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A Pro12 Expansion

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby sk 88 » Mon, 26 Dec 2016, 18:56

victorsra wrote:Great news.

I think te ideal is a Roman team and an all-Venetian team (Treviso is a club with historical rivalries with Petrarca Padova, Rovigo... they don't represent the region... and maybe Treviso's fans would like to see their dominant club playing their Venetian derbies and having winning seasons, and not the current s*ht).

But I remember that proposal that came from the FIR's opposition to have 1 franchise to be a winning team, focused on having great players (Italian or not) to be achieve good things, and one development team 100% italian, no matter their results. With this again Rome is the best place for the "mediatic team".



Not if you are a Zebre fan it isn't!

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby victorsra » Mon, 26 Dec 2016, 19:41

Not if you are a Zebre fan it isn't!

I would love to here someone from Parma. I don't know even if there IS a real Zebre fan or if they just support it because it is what they have there now.

Do you remember all the process of creation of the Aironi and the Zebre?

The Aironi, led by Viadana, united some (but not all!) Lombardia and Emilia Romagna clubs into an ill-faded venture. Parma had at that time 2 major clubs, BOTH playing Italy's top flight and both with their rich histories: Rugby Parma and Gran Parma. Rugby Parma even played the Heineken Cup achiving a couple of victories (remember that? In 2006 Parma defeated the Dragons and the Border Reivers in the same Heineken Cup). Notably, Calvisano, a major powerhouse of the Lombardia, never joined the Aironi because they were another bid (the Duchi, that failed).

The original Zebre was simply the Italian North-West representative team during the amateur era... Italy had 3 major representative teams, the others being Lupi, representing the Centre-South, and Dogi, representing the TriVeneto, i. e. the NorthEast. I don't how if they were popular among Italian rugby people or if they always gave a damn to these teams. But they existed.

When the Aironi was born (as the winner os a biding process with many other bids), both Parma clubs were part of it if I am not wrong. Also, for the Italian Championship, Rugby Parma merged with Noceto forming the "Crociati Rugby", while Gran Rugby I believe joined Colorno to form the Gran Ducato. Crociati and Gran Ducato were all linked to Aironi.

All these new joint-ventures folded (Aironi, Crociati and Gran Ducato) and FIR re-created the Zebre to fill the gap, directly owning it. The Zebre were a solution after the disaster and Parma's clubs are today far from Eccellenza (Rugby Parma is in third division, Gran Rugby I don't know). The Zebre is NOT the heir of Rugby Parma and Grand Rugby.

Now I ask: what would be better for Parma's rugby? That their traditional clubs stayed strong in the domestic level or all this madnes? What Parma rugby people think about the demise of their clubs and the solution of Zebre rugby? (I don't know, I am truly asking).

Italy had a strong club rugby tradition and all major powers in the years before Italy enters the PRO12 were from small towns/medium cities. They messed with their clubs enviornment. Looking back the best would have been the creation of 100% new teams based just in big markets, leaving the Eccellenza (former Super 10) untouched and still able to take part in the Challenge Cup. Of course it is easier to say it now that we know all the problems. But maybe the FIR's oposition solution is better.

Lookng at Japan or Argentina, that's what they did. They haven't messed with their clubs, that were operating perfectly well before the Super Rugby. The Sunwolves, for exemple, left untouched Suntory Sungoliath, Panasonic Wild Knights, Toshiba Brave Lupus, Kobelco Steelers, Yamaha Jubilo, etc... they haven't picked one of them to be in Super Rugby. But we don't know yet if Sunwolves and Jaguares will really be a success because it is all too new.
Last edited by victorsra on Mon, 26 Dec 2016, 19:58, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby victorsra » Mon, 26 Dec 2016, 19:52

For those that don't remember Italy's PRO12 biding process: http://en.espn.co.uk/celticleague/rugby ... 00314.html

The Rome's Praetorians were selected together with the Aironi, but for some reason I coudn't find FIR gave Praetorians place to Benetton Treviso, the only bid made just by one single club.

About the Aironi, they were: Viadana 54%, Colorno 15%, Gran Parma Rugby 10%, Rugby Parma 10%, Noceto 5%, Reggio Emilia 2%, Modena 2% and Mantova 2% (according to Wiki's Aironi page).

It would be ironic if they name the possibly new Roman team as Praetorians.
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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby dropkick » Mon, 26 Dec 2016, 23:56

If its true, what I think they should restructure their franchises and do the following:
A. Try to get private backers for the Rome franchise, like they (FIR) said a few months back.
B. Have an unlimited number of foreign players allowed for this franchise. They have to make these franchises competitive. Give the fans something to shout about and a good team to follow. Only then should they start putting limits on foreign players.
C. Turn Treviso from a club into a regional side. Change its name. The FIR can take over that and put more resources into it.


They can always add a third team in the future but as I said, rule number 1 now should be about making the franchises competitive and get bums on seats. Rome would be a good location for a team and it should be easier to get to.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby armchair_expert » Tue, 27 Dec 2016, 07:43

how much money did FIR spend on redeveloping the stadium and other facilities for Zebre?

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby ihateblazers » Tue, 27 Dec 2016, 08:46

The most important thing for Italian rugby in my opinion is to drive growth at grassroots and improve the development pathways. They need to be developing better players and more of them, as well as helping facilitate the growth which is being driven by the 6 nations especially. The growth numbers are pretty impressive in terms of viewing figures, and playing numbers, but is enough being done to help manage that where it counts?

I'm not certain of the financial situation of Treviso who are owned by the Benneton family, but i'm sure they are subsidised heavily by the union like Zebre. The grassroots clubs and development pathways are being neglected as a result. They need to find a way to get them off the payroll as much as possible. Whether that's through private backers for the franchises, or pulling out of the Pro 12 and going back to the domestic league with natioanl regional academies supporting them, or setting up a Mediterranean league with Spain and Portugal.

It's not like where in England, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, Scotland you have the majority of players coming through the private schools systems which funds itself (and to a lesser extent NZ and Wales where rugby is national sport and grassroots club rugby is a part of national culture, and players are easily identified as a result). Italy doesn't have that sort of infrastructure in place so they must find their own way in the pro era where other nations have sky rocketed by through their systems.

On the topic of Italian professional rugby in general, i've come to the conclusion that superstar teams (especially romantic/emotional teams) help a hell of a lot in growing interest for the game. Italy badly needs a side to be really competitive at least in the Pro 12 and in dream land winning the European Cup. I always wondered what the Welsh regions would be like now if Cardiff could have won the Heineken Cup back in 08/09 or the Ospreys in 09/10.

Look at sports all around the world
NBA - Celtics, Bulls, Lakers
NFL - Packers, Cowboys
Baseball - Yankees, Red Sox
Football - Liverpool, Man U, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern, AC/Inter Milan, Ajax, Olympique Lyonnais
Rugby - Leicester Tigers, Wasps, Toulouse, Stade Francais, Munster, Leinster, NZ N/A (maybe Crusaders but national sport), Australia N/A (incredible competitive market), South Africa N/A (national sport)
You could make a case that those teams had a major impact in growing their leagues and also their sports.

Interesting looking at this article from Forbes http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2015/08/25/does-competitive-balance-drive-interest-in-sports/#2505919d6de7.
However, I would argue that once the league is at a booming stage and has reached critical mass interest, parity becomes more important to sustain interest and growth.

Spoiler:
The problem with this analysis is that competitive balance largely does not exist in sports today, and it may not actually drive audience interest in sports. In his book Playbooks and Checkbooks: An Introduction to the Economics of Modern Sports, Stefan Szymanski, the Stephen J. Galetti Collegiate Professor of Sport Management at the University of Michigan, found “limited evidence of support” for the uncertainty-of-outcome hypothesis as the fundamental driver of fan attendance. The research suggests that greater uncertainty can actually reduce attendance. Baylor University professor Kirk Wakefield found that stadium quality and star players were the best predictors of Major League Baseball (MLB) attendance. David Berri, a Southern Utah University professor and author of The Wages of Wins,has shown that college football and men’s college basketball have been dominated by a relatively small number of teams for decades.

Berri’s research suggests it may be the dominance of a few teams in any league competition that is actually one of the primary reasons sports leagues are now so successful. One only has to look at major professional sports leagues in the U.S. and Europe to find evidence to support this contention. One-quarter of the NFL’s 32 teams have won nearly 70% of the 49 Super Bowls. Seven NBA teams have won 33 of the past 36 NBA crowns, and the team with LeBron James on its roster made it to the NBA Finals the past five years. The San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox each won the World Series three times over the past 11 years. Only Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United or Arsenal won the EPL league title since 1992. In La Liga, it is extremely rare for a team not named Real Madrid or Barcelona to compete for a title. It is even more unusual for a team to challenge Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga championship in Germany.
...
The lack of parity does not mean that leagues should dismantle their current operating structures. In fact, it is this fair and unbalanced structure that has been great for the development of the sports industry. It also does not mean leagues should necessarily remove revenue sharing, salary caps or player drafts. While there have been dominant teams in all these leagues, they do not always come from the teams based in the largest cities or with the most potential resources. It would be unlikely for the Green Bay Packers, San Antonio Spurs or St. Louis Cardinals to achieve the success they have if not for these structures that limit the amounts teams based in larger markets can spend on players. The growth of these markets has enabled the NFL, NBA and MLB to create better products to market to fans.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby victorsra » Thu, 05 Jan 2017, 15:09

About Zebre's future: https://www.rugbymeet.com/it/news/pro12 ... -calvisano

Using google traslator:

Zebras Futuro: Farewell to Parma?
Roma or Calvisano?


At almost regular intervals, the situation at hand and the near future of the franchise of Zebras become topics of shared and often passionate discussion among fans and simple "users" of Made in Italy rugby.

Also weighing on relevance are, needless to try to hide behind a finger, sports vicissitudes of a formation that in Pro 12 seems destined not tearing ourselves away from the positions 11 or 12 of the general classification.

A little 'little (understatement) claim those linking the fact that the cost of the entire operation poses to the Federal Treasury. natural position and obvious, nothing it could not predict the economic stakes availability (implied: not relevant) and not excellent medium stature rose to Gianluca Guidi coach available. The budget recently approved closed with a person not particularly heavy (less than 100 000 euro) and although actual debt exposure towards suppliers circulating (unconfirmed) rumors of digits to six zeros, it is evident that the 'together with the same operation to be impeached. By, first, of those who would see other geographical locations, followed closely by those who, instead, they would like the memory reset (and the resources made available to finance the Eccellenza club?).

Try (try!) To do some 'clarity. The Zebras have ended in Parma after the failure of basic Aironi in Viadana. Failure that could have been avoided with costs not impossible? Likely. Someone swears it's true. But this is not the point. The Zebras are in Parma because, quite simply, at the time the output stage of the Aironi, nothing different from the place in the Grand Duchy's capital, emerged on the horizon in the "alternative solutions". Deductibles may dispute a transnational league as the Pro 12, parachuted into the heart of a city with discrete (excellent) spent oval, in the heart of a region rich in talented entrepreneurs and high profile industries but virtually divorced from any link with consolidated the territory and the sporting history of the place, it was logical that not attract interesting volumes of interest. Neither media, nor economic, nor the public. And so it was.

The moment, took note of what happened and photographed the reality, let us consider the idea of a move, the solutions are not dozens. But few units. One is called Roma, clear and reasonable geopolitical declination of the outsourcing concept. Rome would (on paper) the advantage of a first strategic positioning plan and a definitely important potential user basin. Place with Rome in the role of unparalleled synergistic link for visibility and resources, the ability to attract business partners proves significantly increased, I can (theoretically, I insist) with a budget allowance (finally) in double digits. And, consequently, the (theoretical, even) chance to compete for positions in the standings less at the bottom of the list and marginal. Another workable solution, although at the time ruled by President Alessandro Vaccari, is to Calvisano. Where there are adequate facilities (the center San Michele) and a sports culture that sees rugby at the top of the pyramid of the sporting interests of the territory. Was (finally) built / expanded the rugby stadium in Brescia ... Of course, with one or two (greetings to Brescia Junior Marco Pisano) club teams in the top division, a franchise in 12 Pro and a regional tissue particularly rich in reality local, the regional solution is anything but unfounded.

Another seems to be no. And around Parma abandonment certainty just it flourished, even just in terms of rumors or unrealistic assumptions. There has been talk of Turin, someone ventured Monte Carlo. We'll see. What is certain is that a deductible whole and only on the shoulders (financial) of the federation ...
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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby Figaro » Tue, 24 Jan 2017, 11:04

http://www.punditarena.com/rugby/adrumm ... -tv-deals/

Pro12 to possibly switch to conference system next season.

Doesn't say how exactly that would work but bandies around the figure of 18 games (down from 22).

That suggest to me that whatever the structure they have in mind, it is something other than the most common suggestion of simply splitting into two conferences of 6, as that would be only 16 games (assuming 2x games within conference (10) +1 to sides outside conference (6)).

Assuming no extra teams, you could split into

West
Connacht
Munster
Glagow
Scarlets
Ospreys
Zebre

East
Ulster
Leinster
Edinburgh
Blues
Dragons
Treviso

2x games vs each team within your conference (10)
1x vs each team in the other conference (6)
2x further derby matches against teams from the same country in the other conference (2)
=18

This would have 2 benefits. You wouldn't lose any derby games (which you might otherwise lose by splitting countries across conferences): the Irish and Welsh sides would play just as many derby matches as they do now, whilst the Italians and Scots would play three derby matches. No team would play any other more than 3 times. At the same time, you would avoid the two problems posed by keeping the countries intact within the same conference, namely that such conferences might be inbalanced (e.g. an Irish/Scottish conference would be tougher than a Welsh/Italian). You would also keep travelling the same for all teams for a given nation.

If you wanted you could swap some of the teams around between seasons, so you didn't end up playing the some of the Scots/Italians more than others.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby grande » Tue, 24 Jan 2017, 14:44

OR, maybe they're looking at expanding to 20 teams, two 10-team conferences, home & away each... A guy can dream...

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby dropkick » Tue, 24 Jan 2017, 19:58

Not too much information was divulged from that interview.

A summary would be.
- The Pro12 is starting to think as one league rather than 12 teams. New staff coming in with more expertise to promote it.
- They're looking to lessen the season and move to conferences. A good move.
- They want the Italians teams to be more competitive and are waiting on news of any changes i.e a Zebre or Rome team.
- Any new teams will have to be competitive and sustainable. Not sure how realistic that is.
- Lessons learned from the Italians joining. I presume he means the league will be trying to help out any new team.
- With TV rights coming up in 2018 theres more competition from broadcasters this time especially in Ireland. I presume thats the new Eir Sport channel.
- A highlights program for all the league was mentioned as something they'd like to have. I don't think we have any highlights program now.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby Figaro » Wed, 25 Jan 2017, 06:56

dropkick wrote:Not too much information was divulged from that interview.

A summary would be.
- The Pro12 is starting to think as one league rather than 12 teams. New staff coming in with more expertise to promote it.
- They're looking to lessen the season and move to conferences. A good move.
- They want the Italians teams to be more competitive and are waiting on news of any changes i.e a Zebre or Rome team.
- Any new teams will have to be competitive and sustainable. Not sure how realistic that is.
- Lessons learned from the Italians joining. I presume he means the league will be trying to help out any new team.
- With TV rights coming up in 2018 theres more competition from broadcasters this time especially in Ireland. I presume thats the new Eir Sport channel.
- A highlights program for all the league was mentioned as something they'd like to have. I don't think we have any highlights program now.


It would be good if they started by actually televising every game. I'm tired of there being no TMO in Dragons or Connacht games.if the point of the league is to sell a product they should be actually selling what they already have before talking about expansion.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby Canadian_Rugger » Wed, 25 Jan 2017, 12:12

dropkick wrote:Not too much information was divulged from that interview.

A summary would be.
- The Pro12 is starting to think as one league rather than 12 teams. New staff coming in with more expertise to promote it.
- They're looking to lessen the season and move to conferences. A good move.
- They want the Italians teams to be more competitive and are waiting on news of any changes i.e a Zebre or Rome team.
- Any new teams will have to be competitive and sustainable. Not sure how realistic that is.
- Lessons learned from the Italians joining. I presume he means the league will be trying to help out any new team.
- With TV rights coming up in 2018 theres more competition from broadcasters this time especially in Ireland. I presume thats the new Eir Sport channel.
- A highlights program for all the league was mentioned as something they'd like to have. I don't think we have any highlights program now.


The Pro12 needs to stop thinking of itself as a development league for the national team and start worrying about the product they put on the field. I think less games is a step in the right direction (sometimes less is more). This may also mean they sign a few more foreigners to every team to make them more competitive. Italy in particular should worry about making their teams competitive first, support to the national program second.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby Figaro » Wed, 25 Jan 2017, 14:51

Canadian_Rugger wrote:The Pro12 needs to stop thinking of itself as a development league for the national team and start worrying about the product they put on the field. I think less games is a step in the right direction (sometimes less is more). This may also mean they sign a few more foreigners to every team to make them more competitive. Italy in particular should worry about making their teams competitive first, support to the national program second.


This is what does seem to be happening. There are 6/12 teams from the Pro12 occupying the 16 places in the knock-out stages of the European club competitions, which is more relative to the size of their competition than the other two (4/12 English sides and 6/14 French sides), so the Pro12 is already proving more competitive.

The article I linked above mentions how there is now being a concerted effort to market the league as a whole, and as well as a mooted reduction in the number of fixtures (which should ensure a higher quality product via less club/national team conflict, and less resting of top players) there are rumblings of change in Italy, although what the nature of this change will be remains to be seen.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby 4N » Sat, 25 Mar 2017, 15:58

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.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby dropkick » Sun, 26 Mar 2017, 08:13

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.



They couldn't be arsed trying I'd say. Bad attitude.

Treviso beat Ospreys by 8 points. They lost by around 50 or 60 points to the ospreys earlier in the season. That's wildly inconsistent.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby BertSolomon » Sun, 26 Mar 2017, 10:12

Canadian_Rugger wrote:The Pro12 needs to stop thinking of itself as a development league for the national team and start worrying about the product they put on the field. I think less games is a step in the right direction.


Can't see that happening with the blazers in charge and kiwi coaches of the three Celt national teams who believe everything should be modelled on the NZ system.

They want the power to rest key players in top games - but then can't understand why the league lacks box office appeal.

Also I can't see how reducing games will increase revenue.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby dropkick » Sun, 26 Mar 2017, 11:15

BertSolomon wrote:
Canadian_Rugger wrote:The Pro12 needs to stop thinking of itself as a development league for the national team and start worrying about the product they put on the field. I think less games is a step in the right direction.


Can't see that happening with the blazers in charge and kiwi coaches of the three Celt national teams who believe everything should be modelled on the NZ system.

They want the power to rest key players in top games - but then can't understand why the league lacks box office appeal.

Also I can't see how reducing games will increase revenue.


Players have to be rested. They can only play a limited number of matches per season. The English clubs do the same thing.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby ihateblazers » Sun, 26 Mar 2017, 12:32

BertSolomon wrote:
Canadian_Rugger wrote:The Pro12 needs to stop thinking of itself as a development league for the national team and start worrying about the product they put on the field. I think less games is a step in the right direction.


Can't see that happening with the blazers in charge and kiwi coaches of the three Celt national teams who believe everything should be modelled on the NZ system.

They want the power to rest key players in top games - but then can't understand why the league lacks box office appeal.

Also I can't see how reducing games will increase revenue.


If they reduce the fixtures increasing the relative playing time of the internationals i think it should have a positive effect on field and off field. If they can then expand the Anglo Welsh cup to include the Irish and Scottish and play that during the Internationals in the new calendar which has been a rumoured proposal that could help make up some of the lost revenue from gates hopefully having a net gain with the increase in value of the pro 12

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby BertSolomon » Sun, 26 Mar 2017, 14:21

ihateblazers wrote:If they reduce the fixtures increasing the relative playing time of the internationals i think it should have a positive effect on field and off field. If they can then expand the Anglo Welsh cup to include the Irish and Scottish and play that during the Internationals in the new calendar which has been a rumoured proposal that could help make up some of the lost revenue from gates hopefully having a net gain with the increase in value of the pro 12


There are too many internationals as it is. Australia played 15 last year, almost as many as the whole SR regular season. The more tests there are, the less profile the domestic comps have, making them even less likely to grow revenue.

The Anglo Welsh is seen as meaningless. Can't see that helping gates improve.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby sk 88 » Sun, 26 Mar 2017, 15:51

dropkick wrote:
BertSolomon wrote:
Canadian_Rugger wrote:The Pro12 needs to stop thinking of itself as a development league for the national team and start worrying about the product they put on the field. I think less games is a step in the right direction.


Can't see that happening with the blazers in charge and kiwi coaches of the three Celt national teams who believe everything should be modelled on the NZ system.

They want the power to rest key players in top games - but then can't understand why the league lacks box office appeal.

Also I can't see how reducing games will increase revenue.


Players have to be rested. They can only play a limited number of matches per season. The English clubs do the same thing.


There is a key difference though, the clubs have to rest internationals but they pick when. As I understand the Ireland coach can force the provinces to drop/pick a player.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby sk 88 » Sun, 26 Mar 2017, 15:58

I really hope they don't expand the AW cup to include the Irish or Scots. People seem to totally ignore that the Welsh clubs are no further away than the other English ones, the costs of the games are nothing. You can travel on the day, use the coach you own/rent every week. The Irish are a flight away which massively increases travel costs and accommodation costs, for a second level competition where the opposition makes next to no difference to attendance. (only proper derby games like Leicester/Northampton or Bath/Gloucester really move the needle) I'd much prefer linking with our own second tier, to make a 28 team competition with 7 groups of 4.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby grande » Mon, 27 Mar 2017, 01:55

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.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby sk 88 » Mon, 27 Mar 2017, 07:33

It wasn't. It was cancelled because of greed and politics. If you want an essay on it I can write you a long one.

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby Neptune » Mon, 27 Mar 2017, 07:45

sk 88 wrote:It wasn't. It was cancelled because of greed and politics. If you want an essay on it I can write you a long one.


Id actually love to hear what went on behind the scenes. Write an essay SK88 :)

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Re: A Pro12 Expansion

Postby Figaro » Mon, 27 Mar 2017, 07:59

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.

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