The Roar
The Roar

Derm McCrum

Roar Guru

Joined December 2008







The truth shall set you free.



Players move around the world for different reasons and the opportunities they have. Have a look at the PI players, where they move to, what country/comps they were in prior to moving, and their age.

It’s not about hemispheres. It’s about unions v private clubs. 85-88% of Sanzaar-born players are playing in 3 countries, outside of Sanzaar.

You could probably count on one hand the amount of PI-born players in the union-owned and controlled PRO14 comp that involves 5 unions – IRFU, SARU, WRU, SRU, FIR.

The Wrap: SANZAAR perfects the art of the Rumba when it needs to Tango

Nicely written Geoff.

Couldn’t agree more about the marketing and branding. It should also extend to the mid-year tests as well. I’ve watched some of the promos for these and they are as inspiring as a plate of cold tapioca pudding to get viewers to watch or fans to attend.

The Wrap: SANZAAR perfects the art of the Rumba when it needs to Tango

Look up Super Over/Oopse on wiki. It has list of matches that used the Oopse including ones that ended in a tie and boundary count was used to break the tie.

England win World Cup final in thrilling super over finish against New Zealand

It has been used before since it was introduced.

England win World Cup final in thrilling super over finish against New Zealand

Oddly enough, that’s probably what did happen in part given their earlier than expected loss of Morgan. They upped their scoring pace for a while and scored a fair number of boundaries. They were less conservative than New Zealand in going after scores – and had been throughout the tournament.

England win World Cup final in thrilling super over finish against New Zealand

Your comment that I quoted was on July 11 , so was my reply.

No evidence to support your writing obviously.

Why Argentina needs to get the import-export balance right

Right. Everyone, including the author is being far too polite. Let’s take your rambling, incoherent rant apart and look at what you’re writing.

Numpty I am saying exactly the same thing…..
Eh, no you’re not.

Who cares if he has a NH bias…..I dont care that he has that bias but why does he refuse to acknowledge that he has it? he has never worked in the SH according to his profile…
Clearly you do care if he has a “NH bias” as you put it. Otherwise you wouldn’t be commenting on the article. And you directly associated that NH bias with negativity towards SH rugby. Evidence please for this.

Alll his work is in the NH for the NH and in almost every article he writes on here and many many of his comment contain clear NH bias

Please provide us with examples of this clear continuing NH bias that you speak of – using the last 10 articles that he has written for the Roar.

…….Where was he born? Why would he not have a NH bias…Yet he refuses to acknowlege it

He was born in Wales and has provided his services to a number of clubs and test teams. He also writes for a living providing analysis of rugby played in a number of different countries. He regularly references his background and birthplace for some of his writings and has never sought to hide this fact. You are trying to make something of it that doesn’t exist except in your own head.

and others are blindly following on and even saying dont upset him because he might leave….Then where will the roar be? Well i see a clear bias in his articles and comments and im pretty sure thats allowed….

Of course it’s allowed. You might even have some actual credibility if you provided quotes/excerpts from articles that demonstrate the “clear bias” you seem so irked by. The author provides clips, quotes and references to back up what he writes. Perhaps you’d be kind enough to do the same to support your generalized and, for now, wholly unsubstantiated assertions.

Shoot me down all you like but having been called a C–T by John R and been attacked by Jes and some adult chicken all because I dont agree with N Bishops it appears others are playing the man…..

No, with one exception, people are not playing the man – they are addressing and disagreeing with the unsubstantiated and unproven negative assertions you are making about the author. Give us some evidence to support your belief.

Then NB himself trys telling others ( not me ) that I have no rugby knowlege whatsoever in any post I’ve EVER posted when I have even corrected him in his lack of research in past articles…Playing the man….

This particular assertion is an outright lie. The author has not stated what you claim. Can you provide a quote that supports what you have said?

In short, Jacko, put up or shut up. Evidence please.

Why Argentina needs to get the import-export balance right

Why Argentina needs to get the import-export balance right

And websites. We must ban websites too – a product of the satanistic, free-booting, capitalistic neo-Gothic liberals who have stormed the citadels of power and wrested control from the followers of Edison, Gutenberg and Baird. Bring back the pencil I say, and banish the internet for ever more.

Folau fires back after GoFundMe axing

I enjoyed that immensely.

Folau fires back after GoFundMe axing

“Well I guess we will have to disagree…I say the Abs should not bother playing Ireland until it becomes an equal partnership……Eng, Wales and Fra could have the EOYT games every year after its reduced to 2 games (as you want the mid year tours to be reduced to) and the ABs should just 100% ignore ireland, Scotland and Italy”
In the last twenty years, Ireland have played against New Zealand
2001 Dublin
2002 Dunedin & Auckland
2005 Dublin
2006 Auckland & Hamilton
2008 Wellington
2008 Dublin
2010 New Plymouth
2010 Dublin
2012 Auckland, Christchurch & Hamilton
2013 Dublin
2016 Chicago
2016 Dublin
2018 Dublin
That’s 7 home matches, 9 away and 1 neutral but hosted/owned by NZRU and its sponsor – effectively 10-7 in favour of NZ income generating matches.
What equal partnership are you looking for?

This is the end: Rugby’s Nations Championship abandoned

Ah – on re-reading your comment, I see what happened. You read my quote from Geoff: “but the moment New Zealand and Australia concede to picking their Test sides from all domiciles, the best players will move accordingly into the richest leagues “ thinking that I had written it. So your response above should be to Geoff, not me.

This is the end: Rugby’s Nations Championship abandoned

Hi Geoff. Yes I agree with you about the status and the age profile of the players. That’s what I’m including in my analysis this time round. Birth country, moved early or in teens, parentage, what comp they were playing ITM, NPC, School, Currie, SR, age when they went OS first and what country/league they went to. That will help to refine and whittle down the numbers to see more clearly the different types of foreign born players – from Tier 2 countries as well such as Georgia and Samoa not just the three Sanzar ones.

This is the end: Rugby’s Nations Championship abandoned

I’m sorry but none of that makes any sense to me or connects to the point I was making to Geoff, Jacko. Maybe try it with someone else who might understand. Try writing English, French or Japanese clubs if that’s what you’re referring to. “NH clubs” doesn’t make any sense as there’s 66 of them and it’s too broad.

This is the end: Rugby’s Nations Championship abandoned

“The primacy of wealthy northern club rugby was always going to dominate no matter the international schedule, too much cash always wins”
Highlander – Geoff states that it was the unions of Ireland, Scotland and Italy that sought to block the deal. Coincidentally, those are the 3 unions that own their club teams lock, stock and barrel with only Benetton directly involving a private franchise, but nonetheless still dependent on the FIR for financial stability. That financial stability stems primarily from test rugby income. The TV income for the 14 clubs in PRO14 is, at its kindest, half of what the 12 clubs in the English Premiership receive, and about a third of what the French clubs in Top 14 generate.
I don’t see how the “primacy of wealthy northern club rugby” dominated decisions at all. The PRL (England private club owners) and the LNR (French private club owners) had no vote in the decision.
The vast majority of SH-born players are playing in France, Japan and England – all involving private, individual or corporate funders. That’s where the real wealth is.
If you are arguing that the Irish, Scottish and Italian unions voted against the risk of relegation because of the primacy of wealthy English, French and Japanese clubs in dictating the player cost economics of the game, then I’d agree with you. A flood of money into the game for those unions (and the Welsh too I would argue) would not benefit them proportionately. It’s no coincidence that France has the least amount of domestic players playing abroad. I’ve yet to find any of note.

This is the end: Rugby’s Nations Championship abandoned

Hi Jacko – some points to consider.
Why would crowds flock to see New Zealand vs South Africa in Dublin? Or a NZ v Aus match in Twickenham? The Bledisloe doesn’t mean anything to people – it’s the equivalent of saying ‘let’s play a Triple Crown decider in Sydney; the crowds would flock to it’ – in reality, they would have no interest beyond a small number of rugby fanatics. As a once-off, it might be interesting for ex-pats, but as a regular premium ticket annual event instead of Eng or Ireland playing as usual, it would be a dead duck.
As ever, using the terms SH and NH is misleading and hides realities. Look at the attendances for tests vs Aus or South Africa or Argentina or Fiji or Samoa – the stadia attendances and/or the ticket prices are lower. As I’ve stated before, not every game involving a SANZAAR team is played in front of 81,000 fans at Twickenham – it’s the wrong metric to use and assess.
You ask, what has the IRFU done for NZRU? Well, it voted against SARU and for NZRU to secure the RWC 2011 tournament. What did NZRU do for IRFU when voting for RWC 2023? It voted against IRFU and for SARU, its SANZAAR buddy. Scotland, Italy and Wales (in the PRO14 Championship) voted for France. Relying on your ‘friends’ or neighbours is a risky business when it comes down to money.
Ireland haven’t toured NZ since 2012 because that’s the way that the NZRU wanted it. SANZAAR demanded that the 6N unions switch to three test series in June for the last 2012-2019 tour agreement. A WR schedule was put in place to allow that to happen with Irl, Eng, Fra and Wal agreeing to do that. Sco and Ita committed to playing more Tier 2 nations. The IRFU did not particularly want a three-test series in NZ after a 12-month long RWC season in 2012, but they went ahead. Unsurprisingly, Ireland played their third tour game in NZ (17th test of the season) and lost ignominiously 60-0.
Sensibly, the new global season will see mid-year tours restricted to a maximum of 2 tests following a RWC starting next July 2020. The IRFU and NZRU have provisionally agreed to a tour schedule for EOYT that sees NZ next play in Dublin in Nov 2021 (3 years later) and a three test tour of NZ in July 2022 (ten years later).
The Lions concept works very well for the original SANZAR unions (with Argentina, Fiji, Samoa excluded) earning NZRU in excess of NZ$40m for the last tour. Do you really think that could be easily replaced?
I agree with you that unions in the Southern Hemisphere need to start thinking differently. In particular, I’ve said in a previous article that Rugby Australia should start to be properly selfish in how it wants to the game to operate and sustain in the country by looking at all existing arrangements and the ‘sacred cows’ that it currently holds dear.
SARU is still in ‘making-up-its-mind’ time. It has crated two more professional franchises, Griquas and Pumas, to have 8 teams that could be split into 4 each in Super Rugby and PRO14. It has started a cull, contract and re-distribution of talent programme to achieve a better quality across all 8 teams with 900 players being reduced to 450. Its Participation Agreement with the three shareholder unions in Celtic Rugby for the PRO14 comp is due for mid-term review this coming season. And it has to decide on its continued participation and level of presence in Super Rugby/Rugby Championship. Now it faces another problem on its domestic agenda with its key TV backer, Supersport, being compromised or restricted. Not good news for either SANZAAR or Celtic Rugby.

This is the end: Rugby’s Nations Championship abandoned

“Over the coming years, we will almost certainly see a readjustment in player movement trends.

It’s happening already, but the moment New Zealand and Australia concede to picking their Test sides from all domiciles, the best players will move accordingly into the richest leagues – the English Premiership, France’s Top 14 and parts of the Pro 14 – with corresponding adjustments in the next tier – Pro 14 and Japan’s Top League – with some displaced players shuffling back into whatever is left of professional rugby in Australasia.

Because it is South Africa where the player drain has already reached a tipping point, it is they who will determine SANZAAR’s relevance and future.”

I was intrigued by this section in your article, Geoff, as I’m in the process of analysing the foreign player transfers across the three European leagues and Japan for next season. Having completed the PRO14 and the English Premiership (24 teams out of the 66 European ones), it looks like SA and NZ foreign player numbers have decreased slightly in those two leagues. NH player numbers moving outside their country have increased with, for example, over 60 Irish players now playing elsewhere – 2 of them have gone to Japan even.

Last season, there were 186 SA-born players playing abroad. Having only looked at the new squads in PRO14 and in the Premiership, this number has decreased slightly to 180. Similarly, there were 180 NZ-born players last season, this season the total is running at 173. Australia 93 to 92, and Argentina unchanged at 40. England and Ireland have increased slightly. It may be a blip, or I may see a consequent rise in French and Japanese numbers once I’ve gone through them. It’s interesting that the NZRU are focussing their retention efforts with their top players by guiding them to play in Japan rather than elsewhere e.g. the Brodie Retallick deal.

This is the end: Rugby’s Nations Championship abandoned

I’m curious that say that the decision came down to Ireland, Italy and Scotland, Geoff. Why not also Wales as the other smaller union within the PRO14?

Your article states the UK at various points, rather than England, presumably because you think your readers won’t understand the difference, or don’t recognise the difference.

Yet it is this very difference which is the point that you raise in your reply comments rather than in the article. You and I have both agreed previously that the hemisphere argument is a spurious one, particularly in the financial domain. It is all about club v union where the real battle lies.

I have long advocated that the SANZAAR unions should come to an agreement with the PRO14 unions (like SARU have smartly done) so that their interests align in protecting the game from too powerful private monies. But the manner in which Augustin Pichot set about evangelising his idea (for it was he) to crate a World Nations Championship was to cosy up the unions of RFU and FFR in the hope that if he got them on side, the other four minnows would fall into line. Not for the first, he and Mr Beaumont, underestimated their reaction and use of veto power. It is even more ironic that World Rugby is allegedly headquartered in Dublin, yet most of the decision-making and planning in between formal meetings, never seems to happen there.

It’s also worth considering what was being proposed financially for each union to replace what they were currently earning. The FIR doesn’t own its own national stadium, Ireland co-owns with the Irish soccer association, and Scotland and Wales do own their stadia. Currently, these four unions can plan their annual test programme over a number of years to ensure that they get the right mix of lucrative and less lucrative tests to generate the ticket income that they rely on heavily. The WR proposal was not focussed on that. It was only focussed on putting a common schedule in place for the benefit of the TV broadcasters. Twickenham sells out for nearly every match. Cardiff and Edinburgh don’t and the IRFU found out in 2010, that the wrong ticket pricing for lower tier matches also cut crowds.

Increased TV money at the expense of crowds and reduced ticket prices is a risky prospect if your union and the clubs that it funds from those monies are depending on it. And if those clubs don’t perform well in PRO14 and European comps, then it becomes a vicious circle as the test teams’ performances are affected, with playing budgets diminished and players moving to the richer countries in England, France and ever increasingly, Japan.

This is the end: Rugby’s Nations Championship abandoned

“SANZAAR should forget about June and November international tests against the NH.
SANZAAR should start up the ‘SANZAAR Cup’ over September, October and November. 10 teams in two pools, with semi and final games.”

If only it were that simple.

Playing beggar thy neighbour whilst trying to not go broke yourself is never a good look.

This is the end: Rugby’s Nations Championship abandoned

Agree with most of that Melburnian.

Whatever about the richer 10 nations, I think the Tier 2 nations should be getting a slice of any away test matches – starting from today. No need to wait for 2022. And a greater share of the RWC revenues could also be allocated to the Tier 2 unions. To ensure that players are recompensed fairly, a portion of the gate revenues could be used to pay the players directly as part of the traveling costs for Tier 2 teams. Imagine if Fiji or Samoa test players were guaranteed to get €5 – 7,000 in match fees each? Some of the French clubs incentivize PI players not to play in RWC. Put money in their pocket and it would be more difficult to prevent them playing.

UPDATE: SANZAAR says they're "disappointed" over Nations Championship axing

If they are playing 5 away in Nov/Dec only 3 of those are part of the in-window WR test schedule – same as other 6N unions. The other two tests would be money-makers eg NZ v Ireland in Chicago or NZ v Aus in Japan, Japan v NZ, USA v Maori ABs, or Aus v Wal in Cardiff, Ireland v Italy in US, NZ v Barbarians, etc.

It’s worth pointing out that Wal v Aus and v SA were not sellouts last Nov. Italy v Georgia had 18,500 in Florence, and same for vs Aus in Padua, Fra v Arg was 40k. In short, tests in NH in Nov are not all held in front of 81,000 at Twickenham.

UPDATE: SANZAAR says they're "disappointed" over Nations Championship axing

There are approx 80 Aus-born professional players in the 66 clubs in the 6 Nations. Less than half of the approx 180 professionals born in each of SA and NZ.

Struggling NH unions don’t want to finance struggling SH unions is probably more accurate. For example, look at the finances of the SRU or FIR in comparison to NZRU.

UPDATE: SANZAAR says they're "disappointed" over Nations Championship axing

You do realise that 6N teams touring in SANZAAR countries don’t get any reward for these tours bar costs?

Secondly, the tests were happening in June unaffected by SR and SANZAAR then expanded Super Rugby so that it ran into June instead of finishing in May. SANZAAR also asked for 3 test series for 2012-2019 in order to increase interest and generate greater revenues. Did the 6N teams benefit from these increased revenues? RA have provisionally agreed a tour with Ireland for 2020 two tests and a third test against a PI Nation, and play in Dublin in Nov 2020. NZRU have already agreed provisionally to play Ireland in Nov 2021 and host a three tests series against Ireland in July 2022.

Under the new global refs and structure, the June tests have now been shifted to July – at the request of SANZAAR – so it doesn’t clash with SR. Except SANZAAR has now decided to downsize SR, and is likely to do so again, with the likelihood that it could finish in May again.

Thirdly, the Lions series also benefit SANZAR (not Argentina though) and provide a substantial sum to each union every 12 years.

Lastly, the SANZAAR teams play in a single location when they play tests in Nov. They play in “The NH”. The window will now start in the first week of Nov and run for three weekends.

UPDATE: SANZAAR says they're "disappointed" over Nations Championship axing

Well that’s going to make things interesting.

Will Australian rugby become a farm for the north?

“the crux of all this is pay tv is paying for the success not bums on seats.”

That may be true for private clubs in England, but not union-owned ones in other countries who are financed in a substantial part by their unions, who in turn depend not just on broadcast income but also attendances at test matches as well as sponsorships, merchandising, etc. If Leinster or Munster didn’t have the gates they get, they’d be bust or mid-table at best.

Will Australian rugby become a farm for the north?