Pichot says San Francisco playing schedule agreement already needs to be renegotiated

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Pichot says San Francisco playing schedule agreement already needs to be renegotiated

Post by Rugby Fan on Thu 13 Sep 2018, 4:39 am

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/rugby/news/article.cfm?c_id=80&objectid=12124361

Agustin Pichot, the vice-chairman of World Rugby, has warned that the sport has 12 months to save itself from disintegrating if it does not manage to find agreement on a global calendar.

It had been thought that the announcement of a unified schedule, one that would serve the potentially competing interests of club and Test rugby, was imminent following agreement in San Francisco in January last year. Those optimistic noises have proved to be hot air.

Instead, Pichot sent a warning shot across the bows of all concerned by revealing that the powers-that-be would have to sit down again in Sydney in 12 days' time to rework the whole grid structure, remarking that they were only 40 per cent of the way in terms of finding an agreed solution...

...Pichot was asked if he thought the future of the international game was under threat.

"I think it is," said Pichot. "If you ask me as a businessman, the business side of it is not working.

"If you ask me as to the playing side, it's not working. The bottom lines are not there. We changed the calendar.

"We thought we had a fix. We are reviewing that. We started two months ago and we are reopening the door in Sydney to discussing it internally".

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Re: Pichot says San Francisco playing schedule agreement already needs to be renegotiated

Post by LondonTiger on Thu 13 Sep 2018, 10:24 am

While Brett Gosper (CEO of World Rugby) said on 5Live:

"There's a growing belief less may be more,"
"It's a 'Catch 22' where national unions, in order to pay their players, will increase their inventory of the number of games. That has a negative effect on values.

"You've got to find the right balance of course. There's player welfare mixed into that, where players should only be playing a certain number of games a year whether they're playing club or international rugby.

"But there's a growing realisation, there's a lot of conversations around that of making those international games more meaningful but doesn't necessarily mean making more of them."


https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/45506028

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Re: Pichot says San Francisco playing schedule agreement already needs to be renegotiated

Post by SecretFly on Thu 13 Sep 2018, 11:39 am

It's all the rage these days in all walks of life...panic, posturing and hypochondria.  The glass is always more than half empty.  There is always a catastrophe on the horizon if people don't act quickly.  There is always 10 more reasons to fear for every one reason to be hopeful.

If the Rugby of today (both International and Club) had to deal with the real issues of yesteryear, then it might be true to pretend that the sport itself might shrivel up and die if it doesn't move forward.

No such Chicken Licken excuses can be given today though, just firebrand Leaders Always thinking the grass (or astroturf) is always greener the other side of the next hill.  So the lingo is always to let's rush and get to that next hill NOW!

What period in history was it toughest to be rugby player, a rugby fan, a rugby team owner?  The 21st century?  Really?  
More and more money coming in all the time from sponsors/broadcasters etc that want to throw more money at it.... coz they know very well there is more money to be made from it.
The improvements in player welfare, training, conditioning - allowing players now, that have pretty heavy schedules in comparison to the rugby players of the past, the ability to play on for 12, 13 or 14 years.  Not all players get that lucky of course - accidents happen unfortunately.  But on average, players are lasting longer in their playing careers and if that's truly their desire to do so then they reap the financial rewards of having longer careers.  
A player now can have an outstanding International and club career already behind them and still have enough in the tank, because of modern medical and conditioning advances, to do a few more years in lucrative parts of the world; maybe playing beneath their heyday levels but still good enough to earn big wages and prop up their pensions.

There are also MANY more players worldwide that reach the standards of skill and athleticism, so teams are often spoiled for choice in choosing their squads.  Better, classier players theoretically give us more seismic and exciting rugby.  So again, the overall quality of the rugby on display hasn't gone downhill - it's going uphill.

And maybe this is the problem that presumes to need urgently this Heavily propagandised Global Calendar.  I agree that there appears to be too much rugby in a given year.  There is a thing called saturation coverage and rugby has achieved that.  But saturation coverage is a product of Global TV.  That we all can watch rugby now virtually through the entire 12 months of the year is simply a result of the fact that I can watch TV from Australia and New Zealand etc now that I wasn't able to access in the past.  Don't blame the NH for having its season, don't blame the SH for having its season....blame the saturation levels of rugby on the networks that offer it.

But I think the problem goes back to my point about more and more players streaming into high level rugby with the skills to compete at that level.  The players are ready to take a lot of the burden off the 'first team' stars that everyone says are forced to play too much rugby.  The alternative high quality players are there the world over to increase Team squads, to Rotate with honesty and conviction - IF rotation and resting star players is the honest goal.  Young players want to play, they have a right to be able to make their own names in the sport they choose.  The solution to overplayed exhausted stars is there in this modern world.  The resources are there that weren't there in the 90s when Professionalism started.  The suggestion that player fatigue requires a more unified Global Calendar is just a lame excuse from teams that never have the long term perception that many potential stars languish through a season on benches - underplayed and undervalued and not fatigued.

But back to a point I made in another thread recently.  I believe the promoted panic, posturing and projected pessimism about the world game is activated by ever increasing greed.  "How do we squeeze even more dollars out of this product? Who should get most of it?  Who should control the generation of it?  How big can I make my personal slice?"

'Global Season' is an ambitious plan.  Undoubtedly there'd be talk of specific mechanisms to admin the new way.  Undoubtedly the musical chairs of personal ambition would be shifting and jostling for position on the new Super Lucrative way.  Admining a local county League is going to be a lot less lucrative than admining a World Wide Calendar of International and Club Professional rugby.  People see the pound/dollar signs and so they manoeuvre themselves now and try to hurry along the process by talking crap about rugby imploding if it doesn't get a One World Admin Calendar for International and Club NOW.

It's interesting too that Brett Gosper mentions that a new Global Calendar shouldn't necessarily mean more International games.  Why does he concentrate on International to address that specific point?  Player welfare issues crop up in club as much or more than International (looking at you Top14 and you're excessively long, punishingly physical season.)  I personally think there are enough Internationals per season and all League seasons are too long.  So why doesn't each League simply agree to a shortened calendar?

NOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Where'd be the Money!!! Wink

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Re: Pichot says San Francisco playing schedule agreement already needs to be renegotiated

Post by The Great Aukster on Thu 13 Sep 2018, 12:52 pm

You been saving that one up SF?

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Re: Pichot says San Francisco playing schedule agreement already needs to be renegotiated

Post by SecretFly on Thu 13 Sep 2018, 1:03 pm

No it actually free-flowed, Aukster. I'm fluent enough at thinking on the hoof Wink

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Re: Pichot says San Francisco playing schedule agreement already needs to be renegotiated

Post by The Great Aukster on Thu 13 Sep 2018, 1:31 pm

For high, free flowing thoughts have you tried thinking on the roof?

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Re: Pichot says San Francisco playing schedule agreement already needs to be renegotiated

Post by SecretFly on Thu 13 Sep 2018, 1:42 pm

Well I've recently been painting on the roof (chimneys) so you might have a point there. The air was clear but the roof was slippy so all I could think about was making sure I got to use the ladder to get back down again.

Besides, there are easier medicinal herbs to use if I want to add 'High' to my vocabulary.....

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Re: Pichot says San Francisco playing schedule agreement already needs to be renegotiated

Post by Rugby Fan on Fri 14 Sep 2018, 8:37 am

SecretFly wrote:The improvements in player welfare, training, conditioning - allowing players now, that have pretty heavy schedules in comparison to the rugby players of the past, the ability to play on for 12, 13 or 14 years.  Not all players get that lucky of course - accidents happen unfortunately.  But on average, players are lasting longer in their playing careers and if that's truly their desire to do so then they reap the financial rewards of having longer careers.

I think you are underplaying the physical toll the game exacts these days.The bodies of the players who are retiring now are frequently in terrible shape. Here's Ugo Monye:

"Every morning I get up, walk down the stairs and I struggle. It takes me 20 to 30 minutes to warm up my Achilles.

"I'm 34. I had a groin reconstruction about four or five years ago. I've got tendonitis in both my Achilles. I've got three prolapsed discs in my spine.

"We've got a new baby at home. My paternal duty is bathing Phoenix. Bending over to get into the bath is a genuine struggle. I can't actually bend over to pick her up.

"And this is coming from a winger. I wasn't a number eight who had the huge collisions and competed at the ruck."

https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/41544641

Players are always free to quit but they are competitive, and rarely the best judges of their own physical well-being. That's where the governing bodies ought to be stepping in.

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Re: Pichot says San Francisco playing schedule agreement already needs to be renegotiated

Post by The Great Aukster on Fri 14 Sep 2018, 10:11 am

SecretFly wrote:Well I've recently been painting on the roof (chimneys) so you might have a point there. The air was clear but the roof was slippy so all I could think about was making sure I got to use the ladder to get back down again.  

Besides, there are easier medicinal herbs to use if I want to add 'High' to my vocabulary.....

Mmmm... don't know, chimney pot is great for getting you high.

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Re: Pichot says San Francisco playing schedule agreement already needs to be renegotiated

Post by SecretFly on Fri 14 Sep 2018, 10:29 am

Rugby Fan wrote:
SecretFly wrote:The improvements in player welfare, training, conditioning - allowing players now, that have pretty heavy schedules in comparison to the rugby players of the past, the ability to play on for 12, 13 or 14 years.  Not all players get that lucky of course - accidents happen unfortunately.  But on average, players are lasting longer in their playing careers and if that's truly their desire to do so then they reap the financial rewards of having longer careers.

I think you are underplaying the physical toll the game exacts these days.The bodies of the players who are retiring now are frequently in terrible shape.

No I wasn't underplaying the toll on players at all.  I covered it but talked about the facts - just as you mentioned the facts that players make their own decisions in the end:

" But on average, players are lasting longer in their playing careers and if that's truly their desire to do so then they reap the financial rewards of having longer careers."

So I plotted out my reservations about the choices of players to play on so long.  It's their decision.  Do I agree with their decision?  Hmmm, it's not really my call or career.

What I did say and what I stick to is the conditioning of players in this early 21st century has allowed many of them to push out their playing careers (despite the intensity of the game they play) to a longer period than their fathers and grandfathers were getting (as amateurs).  Conditioning, diet and medics means something - longevity and higher earning potential.  That's just the facts I'm outlining when the controllers of the game try to spook people, talking about the game imploding in this era - not a sign of it in my opinion.

You mention Ugo - I have no doubt that his pain and discomfort in his post-player years is not unique.  I have stated that I think there is too much rugby...too much intense rugby for the high end players that have to carry their club and THEN go on and carry their Nation too.  I've stated many times that it's a burden in such a physical game that high end players shouldn't be asked to carry.

................ but back to my main point then.  It doesn't have to be that way.  Rotation in some Leagues is sneered at ("not playing your crowd getting stars is cheating the paying public!!! ") and in some Leagues, the lack of honest rotation is seen as the greatest hurdle to success ("the players are knackered.  They have nothing left to give to International")

Don't blame the NH/SH seasons, don't blame International.  Blame clubs (tons more games per season than International) for saying they must play their stars for most of the year and in all the bigger games...coz money is money and fans want to see them.  
The solution, or part of the solution, is making clubs accountable for implementing genuine rotational policies to give players real rest and recuperation.  Changing the NH/SH seasons to one Global Season will NOT put less strain on the bodies of players.  The stars will still be asked to shine too often...coz the fans want to see the stars and clubs want to make money.

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Re: Pichot says San Francisco playing schedule agreement already needs to be renegotiated

Post by The Great Aukster on Fri 14 Sep 2018, 11:28 am

Rugby Fan wrote:
SecretFly wrote:The improvements in player welfare, training, conditioning - allowing players now, that have pretty heavy schedules in comparison to the rugby players of the past, the ability to play on for 12, 13 or 14 years.  Not all players get that lucky of course - accidents happen unfortunately.  But on average, players are lasting longer in their playing careers and if that's truly their desire to do so then they reap the financial rewards of having longer careers.

I think you are underplaying the physical toll the game exacts these days.The bodies of the players who are retiring now are frequently in terrible shape. Here's Ugo Monye:

"Every morning I get up, walk down the stairs and I struggle. It takes me 20 to 30 minutes to warm up my Achilles.

"I'm 34. I had a groin reconstruction about four or five years ago. I've got tendonitis in both my Achilles. I've got three prolapsed discs in my spine.

"We've got a new baby at home. My paternal duty is bathing Phoenix. Bending over to get into the bath is a genuine struggle. I can't actually bend over to pick her up.

"And this is coming from a winger. I wasn't a number eight who had the huge collisions and competed at the ruck."

https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/41544641

Players are always free to quit but they are competitive, and rarely the best judges of their own physical well-being. That's where the governing bodies ought to be stepping in.

Agree SF

Players need to be managed more than ever with the with the average career length being 7 years, but the length or timing of the season has little to do with it. The NFL have only a 4 month season but an average career length between 3 and 6 years (depending on source). The problem is the intensity of the season rather than the length of downtime between seasons.

World Rugby(/IRB) have increased the intensity in the rugby season by adding an extra team to both the NH and SH championships, and another four to the RWC without increasing the tournament lengths accordingly. The Lions also have an increasingly ridiculous number of games in a short period. The global calendar proposal is an attempt to shoehorn more fixtures between Tier 1 and Tier 2 nations into the already overcrowded schedule, so it is completely disingenuous of WR to suggest that it is being proposed to help player welfare.

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Re: Pichot says San Francisco playing schedule agreement already needs to be renegotiated

Post by SecretFly on Fri 14 Sep 2018, 11:44 am

The Great Aukster wrote:

The global calendar proposal is an attempt to shoehorn more fixtures between Tier 1 and Tier 2 nations.....

and between Tier 1 clubs.

To me this is the hidden bit.  I think it's an attempt to orchestrate even more games for the top clubs.... NH best against SH best.  Money, money, money...big money.  And of course in such New and Exciting encounters..... the stars will be asked to be present again to put the bums on worldwide League on League action.

So yes, Aukster.  That's my crib....the dishonesty.  

Perhaps a Global Season will be a nice thing that we all might come to like in the future.  I'm not against possibilities.  I'm against lies promoted to advance causes - and we've had a belly full of them in the past five, six or seven years.  
The organisers of both Club and International should just be honest.  They see new avenues for exploiting even more 'growth' and money and are chasing after such dreams quickly.  Just be honest and then let people have a real debate on the changes sought.

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Re: Pichot says San Francisco playing schedule agreement already needs to be renegotiated

Post by Exiledinborders on Sat 15 Sep 2018, 12:41 pm

SecretFly wrote:Don't blame the NH/SH seasons, don't blame International.  Blame clubs (tons more games per season than International) for saying they must play their stars for most of the year and in all the bigger games...coz money is money and fans want to see them.  
The solution, or part of the solution, is making clubs accountable for implementing genuine rotational policies to give players real rest and recuperation.  Changing the NH/SH seasons to one Global Season will NOT put less strain on the bodies of players.  The stars will still be asked to shine too often...coz the fans want to see the stars and clubs want to make money.
I agree players are knackered due to playing too much rugby but why do you blame the clubs? It is not the clubs who have massively expanded the number of games played. It is the international game that has seen the massive expansion in games. The table below shows the number of England games per decade. The 2010s are on track to beat the record and now it seems that some unions want to expand even further.

1950s43
1960s48
1970s 50
1980s 61
1990s 91
2000s104
I suspect the plan of the some unions is for permanent international rugby in much the same way as happens in cricket in which the top players never play anything other than international games.

I would like to see international rugby cut somewhat so it becomes special again.  This would mean players could play international rugby, domestic rugby and still not be overloaded.


The obvious solution to me is something like the following:
Keep the 6N and Rugby Championship each year and in addition:
Year 1 SH teams play three games in NH
Year 2 RWC
Year 3 NH teams play three games in SH
Year 4 Lions tour

It is completely wrong for international rugby to keep expanding and then blame the clubs for the impact on players. After all international games are tougher on players than domestic games. By all means cut the number of games per player by it cannot be left entirely left to clubs.

If the international game expands any more it will kill off domestic rugby. How are clubs meant to attract people to watch a season that keeps starting and stopping to accommodate international rugby?

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Re: Pichot says San Francisco playing schedule agreement already needs to be renegotiated

Post by Brendan on Sat 15 Sep 2018, 12:56 pm

From a pro16 prespecive (taking two extra South Africans) I would do the following (I don't care if the other Unions/leagues want to ruin their players and go as they are).

2 conferences with 8 teams 2 of IRE, WAL, SA SCO/ITA, rotate each year so travel to SA is only once every three years. Not sure how dates work but could swap Euro cup and second half of season for fitting in better

Week 1-7 first half of season
Week 8 -11 Autumn internationals
Week 12 - 18 second half of the season
Week 19 - 25 6 nations
Week 26 - 35 Euro Cup (week break after group)
Week 36 - 38 playoffs (cup (6), plate (6) and sheild (4)
Week 39 - 42 Summer tests
Week 43 - 52 off and pre season.

Positives
1. Games each week
2. Tournament played in blocks
3. Can rest non internationals over international breaks
4. Can plan rests for internationals in blocks as would only affect one tournament
5. Better players playing at higher standard for second half of the year

Negatives
1. Getting the others to play the Euro as a block
2. Some teams might be undercook/overplayed heading into the playoffs
3. Less home games

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Re: Pichot says San Francisco playing schedule agreement already needs to be renegotiated

Post by SecretFly on Sat 15 Sep 2018, 1:05 pm

Players - hard worked players - play more rugby for their clubs in a given year in general than they play for their Nation (if any).  So the thought about clubs is a practical one based on logic.
Many players are never touched by International and yet they are worked to the bone in their club and play more hard games in a season than their International colleagues.  So the topic of 'knackered' suits far more club players across the world (exclusively club) than it does many elite International players.

Now Leagues and Ultra Leagues (Euro contests for example) - do they really mean clubs still play the same amount of games in a season as they did in the 50s?  And even if so, was the intensity of such games remotely close to International standards as you see today - massively physical contests at club level to be repeated the very next week.  The 'luckiest' sides have to play on further and further in the extra 'Play off' games and in European QF and SFs  
So, Club wants to buy International stars and yet it doesn't want to give some of those International stars back to International.  Club benefits from the ambition of players that fully and truthfully chase an International position (some players travelling the world to find places that might realise their International ambitions); their very club performances often driven by the deeper desire to play at the highest levels of International.

So why blame International for being very popular both with fans and most especially, with Players.  Some clubs would not have close to the quality of players they have in their ranks if it wasn't for the lure of International that often sucks such players in.

I repeat though.  I'm not after more Internationals.  Saturation coverage already in both brands, as I've said.  But the Club seasons I'd like to go back at least to League top ranker wins that league.  Simple. and a few less games per season at least? 

But of course...money and fans want more so that will never happen.

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Re: Pichot says San Francisco playing schedule agreement already needs to be renegotiated

Post by Brendan on Sat 15 Sep 2018, 1:51 pm

The other problem as discussed is that before we would have seen results of internationals but not seen the match. We get more international matches shown TV so they seem to be on longer. When national teams went on tours how many matches would they play against local sides (not always tests) aswell as the international team (test)

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Re: Pichot says San Francisco playing schedule agreement already needs to be renegotiated

Post by Brendan on Sat 15 Sep 2018, 2:01 pm

So just a bit of where the game has gone

For Leicester Tigers
Most appearances in a single season - 45 by Teddy Haselmere in 1922/23
If you did that now even at semi-pro level you would be in serious trouble. He was a winger so maybe just had to do a few sprints a game and looked pretty for the rest of the match

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Re: Pichot says San Francisco playing schedule agreement already needs to be renegotiated

Post by Exiledinborders on Sun 16 Sep 2018, 1:52 pm

Brendan wrote:The other problem as discussed is that before we would have seen results of internationals but not seen the match.  We get more international matches shown TV so they seem to be on longer.  When national teams went on tours how many matches would they play against local sides (not always tests) aswell as the international team (test)
When international teams went on tours they did so only occasionally. They did not tour and host a tour every year as they do now. At that time they played in a four and later a five nations tournament not six nations.

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Re: Pichot says San Francisco playing schedule agreement already needs to be renegotiated

Post by LondonTiger on Sun 16 Sep 2018, 2:28 pm

I still remember the 84 Aussies as back then just one side would come north.

Professionalism means that everyone is trying to squeeze more from the game. There is however a point of maximum saturation, which personally I believe has been reached. There are so many internationals that they no longer feel special. That only 16k turned out to watch Aus v Arg is a worry. That a visit from South Africa to the NH no longer guarantees full houses is a worry.

Not only do we expect our players to play too much, we expect the fans to pay too much to watch tired players in tired fixtures.

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Re: Pichot says San Francisco playing schedule agreement already needs to be renegotiated

Post by Pot Hale on Sun 16 Sep 2018, 2:50 pm

From Sunday Times:

International rugby is being ruined by greed — and it has to stop before it is too late


Sport evokes such a galaxy of emotions, probably way more than it should. What I never expected to feel for rugby was revulsion, but that is what I feel for many aspects of international rugby — the bullying and grasping of the major unions, their narrow-minded, self-serving myopia, the horrible bloated excess of it all and the way that the athletes are no longer treated as players, but as cash cows.

So we waited for Thursday evening for what now seems a lifetime. It was only a few minutes on BBC Radio 5 Live in an interview by Chris Jones, the rugby correspondent, with Brett Gosper, the chief executive of World Rugby. But the sense of release afterwards was staggering. Gosper’s theme was that international rugby needs quality, not quantity — and I would call it insane quantity these days. “There is a growing belief that less may be more,” Gosper said. “It is a Catch 22 where national unions, in order to pay their players, increase their inventory of the number of games. That has a negative effect on values.

Safety first: World Rugby chief Brett Gosper believes player welfare should be prioritised
Safety first: World Rugby chief Brett Gosper believes player welfare should be prioritisedMIKE EGERTON
“You’ve got to find the right balance. There is player welfare mixed into that, where players should only be playing a certain number of games a year . . . but there is a growing realisation and a lot of conversations on making international games more meaningful, but that doesn’t necessarily mean making more of them.”

Does that seems rather mild to you? It should not. It means you haven’t been out there in any capacity, fan or player. Gosper is a paid employee of World Rugby, and the organisation is still dominated by the major rugby unions. He is not supposed to dictate or suggest policy. I am certain he was taking calls from incensed union grandees before he left the studios, and that the tirade continues. The power the unions wield is that they can bring in £6m profit from one Test match — a power they have abused.

Gosper and Gus Pichot, World Rugby’s vice-chairman who also spoke out last week, were reacting to two pitiful attempts by unions and other stakeholders to create a season structure which was no longer as dangerous as the current one but also provided their precious income.

The sum total of these discussions was that one Test match every three years would be discarded. One. So England and Wales could still play up to 20 games in 13 months, as they are soon to do, and there will still be three Test matches on tours of the southern hemisphere in almost every year.

England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland can still play four warm-up Tests before every World Cup. New Zealand can still come up north every year so that their allure and aura is eroded still further. They are a superb rugby team, but in terms of excitement and freshness, they are now just any old team. The recent agreements should be torn up and redone.

It is said some unions are struggling financially. No wonder. The costs of international rugby are preposterous — the wages spiral is their creation. one union has installed gigantic freezer rooms at vast expense so players can recuperate; another installs its squad in a palatial hotel; most national teams employ more coaches and back-up personnel than they have players in the squad. If the head coach asked for a private jet for his dog, they’d give him one.

They are also doing studies in their panic at a potential loss of Tests. They are trying to prove that players in different positions are less tired than others, and that 78 minutes action before being replaced is not testing. Forget that. Just call off the game.

Tests should be slashed. The fact that seven unions are playing Tests this autumn outside the prescribed Test window is a disgrace. The international arena used to be sacred. Now, it is a snake pit. What happens if they all play fewer Tests? The incomes of each union will drop by the same amount, relatively speaking, so they are all still in the same boat.

Maybe rugby was never meant to be so massive. At lower levels and in smaller rugby countries, it is as gorgeous an activity as ever. But the boom at the top end is bogus and robbing the sport of its ethos. Gosper, the first WR chief executive to have a presence and logic, and the courage, has put sanity and players equal first. He has underlined the lunatic grossness of the whole activity. And which is worse? Bankruptcy, or ushering players to an early grave?
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Re: Pichot says San Francisco playing schedule agreement already needs to be renegotiated

Post by Exiledinborders on Mon 17 Sep 2018, 2:45 pm

I agree with a lot of that Pot Hale but although Gosper is talking about less international games I am not so sure about Pichot.  

I think there are two camps. In one are the French and English who place quite a lot of emphasis on independent clubs and leagues. In the other camp are the Celtic and SH countries with their centralised structures.

I suspect the latter want to move to a cricket like system with far more internationals and where the top players play next to no club games. It would of course destroy the leagues but that would suit the agenda of the SH and Celtic unions as it would bring down wages and therefore the union's costs.

It will be interesting to see how it works out. At the end of the day I suspect the English and French will get their way as England and France have more financial clout and their clubs have the majority of the best players under contract.

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