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Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby iul » Sun, 02 Aug 2020, 19:15

victorsra wrote:Yes, of course, and that's what happens with rugby in general in most countries. But England is an interesting case as it has the biggest number of players in the world.

It takes time for people to form emotional connections with sports clubs. Rugby in England spent its first century refusing to even organize any sort of proper national championship. Hardly surprising the popularity is relatively low. That being said, the average crowds did double from 25 years ago when professionalism started, now imagine the cretins did this 100+ years before.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby victorsra » Sun, 02 Aug 2020, 19:23

Yes, the cup was created only in 1971 and the Premiership in 1987. Different from France, that has a national championship since the 19th century.

England, however, had since the 19th century the Counties Champioship. Interestingly the English changed the approach. They had a regional representative teams model, like Scotland and Ireland (and the Southern Hemisphere), but changed to a club-based model. I guess the Counties weren't that popular.
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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Mon, 03 Aug 2020, 01:14

victorsra wrote:Yes, the cup was created only in 1971 and the Premiership in 1987. Different from France, that has a national championship since the 19th century.

England, however, had since the 19th century the Counties Champioship. Interestingly the English changed the approach. They had a regional representative teams model, like Scotland and Ireland (and the Southern Hemisphere), but changed to a club-based model. I guess the Counties weren't that popular.


The County Championship used to be quite popular. Rugby could have gone down the counties route, like cricket. The problem with that though is a lot of the top clubs were in West London, with strong brands but only a few miles apart in the same county. There have been attempts by some clubs to rebrand themselves as county teams (Cornish Pirates, Yorkshire Carnegie). But county identity isn't very strong in most parts of England. City identity is stronger in most cities. Yorkshire is the only county that is a region. The Cornish are a separate nationality, like the Welsh, and they don't have a large city, so their identity is Cornish. England never had regional representative teams. I don't think England has ever had regional representative teams in any sports.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby victorsra » Mon, 03 Aug 2020, 02:53

By "regional" I mean counties (England), provinces (Ireland, NZ, SA, Argentina, Canada), states (Australia), regions (Wales), districts (Scotland, Fiji), autonomous communities (Spain), etc, representation according to each country's political geography...

It is interesting to see the counties that dominated the competition before the creation of the league (1987).
Apart from Yorkshire's dominance before the 1895 schism, it was Lancashire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and Middlesex the most consistent teams, with Devon and Durham pretty good as well. Gloucestershire is no surprise, as it united Gloucester and Bristol, but it is impressive how good Lancashire kept being strong after 1895. I checked and Sale wasn't part of Lancashire, they are Cheshire (3 times champions, btw). Warwickshire is remarkable as in most of its titles the squad was basicaly Coventry RFC. In the other hand, Somerset (Bath) and Leicestershire lack of achivements (only 1 title each) is striking.

I saw some of the squads and it looks like that in fact players were selected by birthplace instead of the location of the club. Is that right? Or both criterea were valid?
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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Mon, 03 Aug 2020, 07:09

I don't know exactly how it works, but as a child to be selected to play for your county is a huge achievement. And these are old counties, like Middlesex, which now only exists for sport. In the world of amateur sport they still have significance. I don't think people often switch counties, just as players wouldn't switch countries if there was no money involved. So, I think, if you play for a Lancashire club growing up and are selected to play for Lancashire, then play for a top Cheshire club as an adult, you would still play for Lancashire not Cheshire if selected.

The Cornwall county team is still seen as a Cornish national team by the Cornish, much more so than Cornish Pirates which is a professional club. Cornwall gets bigger crowds than Cornish Pirates. Pirates is quite a silly brand, like Exeter Chiefs. It's rather childish. Both are influenced by Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up. It would be very mature of both teams if they rebranded together. But we both know that's not going to happen.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Figaro » Mon, 03 Aug 2020, 08:25

victorsra wrote:By "regional" I mean counties (England), provinces (Ireland, NZ, SA, Argentina, Canada), states (Australia), regions (Wales), districts (Scotland, Fiji), autonomous communities (Spain), etc, representation according to each country's political geography


The Welsh regions aren't really based on political geography. I mean they do follow some of the local authority borders but those are pretty arbitrary themselves and there's no particular reason Bridgend for example is lumped in with the Ospreys rather than the Blues.

Regionalisation based on historic counties is not possible in Wales because one county (Glamorgan) has about 50 percent of the population.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby sk 88 » Mon, 03 Aug 2020, 08:57

victorsra wrote:By "regional" I mean counties (England), provinces (Ireland, NZ, SA, Argentina, Canada), states (Australia), regions (Wales), districts (Scotland, Fiji), autonomous communities (Spain), etc, representation according to each country's political geography...

It is interesting to see the counties that dominated the competition before the creation of the league (1987).
Apart from Yorkshire's dominance before the 1895 schism, it was Lancashire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and Middlesex the most consistent teams, with Devon and Durham pretty good as well. Gloucestershire is no surprise, as it united Gloucester and Bristol, but it is impressive how good Lancashire kept being strong after 1895. I checked and Sale wasn't part of Lancashire, they are Cheshire (3 times champions, btw). Warwickshire is remarkable as in most of its titles the squad was basicaly Coventry RFC. In the other hand, Somerset (Bath) and Leicestershire lack of achivements (only 1 title each) is striking.

I saw some of the squads and it looks like that in fact players were selected by birthplace instead of the location of the club. Is that right? Or both criterea were valid?


You could be selected by birth, school or current club. Possibly employment too. It was not exactly strict.

It was never a particularly big thing. Cornwall brought lots of fans in the 90s twice but that was about it. Coventry were probably the best side in the country in the 60s & 70s and as the teams show the "county" championship was a de facto club side with occasional players from Nuneaton or Rugby.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Mon, 03 Aug 2020, 09:19

Figaro wrote:
victorsra wrote:By "regional" I mean counties (England), provinces (Ireland, NZ, SA, Argentina, Canada), states (Australia), regions (Wales), districts (Scotland, Fiji), autonomous communities (Spain), etc, representation according to each country's political geography


The Welsh regions aren't really based on political geography. I mean they do follow some of the local authority borders but those are pretty arbitrary themselves and there's no particular reason Bridgend for example is lumped in with the Ospreys rather than the Blues.

Regionalisation based on historic counties is not possible in Wales because one county (Glamorgan) has about 50 percent of the population.


The WRU took a very vague term "regions" and stretched it to its logical limit. I call the Welsh Pro clubs what they are, Pro clubs or pro teams.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby RugbyLiebe » Mon, 03 Aug 2020, 11:23

Chester-Donnelly wrote:The Cornwall county team is still seen as a Cornish national team by the Cornish, much more so than Cornish Pirates which is a professional club. Cornwall gets bigger crowds than Cornish Pirates. Pirates is quite a silly brand, like Exeter Chiefs. It's rather childish. Both are influenced by Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up. It would be very mature of both teams if they rebranded together. But we both know that's not going to happen.


Wasn't Cornwall a region with a lot of piracy in the past? Or in general wasn't the British Empire build on piracy in various ways? You don't really need Peter Pan to justify a team being named Pirates with that history in mind.
Apart from that I don't really see this often proclaimed big supports in numbers. In the 90ies a Saxonian small town ice-hockey team called Crimmitschau (if you don't know it, I didn't as well) had an average attendance of 6000 in the second ice-hockey Bundesliga despite the town just having 20k inhabitants. The region is called jokingly Little-Canada for its ice-hockey love. They still have around 2500 today, despite never being able to field a team competing for the promotion and funwise are called Ice-Pirates today.
I think those past numbers are numbers of real support, while the Cornish Pirates probably only in very good seasons beating 3k.
So do you have a source for Cornwall and Cornish pirates attendances? Happy to change my mind on this one.
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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Mon, 03 Aug 2020, 13:02

RugbyLiebe wrote:
Chester-Donnelly wrote:The Cornwall county team is still seen as a Cornish national team by the Cornish, much more so than Cornish Pirates which is a professional club. Cornwall gets bigger crowds than Cornish Pirates. Pirates is quite a silly brand, like Exeter Chiefs. It's rather childish. Both are influenced by Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up. It would be very mature of both teams if they rebranded together. But we both know that's not going to happen.


Wasn't Cornwall a region with a lot of piracy in the past? Or in general wasn't the British Empire build on piracy in various ways? You don't really need Peter Pan to justify a team being named Pirates with that history in mind.
Apart from that I don't really see this often proclaimed big supports in numbers. In the 90ies a Saxonian small town ice-hockey team called Crimmitschau (if you don't know it, I didn't as well) had an average attendance of 6000 in the second ice-hockey Bundesliga despite the town just having 20k inhabitants. The region is called jokingly Little-Canada for its ice-hockey love. They still have around 2500 today, despite never being able to field a team competing for the promotion and funwise are called Ice-Pirates today.
I think those past numbers are numbers of real support, while the Cornish Pirates probably only in very good seasons beating 3k.
So do you have a source for Cornwall and Cornish pirates attendances? Happy to change my mind on this one.


Yes the early British empire was built on piracy, and then slavery. Should we be glorifying these horrible things? Should Bristol Bears be named Bristol Slave Merchants? The pirates were real horrible people with real victims. Chicago has a history of organised crime. Why don't they have a sports team called the Chicago Mobsters?
Pirates are made out to be characterized bad guys. If Big Chief is a bad mascot, so is Captain Benbow. There is no positive aspect to piracy. And like slavery, piracy still goes on. There are modern day victims of piracy.

In terms of Cornwall vs Cornish Pirates, it's quite difficult to compare them fairly. It's like comparing Cardiff Blues to Wales. Cornwall plays one or two home games each year and often a final at Twickenham. Cornish Pirates play league and cup games. I don't think they've ever been to Twickenham. Cornish Pirates have season ticket holders. They generally have crowds of about 1,600 but can get nearly 3,000 once or twice a season. Cornwall home games attendances vary quite a lot but are comparable to the Pirates. 2012 RFU Championship final first leg in Cornwall attracted 4k fans. 2013 County Championship final at Twickenham attracted over 10k Cornish supporters. I'm getting all of this information from English language Wikipedia.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Figaro » Mon, 03 Aug 2020, 13:15

Yeah it's really hard to compare occasional exhibition matches - which often have very cheap tickets incidentally, or even free - with regular season games. I don't know how much a Corwnall county game costs but I bet it's a lot less than seeing the Pirates play professional league rugby.

Especially when you're talking about games at a national venue like Twickenham. How many of the punters are actually Cornish people who made the trip to support "their team", and how many are random London students enticed with a half price ticket and the promise of beer and a fun day out?

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Figaro » Mon, 03 Aug 2020, 13:18

Chester-Donnelly wrote:
Figaro wrote:
victorsra wrote:By "regional" I mean counties (England), provinces (Ireland, NZ, SA, Argentina, Canada), states (Australia), regions (Wales), districts (Scotland, Fiji), autonomous communities (Spain), etc, representation according to each country's political geography


The Welsh regions aren't really based on political geography. I mean they do follow some of the local authority borders but those are pretty arbitrary themselves and there's no particular reason Bridgend for example is lumped in with the Ospreys rather than the Blues.

Regionalisation based on historic counties is not possible in Wales because one county (Glamorgan) has about 50 percent of the population.


The WRU took a very vague term "regions" and stretched it to its logical limit. I call the Welsh Pro clubs what they are, Pro clubs or pro teams.


I always maintain a genuine regional system could have been implemented here, but was sacrificed to the interests of the existing clubs. There are regional identities in Wales, but two of the places with the strongest regional identities don't have a regional side (the Valleys and the North).

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby victorsra » Mon, 03 Aug 2020, 14:23

I'd like state teams in Brazil as well. We lost this culture but it once existed here. As Brazil is too big, the national football championship was created only in 1959. Before that, we had State Representative Teams. São Paulo vs Rio was a big thing at the point to influence the Brazilian national teams with boycotts from one side. Rugby had an annual SP vs Rio trophy as well, from 1926 to 1963.
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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Thomas » Sat, 08 Aug 2020, 11:52

England Rugby in Stage 3 from today

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby ihateblazers » Tue, 11 Aug 2020, 03:49

victorsra wrote:What's the reason you believe pro rugby is not appealing to its own amateur community?


Sorry, got caught up. A lack of an emotional connection due to amateurism and a preference for participation rather than spectating. The amateur ideals influenced that a lot.

I also think that a perceived lack of quality/entertainment value is also a factor.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby ihateblazers » Tue, 11 Aug 2020, 03:52

Figaro wrote:
Chester-Donnelly wrote:
Figaro wrote:
victorsra wrote:By "regional" I mean counties (England), provinces (Ireland, NZ, SA, Argentina, Canada), states (Australia), regions (Wales), districts (Scotland, Fiji), autonomous communities (Spain), etc, representation according to each country's political geography


The Welsh regions aren't really based on political geography. I mean they do follow some of the local authority borders but those are pretty arbitrary themselves and there's no particular reason Bridgend for example is lumped in with the Ospreys rather than the Blues.

Regionalisation based on historic counties is not possible in Wales because one county (Glamorgan) has about 50 percent of the population.


The WRU took a very vague term "regions" and stretched it to its logical limit. I call the Welsh Pro clubs what they are, Pro clubs or pro teams.


I always maintain a genuine regional system could have been implemented here, but was sacrificed to the interests of the existing clubs. There are regional identities in Wales, but two of the places with the strongest regional identities don't have a regional side (the Valleys and the North).


I don’t really know if it would have made a large difference in Wales. A lot of the old amateur club supporters who like watching rugby for the sake of watching seem to have transferred to the regional game, the attendance seem to be largely the same if not a bit of an increase. I think that club supporters would have whinged and moaned regardless of the regional identities.

They haven’t been able to build on the fan base from the amateur era, that’s the biggest issue for me. The youth don’t care about pro rugby, club or region only internationals. The lack of innovation from rugby union in terms of marketing and fan engagement has been a big factor imo. The attitude prevails that as long as the national team is doing well who cares about the growth and viability of the pro game, until there are serious financial issues as we have seen recently. Never a real plan to make it a success and to compete for the hearts and minds of fans.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby ihateblazers » Tue, 11 Aug 2020, 05:24

Tobar wrote:


Wonder if South Africa will indeed send all of their clubs northward and how many the Pro14 would be willing to accept. They’d certainly have to can the Kings and Cheetahs to add the better clubs.

If they add a net 3 clubs from South Africa then we have the Pro17. How likely is it that we start to see conference play come into effect? Surely they will have to limit the number of times a club has to travel north/south for matches. The Saffas may not care because it’s a better travel deal than Super Rugby but the rest of the unions surely would.

Then this begs the question - is it still possible to host the rugby championship? Does South Africa join the six nations instead? Can they manage a much longer season, both for player welfare and weather in South Africa? How does the Champions Cup get reformatted?


I’m also wondering about what’s going to happen to South Africa.

Would joining the Pro 14 actually benefit them financially? I have doubts about the European Cup as well, it’s not exactly a lucrative competition in itself. The two South African sides in the Pro 14 was a very pragmatic decision to get those 2 fully pro teams into another competition when there is no other within South Africa (currie cup in its current form does not count).

Maybe the best would be to go down the domestic route of a South African Premier League/Currie Cup whilst competing in a Super Rugby Cup. Really don’t see the attraction of European money because it doesn’t exist. Could position itself as the shining light of Africa perhaps.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Tue, 11 Aug 2020, 07:07

ihateblazers wrote:
Tobar wrote:


Wonder if South Africa will indeed send all of their clubs northward and how many the Pro14 would be willing to accept. They’d certainly have to can the Kings and Cheetahs to add the better clubs.

If they add a net 3 clubs from South Africa then we have the Pro17. How likely is it that we start to see conference play come into effect? Surely they will have to limit the number of times a club has to travel north/south for matches. The Saffas may not care because it’s a better travel deal than Super Rugby but the rest of the unions surely would.

Then this begs the question - is it still possible to host the rugby championship? Does South Africa join the six nations instead? Can they manage a much longer season, both for player welfare and weather in South Africa? How does the Champions Cup get reformatted?


I’m also wondering about what’s going to happen to South Africa.

Would joining the Pro 14 actually benefit them financially? I have doubts about the European Cup as well, it’s not exactly a lucrative competition in itself. The two South African sides in the Pro 14 was a very pragmatic decision to get those 2 fully pro teams into another competition when there is no other within South Africa (currie cup in its current form does not count).

Maybe the best would be to go down the domestic route of a South African Premier League/Currie Cup whilst competing in a Super Rugby Cup. Really don’t see the attraction of European money because it doesn’t exist. Could position itself as the shining light of Africa perhaps.


The Currie Cup, in its current short format, is 10 week tournament played in the middle of the South African rugby season. I think that has commercial value for broadcasters in Europe because it's in the right time zone and it's on when there's no rugby being played in Europe.

More South African teams in the Pro 14 is not the way forward in my opinion, because someone has to play in the wrong season. June, July, August in Europe, and December, January, February in South Africa are not suitable for playing rugby, and people like to watch summer sports at those times.

I think all parties should take another look at this proposed "rainbow cup" from 2005, to be played at the end of the South African season and the start of the European season.

https://www.wru.wales/2005/05/rainbow-cup-planned/

There would be a requirement for a competition at the start of the South African rugby season March to June, so I think an 6 team South African Super Rugby Championship with 2 teams qualifying for the 8 team Super tournament proposed by Australia would be the best way to start the season.

6 team Super Rugby - 8 team Currie Cup - 16 team Rainbow Cup (4 from South Africa)

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby victorsra » Wed, 12 Aug 2020, 17:32

So, this the end of Aussie NRC as we know https://www.rugby.com.au/news/2020/08/1 ... p-2021-nrc
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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Wed, 12 Aug 2020, 18:17

victorsra wrote:So, this the end of Aussie NRC as we know https://www.rugby.com.au/news/2020/08/1 ... p-2021-nrc


Ah yes this confirms it. From a Fijian Drua perspective, maybe the start of season A team competition might be something they could join in with.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby TheStroBro » Wed, 12 Aug 2020, 19:53

victorsra wrote:So, this the end of Aussie NRC as we know https://www.rugby.com.au/news/2020/08/1 ... p-2021-nrc


Kind of dumb in a sense. Who is going to fund the travel in a National Club Competition? NRC was supposed to be like the Mitre 10 and Currie Cup, now you lose a minor league bridge. The problem being that Australia never aligned it like that, and then again NZ is attempting to make the M10 Cup an amateur product now.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby victorsra » Wed, 12 Aug 2020, 20:07

According to the article, if I haven't misread it, they want like a cup with 5 state winners at least. Maybe they are thinking about South Africa's Gold Cup model?
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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby NaBUru38 » Wed, 12 Aug 2020, 21:13

There's a huge gap between an Australian club and an Australian Super Rugby team.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Working Class Rugger » Thu, 13 Aug 2020, 01:12

TheStroBro wrote:
victorsra wrote:So, this the end of Aussie NRC as we know https://www.rugby.com.au/news/2020/08/1 ... p-2021-nrc


Kind of dumb in a sense. Who is going to fund the travel in a National Club Competition? NRC was supposed to be like the Mitre 10 and Currie Cup, now you lose a minor league bridge. The problem being that Australia never aligned it like that, and then again NZ is attempting to make the M10 Cup an amateur product now.
The broadcaster will likely help pick up the tab for teams competing in terms of travel etc. Much like the NRC.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby thatrugbyguy » Thu, 13 Aug 2020, 03:21

Not sure how I feel about it to be honest. Would need to see a better breakdown of the proposal.

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