Big changes in Welsh rugby

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Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by LordDowlais on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 4:41 pm

Taken from WOL:-

Seismic changes to Welsh rugby revealed as Regional U23 teams are born and four teams to be axed from Premiership
A reduced Premiership and new Regional U23 teams are on the way.

Regional U23 teams are set to be introduced into Welsh rugby, along with a reduction in the size of the Principality Premiership.

The development sides are likely to be up and running at the Scarlets, Cardiff Blues, Ospreys and Dragons from next season.


And the semi-pro Premiership is in line to be cut from 16 to 12 clubs from the start of the 2019-20 campaign.

These radical changes are set to come in following an exhaustive competitions review carried out by the Welsh Rugby Union.

That review process has seen the opinions of all the interested parties being sought and considered and now recommendations are to go before the WRU board later this month.

The fine detail surrounding the U23 teams is still being thrashed out, with more meetings scheduled for this week.

But the basic idea is to provide a level of professional rugby between the PRO14 and the Premiership for talented young regional players.

It may be that some over-age players would be allowed to feature in the teams to ensure sufficient numbers, possibly along with some youngsters from the semi-pro tier.

The plan is for the new regional-run sides to play around 10 games a season, made up of derbies, plus matches against Irish and/or Scottish outfits.

Ireland’s four provinces already operate A teams and they may well be looking for fixtures, with the British & Irish Cup being scrapped next season.

And, in Scotland, the plan is to set up six new semi-pro franchises from 2019 to bridge the gap between the club game and the two professional sides, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

So there is plenty of potential scope for securing opponents for the Welsh Regional U23 sides.

Their 10 projected fixtures are likely to be played in two blocks, one at the start of the campaign and one after the Six Nations, providing some degree of continuity for the teams.

International periods would be avoided because of the heavy demands on the regions player-wise during those times.

When they are not involved with the U23 sides, young players would potentially be available to the Premiership clubs.

The big changes to the Welsh Premiership

That brings us on to the other key structural change.

At present, the Premiership contains 16 clubs, with this being the second of three years where the league is ring-fenced with no promotion or relegation.

But the semi-pro tier looks set to be reduced to 12 sides from the season after next.

It will remain at 16 clubs for next term, with straight home and away fixtures, but four teams will be relegated at the end of the campaign.

One suggestion is there would then be a play-off between the 12th placed club and the winners of the Championship, but that detail is yet to be finalised.


There had been some speculation that the £1.7m WRU funding for the Premiership might be cut or scrapped altogether as part of the changes.

But there’s nothing at present to suggest that will be the case.

It will be interesting to see whether BBC Wales now look to come on board to broadcast Premiership games having lost the rights for the PRO14 from next season.

The much maligned Regional Premiership Select teams which have operated for the last three years are being scrapped , with time having been called on the British & Irish Cup.

Now it's the U23 sides which are seen as the right vehicle for enhancing the development of young players in a professional environment.

Exactly how the teams will be financed remains to be seen, amid ongoing discussions between the regions and the Union over the funding of the pro game in Wales.

It’s understood the full recommendations will go before the WRU board on March 23 and their approval will be required.

However, it does seem that change is in the air.

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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by LordDowlais on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 4:46 pm

It will be very interesting to see if BBC Wales now show the Welsh Premiership on free to air, as this, in my opinion could see a shift in support here in Wales, could the Welsh domestic game steel a march on the Pro14 ?

Only time will tell, but like it or not, if BBC Wales now start showing the Welsh Prem every weekend, it would only be good for those teams involved, and it could easily knock the support for the regions.

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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by geoff999rugby on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 5:10 pm

This fits in with Ulster talking about arranging 16 A fixtures, a year, on the back of the collapse of the B & I Cup.
These new teams from Wales and Scotland would be a natural fit as opposition in a new Celtic competition

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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by The Oracle on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 5:12 pm

They need to stop p*ssing about with the Welsh Prem. They seem to change their minds every season - cut it down, ring fence it, then increase the size, then play in conferences (like now) then cut it back down to 12 and scrap the conferences. What was the point of all of the periods of consultation with grassroots clubs along the way?! If consultation led to an increase in teams to 16 then what is different now that we need to cut to 12 and ring fence? Answer: change allows people in pointless jobs to justify their existence and salary. Someone new comes into the role and they want to be seen to have done something so a restructure happens again. We see it in the education sector all of the time! No differece here.
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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by Stone Motif on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 5:42 pm

LordDowlais wrote:It will be very interesting to see if BBC Wales now show the Welsh Premiership on free to air, as this, in my opinion could see a shift in support here in Wales, could the Welsh domestic game steel a march on the Pro14 ?

Only time will tell, but like it or not, if BBC Wales now start showing the Welsh Prem every weekend, it would only be good for those teams involved, and it could easily knock the support for the regions.

WTF? You reckon people are going to stop going to watch Cardiff and stay home to watch Merthyr on the telly?
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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by LordDowlais on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 5:52 pm

Stone Motif wrote:WTF? You reckon people are going to stop going to watch Cardiff and stay home to watch Merthyr on the telly?

Well it could be an option for people that was not there before.

There 100K people now who will either have to pay for premier sports to watch the regions, or just fill the gap with watching the Welsh prem instead on the beeb.

It would raise the profile of the Welsh Prem in Wales that's for sure.

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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by Stone Motif on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 6:00 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
Stone Motif wrote:WTF? You reckon people are going to stop going to watch Cardiff and stay home to watch Merthyr on the telly?

Well it could be an option for people that was not there before.

There 100K people now who will either have to pay for premier sports to watch the regions, or just fill the gap with watching the Welsh prem instead on the beeb.

It would raise the profile of the Welsh Prem in Wales that's for sure.

Just like, say, everyone in Wales chooses to watch the FTA Welsh league highlights rather than subscribing to Sky Sports to watch the Premiership you mean? Jesus.
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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by LordDowlais on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 6:12 pm

We'll soon see.

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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by The Oracle on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 7:05 pm

Or, we could see a fall in Welsh Prem attendances (not that far to fall in fairness!) as they could then watch it for free on TV. Could hit the teams in the pocket.

To be honest though I just don’t think supporters are that fickle. Not proper supporters. Support for a team is a really personal and ingrained thing for most people. It’s not easy to stop or just unfollow. I’m not going to ditch the Dragons and start supporting Ebbw Vale, for example, just because Ebbw Vale start being shown on the TV while the Dragons are not. Similarly, I didn’t suddenly start supporting Gloucester or Bath just because I got a Sky Sports subscription years back and these teams were suddenly being beamed into my living room. It didn’t make me switch allegiances to another team. And I doubt I’ll become a Sunwolves or Jaguares fan when Dragons go from FTA just because those teams are the ones I’ll see on TV more often! Supporters have stronger ties with their club than that!
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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by Stone Motif on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 10:09 pm

LordDowlais wrote:We'll soon see.

S4C were broadcasting the college league for a while FTA. Look at the legions of fans rocking up to watch that.
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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by Recwatcher16 on Wed 14 Mar 2018, 6:30 am

The WRU really has got in a muddle and confused itself. All for the objective of competing in a spurious euro comp for elite players.
If you achieve success the ends justify the means, as in Ireland. If you dont then the sacrifices and decline of the top tier historic clubs dont seem worthwhile. As a consequence the WRU get stuck trying to support both and this is the latest incarnation. I have no idea if it will work but doubt it.
Times change but as a west countryman who remembers the culture from yesteryear, that is sad to see.

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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by Pot Hale on Wed 14 Mar 2018, 7:05 pm

This is the WRU playing catch up with the SRU and IRFU.  

There was some discussions with the English Premiership a while back about ditching the Anglo Welsh Cup and the B&I Cup to create a new B&I comp that would run during the test windows once the new global season starts in 2020 and the new June finish to league comps is introduced.  It would largely feature younger/less-used senior players and academy players to give them more game development time.  

There’s a few moving parts still to be sorted.  Does the English Premiership ring fence and remove relegation?  Will they move to 14 teams?  What kind of interest/money deal could they attract from broadcasters?

Interesting to see how it develops.


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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by The Oracle on Thu 15 Mar 2018, 9:33 am

Pot Hale wrote:This is the WRU playing catch up with the SRU and IRFU.  

There was some discussions with the Premiership a while back about ditching the Anglo Welsh Cup and the B&I Cup to create a new B&I comp that would run during the test windows once the new global season starts in 2020 and the new June finish to league comps is introduced.  It would largely feature younger/less-used senior players and academy players to give them more game development time.  

There’s a few moving parts still to be sorted.  Does the Premiership ring fence and remove relegation?  Will they move to 14 teams?  What kind of interest/money deal could they attract from broadcasters?

Interesting to see how it develops.  

To be honest Pot I've lost track of it. It didn't used to be ring fenced, then it was and the likes of Pontypool and Bridgend, and I think at one point Ebbw Vale, (so big names from the past with lots of history) got relegated and couldn't get promoted and kicked up a big stink, then they had a period of quasi-ring fencing where they let some back in I think, then it was ring fenced again. Now we have 8 team conferences (East and West) that are ring fenced I believe. Now they want to scrap the conferences and lose 4 teams and keep the ring fencing by locking in the remaining 12 teams. Or something like that. As I said further up, it seems to change when a new person is appointed. Josh Lewsey, the old England full back, was instrumental in one round of changes if memory serves. Then he left his post and we had more changes. Essentially, they can't decide what structure below the regions would best suit and serve the regions, probably because those teams are only affiliated to a region on paper. It's a hangover still of the move to 'Regional' rugby, for me.
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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by Stone Motif on Thu 15 Mar 2018, 10:04 am

The Oracle wrote:
Pot Hale wrote:This is the WRU playing catch up with the SRU and IRFU.  

There was some discussions with the Premiership a while back about ditching the Anglo Welsh Cup and the B&I Cup to create a new B&I comp that would run during the test windows once the new global season starts in 2020 and the new June finish to league comps is introduced.  It would largely feature younger/less-used senior players and academy players to give them more game development time.  

There’s a few moving parts still to be sorted.  Does the Premiership ring fence and remove relegation?  Will they move to 14 teams?  What kind of interest/money deal could they attract from broadcasters?

Interesting to see how it develops.  

To be honest Pot I've lost track of it.  It didn't used to be ring fenced, then it was and the likes of Pontypool and Bridgend, and I think at one point Ebbw Vale, (so big names from the past with lots of history) got relegated and couldn't get promoted and kicked up a big stink, then they had a period of quasi-ring fencing where they let some back in I think, then it was ring fenced again.  Now we have 8 team conferences (East and West) that are ring fenced I believe.  Now they want to scrap the conferences and lose 4 teams and keep the ring fencing by locking in the remaining 12 teams.  Or something like that.  As I said further up, it seems to change when a new person is appointed. Josh Lewsey, the old England full back, was instrumental in one round of changes if memory serves.  Then he left his post and we had more changes.  Essentially, they can't decide what structure below the regions would best suit and serve the regions, probably because those teams are only affiliated to a region on paper.  It's a hangover still of the move to 'Regional' rugby, for me.

It's a mess because they won't just split the amateur and pro games. Spending money on the 'semi professional' is an utter waste, it does absolutely nothing for developing pro players.
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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by RiscaGame on Fri 16 Mar 2018, 1:02 pm

Particularly when the likes of Merthyr are chucking money around. It doesn’t serve its purpose at all.

To be honest, people like Ben Jeffries from Pontypool think it should be a seperate entity, but they’re chucking money about for fun too. I’m sure Nash etc don’t play for the love of Pooler.

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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by doctor_grey on Sun 25 Mar 2018, 12:41 am

Wil this new U23 become the Wales second side which is now the qualifier for Wales? Will playing the U20s no longer bind a player to Wales?

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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by Stone Motif on Sun 25 Mar 2018, 8:50 am

doctor_grey wrote:Wil this new U23 become the Wales second side which is now the qualifier for Wales?  Will playing the U20s no longer bind a player to Wales?  

Jesus Christ
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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by Pot Hale on Sun 25 Mar 2018, 3:19 pm

The Oracle wrote:
Pot Hale wrote:This is the WRU playing catch up with the SRU and IRFU.  

There was some discussions with the Premiership a while back about ditching the Anglo Welsh Cup and the B&I Cup to create a new B&I comp that would run during the test windows once the new global season starts in 2020 and the new June finish to league comps is introduced.  It would largely feature younger/less-used senior players and academy players to give them more game development time.  

There’s a few moving parts still to be sorted.  Does the Premiership ring fence and remove relegation?  Will they move to 14 teams?  What kind of interest/money deal could they attract from broadcasters?

Interesting to see how it develops.  

To be honest Pot I've lost track of it.  It didn't used to be ring fenced, then it was and the likes of Pontypool and Bridgend, and I think at one point Ebbw Vale, (so big names from the past with lots of history) got relegated and couldn't get promoted and kicked up a big stink, then they had a period of quasi-ring fencing where they let some back in I think, then it was ring fenced again.  Now we have 8 team conferences (East and West) that are ring fenced I believe.  Now they want to scrap the conferences and lose 4 teams and keep the ring fencing by locking in the remaining 12 teams.  Or something like that.  As I said further up, it seems to change when a new person is appointed. Josh Lewsey, the old England full back, was instrumental in one round of changes if memory serves.  Then he left his post and we had more changes.  Essentially, they can't decide what structure below the regions would best suit and serve the regions, probably because those teams are only affiliated to a region on paper.  It's a hangover still of the move to 'Regional' rugby, for me.

I meant English Premiership.
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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by The Oracle on Sun 25 Mar 2018, 3:30 pm

Pot Hale wrote:
The Oracle wrote:
Pot Hale wrote:This is the WRU playing catch up with the SRU and IRFU.  

There was some discussions with the Premiership a while back about ditching the Anglo Welsh Cup and the B&I Cup to create a new B&I comp that would run during the test windows once the new global season starts in 2020 and the new June finish to league comps is introduced.  It would largely feature younger/less-used senior players and academy players to give them more game development time.  

There’s a few moving parts still to be sorted.  Does the Premiership ring fence and remove relegation?  Will they move to 14 teams?  What kind of interest/money deal could they attract from broadcasters?

Interesting to see how it develops.  

To be honest Pot I've lost track of it.  It didn't used to be ring fenced, then it was and the likes of Pontypool and Bridgend, and I think at one point Ebbw Vale, (so big names from the past with lots of history) got relegated and couldn't get promoted and kicked up a big stink, then they had a period of quasi-ring fencing where they let some back in I think, then it was ring fenced again.  Now we have 8 team conferences (East and West) that are ring fenced I believe.  Now they want to scrap the conferences and lose 4 teams and keep the ring fencing by locking in the remaining 12 teams.  Or something like that.  As I said further up, it seems to change when a new person is appointed. Josh Lewsey, the old England full back, was instrumental in one round of changes if memory serves.  Then he left his post and we had more changes.  Essentially, they can't decide what structure below the regions would best suit and serve the regions, probably because those teams are only affiliated to a region on paper.  It's a hangover still of the move to 'Regional' rugby, for me.

I meant English Premiership.  


Ah, ok. My bad. Easy mistake to make though on a thread about changes to the Welsh Premiership!
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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by The Oracle on Sun 25 Mar 2018, 3:32 pm

doctor_grey wrote:Wil this new U23 become the Wales second side which is now the qualifier for Wales?  Will playing the U20s no longer bind a player to Wales?  


It’s the regions that are going to have U23 teams, Dr Grey. Not the national side.
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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by doctor_grey on Sun 25 Mar 2018, 11:45 pm

The Oracle wrote:
doctor_grey wrote:Wil this new U23 become the Wales second side which is now the qualifier for Wales?  Will playing the U20s no longer bind a player to Wales?  


It’s the regions that are going to have U23 teams, Dr Grey. Not the national side.
Ah, OK. Didn't really read deep enough. I suppose it makes sense if they can make it a permanent A-side.

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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by Cardiff Dave on Fri 30 Mar 2018, 8:22 am

Stone Motif wrote:
doctor_grey wrote:Wil this new U23 become the Wales second side which is now the qualifier for Wales?  Will playing the U20s no longer bind a player to Wales?  

Jesus Christ

Drags latest signing or d'you mean Henson?

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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by mikey_dragon on Sat 31 Mar 2018, 4:25 am

U23 teams is daft. Regional A teams however...

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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by The Oracle on Sat 31 Mar 2018, 9:54 am

What I don’t understand about U23 rather than Regional A sides is:

a) a huge number of our first team are U23 anyway. Christ, a lot of them get their first senior caps at 17 these days. By 23 they’ll be in their 6th year of pro rugby, so could be classed as veterans really. Wouldn’t U19s be better if they’re looking at this from an age point to view.

b) if the whole point is to give game time and meaningful competition to players on the fringes, like any 2nd team is meant to do, why limit it to players under 23? If you’re a 26 year old player on the fringes of the squad why should you be excluded from that beneficial experience? Where will they get game time? Probably by leaving or going on loan to a rival, which is far from ideal.

A regional A side would address all of the above.
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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by Stone Motif on Sat 31 Mar 2018, 11:35 am

The Oracle wrote:What I don’t understand about U23 rather than Regional A sides is:

a) a huge number of our first team are U23 anyway. Christ, a lot of them get their first senior caps at 17 these days. By 23 they’ll be in their 6th year of pro rugby, so could be classed as veterans really. Wouldn’t U19s be better if they’re looking at this from an age point to view.

b) if the whole point is to give game time and meaningful competition to players on the fringes, like any 2nd team is meant to do, why limit it to players under 23? If you’re a 26 year old player on the fringes of the squad why should you be excluded from that beneficial experience? Where will they get game time? Probably by leaving or going on loan to a rival, which is far from ideal.

A regional A side would address all of the above.

A. No

B. If you're 26, and on the fringes of a regional squad, you're not good enough for pro rugby
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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by Brendan on Sat 31 Mar 2018, 11:36 am

The Oracle wrote:What I don’t understand about U23 rather than Regional A sides is:

a) a huge number of our first team are U23 anyway. Christ, a lot of them get their first senior caps at 17 these days. By 23 they’ll be in their 6th year of pro rugby, so could be classed as veterans really. Wouldn’t U19s be better if they’re looking at this from an age point to view.

b) if the whole point is to give game time and meaningful competition to players on the fringes, like any 2nd team is meant to do, why limit it to players under 23? If you’re a 26 year old player on the fringes of the squad why should you be excluded from that beneficial experience? Where will they get game time? Probably by leaving or going on loan to a rival, which is far from ideal.

A regional A side would address all of the above.

You would assume if you are over 23 and not part of the match day squad that you may struggle to be a pro much longer.

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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by The Oracle on Sat 31 Mar 2018, 11:52 am

So are you both advocating tiny squads of, say, 25 or so players? You need decent squad numbers for competing on numerous fronts and to cover injuries. So assuming you do want decent squad numbers are you saying you’d prefer to see fringe players in the wider squad who were there because they were young rather than because they were decent? So jettison a 26 year old due to age but keep a worse 19 year old cos he’s younger? Ok.
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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by mikey_dragon on Sat 31 Mar 2018, 4:28 pm

The Oracle wrote:So are you both advocating tiny squads of, say, 25 or so players? You need decent squad numbers for competing on numerous fronts and to cover injuries. So assuming you do want decent squad numbers are you saying you’d prefer to see fringe players in the wider squad who were there because they were young rather than because they were decent? So jettison a 26 year old due to age but keep a worse 19 year old cos he’s younger? Ok.

Yep. Just imagine Phil Dollman couldn’t get into our team through being too old... U23 teams is stupid. Increase playing budget, increase the No. of pro players and there you have the makings of a first team and A team. That is the only way to improve the structure and player development.

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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by The Oracle on Sat 31 Mar 2018, 5:13 pm

By limiting it to U23 players only you run the risk of not having enough U23s to form a squad, and you then end up offering contracts to sub-par players. We’ve been here before with the pre-regional top flight in Wales. Not enough money to buy top players but still needing to fill 10 or 12 squads, so players were offered contracts as ‘pros’ but were far from pro.

Not saying it will definitely happen, but assuming some of the regional academy players make the first team squad, where will all of these U23 players come from?


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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by Stone Motif on Sat 31 Mar 2018, 5:27 pm

The Oracle wrote:By limiting it to U23 players only you run the risk of not having enough U23s to form a squad, and you then end up offering contacts to sub par players. We’ve been here before with the pre-regional top flight in Wales. Not enough money to buy top players but still needing to fill 10 or 12 squads, so players were offered contracts as ‘pros’ but were far from pro.

Not saying it will definitely happen, but assuming some of the regional academy players make the first team squad, where will all of these U23 players come from?

You're not thinking the purpose of this league through. A 23 year old player can be pro quality but slower to physically develop than his peers. A 26 year old who isn't developed is not good enough or physical enough to hack it as a pro. In any case, a quota of overage players will be allowed.
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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by The Oracle on Sat 31 Mar 2018, 6:23 pm

Stone Motif wrote:
The Oracle wrote:By limiting it to U23 players only you run the risk of not having enough U23s to form a squad, and you then end up offering contacts to sub par players. We’ve been here before with the pre-regional top flight in Wales. Not enough money to buy top players but still needing to fill 10 or 12 squads, so players were offered contracts as ‘pros’ but were far from pro.

Not saying it will definitely happen, but assuming some of the regional academy players make the first team squad, where will all of these U23 players come from?

You're not thinking the purpose of this league through. A 23 year old player can be pro quality but slower to physically develop than his peers. A 26 year old who isn't developed is not good enough or physical enough to hack it as a pro. In any case, a quota of overage players will be allowed.

Fair enough, maybe that’s true. I haven’t read many/any sound bites about the purpose of it. Just thinking that it would be good to get game time for ALL of our squad (Dragons) as there’s players over 23 who do not get regular game time or exposure either.
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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by Stone Motif on Sat 31 Mar 2018, 6:31 pm

The Oracle wrote:
Stone Motif wrote:
The Oracle wrote:By limiting it to U23 players only you run the risk of not having enough U23s to form a squad, and you then end up offering contacts to sub par players. We’ve been here before with the pre-regional top flight in Wales. Not enough money to buy top players but still needing to fill 10 or 12 squads, so players were offered contracts as ‘pros’ but were far from pro.

Not saying it will definitely happen, but assuming some of the regional academy players make the first team squad, where will all of these U23 players come from?

You're not thinking the purpose of this league through. A 23 year old player can be pro quality but slower to physically develop than his peers. A 26 year old who isn't developed is not good enough or physical enough to hack it as a pro. In any case, a quota of overage players will be allowed.

Fair enough, maybe that’s true. I haven’t read many/any sound bites about the purpose of it. Just thinking that it would be good to get game time for ALL of our squad (Dragons) as there’s players over 23 who do not get regular game time or exposure either.

Case in point. How many of those players are good enough for pro rugby? There's players in that squad that all the game time in the world won't make good enough.
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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by RiscaGame on Sat 31 Mar 2018, 6:36 pm

I suspect a lot of the over 23s are on their way out who don’t get game time are on their way out, as far as we are concerned.

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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by The Oracle on Sat 31 Mar 2018, 6:57 pm

Stone Motif wrote:
The Oracle wrote:
Stone Motif wrote:
The Oracle wrote:By limiting it to U23 players only you run the risk of not having enough U23s to form a squad, and you then end up offering contacts to sub par players. We’ve been here before with the pre-regional top flight in Wales. Not enough money to buy top players but still needing to fill 10 or 12 squads, so players were offered contracts as ‘pros’ but were far from pro.

Not saying it will definitely happen, but assuming some of the regional academy players make the first team squad, where will all of these U23 players come from?

You're not thinking the purpose of this league through. A 23 year old player can be pro quality but slower to physically develop than his peers. A 26 year old who isn't developed is not good enough or physical enough to hack it as a pro. In any case, a quota of overage players will be allowed.

Fair enough, maybe that’s true. I haven’t read many/any sound bites about the purpose of it. Just thinking that it would be good to get game time for ALL of our squad (Dragons) as there’s players over 23 who do not get regular game time or exposure either.

Case in point. How many of those players are good enough for pro rugby? There's players in that squad that all the game time in the world won't make good enough.

True, for the Dragons especially. But even if we have the money of Toulon you’ll still have players in the wider squad that do not get game time. You need them. So they might be pro quality (the squad fillers at Toulon) but they’re still not getting game time, and they might be over 23. So I’m just saying an A league might help those player get some game time, but an U23 league doesn’t (if they’re pro quality but over 23).
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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by Brendan on Sat 31 Mar 2018, 8:36 pm

Players over 23 still will be picked up pro contracts if they deserve them.  If you have A sides more over 23s who never would get a contact that are never going to make it would get them to beef up the squad

The purpose of the u23s is that you see quick enough of the 30 odd players who isn't making the grade at Prem level won't be good enough for the Pro 14.

This means the region's have 3-4 players each year who will look great in the league who can then get more pro14 games.  Think it is a great idea and think the IRFU will be watching closely

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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by Stone Motif on Sat 31 Mar 2018, 8:50 pm

The Oracle wrote:
Stone Motif wrote:
The Oracle wrote:
Stone Motif wrote:
The Oracle wrote:By limiting it to U23 players only you run the risk of not having enough U23s to form a squad, and you then end up offering contacts to sub par players. We’ve been here before with the pre-regional top flight in Wales. Not enough money to buy top players but still needing to fill 10 or 12 squads, so players were offered contracts as ‘pros’ but were far from pro.

Not saying it will definitely happen, but assuming some of the regional academy players make the first team squad, where will all of these U23 players come from?

You're not thinking the purpose of this league through. A 23 year old player can be pro quality but slower to physically develop than his peers. A 26 year old who isn't developed is not good enough or physical enough to hack it as a pro. In any case, a quota of overage players will be allowed.

Fair enough, maybe that’s true. I haven’t read many/any sound bites about the purpose of it. Just thinking that it would be good to get game time for ALL of our squad (Dragons) as there’s players over 23 who do not get regular game time or exposure either.

Case in point. How many of those players are good enough for pro rugby? There's players in that squad that all the game time in the world won't make good enough.

True, for the Dragons especially. But even if we have the money of Toulon you’ll still have players in the wider squad that do not get game time. You need them. So they might be pro quality (the squad fillers at Toulon) but they’re still not getting game time, and they might be over 23. So I’m just saying an A league might help those player get some game time, but an U23 league doesn’t (if they’re pro quality but over 23).

Not the same imo. Toulon's fringe players are of professional quality, and can be used (and trusted) to be in and out of the first team to cover injuries and international absences, to deliver specific gameplans etc. Part of the reason we have such an unfathomable rotation policy is because the drop off from first team to fringe player is abyssal. We're wasting our time running a personal slimming world class for one so-called professional in our ranks, for example. In most other teams, he'd be keeping himself in nick out of professional pride and be in and out of the match day team as they managed their squad across the season
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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by PhilBB on Wed 11 Apr 2018, 10:12 am

The Oracle wrote:What I don’t understand about U23 rather than Regional A sides is:

a) a huge number of our first team are U23 anyway. Christ, a lot of them get their first senior caps at 17 these days. By 23 they’ll be in their 6th year of pro rugby, so could be classed as veterans really. Wouldn’t U19s be better if they’re looking at this from an age point to view.

b) if the whole point is to give game time and meaningful competition to players on the fringes, like any 2nd team is meant to do, why limit it to players under 23? If you’re a 26 year old player on the fringes of the squad why should you be excluded from that beneficial experience? Where will they get game time? Probably by leaving or going on loan to a rival, which is far from ideal.

A regional A side would address all of the above.

There will be an allowance of overage players. The branding of u23 is a) to appease the Welsh Premiership clubs who are up in arms over their loss of money and b) to highlight the fact that the English and Irish are far superior is nurturing 'late developers' than we are in Wales. This is because the systems in those countries have more money to employ 'riskier' players who haven't been capped by the time they are 21.
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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by Brendan on Wed 11 Apr 2018, 6:13 pm

I would guess and say that the Welsh Premiership is the highest standard of the 4 Pro12 countries (Currie cup would obviously be the highest). Surely any late developers would show up there and the regions are looking at those players.

AIL while ok for blooding players in Ireland wouldn't be up to much standard wise when compared to Pro14

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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by Stone Motif on Wed 11 Apr 2018, 8:02 pm

Brendan wrote:I would guess and say that the Welsh Premiership is the highest standard of the 4 Pro12 countries (Currie cup would obviously be the highest).  Surely any late developers would show up there and the regions are looking at those players.

AIL while ok for blooding players in Ireland wouldn't be up to much standard wise when compared to Pro14
The Welsh Premiership is some way off pro standard. Academy kids tend to be the best players in it and are generally far superior to their opposition who are by definition not good enough for pro rugby. Any Dragons fan will tell you that a stand out late bloomer at Prem level is more likely to be a turd at pro level than not. Pro standard players need to play against pro standard players.
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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by RiscaGame on Thu 12 Apr 2018, 1:08 am

Stone Motif wrote:
Brendan wrote:I would guess and say that the Welsh Premiership is the highest standard of the 4 Pro12 countries (Currie cup would obviously be the highest).  Surely any late developers would show up there and the regions are looking at those players.

AIL while ok for blooding players in Ireland wouldn't be up to much standard wise when compared to Pro14
The Welsh Premiership is some way off pro standard. Academy kids tend to be the best players in it and are generally far superior to their opposition who are by definition not good enough for pro rugby. Any Dragons fan will tell you that a stand out late bloomer at Prem level is more likely to be a turd at pro level than not. Pro standard players need to play against pro standard players.

But surely our random WOL reporter and the ones from the sprawling metropolis of Ponty would know that. All I see is they could readily step in.

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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by LordDowlais on Thu 12 Apr 2018, 9:18 am

What about players like Lloyd Burns ? Andrew Combs (Merthyr Boy) ? Feck me, Meyer used to play some games for Ebbw didn't he ?

People who say that these players who cannot make the jump up to the regions from the Welsh prem are talking through their arris. Some just need their chance in a fully pro set-up. Not everyone is lucky enough to be unearthed as a young teenager and put through the academies. You do get some late bloomers.

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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by PhilBB on Thu 12 Apr 2018, 9:35 am

LordDowlais wrote:What about players like Lloyd Burns ? Andrew Combs (Merthyr Boy) ? Feck me, Meyer used to play some games for Ebbw didn't he ?

People who say that these players who cannot make the jump up to the regions from the Welsh prem are talking through their arris. Some just need their chance in a fully pro set-up. Not everyone is lucky enough to be unearthed as a young teenager and put through the academies. You do get some late bloomers.

Burns came through 10 years ago and the pace of the pro game in racing away from the Welsh Premiership has accelerated since those days. Meyer was in the Sharks academy in SA.

No player has made the jump with any success in a decade. The whole review of everybody involved in the pro game and the age grade game in Wales must be talking out of their arris, I guess. And 10 years worth of evidence is obviously insufficient.

Of course, this must be viewed in the context of the WP costing £1.7m a year.
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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by LordDowlais on Thu 12 Apr 2018, 10:32 am

PhilBB wrote:No player has made the jump with any success in a decade.

What an absolute stupid statement to make.

Andrew Coombs, he played for Pontypool, Newport, then in 2011 made his way into the Dragons. He then got capped for Wales.

But yeah, no player has made the jump up with any success. picard

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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by Stone Motif on Thu 12 Apr 2018, 11:20 am

LordDowlais wrote:
PhilBB wrote:No player has made the jump with any success in a decade.

What an absolute stupid statement to make.

Andrew Coombs, he played for Pontypool, Newport, then in 2011 made his way into the Dragons. He then got capped for Wales.

But yeah, no player has made the jump up with any success. picard

Andrew Coombs, just to use your one single example out of the many, was in the Dragons Academy.
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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by PhilBB on Thu 12 Apr 2018, 11:20 am

LordDowlais wrote:
PhilBB wrote:No player has made the jump with any success in a decade.

What an absolute stupid statement to make.

Andrew Coombs, he played for Pontypool, Newport, then in 2011 made his way into the Dragons. He then got capped for Wales.

But yeah, no player has made the jump up with any success. picard

My error. Coombs made his Dragons debut in 2010 http://www.dragonsrugby.wales/Teams/Player/Dragons/129592

I thought it was earlier.

So, in a decade, we have one player. And that player has cost north of £12m.

As he as a Wales u18 player, it just goes to show how poor the Dragons Academy staff were at the time for not hanging on to him.

But, yes, one player in a decade. One.
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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by LordDowlais on Thu 12 Apr 2018, 11:53 am

But it does prove that the jump up can be made if people were given a chance. The trouble is, it's all about the academies now, if you are not spotted by the age of 12, then you might as well forget it. It's a shame, as we no longer give these people the opportunity to prove themselves anymore.


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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by Brendan on Thu 12 Apr 2018, 3:19 pm

Connacht use to do open trials and found a few people that way.

Is there any plan to do anything to replace the B&I cup.

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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by Stone Motif on Thu 12 Apr 2018, 3:23 pm

LordDowlais wrote:But it does prove that the jump up can be made if people were given a chance. The trouble is, it's all about the academies now, if you are not spotted by the age of 12, then you might as well forget it. It's a shame, as we no longer give these people the opportunity to prove themselves anymore.


Have a look at this list and check out the number of players who didn't make the jump,and then try and understand why 'giving the opportunity' is increasingly pointless:

http://www.dragonsrugby.wales/Teams/PastPlayers

Just focusing on players with the initial A and the surname Brown I can see two that failed. And that's just from one region, albeit the one who the greatest number of 'feeder' clubs and usage of Prem players over the years, which tells a story in itself.
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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by Stone Motif on Thu 12 Apr 2018, 3:25 pm

Brendan wrote:Connacht use to do open trials and found a few people that way.

Is there any plan to do anything to replace the B&I cup.

Yes, it's called investing more in pro standard competitions instead
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Re: Big changes in Welsh rugby

Post by PhilBB on Thu 12 Apr 2018, 4:23 pm

LordDowlais wrote:But it does prove that the jump up can be made if people were given a chance. The trouble is, it's all about the academies now, if you are not spotted by the age of 12, then you might as well forget it. It's a shame, as we no longer give these people the opportunity to prove themselves anymore.


No it doesn't prove that. It proves only that one player could make said jump 9 years ago.

As the pro game has accelerated even further away from the community game since 9 years ago, everybody sensible appreciates that it is even more difficult to make the jump today. That's why nobody has done it in 9 years.

Plus, of course, entry into the Academies is via the Dewar Shield - so that's for 14/15 year olds and not "by the age of 12".
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