Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

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Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

Post by Recwatcher16 on Tue 17 Apr 2018, 12:07 pm

A lesson for all - not least in the NH.
When you are at the top of the sporting cycle, everything looks rosy - as it did in Rugby Australia 10 plus years ago but when you have a deep dip in results, if it is anything other than short lived, the financial problems can escalate exponentially. Rugby Australia have already closed down one central team but do not look good financially at all.

https://www.smh.com.au/sport/rugby-union/rugby-australia-as-top-heavy-as-they-come-and-the-gamble-is-falling-flat-20180413-p4z9es.html

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Re: Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

Post by LondonTiger on Tue 17 Apr 2018, 12:41 pm

It is reading all the pessimism in the comments section that truly worries me.

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Re: Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

Post by Recwatcher16 on Tue 17 Apr 2018, 2:49 pm

I agree the reader comments should be worrying for the sport as a whole, not that World Rugby would have the vaguest idea or inclination on what is required.

The elite top down structure of the game in the majority of top tier nations has/is corrupting the very nature of sport which is access and participation. The foolish idea that elite success will securely fund the game in the long term is simply wrong.

What point is sport if your top team win things but very few get to participate as potential players and fans are drawn to other activities which have far greater access and excitement with local rivalries etc.

This central control and ownership all started with Oz cricket thirty years ago and copied by SH rugby Unions. NZ have held the line because of success and being a national obsession/barometer of the nation - Aus and SA with far bigger economies and population are, when it comes to rugby union, crumbling - which potentially might mean fewer meaningful Al's in the future.

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Re: Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

Post by Brendan on Tue 17 Apr 2018, 3:19 pm

One of the problems that Australia and New Zealand face is they have to rely on the South African Economy and the Rand. As that has fallen their financial clout has fallen too so they don't have the Superstars as much so less endorsements, branding etc.

Australia's problems seems to be that they are poorly run with no vision. Ask Scotland how that worked for them and how it is working now with better management.

I am not sure if you would consider all of the rest of the Super Rugby countries as top down and all the Pro 14 but they have vibrant community rugby overseen by a hands on union

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Re: Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

Post by Brendan on Tue 17 Apr 2018, 3:37 pm

Irish Model seems to do a lot of the things that the comments are saying AFL is doing. Going to schools professional players working with underage. Clear pathway for kids.

Still think it's bad management. We also need to realise that kids do sports in less numbers so numbers will be down anyway

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Re: Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

Post by PhilBB on Tue 17 Apr 2018, 4:08 pm

The grassroots of rugby were always going to shrink as rugby became a far more physical sport and as societies changed so that individuals have many more choices for their free time.

In Wales, it's seen as "the fault of the WRU" that some community clubs can't raise teams. Is it also the fault of the WRU that male voice choirs are struggling for numbers, that churches are closing, that the mines have shut? No. Society is changing.
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Re: Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

Post by George Carlin on Wed 18 Apr 2018, 6:44 am

In fact, if you gave the money RA spends on Folau and Quade Cooper to community rugby, it would increase grassroots spending by more than 20 per cent, overnight.

Wow.
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Re: Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

Post by Cardiff Dave on Wed 18 Apr 2018, 7:54 am

PhilBB wrote:The grassroots of rugby were always going to shrink as rugby became a far more physical sport and as societies changed so that individuals have many more choices for their free time.

In Wales, it's seen as "the fault of the WRU" that some community clubs can't raise teams. Is it also the fault of the WRU that male voice choirs are struggling for numbers, that churches are closing, that the mines have shut? No. Society is changing.

FUBAR, imo.

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Re: Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

Post by GeordieFalcon on Wed 18 Apr 2018, 11:35 am

Australia on the decline and falling in to history, whilst USA, and others start to grow in power.

Traditional powers could find themselves being pushed aside by newer rugby nations as it grows through the world.

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Re: Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

Post by Rugby Fan on Wed 18 Apr 2018, 11:52 am

PhilBB wrote:The grassroots of rugby were always going to shrink as rugby became a far more physical sport and as societies changed so that individuals have many more choices for their free time.
Fascinating NZ Herald article recently on how Auckland rugby teams are now majority islander and Maori, although they are not the majority population in the city. Previously, teams were white, with an occasional islander.

Main reasons are that Islanders and Maori can often earn better money in professional sport than other routes, so they are attracted to it. Asian families may put their kids in good schools but don't encourage them to send much time on sport. White kids are finding themselves up against islanders who have grown bigger at an earlier age, so they lose interest.
No question, however, that size plays a role in the thinking of white parents, even with the introductions of weight-restricted games. Even Waitemata club secretary Hannah Hollands told the Herald she had serious concerns about her sons playing against athletes "twice their size".

"Physique does play a part. Definitely," says Alatini.

"A lot of kids just don't know how to handle coming up against the big Pacific Island boys.

"It's a big factor for a lot of parents, especially with the awareness around concussion, safety and other injuries."

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=12029746

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Re: Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

Post by The Oracle on Wed 18 Apr 2018, 1:25 pm

I thought NZ youth club rugby was played/based on size and not on age? Has that changed now?
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Re: Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

Post by Rugby Fan on Wed 18 Apr 2018, 3:02 pm

The Oracle wrote:I thought NZ youth club rugby was played/based on size and not on age?  Has that changed now?
Where it is in place, rules are not enforced strictly enough.

"There is a lot of bitterness around larger kids ruining it for everyone," the parent said. "One particular club is out of control. They regularly play players who are over-age and they regularly play people who are over-weight. And it is bloody dangerous. You see some of these kids and you wince. There has been a whole heap of concussions this year. There is a serious worry that there is going to be a serious injury - and then who is responsible?"
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11350120

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Re: Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

Post by Recwatcher16 on Wed 09 May 2018, 11:53 am

The debate for the soul of Aus rugby union continues, as none other than one of the Ella's has suggested that Kiwi Super Rugby players should be recruited into Oz SR teams. The alternative is that fans will drift away from the game with Union franchises as the top tier, due to Oz sides having been dominated and lost by over 50 games on the trot to Kiwi SR teams.

www.smh.com.au/sport/rugby-union/open-doors-to-even-out-super-rugby-ella-20180509-p4ze7f.html


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Re: Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

Post by Brendan on Wed 09 May 2018, 12:44 pm

ARU is an example of what happens when Unions are run poorly as SRU were before them (and others)

Australia seems to be the only country in Union that is at the top that doesn't have a good grassroots set up and they have done nothing to fix it. Fix that and they will see results.

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Re: Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

Post by Brendan on Wed 09 May 2018, 12:57 pm

Going off Wikipedia (fountain of all truth) Oz has about 4times the clubs of Scotland so should be able to sort some system like South Africa

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Re: Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

Post by Recwatcher16 on Wed 09 May 2018, 1:06 pm

I think you missing the point Brendon, about the risks of top down structures and any failure on or off the pitch leaves very little room for manouvre.
There is a very big club scene in NSW & Queensland, curious to understand what they could have done differently under the current approach.
You are probably aware there is big mood of opinion within Union members to ditch SR and adopt a domestic club league and the representative sides controlled by the Union will take care of themselves.

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Re: Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

Post by Brendan on Wed 09 May 2018, 10:37 pm

Recwatcher16 wrote:I think you missing the point Brendon, about the risks of top down structures and any failure on or off the pitch leaves very little room for manouvre.
There is a very big club scene in NSW & Queensland, curious to understand what they could have done differently under the current approach.
You are probably aware there is big mood of opinion within Union members to ditch SR and adopt a domestic club league and the representative sides controlled by the Union will take care of themselves.

In Ireland and South Africa you have the national that oversees the running of the provisional unions. The provisional unions are made up of the clubs which are the grassroots

Glad you recognise that if left to grassroots union would struggle outside of a small part of Australia.  The Union needs to use its expertise and knowledge to build up the struggling grassroots in the other areas but it is silly to think the grassroots will just grow by itself.  If the National Union doesn't look at league structures, training, player development etc are the grassroots going to do it themselves.

In relation to the Super Rugby the rumour is S.A. wants to move to Pro14 not go it alone.  OZ wants a Trans Tasman competition with NZ not by themselves.  NZ just want a challenge at Super Rugby level and don't want to leave as they know they can't keep their policy of ABs have to play at home.  Arg are just happy they are winning away from home in Oz and NZ and have no desire for the cost of a second team let alone a league. Japan has a league and don't seem to like Super Rugby (Japan league 15 v Sunwolves would be onesided) but the Union want to move from the League to Super Rugby not the other way

We have some idiots that think we can get the crowds of yesteryear (when it was a fiver to get in and only had to buy a bag of chips for the players) by charging current prices because we have to now pay players 10k a game.  England have a top down system where the top teams run the top level and believe them having a great competition that will solely be responsible for growing the exposure of the game in the country thus helping grassroots to grow which will lead to more rich clubs to join the top club competition

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Re: Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

Post by Recwatcher16 on Thu 10 May 2018, 1:07 pm

Brendan, don't disagree with your first two paragraphs of mainly fact, but don't understand your point.
The third paragraph suggests you have missed the point on what a top down structure is constructed by - with a centralised, closed shop ownership, which the English club format is definitely not.

You seem to believe the irish union ownership with Leinster a.k.a. the Ireland test side being competitive in club competitions is a sign of good management. I will leave aside the inherent conflict in that (unless you believe Ulster & Connacht could quite easily make up the bulk of the test side) but the in built strategic risk is high when the teams don't achieve results - such as Australia, which was the point of the article.

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Re: Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

Post by Brendan on Thu 10 May 2018, 7:33 pm

Connacht Rugby have grown as a result of the Union giving them help needed. The school competition in Connacht has grown because of the work done by the Union. If the RFU put as much work into the North of England they might get better results. It is only after the WRU made a plan for North Wales that they are slowly growing and putting down roots. Again Australia is poorly run and is not doing a good job of using resources where they are needed.

Leinster may have a strong team but it is mainly down to the joined up thinking and pathway for players that include cooperation between clubs, schools and the Leinster Branch development people. This in turn leads to so many players they do not have space for them all and cut a fair few players who go to join other teams.

Ulster and Conacht combined would put together a decent international team. Not Squad but team. They would give a non Sarries & Wasps England team a good game.

I am sure people could do a better team but fair few internationals in that team. I think 10 have represented Ireland

Buckley Best Bealham
Henderson Dilliane
Muldoon Henry Timoney
Marmion/Conney/Carty
Aki McCluskey
Stockdale O'Halloran Adeolokun

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Re: Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

Post by Pal Joey on Sun 13 May 2018, 3:42 am

We are at a low point in the long history of the game here. It's really quite sad and depressing.
I take in all the comments above - all pretty true unfortunately.

Just to note:
Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest (the WA mining magnate) launched his World Series Rugby tournament last week - a per-cursor to his planned Indo Pacific Rugby Championship which will start in 2019. Teams from Sri Lanka, Singapore, Fiji, etc plus the Western Force. They drew a crowd of around 18,000 for the Fiji match but I fear that it will be an uphill battle in the coming months and also next year when the IPRC gets underway.

Simply put; apart from a handful of expats in Singapore or HK, expanding into SE Asia doesn't really strike me as the way to build the game in Australia. I see this as more of an emotional response to the dumping of the Western Force and doesn't really show a thorough understanding of the grass root problems we are experiencing in rugby at the moment. He's from the far north-west (of WA) Kimberley region after all.
Full marks to him for showing the massive balls to do such a thing though.

I still think we are 1 SR team too heavy here. I agree with the Kiwis on this one.
The peak is simply too broad just below the summit of the pyramid in our case. It needs to taper off naturally like all good pyramids.
I'd prefer just NSW, Qld and ACT in it. The Vic and WA players should align themselves with one of those 3 outfits.

My idea to rebuild participation from the grassroots level up would be to adopt something along the lines of the US college football system with teams from all states & territories... probably in two divisions of 20 teams. Players from these uni sides could then work their way up into the NSW/ACT and Qld Suburban leagues... or if they excel... go straight into our 3 SR teams. This would provide a pyramid structure with a much broader base at the bottom; rather than forming a competing parallel super rugby competition (like the IPRC) which would always be seen as the lesser sibling of the proper SR comp.

One problem with this idea, however, is that our unis are increasingly being filled with mostly SE Asian students; up from <20% a decade or two ago to up around 60-75% now at some institutions.

Still, the overall enrolment numbers are rising steadily and we have a few burgeoning unis and colleges in inland rural areas (mostly Vic, NSW, Qld) where the big beefy blokes could be enticed to do a course in say... agriculture, vet science, animal husbandry, science & technology or whatever and still be living close enough to their land for work.

This is a problem in itself; the exodus from the family farm to the cities after generations of ownership on the land. However, there are some good signs here now about encouraging development of these inland places. New higher education institutions, the new inland rail, massive new distribution facilities, lots of foreign investment is already happening in a big way.

So, we could have a broader and more solid rugby base though such a 'college' rugby structure along the lines of:
(*rural/non-capital city based universities)

ACT:
ACU, ANU, UoC

NSW:
Charles Sturt U*, Macquarie U, Southern Cross U*,
U New England*, UNSW, U Newcastle*, U Notre Dame Aust.,
U of Sydney, UTS, U Wollongong*, U Western Sydney

Qld:
Bond U*, CQU*, Griffith U, James Cook U*, QUT,
Torrens U of A, U of Queensland, USQ*, USC*,

Vic:
Deakin U, Federation U of A*, La Trobe U, Monash U,
RMIT, Swinburne UoT, U of Melbourne, Victoria U

WA:
Curtin U, Edith Cowan U, Murdoch U, U of WA

SA:
Flinders U, U of Adelaide, U of SA

Tas:
U of Tasmania

NT:
Charles Darwin U

As has been noted, we do face heavy competition from football, rugby league and Australian football - and these other codes are already throwing more and more money and resources into their sports. Rugby Union is also facing the same competition in our Private (sim. to your Public) Schools which were once the bastion of the code.

Tall kids playing Aussie Rules instead of being tall timber in a line out; speedy kids with good footwork chasing round balls... but on the flip side it's always good to see and hear stories of big islander kids playing rugby in the outer suburbs of Sydney and Brisbane - mostly lower income Kiwi, PIs who are growing up here and have the game in their blood thanks to their parents - although the temptation to aspire to the big money on offer in the NRL or being head-hunted by an NRL feeder club is always there.

So if we could develop something along the lines of above; give them some educational incentive and maybe a pathway out of the sticks and into a professional career (like the college football system in the US) then I believe that would be a very good thing for rugby in Australia.

Better to start now before rugby slides further into obscurity in this country.

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Re: Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

Post by LeinsterFan4life on Sun 13 May 2018, 8:12 am

Recwatcher16 wrote:Brendan, don't disagree with your first two paragraphs of mainly fact, but don't understand your point.
The third paragraph suggests you have missed the point on what a top down structure is constructed by - with a centralised, closed shop ownership, which the English club format is definitely not.

You seem to believe the irish union ownership with Leinster a.k.a. the Ireland test side being competitive in club competitions is a sign of good management. I will leave aside the inherent conflict in that (unless you believe Ulster & Connacht could quite easily make up the bulk of the test side) but the in built strategic risk is high when the teams don't achieve results - such as Australia, which was the point of the article.
You seem to suggest that Leinster are given the Irish test side by the the IRFU. Every Irish player bar Cronin in that squad yesterday has come through the Leinster academy or club system and before that the Leinster schools system.

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Re: Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

Post by Recwatcher16 on Sun 13 May 2018, 8:39 am

LeinsterFan4life wrote:
Recwatcher16 wrote:Brendan, don't disagree with your first two paragraphs of mainly fact, but don't understand your point.
The third paragraph suggests you have missed the point on what a top down structure is constructed by - with a centralised, closed shop ownership, which the English club format is definitely not.

You seem to believe the irish union ownership with Leinster a.k.a. the Ireland test side being competitive in club competitions is a sign of good management. I will leave aside the inherent conflict in that (unless you believe Ulster & Connacht could quite easily make up the bulk of the test side) but the in built strategic risk is high when the teams don't achieve results - such as Australia, which was the point of the article.
You seem to suggest that Leinster are given the Irish test side by the the IRFU. Every Irish player bar Cronin in that squad yesterday has come through the Leinster academy or club system and before that the Leinster schools system.

Ha I am not saying that at all but if you only have four elite centrally owned top teams to select from the chances of test exposure are far higher. As a fan of this approach you don't see the inherent conflict in what historically have always been trials sides and settled player combinations are always preferable too. In the first 25 years of professional rugby there hasn't been a Connacht or Ulster dominated irish test side and don't know about you but doubt it in the next ten or twenty years either.

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Re: Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

Post by LeinsterFan4life on Sun 13 May 2018, 8:55 am

Recwatcher16 wrote:
LeinsterFan4life wrote:
Recwatcher16 wrote:Brendan, don't disagree with your first two paragraphs of mainly fact, but don't understand your point.
The third paragraph suggests you have missed the point on what a top down structure is constructed by - with a centralised, closed shop ownership, which the English club format is definitely not.

You seem to believe the irish union ownership with Leinster a.k.a. the Ireland test side being competitive in club competitions is a sign of good management. I will leave aside the inherent conflict in that (unless you believe Ulster & Connacht could quite easily make up the bulk of the test side) but the in built strategic risk is high when the teams don't achieve results - such as Australia, which was the point of the article.
You seem to suggest that Leinster are given the Irish test side by the the IRFU. Every Irish player bar Cronin in that squad yesterday has come through the Leinster academy or club system and before that the Leinster schools system.

Ha I am not saying that at all but if you only have four elite centrally owned top teams to select from the chances of test exposure are far higher. As a fan of this approach you don't see the inherent conflict in what historically have always been trials sides and settled player  combinations are always preferable too. In the first 25 years of professional rugby there hasn't been a Connacht or Ulster dominated irish test side and don't know about you but doubt it in the next ten or twenty years either.
For good reason. Connacht and Ulster don't have the wealth of resources at schools level that Leinster has. St. Michaels alone has become famous throughout the rugby world due to the sheer amount of professional rugby players it is producing. Leinster are fortunate to have places like that to pluck players from.

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Re: Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

Post by Recwatcher16 on Sun 13 May 2018, 9:04 am

If you think that certain Dublin schools are better than anywhere else, then fair enough but I don't believe it.

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Re: Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

Post by Recwatcher16 on Sun 13 May 2018, 9:33 am

I have got distracted, the point of the original article was the high risk top down structure in Australia which is now playing out and given Australia have to regularly contend with NZ and other national sports, it is not perhaps surprising. However the principle applies to all.

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Re: Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

Post by LeinsterFan4life on Sun 13 May 2018, 10:50 am

Recwatcher16 wrote:If you think that certain Dublin schools are better than anywhere else, then fair enough but I don't believe it.
I wouldn't expect you to. Your knowledge of Irish rugby is clearly lacking. That's not meant as a dig... you're not Irish so there is no reason why you should be well informed.

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Re: Australia as top heavy as they come and the gamble is falling flat

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