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 TJ on Wed 20 Nov 2019, 1:01 pm

Lets look at some examples. AWJ is I think the welsh regions top paid player. £600 000 is reported - £400 000 direct from the WRU, the rest from his region. He is only going to play 10 games for the region.

Now last year Glasgows top paid player was Hogg on £300 000. Almost certainly the best paid player in Scotland. But now he plays for Exeter. Or Russell - again £300 000 - but now plays for Racing

Very few of the Glasgow and Edinburgh squads will be aearing what Hogg id. Most or the internationals will be half to 2/3 of that.

So for what the Welsh region plays for 10 games from AWJ you coud instead have two younger stars or 4 international squad players.

This is why Glasgow are Stronger than the welsh regions - the money is spent wisely on creating a squad not on retaining the aging stars.

Look at the top scots playing outside of Scotland? You could make a decent international team from them Hogg, Maitland. Gray , Laidlaw, Russell etc. This also creates space for the youngsters to develop - Horne Jnr, Hastings,

this is why the scots teams do better in the pro 14. A squad of internationals and high rated squad players does better than a team based around a few highly paid stars over the season

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Post by miaow on Wed 20 Nov 2019, 1:28 pm

That's a lot of red pen...

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Post by LordDowlais on Wed 20 Nov 2019, 1:35 pm

TJ wrote:this is why the scots teams do better in the pro 14. A squad of internationals and high rated squad players does better than a team based around a few highly paid stars over the season


Look, I do not buy into what the regional sympathisers bang on about for the most part, and I am one of the regions biggest critics on here.

But what you have written here is a load of tripe. The Scottish sides do not do better because of what you have stated, they do better because they are choc-a-block full of NSQ players. Albeit decent ones, and this then affects the national side that is to be quite blunt, average at best. The both Scottish sides in the Pro14 are carried by foreign imports.

TJ wrote:So for what the Welsh region plays for 10 games from AWJ you coud instead have two younger stars or 4 international squad players.

I am sure he plays more than 10 games a season. Headscratch

TJ wrote:Look at the top scots playing outside of Scotland? You could make a decent international team from them Hogg, Maitland. Gray , Laidlaw, Russell etc.

Then why aren't Scotland decent ? They are far from decent.


Look, the Welsh regions are in a mess, they are very poorly run, but there is massive potential in Wales, and if we start getting it right, at this level, then they could be up there with the Leinsters of this world. You do not get a squad of 30 odd players to a world cup semi final and a grand slam in the same year by producing rubbish.

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Post by carpet baboon on Wed 20 Nov 2019, 1:38 pm

Well at least it isnt the Irish refs getting blamed for the welsh regions this time.

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Post by miaow on Wed 20 Nov 2019, 1:53 pm

While not wanting to get too bogged down in the specifics - I don't care enough nor think a conclusion about right/wrong or whatever can be drawn from them - isn't the fundamental issue the fact that Ireland are centrally contracted where Welsh regions aren't?

You then have a centralised project player system that has attracted the likes of Stander, Aki, Payne and countless others to come to Ireland, stay in Ireland, qualify for Ireland, and play for the national side. And the Lions in some cases. That's added to de Villiers, Rocky Elsom, Brad Thorn, and in the coaching stakes, Lancaster, Cheika, Erasmus etc. Welsh rugby hasn't been able to compete with that sort of expenditure for over a decade now.

I think the gripe is that Welsh clubs have a glass ceiling above them that prevents them from being competitive in their 'own' league. There's the sense that the Irish aren't really 'giving' particularly much to the Welsh (as Fly says, we're all out for ourselves), but they are preventing us from picking up trophies and becoming more competitive (instead of being on the carousel of hiring/firing coaches, and just doing enough to not lose disgracefully or be down the bottom with the Italians) simply by virtue of the fact that they are run far better as clubs. In part, because they're run by their union. And there isn't the fractitious nature between the IRFU and the storied, historical club tribalism that there is in Wales. The Irish even managed to do 'regional' rugby well, where Wales completely botched it in geographical terms. So where Welsh regional rugby might ebb and flow in its recovery and rebirth, there feels like a real sense of both 'is this is?' when it comes to the league - which isn't glamorous enough nor concise and cohesive enough to attract tribalism and fans in the way the English Premiership does - as well as a sense of 'well we're handicapped anyway' because the conditions for each constituent country are so vastly different based on ownership model.

There's a real sense of both probably expectable envy and malcontent that comes from not being the best and having to watch teams that are better than yours, but also a sense of 'why are we still flogging ourselves in this way?'. When you add the favouritism of refs, the commercial broadcasters who see Ireland as (rightly) a bigger market, thus the knock on effect of seeing them as the 'pinnacle' of the league and the rest of us as the also-rans.

This all comes from a place where, 10-12 years ago, only really Munster were better than 3 of the regions. At the start of the Celtic League, you could argue that only Munster could compete with any of the 4 regions. That's a fairly dramatic decline in relative terms over less than two decades.

The Scots are, as I understand it, also owned and ran by their union, yes? And the Scots have been as avid users of the project player system. And, of course, now that Glasgow and even Endiburgh are looking better than the regions, you get the same old sporting disgruntlement at having to watch your team lose.

I think that's basically it. It's a mix of passion, anger, and legitimate unhappiness with the structural hand Wales has been dealt with. There are serious issues with the game in Wales, and it feels a lot of the focus and money is going towards maintaining presence within a league/conference thing that isn't really helping us all that much anyway. Some of that's fair, some of it naive and belligerent.

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Post by miaow on Wed 20 Nov 2019, 1:55 pm

4 regions was of course 5 regions, wasn't it...

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Post by Pot Hale on Wed 20 Nov 2019, 3:14 pm

RugbyFan100 wrote:
1. £6.2m

The WRU have to pay back £6.2m over what period?  What's the annual cost?

2. And the WRU will make a loss of £5m this year.

The point being made was they still generated more income.  What they choose to spend it on is another matter.

3. 5 years ago there were 314 clubs in Wales. I'd be surprised if that number has declined to 229.

WR said 239 but I said trying to find a definitive figure is difficult.  https://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/welsh-rugby-clubs-dying-out-11823052   However, WRU Community Rugby website has a list of over 300 clubs of all shapes and varieties, so maybe that's probably the most authoritative. And I read that the £11.7m figure is ring-fenced for the time being.

4. So as I said, the WRU does indeed spend more on its community game than in Ireland.

I wasn't seeking to prove you wrong.  I asked you to provide evidence for your assertion.. The difference is not that great.
 
5. Really?
Why then have the IRFU, in addition to that €40.58m, listed in their annual report:
National tours, camps and squads €1.4m
National match costs €3.6m
?
If that €3.6m is not test match fees and bonuses, please tell me what it is? Did they spend €3.6m on bibs and balls?

That renders all your figures below absolute nonsense.

 Well, I don't believe that that it does.    
A perusal of the Annual Reports from IRFU over a number of years shows commentary that clarify what the headings refer to.    Professional game costs cover the logistics and operational costs for home and away matches.   Bonuses/fees for management and players goes into player and management costs. For example, from the 2014/15 Annual Report is the following statement:  
"Professional game costs in Schedule 3 includes all of the operational, logistical and preparation costs for the matches of the National team. The most significant costs in this schedule are the player and management costs which include the costs of the National management and player fees and bonuses together with the Union’s contribution to the cost of the four Provincial teams."  

In 2013/14, the IRFU's contribution to the provinces was referred to in the Report thus: "The monies earned here go some way towards reducing the €23.8m contribution that the Union made to the four Provincial teams and their Academies."


6. The IRFU also spend an additional €11m on sevens and age grade rugby. That is a total of €52m on the playign game in Ireland, excluding the community game.  

That's good to see.  What is the comparative figure on "sevens and age grade" from the WRU?


7.
€13.37m (£11.44m) of it is stated as Competition Income, therefore leaving an estimate of €17.21m (£14.73m) contributed directly by IRFU to the four provinces - or £26.18m excluding costs of central contracts.  If we assume €500k average for a central contract - 14 players is €7m (£6m).  So a round total of £32.17m.
That equals £8.04m per four Irish provinces compared to £8.46m per three Welsh private regions.  The WRU states its operational costs for WRU Gwent as £7.6m.
It may be in academy development and its operating costs that a real difference may be more apparent.

Utter nonsense, as I've just highlighted.

Well, clearly you haven't - you've given your view that you think National Match costs includes player match fees and bonuses.  I've provided specific quotes to show that it doesn't.


8. You'd do well to read this article:

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/exactly-how-much-each-welsh-16514855

I was providing averages per team not the specific amounts for each one.   I note the comments within the article and below it on the accuracy or lack thereof on guesstimating the figures for Irish and Scottish rugby.


9. Wales spends £31.7m on it's 4 regions, IRFU spends €40m on pro domestic rugby plus another €5m on the test game (which will include player payments)
You are mistaken because you are wrongly mixing up national team costs and provincial game costs.

Your original assertion on why WRU don't do as well as IRFU with similar incomes was:
Payments to the community game were greater because Wales had 100 more clubs.
Pay down of debt on the Millennium.

I don't think those reasons hold up to scrutiny - that's all. There are other factors at play.


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Post by Irish Londoner on Wed 20 Nov 2019, 4:16 pm

miaow wrote:While not wanting to get too bogged down in the specifics - I don't care enough nor think a conclusion about right/wrong or whatever can be drawn from them - isn't the fundamental issue the fact that Ireland are centrally contracted where Welsh regions aren't?

You then have a centralised project player system that has attracted the likes of Stander, Aki, Payne and countless others to come to Ireland, stay in Ireland, qualify for Ireland, and play for the national side. And the Lions in some cases. That's added to de Villiers, Rocky Elsom, Brad Thorn, and in the coaching stakes, Lancaster, Cheika, Erasmus etc. Welsh rugby hasn't been able to compete with that sort of expenditure for over a decade now.

I think the gripe is that Welsh clubs have a glass ceiling above them that prevents them from being competitive in their 'own' league. There's the sense that the Irish aren't really 'giving' particularly much to the Welsh (as Fly says, we're all out for ourselves), but they are preventing us from picking up trophies and becoming more competitive (instead of being on the carousel of hiring/firing coaches, and just doing enough to not lose disgracefully or be down the bottom with the Italians) simply by virtue of the fact that they are run far better as clubs. In part, because they're run by their union. And there isn't the fractitious nature between the IRFU and the storied, historical club tribalism that there is in Wales. The Irish even managed to do 'regional' rugby well, where Wales completely botched it in geographical terms. So where Welsh regional rugby might ebb and flow in its recovery and rebirth, there feels like a real sense of both 'is this is?' when it comes to the league - which isn't glamorous enough nor concise and cohesive enough to attract tribalism and fans in the way the English Premiership does - as well as a sense of 'well we're handicapped anyway' because the conditions for each constituent country are so vastly different based on ownership model.

There's a real sense of both probably expectable envy and malcontent that comes from not being the best and having to watch teams that are better than yours, but also a sense of 'why are we still flogging ourselves in this way?'. When you add the favouritism of refs, the commercial broadcasters who see Ireland as (rightly) a bigger market, thus the knock on effect of seeing them as the 'pinnacle' of the league and the rest of us as the also-rans.

This all comes from a place where, 10-12 years ago, only really Munster were better than 3 of the regions. At the start of the Celtic League, you could argue that only Munster could compete with any of the 4 regions. That's a fairly dramatic decline in relative terms over less than two decades.

The Scots are, as I understand it, also owned and ran by their union, yes? And the Scots have been as avid users of the project player system. And, of course, now that Glasgow and even Endiburgh are looking better than the regions, you get the same old sporting disgruntlement at having to watch your team lose.

I think that's basically it. It's a mix of passion, anger, and legitimate unhappiness with the structural hand Wales has been dealt with. There are serious issues with the game in Wales, and it feels a lot of the focus and money is going towards maintaining presence within a league/conference thing that isn't really helping us all that much anyway. Some of that's fair, some of it naive and belligerent.

Basically it come down to this - Welsh rugby sits in the worst of both worlds - it's neither fully controlled from the top down like Ireland, Scotland and New Zealand but it's not got the independent clubs model that England and France have, until that essential contradiction is resolved, Welsh club rugby will suffer.

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Post by miaow on Wed 20 Nov 2019, 4:27 pm

Yes, basically. Worst of both worlds. It's why you get so much chat about an Anglo-Welsh league. That would be detrimental to some elements we gain from being in the Pro12, but it would be less of a limbo state.

I can see the benefits of the Celtic League, and if there wasn't such disparity - and it wasn't cross border, with different currencies and tax systems, which only gets trickier with the Italians and Saffers - it would be a great way to go about things. But it's basically an incredibly unequal Super Rugby without the foundation of proper professional club rugby below it.

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Post by Pot Hale on Wed 20 Nov 2019, 5:18 pm

miaow wrote:While not wanting to get too bogged down in the specifics - I don't care enough nor think a conclusion about right/wrong or whatever can be drawn from them - isn't the fundamental issue the fact that Ireland are centrally contracted where Welsh regions aren't?

You then have a centralised project player system that has attracted the likes of Stander, Aki, Payne and countless others to come to Ireland, stay in Ireland, qualify for Ireland, and play for the national side. And the Lions in some cases. That's added to de Villiers, Rocky Elsom, Brad Thorn, and in the coaching stakes, Lancaster, Cheika, Erasmus etc. Welsh rugby hasn't been able to compete with that sort of expenditure for over a decade now.

I think the gripe is that Welsh clubs have a glass ceiling above them that prevents them from being competitive in their 'own' league. There's the sense that the Irish aren't really 'giving' particularly much to the Welsh (as Fly says, we're all out for ourselves), but they are preventing us from picking up trophies and becoming more competitive (instead of being on the carousel of hiring/firing coaches, and just doing enough to not lose disgracefully or be down the bottom with the Italians) simply by virtue of the fact that they are run far better as clubs. In part, because they're run by their union. And there isn't the fractitious nature between the IRFU and the storied, historical club tribalism that there is in Wales. The Irish even managed to do 'regional' rugby well, where Wales completely botched it in geographical terms. So where Welsh regional rugby might ebb and flow in its recovery and rebirth, there feels like a real sense of both 'is this is?' when it comes to the league - which isn't glamorous enough nor concise and cohesive enough to attract tribalism and fans in the way the English Premiership does - as well as a sense of 'well we're handicapped anyway' because the conditions for each constituent country are so vastly different based on ownership model.


Fair comment on most of that Miaow.   A couple of comments in response.  

You mention a "centralised project player system that attracted the likes of Stander, Aki, Payne and countless others" to come, stay, play and qualify for test team.   The reality is somewhat different.  Bringing in uncapped players occasionally to play for the provinces was happening all through the 2000s. Provinces were allowed do so, but for the most part, they bought in experienced, already test-capped players to fill in or bulk up particular positions as it suited them, with broad limits on number of players overall.  

The national team requirements were not taken much into account.    So much so, that Ireland literally ran out of qualified props, and ended up having to bring in an IQ player from NZ to fill a test squad before they'd even played a game for their province.   So at end of 2011, the IRFU set out its Player Succession Strategy aimed at developing Irish-qualified depth (2 test players in every position) and putting limits on foreign players being brought into Leinster, Munster and Ulster.   The revised limits for each of the three provinces were 4 NIE (already capped) foreign players plus 1 NIQ (uncapped) who could become Irish qualified.  And those 15 players had to be position-specific.   Within a few years, and a much-needed specialist prop development programme, prop stocks improved enormously.  

Them the whole new flows of TV monies occurred in England and France leading to substantial salary increases, and the IRFU changed its policy and decided to limit budgets for foreign capped players, and instead invest in the academies by increasing them to 18-20 in each academy, and investing in coaching/development resources.   The provinces with more restricted budgets then went after more and cheaper uncapped players who the media decided to call "project players" no matter what the circumstances.   Nathan White, the ultimate accidental test player, laughed out loud when asked in a media interview if he was a project player.   He said he came to Leinster on a trial for a year, didn't work out, and then decided with his family to try out Connacht.  He was kept on and duly passed the 3-year mark as he neared 32 years of age.  With a prop injury crisis, he unexpectedly got called up for test selection as a result.  Ditto Rodney Ah You who arrived in Connacht purely as a 6-month injury cover - nothing more.   He stayed on, and again due to injuries got called up for a couple of Wolfhound matches one summer. Quinn Roux had a similar path, arriving and being let go by Leinster, and making his way to Connacht.

However, without a doubt, the provinces were able to buy in some very good foreign test capped players as you've outlined above.   The quality of the uncapped players has been more hit and miss, with the misses headed out the door without much fanfare or tears. Or they've stayed at club level, and due to quality or age, they won't get considered for test selection e.g. Bleyendaal, McCartney, Gibson-Park (so far), Ludik, Fainga'a, etc.   There's a few left in the pot who will qualify before end of 2020 if they're still here under contract and might get selected for a trial for 6N or else summer tour to Oz - Gibson-Park, Marshall, and then Cloete, Butler in September and Lowe in early November for the second or third Autumn tests.

Nonetheless, within the space of 6-7 years, the IRFU have managed to change the player numbers and profiles in the provinces and academies from lacking depth and being over-dependent on capped foreign talent, to where it foreign is now a nice add-on, but the domestic pipeline is much stronger for the most part.  The provinces didn't even use the foreign-capped quotas to their limit for the last 3 seasons.   This year, IIRC, there are only 5 or 6 capped players in place for the whole season - Fardy, Tomane, Botha, Carter, Godwin and Faddes maybe?   With the five-year residency wait in place since 1 Jan 2018, the IQ Rugby programme is now seeking already Irish qualified players, rather than simply uncapped ones.

Investment in good coaches has also been important and helped a lot although there have been a few comparative 'duds' or 'didn't fits' over the years too, without mentioning any names.

You state that "There's the sense that the Irish aren't really 'giving' particularly much to the Welsh (as Fly says, we're all out for ourselves), but they are preventing us from picking up trophies and becoming more competitive".  This is a familiar theme so I'm not assigning it to you personally.   However, it's worth mentioning that the PRO14 is owned by the three Celtic unions - WRU, IRFU and SRU with equal shareholding. The Competition Income from EPCR and PRO14 going to WRU and IRFU is practically the same, despite the Irish teams performing demonstrably better.    In addition, the PRO14 has recently been valued and CVC have submitted a document to the Irish Competition Commissioner to take a 27% stake in the commercial side of the business.   The value of the "PRO14 property" has been driven by the success of the League/Championship in its various formats, its component teams/unions, including FIR and SARU, ground attendances, the market value they have in attracting broadcasters, sponsors, etc.  I would argue that the IRFU and its teams have contributed more than their fair share to that valuation that will be divided equally between the three unions.


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Post by Brendan on Wed 20 Nov 2019, 5:21 pm

One would assume that Italy's plan is to follow the Scottish model.

Glasgow were a tougher team to play than Scotland.  Scotland then caught up by bringing on Edinburgh.  Now they are building squad depth and have two teams that have aims of knockout rugby in all competitions. Off the field they got the team compeditive and then look to build the attendances.

People are now saying Bennetton are a better team than Italy.  They are in the Champions Cup on merit and their goal is to make the playoffs in the Pro 14, win their home games in Europe.  I think if they don't finish in the Champion Cup spots this season they will see it as a failure.  It is then changing the mindset of Italy which Franco Smith did with the Cheetahs.  Zebre will then be looked to be strengthened.

Italy has a good under 20 squad so they will have players coming through.

Wales on the other hand seem to be going in the opposite direction.  They have struggled to get three teams into the Champions Cup when and other than Scarlets have really not done anything in the group stages. (Scotland by contrast have got both teams in and both into the quarters).  At underage wales are doing well but seem to have to much deadwood in older past internationals rather than young players.

Coaching is the main issue behind the changes in fortune.

Ireland - Kiss and Keane removed as not performing,  Axel demoted.  Coaches with potential promoted and strong management teams.  Connacht under Lam was partly down to their skills coach.
Scotland - their coaches are simillar to Ireland  but also looking for a bargain.
Italy - is a coach of Crowly's standing likely to rock up to the Regions any more.  He has been a big factor in Bennetton' s improvement.  Bradley while not amazing had euro success with Connacht and Edinburgh.  He likes to play fast and lose so games are entertaining.

Ulster almost missing out on Champions Cup caused Kiss to resign.  Keane had his contract terminated after one season as they finished 6th in Conference A.  There was talk it was because the IRFU didn't see him getting champions cup rugby.

There does not seem to have been too much of that at Blues, Scarlets or Ospreys when they have dropped down to the Challange Cup.  Dean at Dragons looks like heading in the right direction but not sure if that appointment is WRU rather than Region.

With teams ranked 4-11 now so compeditive in the league I think that Edinburgh, Bennetton and Connacht will be disappointed not to make the Champions Cup and playoffs they understand making it is an achievement.  Later would consider finishing outside the top 3 in the conference a complete failure. All would look internally and complain about the players or coaches.
The Welsh teams and fans (the noisy ones) just seem to see the league as stacked against them and they couldn't be expected to do better.  It's why they are sliding down.  Dragons on the other hand do seem to be holding the right people to account internally and fans seem to have a different view on were failures lay.

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Post by TJ on Wed 20 Nov 2019, 6:00 pm

AJWs new deal is for him to play ten games a year for ospreys. thats all.

Yes the scots teams use a fair few NSQ players - but not to the detriment of home grown talent and this is why they can afford a decent squad on the same money as the welsh. russell goes south for a million a year to replace his £300 000 at Glasgow. this means glasgow have £300 000 to spend that will buy a few decent squad players and also Hastings gets to develop as number one

There is no doubt at all that the Welsh have similar levels of money to spend on players as the scots - the difference is we spend most of it on players earning a lot less than the guys like AWJ s we get a decent depth of squad

thats the key to the scots success. Don't try to hang on to your ageing stars, spend the money wisely on youngsters instead and get a lot more bang for your buck

for AWJs £600 000 ie £60 000 a game we instead have a WP nel, a jonny grey and a youngster or two who will play most of a season each

Stop complaining "its not fair" and "we do not have enough money" both of which are rubbish and start addressing the real issues

No country has made a success of a home based players only policy

Fr what the WRU apre paying AWJ f0r ten games a year for the region we instead get two or 3 international standard players or 5 -10 squad players all of who will play more games

Its not the amount of money you have here that matters. Its what you do with it. Spend too much on a few stars and you do not have enough left for a decent depth squad

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Post by mikey_dragon on Wed 20 Nov 2019, 7:47 pm

Ummm, is AWJ your only example? You keep repeating it now. I think anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that AWJ is a one-off... He's our captain and the limited game time was last season only (as far as I know) so we could have him play through the world cup. AWJ isn't 6 or 7 million (or whatever the figure was) is he?

The key to Scots success is having two teams, that equals more quality Scottish players if they're at just two teams. The Saffa's have definitely helped Edinburgh, but it was mostly down to the SRU looking to bring in quality coaches (Townsend, Rennie, Cockerill). That's smart investment. I think rather than reinvest a sufficient amount, Welsh rugby just pays off its debts - that includes the regions who each have debts and operate at a loss.

If we didn't pay guys like AWJ, Moriarty, etc big money then they'd be overseas. Our high profile players have been targeted for quite some time now. Is it also worth noting that even without AWJ the Ospreys still have a good squad, including 2 international locks? So your point about AWJ stealing all the money doesn't really stack up.

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Post by TJ on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 12:48 am

Thats my point - I am only using AWJ as an example. Let those older stars go overseas then you can afford a decent squad. thats why Edinburgh and Glasgow are competative.

Our talisman and Captain - laidlaw he does not play in scotland, nor many of our best players - Russell, Hogg, Maitland, etc I think there is a full 15 of scots internationals playing outside scotland

For what the WRU are paying AWJ for 10 club games a year you could instead have 3 or 4 quality squad players who could play 60+ club games a year!

This is IMO why the welsh teams have no depth and struggle in the pro 14. they spend too much money on keeping the stars in Wales and thus have not enough left for a decen depth of squad. You first 15 are more than a match - but when those guys are not available the rest of th squad is of too low quality and the youngsters do not gain experience.

Its certainly not the total amount of money they have to spend that is the issue. they have a very smilar amount to everyone bar Leinster and more than the italians or Saffers

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Post by miaow on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 7:23 am

This is all well and good but I fail to understand why Wales would want to copy countries that have been less successful than them.

Would allowing AWJ to go and get smashed up playing for Bath or Toulon be more or less likely to see him lift a Grand Slam with Wales?

With all due respect, Scotland's system may work for them - letting go of players who are going to get overpaid in France - but it hasn't really had a noticeable impact on their national success either way. For Wales, players go to England and France and come back battered for the most part. Stupid suggestion, really.

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Post by SecretFly on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 8:39 am

miaow wrote:This is all well and good but I fail to understand why Wales would want to copy countries that have been less successful than them.

Would allowing AWJ to go and get smashed up playing for Bath or Toulon be more or less likely to see him lift a Grand Slam with Wales?

With all due respect, Scotland's system may work for them - letting go of players who are going to get overpaid in France - but it hasn't really had a noticeable impact on their national success either way. For Wales, players go to England and France and come back battered for the most part. Stupid suggestion, really

Yet it was a suggestion put to us Wink

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Post by LordDowlais on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 8:39 am

Brendan wrote:There does not seem to have been too much of that at Blues, Scarlets or Ospreys when they have dropped down to the Challange Cup.  Dean at Dragons looks like heading in the right direction but not sure if that appointment is WRU rather than Region.

And this is the crux of it all. The regions do not really answer to anybody other than themselves. I bring this up quite often, and this is why I am hated by most of the Welsh regional sympathisers on here. The regions are allowed to be poor. They pay no penalty for underachievement.

But to listen to TJ trying to tell me that Scotland are doing it right and Wales are not is farcical. Scotland as a nation have achieved just one league title in two decades. Whereas Wales have won the second tier European title twice, a few league titles, a few Grand slams and championships in the 6N, two semi finalists in world cups, yet he will try and convince me that Scottish rugby is in a better shape than Welsh rugby ?????????

Welsh domestic rugby, by it's own standards, is under performing at the moment, but trust me when I say this, when they get it right, they will be quite formidable.

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Post by SecretFly on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 8:45 am

LordDowlais wrote:

Welsh domestic rugby, by it's own standards, is under performing at the moment, but trust me when I say this, when they get it right, they will be quite formidable.

Glad to see your enthusiasm improving, Lord. OK Only a few weeks ago weren't you questioning the very continued existence of the professional game in Wales?
Go easy on yourself. Keep the glass-half-full mood. It's better for the health.

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Post by LordDowlais on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 8:50 am

SecretFly wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:

Welsh domestic rugby, by it's own standards, is under performing at the moment, but trust me when I say this, when they get it right, they will be quite formidable.

Glad to see your enthusiasm improving, Lord. OK Only a few weeks ago weren't you questioning the very continued existence of the professional game in Wales?
Go easy on yourself.  Keep the glass-half-full mood.  It's better for the health.

I said the state of the Pro game in Wales is worrying me, and it is. The way the pro game is being run, at the moment, is unsustainable. People on here can harp on about lack of investment, and the big bad WRU, but I have said countless times, if I was in charge of the WRU, I would be very reluctant to invest any money into the regions at the moment, not with the way they are being run. It would be throwing good money after bad money.

I wish the WRU would pay off all the regional owners/benefactors and run them like the Irish model. But I doubt that would ever happen, there are too many big egos involved with the pro game in Wales at the moment.

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Post by miaow on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 9:05 am

SecretFly wrote:
miaow wrote:This is all well and good but I fail to understand why Wales would want to copy countries that have been less successful than them.

Would allowing AWJ to go and get smashed up playing for Bath or Toulon be more or less likely to see him lift a Grand Slam with Wales?

With all due respect, Scotland's system may work for them - letting go of players who are going to get overpaid in France - but it hasn't really had a noticeable impact on their national success either way. For Wales, players go to England and France and come back battered for the most part. Stupid suggestion, really

Yet it was a suggestion put to us Wink

Haha, very good. I will defend that - no point AWJ goingto England where he's not going to learn too much about the game with his 130-odd caps. There IS a benefit of early 20 somethings spending a few years there. It's a separate point in relation to freeing up money. No point letting go of your best players because you cannot afford them and hurting the national team. Don't think anyone would advocate Sexton would be a better player for joining Racing 2 years ago than when he did!

EDIT: I think, for instance, that Biggar is a better player for being in Northampton. Not massively so. But just...it's good for him. He worked hard on his flaws at the Ospreys, very hard, but neer really developed a running game. That wouldn't come by staying in Wales, and in Northampton, he gets to maintain standards of comptition and physicality while earning a better paycheck and not have the mental stress of your team going bust and/or losing every week. North is a better player for being in England, definitely, but ultimately we only started to appreciate that once he returned and wasn't injured all the time...and even then, there are some who don't see that improvement as he's not tearing it up scoring tries every week. Some players it definitely works for, some it won't, some...who knows. Mixed bag. Variety is the spice of life.

For this discussion, talking about getting rid of your best players...nonsense. Glasgow and Scotland will have wanted to keep Finn Russell, make no mimstake about that.


Last edited by miaow on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 9:10 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by The Oracle on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 9:08 am

LordDowlais wrote:
SecretFly wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:

Welsh domestic rugby, by it's own standards, is under performing at the moment, but trust me when I say this, when they get it right, they will be quite formidable.

Glad to see your enthusiasm improving, Lord. OK Only a few weeks ago weren't you questioning the very continued existence of the professional game in Wales?
Go easy on yourself.  Keep the glass-half-full mood.  It's better for the health.

I said the state of the Pro game in Wales is worrying me, and it is. The way the pro game is being run, at the moment, is unsustainable. People on here can harp on about lack of investment, and the big bad WRU, but I have said countless times, if I was in charge of the WRU, I would be very reluctant to invest any money into the regions at the moment, not with the way they are being run. It would be throwing good money after bad money.

I wish the WRU would pay off all the regional owners/benefactors and run them like the Irish model. But I doubt that would ever happen, there are too many big egos involved with the pro game in Wales at the moment.

I doubt it too as I can't see the WRU bankrolling the regions to that extent. They had a chance to do that back in 2002 but chose not to. They wanted club owners to take all of the risks and make all of the concessions, while at the same time holding the clubs' monies and distributing when they decide (TV and competition monies). And here we are......
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Post by miaow on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 9:12 am

The regional game in Wales is sustainable as long as the Welsh rugby team and the WRU keeps propping them up. Which they do. As and/or when the time comes that the national team isn't making enough to keep up with the demands of what it takes to keep the regions solvent, then there's another debate to be had.

Countries are run with vast debts. You can run the regions at a loss and still be 'sustainable'. Better that than potentially having the carpet ripped out when a benefactor decides to up and leave (Saracens?). There's a definite bubble in football and more than enough clubs have gone bust because of it. There isn't money in rugby like football, and despite there being huge scope for growth, it's arguable how mch of htat can be translated in to profit. It's pretty clear why Abu Dhabi bought Man City. Britain has been for sale for 30 years and in the last decade the asset stripping has been insane. Sports clubs are great financial assets, but it's pretty clear that Newport, Llanelli etc. are not your London and Manchester or even Bath and Bristol. Until the time they are, and someone sees profit in owning a region, we'll just have to make do with relying on the cash cow that is Team Wales to keep propping up the regional game.

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Post by LordDowlais on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 9:20 am

The Oracle wrote:I doubt it too as I can't see the WRU bankrolling the regions to that extent. They had a chance to do that back in 2002 but chose not to. They wanted club owners to take all of the risks and make all of the concessions, while at the same time holding the clubs' monies and distributing when they decide (TV and competition monies). And here we are......

The WRU were bankrupt in 2002. The one good thing Roger Lewis did, was turn that around. The way the regions are run, it's no wonder the WRU holds the TV money, God knows how it would be spent otherwise.

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Post by LordDowlais on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 9:23 am

miaow wrote:Sports clubs are great financial assets, but it's pretty clear that Newport, Llanelli etc. are not your London and Manchester or even Bath and Bristol. Until the time they are, and someone sees profit in owning a region, we'll just have to make do with relying on the cash cow that is Team Wales to keep propping up the regional game.

That's why, for me, it makes more sense for Wales to follow the Irish model.

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Post by miaow on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 9:29 am

LordDowlais wrote:
miaow wrote:Sports clubs are great financial assets, but it's pretty clear that Newport, Llanelli etc. are not your London and Manchester or even Bath and Bristol. Until the time they are, and someone sees profit in owning a region, we'll just have to make do with relying on the cash cow that is Team Wales to keep propping up the regional game.

That's why, for me, it makes more sense for Wales to follow the Irish model.

But why? They are almost exactly opposite scenarious. The Welsh regions cannot attract the numbers that the provinces do. Likewise, the Irish team hasn't been as successful as the Welsh team in the last 15 years. Why would you try and make the regions something they're not and hurt the Welsh team? It's a nice idea but it would genuinely kill Welsh rugby by trying to make it in to something it's not.

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Post by LordDowlais on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 9:34 am

miaow wrote:But why?

Because the regions are not being run very well. They do not answer to anybody for their failings.

miaow wrote:Likewise, the Irish team hasn't been as successful as the Welsh team in the last 15 years

But would you attribute that the the two systems ? I just think that it's because we have had better players.

miaow wrote: Why would you try and make the regions something they're not and hurt the Welsh team? It's a nice idea but it would genuinely kill Welsh rugby by trying to make it in to something it's not.

That is exactly what we are doing with these artificial regions. We have them now, so we need to make a fist of them, and the current people in charge of them are not up to the task.

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Post by miaow on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 9:50 am

But would the WRU run them 'better'? They would have to provide a lot more money to the regions just to keep them solvent, which hurts literally all other areas of Welsh rugby.

Well, yes, but the point I'm making is that the regions are significantly less powerful than the Irish provinces. Part of that is IRFU money, but that doesn't just come from the IRFU. It also comes from crowds, it comes from commercial partnerships, it comes from the fact they have wealthy development systems like the Dublin private school network to bolster their sides with little financial input themselves. You cannot make the regions in to the provinces simply by selling them to the WRU - the Dragons are a perfect example of that!

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Post by LordDowlais on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 10:34 am

miaow wrote:the Dragons are a perfect example of that!

The Dragons are in a lot healthier state of affairs than prior to the WRU's involvement. They have their first decent coach since Ruddock, and they now have a few better Welsh players there.


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Post by LordDowlais on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 10:35 am

miaow wrote:But would the WRU run them 'better'?

Yes, Dragons being a perfect example. OK

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Post by RiscaGame on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 10:53 am

LordDowlais wrote:
miaow wrote:the Dragons are a perfect example of that!

The Dragons are in a lot healthier state of affairs than prior to the WRU's involvement. They have their first decent coach since Ruddock, and they now have a few better Welsh players there.


Turner was a decent coach, for what he worked with. The point of players is a little subjective, as there has always been young players there. Players like Dee, Griffiths and Hewitt were mentioned for Wales honours before the takeover.

Whilst Dean Ryan is looking a pretty good appointment, the WRU also subjected us to Bernard Jackman Laugh .

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 10:57 am

Gatland's personal pick, wasn't he? I bet he left that bit out of his autobiography!

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Post by RiscaGame on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 10:58 am

Laugh

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Post by Gooseberry on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 11:01 am

Powerful or valuable? The regions have flexed muscle in the past and got some concessions from WRU, although theres still nonsense like this Barabarians "test" which shows the low value the WRU really put on them. The international side is the main focus and revenue generator. Id argue the Irish Provinces themselves have less power and certainly less autonomy, but are nurtured are valued more highly by IRFU. Its maybe semantics but theres an important distinction to note. If the Regions do get "nationalised" under the WRU central ownership then they will lose some of their power, but as note above might be valued a bit more closely and in some regards better treated as part of a more holistic model. Theres historically been more emnity and battling between the regions and WRU than than has between even the (powerful) PRL and RFU, it does seem to have calmed down a bit since the blow up around changes to Euro qualification and Pro14 rehash, and the central contracts system has maybe helped? But it still feels to me that the Welsh regions are finding their power and value ebb, changes to the TV deals not helping at all. 

Agree with Miaows points around the external investment required under the private model and the dangers/unrealistic expectation of that. But as with Dowlais thats why I find its surprising that the WRU doesn't just buy them out (aside form the political issues with that) and stop subsidising private failure and getting into massive rows every time they want to play an extra test, change the player contracts model or promote the game in the north.

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Post by miaow on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 11:14 am

LordDowlais wrote:
miaow wrote:the Dragons are a perfect example of that!

The Dragons are in a lot healthier state of affairs than prior to the WRU's involvement. They have their first decent coach since Ruddock, and they now have a few better Welsh players there.


At what cost to the WRU? This is only a temporary ownership. If they took over all 4 it would cripple the Union financially and therefore the grassroots suffers. The point about the Dragons is they've hardly seen a transformation under WRU that hasn't occurred without a coaching change. No reason that couldnt happen with a non-centralised region.

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Post by LordDowlais on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 11:34 am

Well, anyway, whatever the solution is, we need to find it ASAP.

We have players, that when they put on the Welsh jersey can look like superstars, they look as though they can run through brick walls, and tackle wardrobes.

Yet when these players are at the regions, they are shadows of their international selves.

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Post by SecretFly on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 11:44 am

LordDowlais wrote:Well, anyway, whatever the solution is, we need to find it ASAP.

We have players, that when they put on the Welsh jersey can look like superstars, they look as though they can run through brick walls, and tackle wardrobes.

Yet when these players are at the regions, they are shadows of their international selves.

I always laugh at how pointedly vice versa Welsh and Irish rugby is.  Chalk and cheese really in virtually all departments and only a short boat ride dividing them.  

I paraphrase you Lord as an example:

"We have players, that when they put on their Provincial jersey can look like superstars, they look as though they can run through brick walls, and tackle wardrobes.

Yet when these players are at International, they are shadows of their Provincial selves."

We could organise a swap of vice verses for five years or so?  Any takers?

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Post by miaow on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 12:02 pm

I agree we need improvement, LD. It's not good enough as is - everyone wants successful club teams below the national team.

I just think, at present, the best situation is the one we have - the regions are propped up by WRU support and money, and not left to rot when the money ran out as benefactors lost capital and interest after the recession; but not totally controlled by the WRU which is less than ideal from a 'fairness' standpoint (Connacht and Ulster will never, ever compete with Leinster) and would also financially ruin the WRU, to the detriment of the whole game in Wales, which is on a knife edge as it is.

It's always nice to choose the 'something else' but this ugly, awkward compromise we have at the moment genuinely seems to be the best way until something more definite comes along in the form of a league structure or external money. The latter looks like it's about to arrive, so let's see where that goes and how it changes things.

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Post by miaow on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 12:04 pm

Fly, Ireland and Wales should just combine. You play club rugby, we play test rugby. Best of both worlds.

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Post by The Oracle on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 12:29 pm

Dragons are looking better this year.  The difference........ the WRU has helped to close the gap between our playing budget and that of the other regions by paying off our debts and buying the stadium (which I'm guessing the Dragons do not have to pay to use anymore?).  It's not parity with other regions, but closer.  The result....... being able to keep and re-sign our best players, beat off competition from elsewhere, and to attract one or two decent players to the region who otherwise might not gave come.  The outcome = some good signs and some small improvement (so far).  

Part of the problem was that our income previously, as I understand it, was being used to service debt.  So that debt has gone thanks to the WRU and there's now more to be spend on the squad.  The WRU has to be acknowledged and thanked for that but you also have to give praise to successive management at the region for keeping it afloat.  Not sure how that is 'mismanaging'?  I'd say it is the opposite.  Sure, they struggled to commercialise the Dragons fully so perhaps that is a failing.  But maybe it's a damn difficult thing to market, especially when their hands are tied by the union (e.g. on what the team should be called, etc.  Any other privately owned sports team would be able to call themselves whatever they want and would be able to 'cover' wherever they want.  But not in Wales.  Another example of the weird relationship we have between private clubs and union overlords).  If we'd gone all 'galactico' like the Ospreys, yes it would have led to better results in the short term but we probably would have folded/gone bust/been disbanded years ago.  Keeping us solvent and alive on a £3.5m playing budget led to poor results but did lead to out survival ultimately.  That's good management in my book.

So the WRU can be thanked but the same outcome could have been achieved, in theory, with any investor.  A bit like the Saracens guy recently writing off a load of debt.  Or Peter Thomas doing it at the Blues so they wouldn't be crippled by debt and it impacting squad spend.  So it's not something only the WRU can do uniquely as a union.  So WRU as saviours should be taken with a pinch of salt.  Especially as we do not know their future intentions fully yet.
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Post by miaow on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 12:43 pm

It is a damn difficult thing, Oracle. As I said months ago when we were discussing the Pro14 - not sure who with - Newport is 30 minutes away from Cardiff. Compare that to Edinburgh and Glasgow. Compare the relative population size and the wealth of a typical/potential rugby supporter. Scotland has millions of people to draw upon to support their two 'regions' effectively. The Dragons have the Valleys, who seemingly don't and won't (I'd guarantee their kids would if regional rugby had worked, though - Gatland said as much to the BBC this week), and a city that isn't far from a satellite city of Cardiff.

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Post by Irish Londoner on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 1:02 pm

miaow wrote:It is a damn difficult thing, Oracle. As I said months ago when we were discussing the Pro14 - not sure who with - Newport is 30 minutes away from Cardiff. Compare that to Edinburgh and Glasgow. Compare the relative population size and the wealth of a typical/potential rugby supporter. Scotland has millions of people to draw upon to support their two 'regions' effectively. The Dragons have the Valleys, who seemingly don't and won't (I'd guarantee their kids would if regional rugby had worked, though - Gatland said as much to the BBC this week), and a city that isn't far from a satellite city of Cardiff.

Are Scarlets an outlier in this - given they are further away from the other clubs and from any other competing sports - where Blues have Cardiff City and Dragons have Newport County - and also have the advantage that they are on a direct linage from the "pre-professionalism" Scarlets and so have less of the problems that other regions have?

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Post by miaow on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 1:14 pm

The Scarlets are an outlier, yes, for a few reasons. One is that they have the most partisan and passionate support from the Llanelli RFC days. Forget the Valleys, it doesn't even come close. The Scarlets are like Liverpool are to football - it's more than just the club. It's representative of Wales, Welsh culture, the language. It inspires more than just partisan rivalries, and it's not about 'not' supporting another team - it's love for the Scarlets that drives the passion.

There's also history and success there that goes back decades, and much like Liverpool, they're 'romantic' in many ways - that attracts casual fans, and before the rise of the Ospreys about 10 years ago, 'the' shirt you saw around Wales wherever you went - mid or North - was the Scarlets'. That changed for a while and now you're unlikely to see too much support for the regions anyway, but they do attract supporters from outside Llanelli - Pembrokeshire, wider Carmarthenshire (Ken is Carmarthen and an avid Scarlet) and even further afield up the coast to Aber and even Bangor areas,the latter of which is technically now RGC1404 country.

The issue with that is, to the east, they're really close to Swansea, and many of the in between towns and villages - real heartbeds of Welsh rugby, of some of the real 'flair' areas of Welsh rugby as well - are just as likely to be Ospreys. And that's the issue with regionalism - it should probably have just been 1 region (Gatland again said that this week) but there was no way the Scarlets boaord/fans were letting Llanelli RFC die. Again, you saw that with the merger talks earlier this year - if the Ospreys wanted to survive, they'd simply have to adapt to supporting the Scarlets as they are, and not rebrand as the Scarlettos or whatever...

Other issues include population density - not too many people in this part of the world. Monetary wealth - again, Llanelli is the poorest of the 4 towns/cities, and though there's some wealth in Pembrokeshire, it's mostly older people who are unlikely to really get behind the rugby. The population is willing, but rugby is expensive, and Swansea FC takes fans of football to them just as they take Ospreys fans from closer in as well.

I wrote a really long answer espousing why the Scarlets had succeeded where the other regions had failed last year so won't repeat it now, but one of the key factors quite simply is the business planning and building their own stadium. Maybe it was easier to do that in Llanelli than Cardiff or Swansea for financial reasons, but ultimately that is what has kept the Scarlets' heads above water...just about. The cultural side and history of the RFC is what makes it meaningful.

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Post by LordDowlais on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 1:56 pm

miaow, thanks for that, because what you have just written is one of the fundamental failings of Welsh rugby, and in my eyes, it's nobodies fault.

You see, when David Moffatt took us kicking and screaming into professionalism and regionalism, we should have put all the romance and history behind us. We should have started afresh with new lines, new rules, a total breakaway from the old guard.

But we didn't, we had too many people with egos who had too much say within Welsh rugby who wanted to keep the status quo. Welsh rugby was, and still is being held back in that regard. Scarlets still harp on about their history, just to let everybody know, Scarlets did not beat the All Blacks back in the day, no, that was a different team, a team that is still playing in the Welsh Prem, not Scarlets.

Cardiff Blues, they are not Cardiff RFC, Dragons are not Newport RFC. Cardiff RFC and Newport RFC still exist.

This is the first mess we have to deal with.

Anyway, at the inception of regional rugby, the WRU were skint, they were up to their eyeballs in debt. We needed the money men with big egos to take us into regionalism, these people did not get their millions by being all nice and forever giving. These were not stupid people. They are also not rugby people, they are money people who support rugby.

We should thank them whole heartedly for what they have done for Welsh rugby, and the WRU should purchase the regions from them.

The battle lines have been drawn now though, and we have 4 teams along the M4 corridor, it's too late to change that, we need to work with what we have, we cannot waste one and a half decades of work.

We need to forget about history, we need to forget about romance, we need to work for the future. Rugby is massive in Wales, and always will be, but the regions are built on sand. They need strong foundations, they need identities outside of the towns and cities they reside in. They need the clubs in the areas around them to be their foundations, they need the people of the clubs, and the villages, towns, cities to be their foundations. This will take a lot of doing. It's time to cut free of the old, and start afresh.

There is a lot to do to get people interested, and talking about the regions again, an awful lot can be done, and with the right stewardship and the right leadership, there is no reason why the regions cannot emulate all the teams in the Pro14, no reason what so ever.

For me the potential is here in Wales, it needs to be tapped into, it needs to be worked on, it needs a lot of people committed and most of all it needs the right people doing it.

What we have now is, 4 teams in disarray, screaming for organisation and leadership. They need to be taken onto the next level of professionalism that goes beyond the players, until this happens, they will continue to never fulfill their potential.

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Post by Irish Londoner on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 2:47 pm

LD that's the best thing I've read on here about the past, present and future of Welsh domestic rugby for a long time! thumbsup

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Post by Pot Hale on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 2:57 pm

If the WRU were to buy out the regions, would they not move to merging two of them as was discussed earlier this year?

I see Gatland has left his views on the Welsh game behind in a recent interview where he advocated his 16-team two division semi-pro, three regional team model as the way forward. And copying the Irish model in some way around crowds but I didn't quite follow that.
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Post by RiscaGame on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 3:02 pm

If WRU had the regions, they would undoubtedly merge the two more Western ones and have a North Walian region.

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Post by LordDowlais on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 3:20 pm

Lllanelli should never had been stand alone in the first place. But we are where we are, so we need to get on with it.

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Post by LordDowlais on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 3:27 pm

Irish Londoner wrote:LD that's the best thing I've read on here about the past, present and future of Welsh domestic rugby for a long time! thumbsup

thumbsup

Thanks for the compliment. Very Happy

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Post by SecretFly on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 9:03 pm

Pot Hale wrote:If the WRU were to buy out the regions, would they not move to merging two of them as was discussed earlier this year?

I see Gatland has left his views on the Welsh game behind in a recent interview where he advocated his 16-team two division semi-pro, three regional team model as the way forward. And copying the Irish model in some way around crowds but I didn't quite follow that.

Damn it! Trust Gats to be the one to sniff our best kept secret. Three quarters of the crowd is always cardboard cutouts. Sponsors always fall for it! Yahoo Idiots.

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Post by Brendan on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 10:59 pm

Can the CVC money not be used to buy up the three remaining Regions and ringfence the money to run the Regions.

As it was the Regions that made the money surely the Union can use it on them

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