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The Roar

Derm McCrum

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Joined December 2008

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The truth shall set you free.

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No.

But it’s possible.

Who will be the starting No.12s in the World Cup quarter-finals?

Jacko – even longer than that – Player Management started in 2004 under Eddie O’Sullivan. Central contracts started in 1998/99.

Alignment and centralisation: Sounds great, but will it work for Wallabies?

Spot on Jacko. The notion that arbitrary decisions on resting certain players would be a recipe for disaster. Player management system starts in advance of the season. Cheika – in tandem with Johnson – nominates his 10/15/20 players that he wants to manage centrally. With that comes an individual player management workload along with lots of other targets to be hit and maintained. The relevant SR coach says here’s X player, his clock is set at 1000 minutes for the season with his club, the remainder will be used on test rugby. You can choose to select him in whatever matches you want but ideally X amount of starts in their test position. You have a young fella coming through in that position, it would be good to see him get some time when X is not available.

Next.

Alignment and centralisation: Sounds great, but will it work for Wallabies?

You’re wrong. European clubs are the level below test sides. Same squads from same teams used for both domestic comps – PRO14, Premiership and Top 14 and the European Cup comps.

Making the World Super Rugby Championship a reality

“In rugby, the cashed up clubs will likely come from England and France. The Pro14 and Super Rugby teams will be the ones to suffer from the player drain and consequential lower standards of provincial competition and long term.
Celtic fans from Ireland and Scotland in particular will get this. Both countries association football teams are excluded from the English Premiere League, which means their best players play for English clubs who Irish and Scottish fans supported by de facto.”
What??
The Irish and Scottish teams are excluded from the English Premier Football League??
This is like saying the NZ teams are excluded from participating in Aussie or SA comps.
The English Premier League is for – surprise, surprise – English clubs. Scotland and Ireland run their own domestic soccer leagues. As do Wales – although they snuck Cardiff in. The quality and finances in the English soccer game are vastly different to the semi-pro teams in Ireland and Northern Ireland, and even the professional teams in Scotland.
The current EPCR comps agreement with the Six Nations unions and clubs runs until 2022. EPCR runs three tiered comps – Champions Cup (20 teams), Challenge Cup (18 +2 Eur teams), and Continental Shield. Currently the qualifiers for the top comp are top 6 from English Premiership and top 6 from the French Top 14, and top 7 teams from the two conferences in PRO14. (PRO14 is due to expand to PRO16 next season with the addition of two more SR teams.)
The remaining teams in the leagues go into the Challenge Cup. Teams from Europe go into Continental Shield.
Currently, the EPCR pool rounds run for two weekends in Oct, Dec and Jan with knockouts in April/May. 9 weeks in total. When would this WRSC comp run and for how long?
English teams organiser, PRL, wants to reduce the duration and number of teams in the Champions Cup from 20 to 16 teams and from 9 weeks to 7/8 weeks. With the revised global season to take effect from end of this season in June 2019, European clubs are looking to reduce the number of games in the season.
“For England and France, the game is centred around club teams. Here the Wales model could be adopted whereby the four Welsh teams represent the four Welsh rugby union Regions of Wales.”
I think you might have Welsh fans spluttering into their beer at this one…. the low attendances for the artificial regions leave an awful lot of fans cold and are seen as anything but representative.
Nice try, Andrew, it sounds nice if there was a blank sheet of paper and no teams, but it ignores so much of what happens currently, how teams are allocated on merit, and the make up of their squads, it just wouldn’t be a runner.
Interested to see what others think.

Making the World Super Rugby Championship a reality

Indeed, Fionn. So if you have to live with a certain amount of player exodus, you look at your source of production and pipeline to maintain a sufficient flow of quality.

How Australia’s rugby coaching ranks were obliterated

Ok – so State of Origin has massive ratings in Australia for an Australian Rules/Gaelic football hybrid? And Brad Thorn played it. Massive TV ratings in Australia. If State of Origin means players have to be born in a particular state then this works in Australia, how does this work for clubs in most other countries, since their players are not based on geographical location? Even the Irish provinces have players from other provinces, as well as other countries.

The 6N record between Ireland and England is 11-7 and 3 of the last 4, so I don’t think we’d sneak in as underdogs somehow…. 😉

How Australia’s rugby coaching ranks were obliterated

Yes it would be a surplus of players – of varying quality. My point in response is about whether there is sufficient level of quality in those that remain.

If you set up or manage a pipeline system of producing players that is predicated on the likelihood that 30-35% will move country, then you need to ensure your rate of quality production is sufficient to start with. In Ireland, there’s now 200 Irish-born players, another 53 who’ve moved to Europe and another 15-20 to US and other countries for opportunities/work/better money. The provincial academies have moved from having 30-40 players to 75-80 currently in order to build the talent and sufficient depth. Plus they have IQ Rugby which tracks and identifies Irish-qualified players playing in the UK and France, and in next 12-18 months will start working in the US.

How Australia’s rugby coaching ranks were obliterated

Hey Muzzo. Rennie has signed an extension for another season only – June 2020. Pivac is signed up to Wales though from July 2019 for four years.

How Australia’s rugby coaching ranks were obliterated

Last time I looked neither Japan or the USA are in Europe which is what you based your original comment on. If you want to count every scratch player going then maybe it is 130 professional overseas.

The squads lists on wiki for each of the 5 teams have an average of 40 players. Hence my 200 player figure.

There may be a surplus of players, but there’s a question mark on whether there’s a surplus of talent in Australian rugby.

How Australia’s rugby coaching ranks were obliterated

“London Irish have the most, but there’s still about 15 Aus produced players or so floating around in that comp. Anyway the point is there’s around 100 in Europe and the UK alone.”

Yes – that’s right – 15 Aus-born is what I said. And there’s 93 in the 66 Six Nations clubs. They are of varying quality, and not all experienced SR players.

Your original post stated: “How can you say we don’t produce enough players when there is nearly enough Australian produced professionals playing in Europe as there are here in Australia? We cannot retain all the talent we produce. Clearly we are producing enough.”

There’s 93 Aus-born players in the European teams of varying quality. Half the number of players that moved from either SA or NZ. And less than half of the 200 players approx currently across the five Australian teams. If Australia is producing enough players, is it producing enough quality players?

How Australia’s rugby coaching ranks were obliterated

TWAS – I didn’t discount the ProD2 – I stated the figure for them (15) in an earlier post .

I already posted in the correction post above that there’s 15 Aus-born players in the Championship. London Irish is an exception to most of the clubs in the Championship – it’s one of the original Premiership founding clubs. It has more money than most of them. And is one of the few with an academy and the second-largest squad. Their aim is to be promoted back up to Premiership again. It has 20 SH-born players on its books compared to just 2 (Nottingham, Hartpury) or 3 (Richmond) or even none at Bedford Blues. The quality of the teams generally (bar L Irish) , and the playing squads are second-rank – SH-born players coming from Currie Cup or Mitre 10 teams or other second-rank club teams in Europe.

How Australia’s rugby coaching ranks were obliterated

It is about where they’ve gone and why.
There’s 53 Irish players playing currently in Europe outside Ireland. I don’t think there is an acceptable or unacceptable level of players choosing to play in another country. All the Big Five countries wanted the game to go professional and pay players. Player movement is an inevitable consequence of that decision.
However, the discussion is about Australian Rugby not NZ or Ireland, so I’ll leave it there.

How Australia’s rugby coaching ranks were obliterated

Agreed – our sides are struggling – although NZ is doing ok.

How Australia’s rugby coaching ranks were obliterated

Sorry – I should have said 15 Aus-born players in the Eng Championship – so 93 in total across the 66 Six Nations professional clubs.
The top 13 nations whose players are contracted across the Six Nations clubs:
SA 187 -: Ita 4; Sco 10; Irl 11; Wal 13; Eng 63; Fra 86
NZ 180 -: 6; 6; 13; 8; 67; 80
Aus 93 -: 2; 5; 4; 6; 37; 39
Fiji 89 -: 2; 3; 0; 0; 16; 68
Eng 59 -: 1; 11; 13; 18; 0; 16
Irl 53 -: 1; 0; 0; 0; 37; 15
Sco 49 -: 0; 0; 0; 0; 44; 5
Wal 48 -: 0; 1; 1; 0; 43; 3
Geo 42 -: 0; 0; 1; 2; 4; 35
Arg 40 -: 4; 1; 0; 1; 10; 24
Ton 37 -: 1; 1; 0; 1; 12; 22
Sam 31 -: 0; 0; 0; 1; 11; 19
USA 21 -: 0; 2; 2; 2; 13; 2

How Australia’s rugby coaching ranks were obliterated

“First, I think World Rugby gets State of Origin. More meaning in Australia yes, but only because we actually do it, but it wasn’t always that way. State of Origin concept actually came from AFL. Rugby League saw it, and took it on. It is an APEX concept, as a state has to win on merit, not buying a team.”

I’ve no idea what any of this means. AFL?? Rugby League saw it?? APEX concept???I’m not Australian, I’m Irish.

“I am saying to seriously contract the Super Rugby Season, and replace the Heineken Cup season with the World Rugby State of Origin.”

There is no Heineken Cup season. It’s a cup competition played during the regular seasons in French Top14, the English Premiership, and the PRO14 Championship involving Irl, Wal, Sco, Ita, SA. So there couldn’t be travelling to Aus/NZ/Japan in the middle of the season.

“For home unions, State of Origin lets countries refocus for the upcoming World Cup, by having there best players on deck.”

Again, I’m not clear on what State of Origin means. “refocus for the World Cup” ?? Don’t test matches do this already? The Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup are contested with teams using their top players from their squads, if that’s your objective.

How Australia’s rugby coaching ranks were obliterated

I said 63 at top level, TWAS. 22 of them in the English Premiership. I didn’t do the Championship which is second rate mostly. There are 11 Australian-born players in the English Championship. So that’s 63 plus 11 plus 15 in the ProD2 – 89 in total.

How Australia’s rugby coaching ranks were obliterated

Fionn – a couple of questions.

A quick count of the squad numbers (from 2018 figures on Wiki) in the five rugby Australian rugby teams (including Force) shows each has an average of 40 players. That’s a base of 200 approx. What do you mean by 100+ is playing abroad is roughly half of all of Aus professional players?

As a point of comparison Scotland has 103 including its foreign imports for two teams. 66 of them are domestic-born. A further 28 Scottish-born professional players are playing in other countries.

Also, are all of the Aus players playing overseas are of sufficient quality?

How Australia’s rugby coaching ranks were obliterated

T-man – yep – Edinburgh have 12 SH-born and 8 NH-born players in their squad – only 1 Australian, Ben Toolis, with a Scottish parent. The other 38 are domestic-born. Very small playing pool in Scotland – only 103 players between the two teams including their academies. What’s interesting is that the team that played today against Sa Kings were some first-teamers combined with second and third-stringers/academy and they still won 38-0. Head coach, Richard Cockerill, has got them firing much better since he came in last season and slowly building their domestic depth. And they won the 1872 Cup last weekend having done the derby double over Dave Rennie’s Glasgow.

How Australia’s rugby coaching ranks were obliterated

Well, Fionn, I physically counted and checked the birthplace of the 63 in the three main European leagues – from the 1,998 senior and academy players that play in them. There are another 15 in the second tier French league – PROD2. Maybe the other 120 odd are in Japan?

How Australia’s rugby coaching ranks were obliterated

There are 63 Australian-born players across the 38 top-level clubs in Europe.
24 in France, 22 in England, 6 in Wales, 5 in Scotland, 4 in Ireland, and 2 in Italy.

Is 63 players nearly the same as there are in Australia?

How Australia’s rugby coaching ranks were obliterated

Andrew – thanks for the article. If I may, perhaps some comments to consider:

Super Rugby runs for 18 rounds from 15 Feb – 15 June. Heineken Cup has only 6 pool rounds – run 2 weekends in October, December and January.

The revised European season structure from 2020 – as requested by SANZAAR – has moved the finish of European club season to end of June to accommodate SR, and the start will be from middle of September.

State or Province of Origin means nothing to anyone outside of Australia.

If you’re advocating some kind of knockout comp between Heineken Cup winners/finalists and Super Rugby equivalents at season end, this has been proposed before by various owners, promoters, fans, pundits, dreamers. Currently, there’s no room as the end of “club” season in both hemispheres runs straight into international matches in July.

The European season has a structure involving league/championhsip for 21/22/26 rounds; and Heineken Cup for 6 rounds plus the respective finals stages.

4 of the Six Nations unions and SARU want to reduce the number of games played in the PRO14 season, not increase them.

How Australia’s rugby coaching ranks were obliterated

That sounds plausible too. Or you could say it was end of long season for a lot of the Leinster players and so a few were rested for the first test and others played out of their best position, and some other newbies given a chance to make their case. It worked to an extent, but not enough to win the test. But they learned from it and won the next two.

Ireland: The house that Farrell built?

Fully agree, Rah, Rah. The pinnacle that Ireland have reached currently – ranked second – has been built on foundations going back to the mid-nineties.
Stephen Aboud, who was responsible for putting the provincial academy structures in place, around the time Joe Schmidt first came to Ireland to play and coach at club level 1992/93.
The player contracts team who devised the graded central contracts system for the IRFU and provincial structures in 2001 when the provinces went professional.
Eddie Wigglesworth, the IRFU head of performance who along with head coach Eddie O’Sullivan, devised and put the current player management programme in place for the test players in 2004.
Head Coach, Declan Kidney, who brought Munster their first European Cups in 2006 and 2008, and a 6 Nations Grand Slam in 2009. And Michael Cheika, who turned Leinster from Ladyboys to Lions to win their first European Cup in 2009.
Eddie Wigglesworth, who brought in the controversial Player Succession Strategy in 2011/12 aimed at reducing the number of foreign players and building depth in every playing position for the national team.
His successors, David Nucifora and Anthony Eddy who currently oversee performance and development of the XV game, and the Women’s and 7s games respectively from age-grade to academy and provincial/test level.
The Exiles and IQ Rugby department operating in the UK to track and identify Irish-qualified players and coaches that is due to expand into the US this year.
Joe Schmidt, Andy Farrell, Simon Easterby and Greg Feek and their wider coaching team for the current national squad since 2013.
Ex-international and IRFU Treasurer, Tom Grace, who has managed finances through bad and good times including the successful financing of the re-build of Lansdowne Road and some smart long-term investments. He recently announced the IRFU will have a bonus fund of some AU$ 45m-65m this year to be partly used to put long-term financing in place for the club game in Ireland, the last remaining piece of the jigsaw of Irish rugby.
And lastly, Phillip Browne, the CEO of IRFU and one of the smartest top administrators in the game in trusting his managers to deliver as a team.

Ireland: The house that Farrell built?

The Wallabies form for theJune series was fine. They won the first test and only for a poor call by the referee would have won it 3-0.

Ireland: The house that Farrell built?