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The Roar

Working Class Rugger

Roar Guru

Joined June 2009

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I’m a general NFL/AF fan so don’t have a nailed down team but I do enjoy watching Mahomes and the Chiefs play.

But I’ll now ensure I watch more Bills games as well. If not for Mahomes I think Josh Allen could be considered considered the premiere QB in the league (yes, over Rodgers and even Brady. Who is definitely the smartest QB in the league). And even then it’s stupidly close. That game was nuts and I hope we see them fit and healthy going at it for years to come.

In what was a great weekend if games the best was definitely the last.

An NFL Sunday to remember

Traditionally I have been a fan of the TT concept. Issue is, I think the time for it to have been implemented has been and gone. Along with many Australian Rugby fans appetite for it. Which is essentially key in this argument. Something we’ve seen here is the preference for local teams and local competitions. And that includes Rugby. Super AU significantly out rated the TT component last year. That’s not conjecture. It’s fact.

RA seems to have signed on to SRP from a convenience perspective in it being the easiest competition to have established offering the most fleshed out initial schedule in a short time frame. But its far from perfect. The lack of full home and away fixtures for domestic teams not being built in is a massive miss for me.

On to Jez’s proposal. I don’t think we could immediately make the jump to 10-12 from our current 5. But we could manage an extra 2 with the goal of including the Drua as our 8th (it should be noted that without RA the Drua wouldn’t have been a thing in order to enter SRP and without Aus Govt. support they wouldn’t be participating still). To start. One in Queensland and another in North Sydney. I’ll let Queenslanders figure out the where on that one (North Queensland perhaps) but the reasoning for a North Sydney one is this.

1) The Waratahs really haven’t been a representative side for NSW for a long time now. Let’s be honest here. They are more the Sydney Waratahs (and even then only really to a certain degree) so there’s no real issue with a 2nd Sydney based team entering.

2) North Sydney have 5 of the Shute Shield clubs and pretty strong clubs and junior numbers. Has shown on more than one occasion via games a Brookvale that it has a base interested in turning out and would provide a natural rival for the Tahs. People may suggest WS but as a resident of the region. There needs to be a lot of time and investment put in for that to be a feasible idea. Plus, taking the Nth awat from the Tahs might actually force them to do exactly that.

Now, this wouldn’t necessarily provide us with a longer season but what it will is provide us with a more locally compelling season. After all, 14 rounds with games averaging 100k viewers is far better than 14 rounds with games averaging 50k. Particularly from a rights point of view.

I found the suggestion of 4 clubs from Sydney and Brisbane being involved. Which is actually something I could see replacing the NRC. Give them their opportunity at that level. But don’t farm Tahs out to them if they aren’t already part of that club. Instead, have the Tahs and Reds run a 5th team with Tahs squad members not part of those clubs and the best talent from the other 6-8 clubs.

Hell, that could be the competition. 5 from Sydney and Brisbane. Brumbies, Melbourne, Force and the Drua. Emphasis local development. For the clubs offer a criteria to compete including financial requirements and facilities (.i.e. proper stadiums not clubs grounds) and go from there.

Why Super Rugby is broken and how Australia must shift the focus to save domestic game

I’m probably going to do a preview of the upcoming MLR season including the rumoured 2023 expansion bids. I might put some of these tidbits. Could even try to see if I can get enough on the upcoming SLAR season and make it a combined piece

There’s heaps of very interesting things happening in the global game.

A new future for Spanish rugby

I’ll be interested to see if the Madrid group are the same that bid unsuccessfully for a place in the RESC. The Diables team have apparently been wanting to meet with FER with little luck. Not sure on that. But hopefully we see some kind of cooperation between all parties even if they don’t compete in the same structure. As either way providing increased levels of competition can only help improve the national team and draw in Spanish qualified players.

A new future for Spanish rugby

Sorry if I’ve taken over a bit but just to add one last post on the topic of growth of the professional game. Recently the president of the Japanese League One mentioned the leagues interest in welcoming foreign based teams into their structures. Most notably teams from Korea and Hong Kong. He specifically mentioned both of them as primary locations while suggesting Malaysia etc. could be an option down the track. The president of Korea’s top team Hyundai Glovis actually respinded by stating they intend to bid for entry into the League One structure in 2025 which is the earliest timeframe the structure has to expand.

Korean Rugby is in a bit of an early growth spurt as well. Their national league which has for a long time only had 4 teams looks set to grow to 6/7 teams depending in the next few season with one of those potential team OK Financial Group looking to aggressively spread Rugby into the schools system in Korea. Which should be interesting.

Over to Africa. It was reported today (in the Zimbabwean press) that the Sables, Kenya and Namibia will compete in the the CC 1st Division this year (the 2nd Tier competition) alongside the current 7 SA based provinces and the Georgia Black Lions (as part of the SARU and GRFU 11 year development agreement). Which is very interesting to see. The three African nations were set to compete in the SuperSport Challenge later in the year but seem to have managed tan upgrade. Kenya also played in the Cheetahs comp alongside the Diables and Baia Mare from Romania.

A new future for Spanish rugby

The recent growth of professional Rugby is something we should be both very excited about as fans but a little nervous about as well. We all know the threat of the Big 3 (now 4) NH competitions. But it goes deeper now. Once upon a time it was our top talent that were on the radar. Now, it’s the really good club level players that are being targeted.

It’s not just a case of the Top 14, Premiership, URC and Japan targeting players. But there’s the ProD2, Federale 1 and rapidly professionalising Federale 2 in France. The Top 10 in Italy. The Russian PRL continues to grow in both the number of teams and the size of their budgets, Japan has 3 divisions two of which are professional. There’s MLR and now RESC. All capable of providing compelling offers to draw player abroad. The only new league not much of a threat is SLAR but that’s because they draw heavily from Argentina.

The world of professional Rugby is evolving and it’s something we need to address. We need an equivalent here. A competition that provides players with the opportunity to push further up the ladder of professionalism and keep them here as opposed to jetting off to the States, Japan or Europe. While we still have systems in place to corral the best emerging talent the threat posed is that of depth. Which could very quickly be eroded.

A new future for Spanish rugby

Italian involvement isn’t impossible. I actually like the idea of the FIR setting up and running a development franchise in the RESC. I think if we saw a situation where the RESC and SA comps were combined it would be a lot more likely.

A new future for Spanish rugby

It’s happening already. They’ve been several players from the Shute Shield signed to Major League Rugby clubs in the US. The money isn’t huge. Likely somewhere between $30-40k AUD a season not including housing etc. but its enough to draw players over for the experience of playing in something that’s still very new and exciting while earning much more than they could playing club footy here while being rugby professionals.

I’m not sure if the RESC will draw players in much the same way just yet but I for sure think it could be attractive for players with the necessary backgrounds to at least have a look. You’d imagine players like David Horwitz would be on the Heat radar etc.

A new future for Spanish rugby

I think the fact that is has the backing of the three Castilla y Leon clubs is a recognition of the once held ambition of transitioning the Division de Honor from semi-professional to professional may not be possible post-Covid. It was an ask pre-Covid for many clubs but now probably impossible. Which isn’t a bad thing. It could allow clubs to refocus on growth instead of paying more and more to compete while encouraging strong regions like Valencia which has a strong and growing scene producing an ever increasing number of young players to look to compete for higher honours.

A new future for Spanish rugby

Okay. So on the RESC. Having watched most of the games this year it’s difficult to judge exactly where both the Lusitanos and Iberian sit going into the semi-finals. The Eastern conference featuring two Russian clubs (Enisei-STM and Lokomotive Penza), the Georgia Black Lions and Tel-Aviv Heat was very even while the Western saw both the Delta (the Netherlands) and Brussels Devils being handily beaten by both Lusitanos and the Iberians.

That said, it’s still pretty interesting to see the RESC get up and running. Each of the franchises are committed to 4 seasons while the Russian clubs only 2. In regards to growing the league they want to reach 16 teams by season 5 and while Germany and Romania have been mentioned as potential choices (should be noted Romania would have entered if financing had been available) but the only two have been made public are Poland and Czechia. Poland apparently has the Union and a JV of clubs in the Tri-Cities while Czechia would be Union backed bid. RE is also open to left of field entrant in the Heat vain. Who came out of nowhere.

This season they kept it strictly to the conferences in terms of in season games but hopefully in the years to come they can sort out a proper league schedule as team enter the fray.

On Spain. The Diables did feature 18 Barcelona based players but it should be noted the bulk of those came from two 2nd Division clubs as the two Division De Honor clubs (Barcelona and Santboiana) while backing the concept chose not release players this time round. The Madrid team also apparently has the support of the Madrid based clubs. But we don’t know much about that nor do we know much about the mooted competition in which they’ll play.

I will say I’m not a fan of having two competitions splitting teams. I’d rather both groups work out some kind of combined structure. I think that would be a better outcome for all concerned. The Cheetahs concept seems to be in order to maintain their sponsorship arrangement with Toyota and if so I think a combined concept would ultimately benefit them as well.

Just spit-balling here but a combined structure could featuring two – 8 team conferences. With 3 SA teams in the Cheetahs, Griquas and Pumas joining the Eastern conference alongside Tel-Aviv, the Black Lions, Enisei, 2nd Russian squad based on placing in Russian Championship which at present would be Slava Moscow and the Bucreasti Wolves. While the Western conference would feature the Lusitanos, Iberians, Diables Barcelona, Madrid Gatos (Gatos was the name of the short lived Madrid team in the Superiberica De Rugby concept several years ago. The first attempt to introduce professional franchises to the Spanish landscape and I quite liked the name ), Delta, Brussels Devils and a Polish and Czech side.

They could either go a double round robin for 14 games or split them into two pools of 4 playing home and away in each pool and each team from the other pool in their conference for 10 games with the top 4 qualifying for the finals either way. I think that would be a pretty compelling competition.

In the future Germany and the likes of Servette Genf who are working their way through the French system could be targeted alongside second teams in places like Georgia and Romania in the east. The goal of several of these teams should be to not only provide their national squads more game time and exposure but also to attempt to capture as many foreign based players of the respective heritages as possible as means to bolster the overall competitive level of each national team.

A new future for Spanish rugby

No.

The Roar Rugby Project Part 6: Tiers or Tears? Competition structures for professional rugby

Just adding something different to this conversation while still being Japanese Rugby. A few weeks back the president of the League One came out and stated that they were keen to see involvement from teams outside of Japan from 2025. Which is the first window for expansion. He specifically mentioned Hyundai Glovis out of South Korea (there’s actually some growth occurring there after years of stagnation) and Hong Kong as well as a few other possible locations.

This has been supported by recent comment from Hyundai that they do in fact plan on entering the League One system from 2025. Will be interesting to see if it 1) sparks more growth in the Korea league which has gone from 4 teams to 6 from 2023 or 2) Drives the competitiveness of the Korean corporates to follow suit and chase entry in the future.

Point is, admitting Japan into SANZAAR has far greater potential both on and off the pitch in the region than many suspect.

Japan eyeing permanent Rugby Championship berth

Bring Japan in as the permanent 5th and open up a 6th that uses a promotion/relegation system to determine who features year on year. This would require the establishment of a 2 division.

I’d go with the RC with Japan and Fiji added and a second div of Tonga, Samoa, USA, Canada, Chile and Uruguay.

Winner of the 2nd div would play Fiji to determine if they qualify for the next year’s edition or stay in the RC. There could also be a degree of crossover games outside the RC window. Say each of the 2nd div teams get a game against the RC teams in both the June and November windows.

Japan eyeing permanent Rugby Championship berth

Rugby is the vessel to improve these kids lives by providing them with something to aspire to and be accountable for. But the real goal is to see the Year 12 completion rate jump which it has.

Growing rugby in Australia through the state school system: No, this isn’t a joke

Because for many Rugby is their special little club that despite talking a big game about wanting to take it to a broader audience don’t actually want to have to relinquish their spot.

Growing rugby in Australia through the state school system: No, this isn’t a joke

Serious question. Is there a means to donate to this organisation? Because if there isn’t then there needs to be? Additionally they should be reaching out to every current and former Wallaby/SR player with a social media presence and looking to get them to push the Academy concept and as above donation to the Rugby community.

It’s a bloody brilliant concept and something as someone who was born and raised in Western Sydney would support it growing into the region if the funds ever allowed it.

Growing rugby in Australia through the state school system: No, this isn’t a joke

Well there’s a reasonably simple solution to that. Don’t. Instead look to go to a 6 team RC with Japan included and the 6th spot being up for grabs to a qualified from a 2nd group. Though for the first edition the 6th spot would go to Fiji. That could be a Pacific Nations Cup or a let’s call it Continental Cup with the 3 PIs, 2 Nth America, 2 Sth America possibly 2 Europe and 1 Africa. Two pools of 4. Winner of each pool plays in a final. Winner gets the 6th RC spot for that year (this would occur in June) added bonus of playing in the Continental Cup should be the guarantee of at least one game against the RC nations outside of the structure. Meaning in the 4th game of the June/July window while the winners of each pool play off for the RC spot. The other 6 get a game against the 6 RC nations.
This way the RC could become a strict 5 game competition with teams only playing one another once.

Japan eyeing Rugby Championship invite

They mentioned that this edition was structured in the way it was due to Covid and that it will be going back to the home and away schedule next season. And with the Govt. grants being given to Fijian Rugby and the provisions for funding for the Fijiana there’s a solid chance they’ll enter Super W next year as well. That said, I hope we also see the President VX (or some form of squad of a similar ilk) retained.

How Super W can continue to improve

Joe,

I’ve quite enjoyed your thoughts on potential structures that could be used going forward and largely agree with them all. That being said, I’m not super keen on the idea of the ‘Super Bowl’ game that has been proposed. I’d rather see some kind of pool based Cup competition introduced instead running concurrently. But different from the pool based system in the north or a straight knockout as you have suggested.

I’d like to see the Cup/Plate/Bowl/Shield format used in a progressive way. Where in the first round teams are randomly drawn against others. Winners progressive in the Cup divsion while losers fall into the Bowl. In the second round of games similar happens again with the winner in the Cup continuing with the losers falling into the Plate semi-finals. While the winners in the Bowl continue while the losers fall into the Shield.

This would ensure each team gets 3 games in the structure while maintaining a reason to keep playing at each round.

I would also like to see the end of inbound tours from NH teams in June/July. We tend to get weakened squads sent anyway. I’d prefer they are replaced by a proper Pacific Nations Cup and a Spring Nations Cup. The Pacific Nations Cup would feature Aus, NZ, Japan, the PIs, the USA and Canada. Split into two pools of 4 with the top 2 teams playing in the semi final stages. While the Spring Nations Cup would feature the 6Ns teams plus SA and Argentina alongside the 6 REC teams (that’s Georgia, Romania, Russia, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands), South America 1 (likely Uruguay) and Africa 1 (Namibia). Again with pools of 4 with the winner of each pool moving forward.

I would also like to see the November window changed up to a alternating schedule. So one year half the NH would host tests while the other half tours and vice versa with the teams from the PNC.

The 6N, RC and respective regional competitions would remain in their current windows. This would provide a lot of teams with more exposure to T1 nations on a far more regular basis while allowing other nations the opportunity to qualify via their regional competitions.

The way forward for Super Rugby that's simple and exciting

What we need to do is strengthen the pathway by looking at reviving a stronger and more professional NRC Not cutting a team in what would be an example of repeating the same mistakes twice.

Consolidate to survive: Five teams must become four if Super Rugby is to survive

They have no chance of replacing SR. The financials in the draft fall well short of even remotely coming close. They seem to want to fill the NRC gap. Which I’m not against. And if they can meet and grow beyond those standards then great.

But that doesn’t change the fact that Western Sydney has no place in the SRU. As those behind the group have no interest in the region. It’s time for RA to step in and forge the regions path separate from its auspices.

How Rugby Australia can build the code in western Sydney

Here’s the thing. In terms of pursuing raising the standards of the competition and looking to become a legitimate semi-professional competition. The terms published in the draft agreement are all very fair and reasonable. Beyond the call for 4 grades and 3 colts.

However, what it highlights is the complete neglect the game has seen in the west of the city for well, basically forever. Which is why I’m of the opinion that the SRU does nothing for Rugby in the diverse and rapidly growing region. And to that end. With the assistance of RA the west needs to be removed from SRU governance and under a new organisation focusing on building the game in the region.

RA needs to get all of the 12-16 clubs in the region together and map out a pathway to growth focusing on each and every club becoming what I call ‘full service’ clubs running teams from U6-grade over a 10 year period. Featuring both boys and girls teams in the juniors and at least one women’s Colts and two women’s grade teams. Additionally, identify areas that are not adequately served by the existing clubs and seed new ones with the goal of doubling the number of active clubs in the same time frame.

On top of this. The region would be split into 4 zone based academies designed to not only identify talent but to operate upskilling programs designed to benefit all participants in the region.

I suggest direct RA involvement and invest because the region offers arguably the most fruitful talent pools in a range of sports nationally.

How Rugby Australia can build the code in western Sydney

I’d be all for it. The issue is where will the money come from?

Force boss urges RA to create Asia-Australia comp

MLR is currently in its 4th season.

Can the USA help Australian rugby league and rugby union?

The US via MLR are targeting a 2031 RWC bid.

Australia kicks off bid to stage 2027 Rugby World Cup

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