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Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby NaBUru38 » Thu, 21 Nov 2019, 17:58

The Scottish Super 6 seems to me a better idea than a third pro team.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby iul » Sat, 30 Nov 2019, 20:52

https://www.lequipe.fr/Rugby/Article/Bo ... in/1085026

Boudjellal has sold Toulon. I thought that guy was going to be around forever. He seemed very passionate about the club.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Edgar » Sun, 12 Jan 2020, 18:23

According to this article by Kiwi columnist Ben Smith rugby's lack of visibility on the internet is contributing to its dwindling popularity in New Zealand, where basketball has overtaken the national pastime among the nation's youth - in terms of both players and spectators.

I can certainly relate to this, living in a country where the game receives absolutely no mainstream media coverage. It's one of the reasons I've become more interested in tier 2 and 3 rugby, in fact. I can livestream it and have seen far more of Zimbabwe's Sables and Colombia's Tucanes over the past several years than I have of the All Blacks & Springboks.

If I want to watch a tier 1 test (or Super Rugby game), I can always go down to the Irish Bar, but it really isn't that important to me anymore. I even missed the World Cup final last year (for the first time ever), smugly believing I'd be able to watch the highlights online a day or two after - and full match coverage within a week or so.

In reality, it took the highlights themselves about a week to surface on the internet, while more than two months after the final I still haven't found the complete match online. As the article states, amateur video clips from fans on social media were clamped down on to such an extent none but the most ardent followers would have known the tournament was on.

Also, I mentioned at the time that this year's World Cup seemed to generate the least interest among the large expat community I've lived within for the past two decades - in particular the youngsters. I was genuinely puzzled by this myself, but the article below may have provided the answer.

“Remaining relevant, particularly at the participation and the fan engagement level is not getting any easier. Kids are more and more impatient about what they’re going to do with their leisure time,” he said.

Almost 100% of the future fan base of every professional rugby team resides in some capacity online right now or will be if they are currently too young.

Investment in content by rugby teams in New Zealand to get in front of those eyes online has been next to nothing under Tew. The history of the game is pretty much non-existent, the digital footprint is nowhere near where it could be.

Is it any wonder why the game has a growing demographic viewership problem in this part of the world?

https://www.rugbypass.com/news/the-cost ... the-rugby/

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby victorsra » Sun, 12 Jan 2020, 19:00

He definitly has a point. Rugby's marketing is poor and social media not much interesting for young audience. But nothing shows more how rugby is behind than how bad is rugby's presence on video games.
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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby victorsra » Sun, 12 Jan 2020, 21:29

The unwanted truth (well, the one that seems true for me) is that Pichot was right about one crucial aspect most rugby people overlooked: rugby doesn't have an anual flagship global event that makes the job of promoting it in every way (social media, video games, all sorts of marketing products) in a more-than-ever competitive sports/and entertainment markets, where people's scarce time is battled by too many powerful players (leagues from many sports and e-sports + all movie/video paltforms, social media, etc) that are diving in all the new entertainment formats.

When Pichot talked about a world league, one of the reasons is that. We can't be competitive as a sport with only an 2-months-every-4-years flagship event. This sort of periodic event is suitable for soccer, that has such a huge extremely powerful leagues environment.

If soccer has Uefa Champions League, Copa Libertadores and many European national leagues with global following, basketball has NBA, American football has NFL, tennis has ATP etc etc, what we have? For 3 years we have nothing. That's the problem. One can inflate with national pride and talk about 6N or national leagues, but it doesn't break the bubble and promotes the sort of expansion rugby needs. I don't mean any sort of infinite senseless kind of growth, but one that makes it possible to open the game to new countries without breaking its finances. Rugby doesn't need to target being able to pay salaries the size of soccer of NBA, but it needs at least to avoid lose space in sports industry!

Pichot might have proposed it in a wrong way or with a wrong model, but he was right about the concept. We need a global flagship anual event. All sports are seeing this.
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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby iul » Sun, 12 Jan 2020, 21:44

If we also had proper regional cups every 4 years (like a rugby euro, etc..) and proper qualifying for both those and the RWC then we'd have something big to fill the airwaves with every year

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby TheStroBro » Sun, 12 Jan 2020, 22:07

I mean, basketball is fun. And you can actually play the sport at any time if you just have a ball and a park.

However, as a commercial sport, the ratings on the NBA are in the tank now. Alaskan Bush People tends to kill whatever NBA National Broadcast it is up against that night.

In regards to copyright law, when you deal with IP, you shouldn't get mad about people enforcing their rights over the stuff they produce.

victorsra wrote:The unwanted truth (well, the one that seems true for me) is that Pichot was right about one crucial aspect most rugby people overlooked: rugby doesn't have an anual flagship global event that makes the job of promoting it in every way (social media, video games, all sorts of marketing products) in a more-than-ever competitive sports/and entertainment markets, where people's scarce time is battled by too many powerful players (leagues from many sports and e-sports + all movie/video paltforms, social media, etc) that are diving in all the new entertainment formats.

When Pichot talked about a world league, one of the reasons is that. We can't be competitive as a sport with only an 2-months-every-4-years flagship event. This sort of periodic event is suitable for soccer, that has such a huge extremely powerful leagues environment.

If soccer has Uefa Champions League, Copa Libertadores and many European national leagues with global following, basketball has NBA, American football has NFL, tennis has ATP etc etc, what we have? For 3 years we have nothing. That's the problem. One can inflate with national pride and talk about 6N or national leagues, but it doesn't break the bubble and promotes the sort of expansion rugby needs. I don't mean any sort of infinite senseless kind of growth, but one that makes it possible to open the game to new countries without breaking its finances. Rugby doesn't need to target being able to pay salaries the size of soccer of NBA, but it needs at least to avoid lose space in sports industry!

Pichot might have proposed it in a wrong way or with a wrong model, but he was right about the concept. We need a global flagship anual event. All sports are seeing this.


Rugby is more like Football than any other sport. The wear and tear on bodies is immense. Basketball and soccer are not even close to the physical demands of the collision sports. If anything Hockey also plays too many games with how much of a contact sport the NHL is.

There is not enough time in the calendar to play the games we have unless you basically have 50+ players. The reality is you don't need an annual amazing competition, but you do need the Tier 1 teams playing other teams, just like dynasties aren't good for sports, playing the same opponents over and over and over again is also not good for sports.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby victorsra » Sun, 12 Jan 2020, 22:36

iul wrote:If we also had proper regional cups every 4 years (like a rugby euro, etc..) and proper qualifying for both those and the RWC then we'd have something big to fill the airwaves with every year

That is a big nothing.

There is not enough time in the calendar to play the games we have unless you basically have 50+ players. The reality is you don't need an annual amazing competition, but you do need the Tier 1 teams playing other teams, just like dynasties aren't good for sports, playing the same opponents over and over and over again is also not good for sports.


That's the big question. How to create this space. Because, sorry, you do need a flagship competition. That will be more important than ever in the next years.
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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Mon, 13 Jan 2020, 01:27

In Europe the flagship tournament is the Six Nations. In Britain the Six Nations is huge. The other flagship tournament is the world cup. In European club rugby the flagship tournament is the European Champions Cup. There is no gap that needs filling in Britain, Ireland and France. Obviously rugby in Italy has room for growth, but elsewhere in Europe's tier 1, rugby is already a huge established sport.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby victorsra » Mon, 13 Jan 2020, 02:15

RWC is once every 4 years, that's what I said, not enough. 6N is a month an a half competition. Not enough either. Otherwise finances would be great in British rugby and... they aren't.
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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby ihateblazers » Mon, 13 Jan 2020, 07:43

Chester-Donnelly wrote:In Europe the flagship tournament is the Six Nations. In Britain the Six Nations is huge. The other flagship tournament is the world cup. In European club rugby the flagship tournament is the European Champions Cup. There is no gap that needs filling in Britain, Ireland and France. Obviously rugby in Italy has room for growth, but elsewhere in Europe's tier 1, rugby is already a huge established sport.


He's talking about an annual event with global appeal. Nobody cares about the champions cup, super rugby or domestic leagues apart from hardcore supporters, it doesn't appeal to the wider public even within these countries.

The 6 nation's is a big competition in the UK but it has no room for growth in the UK or even France in its current format and no one outside of these countries even know it exists.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby ihateblazers » Mon, 13 Jan 2020, 07:55

I would suggest that for European clubs, getting the champions cup final onto free to air tv in as many European countries as possible would be a good first step and would have long term prospects. Even the NFL has their matches in London on the BBC.

At international level it is difficult with the cartel nation's. Tier 2 growing and becoming T1 level commercial markets is still the only option for global growth as I see it. Japan is already at that level, US and Canada are not too far away and Spain maybe the next contender if they can get their pro league going.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Armchair Fan » Mon, 13 Jan 2020, 07:57

ihateblazers wrote:The 6 nation's is a big competition in the UK but it has no room for growth in the UK or even France in its current format and no one outside of these countries even know it exists.

Come on... Just with the amount of Irish pubs around the world that Guinness provides of merchandise related to Six Nations people are slightly aware of it.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby ihateblazers » Mon, 13 Jan 2020, 08:01

Armchair Fan wrote:
ihateblazers wrote:The 6 nation's is a big competition in the UK but it has no room for growth in the UK or even France in its current format and no one outside of these countries even know it exists.

Come on... Just with the amount of Irish pubs around the world that Guinness provides of merchandise related to Six Nations people are slightly aware of it.


Maybe know it exists but don't care or have any interest. Again only rugby people would care.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Edgar » Mon, 13 Jan 2020, 08:36

Very true about the 6 Nations serving as the flagship tournament for rugby in the nations involved. This is undoubtedly what keeps most British and Irish fans interested in the game. Hence their ultra-conservative stance toward change. But when I look at social media most of the rugby clips I'm seeing are of French and British club rugby. The Southern Hemisphere had a very successful product in Super Rugby but messed up disastrously with Super 18. The league simply wasn't ready for that many teams, at least two of them weren't remotely up to scratch, and the convoluted format was the killer blow. It was sheer arrogance and the fans still haven't forgiven them. SANZAAR will need to work hard at restoring that credibility over the next few years. They're never going to be able to create an annual flagship tournament at international level due to the vast distances involved. The Tri Nations & Rugby Championship have been a case of overkill, and turning it into a World League-minus-Europe just isn't the answer. It would lose its geographical identity and meaning, the newcomers would be out of their depth, and it would likely go the same way as Super 18. A competition needs to be competitive to maintain maximum public interest. SANZAAR should focus on re-establishing Super Rugby as its flagship tournament, and increasing online visibility might be a key factor in achieving this.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby ihateblazers » Mon, 13 Jan 2020, 08:51

What puzzles me about T1 is the fact that although they are ultimately reliant on the international game to fund their professional game or to keep the international game the pinnacle... so that they can fund the professional game. They don't see the benefits in rugby becoming a more global game, they only look at growth through an isolationist lens. How can this continue? In the end the English and French clubs will become so powerful that they cannot keep the status quo but by then it will be too late.

The American sports have grown as they have a massive market and the country with all due respect is founded in the principles of isolationism. Rugby cannot afford to have this mentality yet it still does thanks to the Victorian esque governance of the sport.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby ihateblazers » Mon, 13 Jan 2020, 09:05

Edgar wrote:Very true about the 6 Nations serving as the flagship tournament for rugby in the nations involved. This is undoubtedly what keeps most British and Irish fans interested in the game. Hence their ultra-conservative stance toward change. But when I look at social media most of the rugby clips I'm seeing are of French and British club rugby. The Southern Hemisphere had a very successful product in Super Rugby but messed up disastrously with Super 18. The league simply wasn't ready for that many teams, at least two of them weren't remotely up to scratch, and the convoluted format was the killer blow. It was sheer arrogance and the fans still haven't forgiven them. SANZAAR will need to work hard at restoring that credibility over the next few years. They're never going to be able to create an annual flagship tournament at international level due to the vast distances involved. The Tri Nations & Rugby Championship have been a case of overkill, and turning it into a World League-minus-Europe just isn't the answer. It would lose its geographical identity and meaning, the newcomers would be out of their depth, and it would likely go the same way as Super 18. A competition needs to be competitive to maintain maximum public interest. SANZAAR should focus on re-establishing Super Rugby as its flagship tournament, and increasing online visibility might be a key factor in achieving this.


To be honest, SANZAR has never seen Super Rugby as their flagship competition. Any appeal it had was most likely curiosity due to the freshness at the time. They see it only as a development pathway for their national team and are not willing to use majority private investment if it at all infringes on the international game. The changes they made were a necessity to try and grow revenues to keep the current model of international rugby as the pinnacle... so that they can fund Super rugby :lol:

The current model is broken though.The game is in big trouble in Australia yet South Africa and New Zealand couldn't give a damn as long their national teams are winning. Unless SANZAR are willing to revitalise the competition and lessen the focus on the international game it's not going to work out. The sooner it breaks up so that the Kiwis and Aussies can work together and the Boks can focus on the Currie Cup the better imo.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby victorsra » Mon, 13 Jan 2020, 13:30

ihateblazers wrote:
Chester-Donnelly wrote:In Europe the flagship tournament is the Six Nations. In Britain the Six Nations is huge. The other flagship tournament is the world cup. In European club rugby the flagship tournament is the European Champions Cup. There is no gap that needs filling in Britain, Ireland and France. Obviously rugby in Italy has room for growth, but elsewhere in Europe's tier 1, rugby is already a huge established sport.


He's talking about an annual event with global appeal. Nobody cares about the champions cup, super rugby or domestic leagues apart from hardcore supporters, it doesn't appeal to the wider public even within these countries.

The 6 nation's is a big competition in the UK but it has no room for growth in the UK or even France in its current format and no one outside of these countries even know it exists.


Exactly. All professional sports have their owm big events. The point is how to capture new audiences in highly competitive entertainment industry and generate $ enough to open the game. Ads are mot wgat they were in the past. There are too many competitors for $ and mist of all for people's (and young people's) time. It is not about how to capture rugby audience!
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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Mon, 13 Jan 2020, 18:34

victorsra wrote:
ihateblazers wrote:
Chester-Donnelly wrote:In Europe the flagship tournament is the Six Nations. In Britain the Six Nations is huge. The other flagship tournament is the world cup. In European club rugby the flagship tournament is the European Champions Cup. There is no gap that needs filling in Britain, Ireland and France. Obviously rugby in Italy has room for growth, but elsewhere in Europe's tier 1, rugby is already a huge established sport.


He's talking about an annual event with global appeal. Nobody cares about the champions cup, super rugby or domestic leagues apart from hardcore supporters, it doesn't appeal to the wider public even within these countries.

The 6 nation's is a big competition in the UK but it has no room for growth in the UK or even France in its current format and no one outside of these countries even know it exists.


Exactly. All professional sports have their owm big events. The point is how to capture new audiences in highly competitive entertainment industry and generate $ enough to open the game. Ads are mot wgat they were in the past. There are too many competitors for $ and mist of all for people's (and young people's) time. It is not about how to capture rugby audience!


Europe's tier 1 has its flagship tournament. One of the strengths of the Six Nations is that it is held in one region. That's not so easy for tier 1 teams in other regions to replicate, because they are more spaced out. But what I think this does point towards is; in South Africa the Currie Cup could be Southern Africa's flagship tournament. It also has commercial value in Europe because it's on when there is no rugby being played in Europe. It could be the rugby tournament that people in Europe bet on in our summer.
The Asia Pacific region then needs to create its own flagship tournament. The obvious problem is the New Zealand teams are too strong. The solution could be a draft system or a bidding system so New Zealand players are spread between teams in Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. I'm thinking of something like the IPL or Big Bash, with no more than 7 teams, so it's over in 2 months. The Rugby Championship could be a single round robin to accommodate it.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby victorsra » Mon, 13 Jan 2020, 19:34

I think you are not getting my idea of flagship.

It is a competition followed by everybody and recognised by everybody as the number 1, with all best players in the world able to be involved. An hegemonic competition, undisputed as the top 1. The one that every player want to play and, therefore, able to make the news everywhere (not only in the teams primary markets), to top social media, to sell video games, to capture non-fans atentions regularly. And, obviously, not restricted to a month and a half. NBA, NFL, UEFA Champions League are this. 6 Nations isn't, because it doesn't involve world's bests. It is a great competition and do the job but in a more restrict way than those other leagues. Not enough for rugby.

What rugby has closer to it is the RWC, but again, it is only once every four years. Not enough either.
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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby sk 88 » Mon, 13 Jan 2020, 20:11

The obvious answer is to take down the, at best xenophobic, restrictions on European clubs signing foreigners and the guilt trips on foreign national sides picking players based abroad, thus seeing the best players coalesce into Europe. Sort the season out so you have no major overlap (I think that can only work on 24 club games and 8 internationals, a 30% reduction of both), you'd then have the club game vibrant and booming and the international game ring fenced for the red faced, salmon trouser gammon brigade to jizz their pants over in Dublin, Sydney, Auckland, Edinburgh and London.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Edgar » Mon, 13 Jan 2020, 21:00

victorsra wrote:I think you are not getting my idea of flagship.


Yes, I was beginning to wonder myself which interpretation of the word flagship was being bandied around here. If it refers to the most well-known or important product a company has on offer, then Super Rugby certainly fit the bill for at least two decades in the Southern Hemisphere, before the organizers began seeing ¥en signs and a few too many R's into the bargain. I was fortunate enough to still be Down Under when Super Rugby kicked off and this was easily the biggest thing to hit town in living memory, apart from the Rugby World Cup - a one-off event unlikely to return to our shores for a very long time. Super Rugby was an ongoing affair and we all had our own tribe, so to speak. The teams were chocka with international stars from the three leading rugby-playing nations. It was fast, dynamic and exciting, the uniforms vibrant, the nicknames something new. The media even called it sexy. Whatever, this was our equivalent of NFL, NRL or European football. Nobody would have believed we could do this in li'l ol' New Zealand, a land of sheep-farmers and few people that James A Michener once described as the most conservative in the world. Stadiums which had been near empty for NPC were suddenly filled to the brim. It was not only the dawn of pro rugby in New Zealand, but of digital television as well, a match made in heaven as organizers utilized all the technology at their disposal to promote the new competition. Sports bars began popping up all over the show just to screen the games and were invariably packed when they did so. I was personally fortunate that all this coincided with my brief career as a sports reporter. I got to cover a few games myself during the early years, and the atmosphere was electric. So I would regard it as having been the flagship tournament for Southern Hemisphere rugby at the time, though obviously things have changed during the two decades I've been away. Certainly the organizers will need to embrace electronic media with as much gusto as they seized upon digital television quarter of a century ago in order to keep up with the competition's rivals. But if it's run its course, so be it. I'd be more than happy for it to break up, the Australasians turn to Asia, SA focus once again on its prestigious Currie Cup, and Argentina become more deeply involved in SLAR.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Blurandski » Mon, 13 Jan 2020, 21:08

victorsra wrote:RWC is once every 4 years, that's what I said, not enough. 6N is a month an a half competition. Not enough either. Otherwise finances would be great in British rugby and... they aren't.


I mean, finances sort of are great relative to where they were. Average salaries have somewhere between doubled and quadrupled in the past decade. All British unions have experienced strong revenue growth, and strong investment growth in rugby.

(07 to 18) The IRFU's net worth has increased by £120m (cash reserves up from £20m to £70m something), amount re-invested into rugby up from £37m/year to £67m/yr. Income up from £49m/yr to £88m/yr

(08 to 18) The WRU's net worth has gone from £10m to £55m. Amount reinvested in rugby up to £55m from £32m. Income up from £43m/y to £98m/yr

(08 to 19) The SRU's investment in rugby up from £24m/yr to £52m/yr. Income up from £28m to £61m.

(09 to 18) The RFU's income is up to £213m/yr from £112m, investment in rugby up from £70m to £110m/yr.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Mon, 13 Jan 2020, 22:12

It's not hard for the NFL to be the flagship tournament for football. It's an American sport and not really an international sport. Rugby is spread all over the world.
Super Rugby was once the flagship tournament for the Southern Hemisphere, but the Six Nations has always been the most important rugby tournament for Europe. That's not likely to change. For club rugby, the closest thing to UEFA Champions League is Champions Cup Rugby, but it makes sense for rugby fans to follow a tournament in their own time zone and hemisphere. I live in England. I'm not going to watch a tournament in New Zealand or Japan unless it's the world cup.
Rugby doesn't need a flagship tournament, it needs a strong professional tournament in each region.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby ihateblazers » Tue, 14 Jan 2020, 01:17

sk 88 wrote:The obvious answer is to take down the, at best xenophobic, restrictions on European clubs signing foreigners and the guilt trips on foreign national sides picking players based abroad, thus seeing the best players coalesce into Europe. Sort the season out so you have no major overlap (I think that can only work on 24 club games and 8 internationals, a 30% reduction of both), you'd then have the club game vibrant and booming and the international game ring fenced for the red faced, salmon trouser gammon brigade to jizz their pants over in Dublin, Sydney, Auckland, Edinburgh and London.


Yes, the issue for me is that fundamentally rugby is very isolationist. Club rugby is not thriving outside of rugby circles and to be fair they are not doing a very good job themselves but at the same time the unions have been very open in the fact that they do not want club rugby to grow as the situation could "become like football" and have taken measures to restrict growth, either directly or indirectly.

As long as we safeguard the international calendar to a certain extent, it won't go the way of football friendlies or rugby league friendlies. International rugby is totally different to football, it is a gladiator combat sport and players will always put their all when they play. There needs to be a bit of give and take but ultimately the t1 cartel nation mentality is the biggest issue for the global game.

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