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Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

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Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby iul » Fri, 13 Apr 2018, 09:15

Tier 1 nations have plenty of advantages over t2s, however, the situation isn't perfect there either. Some of them have serious problems, like Australia losing one of its SR sides and their ever decreasing SR and international crowds, or Italy's shitty club attendances and so on. Let's discuss how they are growing rugby in T1s and what else they could be doing to achieve that.

I'm going to start it off with this article about how the Shute Shield (the Sydney club competition) has dramatically increased its sponsorship and attendances over the past few years:

http://www.adnews.com.au/news/sponsors- ... turnaround

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby thatrugbyguy » Fri, 13 Apr 2018, 11:40

Sydney club rugby is booming now for the first time in decades which is good, but there are still issues west of Concord. The game gets little attention in the West and North Western suburbs and that needs to be fixed. Our other issue is we suffer mostly from having the most competitive football market in the world, we're the only country in the world with 4 football codes and we only have a population of 20 million, so there's a real fight for fans. Super Rugby seems to have run its course, so I'm hoping this new IPRC takes off next year and proves sustainable enough for the other 4 Aussie Super Rugby teams to jump ship. Our biggest problem is lack of free to air coverage of the Super Rugby games, this has hurt the game immensely.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby 4N » Fri, 13 Apr 2018, 12:49

The Shute Shield does nothing to expand the game in Australia. This is an example of a few wealthy clubs from affluent areas (like Sydney Uni who don't even run a juniors section iirc) further enriching themselves. As far as expansion in Tier 1 countries goes, the growth of rugby in northern France is a much better example.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Tobar » Fri, 13 Apr 2018, 13:05

It seems that many people in Tier 1 countries are stuck in their ways. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But it is broken in many places and Australia is a prime example. The fact that super rugby isn’t available on any kind of free to air platform is ridiculous. The NFL makes the most money out of practically any competition and the entire thing is shown on basic cable - every single person who has some sort of cable provider can watch the games.

I need to find the article but I read somewhere that Australia implemented a program to get kids more involved in rugby in school. The program resulted in rugby going from something like the 30th most popular sport among youth to the 12th. So it’s good to see some changes have been made.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Thomas » Fri, 13 Apr 2018, 13:08

What is the current status of Club Rugby in Sydney ? is it promotion and relegation like in the UK or is it locked into that league and no room for manoeuvre? Rugby Union in Australia will always struggle, due to the other codes unless they change and sort the club competition nation wide.

In the South East of England a lot of clubs are struggling putting out 2 - 3 teams every week due to injuries, players families commitments etc.. another problem clubs as low as LEVEL 6 Rugby are paying players which affects other clubs.

2nd Team Rugby is suffering not enough competition, walkovers etc.. you can see it on the weekly results. I have seen 2nd and 3rd team teams which only play 10 - 12 games due to lack of competition as there are not enough teams.

The priority at all levels is First Team Rugby. The more successful of the Merit tables in my opinion is the one run by Middlesex.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Tobar » Fri, 13 Apr 2018, 13:16

I found the article. Rugby went from 28th to 8th most popular primary schools sport. I didn’t even know there were 28 sports for kids to play.

https://www.rugby.com.au/news/2016/11/2 ... ion-growth

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby NaBUru38 » Fri, 13 Apr 2018, 13:25

Tobar wrote: The NFL makes the most money out of practically any competition and the entire thing is shown on basic cable - every single person who has some sort of cable provider can watch the games.

Actually, all matches from the home team are broadcast in free-to-air channels.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby stuartdm » Fri, 13 Apr 2018, 13:51

Thomas wrote: another problem clubs as low as LEVEL 6 Rugby are paying players which affects other clubs.



Some level 8 players are paid.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby thatrugbyguy » Fri, 13 Apr 2018, 14:31

Thomas wrote:What is the current status of Club Rugby in Sydney ? is it promotion and relegation like in the UK or is it locked into that league and no room for manoeuvre? Rugby Union in Australia will always struggle, due to the other codes unless they change and sort the club competition nation wide.


Promotion/Relegation doesn't exist in rugby or any sports league in the country, it's just not something we do down here. The NRC is a nation wide competition, but it's only a few years old. The games are played on Pay TV but not on free to air. As Tobar mentioned free to air has been the biggest issue for rugby in this nation, and part of the reason Sydney club rugby has been revitalised is that the TV rights went to the biggest commercial channel in the country. The games are played on their secondary digital channel but it's done wonders for the competition. Super Rugby's lack of free to air coverage has cost the sport big time down here. I remember the Aussie games were always played on free to air up until the World Cup in 2003, albeit on a 90 minute delay. After that though the rights were exclusive to Pay TV. The thing that frustrates me the most is between the late 90's and the early 2000's rugby was close to becoming the number 2 code in the country. The Wallabies brand was strong and we just held a hugely successful world cup which gave the ARU about a $50m in the bank. And then they blew it due to bad management and no planning. The first iteration of the NRC ( what was called then the ARC) came too late and only lasted a season, and then there was the consistent losing of the Bledisloe Cup after dominating it for years.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby TheStroBro » Fri, 13 Apr 2018, 15:48

4N wrote:The Shute Shield does nothing to expand the game in Australia. This is an example of a few wealthy clubs from affluent areas (like Sydney Uni who don't even run a juniors section iirc) further enriching themselves. As far as expansion in Tier 1 countries goes, the growth of rugby in northern France is a much better example.

It seems that's an inaccurate statement overall. The Shute Shield isn't meant to grow Rugby in Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane, or Melbourne. It's meant for Sydney. Looks like it's coming back with higher participation rates in Sydney at the Senior Level.

Youth participation in Australia used to be tied to schools, time to get back to it.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby sk 88 » Fri, 13 Apr 2018, 18:05

4N wrote:The Shute Shield does nothing to expand the game in Australia. This is an example of a few wealthy clubs from affluent areas (like Sydney Uni who don't even run a juniors section iirc) further enriching themselves. As far as expansion in Tier 1 countries goes, the growth of rugby in northern France is a much better example.



You don't say! I wonder why a University rugby club doesn't run any youth teams :?: :?: :?:

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby sk 88 » Fri, 13 Apr 2018, 18:25

Sydney is 5m people, its bigger than Wales and practically a country in its own right in many respects.

The Shute Shield is great, sure it could be improved but its showing its potential in these last couple of years and that should be supported and built on, not shit on and torn down because it doesn't fit people's preferred model. This idea that people want globe trotting comps is beyond me. I love watching the local games where the passions run high. I'd much rather UK TV broadcast the Shute Shield or the URBA club comps than the Waratahs v the Jaguars.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby 4N » Fri, 13 Apr 2018, 19:26

sk 88 wrote:
4N wrote:The Shute Shield does nothing to expand the game in Australia. This is an example of a few wealthy clubs from affluent areas (like Sydney Uni who don't even run a juniors section iirc) further enriching themselves. As far as expansion in Tier 1 countries goes, the growth of rugby in northern France is a much better example.



You don't say! I wonder why a University rugby club doesn't run any youth teams :?: :?: :?:


Then they can fuck off out of elite men's rugby and give their place to a club not among eastern Sydney and some of the most expensive real estate in the world. So it's not a 5m fan base, not even close. Most Pacific Islanders live in the western suburbs which are dominated by NRL. Shute Shield is probably the least interesting rugby comp in the world to me. Same toffs as 75 years ago. It's why Australian rugby is dying out. Elitist Sydney clubs killed off the old ARC. :thumbdown:

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby sk 88 » Fri, 13 Apr 2018, 20:32

4N wrote:
sk 88 wrote:
4N wrote:The Shute Shield does nothing to expand the game in Australia. This is an example of a few wealthy clubs from affluent areas (like Sydney Uni who don't even run a juniors section iirc) further enriching themselves. As far as expansion in Tier 1 countries goes, the growth of rugby in northern France is a much better example.



You don't say! I wonder why a University rugby club doesn't run any youth teams :?: :?: :?:


Then they can fuck off out of elite men's rugby and give their place to a club not among eastern Sydney and some of the most expensive real estate in the world. So it's not a 5m fan base, not even close. Most Pacific Islanders live in the western suburbs which are dominated by NRL. Shute Shield is probably the least interesting rugby comp in the world to me. Same toffs as 75 years ago. It's why Australian rugby is dying out. Elitist Sydney clubs killed off the old ARC. :thumbdown:


So a team should leave Men's rugby because they are a university and therefore obviously don't run a youth team???

Sorry pal that's rot. Room in the game for all sorts and a men's only uni team is one type.

Shute Shield's not perfect, more teams in the West (and south) would be great, the attitude towards others over the years has been poor. But don't be bolshy, success is success and a 20k crowd is great in anyone's money.

Ironically the team that won the second tier of Sydney's club comp play opposite the Sydney Uni ground (from what I can tell on Wikipedia and google maps in any case!)

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Working Class Rugger » Sat, 14 Apr 2018, 00:38

thatrugbyguy wrote:Sydney club rugby is booming now for the first time in decades which is good, but there are still issues west of Concord. The game gets little attention in the West and North Western suburbs and that needs to be fixed. Our other issue is we suffer mostly from having the most competitive football market in the world, we're the only country in the world with 4 football codes and we only have a population of 20 million, so there's a real fight for fans. Super Rugby seems to have run its course, so I'm hoping this new IPRC takes off next year and proves sustainable enough for the other 4 Aussie Super Rugby teams to jump ship. Our biggest problem is lack of free to air coverage of the Super Rugby games, this has hurt the game immensely.


Define booming? They've had good turnouts for finals and have seen growth in sponsorship in terms of the broadcast but many of the issues that existed 5 years ago still exist today. As you suggest the West of the City is still a big issue. One they seem remiss to actually address. Penrith are apparently under pressure to perform under the threat of being cut completely mid season.

If they want to be taken seriously there are a few benchmarks they need to sort out imo. One is club building. The tribalism angle is a strength but it's also one of their biggest weaknesses. It means they aren't really working hard enough to grow their overall bases. Each club should either be looking to developing at least 12 village clubs complete with junior and senior set ups under their banner as a means of developing their participation and supporter base. But most don't think beyond the after game beers.

As a part of that each club should be looking to draw 5k a game minimum. If they really want to be a viable alternative to the NRC then they need bums in seats in order to provide more incentives for players. And potentially more viewing options. Another game on TV and streams for the others. I'm a big NRC fan but if they clubs can put forth a strong alternative I'd accept that. In fact, I think all the club competitions should get together and develop a unified business plan to achieve similar results nationwide.

I quite like the Australian Club Championship format. And this would make that far more inclusive and interesting.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Working Class Rugger » Sat, 14 Apr 2018, 00:43

sk 88 wrote:
4N wrote:
sk 88 wrote:
4N wrote:The Shute Shield does nothing to expand the game in Australia. This is an example of a few wealthy clubs from affluent areas (like Sydney Uni who don't even run a juniors section iirc) further enriching themselves. As far as expansion in Tier 1 countries goes, the growth of rugby in northern France is a much better example.



You don't say! I wonder why a University rugby club doesn't run any youth teams :?: :?: :?:


Then they can fuck off out of elite men's rugby and give their place to a club not among eastern Sydney and some of the most expensive real estate in the world. So it's not a 5m fan base, not even close. Most Pacific Islanders live in the western suburbs which are dominated by NRL. Shute Shield is probably the least interesting rugby comp in the world to me. Same toffs as 75 years ago. It's why Australian rugby is dying out. Elitist Sydney clubs killed off the old ARC. :thumbdown:


So a team should leave Men's rugby because they are a university and therefore obviously don't run a youth team???

Sorry pal that's rot. Room in the game for all sorts and a men's only uni team is one type.

Shute Shield's not perfect, more teams in the West (and south) would be great, the attitude towards others over the years has been poor. But don't be bolshy, success is success and a 20k crowd is great in anyone's money.

Ironically the team that won the second tier of Sydney's club comp play opposite the Sydney Uni ground (from what I can tell on Wikipedia and google maps in any case!)


No club directly run youth teams. They have 'feeder' clubs. The biggest issue many have is that Uni has been one of the most stable clubs of late and have used that to extensively poach from others. They could develop a junior base but only have loose assoc. with two clubs. But again. All the clubs should be looking to do much better on that front.

In regards to the West and South of the City. I tend to think Southern Districts should be looking to link up with the Illawarra Districts to their direct south (35 mins down the road). In regards to the West. At 1sts level I honestly think the clubs in the region would be better off running a merged team under the banner of Western Districts.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby victorsra » Sat, 14 Apr 2018, 02:17

Trying to highlight some major issues in each T1:

- New Zealand - Auckland's decline and lack of interest of the Super City's public;

- Australia - everything;

- South Africa - players' exodus,their future inside Super Rugby and politics;

- Argentina - domestic professionalism (Jaguares and the path to the Jaguares);

- France - North (apart from Paris) not represented in professional rugby - and of course the FFR-LNR relations;

- England - poor situation of the RFU Championship and the absence of some of the major cities to professional rugby (Birmingham and Liverpool don't have professional rugby and the national team never plays in those cities or in Manchester);

- Scotland - a third team might be needed (maybe in the north, the next frontier) and Edinburgh still needs to improve a lot in attendances;

- Wales - Professional Regions never fully connected to the public (maybe the exception is the Scarlets): the Dragons are a mess, Ospreys and Blues are much behind soccer in public interest.... while tradicional club rugby complains about its own situation;

- Ireland - few problems IMO! Maybe Ulster is a major issue...

- Italy - well, there is a whole thread about them!
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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Osmanperalta » Sat, 14 Apr 2018, 04:07

the problem in auckland is that the blues has having terribles seasons for several years and it is difficult to maintain the interest when a team is doing so badly (in fact right now they are losing against the sunwolves) when the blues do it right, the fans will come back in fact they have pretty decent attendance in some important matches.
France aside from the problems FFR-LNR does it well vannes is a great success in the pro d2 and rouen can get promoted this season and is a team from a relatively big city in the north.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby ihateblazers » Sat, 14 Apr 2018, 04:28

Osmanperalta wrote:the problem in auckland is that the blues has having terribles seasons for several years and it is difficult to maintain the interest when a team is doing so badly (in fact right now they are losing against the sunwolves) when the blues do it right, the fans will come back in fact they have pretty decent attendance in some important matches.
France aside from the problems FFR-LNR does it well vannes is a great success in the pro d2 and rouen can get promoted this season and is a team from a relatively big city in the north.



I think that New Zealand doesn't really get the fan experience part right either. They are catering to Kiwis who like the outdoors and are rugby purists I suppose but if they created more a buzz for match day perhaps they could boost their crowds in Auckland and Wellington for the casual fans.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby thatrugbyguy » Sat, 14 Apr 2018, 06:05

Working Class Rugger wrote:Define booming? They've had good turnouts for finals and have seen growth in sponsorship in terms of the broadcast but many of the issues that existed 5 years ago still exist today. As you suggest the West of the City is still a big issue. One they seem remiss to actually address. Penrith are apparently under pressure to perform under the threat of being cut completely mid season.

If they want to be taken seriously there are a few benchmarks they need to sort out imo. One is club building. The tribalism angle is a strength but it's also one of their biggest weaknesses. It means they aren't really working hard enough to grow their overall bases. Each club should either be looking to developing at least 12 village clubs complete with junior and senior set ups under their banner as a means of developing their participation and supporter base. But most don't think beyond the after game beers.

As a part of that each club should be looking to draw 5k a game minimum. If they really want to be a viable alternative to the NRC then they need bums in seats in order to provide more incentives for players. And potentially more viewing options. Another game on TV and streams for the others. I'm a big NRC fan but if they clubs can put forth a strong alternative I'd accept that. In fact, I think all the club competitions should get together and develop a unified business plan to achieve similar results nationwide.

I quite like the Australian Club Championship format. And this would make that far more inclusive and interesting.


Relative to where things were 5 years ago the competition is in better shape. But as you said Penrith is basically being left in the dust. I understand it's Panthers and rugby league territory but the western suburbs get sweet f-all resources for rugby. Between Parramatta and Penrith there's a gold mine of support to be tapped into but there's never been the interest in developing that area because it's so League dominated. The issue IMO is there's not enough premier clubs in the West and North Western suburbs in the Shute Shield. Over half the population of the city lives west of Strathfield and there are only 2 clubs representing the whole region. They need another 2 or 3 clubs in Blacktown, Hills District and Greater Western Sydney IMO.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby ihateblazers » Sat, 14 Apr 2018, 08:02

victorsra wrote:
- Wales - Professional Regions never fully connected to the public (maybe the exception is the Scarlets): the Dragons are a mess, Ospreys and Blues are much behind soccer in public interest.... while tradicional club rugby complains about its own situation;



People always say that the issue is the regions aren't real regions etc... I believe the main issue is that there are not enougb fans especially young ones in Wales for the clubs/regions. The crowds at the regions are either the same or better (and have been since the inception of the regions) than in the club era and the majority of club fans have moved on to support the regions. But there has been no growth and young people in Wales are interested in the national team, football and whatever else, but not club/regional rugby. There's plenty of reasons why; lack of marketing, the negativity surround the pro 14, modern culture, economic issues. Most of the traditional rugby countries have aging fan demographics, England and France can get away with due to sheer size and wealth, Ireland has managed to find a niche etc. But I don't believe that the pro 14 will ever catch on Wales on mass. Only a British and Irish/Anglo Welsh league could do it but the Irish hate the thought of that.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby iul » Sat, 14 Apr 2018, 08:25

The Welsh have an Anglo-Welsh cup and they don't get better crowds.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Thomas » Sat, 14 Apr 2018, 08:33

There used to be several Professional teams in the NorthWest, there is always an issue due the tribalism of the Rugby Codes since Rugby League is well entrenched there and Union has always struggled. Sale is just outside of Manchester but they should be more international matches up there. Last time England played up there was against Argentina many years ago if memory serves me right. I think it was at Old Trafford there could have been a more recent match but cannot remember,

With WASPS moving to Coventry would be interested to see how the Midlands are affected in the future particularly Birmingham.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby ihateblazers » Sat, 14 Apr 2018, 08:52

iul wrote:The Welsh have an Anglo-Welsh cup and they don't get better crowds.


C'mon now that's a development competition. It's like rating Georgia's crowds on the Tbilisi Cup.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby sk 88 » Sat, 14 Apr 2018, 09:57

Osmanperalta wrote:the problem in auckland is that the blues has having terribles seasons for several years and it is difficult to maintain the interest when a team is doing so badly (in fact right now they are losing against the sunwolves) when the blues do it right, the fans will come back in fact they have pretty decent attendance in some important matches.
France aside from the problems FFR-LNR does it well vannes is a great success in the pro d2 and rouen can get promoted this season and is a team from a relatively big city in the north.



I was wondering if Auckland's solution would be to have a second team in the city. Auckland's massive and cities that size easily support more than 1 side in a sport. Having a second Auckland franchise might get the juices flowing a bit more and some competition for the casual fan might sharpen their marketing. NZ definitely got the players for another top side.

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