The Roar
The Roar

Oliver Matthews

Roar Guru

Joined September 2013

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Olly is co host of the sports podcast team from "All About The Balls" - bit.ly/AATBpod . He loves to chat about all sorts of sport including rugby, NRL, AFL, cricket and basically anything with a ball! https://twitter.com/AATB_podcast

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Are those Super Rugby AO or TT stats for the Kiwi sides?

Cause if they are AO then I’d compare them with the TT stats where I reckon the stats show that the Kiwi sides are performing at a far higher percentage than they do in the AO comp.

I’d then take from that the AU sides are much less competitive at the line out and the Kiwi sides are much less threatened by the AU forwards at the line out.

Either way we cut it – this weekend, the AU teams’ line outs were poor – poorer than their Kiwi rivals and poorer than they themselves have delivered this season and so they need improvement.

Five talking points from Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, Round 4

It’s a really interesting area to consider and you can come at it from a range of points of view I reckon with the truth probably lying as some complicated combination of a variety of contributing factors.

Here’s a few that I’ve always have assumed are at work to help explain the differences between the quality of the club sides in Australia and New Zealand:

roadmap – in New Zealand there is a much clearer, and higher quality, path from school rugby up to Super Rugby. In Australia that just doesn’t exist. Not only does that mean that they are making it harder for up and coming players to see a path to Super Rugby, but also the quality of the “breeding game” is reduced as many SR players will jump into an SR set up rather than go up through the ranks. Also it seems to be tough for SR players who aren’t internationals to play some good rugby outside of the Super Rugby season. Whether this be warming up for the SR season or after it or making your way back from injury, there’s little to no competitive rugby for them to play.

organisational structure – this is second if not third hand info but the way it’s been explained to me before is that the Super Rugby clubs in New Zealand work very closely with the NZRU and All Blacks so that they can discuss plans for different players and tactics. I’ve read how Dave Rennie and the Wallabies coaches have been working with some of the AU clubs this season but I don’t know how well aligned the RA, Wallabies and Super Rugby clubs have been in the past.

competition for attention – the Australian sporting market has some big competition for Rugby with both NRL and AFL capturing both viewers and potential players’ attention. The NRL and AFL seem to have much better talent scouting processes in place as well as more effective local community and school engagement meaning that Rugby is in 3rd place at best when trying to attract the attention of players and fans. This dilution impacts so many parts of the game – fewer potential players, fewer potential coaches, fewer number of fans spending money on the game, rights holders not able to get as much for rights and sponsorship etc etc, less money floating around the game at all levels.

strong leadership – again this is not from first hand experience but you do get the impression that the leadership at the top of rugby in Australia has been short sighted for far too long. The whole process that led to the culling of the Force is a prime example – even irrespective of the final decision, the way the process was played out was pretty horrendous.

style of play – each team has it’s own approach and each nation too has characteristics to their national style of play. An observation is that Super Rugby sides are just not competitive enough at the breakdown. This leads to slower ball getting to playmakers and more turnovers. There are other differences between the two countries typical styles of play but the breakdown is a big one. Kiwi sides are taught to be wiser at the breakdown and when they do engage in the ruck they use better technique and a coordinated approach between the forwards.

SANZAAR – this is kind of an indirectly related issue and a personal view but I think that SANZAAR have done such a terrible job of growing and marketing the Super Rugby competition and that has impacted all the nations involved. The most recent example was the beginning of this season when RA and NZRU had broadcast deals sorted in their local markets but SANZAAR hadn’t sorted anything for overseas audiences. Crazy.

Five talking points from Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, Round 4

You gotta savour every moment! I’m a Rebels fan and I savoured the warm up before kick off. Then it all went downhill

Six talking points from Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, Round 1

Rebels and Tahs were the two teams I was talking about.

They conceded over 110 points in 160 minutes of rugby between them, both at home. The Tahs scored some decent tries themselves, don’t get me wrong. But my thinking is that if you’re conceding 10 tries in a game at home to the worst team in Super Rugby Aotearoa and you’re missing more than 1 tackle in 5, then you’ve been torn to shreds.

Six talking points from Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, Round 1

I mean to be fair the article is called Talking Points – as in points for the community to talk about. And the Roar classes itself as “Australia’s Biggest Sporting Debate”. So picking up on points that are meant to encourage discussion and debate in the community is kinda the aim right?

Writing the column week in, week out and purely focusing on points from the weekend’s games gets a bit boring over the course of a season – not sure how entertaining it is to write for the 4th time that the Blues aren’t living up to expectations or the Force are plucky or how bad the Tahs are cause of poor list management.

So that’s why I try to blend together some specific points from the round – eg the Captain’s Challenge point – and also broader issues for the game that have cropped up in the past week – eg PE investment in both unions.

Would you prefer the points without the questions to readers Faith?

Six talking points from Super Rugby AU and Aotearoa

I think my biggest issues with the cross field kick is when either it’s used almost without looking at where the defence is and the winger ends up being forced to take this high ball milliseconds before getting smashed by defence, or the kick is very contestable.

Or when teams sort of run out of ideas and someone lobs up this cross field kick which gets the ball out to the winger quickly but there’s defence just standing there waiting and you kinda wonder “Well what was the point in that – you’ve just created a situation where your winger is taking the ball standing still and the touch line is just behind him waiting to gobble him up”

Five talking points from Super Rugby AU and Aotearoa

Too many under value him I think because he doesn’t have the flair of say Beauden but the guy was immense. As the standards get higher and pressure gets greater, the ability to play without errors should be valued more and more and Smith was so consistently reliable.

Five talking points from Super Rugby AU and Aotearoa

Highlanders performance this season makes me sad as I quite like them – sort of a plucky underdog.

I think with Aaron Smith not hitting peak form they naturally struggle. Their forwards aren’t too bad although they will miss Squire. But the backs are poor and it keeps costing them as they struggle to turn ball and position into points over and over.

I also think that they are still struggling to replace Ben Smith – partly on the pitch but definitely within the set up.

Five talking points from Super Rugby AU and Aotearoa

Hahaha – always great to get your considered opinion.

For me, that question about the Force isn’t that interesting. The answer is pretty clear and the topic has been discussed already. I did look for your article on it but couldn’t find it.

I think a more interesting question about the Force is are they bringing in enough young talent and do they have the right club strategies to build a successful squad for the future?

Five talking points from Super Rugby AU and Aotearoa

Haha was thinking more about the top grade rugby experience than life experience

Six talking points from Super Rugby AU and Aotearoa

Re the ruck clearing out technique – is what you’re describing as the way to do it called the crocodile technique? Cause if so, it’s sadly not without risk. Jack Willis was put out of the game for months cause of a crocodile tackle when England played Italy a couple of weeks ago in the Six Nations.

Six talking points from Super Rugby AU and Aotearoa

Yeah it’s a fair point – both sides really struggled in that second half to put together some decent phases together and the stop/start nature of the game made it hard going for a while.

It’s interesting that teams can struggle with some of the true basics of the sport that they are at the top of but these two teams aren’t the only ones. Reds would have been frustrated that they didn’t score points during the 20 minute of 14 Tahs but they did get the benefits of a very tired NSW side in the final 15 mins or so.

Five talking points from Super Rugby AU Round 1

Yeah it’s a totally fair point – I guess I’m just keen to see some young Aussie talent get a run out. But totally agree that a Puma’s half back pairing would be better than Prior and Lance.

Five talking points from Super Rugby AU Round 1

There was something like this back during the World Cup I think – there was a law firm or media firm who were responsible for copyright for the RWC content and they went on some blitz targeting anyone who tried to reuse content but World Rugby didn’t know much/anything about it.

I think Squidge actually got an official job as a reporter with RWC and was allowed to do his stuff on content once it was 24 hours old after some negotiation

SANZAAR are the Blockbuster Video of the sporting world

Yeah it’s telling isn’t it that the vast majority of case studies on topics like fan engagement, fan experience, content creation, user generated content, omni channel growth etc etc come from sports/clubs/leagues in the US and sadly very few come from rugby or Australia/New Zealand/South Africa.

You can argue about restricted budgets etc but part of the genius of a user generated content plan is that it’s the users who are generating the content, like you say, for free. Find the best ones, the ones who are doing stuff you can’t do and partner with them.

It’s not as if SANZAAR have the secret recipe and they want to keep it secret. They should be looking at ways of growing their community in every way possible!!

SANZAAR are the Blockbuster Video of the sporting world

Yeah this just comes back to the lack of innovative and collaborative thinking within SANZAAR it seems.

They could look at the quality of those two YouTubers work and the audiences they are growing and think – hmmm, right now all we’re doing when it comes to video content is a short, basic highlights package on our site after the game. Why don’t we pay these guys a little bit and support them and hire them to create analysis content for us and stick it on our site?

They would immediately gain more traffic to their site and stand a better chance of engaging with audiences around the world.

Then if they backed that up with a streaming platform that they own and promote that, then maybe fans of Squidge’s work would sign up to see a couple of Super Rugby games and then who knows??

So frustrating and short sighted!

SANZAAR are the Blockbuster Video of the sporting world

Absolutely – I think Channel 9 will sit tight for a bit and see how if they can grow the audiences and advertising revenue etc.

Given that they’ve already invested in the whole set up I wonder if they could go to SANZAAR and do a deal over the overseas stuff too?

Or SANZAAR should right now be speaking with other platform providers to see if they can leverage their kit to get a subscription service out there for overseas fans.

I think that the excuses of “COVID” and it takes time and money are just so weak from SANZAAR. This stuff should have been in place for years already.

SANZAAR are the Blockbuster Video of the sporting world

Yeah from my digging the NRL and AFL ones are both actually delivered by FoxSports. If you look at them they are exactly the same structure – just different colours and pics.

Like you say, the platforms already exist and have done for a while. So why not do a trial run for a season or two a few years ago and see what the uptake is. See if the financials make sense. Figure out whether it would be best to invest in their own platform or keep using a pre existing one.

Instead SANZAAR are now missing out on revenue and do not control the distribution of their own product!! Crazy!!

SANZAAR are the Blockbuster Video of the sporting world

I think that’s a big part of my frustration – it’s not even as though they would need to build cutting edge new tech or come up with an entirely new product. These platforms already exist so why not partner with one a few years ago and test out the market to see if they uptake makes it financially worthwhile.

SANZAAR are the Blockbuster Video of the sporting world

I think we have to be careful about Stan’s remit though as well – not sure if they are meant to be the ones sorting out the overseas broadcasting as that has previously sat with SANZAAR to figure out.

Stan (as part of Channel 9) have got the contract to deliver the game inside Australia and they did a pretty good job in Round One.

SANZAAR however have not struck any deals overseas it seems for fans to see the comp. Some are arguing that they are trying to get top dollar for the sport etc but this is where I get frustrated – they shouldn’t need to be doing deals with overseas broadcasters like Sky in the UK.

SANZAAR should have already developed their own platform that allows them to bypass the broadcaster in the local market and just go straight to the fan. Let them subscribe and enjoy the rugby from wherever they are direct on a SANZAAR owned platform.

This is where SANZAAR continue to drop the ball – total lack of innovative thinking or even ability to spot tech and entertainment trends and piggy back on them.

SANZAAR are the Blockbuster Video of the sporting world

Pretty sure I haven’t targeted Stan have I? I said that they’ve received positive feedback and that RA should feel good about the deal. I then said that SANZAAR however – the ones responsible for the overseas deals – have yet again let fans and the comp down.

SANZAAR are the Blockbuster Video of the sporting world

Hmmm – not sure I understand. Here’s my thinking….

Steroids/Illegal Performance Enhancing Meds – Club tells player that it’s fine to take; player takes them; player gets in trouble and uses the excuse “I was told it was ok but I didn’t check myself”

3rd party deal – Agent tells player it’s fine to sign this deal; player signs it; player gets in trouble and uses the excuse “I was told it was ok but I didn’t check myself”

Seems pretty similar – in both situations the player is doing something with their professional career that could have a serious negative impact but instead of insisting on knowing all the details, they are choosing to trust another party who is saying it’s all ok and above board.

Someone tells you to put something in your body – probably best to be sure it’s ok to do so.
Someone tells you to take some cash – probably best to be sure it’s ok to do so.

So… what did Tim Mannah say to get Isaac Moses deregistered?

I’m really worried about Ireland – they seem lost and confused. There is this big cloud hanging over their half backs I think – people know that Murray and Sexton can’t both start and lead Ireland to a World Cup in 2023 and yet no newbies are being given the chance to start a game at the moment and learn.

Six Nations: Round 2 talking points

Yeah agree re Wales – think they’ve been on the right side of some crucial decisions and that luck can’t continue.

Ireland really worry me – they feel even more lost to be honest and there seems to be a huge decision needed about their half backs and what the longer term vision is for the team. Personally I’d like to see Sexton coming off the bench from now on – let a younger player start and get the experience of trying to control and dictate a game instead of coming on after JS.

Six Nations: Round 2 talking points

Check this out – https://twitter.com/Murray_Kinsella/status/1361068225228857344

Yes it’s just one instance, but it feels like Ireland are falling into similar trap to England – so focused and worried about pre agreed game plan that they are not playing what’s actually in front of them and looking to their playmakers to do what they do best.

Six Nations: Round 2 talking points

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