The Future for the PRO14 - Part 9 - who’s next?

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Post by maestegmafia on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 6:36 am

South African media reports emerging around comments made at PRO14 launch by SA Rugby president Mark Alexander that South African players will be better off playing in the northern hemisphere.

Alexander hinted South African rugby could be heading north on a more permanent basis in the near future.

The Cheetahs and Kings joined the Pro14 last year and there is a strong possibility that two more local teams will be included in the competition next season.

‘It’s a long-term investment. We have options now and in future. At some point in time, in future, if we don’t want to stay in the south [in Super Rugby], we can move north,’ said Alexander.

He added that the involvement of local players and coaches in Europe is beneficial for South African rugby.

‘The Pro14 is a good competition for the players and coaches who’re playing against tier-one nations each weekend. When we become a full Pro14 member next season, we’ll be the only nation who plays in the north and the south, and the major benefit of playing in the northern hemisphere is the players are better off.

‘With the structure of the Pro14 competition the way it is, it’s easier for travelling, with distances between places less than in the south, and the time zones are also better. When you consider player welfare and what’s best for them, then the north is better.’

The rumors are that it will be the Griquas and Pumas who will be proposed by SARU next season as their two new teams.  How well that will be received by the other participating unions remains to be seen given the poor quality of the Kings thus far.    SARU plans to cut the number of professional players in their system from approx 900 to 400 odd using a draft system and to spread the talent across the 8 professional teams.

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Post by LordDowlais on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 8:11 am

There's talk of asking the Georgians to join as well. How that will work though ?

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Post by Kingshu on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 9:24 am

Personally don't rhink the Pro 14 should allow the Griquas and Pumas to join. I have no problem with an extra two SA sides, but the Pro 14 should not have the bottom 4 sides and super rugby top 4 sudes it needs mixed up more.
Maybe add Pumas and Griquas join super rugby and stormers/sharks move across.
However it looks like a done deal that Pumas and Griquas will join the PRO 14.
https://m.sport24.co.za/Rugby/CurrieCup/currie-cup-2019-set-for-dramatic-revamp-20181105

The Currie cup has been revamped to 2 conferences one with super Rugby sides and the other the Pro 14 and Pumas and Griquas sides, however when refering to this conference they just call all 4 the PRO 14 sides.

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Post by BamBam on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 9:42 am

Agree with the above, Pro14 should not be accepting the bottom four sides that SA have, essentially means that they are using the league as a development competition. Do the Cheetahs/Kings have any representatives in the Springbok squad? Not sure off the top of my head, but can't imagine that would improve with these two sides coming in

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Post by LordDowlais on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 9:56 am

Why are we even considering letting these sides join ? Are they even full pro sides ?

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Post by VinceWLB on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 10:15 am

That's crazy, Pumas and Griquas could be even worse than the Kings. Even though the Kings are going to be private, SARU doesn't have enough money for 8 teams.

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Post by tigertattie on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 10:35 am

Willie Le Roux palyed for th girquas you know!

Just saying
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Post by SecretFly on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 10:41 am

I guess the reason is...and I feel a song coming on:

Money makes the world go around, the world go around, the world go around...
Money makes the world go around.....

This Anyai guy, ( wrong spelling I'm sure but have no time to go check) beginning to think he's not a consolidator of gains made but rather he just seems to be yet another rugby union gold digger who seem to have infested our sport in recent years. It's like when America was expanding west... all it ever needed was carefully crafted reports of Gold in them thar hills and half the nation was off again looking to stake their claim to more injun land.
Why doesN't Pro14 now relax for a bit and let the current operation bed down a little. Let's say five years, before chasing after something BIGGER so soon after making something big enough for now.

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Post by LordDowlais on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 11:09 am

Yes, but semi Pro teams ?

I am sure there are better options.

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Post by Kingshu on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 11:20 am

If resting for 5 years the Prem and Top 14 would start pulling away, the PRO 14 has to generate more money now to keep the best players.
The draft system is the plan to make all 8 competative.
Personally think PRO 14 should stand firm and say 2 super sides come into PRO 14 a pumas and Griquas move to super rugby, or else we will only have the 4 poorer, less supported teams with less TV clout, over the long term.

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Post by SecretFly on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 12:33 pm

If money is the idea, and fast, and not a notion of organisational consolidation to give teams, officials, players, refs everyone a breather to hone what we have, then I think Pro14 will sink. And of course, the regular folks will be out saying that the reason Pro14 is sinking is because it isn't ambitious enough and aggressive enough chasing bigger markets etc. I'll say it's because we're being too ambitious. Not allowing each growth spurt to settle down into its own rhythm before asking for big changes again. What do we want? Half the Pro14 season played in SA and half here in Europe?

I just feel there is too much of an unrealistic rush to emulate the Top14 and the Prem. Many businesses have fallen away trying to expand too quickly. We're at risk of that; ....and every time Pro14 looks likes its closing on its competitors, the competitors get another monstrous windfall anyway, based on the strengths of high population concentration areas over our spread out, often times embarrassingly small audiences. We have to understand that we're not the only one playing this competing game. The other two see us clearly - and if they see us reach a level that threatens their product then they'll play the game, seek and find the funding to push us back down the ladder. So as we try to compete, we're only quickly rising the costs of competing. Pro14 is rising the costs of everything... they're part of the ever increasingly rise up and up. So we shouldn't always rush to blame the other two.

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Post by Kingshu on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 2:09 pm

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/pro14-poised-become-pro16-super-15906502.amp

Maybe it will be what I wantes with Bulls, Sharks and Stormer all emerged as potential additions to the PRO14



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Post by RugbyFan100 on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 2:45 pm

4 league games fewer than 4 seasons ago. And my season ticket is not getting any cheaper.

Club fans being shafted again to make way for test rugby. It truly is a stepping stone for the test game.


Last edited by RugbyFan100 on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 3:02 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by RugbyFan100 on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 3:02 pm

"How do we solve the problem of these fixtures that have hardly any of the best players playing in?"

"I know - don't play the fixtures in the first place"

Problem solved.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life on Sat 02 Mar 2019, 4:54 pm

How good is Benetton right now? They should have had a European QF (Connacht scored a last minute intercept try to deny them) and now they look a cert for the HC

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Post by BigGee on Sat 02 Mar 2019, 5:12 pm

Agreed about Benetton and it is hard not to be happy for them, they have done it the hard way and deserve it.

Funny how making the HC qualification based on merit alone has dragged up the quality of some of the countries who had a free lunch before (and I include the Scottish sides in that as well!).

That turned out to be one of the better decisions Euro rugby made recently!

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Post by VinceWLB on Sat 02 Mar 2019, 5:29 pm

LeinsterFan4life wrote:How good is Benetton right now? They should have had a European QF (Connacht scored a last minute intercept try to deny them) and now they look a cert for the HC

They have built great depth look at Cannone, was huge again today and got MoM against Dragons, he is only a permit player! Their 2 wingers are great and are there all season long.

Crowley should be given a lot of credit for having improved them to that extent.

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Post by RugbyFan100 on Sat 02 Mar 2019, 5:51 pm

Absolutely disgraceful service from premier sports today

Ospreys game was blank screen for first 15 minutes. Scarlets game cutting out and unwatchable. Prem sports blaming s4c but apparently s4c has been fine

Scottish football fans also fuming at their game cutting out.

Pathetic broadcaster.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life on Sat 02 Mar 2019, 6:29 pm

VinceWLB wrote:
LeinsterFan4life wrote:How good is Benetton right now? They should have had a European QF (Connacht scored a last minute intercept try to deny them) and now they look a cert for the HC

They have built great depth look at Cannone, was huge again today and got MoM against Dragons, he is only a permit player! Their 2 wingers are great and are there all season long.

Crowley should be given a lot of credit for having improved them to that extent.
The way they have performed during the 6N has been remarkable given how many of them are in the Italy squad. Keatley coming in should improve their squad depth even further.

I was worried about the Crowley appointment but he's been brilliant and Canada have been a disaster since he left.

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Post by LondonTiger on Sat 02 Mar 2019, 8:09 pm

I read somewhere that Georgia may be looking to enter a team into a European league. Would not bring money, but could make things interesting.

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Post by The Oracle on Sun 03 Mar 2019, 9:38 am

Any chance the fixtures could be looked at going forward?! It’s the Dragons’ last game of the season at home today. It’s the start of March ffs! I know that 1) there might not be a Dragons next year so might not be an issue going forward and 2) the obvious answer is just to win more to be involved in play offs, etc. But, but, but......... still!

Anyone fancy a kick around in April?! Give the players something to do and the fans something to watch! If so, let’s get something in the calendar at Rodney Parade.
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Post by Kingshu on Sun 03 Mar 2019, 10:08 am

Dragons have a home game to finish the season on the 26th April, cant blame the schedule that Dragons will play it at the PS.
I do get your poimt though, Dragons over the years have normally got the worst schedule, each year it has been better, hopefully that happens next year.

On a side note anyone any clues what will happen the 4 regions, it looks like the WRU want a WRU c owned RCG1404 in North Wales, so one will be merged in the south. Ospreys are doing themselves no favours at the minute.

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Post by RiscaGame on Sun 03 Mar 2019, 11:58 am

Is it not part Dragons’ fault we have the fixtures like this and that’s why we had three at home in September?

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Post by Stone Motif on Sun 03 Mar 2019, 12:07 pm

Kingshu wrote:Dragons have a home game to finish the season on the 26th April, cant blame the schedule that Dragons will play it at the PS.
I do get your poimt though, Dragons over the years have normally got the worst schedule, each year it has been better, hopefully that happens next year.

On a side note anyone any clues what will happen the 4 regions, it looks like the WRU want a WRU c owned RCG1404 in North Wales, so one will be merged in the south. Ospreys are doing themselves no favours at the minute.
Phil posted a very good article on what the likely outcome of the WRUs agenda would be, but it got mangled in the translation into Failtacht. Looking forward to two development sides of Dragons level players lighting up the PrO'25 from 2020, don't know about you.
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Post by The Oracle on Sun 03 Mar 2019, 12:45 pm

Kingshu wrote:Dragons have a home game to finish the season on the 26th April, cant blame the schedule that Dragons will play it at the PS.
I do get your poimt though, Dragons over the years have normally got the worst schedule, each year it has been better, hopefully that happens next year.

On a side note anyone any clues what will happen the 4 regions, it looks like the WRU want a WRU c owned RCG1404 in North Wales, so one will be merged in the south. Ospreys are doing themselves no favours at the minute.


It’s not a home fixture really Kingshu. It’s in Cardiff. My point was that there is not home fixture at Rodney Parade (our home ground) beyond 3rd March.


I know we had a few in a row last month so I’m not making out that we’ve got more away than home games or anything like that. Would just be nice to have a relatively uniform layout of home and away fixtures. E.g. Home then away then home then away, etc. But we have whole months with no home games and then like this where we’re not there again at all well ahead of the season finishing.
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Post by The Oracle on Sun 03 Mar 2019, 12:47 pm

Could be due to difficulties scheduling 3 sides on the pitch too I guess. But it just came as a shock when I heard we’d finished at RP already. Maybe even forever...
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Post by Brendan on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 7:45 am

Just on the Griquas and Pumas.  They have been Currie cup teams for a long time and are more of a level that the Cheetahs are at.  The Kings a poor because they play in the level below Currie cup so their core players are a level lower.

Since the Currie Cup has ended Cheetahs have got stronger due to the Currie Cup players moving from other regions.  With the squads for the 8 teams going from about 100 players down to 50 players the two new teams will be as strong as the Cheetahs with the Kings going up a little.

If we look at players who have come in to the Pro14 from Currie cup the standard is high enough and it's not like they get embrassed in Currie Cup games.  They will be hard to beat at away for sure.

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Post by stevetynant on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 8:02 am

Good Article from Franno in the Irish Indie - could be some big investment on the horizon

"When CVC Capital Partners took 27 per cent of the Premiership for £230m, I thought, is this Bitcoin? I felt it was an extravagant valuation. It wasn't a case of divide and conquer, but from the perspective of the venture capitalists it was probably best to get the English on board first because they will think they are in charge.

The ink wasn't even dry on that contract when CVC went looking for further equity acquisitions - or maybe they were already taking place. Talks for a minority holding in the Pro14 are at an advanced stage, which probably means they began negotiations months ago. If a deal is agreed, and the Premiership valuation is a guide, then it's Mardi Gras time for the Pro14."

Big Money talks with the 6 Nations in the sights as well

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Post by marty2086 on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 10:42 am

The growing value of live sports rights makes anything outside the Premier League ripe for investment

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Post by SecretFly on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 11:23 am

Everything is always relative. Players are still human, still have to train and diet hard to achieve continuous high standards, enough to win things. Teams still need a few naturally skilled players with an X factor that pushes them a little above the chasing pack. And they need the best coaches they can afford.
And that's the most relative thing of all - money. Big money/investment is relative to the league you support. If Pro14 gets a big investment of cash.... how much of an increase in purchasing power do they get? I'd argue very little in real terms as the rival leagues won't and don't just wait for Pro14 to catch up. They move ahead with their own plans for even bigger investment... so Pro14 no matter how many hundred million comes in, are still going to be struggling to get and keep best coaches, to hold onto their top players ( players in the other leagues will still be offered more)... and Pro14 will increasingly have to be remarkably good at spotting the very best of their up and coming academy players because increasingly they won't be able to hold on to most of them and delay the choosing as long as possible.
So it's all very well Mardi Gra-ing the potential for loadsa money windfalls, it'll remain relative to the windfalls coming to Gallaghers and Top14. All that's happing now is a blind race of immediate greed worldwide... I'd say it's an epidemic, a kind of frenzied madness. But it's certain that amidst all this talk of free money everywhere just there for the asking, that many current interests of power and influence within the game are being set up for a fall - a big one. This is a battle for complete Power over the game, both club and International, and as always when power plays happen, talk of lots of free money do the rounds to soften the minds of conscientious objectors. We're in danger here of National governance of a National sport being taken away from people living within the Nation with the continuous best interests of that Nation as their guiding principle. When you sell you autonomy rights, you just don't get to ask for them back whenever you get uneasy about the direction the sport in your Nation is heading. As Guns said on another thread, be careful what you wish for.


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Post by Brendan on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 10:05 pm

https://www.breakingnews.ie/sport/rugby/ospreys-and-scarlets-set-to-merge-in-radical-overhaul-908699.html

Not sure if it is being reported else where.

It would be some super team. You would figure that it would result in the Blues being strenghten too.

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Post by stevetynant on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 10:11 pm

Hard to understand the reasoning to be honest.The Blues and Dragons are 15 miles apart at best, both the W wWales sides have better stadiums and until recently played better rugby.I don’t want to see any of the 4 go having been through it as a Celtic Warriors supporter but why the Ospreys and not the Dragons,I just don’t get it.

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Post by Brendan on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 10:29 pm

Is it that the two investors/backers are happy to work together.

With the Dragons being the WRU team and the Blues being the Capital team could this new team be seen as the anti WRU team and thus get support from the disenfranchised. To be fair if they are chasing cups every year I don't think it will be hard to find the bandwagon.

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Post by RiscaGame on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 10:36 pm

Brendan wrote:Is it that the two investors/backers are happy to work together.

Ospreys are supposedly skint.


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Post by bsando on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 9:12 am

Just saw this, I personally think it is a brilliant idea by the WRU. From an outsiders perspective, Wales have consistently been very good at international level but I think their club sides have stagnated, especially in European competition. Scarlets had a good period not so long ago but there is a lack of consistency compared with England, France and recently Scotland. Glasgow will be back in European competition again next year and possibly Edinburgh for a 2nd year in a row if they pull their finger out for their final Pro14 fixtures. What Wales are really missing is consistently making Pro14 playoffs and competitive form in Europe. Add that and I think it'll only benefit the Welsh side further.

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Post by marty2086 on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 9:26 am

bsando wrote:Just saw this, I personally think it is a brilliant idea by the WRU. From an outsiders perspective, Wales have consistently been very good at international level but I think their club sides have stagnated, especially in European competition. Scarlets had a good period not so long ago but there is a lack of consistency compared with England, France and recently Scotland. Glasgow will be back in European competition again next year and possibly Edinburgh for a 2nd year in a row if they pull their finger out for their final Pro14 fixtures. What Wales are really missing is consistently making Pro14 playoffs and competitive form in Europe. Add that and I think it'll only benefit the Welsh side further.

It's a great idea to merge two regions when the whole regional concept got off to a bad start due to doing something similar? Erm

This has the potential to alienate both fanbases and make the operating conditions even more difficult and ending up having to do something similar down the line

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Post by RugbyFan100 on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 9:30 am

The Pro14 is killing Welsh domestic rugby I said.

Don't be so ridiculous you said.

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Post by marty2086 on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 9:37 am

RugbyFan100 wrote:The Pro14 is killing Welsh domestic rugby I said.

Don't be so ridiculous you said.

Here we go...

So Ospreys are being badly run so the league is to blame? Rolling Eyes

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Post by RiscaGame on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 9:54 am

bsando wrote:Just saw this, I personally think it is a brilliant idea by the WRU. From an outsiders perspective, Wales have consistently been very good at international level but I think their club sides have stagnated, especially in European competition. Scarlets had a good period not so long ago but there is a lack of consistency compared with England, France and recently Scotland. Glasgow will be back in European competition again next year and possibly Edinburgh for a 2nd year in a row if they pull their finger out for their final Pro14 fixtures. What Wales are really missing is consistently making Pro14 playoffs and competitive form in Europe. Add that and I think it'll only benefit the Welsh side further.

It is a disaster. I would wager Ospreys average attendance is probably more than RGC's ground can hold, so it doesn't make sense for them to be the team to go and risk alienating people who actually do pour money into the game, to pander to people who may or may not.

I don't see how it is a positive to merge two strong teams. There are Wales squad members who play in same positions for a start, that aren't going to play as often as they like.

Loosehead
Evans, Smith, Wyn Jones

Locks
Ball, Beard, AWJ, Bradley

Seven
Tipuric, Davies

Centres
Davies, Parkes, Watkin, Williams.

Then where do the academy players go? North Wales or Dragons, where they probably get hammered every week.


Last edited by RiscaGame on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 10:02 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by RugbyFan100 on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 9:57 am

I will not be renewing my season ticket, nor will hundreds of others, unless the team is still called scarlets, they play in red and at Parc y Scarlets.


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Post by SecretFly on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 10:05 am

.... unless a merger doesn't occur.....

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Post by The Oracle on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 10:13 am

Posted this on the other thread......

Just my personal opinion, but merging Scarlets and Ospreys seems on the face of it the stupidest decision I've ever seen in rugby.

However, I say this without knowing what's going on in the background. Maybe the O's are being kicked out of the Liberty Stadium? Maybe the O's backers are deciding to cut and run and they'll go bust? If so then 1 team based at the PYS makes sense. But if the above is not the case then I just can't see why you'd merge the two most successful regions and not cut the Dragons. And that's coming from a Dragons fan. I get that the WRU own the Dragons but they're not going to lose money if they sold the Dragons tomorrow - in fact they'd make a tidy profit. Yet to get them up to the level of the Scarlets or Ospreys, plus trying to get a North Wales team up to pro level on and off the pitch, is going to take a hell of a lot of time, money and effort - which makes you wonder why not just keep both the Scarlets and Ospreys and bin the Dragons? That way they'd just need a bit of work on the Ospreys and focus their resources on N Wales if that's their big 'project'.
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Post by The Oracle on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 10:14 am

SecretFly wrote:.... unless a merger doesn't occur.....


Yes, I've been thinking that this morning - big meeting taking place and of course the outcome could be........ to just say no.
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Post by marty2086 on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 10:16 am

The Oracle wrote:
SecretFly wrote:.... unless a merger doesn't occur.....


Yes, I've been thinking that this morning - big meeting taking place and of course the outcome could be........ to just say no.

Is it not a case of Ospreys holding their hands up saying they can't carry on and Scarlets saying we'll merge with you?

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Post by SecretFly on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 10:30 am

I know rugby union seems to be in flux just about everywhere on the planet right now (Not a great advert for the supposed wise-heads that allegedly run it in these modern professional times).... but it seems in particular that Wales is tearing itself apart on the issue. I really don't know why that is but it seems too many Welsh rugby fans think that the regions are the enemy.... even people who support them seem to be less than enthusiastic about the competitions they involve themselves in. Add to that the WalesOnline agenda of baa humbugging just about anything that moves that has an oval ball attached to it and yep, you realise there is somewhat of an implosion taking place.
How to solve it all? More mergers and comlicated private meets Union relationships, and more boycotts by more fans that don't want to be corralled into supporting yet another team with another shirt and another new name.
I personally still think the main problem (not just in Wales but across the world now) is us - the fans. Now you might say it's a sly media leading fans away from a blunt interest in results to a more lucrative (for the media) interest in All the political intrigues of Rugby admin throughout the world, or you might say it's the fans themselves that are leading the way to all the utter confusion about the
Local and world game in recent years. It's the non-ending chatter across the social media platforms that create the hot spots of contention and that also show the ambitious disrupters( the money men) where their targets might be best placed. Then the media follows along for the ride, heating up the topics even more to sell their column inches.
Everything is a drama heading to a crisis - everything is something that needs major changes in order to 'GROW'. The narrative is always the same one. There is now more rugby politics talked on these pages than there is threads dedicated to actual games, results, league placements etc. The media love the endless intrigue as it allows stories to be written 24 hours a day' seven days a week.

But the meltdown and non-ending confusion about where rugby is, where it needs to go, who has to do the changing, where the money needs to come from.... ; most of it is being generated by fans across the world who now simply enjoy the 'politics' of sport far more than they do the actual game on the field.

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Post by TightHEAD on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 3:19 pm

The writing has been on the wall for years, I said all I need to say on this years ago too.

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Post by Brendan on Thu 14 Mar 2019, 11:53 am

https://www.rugbypass.com/news/bulls-set-to-cut-over-100-contracts-reports

Bulls are looking to cut a hundred player contracts. These would include loaning players. Good news possibly for Kings and Cheetahs.
Last year the Bulls signed up 54 players out of school in a big net gets the best players approach. With the u19 league scrapped they are reviewing how they do things.

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Post by LordDowlais on Thu 14 Mar 2019, 7:59 pm

Well, seems that others are agreeing with me here in Wales about the state of the Pro14 since it left free to air TV, and Peter Jackson even touched on it on Scrum V on Sunday night, I know this is WOL, but it does make for interesting reading:-

The PRO14 is an invisible, convoluted mess that most people simply don't care about

The future of Welsh rugby doesn't look too bright in the PRO14

It was at a dinner table in a Cardiff Thai restaurant earlier this week that the message struck home more powerfully than for some time.

There we were, a bunch of rugby enthusiasts, discussing various issues affecting the game, when I issued my pals with a starter for 10.


"Which of the two Guinness PRO14 conferences do the four Welsh regions play in? Conference A or Conference B?"

An immediate bout of conferring ensued, but despite a variety of responses being thrown my way all five friends were forced into a resigned admission.

These were guesses. In terms of knowing the correct answer with any degree of certainty, not one of them had the faintest beginnings of an inkling of an idea.

Disturbingly, they will be far from alone.

Regional diehards will snort derision, but such derision merely underlines the point: the PRO14 is arguably less a part of the Welsh public's general sporting consciousness than at any time since the old club system was done away with in 2003 to usher in the brave new world of Welsh-Scottish-Irish-Italian combat.

And without an appeal to a more casual consumer base, its hard to see anything changing.

Over and above the stagnation - or decline - in match attendance here, data to underline the pervading sense of apathy is scarce.

Broadcaster Premier Sports recently declared subscriptions had exceeded their expectations, but such sweeping statements have little currency. Viewing figures since the paid-for channel took over coverage of the Guinness-backed tournament have been conspicuous by their absence. In fact, several requests for them by this organisation have proved fruitless.

Why? Is it because the unpalatable reality is that Guinness PRO14 rugby has become more invisible than ever since the bulk of it was removed from free-to-air TV?

Nobody disputes that the extra revenue on offer from Premier Sports was of huge importance to the regions, but if nobody's talking about what they're doing that revenue will soon start to drip away in more insidious streams.

After five months of bedding in, it is now difficult to argue that Premier Sports is not a reasonably safe pair of hands, despite one or two teething problems in the commentary box.

That shouldn't be a surprise because, let's face it, they've recruited so many who used to be involved with the BBC Scrum V programme. But how many are watching?

There are those who are adamant that the £10-a-month fee is worth every penny. Many more refuse point blank to pay yet another broadcaster for the privilege of watching rugby in their living rooms, especially when they don't particularly rate the product.

Furthermore, what you can't do, for the most part, is meet your mates down the pub to watch the game.

S4C have limited rights, sure. There's also the odd match on FreeSports if Southern Kings v Connacht takes your fancy.

But, for example, walking into your local over the Christmas period to watch the Welsh derby games wasn't an option in some towns. Not mine at any rate.

Doubtless there is the odd exception, but plenty of pubs simply don't screen Premier Sports. Who can blame them when it already costs thousands to provide Sky and BT?

Late last month, on a Friday night, Glasgow and the Ospreys played out a 9-3 affair at Scotstoun and the Scarlets went down 22-17 to Leinster in Dublin in what was a far perkier encounter.

While those two games were tucked behind a subscription paywall, Arsenal were playing Manchester United in the fourth round of the FA Cup on BBC One.

Given the mass appeal of what was happening at the Emirates Stadium, I would be surprised if the Welsh television audience for the rugby ran into four figures.

The PRO14, and all of its previous guises, has, and has always had, an image problem. It has always been given short shrift by UK national newspaper sports desks who don't regard it worthy of allocating a proper resource.

The introduction of South African teams, the move to two Conferences and the greater jeopardy introduced around qualification for the Champions Cup were all supposed to address that.

I am deeply unconvinced about whether, in terms of the PRO14 appeal in Wales, any of the above have come close to having the desired effect.

The conference system has just made following how the competition is unfolding more convoluted. The presence of the South Africans? It's neither here nor there. The Kings and the Cheetahs certainly don't boost turnstile revenue, so why should they be having any tangible impact on armchair watchers?

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/pro14-invisible-convoluted-mess-most-15736120


Have read, this is really what putting the Pro14 on pay per view tele has done to the competition in Wales, yet certain members on here will say I talk nonsense. Rolling Eyes

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Post by marty2086 on Thu 14 Mar 2019, 9:41 pm

Given that the conference system existed prior to going to Premier Sports what has 10 entirely believable 'rugby enthusiasts' not knowing which conference the Welsh regions are in got to do with Premier Sports?

NB. Games are still on Free To Air tv and haven't left it

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Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 14 Mar 2019, 10:02 pm

Brendan wrote:https://www.rugbypass.com/news/bulls-set-to-cut-over-100-contracts-reports

Bulls are looking to cut a hundred player contracts. These would include loaning players. Good news possibly for Kings and Cheetahs.
Last year the Bulls signed up 54 players out of school in a big net gets the best players approach.  With the u19 league scrapped they are reviewing how they do things.

So that's a 100 players in and around Pretoria? Obviously the best 40 will be snapped up by the franchise, but it HAS to improve the Cheetahs and Kings slightly.

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