roar


Roar Guru

Joined February 2008







Rugby Tragic, love all facets of the sport.



But who says the clubs would spend the money needed to do it?

The NRC bridge must be kept open. That was the whole point…

Whatever happens not continuing with the NRC is not an option and that is about the only certainty.

We now have the situation where the South Africans are mumbling about private ownership of the Super Rugby franchises, and bringing the Currie Cup teams in under those organisations. Makes perfect sense in a country where Rugby is really the only game and where there just might be enough people around with deep pockets to make it work, and when you are in the same time zone as the rest of Europe maybe they can find owners from outside of SA.

But the likelihood of it happening in Australia is virtually zero, give or take the odd Twiggy Forrest who pops up once in a lifetime.

We are stuck with the semi-amateur/ semi-pro model. Maybe if the whole calendar was turned on its head so that all provincial comps were played before Super Rugby, or at least substantially before it, that might provide some pathways, but it would be to the detriment of the Club competitions, unless you could manufacture a series of club byes and mid-week NRC or some-such mechanism.

Personally, as is my usual rant, I believe Rugby people always want instant results and instant gratification. Currie Cup and NPC have evolved over about a hundred years, or so, much of it in the amateur days.

Back in the amateur days, you had blokes who went away on long tours virtually unpaid and put their careers on hold. Yes, I’ll admit that there were probably many good players shut out because they just could not support themselves long enough to go to the top, but I bet you it bred a certain hunger in people.

And yes, Rugby players of today are playing in a much tougher professional environment where they need the time for strength and conditioning and fitness, so it would not be fair to say that they are not as hungry as blokes in the so-called “good old days”.

But the reality is that we have to have a semi-pro system. After 6 or so years of NRC we should have a rough idea of how many talented people are emerging as a result of NRC and the Super Franchises should be able to work out how many spots to leave open. It’s not a perfect science and some guys will miss out. That’s where the hunger comes in – back to clubland and work on it and try harder for next season. In most cases we are talking about blokes in their very early ’20’s with time on their side.

If we breed that kind of hunger all the way up and down the line, then maybe we won’t have people at the top levels with a sense of complacency or entitlement. Maybe that’s how you stay in the Top3 and beat the best on a regular basis.

The NRC bridge must be kept open. That was the whole point…

Thanks, Ralph,
Very nice of you to say so. Predictably you are the only commentator (note my last paragraph). Obviously, I didn’t offend anyone!
Your comment reminded me of a post I saw on Facebook yesterday by a woman, extolling the sisterhood of women, and my response was that..”if it were only women on the earth, there’s be no wars .. but then again, there’d be no Rugby either …bloody boring place!”

The anatomy of the tribe

Bring it on – can’t wait – which newbie stars will be unveiled this season??

NRC Season 5: Less means much, much more

What is it about Rugby people and the fact that they always want instant gratication. As babies, we crawl before we walk, then we take baby steps. What’s the difference?
The Shute Shield is over 120 years old, or at least the Sydney club comp is, and I imagine other capital cities’ competions are not too far behind. They are constantly changing.
I was very disheartened when the ARC was killed off. I went to most of the Canberra games at Manuka Oval, got up close and personal to the action and thought it was a great comp. Thrilled when NRC came back and always believed that it would have to take baby steps until we get it right. Who knows when that will be and I’m sure that the experimentation with stop one day – yet another example of people not being accepting of the status quo, and maybe the timing is not perfect, but it is a bloody good alternative to nothing at all, and nobody can argue that it is not a valuable new pathway. Who says that the private schools should have it all their way? That is probably a large reason that Western Sydney has withered on the vine – a socio-economic one. Bring it on. I can’t wait for it to start.

Can the NRC live up to its potential?

OK with all of that but would still love to see Joe Powell in the mix.

Michael Hooper to return as Wallabies reveal team for Bledisloe 1

I just wanted to say well done to all those great people from Twiggy down. You need to keep pushing the boundaries. I have personally enjoyed this season and it can only get better.

The Wrap: World Series Rugby; what really matters

Fantastic to see Matt Toomua back, just a pity he isn’t heading back to the Brumbies!!

Wallabies get Bledisloe boost with Matt Toomua headed back to Australian rugby

Rugby has been played in the USA almost as long as it has been played in Europe. Their big problems stemmed from the fact that there were east and west conferences, no league as such, weather problems, tyranny of distance and the fact that most blokes and girls didn’t start playing until College age.

Ten or so years ago, Kevin Roberts, a Kiwi advertising tycoon, became the chairman or CEO or president (whatever) brought in former England Captain (just forgotten his name) and some other professionals from Europe, and set about getting the sport into schools and getting kids involved from a much younger age. Local communities and high schools and primary schools, have taken it up.

Then, the next major boost was having Rugby included in the Olympics, which in many countries, of which USA is one, means government funding, via the NCAA, and College scholarships and other goodies. The profile was suddenly lifted and all the good work done over the previous years then began to bear fruit. There were a few professional players up to that point, but virtually all of them played in Europe, where the money is.

So, a lot years of hard slog has borne fruit. There are a lot of Polynesians in the US and it is natural for them to play Rugby, too.

I have been saying for years that rugby was the sleeping giant in America and it looks like it is now waking up with a hearty yawn. They seem to have been smart enough to capture broadcast rights and these days, with internet streaming it is a lot easier to get your product out there.

Americans, at least by my reading of it, always thought fondly of rugby as that game where everyone piles on top of each other, tackles hard and works up a thirst for the camaraderie that inevitably follows – a curious notion for a country that is bred on multi-zillion dollar sports like MLB, NFL, Basketball – where people would quit on their dreams if they hadn’t made it to the big leagues by the age of 16.

USA Rugby was happy to promote that amateur fun ethos because it got people playing just for the social side of things, so the game grew, not just from the top down, but also from the ground up.

A bit of success in Sevens, which most people can understand and now the Pro League. It all seems to be coming together nicely and the beauty of it is that Rugby will never be a threat to pro-football, basketball or baseball or ice hockey – they are in a different stratosphere, everybody understands that and there is still a huge pool of ex-gridiron players and athletes from other sports to draw from

Every major league team of any sport in the US is city based – one city one team – and most fans can support a football team, a basketball team and a baseball team, and most likely an ice hockey team, so there is no competition for hearts and minds, lots of loyalty and plenty of ways to sell merch to the fans, unlike a relatively small city like Sydney that has so many NRL teams to support. It will never get out of that rut, and it makes me laugh when a couple of NRL teams play the odd game in the US and then they carry on about taking League to the masses. Give us all a break, lads.

So, once the giant yawns, gets up and starts to move, who knows where it will lead

The road to success for Major League Rugby

Hang in there, D – not only will the Force come back but the Wallabies will win the Bledisloe!

Seeing red: We need to even the playing field

It was Paul Carozza,Qld winger, and what the ..F was he doing, not only being run down but also eye-gouged by a slow prop, out on his wing?

Queenslanders, mate! Soft as ….

I was actually at that game and sitting in the (then) brand new Ballymore grandstand, just above where the incident occurred. No question that Loe was a thug.

Yet another good Rugby day out.

Seeing red: We need to even the playing field

You could still give a red in that situation. If nothing else it can alter the dynamic of the game, and to be honest, and referees being human, if they think that there is cynical play by one team, who will they watch more closely and how will they referee it from there?

Seeing red: We need to even the playing field

Thanks, Ralph – what I love about the Roar is that we can all have ideas, and most do – but what we should be doing is trying to have influence. We have a great collective voice, so we should align that with great collective indignity it the powers that be don’t try hard enough to get it right.

Seeing red: We need to even the playing field

Don’t agree with everything you said, but I do agree that you have come up with ideas. As I said in the article, it has to be up to the World body to get around the table and work it out.

Seeing red: We need to even the playing field

EFF, Good point about the penalty try – wish I had thought of it

Seeing red: We need to even the playing field

The dogs bark, the caravan rolls on and we all look forward to next week!

Will the high-flying Israel Folau go kick-off aerial against the Sunwolves?

I don’t understand your position on the NRC, Sheek.

It looks to me (an outsider looking in) that it has, so far been quite useful as a new pathway. In years gone by, if you weren’t sighted in the schoolboy pathway, it was unlikely that you would be plucked out of clubland, and its timing is such that it doesn’t impact on the club competitions, which also seem to be thriving.

Given, it is fairly new and has had a couple of shaky starts, but it seems to me that there is enough goodwill around it that will develop it into a worthwhile second tier.

The area that needs improvement, in my opinion is Schools Rugby and there is nothing inherently wrong with the current setup but it needs to broaden its base so that all schools can play it. If every High School in Australia had a Rugby team, it would not be long before we got competitions organised along regional lines, that respected skill levels and started to build a much broader base. Then you would have serious pathways. My school didn’t offer it, so I played League. They had had a Rugby team a few years earlier and I was always curious. I started playing at age 16 when I joined the Navy and fell in love with the game. Can’t be bothered watching League these days, since it was so badly dumbed down.

Realising Australian rugby’s opportunity: CEO Raelene Castle speaks exclusively to The Roar

Joe Powell.. remember him, Waratah people?

Found: The Ireland team we expected and the Wallabies team we feared

Joe Powell for mine

Found: The Ireland team we expected and the Wallabies team we feared

If that’s the best you’ve got to create hype around a game, God help us all!

Is Folau ready to turn up the heat on Weber?

There’s your problem right there ..”Stuff the Shute Shield and stuff the rest of the premier club competitions across the five main cities…’

Whilst I agree with everything you say, the alicadoos at the stronger Sydney clubs like Uni, Easts, Randwick are the equivalent of the Rugby mafia. Good luck trying to get it changed.

I am thrilled that the tribalism and strength has come back into the Shute Shield, but we have to be careful that it doesn’t mask the problem you identify. I have always advocated for a top down approach with all States represented in a National Competition, with a draft and national contracting. I doubt we’ll see it in my lifetime

Streamlining is the key to Australian rugby's salvation

From where I sit, it seems that NZ wants to play SA and vice versa. They don’t really give a toss about us.

It's time for a rugby revolution in the southern hemisphere

Nobody is suggesting that all you do is drills, and how do you know what happens at every Rugby club in Australia.

A good coach learns how to plan his sessions. Even if you only have a 90 minute session you can fit all the components in and as for the drills, these should also be planned, based on the areas that the coach thinks need the most work – not just a random pattern. I have been to many Rugby clubs, at schools, club and womens level and I don’t think I have seen one that just did drills for a full session.

You work on structures and weaknesses.

Skills and drills in rugby? It's simple: Rinse and repeat

I’ve watched him since his school days and he has a lot of grit. No surprise that he made the 7’s and has brought a lot of that skill back with him.

Skills and drills in rugby? It's simple: Rinse and repeat

Not a bad starting point, though, Geoff

Skills and drills in rugby? It's simple: Rinse and repeat