Tier 2 & 3 Rugby Forum

Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Thu, 13 Feb 2020, 15:00

I don't think midweek fixtures are a good idea. If a team plays on a Wednesday they won't be available to play the weekend before or after. Also supporters like to go and watch their team at the weekend.
Having said that the English Championship could try playing some midweek matches and having them televised to get a bit more exposure.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby ihateblazers » Thu, 13 Feb 2020, 15:03

iul wrote:
ihateblazers wrote:I'd say reduce the amount of matches for club and country by 20%. So club plays 18 domestic (+2/3 knockout) + 4 europe (+ 3 knockout) and internationals 9. Regional tournaments with 5 games + 4 inter-regional games played over a 5 week block with 1 week in-between for travel/rest. A 39/40 week calendar with no clashes and a guaranteed 3 month off season.

Why is there a need for no club/international clashes though? The clubs are happy to play durig tests and they don't affect the test crowds anyway because they usually sell out. So why force the clubs to have fewer games? Makes no sense to me.


International player release is proving to be a global issue and so they wouldn't be pressured by clubs if there weren't fixtures clashes.

It would also allow the club game to be played continuously if the internationals were moved to after the club season. The club crowds may not be affected by the internationals but it would be interesting to see if there is a dip in TV viewership.

I think it was Bruce Craig the owner of Bath who said that the current situation lowers the value of club rugby.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby victorsra » Thu, 13 Feb 2020, 15:18

ihateblazers wrote:
iul wrote:
ihateblazers wrote:I'd say reduce the amount of matches for club and country by 20%. So club plays 18 domestic (+2/3 knockout) + 4 europe (+ 3 knockout) and internationals 9. Regional tournaments with 5 games + 4 inter-regional games played over a 5 week block with 1 week in-between for travel/rest. A 39/40 week calendar with no clashes and a guaranteed 3 month off season.

Why is there a need for no club/international clashes though? The clubs are happy to play durig tests and they don't affect the test crowds anyway because they usually sell out. So why force the clubs to have fewer games? Makes no sense to me.


International player release is proving to be a global issue and so they wouldn't be pressured by clubs if there weren't fixtures clashes.

It would also allow the club game to be played continuously if the internationals were moved to after the club season. The club crowds may not be affected by the internationals but it would be interesting to see if there is a dip in TV viewership.

I think it was Bruce Craig the owner of Bath who said that the current situation lowers the value of club rugby.

Yes, because the competition is not anymore fair.

A random exemple: if in the Top 14 Agen and Brive are playing against relegation and Agen plays Toulouse during the Six Nations and Brive plays Toulouse outside de international window, what does it mean? That the schedule benefited Brive.

Meanwhile, in another random hypothetical exemple, Racing and Pau are fighting each other for a playoffs spot and while Racing lost 6 players to the 6N, Pau lost 1. If they play each other during the 6N, Pau is benefited.

The clash is bad for clubs (making leagues unfair and devalued) and for national teams (suffering from clubs pressure for players).

I don't think midweek fixtures are a good idea. If a team plays on a Wednesday they won't be available to play the weekend before or after. Also supporters like to go and watch their team at the weekend.


NZ's Mitre10 Cup had midweek matches, with the clubs that played on Wednesday playing again only on Sunday. To protect player welfare you don't need clubs to stop playing. You need players to rest. Which is different. If a player plays both Wednesday and Sunday or Tuesday and Saturday, he should rest in the following week. Or put a maximum number of minutes played to be able to be on the lineup. Like, a player can be in the lineup only if he played up to XX minutes in the past YY days.

In a whole month, you could cap a player for a maximum of 3 matches in 4 weeks or 4 matches in 5 weeks months, for exemple. Also, the league could schedule for midweeks only half a round (or less), like splitting a round in 2 or 3 midweeks.

This is doable and means larger squads, as I said. In the end, the club with better squads would win. And that woudn't be unfair, because everybody would be under the same rule and with the same questions to manage a squad.

For exemple, using my random exemple, it would be up to Toulouse to choose which players would face Agen or Brive, not up to the schedule to decide.
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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby sk 88 » Thu, 13 Feb 2020, 15:44

ihateblazers wrote:I'd say reduce the amount of matches for club and country by 20%. So club plays 18 domestic (+2/3 knockout) + 4 europe (+ 3 knockout) and internationals 9. Regional tournaments with 5 games + 4 inter-regional games played over a 5 week block with 1 week in-between for travel/rest. A 39/40 week calendar with no clashes and a guaranteed 3 month off season.



I'd been thinking this would be the only tenable long term solution. Everyone accepts a 30% haircut to get a sensible season structure we can then build from. 32 games is a lot at the moment but we can try tweaking laws to make the game faster and freer flowing (so players have less bulk and can play the extra 2 games).

My maths was reduce home games in both by 30% so go from 16 to 11 for clubs and from 6 to 4 for internationals. 7 club knock out games goes down to 3. Max of 33 games if you play in absolutely everything is at least vaguely possible for most players.

With CVC potentially aligning TV deals there may be a chance of enough uplift there to actually make this a reality. I mean its not going to happen but for this forum its a positively realistic idea! :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby RugbyLiebe » Thu, 13 Feb 2020, 16:37

ihateblazers wrote:
iul wrote:
ihateblazers wrote:I'd say reduce the amount of matches for club and country by 20%. So club plays 18 domestic (+2/3 knockout) + 4 europe (+ 3 knockout) and internationals 9. Regional tournaments with 5 games + 4 inter-regional games played over a 5 week block with 1 week in-between for travel/rest. A 39/40 week calendar with no clashes and a guaranteed 3 month off season.

Why is there a need for no club/international clashes though? The clubs are happy to play durig tests and they don't affect the test crowds anyway because they usually sell out. So why force the clubs to have fewer games? Makes no sense to me.


International player release is proving to be a global issue and so they wouldn't be pressured by clubs if there weren't fixtures clashes.

It would also allow the club game to be played continuously if the internationals were moved to after the club season. The club crowds may not be affected by the internationals but it would be interesting to see if there is a dip in TV viewership.

I think it was Bruce Craig the owner of Bath who said that the current situation lowers the value of club rugby.


A huge step forward would be to create at least this kind of real international window for the REC i.e. We all know the problems of getting the best team possible. Most teams in the REC get their best squad only for a couple of matches.
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Look at the world ranking in July. Teams ranked 1-10 have to play one team from 11-20 (they don't play in a regular competition) away the next year. 11-20 play 21-30 away and so on. Yes, it really is that simple.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby thatrugbyguy » Fri, 14 Feb 2020, 14:02

Statement from Coventry and Cornish Pirates regarding the RFU budget cut:

https://cornish-pirates.com/general-new ... try-rugby/

Proposed plans:

https://cornish-pirates.com/wp-content/ ... -02-20.pdf

Their plan include possibly developing an alternate European League with D2 clubs and T2/3 clubs.

Talk of breakaway league:

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/ ... way-league

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Sat, 15 Feb 2020, 12:48

Munster 68 - Southern Kings 3
Maybe next season South Africa should enter a different team into the Pro 14. Pumas or Griquas would probably do better.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby NaBUru38 » Sat, 15 Feb 2020, 17:35

If South Africa splits from ANZ (or viceversa), Argentina will get screwed.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Working Class Rugger » Sun, 16 Feb 2020, 02:33

NaBUru38 wrote:If South Africa splits from ANZ (or viceversa), Argentina will get screwed.


Not necessarily. It depends on how things work out. With direct flights from Auckland if SR goes to 10 they could very simply be included.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby TheStroBro » Sun, 16 Feb 2020, 05:45

thatrugbyguy wrote:Statement from Coventry and Cornish Pirates regarding the RFU budget cut:

https://cornish-pirates.com/general-new ... try-rugby/

Proposed plans:

https://cornish-pirates.com/wp-content/ ... -02-20.pdf

Their plan include possibly developing an alternate European League with D2 clubs and T2/3 clubs.

Talk of breakaway league:

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/ ... way-league


The subsidization of Professional Rugby in the Home Nations is a significant problem. It has pushed growth that likely didn't exist.

And funding the Championship? Pretty worthless when it comes to where that money goes, crazy amount of non-English pros. Look at Jersey, 2/3s of their roster isn't English and I'm pretty sure 50% don't have a UK passport. The Championship isn't even close to Pro D2 when it comes to stability and ability for every club to compete in facilities that are equal to the top comp. Heck...most Federale 1 clubs have larger player budgets than the Championship.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Sun, 16 Feb 2020, 07:51

TheStroBro wrote:
thatrugbyguy wrote:Statement from Coventry and Cornish Pirates regarding the RFU budget cut:

https://cornish-pirates.com/general-new ... try-rugby/

Proposed plans:

https://cornish-pirates.com/wp-content/ ... -02-20.pdf

Their plan include possibly developing an alternate European League with D2 clubs and T2/3 clubs.

Talk of breakaway league:

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/ ... way-league


The subsidization of Professional Rugby in the Home Nations is a significant problem. It has pushed growth that likely didn't exist.

And funding the Championship? Pretty worthless when it comes to where that money goes, crazy amount of non-English pros. Look at Jersey, 2/3s of their roster isn't English and I'm pretty sure 50% don't have a UK passport. The Championship isn't even close to Pro D2 when it comes to stability and ability for every club to compete in facilities that are equal to the top comp. Heck...most Federale 1 clubs have larger player budgets than the Championship.


You pick Jersey as your example but Jersey is the exception. Jersey has a lot more foreign players than the other RFU Championship clubs and Jersey is not in England. Also those players add to the quality of the competition. Some are ex-stars of the Premiership so they are also potential crowd pullers, and has experience to pass on to the younger players.
Rugby is really popular in England. It is the second most popular winter sport. The RFU Championship has not been marketed well. There certainly is the potential for growth there. It just hasn't been successfully realised. Maybe a breakaway league is what's needed. With the right leadership it could be a sustainable league.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Edgar » Sun, 16 Feb 2020, 09:45

I grew up in Wellington many eons ago and soccer was already much bigger than rugby at schools and age-grade levels way back then. Rugby was the sport of farmers, once the backbone of NZ society, but farmers are a dying breed - and have been for a long time. Fortunately this has been offset to a degree by an influx of rugby-loving Pacific Islanders since immigration laws were relaxed several decades ago. Now schools rugby in the cities is increasingly dominated by the Polynesian community.

With a roll of about 1700 students Hutt Valley High School is one of the largest secondary schools in the Wellington region, yet last year the school could barely muster enough players for three rugby teams.
Figures from New Zealand Rugby show a decline of 1940 registered teen players nationally between 2009 and 2019 from 37,372 to 35,432. The relatively modest decline has translated to a difficult reality for some schools.
Hutt High deputy principal and rugby convener Tim Fox said the future looked tough for rugby. When he arrived at the school nine years ago there were five teams.


https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/119 ... SiVsw3lxTY

Meanwhile:

Pacific Rugby Players chairman Hale T-Pole has a blunt message to New Zealand rugby bosses who blame the northern hemisphere for the struggles of island rugby: take a hard look in the mirror first.

T-Pole and others have watched on as NZ Rugby chairman Brent Impey and former CEO Steve Tew have tried to lay the blame for the plight of PI rugby at the door of the Home Nations; first, over the failed 'World League' project; and second, the stalled push to allow PI players to become eligible for their nations after representing test sides such as the All Blacks.

That narrative misrepresents what PI players really want: to play their club rugby in southern hemisphere competitions so they don't have to go overseas, where they are often exploited and then placed under huge pressure not to represent the Pacific Islands in test rugby.

"It's something that New Zealand Rugby has to look at to help us, because I caught up with Brent Impey and we always hear New Zealand Rugby say, 'We've got to make changes for the Pacific Islands,' but I haven't seen any changes," T-Pole told Stuff.

Story continues here: https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/all ... land-rugby

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby ihateblazers » Sun, 16 Feb 2020, 10:52

Chester-Donnelly wrote:
TheStroBro wrote:
thatrugbyguy wrote:Statement from Coventry and Cornish Pirates regarding the RFU budget cut:

https://cornish-pirates.com/general-new ... try-rugby/

Proposed plans:

https://cornish-pirates.com/wp-content/ ... -02-20.pdf

Their plan include possibly developing an alternate European League with D2 clubs and T2/3 clubs.

Talk of breakaway league:

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/ ... way-league


The subsidization of Professional Rugby in the Home Nations is a significant problem. It has pushed growth that likely didn't exist.

And funding the Championship? Pretty worthless when it comes to where that money goes, crazy amount of non-English pros. Look at Jersey, 2/3s of their roster isn't English and I'm pretty sure 50% don't have a UK passport. The Championship isn't even close to Pro D2 when it comes to stability and ability for every club to compete in facilities that are equal to the top comp. Heck...most Federale 1 clubs have larger player budgets than the Championship.


You pick Jersey as your example but Jersey is the exception. Jersey has a lot more foreign players than the other RFU Championship clubs and Jersey is not in England. Also those players add to the quality of the competition. Some are ex-stars of the Premiership so they are also potential crowd pullers, and has experience to pass on to the younger players.
Rugby is really popular in England. It is the second most popular winter sport. The RFU Championship has not been marketed well. There certainly is the potential for growth there. It just hasn't been successfully realised. Maybe a breakaway league is what's needed. With the right leadership it could be a sustainable league.


RFU funding should not be going towards player wages, especially foreign players in a second division league which lacks appeal. It should be earmarked for investment in infrastructure and the community aspects of the club's just as other grassroots clubs do. If the championship clubs aspire to be professional and chase the dream they should find the funding and be self sustainable commercial product.

The championship clubs should buy out the championship. The RFU has failed (or purposely) to promote it and now does not see the competition as the best investment for a high performance pathway and should treat them as they do any other grassroots club. I think the RFU has made the right move for their interests with all things considered. If the RFU refuses to allow this then that would prove their insidious intentions.

The championship clubs want to chase promotion and avoid relegation, the aim should be to become a self sustaining league and try to achieve it by themselves since the Premiership does not wish to assist. The MLR would kill for 500k gbp per year. But unlike the championship clubs, that sort of investment would go towards improving media capabilities and other off field improvement to improve the product.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Sun, 16 Feb 2020, 11:22

ihateblazers I pretty much agree with you. Most Championship clubs do not aspire to be Premiership clubs. They want to be sustainable and continue to exist at the level they are at now. With bigger attendances and better TV deals I think that is certainly achievable. There might also be Welsh rugby clubs that are not happy with the semi-pro role they have been given by the WRU. The Championship should look to be a separate entity, and they need to set and enforce standards that enables the league to be sustainable, including a salary cap. Now, there might be clubs in the Championship now that don't meet those standards, so they must be excluded until they do.

The way I see it, in football there is the Premier League which is high profile. Then there is the football league below that which is still professional but on much smaller budgets than the Premier League. And it includes Welsh clubs that have a bit more ambition than to play in the Welsh Premier League. Newport County is never going to be in the Premier League, but they're too big to play in the Welsh Premier League, so the English football league is the right level for them. The same could be true for Pontypridd. A new English (and Welsh) Championship could be the right level for them. For clubs like London Welsh too, an English and Welsh Championship might have been better than chasing an impossible dream.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby sk 88 » Sun, 16 Feb 2020, 11:42

TheStroBro wrote:
The subsidization of Professional Rugby in the Home Nations is a significant problem. It has pushed growth that likely didn't exist.

And funding the Championship? Pretty worthless when it comes to where that money goes, crazy amount of non-English pros. Look at Jersey, 2/3s of their roster isn't English and I'm pretty sure 50% don't have a UK passport. The Championship isn't even close to Pro D2 when it comes to stability and ability for every club to compete in facilities that are equal to the top comp. Heck...most Federale 1 clubs have larger player budgets than the Championship.


It's even worse in the US. I looked up Toronto Arrow and they didn't have a SINGLE US player. Shocking foreigners taking US jobs like that.

Jersey of course is not in England, so I don't understand why they would be expected to play any English players at all.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby sk 88 » Sun, 16 Feb 2020, 11:50

ihateblazers wrote:RFU funding should not be going towards player wages, especially foreign players in a second division league which lacks appeal. It should be earmarked for investment in infrastructure and the community aspects of the club's just as other grassroots clubs do. If the championship clubs aspire to be professional and chase the dream they should find the funding and be self sustainable commercial product.


Given the total budgets in the join presentation was £1.5m, and wages made up £800k of that, and 75% of championship players are EQP, to claim the money is "going towards player wages, especially foreign players" is rather a large stretch of the use of the £500k. I don't understand why people hate on foreigners so much. They are rugby players and people too. The club are not there to act as feeder teams to England.

ihateblazers wrote:The championship clubs should buy out the championship. The RFU has failed (or purposely) to promote it and now does not see the competition as the best investment for a high performance pathway and should treat them as they do any other grassroots club. I think the RFU has made the right move for their interests with all things considered. If the RFU refuses to allow this then that would prove their insidious intentions.

The championship clubs want to chase promotion and avoid relegation, the aim should be to become a self sustaining league and try to achieve it by themselves since the Premiership does not wish to assist. The MLR would kill for 500k gbp per year. But unlike the championship clubs, that sort of investment would go towards improving media capabilities and other off field improvement to improve the product.


Agree that if the RFU have any sense of decency and fair play they should give the Championship all their rights and let them try their own hand.

The claim the Championship clubs don't try and improve off the field though is totally incorrect. The Coventry document lists all the ways they are trying at the moment. They are being locked under the stairs and starved, then accused of not being strong enough and not trying hard enough.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Sun, 16 Feb 2020, 14:21

Live rugby showing on YouTube right now. Scottish Super Six. Southern Knights vs Stirling County. Good standard of rugby. Amazing to think these teams will probably be stronger than English Championship teams by next year.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby ihateblazers » Sun, 16 Feb 2020, 14:28

sk 88 wrote:
ihateblazers wrote:RFU funding should not be going towards player wages, especially foreign players in a second division league which lacks appeal. It should be earmarked for investment in infrastructure and the community aspects of the club's just as other grassroots clubs do. If the championship clubs aspire to be professional and chase the dream they should find the funding and be self sustainable commercial product.


Given the total budgets in the join presentation was £1.5m, and wages made up £800k of that, and 75% of championship players are EQP, to claim the money is "going towards player wages, especially foreign players" is rather a large stretch of the use of the £500k. I don't understand why people hate on foreigners so much. They are rugby players and people too. The club are not there to act as feeder teams to England.

ihateblazers wrote:The championship clubs should buy out the championship. The RFU has failed (or purposely) to promote it and now does not see the competition as the best investment for a high performance pathway and should treat them as they do any other grassroots club. I think the RFU has made the right move for their interests with all things considered. If the RFU refuses to allow this then that would prove their insidious intentions.

The championship clubs want to chase promotion and avoid relegation, the aim should be to become a self sustaining league and try to achieve it by themselves since the Premiership does not wish to assist. The MLR would kill for 500k gbp per year. But unlike the championship clubs, that sort of investment would go towards improving media capabilities and other off field improvement to improve the product.


Agree that if the RFU have any sense of decency and fair play they should give the Championship all their rights and let them try their own hand.

The claim the Championship clubs don't try and improve off the field though is totally incorrect. The Coventry document lists all the ways they are trying at the moment. They are being locked under the stairs and starved, then accused of not being strong enough and not trying hard enough.


I don't actually have anything against foreign players. In fact I would actually like to see a free market where unions are completely removed from professionalism in T1 nations.Fair point about the budgets of the clubs but I don't believe that unions should be subsidising level 2 semi/professional rugby if there are any foreign players involved. Why the RFU decided to fund the Championship in any capacity and not try to grow it in order to relieve that funding headache is perplexing and may point to either a lack of a market for level 2 rugby in England or the RFU purposely stifling the club game to avoid future conflict with clubs. 6 Million GBP per year is nothing but a loss leader if they are not generating much from commercial deals. Step back and let the market decide, don't invest anything but also don't step in their way.

I have come round to the thinking that the RFU needs to stop the EQP player incentives and the Premiership should remove the salary cap credits for English international players. All it's achieved is the inflation of English player salaries. IMHO the RFU should take a different approach and divert the funding from EQP payments to developing more academies and centres of excellence around the country, engaging heavily with grassroots clubs. Aim to grow the club game so the elite player base moves beyond the private schools by adding further opportunities and competition for young players. Use clubs to grow the game around the country.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Sun, 16 Feb 2020, 14:46

ihateblazers, there are already limited opportunities for rugby players. There are 2 professional leagues in England, so 24 clubs including Jersey. What is the point of creating more academies but halving the number of professional teams? Where are these players going to play? 24 professional rugby teams in a country as populous and prosperous as England, where rugby is a massive sport is not too many.
The Championship has just been poorly marketed, i.e. not marketed at all. The clubs are professional but the league itself needs to be more commercial.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby ihateblazers » Sun, 16 Feb 2020, 14:50

Chester-Donnelly wrote:ihateblazers, there are already limited opportunities for rugby players. There are 2 professional leagues in England, so 24 clubs including Jersey. What is the point of creating more academies but halving the number of professional teams? Where are these players going to play? 24 professional rugby teams in a country as populous and prosperous as England, where rugby is a massive sport is not too many.
The Championship has just been poorly marketed, i.e. not marketed at all. The clubs are professional but the league itself needs to be more commercial.


I meant in the scenario where the Championship becomes a private entity or the RFU decides to buck up and promote the competition so that isn't a loss leader anymore. Use the funding that would otherwise go to directly funding the Championship to academies/centres of excellence. Don't directly fund the competition unless it generates commercial deals on it's own terms.

Edit:
By removing EQP player incentives it would probably mean that Premiership clubs would sign less journeyman English players or at least offer them lower salaries so the Championship clubs could then sign these players. If it becomes more commercially viable.
Last edited by ihateblazers on Sun, 16 Feb 2020, 14:59, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby ihateblazers » Sun, 16 Feb 2020, 14:52

Edgar wrote:
Pacific Rugby Players chairman Hale T-Pole has a blunt message to New Zealand rugby bosses who blame the northern hemisphere for the struggles of island rugby: take a hard look in the mirror first.

T-Pole and others have watched on as NZ Rugby chairman Brent Impey and former CEO Steve Tew have tried to lay the blame for the plight of PI rugby at the door of the Home Nations; first, over the failed 'World League' project; and second, the stalled push to allow PI players to become eligible for their nations after representing test sides such as the All Blacks.

That narrative misrepresents what PI players really want: to play their club rugby in southern hemisphere competitions so they don't have to go overseas, where they are often exploited and then placed under huge pressure not to represent the Pacific Islands in test rugby.

"It's something that New Zealand Rugby has to look at to help us, because I caught up with Brent Impey and we always hear New Zealand Rugby say, 'We've got to make changes for the Pacific Islands,' but I haven't seen any changes," T-Pole told Stuff.

Story continues here: https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/all ... land-rugby


I've thought the same ever since Super Rugby came into existence. First i've seen someone come out and say it in the media. The Pacific Island boys would like to play professionally closer to home in nations which understand their culture. In Australia's case it would add significant competition for the players and force them to raise standards and in New Zealand it would just add further competition which can't be a bad thing.

The top players will still be offered lucrative contracts in Europe but they usually have leverage for international release in any case. This would only add further leverage for the top and the especially for rest of the players, whilst simultaneously deepening the player pool.

Changing the eligibility rules will bring in maybe 1 or 2 players who will only choose to play in the World Cup so it wouldn't make any difference in the grand scheme. Involving Pacific Island nations in annual tournaments with the ongoing issue of player release and lack of leverage in contract negotiations means they still wouldn't be able to compete consistently.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby sk 88 » Sun, 16 Feb 2020, 15:28

ihateblazers wrote:I have come round to the thinking that the RFU needs to stop the EQP player incentives and the Premiership should remove the salary cap credits for English international players. All it's achieved is the inflation of English player salaries. IMHO the RFU should take a different approach and divert the funding from EQP payments to developing more academies and centres of excellence around the country, engaging heavily with grassroots clubs. Aim to grow the club game so the elite player base moves beyond the private schools by adding further opportunities and competition for young players. Use clubs to grow the game around the country.


I agree, when you look at the EQP stats in depth and compate to the previous season you see two things: 1) The same number of non-English born players but a greater number of "EQP" players (eg. Brendon O'Connor and Mike Fitzgerald at Leicester last few seasons), quite why your journeyman squad filler that everyone needs having an English granny rather than an Irish one helps England is beyond me. 2) The amount of minutes English players have played has increased, though this tracks the marked improvement in results at U-20 level more than the EQP quotas introduction.

Looking at the current academies based at the 13 clubs + a generic "Yorkshire" one based in Leeds I would add academy basis in: Birmingham, Sheffield, Liverpool(/somewhere in the NW other than Sale), plus at least two more in London based in south and east London, possibly Essex and Kent.

Despite being in a congested area Bedford/Milton Keynes could probably support one based on population and a strong host club. Similarly Cornish Pirates could probably support one separate from Exeter.

We should be looking for a greater supply of players and more emphasis on moving to find your best place in the men's game. This premium (literally) on where players were at 18 doesn't help a fluid player market where the best rise to the top.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby thatrugbyguy » Mon, 17 Feb 2020, 13:40

Meanwhile, the drama down under never ceases. Rugby Australia’s prime candidate to take over the TV rights doesn’t look to be interested.

https://www.channelnews.com.au/optus-wo ... -insiders/

The game is screwed here.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Edgar » Mon, 17 Feb 2020, 19:43

ihateblazers wrote:
Edgar wrote:
Pacific Rugby Players chairman Hale T-Pole has a blunt message to New Zealand rugby bosses who blame the northern hemisphere for the struggles of island rugby: take a hard look in the mirror first.

T-Pole and others have watched on as NZ Rugby chairman Brent Impey and former CEO Steve Tew have tried to lay the blame for the plight of PI rugby at the door of the Home Nations; first, over the failed 'World League' project; and second, the stalled push to allow PI players to become eligible for their nations after representing test sides such as the All Blacks.

That narrative misrepresents what PI players really want: to play their club rugby in southern hemisphere competitions so they don't have to go overseas, where they are often exploited and then placed under huge pressure not to represent the Pacific Islands in test rugby.

"It's something that New Zealand Rugby has to look at to help us, because I caught up with Brent Impey and we always hear New Zealand Rugby say, 'We've got to make changes for the Pacific Islands,' but I haven't seen any changes," T-Pole told Stuff.

Story continues here: https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/all ... land-rugby


I've thought the same ever since Super Rugby came into existence. First i've seen someone come out and say it in the media. The Pacific Island boys would like to play professionally closer to home in nations which understand their culture. In Australia's case it would add significant competition for the players and force them to raise standards and in New Zealand it would just add further competition which can't be a bad thing.

The top players will still be offered lucrative contracts in Europe but they usually have leverage for international release in any case. This would only add further leverage for the top and the especially for rest of the players, whilst simultaneously deepening the player pool.

Changing the eligibility rules will bring in maybe 1 or 2 players who will only choose to play in the World Cup so it wouldn't make any difference in the grand scheme. Involving Pacific Island nations in annual tournaments with the ongoing issue of player release and lack of leverage in contract negotiations means they still wouldn't be able to compete consistently.


Yes, I'm not a fan of farcical eligibility laws myself. Sure, it was exciting when Manu Samoa stunned Wales at the World Cup in 1991. Everyone loves an upset. But even those with a truncated view of history will be cognizant of the team's New Zealand connections.

If the Pacific Islands want to go back down that road they will simply become the All Blacks 'B' team again, as the same lax rules which allowed them to snap up the cast-offs also resulted in a number of top Island players opting to represent New Zealand. That was the situation in the 90s and the Pacific Islands were much aggrieved, with poaching accusations rife.

Samoa has always blamed its decline since that period on an "unreasonable" tightening of the eligibility rules. But Samoa was only ever great because of the New Zealand connections. Prior to the 90s they had been the poor relations of the Pacific Triangle and were not invited to the inaugural World Cup.

If World Rugby agrees to go back down that road it will lose credibility and become as much of a sham as international rugby league with its "World Cup" of diaspora. Moreover, it is the second tier who will suffer more as top nations skim off the cream, and the poaching accusations will return.

True, the Tongan and Samoan teams still have that close connection with New Zealand and many of their players are either born or raised there. Just so long as they make the decision to play for one nation or the other, and not simply use the homeland as a Plan B to the All Blacks, that is perfectly fine.

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