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A Pro12 Expansion

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby sk 88 » Mon, 27 Mar 2017, 10:45

Figaro wrote:
grande wrote:I recently learned that the precursor to the AW Cup was a knockout competition (similar to the FA Cup)... I think it'd be cool if that came back, but I assume it was cancelled for good reasons.


Presumably because of issues around player welfare in the Pro era. The teams who progressed far in the competition would end up playing far more games over a season than those knocked out early on. Perhaps also it was perceived that teams were deliberately fielding weaker sides / throwing games to be able to rest players later in the season for more important league and European games.



No. It was because of the at the time very live dispute between the RFU & Premiership rugby.

The RFU controlled the cup and its revenues as their competition. The Premiership final was still new and struggling for recognition as THE showpiece of the club season, the club's controlled all the revenue from this. The club's had a decent control of the fixture list so moved the final into the rest weeks of the 6N period, to give breathing space from their own final, and then set about destroying the comp so that the Premiership final would grow in prestige.

People claimed, and sill claim, about player welfare but that was nonsense. It had fewer games than the replacement Anglo-Welsh Cup, 4 versus 5 (now 6). The lower division sides had won games in 2 of the last 3 years of the cup and the number of games decided by 2 scores or less was growing too. So the "amateurs can't be expected to play pros" line never washed as it doesn't when international sides refuse to play T2 nations. Premiership Rugby wanted to build their brand as the top competition and didn't want the clubs to risk exposure by losing to 2nd division sides.

They also wanted to support the Welsh clubs and strengthen them against the WRU and keep strong links with them in case they were needed. Obviously they were needed in the eventual Euro dispute a few years ago but that had been rumbling along since 2007 (or 1997 if you take a really long view). The Welsh sides also have/had good links with the BBC and moving to an Anglo-Welsh format got the competition and domestic rugby back onto the BBC where it hadn't been since 2003 and the Heineken Cup moving to Sky. The original Anglo-Welsh used to get over 1m viewers on BBC, compared to about 150,000 on the various satellite channels we've been on before and since.

So that's the politics, and a little of the greed.

They also didn't like knock out cups more generally as you got no guaranteed home games and so many of the teams got knocked out straight away, especially if the four second tier teams drew each other. The clubs en mass preferred the guarantee of a home game the original AW format gave than the risks of no home games against the possibility of having two (final KO format) or three (format for all but last few years). The semi finals of the original AW were always played as a double header in Cardiff (which was a cracking day out to be fair) which they thought/did generate more revenue than the previous neutral ground semi finals.

The AWC then struggled a bit to generate funds and the clubs wanted to increase the value of the Premiership league games where they got all the money and got better attendances. Once the BBC were not going to renew they switched it to the international periods, current confusing format hidden away on Sky, moved the final away from Twickenham and basically made it a slightly higher profile version of the A League (which they have also shrunk because a block of clubs didn't want to employ enough players to fulfill fixtures).

So, a bit like bombing Dresden, even though overall I thought the clubs were fighting the good fight this incident was very unsavoury and difficult to defend.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby BertSolomon » Mon, 27 Mar 2017, 11:26

sk 88 wrote:even though overall I thought the clubs were fighting the good fight this incident was very unsavoury and difficult to defend.


Fair comment. Unfortunately knock-out cups have declined in prestige in football too. As you note, they do not guarantee home games whereas the league does. And the importance of staying on the premiership gravy train (in both rugby and football) takes priority over the sugar rush of a cup run. Business pragmatism defeats romance.

But it is a shame that this great institution of English club rugby went the way it did. Successful teams in the past include Coventry, Moseley and Bedford - I hope promotion/relegation never disappears so that these these teams can still dream of a return to the top table one day.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby 4N » Mon, 27 Mar 2017, 13:33

4N wrote:What's going on with Zebre - Munster game not shown on TV (spoiler: they got demolished) and apparently FIR president Gavazzi is hinting that he could/should coach them.


I just looked at the Zebre lineup too. Not a lot of Italian academy products (less than half of the XV and the 23 by my count). You have to wonder what the plan for the franchise is at this point. They're supposed to be the side that the FIR has control over, compared to Treviso who are more independent.

Zebre: 15 Dion Berryman, 14 Kayle Van Zyl,13 Tommaso Boni, 12 Tommaso Castello, 11 Lloyd Greeff, 10 Serafin Bordoli, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Derick Minnie, 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Maxime Mbandà, 5 Valerio Bernabò, 4 Gideon Koegelenberg, 3 Bartholomeus Le Roux, 2 Oliviero Fabiani, 1 Bruno Postiglioni
In panchina: 16 Sydney Tobias, 17 Andrea De Marchi, 18 Guillermo Roan, 19 Joshua Furno, 20 Federico Ruzza, 21 Carlo Engelbrecht, 22 Matteo Pratichetti, 23 Guglielmo Palazzani

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby 4N » Tue, 28 Mar 2017, 17:20

According to this: http://www.onrugby.it/2017/03/28/zebre- ... -decisiva/

Zebre's stakeholders are meeting for a fourth time and hope for their president to resign. Seems to be total chaos. The new 'plan' may be for them to stay in Parma two more years then move to Milan.

Remember Italy's involvement all started with a failed Rome proposal (the Praetorians). Aironi based in Viadana then became Zebre in Parma. Do the FIR get a fourth shot?

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby S.bert » Sun, 02 Apr 2017, 08:38

I didn't remember anything about Italy's involvement, when did that take place?

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby vino_93 » Tue, 18 Apr 2017, 17:49

I was thinking about Pro 12 Expansion, and I don't think european nations should use this way. Look at italian example : it's a disaster. Nobody cares about these teams in Italy + national champ is almost dead. So none wants to invest in clubs. People don't follow rugby outside of selection. And even locally, seeing your team thrashed every week end ... that's not good.

So I think European Rugby should create new leagues, new cross border competitions. A western pro league would be good. It may involve Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Netherlands. In both countries, rugby seems to develop. It has a good level. But to progress now, especially for Belgium & Germany, you need pro rugby. Players focussing on fitness and skills, good coachs coming from other countries, maybe some good players to increase interest.
All these countries have championships far from professionalism. Unions must accept that rugby is a minor sport, and need to rely on cross border competition to grow in a first time. As it might happen in ice hockey with Beneliga or Erste Liga. You need to create too a local specific attention. With strong local adhesion, you might try to expand to the rest of the country.

- Germany is the most interesting country, with good rugby level, and federation effort on 7s and XV. There might be a team in Heidelberg, a city with strong rugby culture, and five teams in first division (+ Pforzheim not far). Stadium is small, but enough to start. In other Süd-West area, you might create a team in Frankfurt or in his suburbs (two clubs in first div). It's maybe too close from Heidelberg, but you can create a derby.
Then you could bring two teams from North-East, one in Berlin (two clubs in first div), one in Hannover (three clubs in first div). Except Heidelberg, that's quite big cities, so you might find, with good promotion work, sponsorships & fans.

- Belgium & The Netherlands are more or less facing the same problems : good attendance for national teams, with fans who seems to love the sport - but national competitions who can't grow to professionnalism. Best teams are based in small cities :
* Dendermonde (45K), Waterloo (30K), Soignies (30K), La Hulpe (10K), ...
* Hilversum (80K), Naarden (20K), Castricum (35K), ... only Den Haag has a good club.
So in the Netherlands, it seems the NRCA seems to have good attendance in Amsterdam - you could create something there. And maybe Den Haag could be another place, based on the HRC and the close club of Leyde.
In Belgium, further clubs are closed to Bruxelles (Kituro, Waterloo, La Hulpe, Boitforts, even Ottignies ...) + Le Petit Heysel has good attendance - so a club can be based there too. Then it looks like Wallonia has more rugby culture - so you could try to do something in Liège (one club in div 1 + a few different clubs in the past) or Charleroi (Ottignies & Soignies aren't so far) or Mons (Soignies & Frameries). Or you could choose flanders of course. Dendermonde is not so far from Antwerpen & Gand, but that might be difficult to attract people in a first time.

- Switzerland is more specific, with more clubs in bigger cities (Genève, Lausanne, Zürich). The union can try to convince Servette to come back in that league, instead to grow in France. That would be a big club around Genève, where there is too Genève PLO, CERN, Hermance, Avusy, ... in the area.
Then you might try to do something near to Zürich, in order to have a club in germanic part of the country. That could bring rivalries with other german clubs.


That would do 10 clubs. No need to have this for the first attempt. And maybe two is too hard, and would be too weak, for Netherlands & Switzerland.
Plus of course, if it works, you might expand in these countries - or even in other countries (maybe Sweden, Luxemburg, Austria, ...).
I really think that for these countries, that's the good plan. You need to keep a logical geographic & cultural situation to do the league working (as the former celtic league), and to spread the teams where rugby is now there. You need too to be in big city areas (100K+) to attract sponsorships & fans.

I guess unions might worked on this, as a possible development in the five years coming. Trying to find investors interested, sponsors too. Trying to launch a debate with teams already involved, to see is some are interested to grow, maybe by merger of elite teams.


The same model could apply for central Europe, where moreover major teams seems to be already in big cities. I'm talking about a possible cross border league btw Poland, Czech Rep, Ukraine, Lituania f.e.

You notice I didn't talk about Spain, Romania or Portugal.
For Romania, national championship seems in a good way. Effort needs to be done to growth the league, but that's in good way. No need to join someone, maybe only a moldovan team could try to insert to the league system.

For Spain, please, please, please - don't do italian mistake. Your national championship is starting to grow. There is a beginning of professionalism, with paid players, some good outsiders. Your championship is already of twelve good teams + a popular cup. you have TV rights on Eurosport 2. You have, it seems, some small interest : having 20K people for the cup final is amazing for T2 club rugby. Strong rivalries between clubs. Clubs already in big cities (Valladolid 300K, Alcobendas & Cisneros in Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Santander 180K + Basque country tradition). So, you just need to focus on growing. It seems clubs know what they do.
Of course, full professionalisme might killed some clubs. So maybe, a Liga Iberica might be created as the first club level in Iberian Peninsula. There could be two spots reserved to Portugal. That might help to increase the level. Of course if Portugal agree this. But it seems the most logic way to follow for them. Alone they couldn't bring a national championship alive.


So, here is my dream for rugby, in the next coming decade. Then it would start growing, growing. And maybe in 50 years, some countries might have a so popular rugby that they might leave the cross border competition and run their own league. Or maybe not, and we could just have a two pools group for every cross border competition; with new leagues created in Scandinavia, in the Balkans, and so one ... :)


And unfortunately ... I don't know what to do with Russia & Georgia. Difficult relationship between these two countries might not help to bring a common league. Alone Georgia might be in trouble to put in place a good pro national championship. But they are too far from other countries for a first attempt of pro leagues in new markets. So finally, maybe that's a black sea league, with Romania, Ukraine, Moldova + Kuban Krasnodar, good be an opportunity, breaking the long pause which exists in romania championships - and finally creating something bigger there, instead of waiting for new romanians clubs who might never arrive.
And Russia doesn't seem to see his national championship developping too. Maybe it could happen, I hope funds will be find to do this, as there is already good rugby skills there. Sadly, mostly - only ? - in two clubs.


So, here are my dreams. If only money could be easy to find ... :)

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby dropkick » Tue, 18 Apr 2017, 22:56

Good post there, Vino.


One thing i wouldn't agree on is you saying it was a mistake for Italian rugby joining the pro12 and other teams should avoid it.


In my opinion, the decision to join the pro12 wasn't a mistake but the problem lies in Italian rugby union's mistakes elsewhere. An example of that would be their failure on the coaching front. I don't mean the coaches of their professional sides but the underage coaching etc. You reap what you sow and Italy's barren landscape now is a result of not showing enough seeds 5 or more years ago.


They also made mistakes in selecting the professional teams. It's not an exact science but there's already talk of Zebre being shut down and Zebre only replaced Aironi a few years ago. They have to sort the politics out.


It looks like they're finally getting the structures sorted and will hopefully get some stability in the next few years. It's hard getting fans to turn up when they're losing all the time.


The same fans who say it was a mistake for Italy to join the pro12 will also say that t2 nations need a higher standard to be playing regularly. If Italy didn't join the pro12, they could be worse off than they are now.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby amz » Wed, 19 Apr 2017, 11:14

vino_93 wrote:For Romania, national championship seems in a good way. Effort needs to be done to growth the league, but that's in good way. No need to join someone, maybe only a moldovan team could try to insert to the league system.

[...]

For Spain, please, please, please - don't do italian mistake. Your national championship is starting to grow. There is a beginning of professionalism, with paid players, some good outsiders. Your championship is already of twelve good teams + a popular cup. you have TV rights on Eurosport 2. You have, it seems, some small interest : having 20K people for the cup final is amazing for T2 club rugby. Strong rivalries between clubs. Clubs already in big cities (Valladolid 300K, Alcobendas & Cisneros in Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Santander 180K + Basque country tradition). So, you just need to focus on growing. It seems clubs know what they do.
Of course, full professionalisme might killed some clubs. So maybe, a Liga Iberica might be created as the first club level in Iberian Peninsula. There could be two spots reserved to Portugal. That might help to increase the level. Of course if Portugal agree this. But it seems the most logic way to follow for them. Alone they couldn't bring a national championship alive.

[...]

And unfortunately ... I don't know what to do with Russia & Georgia. Difficult relationship between these two countries might not help to bring a common league. Alone Georgia might be in trouble to put in place a good pro national championship. But they are too far from other countries for a first attempt of pro leagues in new markets. So finally, maybe that's a black sea league, with Romania, Ukraine, Moldova + Kuban Krasnodar, good be an opportunity, breaking the long pause which exists in romania championships - and finally creating something bigger there, instead of waiting for new romanians clubs who might never arrive.
And Russia doesn't seem to see his national championship developping too. Maybe it could happen, I hope funds will be find to do this, as there is already good rugby skills there. Sadly, mostly - only ? - in two clubs.


So, here are my dreams. If only money could be easy to find ... :)


I agree with you about Spain and Portugal, they should try joint league system and I pretty much share your views.

About Romania, I think SL does well, we just need to invest more in Youth system but I don't see more than 8 clubs in foreseeable future which indeed gives a short season even if there are two more competitions, Romanian Cup and King's Cup (last one being a development competition where clubs are expected not to have national squad players and give chances to youngsters).

I thought a lot about foreign teams joining SuperLiga but I don't see how this could be done. Neighbouring countries have weak rugby, Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia and even Ukraine. Last one national team may be an option tough but as long as there is a war going on there I am very pessimistic. Maybe an franchise based in Odessa could work although I highly doubt it. Moldovan Rugby Union is just too weak economically to sustain a franchise tough it may work if they find a sugar daddy..it's not complicated to travel from Chisinau to Romania or viceversa.

I think Georgia may field two decent franchises at best, not more, given the level of their local competition but I don't think any of us afford the travel costs especially because there aren't direct flights between Bucharest and Tbilisi.

Russia's best rugby is in Siberia, nobody wants to go there.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby iul » Wed, 19 Apr 2017, 11:19

amz wrote:
vino_93 wrote:For Romania, national championship seems in a good way. Effort needs to be done to growth the league, but that's in good way. No need to join someone, maybe only a moldovan team could try to insert to the league system.

[...]

For Spain, please, please, please - don't do italian mistake. Your national championship is starting to grow. There is a beginning of professionalism, with paid players, some good outsiders. Your championship is already of twelve good teams + a popular cup. you have TV rights on Eurosport 2. You have, it seems, some small interest : having 20K people for the cup final is amazing for T2 club rugby. Strong rivalries between clubs. Clubs already in big cities (Valladolid 300K, Alcobendas & Cisneros in Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Santander 180K + Basque country tradition). So, you just need to focus on growing. It seems clubs know what they do.
Of course, full professionalisme might killed some clubs. So maybe, a Liga Iberica might be created as the first club level in Iberian Peninsula. There could be two spots reserved to Portugal. That might help to increase the level. Of course if Portugal agree this. But it seems the most logic way to follow for them. Alone they couldn't bring a national championship alive.

[...]

And unfortunately ... I don't know what to do with Russia & Georgia. Difficult relationship between these two countries might not help to bring a common league. Alone Georgia might be in trouble to put in place a good pro national championship. But they are too far from other countries for a first attempt of pro leagues in new markets. So finally, maybe that's a black sea league, with Romania, Ukraine, Moldova + Kuban Krasnodar, good be an opportunity, breaking the long pause which exists in romania championships - and finally creating something bigger there, instead of waiting for new romanians clubs who might never arrive.
And Russia doesn't seem to see his national championship developping too. Maybe it could happen, I hope funds will be find to do this, as there is already good rugby skills there. Sadly, mostly - only ? - in two clubs.


So, here are my dreams. If only money could be easy to find ... :)


I agree with you about Spain and Portugal, they should try joint league system and I pretty much share your views.

About Romania, I think SL does well, we just need to invest more in Youth system but I don't see more than 8 clubs in foreseeable future which indeed gives a short season even if there are two more competitions, Romanian Cup and King's Cup (last one being a development competition where clubs are expected not to have national squad players and give chances to youngsters).

I thought a lot about foreign teams joining SuperLiga but I don't see how this could be done. Neighbouring countries have weak rugby, Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia and even Ukraine. Last one national team may be an option tough but as long as there is a war going on there I am very pessimistic. Maybe an franchise based in Odessa could work although I highly doubt it. Moldovan Rugby Union is just too weak economically to sustain a franchise tough it may work if they find a sugar daddy..it's not complicated to travel from Chisinau to Romania or viceversa.

I think Georgia may field two decent franchises at best, not more, given the level of their local competition but I don't think any of us afford the travel costs especially because there aren't direct flights between Bucharest and Tbilisi.

Russia's best rugby is in Siberia, nobody wants to go there.

It might be viable to have a Polish team in Krakow

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby dropkick » Wed, 19 Apr 2017, 19:46

The South Africans are talking about enterIng it now. Not much info but they've talked to Martin Anayi.
http://www.planetrugby.com/news/ex-admi ... -in-pro12/

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby victorsra » Thu, 20 Apr 2017, 02:22

South Africa and the Celts almost kickoff in 2005 a competition called Rainbow Cup: http://www.espn.com.au/rugby/story/_/id ... p-unveiled
Brazilian Rugby News: www.portaldorugby.com.br

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby Working Class Rugger » Thu, 20 Apr 2017, 02:33

dropkick wrote:The South Africans are talking about enterIng it now. Not much info but they've talked to Martin Anayi.
http://www.planetrugby.com/news/ex-admi ... -in-pro12/


Here's the thing. I think it could be worth a look in. Yes, there's travel involved but ask any SR player and they'll tell its not the hours in transit that is the killer. It's the need to cross multiple timezones in doing so. This would be dramatically cut if the SA franchise (or even two in this case) were to enter the Pro 12.

Then there's the fact it fits well with broadcasting as well. Again, similar timezones. It's not as crazy as it may seem. Contrary to what many may believe the most important element in the SANZAAR alliance is the RC which could comfortably be retained even if SA made the move.

It could also allow for a 'Super Bowl' like situation to arise. With the winner of the Pro 18 (let's assume they all go) playing the winner of the Super 12 (the remaining 12). Would certainly be interesting.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby thatrugbyguy » Thu, 20 Apr 2017, 02:47

I'll give credit to the SARU for thinking creatively. IF they can save their two franchises more power to them. However, I don't know if it actually helps SA rugby as a whole. Their talents is still going to be spread too thin. Unless the Cheetahs and Kings act as being more like developmental teams.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby Working Class Rugger » Thu, 20 Apr 2017, 02:51

thatrugbyguy wrote:I'll give credit to the SARU for thinking creatively. IF they can save their two franchises more power to them. However, I don't know if it actually helps SA rugby as a whole. Their talents is still going to be spread too thin. Unless the Cheetahs and Kings act as being more like developmental teams.


It's not that creative. It's been thrown around on a number of occasions previously. Usually during new TV deal negotiations. As for talent being spread too thin. That would be up to them to decide I guess.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby ihateblazers » Thu, 20 Apr 2017, 04:56

Not sure how feasible it would be but in the south African scenario scenario I'd also like to see a joint Argentine/Spanish/Private franchise based in Spain. Similar concept to the Pampas xv which played in the Vodafone Cup except you're looking to grow this is commercial venture rather than just high performance

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby Working Class Rugger » Thu, 20 Apr 2017, 05:05

ihateblazers wrote:Not sure how feasible it would be but in the south African scenario scenario I'd also like to see a joint Argentine/Spanish/Private franchise based in Spain. Similar concept to the Pampas xv which played in the Vodafone Cup except you're looking to grow this is commercial venture rather than just high performance


SA could always cut one to go back to the previous 5 and then the Pro 12 could look to do something like you suggest in Spain. Perhaps based out of Madrid. Argentina needs to somehow broaden its available playing base and I don't think that would be an option in SR for a while. Would also be good to have a presence in both markets.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby Figaro » Thu, 20 Apr 2017, 08:31

I have no problem in principle with South African or Argentine franchises in the Pro12 - it makes more sense than American teams - but if there is the slightest hint that it was some kind of "second division" to Super Rugby then the idea will be dead in the water: nobody will want to watch them and nobody will want to play them. It would have to be all the RSA pro teams playing non-domestically, or none of them.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby dropkick » Thu, 20 Apr 2017, 09:31

Figaro wrote:I have no problem in principle with South African or Argentine franchises in the Pro12 - it makes more sense than American teams - but if there is the slightest hint that it was some kind of "second division" to Super Rugby then the idea will be dead in the water: nobody will want to watch them and nobody will want to play them. It would have to be all the RSA pro teams playing non-domestically, or none of them.



It sounds to me like a second division to super rugby. They might just want to try and satisfy the axed super rugby sides.


Plus the pro12 will have to decide whether to go for north American teams or SA teams. You can't have both or it'll start to look like super rugby with their huge air miles.


On another note, somebody mentioned rumours of an A league starting. With reduced games there will be an A league set up and that's how potentially any new team will enter the pro12. They'll spend time in the A league to get up to speed and they'll be reviewed every year or so.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby 4N » Thu, 20 Apr 2017, 10:33

dropkick wrote:On another note, somebody mentioned rumours of an A league starting. With reduced games there will be an A league set up and that's how potentially any new team will enter the pro12. They'll spend time in the A league to get up to speed and they'll be reviewed every year or so.


Like anyone in SA (or USA for that matter) will follow the Pro12 reserve league.

I doubt Martin Anayi is in any kind of serious talks with McKeever anyway.
http://www.rugby365.com/article/76814-m ... ed-venture

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby Working Class Rugger » Thu, 20 Apr 2017, 12:20

dropkick wrote:
Figaro wrote:I have no problem in principle with South African or Argentine franchises in the Pro12 - it makes more sense than American teams - but if there is the slightest hint that it was some kind of "second division" to Super Rugby then the idea will be dead in the water: nobody will want to watch them and nobody will want to play them. It would have to be all the RSA pro teams playing non-domestically, or none of them.



It sounds to me like a second division to super rugby. They might just want to try and satisfy the axed super rugby sides.


Plus the pro12 will have to decide whether to go for north American teams or SA teams. You can't have both or it'll start to look like super rugby with their huge air miles.


On another note, somebody mentioned rumours of an A league starting. With reduced games there will be an A league set up and that's how potentially any new team will enter the pro12. They'll spend time in the A league to get up to speed and they'll be reviewed every year or so.


SA effectively already has a 2nd to SR. It's called the Currie Cup. This suggestion is a means to keeping both franchises playing and competing in a top tier league.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby dropkick » Thu, 20 Apr 2017, 12:42

4N wrote:
dropkick wrote:On another note, somebody mentioned rumours of an A league starting. With reduced games there will be an A league set up and that's how potentially any new team will enter the pro12. They'll spend time in the A league to get up to speed and they'll be reviewed every year or so.


Like anyone in SA (or USA for that matter) will follow the Pro12 reserve league.

I doubt Martin Anayi is in any kind of serious talks with McKeever anyway.
http://www.rugby365.com/article/76814-m ... ed-venture



Ah come on. Do you really think they're planning on showing it on TV or looking for big attendances?

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby dropkick » Thu, 20 Apr 2017, 12:44

Working Class Rugger wrote:
dropkick wrote:
Figaro wrote:I have no problem in principle with South African or Argentine franchises in the Pro12 - it makes more sense than American teams - but if there is the slightest hint that it was some kind of "second division" to Super Rugby then the idea will be dead in the water: nobody will want to watch them and nobody will want to play them. It would have to be all the RSA pro teams playing non-domestically, or none of them.



It sounds to me like a second division to super rugby. They might just want to try and satisfy the axed super rugby sides.


Plus the pro12 will have to decide whether to go for north American teams or SA teams. You can't have both or it'll start to look like super rugby with their huge air miles.


On another note, somebody mentioned rumours of an A league starting. With reduced games there will be an A league set up and that's how potentially any new team will enter the pro12. They'll spend time in the A league to get up to speed and they'll be reviewed every year or so.


SA effectively already has a 2nd to SR. It's called the Currie Cup. This suggestion is a means to keeping both franchises playing and competing in a top tier league.



They could decide to keep all the big name players for super rugby and fill the Kings and Cheetahs with the left overs.

That wouldn't be acceptable imo.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby Figaro » Thu, 20 Apr 2017, 13:57

dropkick wrote:
Working Class Rugger wrote:SA effectively already has a 2nd to SR. It's called the Currie Cup. This suggestion is a means to keeping both franchises playing and competing in a top tier league.



They could decide to keep all the big name players for super rugby and fill the Kings and Cheetahs with the left overs.

That wouldn't be acceptable imo.


Indeed.

Even assuming the two sets of teams would nominally be "top tier", it would be inevitable that one competition would be seen as the less prestigious of the two, and if the idea is to take the two weakest teams out of their current competition and put them somewhere else, then it's pretty obvious which competition that would be.

Yes, in a certain sense the Pro12 is already weaker than Super Rugby in terms of the Rugby quality (and arguably also weaker than the other two top European leagues). But that doesn't matter so much as long as it's the top level for the teams from its constituent countries. As soon as it becomes a de-facto second division then it loses all credibility, regardless of whether the inclusion of the teams in question improves or weakens the standard on-the-field.

I would welcome the South African Super Rugby sides with open arms, if they came as a block of all six and became those teams' primary professional competition (or if they prefer, scrap the Cheetahs and Kings and we take the other 4). It would be the death knell of the Pro12 though to take on just those rejected from another competition.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby vino_93 » Thu, 20 Apr 2017, 18:17

dropkick wrote:Good post there, Vino.


One thing i wouldn't agree on is you saying it was a mistake for Italian rugby joining the pro12 and other teams should avoid it.


In my opinion, the decision to join the pro12 wasn't a mistake but the problem lies in Italian rugby union's mistakes elsewhere. An example of that would be their failure on the coaching front. I don't mean the coaches of their professional sides but the underage coaching etc. You reap what you sow and Italy's barren landscape now is a result of not showing enough seeds 5 or more years ago.


They also made mistakes in selecting the professional teams. It's not an exact science but there's already talk of Zebre being shut down and Zebre only replaced Aironi a few years ago. They have to sort the politics out.


It looks like they're finally getting the structures sorted and will hopefully get some stability in the next few years. It's hard getting fans to turn up when they're losing all the time.


The same fans who say it was a mistake for Italy to join the pro12 will also say that t2 nations need a higher standard to be playing regularly. If Italy didn't join the pro12, they could be worse off than they are now.



For Italy, well, we can see the things like that. Or we can see the opposite way ! Ok they play every week end strong teams. But does it really help them to be thrashed, then thrashed, and again, again, again ... I'm not sure. Physically maybe, but mentally that must be an hard situation.

And moreover, now everything in Italian rugby is in the hand of FIR. Maybe, if they didn't chose that way, things could have been different. When you see how popular is the squadra azzura, in Roma but elsewhere in Italy too ... you could imagine there would have been some investors interested by creating big teams in Italy. they could have hire good coaches, good outsiders players, who could have help to increase the level of Eccellenza.
This would have keep a little interest about rugby outside of 6 Nations / Test / World Cup Windows. Maybe some kids would have identify to a club, and try rugby.
Plus the clubs could have develop their youth academies, in order to have better young players, and a good level reserve.

But now ... who wants to invest anything in Italian rugby ? Nobody. National championship doesn't interest anyone. So now Investment in first team, neither in club academies. No sponsors, no money, nothing. FIR have to do all the job - and to say honestly, that's badly done.

Of course, I'm not a soothsayer. I don't know if this would happen ... maybe not, and in this case, joining Pro 12 was the best choice. But maybe it could ... and then, I'm not sure about that choice. When there's a pro national championship on, in a country which can afford to have at least 10 good pro teams, imho, creating franchise isn't good.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby Working Class Rugger » Fri, 21 Apr 2017, 05:00

Figaro wrote:
dropkick wrote:
Working Class Rugger wrote:SA effectively already has a 2nd to SR. It's called the Currie Cup. This suggestion is a means to keeping both franchises playing and competing in a top tier league.



They could decide to keep all the big name players for super rugby and fill the Kings and Cheetahs with the left overs.

That wouldn't be acceptable imo.


Indeed.

Even assuming the two sets of teams would nominally be "top tier", it would be inevitable that one competition would be seen as the less prestigious of the two, and if the idea is to take the two weakest teams out of their current competition and put them somewhere else, then it's pretty obvious which competition that would be.

Yes, in a certain sense the Pro12 is already weaker than Super Rugby in terms of the Rugby quality (and arguably also weaker than the other two top European leagues). But that doesn't matter so much as long as it's the top level for the teams from its constituent countries. As soon as it becomes a de-facto second division then it loses all credibility, regardless of whether the inclusion of the teams in question improves or weakens the standard on-the-field.

I would welcome the South African Super Rugby sides with open arms, if they came as a block of all six and became those teams' primary professional competition (or if they prefer, scrap the Cheetahs and Kings and we take the other 4). It would be the death knell of the Pro12 though to take on just those rejected from another competition.


Thing is. The SARU has always participated in the SR with one eye looking toward the NH. I've said in other conversations that if the Pro12 were open to it and the SA franchises could work out a deal that suits them that these two franchises would more than likely be just the initial shift up north. In fact, if the Pro 12 were to be open and willing to deal there is a real chance we'd see the SA franchise make the jump as a block.

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