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Are the stars aligning for a 6N expansion?

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Are the stars aligning for a 6N expansion?

Postby iul » Sat, 07 May 2016, 17:27

I think so.
EDIT: on second thoughts, I'd say I'm mildly optimistic instead of thinking the stars are aligning.

There are some things that might make the 6Ns look for more revenues:

Firstly, it's the NH-SH conflict regarding the season structure and the revenue sharing scheme desired by the SH unions for the games they pay up north. There's a good write-up about that here: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/its-t ... c1752e4df2 Perhaps the SH nations will look to somehow boycott the Autumn Internationals, in which case the NH unions would be left with quite a bit of a gap in their finances.

Secondly, it's the fact that the AP and the T14 clubs keep having more and more money, which is not really true for the Pro12 clubs and the celtalians will keep getting raided by the much richer French and English clubs, which will threaten the viability of the Pro12 even more. The Celts keep dreaming about having a British and Irish championship so that they can suckle at the English market tit, but that's not going to happen, because there's no reason why the English clubs would agree to that. My point here is that the Celts will have serious issues keeping their players in the Pro12 and they will have to find more ways to get money, and there's no better way to do that than to expand the 6N, which might make them push for expansion.

What do you guys think? Will everything about the NH-SH conflict be figured out in a satisfying way for everyone? Will the Celts manage to hold on to their players by finding some alternative revenue streams? Do you think they won't have to do that, because the AP/T14 have reached some sort of ceiling for their revenue growth?

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Re: Are the stars aligning for a 6N expansion?

Postby kearnc25 » Sat, 07 May 2016, 18:21

I think you are seeing what you want to see lad. The Pro 12 has actually been going quite well the last two years I think it is heading in the right direction.

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Re: Are the stars aligning for a 6N expansion?

Postby iul » Sat, 07 May 2016, 18:37

Aren't Sky about to dump the Pro12 because of the shitty ratings? The Pro12 TV deal is about 3x smaller than the AP one.

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Re: Are the stars aligning for a 6N expansion?

Postby SallesNeto_BR » Sat, 07 May 2016, 18:42

kearnc25 wrote:I think you are seeing what you want to see lad. The Pro 12 has actually been going quite well the last two years I think it is heading in the right direction.


Is Pro12 going quite well with 0 teams advancing to Champions Cup play offs?

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Re: Are the stars aligning for a 6N expansion?

Postby Hansgrohe » Sat, 07 May 2016, 19:06

Remember that realistically expansion can't be discussed until 2017 (the end of the Italian TV deal)

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Re: Are the stars aligning for a 6N expansion?

Postby dropkick » Sat, 07 May 2016, 19:16

iul wrote:Aren't Sky about to dump the Pro12 because of the shitty ratings? The Pro12 TV deal is about 3x smaller than the AP one.



They pay shitty money and don't do much to promote the league so they wouldn't be a great loss. But make no mistake, sky want the pro12. They've lost a lot of rugby since the English teams went to BT.


This week it was reported that the Irish provinces are getting a €500k bonus this season and next season from the IRFU. The Aviva stadium debt is almost paid off already. Thats a major IRFU tit. lol

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Re: Are the stars aligning for a 6N expansion?

Postby NedRugby » Sat, 07 May 2016, 21:28

Hansgrohe wrote:Remember that realistically expansion can't be discussed until 2017 (the end of the Italian TV deal)


Surely if the Italia TV deal runs out next year then NOW would be the perfect time to start discussing alternatives?

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Re: Are the stars aligning for a 6N expansion?

Postby olivier » Sat, 07 May 2016, 21:58

The world rugby calendar is an anachronism the professional game inherited from the amateur days.


This sentence is explaining everything. Sooner this system explode, sooner rugby could become a real free sport. I predict a terrible war starting by an Anglo-French league that would attract every SH stars to definitely kill conservative SH rugby. Dumb soviet NZRU would try to retain his players giving millions to ABs to finally bankrupt because NH unions won't invite them to play (Reagan strategy). Finally after some years, SH understand their market is ridiculous compare to Europe ruled by richest TV deals and surrender to a logic soccer/basketball system that should be in place since 1995. In 2023, France win the world cup final against England in Paris. USA and Japan make the semi-final. The era of free rugby can start, the conservatives have definitely lost.

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Re: Are the stars aligning for a 6N expansion?

Postby kearnc25 » Sun, 08 May 2016, 02:17

SallesNeto_BR wrote:
kearnc25 wrote:I think you are seeing what you want to see lad. The Pro 12 has actually been going quite well the last two years I think it is heading in the right direction.


Is Pro12 going quite well with 0 teams advancing to Champions Cup play offs?


I was more talking about the league itself some exciting rugby. However Leinster were like one kick away from last years final.

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Re: Are the stars aligning for a 6N expansion?

Postby Working Class Rugger » Sun, 08 May 2016, 03:08

olivier wrote:
The world rugby calendar is an anachronism the professional game inherited from the amateur days.


This sentence is explaining everything. Sooner this system explode, sooner rugby could become a real free sport. I predict a terrible war starting by an Anglo-French league that would attract every SH stars to definitely kill conservative SH rugby. Dumb soviet NZRU would try to retain his players giving millions to ABs to finally bankrupt because NH unions won't invite them to play (Reagan strategy). Finally after some years, SH understand their market is ridiculous compare to Europe ruled by richest TV deals and surrender to a logic soccer/basketball system that should be in place since 1995. In 2023, France win the world cup final against England in Paris. USA and Japan make the semi-final. The era of free rugby can start, the conservatives have definitely lost.


I'm going to take the bait and ask what the hell are you taking? And suggest that perhaps you should stop. To even suggest that the SH is the conservative one in World Rugby is laughable. It was the SH that brought the games showcase event into being in the RWC and dragged the game into the professional era.

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Re: Are the stars aligning for a 6N expansion?

Postby Silver Fox » Sun, 08 May 2016, 07:27

Great topic.
However I fail to see the link with the title.

Although the author is condemning 'anachronisms inherited from the amateur days' and propagates a more open view he proves himself to be very British and (probably unconsciously) takes Lions tours and the 6N in April as rock solid conditions to base a new calendar on.
And autumn internationals in December? On the NH that would only be possible in mediteranean countries and on the British Isles.

No, the slates need to be much cleaner than that.

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Re: Are the stars aligning for a 6N expansion?

Postby thatrugbyguy » Sun, 08 May 2016, 07:37

I'm not sure what this might be leading too. We need a global season but the European unions and the clubs don't want to move their timetable, and they in turn can't honestly ask the southern hemisphere to move their season due to the more extreme summer weather conditions we face. This all really comes down to money. The NH unions are fine with the status quo because it suits them, but Australia and New Zealand in particular are still struggling for decent income. I see people say the NH teams don't need the SH nations but I don't know how true that is, the RC teams play the better rugby and if the NH teams were to no longer play them any chance of a 6N team winning the World Cup diminishes. If the 6N unions and club don't want to adhere to a global season, or at the very least try and meet the SH half way in the matter, then perhaps Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Argentina need to start looking for competition elsewhere.

Japan is now competitive, USA and Canada should improve a lot more thanks to Pro Rugby, and the Pacific teams are better now. So there's two big markets on offer. Maybe other European nations other the 6N would be willing to align their season with the SH if it meant gaining exposure to the RC teams. Georgia and Romania would be prime targets obviously, however Spain would be a very lucrative market if the national team could be elevated another level. As long as the UK and France hold the majority of the power in Europe they are going to be the ones in the drivers seat.

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Re: Are the stars aligning for a 6N expansion?

Postby Silver Fox » Sun, 08 May 2016, 08:58

I am convinced that North American rugby is going to be crucial for the future of world rugby.
If they really get momentum they will become the instrument to shift the traditional balance of power.
It would be good for global rugby if the strangle hold by the 6 Nations is broken.
Personally I wouldn't mind if the SH teams started touring the Americas and Japan.

Edit: Thinking more about it, I think Sanzar are already trying to reel them into their sphere of influence.
The Sunwolves in Super rugby and the Us and Canada with Argentina in the ARC tying their annual schedules alongside the SH calendar.
I said it before: Once the ARC is established on the calendar as a significant international event and with Argentina, Uruguay, Canada and the USA in World Rugby's board they are in a much stronger position to discuss a change of international release windows.
I am getting carried away now, but the next step for Sanzar should be to help PRO rugby with players and coaches to raise the standard of the American rugby and lure them into Super Rugby (Could be nice: An American Zone, an African-European Zone and 2 Asian-Pacific Zones).

Most Eastern European competitions running the NH summer are already more aligned with the SH than with Western Europe. But with the current lack of either professional structures, money or public interest this a very unlikely prospect in the short term though. A pity really. It looks to me like tier 2 Europe is condemned to the (lack of) goodwill of the 6N for the time being.
We need the Americas to set us free.
I vote Pichot.

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Re: Are the stars aligning for a 6N expansion?

Postby thatrugbyguy » Sun, 08 May 2016, 11:39

I feel as if SANZAAR have the opportunity to try break rugby into new markets. The question is will other nations go along with them. The Americas is firmly theirs for the taking, and Japan is a big place to open up in Asia. In 4 years time there may be at least 3 genuinely competitive teams along side the Pacific Island nations. So 6 in total, if enough coaching is pumped into South America Brazil and Uruguay are also possibilities a further 3-4 years after that.

The issue then becomes Europe, a lot of money is there to be tapped into outside the 6N teams. Georgia and Romania would obviously be no worse than Italy in terms of competitiveness but financially they're wouldn't bring as big a financial reward, unless of course someone foots the bill for the SANZAAR nations to appear. Potential in Spain is there though, especially after the Copa del Rey final sellout, but the national teams competitiveness needs to be elevated. Spain would be the best place in Europe to aim for initially from a financial perspective.

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Re: Are the stars aligning for a 6N expansion?

Postby argie » Sun, 08 May 2016, 12:46

What do you think it would be better for Georgia?.

- To get into an expanded hemispheric Six Nation (the current 6N are 6 teams, 5 rounds, single matches), that becomes to 7N (adding Georgia, 6 rounds, single matches). Another option is a 6N with promotion and relegation system.

- Or to get into a global Rugby Championship (the current RCh are 4 hemispheric teams, 6 rounds, home and away matches), and the expanded RCh could be adding the best team of Asia (Japan), the best of North America (USA), and the best of Europe that is not into the 6N (Georgia), 7 teams, 6 rounds (too), single matches.
The market could be enormous.

Of course, is only a mental game....

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Re: Are the stars aligning for a 6N expansion?

Postby amz » Sun, 08 May 2016, 19:43

won't happen anytime soon.

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Re: Are the stars aligning for a 6N expansion?

Postby Bolaroid » Sun, 08 May 2016, 21:54

argie wrote:What do you think it would be better for Georgia?.

- To get into an expanded hemispheric Six Nation (the current 6N are 6 teams, 5 rounds, single matches), that becomes to 7N (adding Georgia, 6 rounds, single matches). Another option is a 6N with promotion and relegation system.

- Or to get into a global Rugby Championship (the current RCh are 4 hemispheric teams, 6 rounds, home and away matches), and the expanded RCh could be adding the best team of Asia (Japan), the best of North America (USA), and the best of Europe that is not into the 6N (Georgia), 7 teams, 6 rounds (too), single matches.
The market could be enormous.

Of course, is only a mental game....

The 6N (or 7N) is better for Georgia right now because the bottom 3 teams in the 6N are more on their level.

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Re: Are the stars aligning for a 6N expansion?

Postby victorsra » Sun, 08 May 2016, 22:13

Well, many good discussions, but about the 6N, let's consider two key things:

- Calendar (I agree with all you it is anachronic): it is not possible to expand it, clubs will pressure to avoid more clashes. So, 6N expansion must be tied to the 7 weekends calendar of the current 6N;
- The competition is owned by the 6 nations and they won't do any step that allows one of them to be relegated.

With these in mind I believe a 8 Nations would be possible, with 7 rounds and no byes. What this means? Pressure on players. With all the attention World Rugby is putting on player welfare a 7 rounds competition should restrict the number of matches each player can start. This solves the problem. It is not the best solution, but it is what can be done to deal with this equation: player welfare vs club calendar vs expansion needs.

What about relegation? If none of the 6 would accept relegation, in the first years the 2 new teams would be the only ones that could be relegated every two years. They would be "associate members" of the 6N Ltd, not full members. I would propose a 3 rounds compeitition every two years in june (november would be too close to the new season) between the two 8N teams (lets assume Georgia and Romania) and the two best teams of the Rugby Europe Championship.

If Georgia and Romania are promoted there would be an obvious colateral effect: teams like Russia and Spain would be the biggest losers, as they wouldn't have anymore their most challenging oponents. If the two teams playing the 8N must play every two years the Rugby Europe teams it is good for the overall growth of European rugby.

When the newcommers start to make big sportive and economic impact in the 8N a pressure to make the whole competition open, with every team vulnerable to relegation, would become a real possibility. Now, it isn't.

What makes this moderate opening (this rotation system) attractive for the 6N? This opens terrain to the possible promotion of big powerful markets like Russia, Spain and Germany in less than a decade.

Why an 8N is better than a 7N? Because if there are 7 weekends and the only way to make the teams play more than 5 matches is to start that players rotation policy it worth much more to use the 7 weekends after all. And it opens more chances to have Russia or Spain (or even Germany) sooner in the competition. And of course Romania could play it now.

About players rotation, I think it could be done this way:
- first 3 rounds are free;
- players that played more than XX minutes (200?) in the first 3 rounds cannont play Round 4;
- players that played more than XX minutes (250? 270?) in the first 4 rounds cannot play Round 5;
- players that played more than XX minutes (300? 320?) in the first 5 rounds cannot play Round 6;
- Round 7 is free
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Re: Are the stars aligning for a 6N expansion?

Postby thatrugbyguy » Mon, 09 May 2016, 05:28

I think the calendar has to be sorted out first and foremost. I really think the rugby season needs to be divided as such:

Feb-July: Club season
July-Aug: Regional championships
Sept-Nov: Domestic and Overseas tours

The problem is the European clubs are going to put themselves ahead of the game internationally.The Top 14 especially is not going to want to change.

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Re: Are the stars aligning for a 6N expansion?

Postby iul » Mon, 09 May 2016, 05:41

If the SH wants a unified schedule so much why don't they just change their own schedule?
- Feb-March: TRC
- Late March - early September: SR (either breaking for the June tests or continuing without the internationals)
- November: Autumn internationals

This idea that you can avoid overlapping club and international games is nonesense. The T14 is 29 weeks + 9 weeks for the euro cups + 5 weeks for the 6N + 6 weeks for June and November tests gives you a total of 49 weeks to have no club and international games overlap. The year only has 52 weeks.

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Re: Are the stars aligning for a 6N expansion?

Postby thatrugbyguy » Mon, 09 May 2016, 06:48

There's less competition in September and October down here. In Feb/March cricket is still in season in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, the soccer season is still going on in Australia and New Zealand as well as the start of the rugby league season, on top of that there's the start of the Aussie Rules season in Australia. Not to mention starting the season with Test Matches probably isn't what players would want. It's hell of a lot of pressure on players to play with test match intensity that early in the season, so there's the risk the quality of the RC could diminish.

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Re: Are the stars aligning for a 6N expansion?

Postby Natal » Mon, 09 May 2016, 08:14

victorsra wrote:
Why an 8N is better than a 7N? Because if there are 7 weekends and the only way to make the teams play more than 5 matches is to start that players rotation policy it worth much more to use the 7 weekends after all. And it opens more chances to have Russia or Spain (or even Germany) sooner in the competition. And of course Romania could play it now.


Sorry, I'm not sure I understand your preference to an 8N over a 7N. Your rotation policy is interesting, but looks a very hard sell. But you're right: without such a complex rotation system, an 8N tournament would probably be too long (7 weeks of games, plus a couple of byes thrown in).

For my mind, the 7N format (with annual P/R playoff) has the broadest appeal from both privileged teams and "tier two" teams, because:
a) A 7N would fit perfectly into the current calendar. It would be played over 7 weeks just like the current 6N. The only difference would be that all teams have one bye instead of the conventional two.
b) It makes relegation extremely unlikely for the privileged teams (Italy would have to finish bottom AND lose a playoff, for example).
c) It would ensure three annual home games to all teams: an improvement on the current format where half the teams only get two home games a year.
d) Lastly (most importantly for us, but of no great significance to the establishment) it gives every team in Europe a theoretical chance to enter the top division.

The only major negative from anyone's perspective would be that the 7N format would be hard on Romania.

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Re: Are the stars aligning for a 6N expansion?

Postby sk 88 » Mon, 09 May 2016, 14:54

thatrugbyguy wrote:I think the calendar has to be sorted out first and foremost. I really think the rugby season needs to be divided as such:

Feb-July: Club season
July-Aug: Regional championships
Sept-Nov: Domestic and Overseas tours

The problem is the European clubs are going to put themselves ahead of the game internationally.The Top 14 especially is not going to want to change.



What arrogance.

Rugby needs to be played at the time best suited to each location. In Europe that is September to May. Its not the English & French clubs fault that they have a model that is delivering better results than Antipodean ones.

Fix your own problems instead of trying to break our season. No club has ever asked to be be put ahead of internationals, just to have our history & culture respected instead of having it constantly trampled upon by a rapacious international game that will destroy itself like cricket has done if it had its own way constantly. Sport thrives on bottom up structures not top down ones.

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Re: Are the stars aligning for a 6N expansion?

Postby victorsra » Mon, 09 May 2016, 14:56

Sorry, I'm not sure I understand your preference to an 8N over a 7N. Your rotation policy is interesting, but looks a very hard sell. But you're right: without such a complex rotation system, an 8N tournament would probably be too long (7 weeks of games, plus a couple of byes thrown in).


A couple of reasons:

- If there will be a players rotation, there is no need for a bye round. Why not give Romania (or in fact the Rugby Europe's runners up of the momment) a chance too?

- I am not considering relegation for any of the current 6 nations teams, because I don't see why would they accept this now if it is their competition. The possibility of any of the 6 nations to be relegated for me is possible just some years after a succesful expansion. Just a pragmatic/realistic conclusion;

- I am considering a promotion/relegation competition of 4 teams in june between Georgia, Romania and the two best sides of the Rugby Europe Championship. If Georgia or/and Romania are promoted but stop playing the other Rugby Europe nations we will be solving Georgia's/Romania's problem, not European rugby's problem. The possibility of 2 teams being changed is great for Russia, Spain, Germany...
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Re: Are the stars aligning for a 6N expansion?

Postby thatrugbyguy » Mon, 09 May 2016, 23:24

sk 88 wrote:
What arrogance.

Rugby needs to be played at the time best suited to each location. In Europe that is September to May. Its not the English & French clubs fault that they have a model that is delivering better results than Antipodean ones.

Fix your own problems instead of trying to break our season. No club has ever asked to be be put ahead of internationals, just to have our history & culture respected instead of having it constantly trampled upon by a rapacious international game that will destroy itself like cricket has done if it had its own way constantly. Sport thrives on bottom up structures not top down ones.


Arrogance? The Unions up north are the ones who have constantly resisted just about all major shakeup in international rugby because it doesn't suit their interests, whether its rule changes or adding promotion/relegation to the 6 Nation or even the creation of the World Cup itself. Arrogance? Please. The unions up North are the ones who don't want to even attempt to find a middle ground most of the time. A globally aligned season helps everyone. Not only that, fans up north continue to complain about the lack of skills compared to the RC nations due to the weather, and yet the obvious solution to that is one no-one wants.

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