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W Evans

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Joined February 2023

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Am at a loss as to why Petaia keeps getting minutes at 15, he’s a winger and even playing there he’s unpredictable and unreliable.

Multiple professional coaches have gone this route so they must see something different but I see erratic kicking, poor option taking and passes that should be made but aren’t.

Super Rugby teams round 1: Lynagh gets first shot as 10s battle launched, Rodda returns, instant call for Tahs giant

Wales, Scotland and France are all unions in massive trouble.

Youve seen Scarlets almost broke and Irish, Wasps and Worcester go broke at club level.

Forget league. Rugby is a game internationally under severe pressure. It’s just that SA and England have larger markets but have little or less competition than say Australia, New Zealand or the Americas. The chickens are roosting.

'Destroyed the soul of rugby': Ex-NZR boss delivers damning verdict of Super direction - and his plan to fix it

It’s hard to disagree that the soul of the game is in huge trouble. There are multiple reasons for that.
Two Moffett has nailed:
– the game is over complicated and more often than not, boring. It’s a harsh truth but how do you attract kids to it in highly competitive sporting markets. ‘Bloody crap’.
– NZ and Australia are relatively small markets. TV money is what makes the sporting world go around. The horse has well and truly bolted. The genie can’t be put back in the bottle.
I’m not sure what his solutions are but he seems to be saying we have a Super 10 tournament which increases quality and competition thus community involvement. That may be the short term answer I guess.

'Destroyed the soul of rugby': Ex-NZR boss delivers damning verdict of Super direction - and his plan to fix it

That’s a fair point and comes back to the lack of depth and poor quality we have.
Jones is right though, the players are soft, they’ve got used to being beaten by Kiwi sides, don’t play out 80mins and when they get close they have brain explosions as soon as any pressure comes on.
There are a few ‘usual suspects’ who I won’t name that are among the most experienced, over hyped, highly paid in the game that go missing too often or give away crucial cards and penalties all the time- referees have had a shocking relationship with the Wallabies over the past 10-15 years.
And that’s a trend across Jones, Rennie, Cheika, Deans and McKenzie (as well as Super coaches like Coleman, Thorn, McKellar).

'Stands out like dog's balls', 'set up for failure': Wretched Eddie-Slips moment that explains World Cup disaster

Thought about whether to respond because the same old people will call me an Eddie lover / apologist etc.
But it’s revisionist history with Rennie which dilutes the conversation regarding accountability of the playing group who have failed under numerous quality head coaches.
Yes, Rennie had a system and yes he got experienced players close to winning but:
– the Wallabies became one of the most penalized tier 1 nations under him (the most carded) which was arguably connected to both the defensive scheme and pattern in attack.
– the Wallabies lost numerous close games over a number of years: the Reynal fiasco, the subbing of Foley against France, the card against Ireland when leading.
– the Wallabies lost a home series against England again largely because of odd selections and brain snaps (Swain).
– the squad outside of the first XV was not developed properly. The loss to Italy as an example.
– the tour where we ‘pushed Ireland and France’ and very narrowly overcame Wales and Scotland was the NH’s first test window of 2022. We should have been well ahead in terms of development.
– the win against SA, often cited and perhaps their best performance, was against a Bok team subject to quarantine on a 5 month Covid tour.
You could go on and on. Forget any comparison with Eddie. The Rennie regime in many ways was worse than Cheika, Deans and McKenzie.

'Stands out like dog's balls', 'set up for failure': Wretched Eddie-Slips moment that explains World Cup disaster

There’s no money anywhere …
Rebels minus 20mil
Tahs minus 12 mil
ACT even-ish
And RA at risk of trading insolvent in the next 12 months before Lions tour money which is already being spent.
If you have 50 support staff across 5 organisations doing graphic design, social media, marketing, executive assisting and you could have 20 in a centralized department which is more efficient and saves say 2.5million a year, it’s a no brainer.
You make savings in every single direction you can to (a) ensure you survive and (b) to put in place foundations to not waste new money.
But yeah. It should be across the board from top to bottom to free up money for coaching, participation at grass roots etc.

CONFIRMED: Rebels CEO made redundant and coaches have contract cuts as hopes of Super Rugby survival fade

Centralisation is about creating an attractive business model, coming together to produce a product that is better.

You look at who the Rebels made redundant today – a CEO and a dozen support staff (graphic designers, executive assistants etc) who are duplicated through all the state unions. When you’re a business on the rocks… you can’t have that. The limited air you’ve got has to be used as if it’s the last.

CONFIRMED: Rebels CEO made redundant and coaches have contract cuts as hopes of Super Rugby survival fade

The narrative that Rugby Australia have run the Rebels into the ground has been exploded by the creditors report and PWC.

At best, the Rebels are owed by RA $2million and at worst $8million as against debts of some $20million and assets of $17,000 plus office furniture… when you look at the report they’ve been loss making for years.

But make no mistake, all of the state unions are on the breadline to different degrees. The Reds survive only because of Ballymore and the Force are reliant on Twiggy. The Brumbies could easily follow the Rebels.

As some of us have been saying for months if not years, there is no money, the game is not a going concern and without centralisation commercially others will follow NSW and the Rebels.

CONFIRMED: Rebels CEO made redundant and coaches have contract cuts as hopes of Super Rugby survival fade

He is absolutely a footballer. Reminds me a lot of Christian Cullen. Smaller, balanced runner, intelligent kicking game, positions himself well.

Does my head in that Petaia repeatedly gets promoted for full back when he doesn’t possess any of the above skills.

To be fair, he was largely overlooked by Rennie too but I hope he gets a chance with the new regime.

'A bit deflating': Headaches for Waratahs after Reds trial thrashing, Brumbies win after Force miss post-siren kick

To my mind there are 2 separate but related issues:

Super Rugby

It can’t go on how it is. They need to find a way to promote rivalries. They need to expand viewing numbers.

Create 4 pools or divisions (capable of being 5 teams or 10) as follows and have the top 2 from each play in an 8 team QF:

1. All Kiwi clubs plus Moana
2. All Aussie clubs plus Drua
3. Japanese clubs
4. Americas: Pumas, Uruguay, Chile, Canada, US clubs

Who makes the winner may one day play the European Champion!

Australian Rugby

It’s tough to see how they can arrest the slide. It’s pretty much terminal unless they have a lot of luck with both Lions & RWC revenue. Most of that will be spent by then anyway!

Private equity is now pretty much the only option. So it becomes a choice between a shark in London or the US and Twiggy, a shark we know. He’s waiting for the national body and states to have no choice in my opinion so he gets it at a snip.

Again, unpopular, people don’t want to hear it but that’s where we are at.

Leaked document says RA out to 'destroy Super Rugby' and 'turn members against each other' as Rebels' pain comes to light

I hear you Jez and see what you’re getting at.

The grant was cancelled in 2020 but as I said in my article this week, if 1.7mil a year is the answer, what is the question?

The fact is, the states without exception were struggling well before Covid. Viewers are down, ground attendances are down, costs are up etc. And the revenue generated by tv is severely compromised primarily by a failing Super Rugby system (without a large South African audience).

The state unions have always said “we know our markets best” but that isn’t backed up by any metric right now. Rugby Australia has been dysfunctional for a long time but so have the state unions – the only way to fix it is to come under one umbrella in every aspect.

Leaked document says RA out to 'destroy Super Rugby' and 'turn members against each other' as Rebels' pain comes to light

5 x 1.7mil isn’t 10 mil let alone 15 or 20?

And Rugby Australia didn’t and doesn’t have the money… Covid, a tv deal that was 30mil instead of 60…

Even if you cancel Sua’ali’i and go back in time and never employ Eddie and his psychiatrists you’re looking at a maximum of 15-20mil save. Enough to may wipe the debt of 1 or 2 states max before it gets run up again next year.

Leaked document says RA out to 'destroy Super Rugby' and 'turn members against each other' as Rebels' pain comes to light

Unpopular opinion but how many head coaches and boards do you need to go through before we look at the state unions?

The Rebels are in debt by 10-20 million. Even if the 1.7million grant was backdated to 2019, they’d still be in the red, just like NSW and possibly even ACT…

The game isn’t viable commercially and the blame for that is over 10-20 years and includes the state unions.

Leaked document says RA out to 'destroy Super Rugby' and 'turn members against each other' as Rebels' pain comes to light

Balance Piru, balance…

Something is pretty wrong when 6/7 finals at the RWC were won by the team with lesser possession. Game has changed fundamentally since 2015.

Parochialism and denial runs rampant as Australia's rugby states are hunted by debt, one by one

Think it’s important to recognise that all state unions are struggling and were for a long time before Covid.

– Waratahs are/were reportedly in over $10million worth of debt
– Brumbies financial woes are said to be ‘substantial’.
– Twiggy pumped an exceptional amount of money into the Force.
– QLD has its head just above water almost solely due to the redevelopment of ballymore.

Parochialism and denial runs rampant as Australia's rugby states are hunted by debt, one by one

It’s an interesting point.

Rugby Australia emphasise winning at Wallaby level driving grass roots engagement. But winning at Super Rugby level is key too.

The other thing, the game has shot itself in the foot repeatedly with the TMO, overuse of red cards, too much whistling wrecking what was once a free flowing spectacle.

Parochialism and denial runs rampant as Australia's rugby states are hunted by debt, one by one

It’s one option. But who would QLD play if they went down that route and in what competition.

One idea that has been proposed is the formation of a division/ pool system that feeds into an 8 side QFs.

1. NZ Division
2. Australian Division (+ Drua & Moana)
3. Japanese Division
4. Americas Division (Arg, Chile, Uruguay, US, Canada club sides)

Top 2 sides from each of the 4 divisions play in QF’s.

Parochialism and denial runs rampant as Australia's rugby states are hunted by debt, one by one

Baseless assertions? Three of our 5 state unions are on the brink of going under, the nstional newspaper is warning that Rugby Australia is at risk of trading while insolvent?

I’m also not into ‘whataboutism’. Even if I was, Irish, English and French rugby are thriving by comparison.

And no thrill. I guess what I’m trying to do is sound every alarm bell possible in the hope public opinion will swing behind full centralisation and the states will fall under a single umbrella with Nucifora, Schmidt and Waugh.

Parochialism and denial runs rampant as Australia's rugby states are hunted by debt, one by one

No conflation…

England, Ireland and France were all significantly affected by Covid, arguably more so than Australia and NZ. The difference is that after very bad years, they are turning it around, partly because they were in a better position before Covid and partly because they have more TV revenue/ higher ground attendances/ sponsors with deep pockets:

1. Ireland: a deficit of just under €1m for the year ending 31 July 2023, considerably less than the €7.4m deficit that had been forecast 12 months ago.

2. England: The Rugby Football Union has paid off all its debts from the Covid-impacted years and reported an operating profit of £4m for 2022/23. Revenues for the year were £221.4m, up from £189.1m, although the operating profit figure of £4m is down from £15m.

3. France: there is a problem in France as the Rugby World Cup contributed less than 50% of what was projected leading to that 40million deficit over 2 years. The difference is France has CVC partners backing it and has huge revenue from the 6 Nations

In any case, while we can compare Australia’s plight to others, it doesn’t necessarily achieve anything. There are global issues with the Rugby product, no doubt, but Australia is on the brink of not having a professional competition anymore and falling out of Tier 1…

Parochialism and denial runs rampant as Australia's rugby states are hunted by debt, one by one

Let’s say that the Sua’ali’i contract was cancelled and even more Rugby Australia used 30-40 mil of its remaining loan to wipe all the state debts.

Firstly, QLD and WA would say why are Victoria, ACT, NSW getting 10 mil each. That’s not fair. So it would become 50 mil.

Secondly, most gets spent on debt, there is little to no return, interest keeps ticking away at 12-15% and Rugby Australia goes broke or best case stays just afloat off the back of 2027.

Then we hit repeat. The states scrape by, another black swan event occurs like Covid (Taiwan/ Covid II/ Stan backs out) and then what?

The fact is the states were in huge trouble before Covid- some of that was their fault, some of it was Rugby Australia. But there’s good, competent people trying to save the game now, the states need to jump onboard or they will get picked off one by one.

Parochialism and denial runs rampant as Australia's rugby states are hunted by debt, one by one

Hi Dan
Think it’s relatively uncontroversial that 3 of the states are broke or close to it and a 4th is supported heavily by a private investor.
At a time when that is the case, it’s about saving Australian Rugby – the only way to do that is for them all to centralise. A single strategy, with no duplication of costs which makes them a more attractive investment for the money needed to reach peak performance on and off field.
Not sure where you get your Irish/ French figures from? The IRFU reported a stronger than expected financial position with the release of its annual accounts in 2023: a deficit of just under €1m for the year ending 31 July 2023, considerably less than the €7.4m deficit that had been forecast 12 months ago… Munster, Leinster, Ulster…. generally have huge crowds, plenty of TV money swilling around etc.
The English issue is worth another article as regards Wasps, Irish and Worcester. All 3 clubs had significant off field issues before Covid and couldn’t survive it. The main difference is the English have 10, 15, 20 clubs in great financial health to take their place, no AFL to compete with a barely any league.

Parochialism and denial runs rampant as Australia's rugby states are hunted by debt, one by one

Said it before and I’ll say it again, there is no money in Australian rugby. 3 of the 5 franchises were struggling to make ends meet long before Covid and the withdrawal of the 1.7million grant – that figure and how crucial it seems to be tells you all you need to know.

Long thought Australia needed to fight to keep 5 teams. Unfortunately, Covid finished that dream and it may just be that the Brumbies and Rebels need to merge rather than risk losing both of them.

As a side, people say ‘let’s hold on until the Lions series money’ but it’s largely been spent or will be repaying loans…

Rebels told they will play Super Rugby in 2024 but future on shaky ground as voluntary administration looms

It’s an interesting question… I spent a lot of time watching Ealing, Bedford etc in the championship between 2010–2020 and there was no doubt it my mind they’d have beaten 90% of Shute Shield or Hospital Cup sides.

Let’s say Sydney Uni or Brothers are Top of National 1 or bottom of the Championship level…. That’s still 15-20 English sides ahead of them.

The depth in SA, England and France in particular is miles ahead of Australia.

'Not a hit and run': Schmidt explains short-term deal and why he 'surprised' himself by taking Wallabies job

That’s a fairly sweeping statement.

Yes, we have the athletes and at the elite level we have some exceptionally good backs in particular. But even there how often do you see certain players drop balls, fail to pass, miss tackles, not draw their man etc etc.

The English, French and Saffa’s have 10 very good tight 5 forwards who have legitimate international aspirations for every 1 or 2 we have.

But let’s not forget that there are 2 full professional levels of rugby in both France and England with 15-20 sides. Our second tier comp (the club comp in Brisbane or Sydney) is the equivalent of the 3rd tier in both those countries.

'Not a hit and run': Schmidt explains short-term deal and why he 'surprised' himself by taking Wallabies job

Park Eddie so people don’t flip out… Deans, McKenzie, Cheika, Rennie all good coaches. Thorn, Coleman, McKellar good coaches. But we haven’t won a Bledisloe since before iPhones were launched and we have two super rugby titles in the past 15 years…
My feeling is that we are lacking the talent. Unpopular opinion but our state unions are poorly run, our best footballers go to league and we are stuck in the mindset that “we were kings in the 90s so we should keep doing what we did then.”
Will be very interesting to see what the new team including Nucifora can do with the states. No excuses for Ballymore to mess about, we’ve got almost the dream team.
I have my fingers crossed for Schmidt. Decent man, great coach but jeez he has his work cut out.

'Not a hit and run': Schmidt explains short-term deal and why he 'surprised' himself by taking Wallabies job

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