The Roar
The Roar


Roar Rookie

Joined December 2016









There probably needs to be some intensive work by scrum experts on the laws and determining the objective of the scrum. It needs to be more stable so that the most skilful and technically better scrum has the advantage without them becoming a difficult to referee free for all.

More prescription is probably required in the scrum set up. Why have a choice of under or over? Most opt for under presumably because it is better or necessary to counter. Does it deliver the best scrum? Clearly your view is no?

My understanding is that the Bajada is best executed low without striking for the ball, yet that is one of the biggest problems in scrums today. As soon as the loose head hooker lifts his foot to strike the advantage swings to the tight head scrum. I suspect the tight head hooker with feet planted also provides the anchor for a lot of other skulduggery.

Requiring both hookers to have one foot in position to strike for the ball would go a long way to greater stability in the scrum. I am not quite sure whether that can be made to work but again, it is up to the referee.

Is the bajada the way forward for the modern scrum?

My first observation is that just because a bind can provide more power it does not necessarily follow that it is the best answer. If the around bind allows for an equal contest, straighter push and more completed scrums then it should be mandated as the only option.

I can’t remember your posts or, gulp, did not read them 😢

My take on the French scrum clip was that the Argentine prop was caught between a rock and a hard place, and lost. If the Argentine bind transfers some of the power away from the prop and straight through the scrum then it has placed more pressure onto the prop, and the ensuing straight push made it easier to identifying an offending player?

Is the bajada the way forward for the modern scrum?

For various reasons safety should be the number one priority.

The challenge is that safe solutions must not undermine the game. In most, if not all, instances there is always a safer way.

Most problems arise when there is a shallow knee jerk response to incidents without attempting to get to the bottom of the underlying cause.

Is the bajada the way forward for the modern scrum?

I looked at it over and over for that reason. It went so quickly it looked like a combination of both Arg over extended and Sio going down.

My eventual conclusion was both started in the same position, so possibly both overextended. The problem was the push came on hard and just folded Sio, his feet stayed planted and there was only one way to go. The Argentinian was equally left no where to go except flat on his face either.

At the end of the day the ball ended up in the right hands.

Is the bajada the way forward for the modern scrum?

I am not too sure what you are getting at Andy but:

– Good point about PE need for revenues trumping what is best for rugby. This is the point, it is not a minority equity position with no control, they wield control because they have legal rights to the revenue. They have no obligations regarding the costs of running the competition.

– I think the model is that PE has a % of the revenues that will be earned from the competition. That means that they will have a say over any decision that decreases revenues. If teams are to be cut because they are losing money or gone broke they will need to be replaced or PE will demand compensation

– Suddenly occurs to me that if the unions are really desperate PE would love to have a minimum revenue clause that guarantees them a certain return

– With Japan I suppose it depends on the circumstances. If they badly wanted to join for rugby reasons maybe they would happy to receive nothing. If they were open to joining and negotiation was required then I guess there is a commercial calculation on the future value they bring to pay them upfront.

Then it gets really interesting. The PE agreement may be drawn up so that the PE has a right to bring in new teams if there is a commercial advantage. The question will be whether the other teams have the funds to pony up their share. My guess is they won’t and PE will negotiate a bigger % share of future revenues.

The other interesting thing is the contracting of the players. They will be contracted and paid for by the unions and clubs from their share of the revenue (after PE share taken). However there will be controls over the selection and non-selection of the best players for the PE competition.

Player issues were not a problem in Europe because they are owned by the clubs anyway and the clubs’ interests are aligned with PE. Six nations is not an issue either because the nations will pick the best team available. Australia and New Zealand have a better system which means the negotiations will be more complicated and the downside greater.

Does anyone trust RA to successfully negotiate such agreements without stuffing up the future of the game. Individuals whose only interest is in today, and how it affects (or promotes) them.

English rugby is leading us back to the light (no, really)

Rugby organisations everywhere have screwed up big time with the transition to professionalism. Intangible values have been monetised and the costs of professional rugby has put most to their knees with amateur rugby suffering accordingly.

COVID merely placed a gun to the heads. Opportunistic PE wise guys show up with a bunch of money and pull rugby associations to their feet, albeit with a gun still loosely held. They come around every week to collect their share. The movie usually ends with the shopkeeper taking on the wise guys and, unless a hero turns up, left for dead.

At the end of the day it is a financing decision, although I don’t think PE is a good idea, desperate times can lead to desperate measures.

Will the Lions actually tour South Africa in 2021?

I don’t think there is a fixed term Highlander, never mentioned and certainly makes no commercial sense.

The structure indicated by an unnamed official, according to a journalist, is a 15% equity stake in a new subsidiary of NZRU which will house only the commercial rights of the NZRU. Without knowing NZ tax law I am puzzled how that works so maybe these unreliable sources are not quite on top of it.

Will the Lions actually tour South Africa in 2021?

Are you gutting, scaling or cooking?

Will the Lions actually tour South Africa in 2021?

No, the NZ rugby source suggests that a subsidiary is created, presumably housing all of the commercial rights. On 2018 and 2019 numbers this about 170m pa.

$2.6bn is therefore around 15 times revenue, presumably all the costs of securing and delivering the commercial revenues will be the responsibility of NZRU. Don’t be surprised if there is more negotiation to come on the 5 revenue share or the upfront payment.

Over the 4 year cycle 2016-2019 revenues were $796m and profits $17m, including revenues from Lions delivering a $40m profit. As with most rugby organisations NZRU is a breakeven venture with zero intrinsic value and operates at a small annual loss.

While NZRU receives $390m upfront (15%x2.6bn) it then loses $27m per annum from its revenues. To make this worthwhile the $390m must return $27m per year in revenues, NZRU has to find $30m in cost savings or the PE somehow waves its wand and delivers new revenue streams, of which NZ gets 85%.

NZ had $93m in reserves at the end of 2019, mostly accumulated prior to 2015, so they are in a far better position than Australia, even if most has been used this year.

A PE proposition is trickier for Australia because of accumulated debts pre COVID and also the non-professional game requires significant investment to repair the damage done over the last 25 years.

A similar deal in Australia would deliver c$225m with a loss of annual revenue of $15m. Having said that I can’t see RA being able to get that sort of premium deal at the moment.

Despite my opposition in principle to PE deals if RA sacrificed only 10% for $100m+ that might not be a bad deal.

Debts repaid and possibly $70m+ available for investment into the game. This would include whole of game and grass roots assistance , hopefully not through cash grants but meaningful in kind support like coaching, refereeing, insurances, governance and administrative assistance.

Not too much future revenue given up and certainly given how poorly the game has been run, there is the potential to replace the revenues relatively easily by improved marketing and cost management.

Will the Lions actually tour South Africa in 2021?

I did not know the 6N had concluded their deal. Can you post a reference?

Will the Lions actually tour South Africa in 2021?

Don’t know about the Pro 14 but the Premiership is definitely just a revenue share.

This is relevant for the AB deal too; the up front payment was reduced because the clubs insisted on a lower % than the starting point but the clubs wanted more money. The 27% share increases to 45% once a benchmark is reached. It is not a super aggressive benchmark but remember the commercial rationale for the unions and clubs (if there is one) is that PE will somehow increase revenue streams by introducing innovative new ideas or finding content distributors that nobody else could do. Like Amazon and Google, so goes the argument. They have given away a lot of the upside if the vale of rugby increases.

PE firms will be just hanging over shoulders, not having to bother with operations, politics etc and certainly not lending expertise and discipline into cost control and efficiency where they are really needed. There will be problems if initiatives are required for the good of the game but reduces revenues or foregoes revenue opportunity. For example, it is expected that PE investment in 6N will preclude FTA which is considered to be the main promotional activity for rugby in the UK.

English rugby is leading us back to the light (no, really)

Many Roarers were a bit carried away by Cheika’s selections. I would think selecting a large squad for a campaign demands a great deal of criteria.

Fitting coach’s preferred game plan, assessment of opposition likely game plan, strengths and weaknesses, trust, assessment of individual players to adapt, the list is probably long. Then there are the off field elements in team cohesion and morale.

Would love to see the Roar do a poll on an unattributed basis of current and former elite coaches selecting their own 30 man squad and starting team following the completion of SR in 2021. It would have to be tightly controlled so as not to embarrass current coaches with their playing squad.

Nick I would be interested to know what you think, but I would not be surprised if there was more divergence amongst those coaches than there would be in our Roar panel of mostly independent pundits.

Will the Lions actually tour South Africa in 2021?

Australians should be careful about what they wish for. Doing a swap for 2025 makes a bit of sense. It would also bring forward a cash dump for Rugby Australia which it desperately needs.

However it will not be the 2025 gold mine included in Rugby Australia’s forecasts. Wherever the Lions go in 2021 there will not be the same number of supporters with the same disposable income. Take out quarantine at both ends and there is less time on the ground in country spending up and celebrating the tour.

I would be sorely tempted to bring the tour to Australia in 2021 (at an expected long term loss against 2025) if the alternative was to accept PE investment. Great discipline would be required from RA to ensure the game stays profitable and financially viable until a 2027 RWC and subsequent Lions Tour (now 2033).

I suspect logistics will be all too hard and Nick’s opening comments on future viability of these tours and the consequent financial loss for the game globally are serious risks.

Will the Lions actually tour South Africa in 2021?

Whatever views individuals have about the CV strategies adopted, the financial and social effects of the lockdowns will inevitably long outlast the virus itself.

Agree on the Private Equity comments. Reports that PE offers value NZ Rugby at $2.6bn are media sensationalism, media ignorance or most likely both.

PE will not be buying a share of NZ Rugby, just the rights to a percentage of the total revenues earned, presumably in perpetuity. Even if the PE firms overpay upfront it is unlikely to compensate for the future loss of revenue every year, before costs are paid.

PE funds received will be partly used to repay debts and build or refurbish infrastructure. In reality that is also code for repairing past financial problems and building monuments that won’t generate a sufficient revenue return. Even that ignores cost over runs, extravagance and a bit of waste on “good ideas”. Sam Kekovich knows that is true and he was just an AFL player.

Handing over revenue demands significant cutting of costs and maintaining efficiencies, even while there happens to be a large bank balance. Like all politicians and overpaid corporate executives the raiding of the piggy bank today at the expense of tomorrow can always be justified.

The rugby public is being conned while the administrators praise their own cleverness and the PE sharks line their pockets.

Will the Lions actually tour South Africa in 2021?

I could have bored you with a long response on the additional contractual requirements of players. Sadly the ether stole my diatribe.

Players definitively should be required to have a referee’s certificate and referee a certain number of games per year, probably at school or junior level.

I don’t know why coaches don’t demand it. Maybe because they don’t know them either?

English rugby is leading us back to the light (no, really)

I think a lot more work should be done around contractual obligations for players (probably equally applies to any of the professional codes although I have to wonder whether the AFL is different) rather than treating them like fragile china.

1. All players should be required to obtain their refereeing certificate and maintain it throughout their professional career and x years beyond. They need to referee a certain number of games per season, at any level. Some of that is a promotional tool, some a hope that they continue to referee and I continue to wonder why coaches tolerate anything less than 100% comprehension of the rules.

2 Community, charitable and sponsorship obligations. A two edged commitment, necessary for the promotion of the game and meeting its obligations to community and sponsors while also being a great self development and networking opportunity for players. My experience is a proportion of players over deliver because it meets their own values and needs and older players appreciate the opportunities as retirement approaches. The rest depends on all of the circumstances and characteristics of the organisation and its people.

3. An amount should be set aside to pay a player some form of wage in the transition to retirement to train, play, coach, referee or perform some other functional rugby role for the first season post retirement

4. Work, education or vocational training should be compulsory throughout a player’s career.

English rugby is leading us back to the light (no, really)

The subject of laws has come up a few times recently with Nick’s articles on the ruck and also Mzilikazi’s on the scrum.

We are all guilty to some extent of claiming rugby’s laws are too complex, oddly enough based on the opinions of league types who don’t even 100% understand their own. I am assuming life remains the same 50 years on, a small minority of players take their time to understand all of the rules, and then the % diminishes as our playing days recede.

Each time I go and look at the rules for a ruck, or a scrum or offside I find them not that hard to follow. Like tax law the coaches are like accountants probing for an advantage by doing something not quite covered by the law and therefore not precisely and unequivocally ruled out by the law. Over time arguments start over a new variation on something not covered by the laws either but has become accepted practice over time.

Highlander is right to be hopeful that the Home Nations are now concerned about the direction the game is taking. Roarers have been whinging for years but there cannot be change unless those nations’ administrations decide to do something about it.

Don’t forget the involvement of PE in the Premiership. They are entitled to 27% of the revenues and 45% once they reach a benchmark threshold. Their interests are not supported by dull rugby. A two edged sword though, that is the power they wield. Dull rugby supported by non-compliance with the rules of the game becomes a commercial issue.

Administrators must drive this from the top and relentlessly support referees. It is a bit ridiculous to pan a referee for allowing offside play when it takes three subsequent slow motion replays from different angles with a white line drawn across a screen to identify it.

Yes, it will be tough for fans for half a season of penalty stoppages but they will support it if there is clear direction on why we are doing it and where we want to go. I see a parallel with the Waratahs resurgence in 2013.

I stopped paying to be a Waratahs member when winning ugly morphed into losing ugly. Despite the hype of Cheika’s arrival and the publicised pre-season fitness training the first game against the Reds in Brisbane was a festival of players out of position, confusion and dropped ball. I then went to all the home games in 2013 because I could see what the Waratahs were trying to achieve. 2014 might be history but what a year it was. Winning in style.

English rugby is leading us back to the light (no, really)

You are just so polite, a credit to your parents

The dangerous scrum behaviour rugby must work harder to outlaw

Shades of Nick’s article on the failure to enforce existing rules which would prevent emerging safety and game management issues.

The game invests enormous amounts of resource globally arguing about new laws which, if enacted only are brought in following a RWC. Perhaps it would be better to clarify how the current laws should be enforced.

I have been saying a number of times recently that we need to empower the referee to make decisions. It would be a lot easier to police scrums if you insisted on 100% compliance with the rules. Instead there is too much interpretation; was it really lifting and was it too far, how far do allow someone to bore in on the hooker before it is “not straight” etc.

A dominant scrum will always get on top, it may as well be by strictly legal means.

The dangerous scrum behaviour rugby must work harder to outlaw

Is this law actually out of date? Contravention has created this safety issue and, if there was a crystal ball, might have been clamped down at the outset, rather than 20 years later.

Why the ruck must go hands-free in 2021

All suggestions of time clocks are useless. Referees should be capable of judging the underlying rhythm of any game they are qualified to referee. Sometimes we just need to get off their backs and let them call it as they see it.

I had a girlfriend once (its tough when you are a hooker, I know) and she showed great promise learning the laws and positions etc. She started to get confused about the referee’s decisions and I told her that she should just understand the context of the ruck/maul/scrum etc and just accept that the referee is right.

Most of the time they are right, even if in live motion it looked wrong. Other times they are as right as they were wrong and it becomes a matter of opinion. Sometimes they get it wrong, often I suspect because in that nano second they were looking away for any of the other 29 players committing who knows how many offences.

She only had to remind me of that a couple of times during the season. Well surely not more than ten times …

Why the ruck must go hands-free in 2021

Agree with this. There is an obvious safety problem emerging, together with the inevitable cards for cleaning out the jackal with his head low.
There is a rule 15.3 that if enforced eliminates the problem. It is a no-brainer, enforce it.
The problem is that rule 15 read in its entirety makes sense, and is consistent with Nick’s suggestion, but is not played or refereed that way. A whole area of precedent, grey areas, tactics and strategies has been built around law 15.11. Take a step back and it just looks like an enormous amount of latitude has been built into the ‘jackling’ process which is not essentially part of the laws.
What was really an exception to enable a player to pick up the ball if he was unopposed has been turned into a game within itself, now causing unacceptable safety and ‘card’ issues.

Why the ruck must go hands-free in 2021

I was going to comment that there is less opportunity today. You are right, restless souls who did not fit into much more rigid and conformed societies just left.

Funnily enough I wonder what extended masking and lockdowns will produce.

Was Hector Forsayth the best fullback never to play for the Wallabies?

58 years old? That is unbelievable that he did all of those things in one relatively short lifetime. Truth is stranger than fiction.

Very interesting to note the attitude of the British dignitary compared to his comrade’s.

Was Hector Forsayth the best fullback never to play for the Wallabies?

Thanks Max, yet another great story and I figure just two of thousands. Eagerly went to your profile to find more … 😢

Was Hector Forsayth the best fullback never to play for the Wallabies?