Pro 14 2019/2020 Season

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Post by Welshmushroom on Thu 04 Jul 2019, 2:15 pm

First topic message reminder :

From a Dragons fan perspective looking ahead into the new season and which sides I would like to catch early in the Pro14 due to players having gone to the World Cup.

Obviously Hill, Dee & Moriarty will be big misses for us during this period. I think we may have Wainwright available (if they end up picking Shingler to cover Lock/Blindside). Think Brown probably wont make the cut either.

So hopefully our starter lineup will look like this:
1. Bevington 2. Hibbard 3. Brown/Fairbrother 4. Nansen 5. Screech 6. Wainwright 7. Griffiths 8. Evans
9. Williams 10. Davies 11. Rosser 12. Dixon 13. Morgan 14. Howells 15. Williams

Now looking at the other sides in the competition it would be great if we could catch some of the league powerhouses early. My Breakdown of the other teams:-

1. Scarlets - Look weak in the front 3. Possibly a weakness at outside centre as well. Would imagine they will be playing Asquith at 12 during this period. McNicholl will probably be the star man on this team opening rounds.

2. Blues - On paper even without the internationals they look a seasoned well rounded team. Probably dangerous for any team in the league during the opening rounds. Halaholo is my star man pick but the entire Blues 8 are extremely experienced (although I don't rate Gill much). Also unclear if Ellis will recover from injury or if he will end up parachuted into Wales WC Squad. If not he will just add to that fairly experienced pack.

3. Ospreys - Will have a fairly competitive pack assuming Bradley doesn't make the cut for the World Cup. The real weakness for them is in the backline. At 9 currently they will be playing rookies and 13 potentially as well unless they opt to play Hook at 12 and move Allen to 13. Giles will probably end up on the wing as well and while he has potential - defensively they may struggle against experienced backlines. That said they probably have enough upfront to power over most teams in the league. Star Man will be Bradley Davies if he doesn't make the world cup.

4. Munster - Probably going to missing around 11 players on World Cup duty. To me Tighthead and at 8 they look particularly weak. To me the backline also looks a little short on quality although granted they do have some potential in the backline.Personally I would like to catch them at Rodney Parade early. I'm still not sure away would be a banker for us. Reckon their key man will be Bleyendaal in the opening part of the season for his experience.

5. Leinster - Now I don't know if they still have the rule of not being able to select 2 non irish players in their starting 15's or if they are allowed exceptions in the early part of this season. Even taking into consideration that they can start Fardy, Gibson-Park, Lowe and Tomane the real problem for them is in the pack. They look seriously underpowered and inexperienced. They probably are hoping Smidt doesn't take Ruddock to the WC. Personally getting these in R2 or R3 away would be perfect. I think we can take them early doors before the return of their internationals. Star Man: Lowe

6. Ulster - For me probably the biggest Irish threat early. Only place they might be a little short on experience will be at 5 and 14. Pack on paper looks extremely strong and along with Cardiff both these sides should be fairly confident into the early rounds. Star Man: McCloskey
Would like to avoid these early doors altogether.

7. Connacht - Not really disrupted to much for internationals like us. Good experienced team. Always going to be dangerous at home. Star Man: Roux Another side I would like to see us avoid early doors but if we have to a home draw that wouldn't be the worst fixture start for us.

8. Edinburgh - Cockerill has done a amazing job with them. Surely even he can't cover 14 players at the world cup. Still managed to assemble a big pack for this period though so it's clear they wont be beaten upfront easily. 9, 10 and 15 look like the real problem area for him. Getting them at home would suit me fine. Star Man: Socino

9. Glasgow - Probably losing at least 13 players if not more. They still have a lot of experience in that squad. On paper probably have to much for us home or away. If we have to though a home draw would be better. Star Man: Lee Jones

10. Treviso - Backline looks very experienced for the league. Upfront a different story altogether. Can see them taking a bit of a battering upfront early doors. Star Man: Ioane
Don't mind if we get them early home or away

11. Zebre - Same story with them. Losing key personnel to the WC. Upfront looks very inexperienced. Backline will also be inexperienced. Can they get Boni back in time for the start of the season. The Centre was a powerhouse before his long term injury and would also have made the Italian squad if he wasn't out of action. Star Man: Walker (reckon he's going to surprise a few in the Pro14)

12. Kings - Not going to be missing any internationals. But they still lack quality for compete at this level. No signings of note in the off season. Could be a long season for them again? Personally I expect us to beat them home and away. Would be a waste to draw them during the World Cup period. Star Man: Catrakilis

13. Cheetahs - Same story as the Kings. To many lost star after their first season in the Pro14. They do have a better record than the kings and at home they will win games. Prefer to not draw them either in the opening rounds. Star Man: Nche

How do you fancy your teams chances and what teams would you like to draw early or avoid during the World Cup?



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Post by LordDowlais on Fri 19 Jul 2019, 11:14 am

Another interesting article here in today's Welsh national media outlet:-

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/more-saturday-afternoon-matches-guinness-16608979

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Post by The Oracle on Fri 19 Jul 2019, 11:39 am

So success is the key to crowds then, according to the article. Not free tv vs pay per view, not valleys rugby, not a return to clubs. So carry on as we are then. Next!
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Post by LordDowlais on Fri 19 Jul 2019, 11:42 am

The Oracle wrote:So success is the key to crowds then, according to the article. Not free tv vs pay per view, not valleys rugby, not a return to clubs. So carry on as we are then. Next!

It does not say that in it entirety though does it ?

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Post by The Oracle on Fri 19 Jul 2019, 11:42 am

In other news, the main feature headline article for Wales’ National Media Outlet:

“Rat droppings and mouldy food found inside disgusting Cardiff takeaway”
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Post by The Oracle on Fri 19 Jul 2019, 11:44 am

LordDowlais wrote:
The Oracle wrote:So success is the key to crowds then, according to the article. Not free tv vs pay per view, not valleys rugby, not a return to clubs. So carry on as we are then. Next!

It does not say that in it entirety though does it ?


That is the conclusion of the article. Final section. That is what they sum up. Here is the closing paragraph and final words:

“So, whether it’s Wales or the Welsh regions in action, kicking off on a Friday night, a Saturday afternoon, a Saturday night or a Sunday is pretty much irrelevant.

It’s winning that counts.”
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Post by LordDowlais on Fri 19 Jul 2019, 11:59 am

Very Happy

OK, I will go with that, so you agree with the article then, great.  thumbsup

So when the news suits you, the source is solid, and spot on, when it doesn't it's sensationalism, and made up, and peoples opinions.



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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 19 Jul 2019, 12:41 pm

Well they dont always fact check from both the journalist and editor. It also again comes down to simple opinion in this latest case not fact.

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Post by Welshmushroom on Fri 19 Jul 2019, 1:17 pm

So looks like we (Dragons) got:-

R1 - Munster (Away)
R2 - Zebre (Away)
R3 - Connacht (Home)
R4 - Glasgow (Home)
R5 - Leinster (Away)

I'm quite happy with that draw. A lot of neutrals will right us off before the season even starts. On paper though Munster and Leinster look beatable during the World Cup. I don't see much Pro14 experience behind a lot of the youngsters they will have to rely on. If Dean Ryan is smart he will target these games for wins. The only real drawback is the Glasgow fixture but again if we can get the right kind of results in the opening rounds and with home advantage it might be possible to knock them over.

Its a win win situation for us as far as I'm concerned as nobody would be predicting wins away from home against Irish opposition. If we can it could set us up nicely for the rest of the season.

But they will need to target that opening match against Munster.....


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Post by RiscaGame on Fri 19 Jul 2019, 5:46 pm

With all this extra training they are doing, they ought to be really targeting a big performance in the Munster game as they ought to be raring to go by then. Would’ve been nice to have had Zebre first up, especially if it was home but seeing as Munster will be heavy favourites, it would be good to go there without fear and play well.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Fri 19 Jul 2019, 5:51 pm

One of the key things is that we stop conceding soft tries. How many times last season did we concede a couple of soft tries in the space of five minutes and be chasing a game we were otherwise in touch in?

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Post by The Oracle on Sat 20 Jul 2019, 2:26 pm

LordDowlais wrote:Very Happy

OK, I will go with that, so you agree with the article then, great.  thumbsup

So when the news suits you, the source is solid, and spot on, when it doesn't it's sensationalism, and made up, and peoples opinions.

Are you sure you are not Donald Trump ????  Whistle


“OK, I’ll go with that”. Please, please, please I beg you to be true to your word and ‘go with that’ and stop bellyaching that the move to Premier sports is killing the game in Wales. Wales Online, your bible, has said that the key is success. Let’s get behind the regions as they seek out the best revenue streams available to them in order for them to compete and try to get success.
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Post by Kingshu on Sat 20 Jul 2019, 8:21 pm

Its a catch 22, either go on subscription channel and some will say its losing fans or stay on free to veiw for less money and some will say its a second rate league and as such lose fans.

I think the Pro 14 have done a very good job here, they have increased revenue meaning the best players can be retained and the teams can match the top 14 and prem, and its not completely inaccessible, can still see games handy enough and the price is reasonable. Still have some free to air and highlights.

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Post by RiscaGame on Sat 20 Jul 2019, 10:13 pm

Would tend to agree that Pro 14 have done a good job. Thought Premier was pretty slick, given it was the first season. There are certain commentators I still don’t like, but then I don’t need commentary to enjoy a game anyway, so I guess it’s neither here nor there.

Will definitely be resubscribing in Sept.


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Post by mikey_dragon on Sun 21 Jul 2019, 4:57 am

Anyone could step up and fill the gap, maybe someone on this forum?

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Post by Brendan on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 12:26 pm

Not sure if anyone has read the reports of a B&I league.  When you look into it there is no talk of the Italians and South African who a Pro 14 members.  Seems like people will shoehorn it into any news mentioned.

B&I league is a terrible idea for all of the 6 Nations involved in the two leagues except the Welsh.  It would reduce their teams winning even more so not great for them either.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 12:32 pm

It's all over my Twitter feed!

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Post by LordDowlais on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 2:14 pm

This has been in the media for a few weeks now, I was reluctant to post it on here, just in-case people took offence to me using WOL as my source, even though other have a free pass for using it, or people accuse me of belly aching. But anyway:-

Multi-million pound deal that could lead to British & Irish League close to completion - and these are the revealing details
Guinness PRO14 set to follow in footsteps of Gallagher Premiership

The multi-million pound deal between the Guinness PRO14 and CVC, which could lead to the creation of a British & Irish League, is very close to completion.

Under the agreement, investment company CVC would buy 27 per cent of the competition’s economic rights for a one-off fee of around £90m.

That would mirror the terms of their deal with England’s Gallagher Premiership, where they have acquired a similar percentage for about £200m.

With the PRO14, it would mean that 27 per cent of the tournament’s income would be passed on to CVC each year.

At present, that equates to about £7m per annum.

The league is owned by the three Celtic Unions - Wales, Ireland and Scotland.

So they would all need to agree to the CVC buy-in.

But my understanding is they see it as a good commercial deal and that the agreement is “95 per cent done”.

Once CVC have secured their stake, then the question is what next?

They will want a return on their investment in the two leagues and to potentially get to a point where they will be able to sell their shareholding for a profit.

To do that, they will need to maximise commercial revenue.

There have already been media reports about the possibility of a play-off between the winners of the two competitions.

And looking further down the line, it’s understood their preference is for the creation of a money-spinning British & Irish League.

That would provide them with the opportunity to generate greater income through TV and sponsorship deals.

The likeliest format would be two conferences of 11 teams, made up of 12 English clubs, the four Irish provinces, four Welsh regions and two Scots, with an end-of-season play-off set-up.

Clearly though, there are a number of obstacles that would have to be overcome.

To start with, all four countries would have to agree to come on board.

So CVC would have to put together a commercial deal that would be too good for them to turn down.

PRL - the umbrella organisation for the English top-flight - would be likely to focus firmly on the economics.

As a result of their deal with CVC, they will have the capacity to invest in their facilities.

The question then is whether this new financial strength would be improved or diluted by expansion?

Only one Gallagher Premiership club - Exeter - posted a profit in the last round of accounts. But that was before the benefits of the CVC deal.

If yearly income could be increased by expansion that would be very attractive, but it all comes down to the figures on the table.

For their part, the Welsh regions would jump at the idea as it would provide new commercial opportunities.

It would also give their fans the regular Anglo-Welsh fixtures they so crave.

Scotland would probably take a phlegmatic approach, looking at what is best for them both financially and in playing terms.

But the IRFU could take some persuading.

The current set-up works well for them, so they may well be resistant to change.

They are able to use the PRO14 as preparation for the Champions Cup, which is very much their priority.

They can rest star players, keeping them fresh for Europe, while still being able to more than hold their own in the PRO14 through their strength in depth.

Going into a British & Irish League might make it more difficult to do that, while potentially reducing the control of the IRFU.

There’s also a question over what impact such a new competition would have on the Champions Cup.

Might it see it reduced in terms of scale and status?

The IRFU would be unlikely to be comfortable with that.

Taking the soundings of Irish fans over the weekend, there was a lot of opposition to the idea of the new league.

Generally, they appear happy with the status quo and are wary of the proposals.

The fact Welsh fans are so keen on a link-up with the English clubs also provokes a strong reaction in the Emerald Isle.

If the Irish opted not to come on board, it would be very doubtful whether any new league could get off the ground.

Without the likes of Leinster and Munster, it wouldn’t have the same commercial appeal.

Then there’s the issue of the Italians and the South Africans? What happens to them?

Would the Celtic nations be prepared to ditch the Italians, who have been part of the PRO12/14 for the best part of a decade?

There is also a six-year deal in place with the South African Rugby Union, so that would have to be resolved.

A lot of issues to be tackled then.

But the imminent involvement of CVC in the PRO14 means anything is possible and there are likely to be eventful times ahead.

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/multi-million-pound-deal-could-16626191

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Post by Irish Londoner on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 2:15 pm

Brendan wrote:Not sure if anyone has read the reports of a B&I league.  When you look into it there is no talk of the Italians and South African who a Pro 14 members.  Seems like people will shoehorn it into any news mentioned.

B&I league is a terrible idea for all of the 6 Nations involved in the two leagues except the Welsh.  It would reduce their teams winning even more so not great for them either.

I refer the honourable gentleman to my post at the start of this tread:
"It's all going to be irrelevant soon anyway - once CVC have their mitts on the PRO14, 6Ns and Premiership they'll undoubtedly push for an all B & I league as it's the obvious way to maximise their revenues - Leinster V Wasps or Worcester V London Irish - you can see the way the wind is blowing."

The only question is: Is there enough money in it to make it more attractive to the English Premiership clubs than the deal they currently get from BT?

There's a really good article on Rugbypass about it:

https://www.rugbypass.com/news/an-anglo-welsh-league-realistically-doesnt-hold-much-appeal-for-the-english-premiership

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Post by BamBam on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 2:26 pm

How on earth can a national newspaper write an article in bullet point format?


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Post by The Oracle on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 2:59 pm

Where do you stand on this then, Lord Dowlais? Surely this is going to be like the Premier Sports deal on steroids? I.e. pay per view ‘turbo’. Cant see games being on free tv at all. So it will be more money to the clubs, probably. At least in the short term. But less free tv exposure which you see as killing the league/pro game in Wales.

I’m personally very wary because, while in the short term this would be good for the welsh regions, in the long term I can see a two tiered system developing with promotion and relegation, plus inferior funding for the 2nd tier (obviously).  I can see at least 3 of the regions ending up in the second tier in a shortish space of time, and it would be very difficult with our model to get back out.
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Post by LordDowlais on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 3:10 pm

The Oracle wrote:Where do you stand on this then, Lord Dowlais? Surely this is going to be like the Premier Sports deal on steroids? I.e. pay per view ‘turbo’. Cant see games being on free tv at all. So it will be more money to the clubs, probably. At least in the short term. But less free tv exposure which you see as killing the league/pro game in Wales.

Hopefully it will be on a more attractive channel than PS, I don't know, one that might perhaps have more to offer than North American second rate sports and Gealic sports.

Hopefully SKY or BT sports will bid for it.

The Oracle wrote:I’m personally very wary because, while in the short term this would be good for the welsh regions, in the long term I can see a two tiered system developing with promotion and relegation, plus inferior funding for the 2nd tier (obviously). I can see at least 3 of the regions ending up in the second tier in a shortish space of time, and it would be very difficult with our model to get back out.

Two maybe three of the regions could cement themselves in the top tier. I get it you are worried for Dragons, but they will be where they deserve to be, unless they improve.

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Post by The Oracle on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 3:15 pm

I can’t see 3 regions staying up with their respective budgets. Just look how we get in in Europe. The odd quarter or semi aside, we just can’t compete. If you think our regions would be towards the top of the English prem then you’re in dreamland.
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Post by LordDowlais on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 3:21 pm

The Oracle wrote:I can’t see 3 regions staying up with their respective budgets. Just look how we get in in Europe. The odd quarter or semi aside, we just can’t compete. If you think our regions would be towards the top of the English prem then you’re in dreamland.

I reckon Scarlets, Ospreys and Cardiff Blues have it in them to be better than the likes of Newcastle, Leicester, Bristol, Gloucester, Sale Sharks, London Irish, Worcester. In fact, I am more worried about the likes of Glasgow and Leinster keeping them out.

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Post by The Oracle on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 3:26 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
The Oracle wrote:I can’t see 3 regions staying up with their respective budgets. Just look how we get in in Europe. The odd quarter or semi aside, we just can’t compete. If you think our regions would be towards the top of the English prem then you’re in dreamland.

I reckon Scarlets, Ospreys and Cardiff Blues have it in them to be better than the likes of Newcastle, Leicester, Bristol, Gloucester, Sale Sharks, London Irish, Worcester. In fact, I am more worried about the likes of Glasgow and Leinster keeping them out.


Disagree. But hey, what’s new? Good luck.
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Post by Irish Londoner on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 3:31 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
The Oracle wrote:Where do you stand on this then, Lord Dowlais? Surely this is going to be like the Premier Sports deal on steroids? I.e. pay per view ‘turbo’. Cant see games being on free tv at all. So it will be more money to the clubs, probably. At least in the short term. But less free tv exposure which you see as killing the league/pro game in Wales.

Hopefully it will be on a more attractive channel than PS, I don't know, one that might perhaps have more to offer than North American second rate sports and Gealic sports.

Hopefully SKY or BT sports will bid for it.

The Oracle wrote:I’m personally very wary because, while in the short term this would be good for the welsh regions, in the long term I can see a two tiered system developing with promotion and relegation, plus inferior funding for the 2nd tier (obviously).  I can see at least 3 of the regions ending up in the second tier in a shortish space of time, and it would be very difficult with our model to get back out.

Two maybe three of the regions could cement themselves in the top tier. I get it you are worried for Dragons, but they will be where they deserve to be, unless they improve.

So the problem isn't that it's on PPV of any kind, it's that it's not on Sky or BT Sport?

If you're argument is right and there is a likelihood of two or even three Welsh clubs in the top division, then that's also why Newcastle, Leicester, Bristol, Gloucester, Sale Sharks, London Irish, Worcester will all vote against it unless the basic funding at least is evenly spread.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 3:32 pm

Genuine question, Dowlais: if you don't watch the PRO14, how can you assess the regions' chances against the Aviva Premiership clubs?

I'm assuming you watch the Aviva!

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Post by BamBam on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 3:33 pm

Saracens, Exeter, Leinster, Munster, Ulster, Glasgow - 6 teams highly unlikely to drop out of Tier 1

Saints, Bath, Harlequins, Edinburgh - 4 regular ERCC participants, they would be disappointed to drop out of Tier 1

Leicester, Sale, Gloucester, Wasps, Connacht - All recently played at the top level in Europe, strong squads

Bristol, London Irish/Newcastle, Worcester - The weakest of the English clubs

That is the competition for the Welsh regions - getting and staying into the top tier is going to be a bunfight for all but the top group IMO. As the season is currently structured, I think the English clubs would have a big advantage during the international windows when the Celtic clubs lose massive numbers from their squads

Personally I don't want to see a B&I league, but as Irish Londoner says its looking more likely. Maybe the first season should just be split at random, then the top 4 teams from each conference would make the top division from year 2 onwards. Would give every side an equal chance of being the in the top division


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Post by LordDowlais on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 3:35 pm

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:Genuine question, Dowlais: if you don't watch the PRO14, how can you assess the regions' chances against the Aviva Premiership clubs?

I'm assuming you watch the Aviva!

I watch as much rugby as I can, why do you think I do not watch the Pro14 ?

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Post by LordDowlais on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 3:38 pm

BamBam wrote:Saracens, Exeter, Leinster, Munster, Ulster, Glasgow - 6 teams highly unlikely to drop out of Tier 1

Saints, Bath, Harlequins, Edinburgh - 4 regular ERCC participants, they would be disappointed to drop out of Tier 1

Leicester, Sale, Gloucester, Wasps, Connacht - All recently played at the top level in Europe, strong squads

Bristol, London Irish/Newcastle, Worcester - The weakest of the English clubs

That is the competition for the Welsh regions - getting and staying into the top tier is going to be a bunfight for all but the top group IMO. As the season is currently structured, I think the English clubs would have a big advantage during the international windows when the Celtic clubs lose massive numbers from their squads

Personally I don't want to see a B&I league, but as Irish Londoner says its looking more likely. Maybe the first season should just be split at random, then the top 4 teams from each conference would make the top division from year 2 onwards. Would give every side an equal chance of being the in the top division

Nobody is saying it will be easy, but with the extra funding from this, will give the regions bigger budgets, Ospreys, Scarlets and Cardiff Blues get bigger crowds than Dragons, Edinburgh, Connacht, so that will put them on an advantage over them. But I will reiterate, that I did not say they will be, I said they have it in them to be in the top tier.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 3:39 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
Luckless Pedestrian wrote:Genuine question, Dowlais: if you don't watch the PRO14, how can you assess the regions' chances against the Aviva Premiership clubs?

I'm assuming you watch the Aviva!

I watch as much rugby as I can, why do you think I do not watch the Pro14 ?

So you do have Premier Sports?

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Post by LordDowlais on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 3:44 pm

Irish Londoner wrote:So the problem isn't that it's on PPV of any kind, it's that it's not on Sky or BT Sport?

Of course my issue has always been Premier Sport. When the Pro14 was on BBC everybody had access to it, everyone knew about it. Also, let me just add, that I think PS do a good job covering the Pro14.

If SKY or BT had the rights, at least people would have had a better package, at least there would be more mainstream British sport to tag onto it. At least then the league would have had more exposure. I bet SKY or BT would fight tooth and nail for the rights to a B&I League.

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Post by LordDowlais on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 3:45 pm

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
Luckless Pedestrian wrote:Genuine question, Dowlais: if you don't watch the PRO14, how can you assess the regions' chances against the Aviva Premiership clubs?

I'm assuming you watch the Aviva!

I watch as much rugby as I can, why do you think I do not watch the Pro14 ?

So you do have Premier Sports?

Nope. OK

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 3:47 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
Luckless Pedestrian wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
Luckless Pedestrian wrote:Genuine question, Dowlais: if you don't watch the PRO14, how can you assess the regions' chances against the Aviva Premiership clubs?

I'm assuming you watch the Aviva!

I watch as much rugby as I can, why do you think I do not watch the Pro14 ?

So you do have Premier Sports?

Nope. OK

Then it's live games you watch?

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Post by LordDowlais on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 3:51 pm

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
Luckless Pedestrian wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
Luckless Pedestrian wrote:Genuine question, Dowlais: if you don't watch the PRO14, how can you assess the regions' chances against the Aviva Premiership clubs?

I'm assuming you watch the Aviva!

I watch as much rugby as I can, why do you think I do not watch the Pro14 ?

So you do have Premier Sports?

Nope. OK

Then it's live games you watch?

You do realise there are other channels I can watch the Pro14 on ? Very Happy

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 3:58 pm

You could just tell me which channels you do watch!

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Post by LordDowlais on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 4:07 pm

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:You could have just said which channels you watch in the first place Rolling Eyes

Why ? I watch as much rugby as I can, why does it concern you where I watch it ?

Anyway, a bit more on this:-

Why a British League really is on the cards, what it will mean for the Welsh regions and how it will work

It's been rugby's equivalent of the holy grail

It is something that seems to have been spoken about in rugby since the year dot — William Webb Ellis might even have had a view on it — but now a British & Irish League appears to be happening and coming to a rugby ground near you.

A club boss told The Rugby Paper the new structure will happen in two years’ time.

Hold onto your hats, as well as your sporrans, leeks, shamrocks and roses.

Hopes have been raised in the professional age before, of course.

MARK ORDERS has been checking out how seriously we should be taking these new claims...

WHAT IS BEING SAID?

The Rugby Paper has reported that the long-awaited revival of Anglo-Welsh competition will be "up and running in two years".

The paper says the prediction from a leading club comes at a time of the PRO14 finalising negotiations for the sale of a 27 percent share worth £120m to CVC Capital Partners, the private equity firm who have completed a similar deal with the Gallagher Premiership for £275m said to be worth £13.5m to each of the clubs who own Premier Rugby Ltd.

An anonymous club chairman is quoted thus: "A British League will happen in two years’ time.

"It will happen because it is the best outcome for the game in the four home countries and for CVC.

"It will appeal to the Welsh regions in particular and the Premiership clubs. Not one is profitable with the exception of the Exeter Chiefs and a British League will go a long way towards providing stability.

"In Wales it will be seen as the only opportunity to be sustainable.

"Their regions lost between £5-£6m last year. They’ve been kept going by the generosity of a few backers and the danger is they will get even fewer unless something radical is done."

The chairman adds that Anglo-Welsh fixtures would stop the downward spiral in attendances in Wales, adding: "Commercially, they could be as much as 50 percent better off."

The suggestion is that there would be 24 teams split into two sections of a British and Irish League.

HOW MUCH WOULD THIS BENEFIT THE WELSH REGIONS?

Potentially, it could be transformative, with the revival of links with English clubs likely to spark a major upsurge in interest.

Let’s trek back to 1998, when Cardiff RFC and Swansea RFC played a season of friendlies against English opponents.

The pair, convinced that the game wasn’t working out financially in Wales, had distanced themselves from the Welsh Rugby Union and refused to sign a 10-year loyalty agreement. Instead, they embarked on what was billed as a "rebel" campaign, with a programme of games against English clubs.

Much excitement there was, too.

Indeed, when Cardiff played a full-strength Saracens in early September they were queuing to get in long before kick-off.

"The solution to so many domestic ills was writ large in every corner of Cardiff Arms Park as 10,021 spectators — precisely 1,821 more than attended the previous week’s entire Welsh Premiership programme — filed into the famous old ground to give succour to the local refuseniks in their trial of strength with authority," wrote The Independent’s Chris Hewett.

Interest crackled nine junctions west along the M4, too.

Swansea were packing them in for a duel with then English champions Newcastle Falcons and business remained brisk at the turnstiles for much of the campaign.

Had we glimpsed the immediate future?

No, we had not.

The WRU had a chance to join a combined 30-team league, with five places allocated to Wales — two in the top-light, three in the other section — but those running the show were unconvinced the new set-up gave sufficient respect to Welsh rugby.

The game this side of the Severn Bridge has been pondering the wisdom of that decision for the past two decades.

Now there might just be a chance the regions will get what they have long hankered after.

"It would be a big one for the Welsh teams," said an informed source.

"Not only would it reignite historical rivalries with English clubs, it would be a boost financially and it would raise standards because the season could be properly restructured to allow the best players to play for clubs and regions every weekend.

"Now it’s a case of second teams battling it out for much of the season in the PRO14.

"But this would make everything more joined up, including the Six Nations and TV deals.

"It’s what supporters in Wales want and it’s what the regions themselves want.

"At last, it seems likely to happen."

WHY WOULD THE ENGLISH WANT IT?

Money, money, money, Abba sang, it’s a rich man’s world.

Tell the Welsh regions about it.

But the folding stuff has been an issue in England, too.

There are some wealthy individuals running the English clubs, but many of their operations are also piling debt. "They are losing £20m a year between them," said another contact.

Another source said: "There is so much that’s good about the English set-up.

"But clubs there are feeling the pinch.

"What’s happening at some of them isn’t sustainable in the long term. They know that if there’s something out there that can provide bigger growth, then it’s worth looking into."

WHAT ABOUT THE CHAMPIONS CUP?

There would be question marks over the European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup in their current form.

For a British & Irish League would be akin to the European Cup without the French.

Would the French care?

Or would they shrug their shoulders, raise their eyebrows, open the palms of their hands and go back to concentrating on their beloved Top 14?

There again, perhaps European competition could continue in some shape or form, albeit in a drastically altered form.

"What is would mean is there’d be two of the best leagues in the world in the northern hemisphere," said a long-time observer of the scene in Wales.

"A cup competition could take place as well if the will were there.

"But player-welfare would have to be taken into account."

WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF ALL THIS COMING OFF?

We have been here before, many times, with hopes of a British & Irish League raised only to end up dashed.

The difference this time is that CVC appear to be the preferred negotiating partner of the Six Nations, they are finalising a deal with the PRO14 and they have completed an arrangement with the Gallagher Premiership.

The main source for this piece, who didn’t want to give his name, said: "I think CVC would see a British & Irish League as potentially more attractive than an exclusively English league and the PRO14.

"They would be looking at the game and thinking it was under-commercialised.

"There are considerations to take into account like what would happen to the Italian and South African teams.

"But these are not insurmountable problems.

"I see no reason why all this shouldn’t come together within a couple of years.

"Of course the will needs to be there. But, from what I’m hearing, it is."

VERDICT

The golden rule in rugby is never to take anything for granted and particularly when someone talks about a British & Irish League.

It has long been the sport’s equivalent of the holy grail, continually sought after only to prove tantalisingly out of reach.

Last April, there were suggestions of playoffs and a grand final involving teams from the Gallagher Premiership and the PRO14.

A number of the relevant players say that seems likely at the very least.

Will it go further and introduce a conference system before eventually melding into one full-blown league?

A step by step approach seems more probable, but the key here is that all this is being talked of with enthusiasm and real optimism. The key contact this writer spoke with could barely entertain the idea of things falling through this time.

Just maybe we are heading for rugby’s game-changing moment in these parts.

It’s long overdue.

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/british-league-really-cards-what-16623150

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Post by Irish Londoner on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 4:10 pm

BamBam wrote:Saracens, Exeter, Leinster, Munster, Ulster, Glasgow - 6 teams highly unlikely to drop out of Tier 1

Saints, Bath, Harlequins, Edinburgh - 4 regular ERCC participants, they would be disappointed to drop out of Tier 1

Leicester, Sale, Gloucester, Wasps, Connacht - All recently played at the top level in Europe, strong squads

Bristol, London Irish/Newcastle, Worcester - The weakest of the English clubs

That is the competition for the Welsh regions - getting and staying into the top tier is going to be a bunfight for all but the top group IMO. As the season is currently structured, I think the English clubs would have a big advantage during the international windows when the Celtic clubs lose massive numbers from their squads

Personally I don't want to see a B&I league, but as Irish Londoner says its looking more likely. Maybe the first season should just be split at random, then the top 4 teams from each conference would make the top division from year 2 onwards. Would give every side an equal chance of being the in the top division

I've had a think about this one and wonder would the first step be some sort of B & I cup competition, maybe played during the international windows or pre/post season (combining the Premiership Cup the old B & I cup?) or a maybe Superleague type set of play offs with the top 4 from the PRO14 V the top 4 from the Premiership? That could make a great curtain raiser for the season.

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 4:12 pm

Please, either just post the link or format the copied section properly and put it in a Quotes box. Trying to read that is impossible, as is trying to understand what is your comment and what is from another source.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 4:17 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
Luckless Pedestrian wrote:You could have just said which channels you watch in the first place Rolling Eyes

Why ? I watch as much rugby as I can, why does it concern you where I watch it ?

Fine, I'll guess instead: S4C, BBC Alba and BBC Northern Ireland?

I asked because it saves me guessing. I'm trying to work as well as be on here you know.

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Post by BamBam on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 4:26 pm

LondonTiger wrote:Please, either just post the link or format the copied section properly and put it in a Quotes box. Trying to read that is impossible, as is trying to understand what is your comment and what is from another source.

If the best rugby "journalist" in Wales produces a bullet point list and calls it an article I'm not expecting miracles tbh

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Post by LordDowlais on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 4:26 pm

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
Luckless Pedestrian wrote:You could have just said which channels you watch in the first place Rolling Eyes

Why ? I watch as much rugby as I can, why does it concern you where I watch it ?

Fine, I'll guess instead: S4C, BBC Alba and BBC Northern Ireland?

I asked because it saves me guessing. I'm trying to work as well as be on here you know.

S4C and FreeSports, if you really need to know. Headscratch

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Post by LordDowlais on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 4:27 pm

BamBam wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:Please, either just post the link or format the copied section properly and put it in a Quotes box. Trying to read that is impossible, as is trying to understand what is your comment and what is from another source.

If the best rugby "journalist" in Wales produces a bullet point list and calls it an article I'm not expecting miracles tbh

I have posted the links as well, it seems that the problem you have is with the member, not with what or how it's written.

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Post by LordDowlais on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 4:28 pm

LondonTiger wrote:Please, either just post the link or format the copied section properly and put it in a Quotes box. Trying to read that is impossible, as is trying to understand what is your comment and what is from another source.

I have posted the link. OK

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 4:32 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
Luckless Pedestrian wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
Luckless Pedestrian wrote:You could have just said which channels you watch in the first place Rolling Eyes

Why ? I watch as much rugby as I can, why does it concern you where I watch it ?

Fine, I'll guess instead: S4C, BBC Alba and BBC Northern Ireland?

I asked because it saves me guessing. I'm trying to work as well as be on here you know.

S4C and FreeSports, if you really need to know. Headscratch

Thank you. My point still sort of stands: that if you don't watch much of the regions, you're not really best placed to judge how they would fare against the Aviva teams. OK

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Post by LordDowlais on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 4:38 pm

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:Thank you. My point still sort of stands: that if you don't watch much of the regions, you're not really best placed to judge how they would fare against the Aviva teams. OK

Again, why are you assuming I do not much of the regions ?

They show the games on S4C the next day usually, in full after they have been put on PS.

Anyway, I am not comfortable on this topic at the moment, I have already been insulted, and I have a mod badgering me. Only on V2. Rolling Eyes

Time to log off for the night.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 4:39 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
Luckless Pedestrian wrote:Thank you. My point still sort of stands: that if you don't watch much of the regions, you're not really best placed to judge how they would fare against the Aviva teams. OK

Again, why are you assuming I do not much of the regions ?

They show the games on S4C the next day usually, in full after they have been put on PS.

Anyway, I am not comfortable on this topic at the moment, I have already been insulted, and I have a mod badgering me. Only on V2.  Rolling Eyes

Time to log off for the night.

Fair enough, I didn't think of that.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 4:57 pm

B and I league is a pipe dream. Unlikely to generate more money for the english clubs plus giving up power and plus it would lead to less interest and this money in Europe.

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Post by The Oracle on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 5:13 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
Luckless Pedestrian wrote:Thank you. My point still sort of stands: that if you don't watch much of the regions, you're not really best placed to judge how they would fare against the Aviva teams. OK

Again, why are you assuming I do not much of the regions ?

They show the games on S4C the next day usually, in full after they have been put on PS.

Anyway, I am not comfortable on this topic at the moment, I have already been insulted, and I have a mod badgering me. Only on V2.  Rolling Eyes

Time to log off for the night.

So that's lots of exposure for the league in Wales then with all of the games being shown in full the next day on s4c. More than previously when we’d ‘only’ get two games shown per week.
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Post by Brendan on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 6:20 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:B and I league is a pipe dream. Unlikely to generate more money for the english clubs plus giving up power and plus it would lead to less interest and this money in Europe.

I also don't see why CVC and sponsors wouldn't want the Italian and South African markets to be part of it. I don't see also why CVC would pay for the Pro14 and then discard two unions when they could just go to the three unions they want and give them the money.

Surely three strong European leagues raises the rugby profile then only have two leagues in a smaller market.

If it is going to happen (unlikely, Anglo Welsh at best) it is more likely to be an American Football type set up of small conferences and play x number of other teams.

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Post by Irish Londoner on Wed 24 Jul 2019, 9:52 am

Brendan wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:B and I league is a pipe dream. Unlikely to generate more money for the english clubs plus giving up power and plus it would lead to less interest and this money in Europe.

I also don't see why CVC and sponsors wouldn't want the Italian and South African markets to be part of it.  I don't see also why CVC would pay for the Pro14 and then discard two unions when they could just go to the three unions they want and give them the money.

Surely three strong European leagues raises the rugby profile then only have two leagues in a smaller market.

If it is going to happen (unlikely, Anglo Welsh at best) it is more likely to be an American Football type set up of small conferences and play x number of other teams.

I'd have no problems with the Italians staying in, it would kill the game in Italy if they were dropped, however I can't imagine the RFU or the English clubs being overly happy with the SA teams - a Saffer team playing in a B & I league would probably be much more popular in SA than the teams competing in the SANZAR competition.

The real problem would be with the size of the leagues and their structure - logic dictates a "conference system" based on geography, but in turn that would deny the Welsh clubs their fixtures with the English top clubs which they seem to believe is their route to financial salvation and world domination however a league based on performance would probably see at least two of the Welsh teams in the second tier which again pits them against the likes of Worcester, London Irish, and Newcastle rather than the glamour of Saracens, Bath and Exeter.

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