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Sheikh

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Force players are eligible for selection, but so far the only Force player selected for international duty has been Rod Davies for the 7s squad.

Plenty of ex-Force players getting talked about now that they’ve moved east …

Bleak Bledisloe hopes a harsh reality for Wallabies fans

Freddie, I agree with most of what you say, but the NZ teams have also had an exodus of players and haven’t had a wobbly start to the season.

Bleak Bledisloe hopes a harsh reality for Wallabies fans

I didn’t realise Poey ever played 10, but at Churchie he was playing alongside Quade Cooper, so he would be pushed out one.

Some of the stories of Zim are truly harrowing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that affected him.

The problems with the Waratahs' spine

There was (I think) an Australian Story programme on him which told the story of when the family went on holiday he insisted that they took his weights with him so he could continue to work out while on vacation.

I was speaking to Matt Hodgson who used to room with him. Pocock had a body dysmorphia issue; he never thought he was big enough, so continually worked out.

The problems with the Waratahs' spine

When he was a junior Pocock was a 12. He really started hitting the weights when he was about 16/17

The problems with the Waratahs' spine

Many people on this forum hated Nick Phipps but I always thought he was a far better 9 than Gordon.”

Damning with faint praise! 😉

The problems with the Waratahs' spine

I’m shocked that any player, let alone a scrum-half, can get to SR level without being able to pass off either hand.
We had to do that as a junior back in the 80s, and is a large part of why my rugby career stopped at 16 as I couldn’t get the knack of spin passing to my right, despite passing half the width of the field to my left!

The problems with the Waratahs' spine

He moved to Australia at 16 and within a year was in the Force Academy. But a year later he returned to South Africa and was playing for Valke. It was there that he got the ban for steroids.

He came back to Perth and was back in the Force academy by 2011 and was with them for 6 years before moving up to Japan when the Force were cut from SR (IIRC). But those 6 years should have been enough for him to get either permanent residency or citizenship – it only takes 4 years. Any of the professional sides should be helping any foreign-born player achieve eligibility as soon as they can.

The problems with the Waratahs' spine

Yes, because the NRC won’t start earlier because of Super Rugby. Most NRC players are also Super Rugby players, so the NRC can’t start earlier than it currently does.

If the number of teams increased (eg, to 10) and the season was a couple of weeks longer, it’d have to extend backwards where there’s plenty of room for expansion because the only thing it’s competing with is the Spring tours or RWC once every 4 years.

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

But the NRC doesn’t suck players out of the clubs. The NRC offers extra training and competition to the best club players, who are free to go back to their clubs and play during the club season, possibly taking some of what they’ve learnt about what it takes to be a professional and passing that onto their club side.

There isn’t an overlap between the club season (which is the SR season) and the NRC season (which is the RC/international season). OK, I think the Shute Shield finals overlap slightly, but not fully.

Some club players don’t want to go professional, but the NRC offers an opportunity to the talented club players who want to consider going pro an insight into whether they have what it takes to make it as a pro.

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

“The three forms of cricket are actually different games, so different rules are appropriate. Similar to rugby versus 7s. Certainly they share many of the same elements, but they are actually different games.”

They are, but arguably the skill sets for bowling, batting and fielding are all the same. The tactical decisions are different (eg, when to slog for a six, when to bowl a yorker) but the skill sets are the same.

But NRC rugby is the same game as Super Rugby as test rugby. If we want to set our players up for the higher level, we should practice them in exactly the same way

A valid point of view, but as a selling point in a competitive market place (ie, trying to gain attendance or even viewers) then “the same product as SR or test rugby but played by less-good players” isn’t much of a selling point.

As a Force fan, I lament some of the rule changes used in GRR (and some of the ‘gimmicks’ of fireworks, light-shows, etc) but those things aren’t for me – I’m going to the match anyway – they are to get the families and next generation of fans in the door.

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

Any amateur clubs who became NRC clubs would get players who were aiming for the next level (SR) moving to join them. So that amateur club would automatically become the behemoth in their competition. (Have you seen Scottish soccer?)

Qld, Vic, WA realised this and set up their sides based on the SR sides and academies. ACT did similar but selected the Tuggeranong Vikings (I think they had the best ground) and used their name. From some reports on various forums, though, this caused some issues in ACT clubland and fans from other clubs refused to follow the Canberra Vikings.

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

And indeed this is what happens in the FA Cup. Some clubs in levels 9 and 10 of the UK soccer pyramid start playing the FA Cup in July/August in the “extra-preliminary qualifying round 1” (seriously). Clubs in level 8 join a round later (preliminary qualifying round), level 7 clubs join in the next round (qualifying round 1), and so on. The 6 qualifying rounds are all regionalised as these are amateur clubs and can’t afford the travel, even around such a small place as England.

The likes of Liverpool and Arsenal don’t join until the 3rd round proper, which for a level 10 club who has made it that far would be the 9th round of the cup!

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

The variations in rules was supposed to make it more interesting to watch, and did produce more ‘play’ as teams awarded a penalty preferred to kick for touch and go for tries than to spend ~90 seconds lining up a penalty kick. The skill sets are the same.

No-one really has a problem with cricketers playing to different rules in tests, shield matches, one-dayers and T20.

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

Although it doesn’t get the attendance numbers that Super Rugby gets, the NRC matches outside of NSW do average better attendance figures than club games, by a significant margin. (Even inside NSW they report better figures than club rugby, but by a lesser margin!) Individual club games and the grand final might attract crowds, but otherwise club games aren’t as well attended as people like to think they are.

As to the selection of players for the NRC, in Melbourne, Canberra and Queensland these are typically the SR players, less the Wallabies, supplemented by the wider training squad and identified future stars who are brought in to see how they do with professional training. (Perth and Fiji are similar, but without losing the Wallabies – the Force NRC side has more local club players than the Force GRR side.)

The NSW NRC sides are at a disadvantage, as more Waratahs tend to be in the Wallaby training camps (under Cheika, anyway) so have to supplement their side with more Shute Shield players. If the selection of which SS players get selected for the NRC is flawed, that may have more to do with local club politics.

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

I can’t understand why more teams don’t do this. McCaw admitted that for years he researched the ref and then watched what the ref was allowing early in the game, so his side could play up to what the ref was allowing.

Tomkinson handed three-week ban over Banks hit

I’d query the statement: “Izzy is one of two wallabies players … that might have been considered in the world xv in recent years, and everyone on the roar said as much until his social media comments

Many (most) on here (myself included) didn’t rate him as a World XV player. At full-back he was a liability defensively and I wouldn’t have said he was even SR standard.

As a winger he might have been considered somewhere in the top ten wingers in the world (possibly top five if you ignored his defensive positioning) but during the period of 2013-18 when he was playing for the Wallabies there were plenty of very good wingers in the world who could have been considered for a World XV at various times: George North, Bryan Habana, Julien Savea, Ben Smith, JP Petersen, Johnny May, Nemani Nadolo, Reiko Ioane, Jacob Stockdale.

Horror weekend for Australian Super Rugby teams makes Castle's broadcast rights a hard sell

They still have them in the USA when the local team doesn’t ‘sell-out’ (I think they need ~80% seats sold for a ‘sell-out’!)

The Wrap: The Sunwolves and Super Rugby’s shame file

I think that the comment “There’s been a regular complaint that no one has a connection to the NRC teams” is a Sydney-centric comment. From what I’ve seen Fiji, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and the two Queensland clubs get fair crowds which seem to link back into the local competitions.

National club comp lacking a grassroots perspective

Would the Force/Perth Gold be included? Who will pay for the flights across the country?

Pandaram’s article included 2 11 team divisions, so even if it’s a 10 game tournament (ie, not home and away), 5 clubs would fly across country and one would fly the other way 5 times. For ~30-35 man travelling parties, that’s expensive (min ~$15,000 for cheap Jetstar flights, plus hotels, etc). Would the tournament pay ~$200k for the costs of including one team when they can save that by including another team from NSW/Qld?

RA confirms national club competition in the works; NRC future unclear

Plus, being students, you can pay them in beer.

Roll up, folks, it's time for another round of rugby broadcast negotiations by media

No, I was mainly making a glib comment about the marketing hyperbole surrounding soccer and it’s engineered tribalism.

Mind you, you probably picked the wrong teams to use for your example, as I grew up in Manchester. Most Mancunians are United fans (don’t believe the stories) and City fans are more likely to be from the southern suburbs, or these days from nowhere near Manchester at all (the old United-supporting glory hunters!).
The Etihad Stadium was built in a fiercely United supporting area (Ancoats)!

Roll up, folks, it's time for another round of rugby broadcast negotiations by media

“Any other form of tribalism is hollow or driven by marketing hyperbole.”

You have seen soccer, haven’t you? 😉

Roll up, folks, it's time for another round of rugby broadcast negotiations by media

IIRC, for the NRC games, that was all local ‘camera companies’ with the feed going to RA’s website (and one game per week to TV). The number of cameras around the ground didn’t always allow much for the TMO to work with, but I presume that a Super Rugby broadcast would just employ more cameras.

Roll up, folks, it's time for another round of rugby broadcast negotiations by media

You complain that the Waratahs don’t get out of Sydney often enough, and even then only when the SFS is being refurbished.

The last time the Reds played a SR game outside of Brisbane was 2006 (Townsville).
The Force only played at two stadia, both within ~5 km of Perth CBD.
The Brumbies don’t play home games away from Canberra (although probably the only choice to GIO is Manuka Oval!)
At least the Rebels are the Melbourne Rebels, so don’t have to pretend that they should play elsewhere in Victoria.

So fair play to the Waratahs for at least taking their home games outside of the capital. No-one else does it.

The Waratahs are back – Newcastle, it’s on you to show up