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Derm McCrum

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Joined December 2008

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The truth shall set you free.

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Celtic Rugby and its competition, PRO14 Championship, are still in discussions with SARU about four of its teams participating in the comp from 2022 onwards to become the PRO16. Participation in a revamped Heineken Cup competition will be resolved by then as changes are being planned for it anyway.

From the 2017/18 season, SARU have a six-year Participation Agreement with Celtic Rugby DAC. They remain directors on the board of the organisation, but are not yet shareholders. Italy’s FIR union became shareholders earlier this year after finally completing/resolving their financial requirements and debts to other unions. Part of the expansion plan is to have four SA teams in the Championship for the second half of the Agreement as the ideal size of the tournament agreed by the board is 16 teams. The TV deals for the tournament have a review point at end of this season to allow for that possible expansion occurring.

Covid has cut across that but discussions on expansion are ongoing.

The pieces of the rugby calendar are coming together

15 L Williams
14 Lowe
13 Ringrose
12 Aki
11 J Williams
10 Sexton
9 Cooney
8 Vunipola
7 Leavy
6 Underhill
5 Baird
4 Kruis
3 Sinckler
2 Keleher
1 Healy

16 Fraser
17 McGrath
18 Porter
19 Itoje
20 Henderson
21 Murray
22 Russell
23 E Daly

British and Irish Lions XV: Midweek games

That’s what I was referring to earlier. The original plan according to Erasmus and Roux was to do 4+4 which is why Griquas and Pumas won the tender. And they brought in the cull to reduce the number of professional players with a planned redistribution of quality players around the 8 professional teams. But that hasn’t happened and Cheetahs have been plundered and Kings just not good enough. The mid-term review for PRO14 was meant to be this year with the performance of the two teams to be assessed. Covid certainly hasn’t helped matters, but the fact that SARU have been left out of the shareholding (FIR have finally been appointed as shareholders), is a pointer to more needs to be delivered in the second half of the Participation Agreement.

Critics keep coming for NZ Rugby over proposed breakaway comp

Growing media rumours – https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/pro14/south-africa-rugby-chief-drops-broad-hint-that-pro16-move-is-on-the-cards-as-he-warns-rugby-is-facing-big-changes-39385441.html

Critics keep coming for NZ Rugby over proposed breakaway comp

I think we both know that ignorance is never in short supply on The Roar.

Critics keep coming for NZ Rugby over proposed breakaway comp

“Instead any promising or quality players have been stripped and gone to other SR teams.”

Yep. Mapimpi is a perfect example. A standout player for Cheetahs and then shifted to another SR team, and then….

Critics keep coming for NZ Rugby over proposed breakaway comp

Agreed. Premiership re-starts on 14 Aug. PRO14 is confirmed to re-start on Aug 22. Top 14 new season starts on 4 Sept.

Critics keep coming for NZ Rugby over proposed breakaway comp

What has he got to negotiate other than what was already planned? SARU are in a 6-year contracted Participation Agreement with Celtic Rugby DAC to provide two teams for the PRO14 Championship. If SARU want to replace both the current teams – Cheetahs and Kings with two others, and seek to add a further two to make it a PRO16, this is already planned for under its expansion plan. 16 teams is the stated ideal number for the PRO Championship, with the intention to reduce the number of regular season games from 21 to 18. The key piece for negotiation – including getting a shareholding in Celtic Rugby DAC – is how much additional money SARU would bring to the table with having 4 teams. Roux and Erasmus are already under fire for not delivering the quality squads they said Cheetahs and Kings would have. Instead any promising or quality players have been stripped and gone to other SR teams. In addition, Griquas and Pumas won the tender two years ago to become the 7th and 8th professional teams within SARU – this objective seems to have fallen away for the short-term.

They have a lot of decisions on their plate.

Critics keep coming for NZ Rugby over proposed breakaway comp

I can’t see any substantial audience in Aus or NZ watching English Premiership games at 2 or 3am. So I don’t think that’s good. Content fillers are useful for sports channels when there’s very little live sport happening. Oddly, Sky said they’d do repeats at 10am and haven’t done so.

The value of these markets is shrinking rapidly and rugby is about to receive a large financial kick in the a$$. CVC have come back with a much lower offer for 6 Nations – 330m pre- vs. 175m post-Covid. Super Rugby is down the pan. Methinks NZ is not going to have a problem with too many players going overseas in a few years.

Rugby Australia coy after NZ announce preferred Super Rugby format

Well fair enough – arguing about the size of a small slice of a slice is probably a waste of both our times. I’ll leave it with you.

Rugby Australia coy after NZ announce preferred Super Rugby format

You’re perfectly entitled to think so.

I’ll go with my experience of actually living here. The notion that the Brumbies are the most popular Aus side in Europe drawing the biggest TV audience is pure bsloney.

Rugby Australia coy after NZ announce preferred Super Rugby format

Err. I’m willing to bet most rugby ‘fans’ in Ireland couldn’t name two Aus or NZ rugby teams let alone be avid fans of them.

Rugby Australia coy after NZ announce preferred Super Rugby format

Sshhh. Don’t tell anyone. It’s the obvious play though.

Create a 6th side for the err Pasifika players.

Rugby Australia coy after NZ announce preferred Super Rugby format

It’s been amusing to listen to some NZ fans wondering why European fans aren’t tuning in in their thousands at 6am and 8am on a Saturday to watch NZ Rugby.

Rugby Australia coy after NZ announce preferred Super Rugby format

That sounds like it would be pointless for any Aus teams to participate as the NZ teams would be so much better. Probably no point for the touted Pasifika team to participate either.

Probably best to just stick with Super Rugby NZ.

Rugby Australia coy after NZ announce preferred Super Rugby format

Your Northern “season” seems to be focussed on pillorying “British” weather for some reason, JD. Can’t think why. ????
I can’t see the European season starting with tests – and possibly away down south Doesn’t make sense in terms of prep. If another ‘global season’ is agreed, then some club games get played in September is my guess. The PRO14 has been planning to reduce its season to stay out of test windows. The EPCR comps are also likely to be condensed and shifted.
If tests are slated for Oct and Nov (the French and English clubs are being given their say on this next week), then Dec to Feb is the next block with Xmas and New Year derbies highly popular (weather is irrelevant). The 6N said last year that they’d be willing to look at moving the comp start later to end Feb/Mar so it’s not a surprise. I suspect that Fra/Eng clubs will try again to shorten the 6N even though English RFU was voted 5-1 against the last time.
Wait and see time.

A once-in-a-generation opportunity

Yes but if they were now playing in a 7 Nations tournament, they would have to be made available. Contracts cannot stipulate that a player can’t be selected for their country during a WR test window. The number of games played during the 6N window is falling anyway.

Time the NZAAR part of the partnership asked the obvious question of SA

He was neither of those things, Carlos if you listen to what he actually said. He was quite astute in how he related to the ref, particularly around a couple of key decisions on the breakdown, involving Stander, who might otherwise have been carded sooner.

Six Nations: What have we learnt so far?

Not sure what you’re describing as the last decade but since 2010, Ireland and England have played each other 10 times in the 6N and won 5 matches apiece, with both teams winning three at home and two away. Ireland are 11-9 overall in the head-to-head in the Six Nations.

I agree about over-confidence, but I also recognise which team will be likely turning up with more confidence and momentum at Twickenham.

Six Nations: What have we learnt so far?

That may well come to pass. Oddly, they’ve started better than expected – mostly with their own fans.

Across the three Six Nations tournaments – Mens, Women’s and U20s, – Ireland have played six and won six. That’s only to be expected some might rightly say – at home to only Scotland and Wales so far. But there were some glimpses in the Wales game that Catt – now in charge of the backline – has loosened the restrictive shackles of the Schmidt-know-the-playbook-and-your-role-off-by-heart-cos-there’ll-be-questions-later regime with the back three allowed to roam and attack more freely. Equally, Fogarty and Easterby have been working with the pack and giving a different license to the backrowers to increase their carries and metres made – oh and offload too!

It’s unfortunate that Ireland lost Caelan Doris, their new number 8, to a HIA in the opening minutes of the first test, but Stander certainly rises to a challenge to his test place. And so has O’Mahony with the ferocity and intensity of the Munster duo’s combined play. Furlong, has indeed, seemed to regain some of his form and confidence under the eye of his familiar last-season Leinster scrum coach, John Fogarty.

Garry Ringrose is out with an injury until Round 4, but Henshaw seemed to revel in a return to the 13 shirt alongside his old mucker, Aki, from their Connacht playing days. And, so far, Sexton seems to be enjoying getting the captaincy for the Six Nations campaign with excellent game management on display in the Wales test.

Farrell knows he needs to give more game time to the newbies, Kelleher (hooker), Deegan and O’Donoghue in the backrow, Cooney and Byrne at half-backs, and Chris Farrell and McCloskey in midfield, if he wants to start developing further depth and wider selections for the July tour to Oz.
Oh – and Robert Baloucoune on the wing, who looks like he might enjoy the dry tracks down under with his turn of speed.

At this stage, I’d put France in the favourite’s seat, (the bookies have them third) with the outcome of the Eng/Irl match in Twickenham in Round 3 determining whether Les Bleus will be playing Ireland for a winner-takes-all Grand Slam title in the grand finale match of the tournament next month.

All we need now is for Stockdale to start scoring tries again instead of leaving it to Larmour and Conway.

Six Nations: What have we learnt so far?

Why would that be necessary?

If they use players based in European clubs or their PRO14 clubs to play in a 7 Nations, this doesn’t interfere with the 4N.

Time the NZAAR part of the partnership asked the obvious question of SA

It’s from The Guardian in England.

Just sayin – in case that might have a bearing on people’s views. ????

Time the NZAAR part of the partnership asked the obvious question of SA

Interesting follow up commentary on the DM story, Brett – thanks.

It’s been my view that Roux and Erasmus have strategically wanted to pursue a presence in both competitions – and blow the whole hemispheric nonsense apart.

If I recall correctly, Roux or the SARU president said in 2016 at launch of PRO14 that one of their aims was to develop two Springbok test teams – one utilising players based in 6N clubs and the other from players in SR teams. Admittedly, that was in the context of playing in the November tests, however, given the success of SA in utilising a squad of players drawn from European and SA teams to win the RWC, I can see them pursuing this idea further.

Time the NZAAR part of the partnership asked the obvious question of SA

Correct. Automatic representation by country was done away with for the PRO12/14. I don’t mind – I think it’s a good thing.

Division of revenues also changed from individual country allocation to equal league/championship allocation.

The next version from 2021 should be interesting debate – possible reduction of clubs from 20 to 16 being discussed. Can the SA clubs be included in qualifying for the comp? If PRO14 and Top 14 have 14 clubs and Premiership 12, is allocation of qualification spots e.g. 3 x 5 plus Challenge Cup winner fair? If only 16 in the Heineken Cup, what happens with the Challenge Cup with potentially 24 teams involved? Will they try to reduce the number of pool rounds to compress it even further in the season? Should the European final be held at the end of the season in June following the domestic finals?

Should be fun….

Will relegation in the north promote rugby in the south?

Yep close enough.

There are currently 12 centrally contracted players who are paid directly by the IRFU to play for their province. Jack McGrath is one, and kept it when he moved to Ulster. But it will expire at end of this season and unlikely to be renewed.

There are 6 in Leinster this season – Healy, Furlong, Sexton, Henshaw, until 2021, and Kearney and Toner until June this year – both unlikely to be renewed. It is the IRFU that pays the “premium” as you put it, as these would be the top paid players who are on Category A contracts that the IRFU want to monitor and manage their playing time.
Category B & C contracts are for the remaining full-time mid-rank players – 28 of them in Leinster. €90k- 275k
Category D are the development contract players – around €50-60k.
Category E are the foreign players – not registered with the IRFU – Fardy, Tomane, Lowe.
Academy players receive €10k a year plus match fees from Celtic Cup and any PRO14 matches they might get.

Will relegation in the north promote rugby in the south?