How has professionalism changed rugby?

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How has professionalism changed rugby? Empty How has professionalism changed rugby?

Post by kiakahaaotearoa on Tue 04 Jun 2013, 12:51 pm

The 1995 RWC concluded and rugby came closer to a rugby league like split than many would like to admit to.

When I think of the provincial or club scene, it differs a long way from the reality of today. Domestic competitions were much stronger but there was not much emphasis on international club matches. Have we gone too far in the other extreme now?

When I think of the way tours were set up, there seemed to be less frequency of matches between certain countries and a greater variety of matches. Does this hold true?

When I think about training and the physical composition of players is there still room for variety in the professional era?

Defences have improved but have attacks suffered as a result?

Has discipline become more of an issue as players earn higher amounts or did the amateur era have crazier stories to tell and we read about the modern breakdowns because we expect more of our players?

Have we reached a stage with so much rugby being played that some players feel they can pick and choose when to play their best rugby?

I don't wish for this thread to be seen as a nostalgic look about the amateur days and how the coin has ruined our game. I'm just curious as to how you think the game has changed. I look at the fixture list for this month and salivate at the prospect of all the rugby on offer. We often pick out the legendary games of the era but I suspect we'd be up in arms about some of the dirge served up before the days of instant media and chat forums.

I was reading an article about how multi million contracts made it difficult for some players to have a team spirit. Whether you agree with that or not has professionalism changed the rugby spirit of camaraderie and gentlemen playing a hooligan game? Or do we risk losing that if players get paid more?

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Post by RubyGuby on Tue 04 Jun 2013, 12:52 pm

Most of our players no longer go North which is the biggest thing for us - We are now able to compete after 15 years of wilderness with 3rd strength teams thumbsup

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Post by kiakahaaotearoa on Tue 04 Jun 2013, 12:58 pm

I have no issue with the game going professional except for one thing. I envision a clash between club and international rugby down the line where the respective interests don't coincide and where international rugby might be harmed outside the major tournaments similar to what has happened to football. We're not there yet but if we continue down this path, it looks likely.

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 04 Jun 2013, 1:12 pm

If everyone had smart phones in 1989, can you imagine the antics that would have been recorded on that Lions tour? The modern, professional rugby player is rather boring - and anyone who does anything "unprofessional" is pilloried by our wall to wall media/internet etc.

The biggest issue for me is that the professional game obviously needs money - and so we play far too many internationals. Playing NZ/ABs/Aus used to be a special occasion. Now it is two a penny, and that sense of occasion has gone.

In England domestic rugby has grown stronger as we now have proper leagues (they had not been in long before 1995) and rivalries have started to be formed. Sadly the knockout cup competition has been a victim of money - and that is a crying shame.

Most other countries though seem to have been forced to downgrade their domestic competitions - with them being subordinate to international "club" competitions such as SR and Rabo. Is this good, or bad, that is for fans from those countries to decide.

The style of the game has clearly changed - but then it would have evolved in some way anyway. The laws have definitely been tinkered with far too much - to try and create a "premium entertainment product". Of course usually coaches use law changes to enable them to find new ways of stopping the opposition.


Overall for me, my experience of rugby as a fan has improved. The vibrancy of matchdays, the buzz of the walk to the stadium, the roar as the players come out - vastly superior to the genteel hush of days gone by. This though is more applicable to club rugby. I tend not to attend internationals any more, even with free tickets, just not an enjoyable time. I am probably wearing rose-tinted spec, but olden day crowds seemed to understand the game more.

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Post by SecretFly on Tue 04 Jun 2013, 1:14 pm

Well, professionalism has certainly improved Ireland's player depth, interest in and performance at rugby. So only a fool here would weep nostalgic tears for ye olde days.

BUT...I'd also closely agree with kia on the future conflicts that might arise between an ever wealthier club game and the International brand.

You might say that conflict of interest is already openly at play in the current negotiations (or lack of them) between the Nations and leagues in Europe.

It's a battle for ascendancy and a battle to gain control over 'International' money opportunities for the club game.

IRB must keep a firm gaze on the progress of such battles and a firm allegiance to the importance of Internationals. I watch 'club' to keep an eye on the potential future of International.


Last edited by SecretFly on Tue 04 Jun 2013, 1:31 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by GunsGerms on Tue 04 Jun 2013, 1:24 pm

kiakahaaotearoa wrote:I have no issue with the game going professional except for one thing. I envision a clash between club and international rugby down the line where the respective interests don't coincide and where international rugby might be harmed outside the major tournaments similar to what has happened to football. We're not there yet but if we continue down this path, it looks likely.



Spot on Kia. I am always harping on about this and it is a big concern.

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Post by Biltong on Tue 04 Jun 2013, 1:33 pm

I don't think there is too much international rugby, 12 tests is not many.

Firstly you have the Six Nations and the Rugby Championship, those happen every year, it might be nicer if they only happened twice in a word cup cycle.

I would love to see test match series as the priority.

Play 3 tests against one host nation like it was in the past.

The problem comes at club/provincial level.

There is simply too much of it.
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Post by kiakahaaotearoa on Tue 04 Jun 2013, 1:38 pm

12 tests is not too many BB if you don't have the same or more in club commitments. Unfortunately both are competing for the international market in a way and this doesn't look like resolving itself. Indeed there is a desire to cut down on international matches to lighten the burden of players in any given year. This same mentality does not extend to club fixtures. They only seem to want to expand more.

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Post by Bathman_in_London on Tue 04 Jun 2013, 2:10 pm

I can see that there could be a real centralisation of talent if the HC is reformed in a more streamlined capacity and if the super xv keeps expanding.
It wouldn't take much to create some sort of global finals competition between the top teams of those 2, which would eventually suck the talent out of the also-rans I think and be bad for developing the game, despite having a very marketable and high profile product.

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Post by SecretFly on Tue 04 Jun 2013, 2:20 pm

Bathman_in_London wrote:I can see that there could be a real centralisation of talent if the HC is reformed in a more streamlined capacity and if the super xv keeps expanding.
It wouldn't take much to create some sort of global finals competition between the top teams of those 2, which would eventually suck the talent out of the also-rans I think and be bad for developing the game, despite having a very marketable and high profile product.

Exactly.

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 04 Jun 2013, 2:58 pm

Biltong wrote:I don't think there is too much international rugby, 12 tests is not many.

It is for me, personally, as a fan. Internationals used to be special, now they are not. In fact how can a Welsh fan get excited by playing Australia yet again this autumn? We used to play NZ every 4 years or so - now it seems like every single year. The scarcity of the occasion made it special, now as I said earlier I can't even bothered to use free tickets I get.

Of course you have a perfectly valid opinion that differs from mine. Would be dull if everyone agreed.

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Post by Biltong on Tue 04 Jun 2013, 3:03 pm

Isn't it much the same with Club rugby, how many times do you face the same opponents in a season?

At least with tests it is one at the most two tests per year, that is why I would like to see 3 test series, because that way you will play another country once in a four year cycle.

Wouldn't that be special.
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Post by broadlandboy on Tue 04 Jun 2013, 3:19 pm

Agree with Biltong. The IRB could make it that a Tier one nation could only play against only one Tier one nation on a tour with the host nation having to play against a team from a lower Tier. Unfortunately I cannot see this happening as too much money is involved.

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Post by fa0019 on Tue 04 Jun 2013, 3:20 pm

In terms of the quality of rugby its improved no end overall (although I think it peaked in 2004 myself and has dropped back a little).

Rugby at the end of the amateur era was a dull time for a NH supporter. Garry Owens, rolling mauls & lineouts etc were a total joke.

One thing i miss however was the mismatch tackling. In the old days you had short fat lads as props, lanky non-muscular chaps as locks and most backs would break in half the moment a forward snorted in their direction....

These days everyone is a 6'3, 105kg carbon copy of Ivan Drago and has the ball skills to match.

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Post by bedfordwelsh on Tue 04 Jun 2013, 3:46 pm

From a Welsh point of view it stopped the dreaded exodus North though that said we are in a similar position at the moment whereby our Regions still now can't compete financially with the English and French club teams. The advantage with that is they are gaining valuable experience and can still play Internationally for Wales unlike the League days.
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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 04 Jun 2013, 3:55 pm

Biltong wrote:Isn't it much the same with Club rugby, how many times do you face the same opponents in a season?

club rugby is my fortnightly fix - so it is different. Now I am in a minority, but I prefer the club stuff to international - but that is because I feel part of a family (tribe). The games mean something as points are at stake. I guess I am just jaded with international stuff, as I want it to be important, I want it to be special - instead too much of the time it is a cash cow that is just filling time between RWCs. RWC I love, 6Ns I like - but not as much as I used to, AIs I am bored with. Summer tours are invariably about the dreaded development word.


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Post by HongKongCherry on Tue 04 Jun 2013, 4:31 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
Biltong wrote:Isn't it much the same with Club rugby, how many times do you face the same opponents in a season?

club rugby is my fortnightly fix - so it is different. Now I am in a minority, but I prefer the club stuff to international - but that is because I feel part of a family (tribe). The games mean something as points are at stake. I guess I am just jaded with international stuff, as I want it to be important, I want it to be special - instead too much of the time it is a cash cow that is just filling time between RWCs. RWC I love, 6Ns I like - but not as much as I used to, AIs I am bored with. Summer tours are invariably about the dreaded development word.


A very big +1 from me LT. I will always support England, but I don't feel engaged with it to anywhere near the extent of Glaws. Splashing out £200+ to see what is inevitably a glorified friendly does take the shine off things. Gone are the days when we'd only see the ABs venture to our shores every few years. They still dominate, but their mystique is gone. Professionalism inevitably has made the international game in particular about commercial enterprise. On the rare occasion I do venture to Twickenham these days I find the crowd full of corporate tickets or stag do's, neither are really interested in anything other than getting smashed and mexican waves. Nevertheless these tickets help fund the game as a whole, so in one way I cannot be too critical.

Perhaps its me being reluctant to change rather than professionalism per se, but I do not like the way certain clubs have gone to build fanbase. I fully appreciate the likes of Sarries and Irish need to attract fans within a large football community, but I find their antics to be deafening and gimmicky. Have they had to do this because of professionalism? Quite possibly. I'm not attacking them for conducting such practices as they have to make themselves a viable enterprise, but I do know whenever I visit an away ground like that or Twickenham I come away being very grateful of being a Glaws supporter.

On a separate note I do feel professionalism is slowly eroding the notion that rugby is a game for all sizes. The level of training, power and fitness required is seeing some of the more rotund or smaller frames disappear. I appreciate at local club level this is less of the case, but the fact rugby is a game for all is one of the more romantic aspects about the game and it would be a crying shame if we were to lose this.
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Post by Shifty on Wed 05 Jun 2013, 8:11 pm

I guess everyone has become fitter, faster, and stronger. Coaching has become better, and more organised.
The gap between north and South has shortened greatly, with far more wins for the North.

Basically the social player, who drank and played rugby has been confined to amateur status and serious professionals get paid to play.
I think it's been great for Wales because were not being robbed blind by rugby league anymore.
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Post by Taylorman on Wed 05 Jun 2013, 8:20 pm

Shifty wrote:
The gap between north and South has shortened greatly, with far more wins for the North.

.

stats please. I believe its the reverse. Gap is getting bigger. look at last years results...thats somehow an improvement? geez it must have ben bad before...

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Post by Shifty on Wed 05 Jun 2013, 8:30 pm

Not from a Welsh point of view, in the 90's we didn't beat Australia once, in professional rugby we have at least beaten them twice with a draw.

We also beat South Africa in the professional era.

While in 2004, New Zealand only beat us by 1 point.

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Post by Intotouch on Fri 07 Jun 2013, 6:49 pm

There are about a dozen things that I'd like to say about this. The first is in response to the OP talking about team spirit and a conversation that I had with a former French pro player. It was about the cool suspicion that people in his club had for a higher paid player landed in amongst them, who worked no harder than they did, earned far more, and who they all believed would leave at the drop of a hat. Team spirit is not what it was before. How could it be?

Rugby is far more popular in Ireland and in France than it was before and the standard and depth has improved in Ireland.

The gap between NH and SH teams is still there but NH sides seem to lose by less these days.

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Post by dragonbreath on Fri 07 Jun 2013, 9:50 pm

Its less fun even at junior level. Really ordinary players get paid and think they are better than they really are., I know of players who would rather take the money and sit on the bench, then swan about bragging about who they play for when in fact they rarely play at all.

On balance as a recreation from which I enjoyed great times and made great friends all over the UK and abroad I think it has been a bad thing. Its meant to be fun Hug

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