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Loosehead Greg

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Joined August 2011

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That’s right. But you could rotate the hosting rights annually. That means Australia, NZ and Japan hosting the entire tournament at home once every 3 years. The good thing about this is that local fans aren’t constantly tapped to buy tickets (poor old Crusaders fans playing multiple finals in little Christchurch every season; meanwhile in Melbourne…) Once every 3 years keeps it fresh.

I think the ideal tournament format actually takes the home ground advantage out of the equation too: like Rugby World Cup (apart from the host nation obviously). Host the tournament in one country. This improves the integrity of the tournament by creating a more level playing field where travel is not an unevenly distributed factor.

Most sports specify their final location in advance: NFL, NRL, AFL, RWC, football World Cup. In fact, I struggle to think of any tournaments apart from Super Rugby where you earn the right to play your knock out matches at home?

And you could look at hybrid hosting where pool hosting rights are shared around the nations (including PI) and the final venue is known in advance to be played in Tokyo, say, so fans can organise to get there well in advance like they do for the RWC final; whether their team is playing or not it’s a celebration of rugby.

So many good possibilities with this mini-RWC format.

League One final gives pause for thought about Japanese links to Super Rugby

That SRP would be impacted by pandemic travel restrictions was entirely predictable. Heads should roll at Rugby Australia.

Also, SR AU kicked TT’s butt last year with bigger crowds and a record TV audience. It was a better tournament too, engaging sports fans right across Australia.

It’s actually unbelievable RA canned AU. Hopefully the pandemic will force them to do the right thing for a third season.

Carn Queensland!

NZR boss gives update on Super Rugby Pacific as COVID threatens schedule

Whomever was the genius at Rugby Australia who pushed to have SRP and no SR AU ought to have their resignation letter ready.

NZ border call sparks concerns over Super Rugby, NBL, A-League seasons

I think the “Told ya so” timing is pretty good about now.

Let’s quickly look at the 2022 draw announced last week.

Round 1.
Brumbies can not enter NZ to play MP in Auckland.
All other games should be OK to kick-off and all teams should be able to get to Melbourne for Round 2. Then the fun begins.

Fijian Drua and MP players who are not NZ citizens who leave NZ can not enter NZ again until 1 May.

Pablo Matera and other foreign players, if they leave NZ, will not be able to return to NZ until 1 May.

Round 3.
Chiefs, MP, Hurricanes, Crusaders, have to spend 7 days in home isolation upon return to NZ. Their games will struggle to kick off as scheduled (and the team’s can’t train during the week as it stands).

Round 4. Force can not enter NZ to play Chiefs.

Etc.

I suppose it’s manageable, with a lot of disruption and weakened teams, but it’s not ideal is it?

It’s a headache of their own making.

Had RA started 2022 with SR AU like everybody wanted, they would be looking good now and relaxing over the Xmas break…

SR AU was the smart move.

NZ border call sparks concerns over Super Rugby, NBL, A-League seasons

@Armtiwister, the Wallabies have not won a best of 3 BC series since it was introduced. It’s not a lack of imagination. It is a mismatch. Time to put an end to it.

Bledisloe Groundhog Day: Is it time for changes?

RA need a plan to make rugby popular even when the Wallabies are losing. Seriously.

Any administrator can look clever when you’re team’s winning. The trick is to build such a great product that fans follow you even when you’re not winning. Otherwise, if sport’s your popularity relies on results, what is it that you are bringing to the table?

One way to manage the risk of Wallaby losses is to invest in an Australian domestic tournament; which is inevitably won by an Australian team; ensuring Aussie rugby fans have something to celebrate every season.

Bledisloe Groundhog Day: Is it time for changes?

It is boring when they commit to the same thing year after year. The administrators need a bit of imagination, and flexibility in their thinking.

RA were forced to become flexible due to the pandemic, and came up with the hugely successful fan favourite Super Rugby AU, by accident, which the have now killed off. Go figure?

Bledisloe Groundhog Day: Is it time for changes?

I’m not sure that’s true. The sponsors of Australian rugby are completely different now than they were 10 years ago.

Bledisloe Groundhog Day: Is it time for changes?

That’s good to know. Thanks.

Something Loosehead Greg says around the office is “never commit to long term contracts that go on beyond the period of time you are likely to work in this organisation”.

Long term contracts restrict the decision making options of the management who succeed you in your role. That’s what has happened here. JON should have been known better.

Bledisloe Groundhog Day: Is it time for changes?

You’re speaking my language Malo.

Happy we have SR Pacific, but disappointed its at the expense of Super Rugby AU.

The big difference between NZ,South Africa and Australia is that they both have long standing commitments to national domestic development tournaments: NPC and Currie Cup.

Until Australia commits to the same national domestic development infrastructure, we’ll only ever experience occasional success at international level. It will not be sustained; as we have seen.

Bledisloe Groundhog Day: Is it time for changes?

“Variety is the spice of life.”

That’s exactly right. RA is missing a trick by committing to repetitive tournaments that limit the scope for a variety of opponent. And it diminishes rugby’s claim to be a global sport. What’s the point of World Rugby having 100 members if we play the same few teams over and over? Might as well follow league.

I would also like to see the return of old school tours, with mid-week games played in the regions, culminating in tests in the big cities.

Let’s get Japan here for a tour. Imagine the potential for sponsorships and the size of the Japanese TV / streaming audience in our time zone…

Bledisloe Groundhog Day: Is it time for changes?

Ben, yup. We tried winning the BC best of 3 for 17 years and it didn’t work out.

We are overdue for another improvement to the format.

Bledisloe Groundhog Day: Is it time for changes?

Hey Moaman,

We don’t play the RWC final best of 3 do we?

One-off winner takes all tests – sudden death matches – are great for players and fans a like. Awesome for TV ratings.

At one stage in the amateur era the Bledisloe Cup had a challenge shield format. The Bledisloe Cup changed hands based on the result of each and every game. At that point, Bledisloe was similar to NZ’s Ranfurly Shield, which you might be familiar with?

The Oil Blacks is a nickname given to the All Blacks on social media, since NZR recently accepted a sponsorship from INEOS, a petrochemicals company.

Bledisloe Groundhog Day: Is it time for changes?

I’m still proposing 3 tests take place between Australian and NZ so the money isn’t a valid concern.

I’m suggesting the two tournaments are separated.

A) Two tests in the Rugby Championship
b) An annual stand alone winner takes all Bledisloe blockbuster.

Bledisloe Groundhog Day: Is it time for changes?

Republican is right though. Australian rugby is fascinated with New Zealand.

One of the great things about Union is that it’s a global game. So let’s actually play the other nations more, especially those closer to us on the rankings ladder.

Bledisloe Groundhog Day: Is it time for changes?

The format has been changed many times since 1932.

There’s no shame in improving things.

Bledisloe Groundhog Day: Is it time for changes?

How will that help Australia to win the Bledisloe Cup?

Bledisloe Groundhog Day: Is it time for changes?

2015 was best of two. The series was drawn.

World Cup year.

I stand by my statement that best of 3 has never produced a finale.

Bledisloe Groundhog Day: Is it time for changes?

Yeah, we’ve had nearly two decades of Bledisloe Cup dead rubbers.

A Bledisloe blockbuster is better for business.

Bledisloe Groundhog Day: Is it time for changes?

That’s disappointing for the Sydney fans, but it’s great news for everybody else because the test will be played in a rectangular rugby stadium instead of that tired old cricket oval.

Rugby Australia should cynically introduce a new policy in order to protect the Wallabies brand integrity. “From now on, The Australian Wallabies can only play test matches in rectangular stadiums” thus removing Eden Cricket Park and Westpac Cricket Tin from hosting Bledisloe Cup tests ever again.

Just sayin’

First Wallabies Test moved from Sydney due to COVID outbreak

We can give the Australian broadcaster more content by adding on an NRC, and more women’s rugby, and Sevens tournaments – none of which necessarily require NZ participation.

Super Rugby AU thrashes the Trans-Tasman competition in rugby's ratings war

You are shotgunning my argument beyond what I’m saying. I’m suggesting we adjust the balance by playing a bit more AU, and a bit less TT.

You’re also conveniently forgetting, as the number of SR round robin games increased over the years, viewer interest was going the other way.

The game of rugby in Australia was in a slow and painful death spiral until the pandemic changed things, and gave us a once in a generation opportunity to reset.

Super Rugby AU thrashes the Trans-Tasman competition in rugby's ratings war

Hey everybody, thanks for the comments. It shows me Roarers care and think deeply about rugby.

When I said Brett’s being un-scientific for suggesting we remove the outlier stats from analysis (the AU final), I opened myself up to the same cherry picking acquisition. Fair enough. My bad.

Since I know a little bit about statistics I wanted to explain properly why we should include outlier events in our analysis.

When statisticians look at datasets they want to separate the signal from the noise. What is the data actually telling us?

In all data sets there is some variation. It’s expected. It’s not telling us much.

We could take all the audience data for AU AOT and TT and calculate a standard deviation (its typically a bell curve). All variation in data conforming with standard deviation we call noise.

So where is the signal?

We often find ‘the signal in the data’ by looking at the outlier events – those rare incidents far outside of the standard deviation.

From the little data we have, there is one significant outlier event: the AU final. This is the event I most want to investigate because that’s probably where the signal is in the data. Especially, since it is a positive deviation (a big audience number).

For events based businesses like RA and live sports broadcasters, they should consider, is there a signal from the outlier event where 400,000 Australian viewers watched the AU final?

I think the AU final is a signal. It says, AU is where the greatest potential for Australian audience growth is.

If you remove the outliers you may remove the signal.

Super Rugby AU thrashes the Trans-Tasman competition in rugby's ratings war

Hey Conor, thanks for your thoughtful response.

Of course, we should keep playing the kiwis. We agree on that.

We disagree on what the potential of AU is for Australian rugby. What could it become in 5 or 10 years? I think, really important.

There’s a few comments now that it’s not valid to cherry pick the finals for comparison. I’ve given that some more thought, and I’m going to reply as general comment to everybody.

Super Rugby AU thrashes the Trans-Tasman competition in rugby's ratings war

AndyS,

We look at individual games because rugby, and live broadcast media, are both events businesses.

Look at something like State of Origin, or AFL Grand Final, these are big events. The big events are what bring massive Australian audiences and spike revenue for commercial partners beyond the predictable round robin.

Rugby used to posit test matches, and then the Bledisloe Cup, as equivalent events. And that’s where most of the broadcast value was for News Corp. SR was more of a way to spend the money!

Anyway, achieving 400,000 Australian viewers for the SR AU final shows, something of significant broadcast value is brewing for RA and Nine. Comparing the finals figures illustrates that.

Super Rugby AU thrashes the Trans-Tasman competition in rugby's ratings war

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