New World Rugby League

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New World Rugby League

Post by Intotouch on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 7:00 am

I was surprised that there wasn't a thread on this already. I'd like to hear people's thoughts on the subject so I'm posting this one. If there's already a thread on the subject that I missed then mods, please delete or merge this one.

This week there are meetings in LA between union heads to discuss plans to host an annual world competition in international rugby. According to different sources either the 6 nations will act as a pool stage for the knock out rounds or there will be three pools of three nations followed by a semi final and final. The motivation behind this is to bring in more income for struggling SH unions. It is the idea of Pichot and inspired by the nations cup in soccer in Europe which effectively got rid of soccer friendlies and instead provided plenty of matches but all leading to a title.

Here is one recent article about this:
https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/sport/2019/01/all-blacks-new-world-rugby-league-to-be-proposed.html

Since this competition would naturally involve more matches for the semi finalists and finalists at least it is going to increase the amount of matches international players compete in which brings up concerns for player welfare and clubs resistance. As is mentioned in the article it would turn the world cup into nothing special. Taking the 6 nations from free to air is I think a terrible idea as it's incredibly popular with people who are not really rugby fans, but tune in to it because it's an event and growing up with it builds up an emotional connection with people that would be lost. Since away fans would probably have vast distances to travel the atmosphere at the semis and final could be a bit flat.

However if rugby is in trouble in the SH then something must change to help them. Personally I think the unpredictability of the 6 nations make it exciting, and the predictability of the rugby championship is it's main problem. A world league might turn out to be just as predictable. So solving little. But maybe I'm wrong here and people in Australia for example will get really excited about this and attendances will increase? How do you think the internationals should be changed to increase it's popularity down south and make more money?

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Re: New World Rugby League

Post by LondonTiger on Tue 29 Jan 2019, 11:12 am

Just moved this from the general section as it discusses the international game.

When I read about Pichot's proposals I had the following thoughts:

1) The 6 Nations would either disappear or have to move in the calendar
2) The World Cup would be diminished
3) The Lions tours would probably die


Sure there would be consequences for the club game (and as someone who regularly goes to club matches I prefer it to internationals) but the current season set up is a complete mess.

I feel something has to happen but do not think that this is the solution. With the Six Nations Committee, RFU and FFR already opposed, Pichot will need to demonstrate immense political skill to get it through. If he does perhaps he should be appointed Brext Secretary?

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Re: New World Rugby League

Post by SecretFly on Tue 29 Jan 2019, 12:24 pm

NO.

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Re: New World Rugby League

Post by lostinwales on Tue 29 Jan 2019, 12:38 pm

Would be hilarious seeing the response of the Brexit brigade to having an Argentinian appointed to that position

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Re: New World Rugby League

Post by Brendan on Tue 29 Jan 2019, 10:31 pm

This seems to be all about the SH. NH loses their gate receipts while still having the bills to pay for their bigger stadiums.

Not sure what the SH give up, seems like a win win for them while a loss for the NH

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Re: New World Rugby League

Post by LondonTiger on Wed 30 Jan 2019, 8:38 am

More info coming out with compromises that suggest this may happen. At the very least the major unions have told World Rugby to continue development.

Premise seems to be:

Top 12 teams split currently as 6Ns + 4Ns + Japan + Fiji play each other once.
For 6Ns sides fixtures would be the current 6Ns format, 3 summer matches in 3 different countries and the 3 AIs against 3 different opponents.
The other group of 6 would play matches between themselves in the current 4Ns window.

After all 11 matches have been played there will be two weeks of playoffs to determine the winners and also whether anyone is relegated.

Will not happen in WC year. Truncated version in Lions year.

A lot more detail is available but hidden behind the Times paywall.

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Re: New World Rugby League

Post by robbo277 on Wed 30 Jan 2019, 11:02 am

So in a standard year, England (for ex - read any NH team)

Will play a Six Nations tournament
Will play 3 away tests in July in EITHER New Zealand, Australia and Fiji OR Argentina, South Africa and Japan
Will play 3 home tests in November against the group they didn't play against
Will potentially have two weeks of play-offs (always in the NH? Or will they all fly down to the SH after the autumn series?)

In that case, it isn't wildly different to what we have now - just those play-offs. Would potentially widen the gap from Georgia, Samoa, Canada, etc.

I really like the Nations League this is apparently based off, but I'm not sold on this. I don't like the format and I don't think there is enough variety in the teams to separate it from the World Cup, just a more drawn out format. I also wouldn't really like it without a further degree of season harmonisation. It would be odd to have some teams on 8 games played while others have 3.

I've said before if right now we started with a blank piece of paper and said "design professional rugby", no-one would come up with what we have now. This competition would initially bring scepticism but then eventually bed in to part of the calendar I'm sure, I just think if we're changing things we shouldn't keep tweaking what we have and should try to design a system that works for rugby, not just mimic everything football does.

There are other sporting models. NFL players will probably play less minutes in a regular season than Maro Itoje played in the Six Nations last year. Bringing another competition in may be good for a few quid, but it won't help the players. Instead of getting a bit of a rest after the AIs, you'll go straight into a play-off, Champions Cup, Christmas derby, more Champions Cup and the Six Nations again. It's an intense schedule.

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Re: New World Rugby League

Post by Gooseberry on Wed 30 Jan 2019, 11:26 am

LondonTiger wrote:More info coming out with compromises that suggest this may happen. At the very least the major unions have told World Rugby to continue development.

Premise seems to be:

Top 12 teams split currently as 6Ns + 4Ns + Japan + Fiji play each other once.
For 6Ns sides fixtures would be the current 6Ns format, 3 summer matches in 3 different countries and the 3 AIs against 3 different opponents.
The other group of 6 would play matches between themselves in the current 4Ns window.

After all 11 matches have been played there will be two weeks of playoffs to determine the winners and also whether anyone is relegated.

Will not happen in WC year. Truncated version in Lions year.

A lot more detail is available but hidden behind the Times paywall.


This proposal wouldnt see a significant change in the number of tests played by the 6 nations teams, most of them play 4 AI's now anyway. The playoffs is the only real change, and the big problem there is the unpredictability of it and how that impacts the club season.
It would also make summer tours more onerous with a lot more jetsetting and less preparation time for the NH players.
Long term its more likely to be the death of the Lions than stay truncated.
The big impact seems to be on the Pacific islanders with Fiji and Japan treated as a special case ( would that vary on world rankings / relegation? ) , and its not clear the impact this has on the Pislands cup. Them getting the opportunity to play the 4N teams outside of world cups would be a bonus.

Overall though it seems like a bit of a sideshow, and something that detracts from a world cup. And the idea of development tours and experimental sides. It maybe adds more meaning to AIs, but there was something gratifying about a series for the summer tours vs these one off games every year. In the same way that its no longer a big deal when the home nations play at least 2 of the SANZARS every autumn the tour cycle made it feel like a real special occasion to go to these places...making it yearly one offs takes that away. Its also not so good for the travelling fans and all those retired IT contractors who spend 2 months travelling New Zealand, theres a genuine financial impact there too if less people travel with the NH teams.

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Re: New World Rugby League

Post by Brendan on Wed 30 Jan 2019, 11:43 am

So the NH will help fund turning the Rugby Championship from 4 to 6 team. I assume Japan represent the Asian Champs and Fiji the PI champs.

It also cuts Georgia adrift and any expansion of the 6 Nations or growing the standard of European Teir 2 sides.

Would much rather the top 3 in the 6N play the top 3 in the RC home and away.

Winners - every SH team
Losers -Europe T2 (esp Georgia), USA, Samoa, Tonga (who all lose T1 matches) plus Uruguay, Nambia, Canda
No winning 6N

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Re: New World Rugby League

Post by maestegmafia on Wed 30 Jan 2019, 11:53 am

To me this seems like it is designed to improve revenue not to improve the game outside the top tier.

Word rugby previously were encouraging more established nations to arrange fixtures with the less competitive nations to help spread the game and improve the lower levels.

I hear the New Zealander’s are keen on the world league as it may bring in the revenue they need to exist against the buying power of the English French and Japanese league teams.

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Re: New World Rugby League

Post by Brendan on Wed 30 Jan 2019, 12:58 pm

maestegmafia wrote:To me this seems like it is designed to improve revenue not to improve the game outside the top tier.

Word rugby previously were encouraging more established nations to arrange fixtures with the less competitive nations to help spread the game and improve the lower levels.

I hear the New Zealander’s are keen on the world league as it may bring in the revenue they need to exist against the buying power of the English French and Japanese league teams.

I assume that means not no extra fees to be charged by the ABs which is substantial.

The only problem with their assumption of more money is that if all the unions would have more money, so then more money goes to the European game which ups prices due to improved fees for player access agreements. You would assume that each country will keep their home game revenue (as most leagues do) and only share the TV deal money. 6 Nations would still be ring fenced which is the cash cow of the NH nations so the SH would still struggle.

Super Rugby would still loose money especially if they go back to playing each team once and only play your home teams once. This would result in two away games to other countries and to home games being less sellable. You still have the issue of 60k watching Italy at home in the 6 nations brings in more money that NZ can with their 40-50k. Italy have access to 80k stadiums for really big games if they needed to. New Zealand are running 5 Pro teams and need to drop to 4 if they want to keep their stars.

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Re: New World Rugby League

Post by LondonTiger on Wed 30 Jan 2019, 1:02 pm

I forgot to mention that as part of the playoffs, there would be two relegation matches. Bottom team in Europe (after all 11 games not just 6N ones) to play winner of the European Championship, Bottom "SH" team to play winner from Americas and Pacific Championships.

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Re: New World Rugby League

Post by LondonTiger on Wed 30 Jan 2019, 1:17 pm

The Times wrote:Relegation from the Guinness Six Nations could be introduced for the first time after World Rugby held talks in Los Angeles about creating a world league.

The Times has seen details of the proposed tournament, which would aim to start in 2022 and involve the world’s top 12 countries — six from Europe and six from the southern hemisphere — playing each other once a year before a play-off series and final every autumn. It would not be held in a World Cup year, while a truncated event would be staged in years when the British & Irish Lions are touring.

World Rugby, the international governing body, held positive discussions with executives of the tier-one and tier-two nations on Monday. The project was greeted cynically when it was first proposed last September and although there are a number of issues to be resolved, the new league seems likely to go ahead after being given approval to progress on Monday.

If relegation is factored in, there will be two divisions in Europe and two in the southern hemisphere. The team who finish bottom of the top-tier group of six would contest a play-off against the winner of the second tier. Italy oppose relegation and the league could be adopted without certain aspects, such as relegation.

The Six Nations would take place as normal and act as the European top tier. The five games each nation play in the Six Nations would count as world league points. For the other six of their 11 group games, three would be played in the summer, in place of a tour, and three in November. The semi-finals would be on the final weekend of November between the top European side and the second-placed southern-hemisphere nation and vice versa, with the final seven days later.


In the southern hemisphere, the Rugby Championship, contested by Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, would continue to be held in August and September and would act as the top tier, with Japan and Fiji joining the competition. The second division would comprise six teams from the Pacific Nations Cup and the Americas Championship.

The purpose of the proposed format is to maintain rugby’s traditional competitions, such as the Six Nations, but to add greater depth through a global final series, as well as providing the opportunity for emerging nations.

There is widespread concern over player welfare because the addition of the play-off series would mean intense Test matches are played on five successive weekends in November and December, which could also lead to opposition and a possible legal challenge from European clubs over player release dates.

World Rugby is championing the new tournament as a way of providing greater context and coherence to the international game, giving encouragement to tier-two nations aiming to move into the elite and to drive international growth, particularly through securing more lucrative television deals, which would be sold centrally.

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Re: New World Rugby League

Post by LondonTiger on Wed 30 Jan 2019, 1:20 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
The Times wrote:
World Rugby is championing the new tournament as a way of providing greater context and coherence to the international game, giving encouragement to tier-two nations aiming to move into the elite and to drive international growth, particularly through securing more lucrative television deals, which would be sold centrally.
 
Only just noticed this point. If the TV deals are sold centrally I wonder how the income would be distributed. Right now I would assume that 6Ns sisdes receive more money from their TV deal than Rugby Championship sides do

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Re: New World Rugby League

Post by tigertattie on Wed 30 Jan 2019, 1:32 pm

It's all a crock!

The issue is the AI and Summer "tours" where the little fella's don't get much of a look in.

Last year's AI matches:
Japan vs NZ
Wales vs Scotland
England vs SA
Ireland vs Italy

Itlay vs Georgia
Scotland vs Fiji
England vs NZ
Wales vs Oz

Ireland vs Arg
France vs SA

Itlay vs Oz
Wales vs Tonga
England vs Japan
Scotland vs SA
Ire vs NZ
France vs Arg

Italy vs NZ
Scotland vs Arg
Engalnd vs Oz
Ireland vs USA
France vs Fiji

Wales vs Scotland and Ireland vs Italy were jsut reruns of the 6Ns matches, these should have been opened up to playing against Tonga, Canada, Samoa, etc.

Tonga came all the way over to play Wales but there were no other games! Surely they could have gotten a 2nd game against someone. Anyone.

Then there are the Summer tours where the home nations often play a 2 or 3 game series against Oz, SA or NZ. This simply isnt fair. We should be doing what the other teams do. We should play a game against NZ and Oz then a game against Fiji or Samoa or Tonga. Or a game against Arg then Uraguay. SA and then Nambia!!!

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Re: New World Rugby League

Post by Brendan on Wed 30 Jan 2019, 1:46 pm

tigertattie wrote:It's all a crock!

The issue is the AI and Summer "tours" where the little fella's don't get much of a look in.

Last year's AI matches:
Japan vs NZ
Wales vs Scotland
England vs SA
Ireland vs Italy

Itlay vs Georgia
Scotland vs Fiji
England vs NZ
Wales vs Oz

Ireland vs Arg
France vs SA

Itlay vs Oz
Wales vs Tonga
England vs Japan
Scotland vs SA
Ire vs NZ
France vs Arg

Italy vs NZ
Scotland vs Arg
Engalnd vs Oz
Ireland vs USA
France vs Fiji

Wales vs Scotland and Ireland vs Italy were jsut reruns of the 6Ns matches, these should have been opened up to playing against Tonga, Canada, Samoa, etc.

Tonga came all the way over to play Wales but there were no other games! Surely they could have gotten a 2nd game against someone. Anyone.

Then there are the Summer tours where the home nations often play a 2 or 3 game series against Oz, SA or NZ. This simply isnt fair. We should be doing what the other teams do. We should play a game against NZ and Oz then a game against Fiji or Samoa or Tonga. Or a game against Arg then Uraguay. SA and then Nambia!!!


I think the problem is that the 3 big SH sides don't play the teir two sides. The AIs always have the NH playing a lesser team

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Re: New World Rugby League

Post by maestegmafia on Wed 30 Jan 2019, 1:57 pm

I want to see more games like SA vs Japan at the 2015 Rwc.for that we need more tier 1 vs tier 2 nations games.

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Re: New World Rugby League

Post by robbo277 on Wed 30 Jan 2019, 1:58 pm

LondonTiger wrote:I forgot to mention that as part of the playoffs, there would be two relegation matches. Bottom team in Europe (after all 11 games not just 6N ones) to play winner of the European Championship, Bottom "SH" team to play winner from Americas and Pacific Championships.

So what happens when Italy are the bottom team in Europe every year, have to play Georgia every year for 10 years and inevitably lose one of those fixtures? Do they get relegated from the 6 Nations as well? Or do Georgia play the European Championship and try to crowbar 11 other tests into their calendar.

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Re: New World Rugby League

Post by robbo277 on Wed 30 Jan 2019, 2:12 pm

maestegmafia wrote:I want to see more games like SA vs Japan at the 2015 Rwc.for that we need more tier 1 vs tier 2 nations games.

They need to be meaningful and in a context to be appreciated. If Japan had turned South Africa over in the 2014 Autumn Internationals, how much would we care? Probably as much as we care about Fiji doing France this past Autumn.

Does this league bring us closer to harmonisation of the season? Say the NH moving the Six Nations to the summer and having tests in July, hemisphere competitions in August/September, tests in October and finals by the first week of November would give us the global international window that is sometimes mooted. If this tournament comes in in 2022, I wouldn't bet against seeing something like that happen in 2030, especially if the "traditional" Six Nations is ripped up by relegation.

What's Italy's recourse if they want to oppose relegation? Drag their feet and eventually go along with it? Assuming the rest of the world wanted it, would the other nations be able to strong arm them into it by saying "accept relegation or expulsion"?

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Re: New World Rugby League

Post by LondonTiger on Wed 30 Jan 2019, 2:13 pm

robbo277 wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:I forgot to mention that as part of the playoffs, there would be two relegation matches. Bottom team in Europe (after all 11 games not just 6N ones) to play winner of the European Championship, Bottom "SH" team to play winner from Americas and Pacific Championships.

So what happens when Italy are the bottom team in Europe every year, have to play Georgia every year for 10 years and inevitably lose one of those fixtures? Do they get relegated from the 6 Nations as well? Or do Georgia play the European Championship and try to crowbar 11 other tests into their calendar.
 My assumption was they would be relegated from 6Ns too, but at the moment this plan is, to use the political word of the month, nebulous.

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Re: New World Rugby League

Post by robbo277 on Wed 30 Jan 2019, 2:30 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
robbo277 wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:I forgot to mention that as part of the playoffs, there would be two relegation matches. Bottom team in Europe (after all 11 games not just 6N ones) to play winner of the European Championship, Bottom "SH" team to play winner from Americas and Pacific Championships.

So what happens when Italy are the bottom team in Europe every year, have to play Georgia every year for 10 years and inevitably lose one of those fixtures? Do they get relegated from the 6 Nations as well? Or do Georgia play the European Championship and try to crowbar 11 other tests into their calendar.
 My assumption was they would be relegated from 6Ns too, but at the moment this plan is, to use the political word of the month, nebulous.

I guess there is still a long way for the proposal to travel The idea is an interesting concept at least, I think it would definitely help boost the June and November tests. I think the Six Nations may feel a little bit watered down, yeah someone will win, but if you can "stay in touch" for the World League then that might be seen as a job well done, which would mean losing the second is nowhere feeling.

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Re: New World Rugby League

Post by Gooseberry on Wed 30 Jan 2019, 3:13 pm

Expanding on some of the comments above I do suspect that the biggest stumbling blocks to this will be the French and English domestic clubs, the distribution of TV rights, and the issue of relegation from the 6 nations.
On relegation its not just Italy (and lets face it France given their recent record) who would be worried about this , but also the other nations who would see a drop in revenue and a host of other problems if Georgia came in. The domestic competition that Wales, Ireland, Scotland rely on and SA are stakeholders in would also be concerned about the instability that 6 nations relegation would bring.

Its an interesting concept, but one with a lot of barriers and different bodies with competing interests that would need to align to make it happen. Given that the French really don't value international tests much they are perhaps going to be the hardest ones to convince of the benefits.

If they could do it without the playoffs and relegation I think it has more chance of being a thing. But that wouldn't suit what the SANZARs want from it ...

If we cant negotiate brexit a global season I dont see this going further than the drawing board.

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