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Post by Chunky Norwich on Wed 18 Jul 2012, 12:20 pm

30 Nov, 1/2 Dec
Ospreys v Blues Liberty Stadium
Scarlets v Ulster Parc y Scarlets
Treviso v Dragons Stadio di Monigo
1 Dec
Wales v Australia

Can anybody see who is going to benefit from this disgraceful greed by the WRU to play this fixture? The regions need to get out of this ludicrous participation agreement asap, because it has a rancid stranglehold on them, resorting in the top 2 competitions they compete in being compromised.

Disgraceful.

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Post by gowales on Wed 18 Jul 2012, 12:29 pm

This is ridiculous. It completely makes a mockory of the league and the regions.
It isn't all greed though, Gatland wants us to play against the top sides as much as possible every year. Maybe the WRU should try and negotiate with the RaboDirect more, although i realise that they don't really have much of an argument...

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Post by ScarletSpiderman on Wed 18 Jul 2012, 12:38 pm

The regions signed up to the deal with the WRU to allow them to play a fourth AI in order for extra funding. I am usually one of hte first to say the WRU are shaftng the regions, but to be fair to them the regions and WRU agreeed to it, so lets not whinge too much.

And to be fair looking at the fixtures that weekend it is not too bad for the OSpreys or Blues as they will probably be missing about the same amount to the national squad. The Dragons are probably going to be most put out by this as Treviso are getting more and more awkward, especially when playing out in Italy. And to be honest the Scarlets lost out to Ulster away last season because of the Australia fixture being squeezed in, so we will deal with it.

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Post by Chunky Norwich on Wed 18 Jul 2012, 12:43 pm

ScarletSpiderman wrote:The regions signed up to the deal with the WRU to allow them to play a fourth AI in order for extra funding. I am usually one of hte first to say the WRU are shaftng the regions, but to be fair to them the regions and WRU agreeed to it, so lets not whinge too much.

Hence why I mentioned the pa. Roll on 2014, they should never have signed up to this disgrace.

And to be fair looking at the fixtures that weekend it is not too bad for the OSpreys or Blues as they will probably be missing about the same amount to the national squad. The Dragons are probably going to be most put out by this as Treviso are getting more and more awkward, especially when playing out in Italy. And to be honest the Scarlets lost out to Ulster away last season because of the Australia fixture being squeezed in, so we will deal with it.


How do you figure the Dragons will miss out most? They'll lose 3 players and play Treviso. The Scarlets will lose about 7 or 8 and play the HC Finalists.

Last season showed that this extra international completely fouls up the next 2 rounds of the Heineken Cup for the welsh regions. I'd rather my team had a balanced, well oiled side going into those HCup rounds with a chance to make more money from the knockout stages of Europe.


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Post by ScarletSpiderman on Wed 18 Jul 2012, 1:46 pm

Chunky Norwich wrote:Hence why I mentioned the pa. Roll on 2014

Where did you mention that?

Chunky Norwich wrote:How do you figure the Dragons will miss out most? They'll lose 3 players and play Treviso. The Scarlets will lose about 7 or 8 and play the HC Finalists.

Because the Dragons would be expecting to beat Treviso away with a full strenght side, however with a weaker side the Dragons may well come unstuck in Italy. After all the experiece of Lydiate and Toby in the back row will be very improtant this season with Charteris, Brew and Gav Thomas all gone too.

The Scarlets however would have a tight arm wrestle with Ulster full team or weaker team. Also we have pretty good strength in depth in the postions that we are likely to be missing sue to the internationals. On top of that Ulster will probably be expected to ease their Irish internationals back in, so they will probably either be bench options or taken off early on in the second half.
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Post by Kingshu on Wed 18 Jul 2012, 2:02 pm

I don't think it makes a Micky Mouse League, but it does make it harder for the regions, however the Irish rest periods of easing them back in, and the one I hate over the christmas period when the Derbies take place.

Basically you need Squad depth to win in this league, that doesn't make it poorer. Instead it improves it, teams are no longer looking to buy star players to have in there team, (something the English wage structure will generate) but instad are focassed on building a squad with a squad mentalty).



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Post by ScarletSpiderman on Wed 18 Jul 2012, 2:03 pm

Kingshu - Leinster stuffed hte rest of us last season with their second string side (then tehir first string side lost) just to prove that it is strength in depth that counts
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Post by Feckless Rogue on Wed 18 Jul 2012, 2:37 pm

At the end of the day, maybe this extra fixture is a financial necessity for Welsh rugby and not just for the heck of it. There's no doubt it has a negative impact on the regions though.
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Post by Smirnoffpriest on Wed 18 Jul 2012, 2:53 pm

The regions definately need the extra money the new participation agreement provides and the WRU is definately making good use of the extra money generated to pay off debts and invest bigger and bigger amounts into regional and grass roots rugby.

But what annoys me is that last season the December Oz game effectively hamstrung the regions in Europe and dented them in the league, and this one may do the same in Europe. This is at a time when we really need our regions to be challenging in Europe to capture the imagination of the fans/potential fans but instead we get our players taken away/squads disrupted in the rounds before the HEC back to backs.

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Post by Chunky Norwich on Thu 19 Jul 2012, 12:03 pm

ScarletSpiderman wrote:

Where did you mention that?


In the opening post.


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Post by Chunky Norwich on Thu 19 Jul 2012, 12:04 pm

Smirnoffpriest wrote: the WRU is definately making good use of the extra money generated to pay off debts and invest bigger and bigger amounts into regional and grass roots rugby.

Where is the evidence of this?

Each region gets circa £1.5m a year. That is a urine take considering the WRU gets the elite players for circa 66% of the games played.

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Post by Smirnoffpriest on Thu 19 Jul 2012, 12:14 pm

Well it's a lot more than they got in previous agreements, and the WRU are investing more in the academies

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Post by Chunky Norwich on Thu 19 Jul 2012, 12:17 pm

Smirnoffpriest wrote:Well it's a lot more than they got in previous agreements, and the WRU are investing more in the academies

Of course it's more. Couldn't be any less.

It's still nowhere enar what the regions deserve for only getting their players for a third of the season. As for the academeis, I thought they were equal funded by region and WRU?

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Post by HammerofThunor on Thu 19 Jul 2012, 12:20 pm

Any idea how much of the money from the WRU is generated by the regions in the HEC? How much of it is from this extra international fixture? How much of it is from revenue generated by internationals in the window?

The IRFU get around 5M euroes from the ERC each year [when the deal was last done in 2007] (about £4M). So that's £1M for each region just from Europe (which you could argue the regions deserve anyway because it's their teams involved.

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Post by Chunky Norwich on Thu 19 Jul 2012, 12:25 pm

HammerofThunor wrote:Any idea how much of the more from the WRU is generated by the regions in the HEC? How much of it is from this fixture? How much of it is from revenue generated by internationals in the window?

The IRFU get around 5M euroes from the ERC each year (about £4M). So that's £1M each just from Europe (which you could argue the regions deserve anyway because it's their teams involved.

Exactly.

Someone estimated that the extra fixture generates around £250,000 - £300,000 for each Welsh region. I don't know if that's true.

In the last three years, Jamie Roberts has played 32 internationals and 34 club games.

Yet his region pays him approximately 95% of his earnings.

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Post by gowales on Thu 19 Jul 2012, 12:27 pm

There is a definite problem there Chunky, you can't really blame the regions for being upset either. I don't think Central contracts will help the situation since the WRU will have more control.

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Post by Chunky Norwich on Thu 19 Jul 2012, 12:31 pm

gowales wrote:There is a definite problem there Chunky, you can't really blame the regions for being upset either. I don't think Central contracts will help the situation since the WRU will have more control.

Central Contracts isn't the answer. Top Up Contracts is.

ie - Jamie Roberts will be paid 65% by his country and 35% by his region. As will all members of the 30 strong "elite" group of players.

Where will the money come from?

Well, if the WRU can afford to offer £10million for Cardiff Arms Park - then they can afford to right the rancid wrongs that they have created in our domestic game.

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Post by gowales on Thu 19 Jul 2012, 12:35 pm

Yea that sounds right.
There were talks of that happening with Cuthbert this year or the year after weren't there?
I suspect if it doesn't happen sometime soon the regions will group together and stop paying the Welsh international wages.

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Post by HammerofThunor on Thu 19 Jul 2012, 12:37 pm

Chunky Norwich wrote:
gowales wrote:There is a definite problem there Chunky, you can't really blame the regions for being upset either. I don't think Central contracts will help the situation since the WRU will have more control.

Central Contracts isn't the answer. Top Up Contracts is.

ie - Jamie Roberts will be paid 65% by his country and 35% by his region. As will all members of the 30 strong "elite" group of players.

Where will the money come from?

Well, if the WRU can afford to offer £10million for Cardiff Arms Park - then they can afford to right the rancid wrongs that they have created in our domestic game.

One of the difficult things about that is what do you do about players not in Wales. Effectively the WRU will be paying players more for being internationals than if they're in France or England. Since it's going to the player instead of the club it could cause legal confoundings. The other option would be to give the region the compensation based on each player. That way the regions will be able to offer the players more money to stay and would want to as they would lose the extra money if they go. However then you could see the situation where a couple of the regions could have more money to buy up all the best Welsh players.

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Post by Chunky Norwich on Thu 19 Jul 2012, 12:38 pm

gowales wrote:Yea that sounds right.
There were talks of that happening with Cuthbert this year or the year after weren't there?
I suspect if it doesn't happen sometime soon the regions will group together and stop paying the Welsh international wages.

The PA is up for renegotiation in 2014. I'd like to think that the WRU would extend an olive branch after the PWC report comes out and do a deal to keep the players in Wales.

But I wouldn't be surprised. Roger Lewis would kill all new born kittens if it meant reducing the WRU debt by a tenner.


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Post by HammerofThunor on Thu 19 Jul 2012, 12:41 pm

Weren't a couple of the regions behind the English and French clubs in the HEC matter? They may try and use the oppotunity to get direct payments for the HEC rather than second hand from the WRU. They already have a member of the RRW on the ERC board.

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Post by Chunky Norwich on Thu 19 Jul 2012, 12:44 pm

HammerofThunor wrote:

One of the difficult things about that is what do you do about players not in Wales. Effectively the WRU will be paying players more for being internationals than if they're in France or England.

How's that? The players playing in France would still probably get more in the first instance.

Since it's going to the player instead of the club it could cause legal confoundings.

How?

The other option would be to give the region the compensation based on each player. That way the regions will be able to offer the players more money to stay and would want to as they would lose the extra money if they go. However then you could see the situation where a couple of the regions could have more money to buy up all the best Welsh players.

That also won't work because if the WRU give Region X £1m. for the 7 players they have in the elite squad, the region might use it to pay just 2 players £500k each.

Better to top up each players original contract. Then renegotiate when contract is up. The WRU has the money available to keep these players in Wales. (next season i think Halfpenny, Warburton Brad Davies' contracts are up)

If the WRU wants to have the entire Wales team playing in France and only being available for 5 days training before a test and not 13 days - then change nothing.

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Post by HammerofThunor on Thu 19 Jul 2012, 12:54 pm

Ok, let's say that for the Wales squad players the WRU give the players £Xk to cover their salary during the international periods which is significantly more than they were getting for playing internationals already. Let's say that this works out as about 65% of the salary previously so the regions only have to stump up 35% to top up their pay to the same amount it was previously.

What happens with the players in the French? No extra release time, the clubs have to release them in the window. Do you give them the same amount as you were giving the players based in Wales (i.e. 65% of their previous salary)? If not those players could easily say that the WRU are paying players more for playing for Wales if they lived in Wales. Do you reckon that would stand up in court? Baring in mind this pay is to the player and therefore you can't say you're compensating the club for their lost time.

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Post by Feckless Rogue on Thu 19 Jul 2012, 12:59 pm

I remember hearing that 80% of the IRFU's income is from the test team. For Wales it's probably an even higher percentage from the test team.
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Post by Chunky Norwich on Thu 19 Jul 2012, 1:10 pm

HammerofThunor wrote:

What happens with the players in the French? No extra release time, the clubs have to release them in the window. Do you give them the same amount as you were giving the players based in Wales (i.e. 65% of their previous salary)?

No. You don't give them anything apart from appearance fees.

This is a solution not just to Welsh region's finances. Not just to Welsh region's performance. But also to the player drain.

If not those players could easily say that the WRU are paying players more for playing for Wales if they lived in Wales. Do you reckon that would stand up in court? Baring in mind this pay is to the player and therefore you can't say you're compensating the club for their lost time.

1. )The players based in France are going there for the money. It is highly unlikely that they will complain if they are getting paid more than players based in Wales.

2. )Why can an organisation(s) not pay it's employees what theyw ant? As long as it's above the minimum wage? If a player in France doesn't like his salary, then he can move. Back to Wales, or not play for Wales at all.

Although over time, as a players stock increases, he'll be wanting a higher salary or he'll go to France. This is where the WRU pays him £100k more if they wnt to keep him.

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Post by HammerofThunor on Thu 19 Jul 2012, 3:16 pm

True, but all it takes if for one player to take it to the european courts sayin he is paid less to represent his country than someone who is based in Wales and they'll rule against it (almost certainly). Whether that would ever happen is another question. Hopefully not, but the WRU would be leaving themselves open to it and their lawyers may suggest against it.

Given that the WRU seems to be making plenty of money (apparantly) and that all the of the HEC money goes straight to them I'd say the WRU has to do something. The Scottish teams are going to have £4.25M spent on salaries each (either this coming season or next). The Regions should be at least similar.

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Post by wayne on Thu 19 Jul 2012, 7:34 pm

Chunky Norwich wrote:
gowales wrote:Yea that sounds right.
There were talks of that happening with Cuthbert this year or the year after weren't there?
I suspect if it doesn't happen sometime soon the regions will group together and stop paying the Welsh international wages.

The PA is up for renegotiation in 2014. I'd like to think that the WRU would extend an olive branch after the PWC report comes out and do a deal to keep the players in Wales.

But I wouldn't be surprised. Roger Lewis would kill all new born kittens if it meant reducing the WRU debt by a tenner.

When the PA is up for renewal, if the next PA can not be agreed, this PA is automatically extended for the next 4 years

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Post by HammerofThunor on Thu 19 Jul 2012, 9:58 pm

wayne wrote:
Chunky Norwich wrote:
gowales wrote:Yea that sounds right.
There were talks of that happening with Cuthbert this year or the year after weren't there?
I suspect if it doesn't happen sometime soon the regions will group together and stop paying the Welsh international wages.

The PA is up for renegotiation in 2014. I'd like to think that the WRU would extend an olive branch after the PWC report comes out and do a deal to keep the players in Wales.

But I wouldn't be surprised. Roger Lewis would kill all new born kittens if it meant reducing the WRU debt by a tenner.

When the PA is up for renewal, if the next PA can not be agreed, this PA is automatically extended for the next 4 years

That can't be right. It would mean one party couldn't pull out of the current agreement. So if the WRU has the regions shafted they can only shaft them more.

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Post by HammerofThunor on Thu 19 Jul 2012, 10:06 pm

The Participation Agreement and the Rugby Charter will effectively shape the elite game in Wales to 2014 and will continue for a further five years on the same terms at the option of the Regions.

http://www.wru.co.uk/eng/news/8688.php

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Post by Notch on Thu 19 Jul 2012, 10:35 pm

This could work out alright for Ulster then, makes a difficult away game in Llanelli a bit easier in theory.

As for the salary situation, can't help but think the WRU and regions have dropped the ball completely. Our wage bills in Ireland are a lot lower because of central contracts. The provinces pay guys like Ferris and O'Connell a fairly average base wage and the majority of their wages come from the IRFU directly. With the regions running into financial trouble I can't believe they're paying for players they don't have available. Somethings got to give.

Of course, Wales not having central contracts gives them a different kind of advantage over Ireland when it comes to selection. But thats one for a different topic...
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Post by Intotouch on Sat 21 Jul 2012, 1:16 pm

I don't get this. The WRU have paid off the Millenium stadium ( I think) and are financially comfortable. They should be in a position to help the regions properly now, and instead they give them a tiny amount of money and take the players at a time that could screw up their league.

For rugby to thrive in Wales people need to support the pro game. This is critical. It's obvious! The WRU have got to do more to help the regions. Do they want a situation where the national side have to support the whole of rugby union in Wales? It's impossible.

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Post by Smirnoffpriest on Sat 21 Jul 2012, 1:25 pm

The WRU are still paying off for the MS, what they have done is reduced costs and increased revenue so they have paid off (or almost paid off) the crippling debt they had. As a result they are investing the highest amounts ever into grass roots rugby and the regions.

Their next plan is to reintroduce the A team and develop the RGC1404 North Wales region and introduce it into the Welsh prem. I imagine after this they'll look at some sort of international wage top up or central contracting/bonuses to regions for international player loss.

I agree with everything everyone says about the damage done to the regions by loosing their international players for huge chunks of the season, and the fact that the best players (Roberts, North, JD2, Warbs, Geth) invariably come back from duty injured and knackered. This hugely damages any European aspirations and (unless you have/had a squad the size of the Ospreys) league campaign as well.

But at the same time it's complicated, as if the WRU invest £4-5m to each region, or contract ALL of the Welsh internationals then they may well slip back into the huge debt they had 10 years ago and won't be able to invest in grass roots and the academies, meaning less exciting youngsters coming through and weaker regions/national team.

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Post by Shifty on Sat 21 Jul 2012, 3:30 pm

The regions actually were the ones who created this situation they went cap in hand to the WRU and told them they could not afford professional rugby with the funding the WRU had, and the WRU told them if they wanted more money then Wales would have to play more games.

With any luck this game won't interfere with the Heinaken Cup in the way last years game did, as the Shane Williams goodbye game pretty much wrecked a few of the regions chances in Europe.
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Post by ScarletSpiderman on Sun 22 Jul 2012, 9:00 am

Shifty wrote:The regions actually were the ones who created this situation they went cap in hand to the WRU and told them they could not afford professional rugby with the funding the WRU had, and the WRU told them if they wanted more money then Wales would have to play more games.

With any luck this game won't interfere with the Heinaken Cup in the way last years game did, as the Shane Williams goodbye game pretty much wrecked a few of the regions chances in Europe.

And the loss against Ulster (which would have been a win with a full team) was the difference between making the Rabo play-offs or not for the Scarlets
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Post by Chunky Norwich on Wed 01 Aug 2012, 2:09 pm

Shifty wrote:The regions actually were the ones who created this situation they went cap in hand to the WRU and told them they could not afford professional rugby

Why do you think that is?

Because the WRU nick their best players for 60% of the season and the regions get paid peanuts for the privelage.

So when you say "the regions are the ones who created this situation", you are of course, 100% incorrect.

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Post by ScarletSpiderman on Wed 01 Aug 2012, 2:16 pm

Chunky Norwich wrote:
Shifty wrote:The regions actually were the ones who created this situation they went cap in hand to the WRU and told them they could not afford professional rugby

Why do you think that is?

Because the WRU nick their best players for 60% of the season and the regions get paid peanuts for the privelage.

So when you say "the regions are the ones who created this situation", you are of course, 100% incorrect.

I think it all depends on if your region then national, or the other way around.

From a regional first point of view, the WRU have entered us into the LV= Anglo-Welsh Cup and have also dumped another international fixture on us, so we didn't go cap in hand to the WRU asking for money, we asked for a fair cut of the money they are earning from our players. From International first and formost point of view, the regions were set up to develope international players, and they are paid to do so. They then beg for more money, so the fourth international is needed. I think it is a bit of both to be fair.

However the fact of hte matter is that both regions and WRU have agreed with it, and until the new participation agreement is drawn up (which may take a while with the HEC issues etc) we are stuck with it. Fingers crossed the WRU will pick a 23 man squad, and then release the rest back to the regions asap.
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Post by Chunky Norwich on Wed 01 Aug 2012, 2:22 pm

ScarletSpiderman wrote: From International first and formost point of view, the regions were set up to develope international players, and they are paid to do so.

They are not paid nearly enough to compensate the loss of earnings ensued by the loss of players to test rugby.

They then beg for more money, so the fourth international is needed. I think it is a bit of both to be fair.

If the WRU's strategy was long term and fair, then this wouldn't be the case.

But It's short termist and unviable.

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Post by ScarletSpiderman on Wed 01 Aug 2012, 3:17 pm

Chunky - I aint saying that was my view point, just the two sides to the arguement.
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Post by Smirnoffpriest on Wed 01 Aug 2012, 6:49 pm

As SS says the regions asked for a re-negotiation of the deal, and then agreed to the current deal.

I'm sure there will be lots of negotiation when the current deal is up, but until then neither party can do anything

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