What next for Japan?

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Post by 123456789. on Sun 13 Oct 2019, 6:48 pm

First topic message reminder :

In the aftermath of Japan's victory over Scotland Sir Ian McGeechan suggested they come into the Six Nations. Japan have quite obviously broken out of Tier 2 now.

However there can be little argument that the Rugby World is utterly terrible at bringing teams from Tier 2 into Tier One. Italy were the first great pioneers however they have never really kicked on. Having jockeyed with Scotland for fifth in the Six Nations since the noughties achieving the odd fourth place finish they now seem fairly rooted at the bottom of the Six Nations. They've never reached the knockout stages of the World Cup. Argentina followed Italy, first reaching the knockout stages in 2007, they achieved three consecutive knockout appearances. Reaching the semi-final twice. Entering the Rugby Championship in 2012 they've won a grand total of 5 games. They've just failed to reach the Quarter Finals. In the decade prior to reaching entering the Rugby Championship they played Scotland 10 times and won 60% of the games. Since then they have faced Scotland five times and lost each time. Similarly both Italy and Argentina have been ushered into the ranks of Tier One domestic rugby, Los Jaguares entering Super Rugby in 2016 and Italian teams entering the then Celtic League in 2010. Italy saw an initial upturn between 2011 and 2015 following their entry to the elite of domestic rugby winning 5 matches in the Six Nations, including victories over Ireland and France on occasion. Since 2015 they have been woeful failing to win a game and rarely threatening to either. Since bonus points were introduced they have failed to score four tries on any occasion and have picked up only one losing bonus point. It's hard to see any discernible improvement to Argentinian fortunes since their teams entered Super Rugby in 2016. T

Moving on from Argentina and Italy, there's the Pacific Islanders. Rugby's most naturally gifted nation, exploited by rich clubs and rich nations alike with very little return. Fiji having reached the knockout stages of the World Cup in 1999 and 2007. Samoa reached the knockout stages in 1991 and 1995. Tonga have been less successful but did record a notable victory over France in 2011. Of the Tier One Nations (especially if we include Japan) only Argentina and South Africa do not have players of Fijian, Samoan and Tongan descent. You would be hard pressed to find a professional rugby side in Europe without a Pacific Islander. In return they get the odd token game against Tier One opposition in November and every four years or so Scotland go to play there because no one else will have them. The treatment of them is World Rugby's greatest shame.

So how do World Rugby go right with Japan where they have gone wrong so many times before? Given the Sunwolves have been terminated and seem unlikely to be resuscitated any time soon how does World Rugby ensure that Japan cement their status amongst Tier One and remain there. For the National team there's three obvious options: Firstly continuing as they are, Secondly entering the Six Nations, Thirdly entering the Rugby Championship, Fourthly, Rugby changing altogether.

The first option would be incredibly shortsighted, Rugby has few economic powerhouses. Failing to capitalise on Rugby's popularity would be a wasted opportunity. However our existing elite competitions cannot keep expanding every time a new powerhouse emerges. Consider where Japan were 15 years ago being beaten by Matt Williams' Scotland by 100 points compared to today. We could see the USA or Russia embark on a similar journey over the next fifteen years. Why should Japan leap frog the Pacific Islanders? Could World Rugby not invest more in the Pacific Championship.

The Second option is the Six Nations, Japan is only slightly longer in terms of travel from London as from Auckland. The Southern Hemisphere teams have done all the running in terms of expanding rugby since Italy joined the Six Nations. On the other hand the Six Nations is an intrinsically European competition, it exists to find the best team in Europe. Also, as I have argued before, part of its appeal is its parochialism and the cultural aspect. The visits between ancient European capitals that can be done on a budget and of a weekend. Tokyo would be a different kettle of fish. There is also the fact that Georgia are not far away and who knows how rugby will progress in Russia or enjoy a resurgence in Romania. There is the argument that if the Six Nations should expand there are European countries who have been queuing up for years. Why should Japan leapfrog them?

The third option is the Rugby Championship. Japan, in rugby terms, is very much so in the southern hemisphere. Japan is a common retirement location for New Zealanders, Australians and South Africans. In terms of time difference the logistics are better. There is also the fact that travelling fans are less of a feature, for reasons of geography not apathy, in the rugby championship so that wouldn't impact so much. But where you can cite Georgia or Russia for the Six Nations, you can mention Fiji, Tonga and Samoa for the Rugby Championship. In my opinion it is the most natural option but not a straightforward choice by any means.

Fourth, we can change the Rugby Calendar. My objection to this is based entirely on the rather conservative attitude that expansion shouldn't be at the expense of the existing rugby nations. The Six Nations is a brilliant contest. Not just because of the rugby but because of the history. When Wales come to Edinburgh the place picks up, the atmosphere is amazing. Scotland and England have been one country for 312 years yet it's still feels better than anything to beat them, some of my best friends at University were Irish so playing them is a special occasion (for me, I don't think the makeup of nationalities amongst my social circle should impact world rugby, the point being how close these countries are). There is so much history in our set ups that we'd be losing far more than we'd gain by a global calendar in my opinion. There is, however, more than one way to skin a cat. One suggestion I've always been in favour of is regional knockout competitions in "Lions" years. Why not have a European Cup every four years? It would massively favour France as they wouldn't be weakened by the Lions and they, well, aren't Italy. But it would be a developmental option for the Home Nations with their star players away with the Lions (and we in Scotland could try out a new Doctor). Imagine a tournament of 12-16 teams in Georgia. In the "Southern Hemisphere" (in loose rugby terms) we could see the likes of the USA, Canada, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Uruguay, Namibia maybe, in time, Kenya with a regular outlet to test themselves against the best. Again one of these occasions hosted across the Pacific Islands could have a transformative effect. The Rugby Championship sides could put out weakened teams to expose their second/ third stringers to tournament rugby two years out from a World Cup. The only issue being that the teams not involved in the Lions risk their revenue during the June tests. Northern hemisphere teams would have to look at sharing profits in November, but that's a pressing discussion anyway. I don't think it's a solution for Japan (I think they've earned at least a debate about entrance to the top table), but I do think it's a way to expand rugby while preserving what's good about it currently.

Anyway, I have digressed, and the central question remains, what next for Japan?

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 12:21 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:I think their only hope is to receive a huge handout from somewhere, and use it to build new stadia which also happen to be a self-sufficient hotel, etc. These islands are never short of tourists. I think any of them could fill a 50-60K stadium and that might entice some tier 1 nations to go there more often.

Tonga had a total of 60k tourists in 2016 according to official data. With an estimated current population of 104k there is no way that the Island can support a big stadium (or indeed a decent rugby team without using Kiwis of Tongan heritage).

You can double those numbers for Samoa, but still not enough to support a 50k stadium.

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Post by SecretFly on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 12:24 pm

Don't worry, when the WC is over, club game will become God again...... and all these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.


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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 12:27 pm

SecretFly wrote:Don't worry, when the WC is over, club game will become God again...... and all these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.


Have you been to the Tannhauser Gate?

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Post by SecretFly on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 12:32 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
SecretFly wrote:Don't worry, when the WC is over, club game will become God again...... and all these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.


Have you been to the Tannhauser Gate?

I've seen things you wouldn't believe, Tiger.

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 12:40 pm

SecretFly wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:
SecretFly wrote:Don't worry, when the WC is over, club game will become God again...... and all these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.


Have you been to the Tannhauser Gate?

I've seen things you wouldn't believe, Tiger.
Perhaps best not to finish the quote Smile

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Post by mikey_dragon on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 12:46 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:I think their only hope is to receive a huge handout from somewhere, and use it to build new stadia which also happen to be a self-sufficient hotel, etc. These islands are never short of tourists. I think any of them could fill a 50-60K stadium and that might entice some tier 1 nations to go there more often.

Tonga had a total of 60k tourists in 2016 according to official data. With an estimated current population of 104k there is no way that the Island can support a big stadium (or indeed a decent rugby team without using Kiwis of Tongan heritage).

You can double those numbers for Samoa, but still not enough to support a 50k stadium.

You don't think the Tongans living elsewhere would return home to watch their country play a tier 1 team in their new national stadium? I guess another idea would be to have a single 'Pacific Islands' stadium somewhere down there.

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Post by SecretFly on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 12:49 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
SecretFly wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:
SecretFly wrote:Don't worry, when the WC is over, club game will become God again...... and all these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.


Have you been to the Tannhauser Gate?

I've seen things you wouldn't believe, Tiger.
Perhaps best not to finish the quote Smile

Yeah..... em, we better leave it there OK

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Post by robbo277 on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 1:09 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:I think their only hope is to receive a huge handout from somewhere, and use it to build new stadia which also happen to be a self-sufficient hotel, etc. These islands are never short of tourists. I think any of them could fill a 50-60K stadium and that might entice some tier 1 nations to go there more often.

Tonga had a total of 60k tourists in 2016 according to official data. With an estimated current population of 104k there is no way that the Island can support a big stadium (or indeed a decent rugby team without using Kiwis of Tongan heritage).

You can double those numbers for Samoa, but still not enough to support a 50k stadium.

You don't think the Tongans living elsewhere would return home to watch their country play a tier 1 team in their new national stadium? I guess another idea would be to have a single 'Pacific Islands' stadium somewhere down there.

If England built a big 200k Great Britain stadium in Milton Keynes, would you be keen on travelling there for Wales games (3hrs from Cardiff)?

Tonga to Samoa or Fiji is about a 2 hour flight. Samoa to Fiji slightly more. Do they have the airport infrastructure to fly 30,000 fans around on match days?

Home games in the Pacific Islands while a nice idea aren't going to be big money spinners. They're not going to help these countries suddenly fix their financial situations. Sponsorship and TV revenue is what they need, and for that they need global attention. How they're marketed is important. And unless World Rugby's plan is to just continually expand the current Tier 1 tournaments until they burst, they'll need to start putting more tournaments into that Tier 1 bracket.

Coupled with that, they'll have to ensure the clubs are releasing their Radradra's, their Tuisova's, their Nakarawa's, because people aren't going to tune in to watch semi-pro players shorn of all their superstars.

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Post by lostinwales on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 1:24 pm

Sounds like what you need is a regular tournament in a single country (i.e. Japan) with some revenue shared across the PI teams

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Post by robbo277 on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 1:38 pm

I don't think there's an issue with them hosting games, I just don't think (e.g.) England adding a 3 test tour to Fiji is the silver bullet that a lot of people (including the BBC article I read earlier) seem to expect. It won't sell that many tickets, it won't command that much money from Sky or BT in terms of broadcast rights and doesn't offer a consistent, stable package.

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Post by Brendan on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 1:43 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:I think their only hope is to receive a huge handout from somewhere, and use it to build new stadia which also happen to be a self-sufficient hotel, etc. These islands are never short of tourists. I think any of them could fill a 50-60K stadium and that might entice some tier 1 nations to go there more often.

The problem is that WR has been giving handouts but they aren't the most transparent and plenty corruption goes on. Add in that not only do they have small populations but are on many islands so people getting to the capital is a long expensive journey.

I think that Samoa and Tonga get more money when they play in NZ because they can get more people there who will pay more to see it

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Post by mikey_dragon on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 2:35 pm

robbo277 wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:I think their only hope is to receive a huge handout from somewhere, and use it to build new stadia which also happen to be a self-sufficient hotel, etc. These islands are never short of tourists. I think any of them could fill a 50-60K stadium and that might entice some tier 1 nations to go there more often.

Tonga had a total of 60k tourists in 2016 according to official data. With an estimated current population of 104k there is no way that the Island can support a big stadium (or indeed a decent rugby team without using Kiwis of Tongan heritage).

You can double those numbers for Samoa, but still not enough to support a 50k stadium.

You don't think the Tongans living elsewhere would return home to watch their country play a tier 1 team in their new national stadium? I guess another idea would be to have a single 'Pacific Islands' stadium somewhere down there.

If England built a big 200k Great Britain stadium in Milton Keynes, would you be keen on travelling there for Wales games (3hrs from Cardiff)?

Tonga to Samoa or Fiji is about a 2 hour flight. Samoa to Fiji slightly more. Do they have the airport infrastructure to fly 30,000 fans around on match days?

Home games in the Pacific Islands while a nice idea aren't going to be big money spinners. They're not going to help these countries suddenly fix their financial situations. Sponsorship and TV revenue is what they need, and for that they need global attention. How they're marketed is important. And unless World Rugby's plan is to just continually expand the current Tier 1 tournaments until they burst, they'll need to start putting more tournaments into that Tier 1 bracket.

Coupled with that, they'll have to ensure the clubs are releasing their Radradra's, their Tuisova's, their Nakarawa's, because people aren't going to tune in to watch semi-pro players shorn of all their superstars.

This is a stupid argument, like some of what we read from people on the typhoon thread. No need, we can ignore that bit.

I'm just making some suggestions. There are other ways to travel to and from the islands, they do it when the world cup is on (in that part of the world at least). Plus it's better to exhaust all options rather than just say "nah they'll never do it mate".

It would probably take an investor who's willing to help and not get much back, like the investors who invest in UK club teams. That might help with avoiding corrupt people taking the money for themselves but that's another matter. More hopes and dreams at this stage but like I said I'm just trying to make suggestions. Some of the higher paid PI's in France and Japan might be willing to help out.

Clubs have to release players during international windows. https://www.world.rugby/news/232038?lang=en

If given the chance then TV and sponsors could get behind them... unless of course, you've all suddenly changed your tune since last week and now the Fijians are crap to watch? Wouldn't surprise me if it meant some of you can knock another down rather than post constructively Hug


Last edited by mikey_dragon on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 3:09 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by BamBam on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 2:55 pm

Calling other people stupid one hour after suggesting the island of Tonga with its 100k population would regularly fill a 60k stadium is ironic

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Post by mikey_dragon on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 2:57 pm

Calling people 'snowflakes' after spitting your dummy out over people not wanting to agree to be governed by a 'trading bloc' is a new level of low and irony, IMO.

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Post by BamBam on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 3:04 pm

There there little snowflake, lets not drag this thread off course

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Post by 123456789. on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 3:08 pm

Of the 186 countries in the list on Wikipedia Samoa has the 176th largest GDP, Tonga the 180th and Fiji marginally ahead on 152nd. These countries are incredibly poor. Ploughing money in to build a stadium to make rugby more enjoyable for rugby players and supporters from comparatively wealthy countries would border on insulting (although I do understand that was neither the intent or sentiment behind the suggestion). Handing money over to these places is not simple either, the governments are considered incredibly corrupt so there's no guarantee that handouts of any form will be invested to any great benefit, either in terms of rugby or in general.

In 2015, the RFU recorded revenues of £407.1m, Tonga's GDP as a country is £390.2m. I'm a great believer in rugby consolidating itself where it is already popular before seeking to expand, especially if that expansion comes at the expense (in rugby terms) of the existing countries. I think, whilst rugby needs to look to improve and expand, we need to conserve what is good. That is why I oppose promotion and relegation from the Six Nations for example. However we also need to consider how we can improve the areas that fall short. In England, every top flight team aside from Gloucester has a Pacific Islander, by birth or immediate descent, in their squad. Both Scottish teams rely fairly heavily on Pacific Islanders, every Welsh region has a Samoan, Fijian or Tongan in their squad. It is hard to overestimate the importance of these Islands to our sport. Each Home Nation has regular starters of Samoan, Fijian or Tongan descent. Four out of England's current thirty man squad is of Pacific Islander descent (in the last cycle they have also capped Denny Solomona, Rokoduguni and Ben Te'o). The treatment of these countries by the International Rugby Community is abhorrent.

There are times that you must look beyond profitability and simply consider right and wrong. Tier One nations going to play in these countries is the right thing to do. Finding a way for these countries to pick their best players is the right thing to do. Samoa were utterly dreadful at this World Cup because they didn't have access to their best talents. It it true that clubs have to release their best players but there's no practical way of stopping a Samoan being tapped on the shoulder and reminded that his contract is up soon and it would greatly help his career to retire from international rugby. Or pointing out during initial negotiations that international rugby could be a hindrance. It's very easy for International players from wealthy countries to speak of playing for their country as the greatest honour. However growing up in relative poverty no doubt changes perceptions. Playing professional rugby offers the greatest chance for some of these players to become relatively well off. All the while that these countries are blocked from their best players it's academic to discuss joining the RC because they would not stand a chance. While their quality of rugby is lesser they do not stand a chance of gaining lucrative television deals. Part of my issue of how to further cement Japan's status in Tier One is how to do it in a way that does not worsen the plight of the Fijians, Samoans and Tongans. The obvious answer is to give as many chances as possible for these countries to play the high profile games they deserve and that they have earned. If Samoa were able to reach the level they achieved when they beat Australia in 2011 and Scotland, comfortably, in 2013 and do so on a fair deal and an equal footing then it may prove sustainable.

Would it cost England to do a three game tour of Fiji in a Lions year? Probably not hugely. But it would make the most enormous impact to Fijian rugby and Fiji as a whole. The flight from New Zealand to Fiji is three hours. Not once have they travelled to play there. Scotland gain credit for going there. However if we were brutally honest, would Scotland play there if they'd been offered games against South Africa, New Zealand or Australia? There are many, many obvious routes to improvement. When the Lions play in Australia or New Zealand they complain that they can't find competitive games, why not travel via the Pacific Islands. You could arrive on the Saturday, play a midweek in Tonga on the Wednesday, a game against Fiji on the Saturday and Tonga the following Tuesday before travelling to New Zealand to play the Super Rugby teams and the Test series. You could do the same with Australia, although I believe the flight is slightly longer to there.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 3:14 pm

I just thought it was a stupid comparison; have some forgotten about Wembley, or fans cramming into a half built stadium? Where there's a will, there's a way! The PI's used to tour as one so my suggestions have some foundation. I'm not sure why they stopped, money? I liked the suggestion of Japan being the driver and hosting some tournament there with the likes of Fiji, Tonga and Samoa. Better to post suggestions and talk constructively, rather that knock them down with crap political humour and daft arguments, also IMO.

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Post by BamBam on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 3:19 pm

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2019/oct/15/time-to-capitalise-jana-success-seven-nations-rugby-world-cup

Thought this raised some good points. Just think that we'll again be leaving behind the PIs if Japan are brought into one of the big Tier 1 competitions - no one will be able to deny that it's solely because of money either

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Post by mikey_dragon on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 3:23 pm

"Would it cost England to do a three game tour of Fiji in a Lions year? Probably not hugely. But it would make the most enormous impact to Fijian rugby and Fiji as a whole. The flight from New Zealand to Fiji is three hours. Not once have they travelled to play there. Scotland gain credit for going there. However if we were brutally honest, would Scotland play there if they'd been offered games against South Africa, New Zealand or Australia? There are many, many obvious routes to improvement. When the Lions play in Australia or New Zealand they complain that they can't find competitive games, why not travel via the Pacific Islands. You could arrive on the Saturday, play a midweek in Tonga on the Wednesday, a game against Fiji on the Saturday and Tonga the following Tuesday before travelling to New Zealand to play the Super Rugby teams and the Test series. You could do the same with Australia, although I believe the flight is slightly longer to there."

Great ideas, numbers. Wales toured Samoa and I think Tonga in 2017. We wouldn't have really gained anything from that. Remember, NZ absolutely milked the last Lions tour to the point that our players nearly collapsed. I prefer your idea of playing the PI's rather than invitational Aussie and NZ teams.

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Post by Old Man on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 3:27 pm

123456789. wrote:Of the 186 countries in the list on Wikipedia Samoa has the 176th largest GDP, Tonga the 180th and Fiji marginally ahead on 152nd. These countries are incredibly poor. Ploughing money in to build a stadium to make rugby more enjoyable for rugby players and supporters from comparatively wealthy countries would border on insulting (although I do understand that was neither the intent or sentiment behind the suggestion). Handing money over to these places is not simple either, the governments are considered incredibly corrupt so there's no guarantee that handouts of any form will be invested to any great benefit, either in terms of rugby or in general.

In 2015, the RFU recorded revenues of £407.1m, Tonga's GDP as a country is £390.2m. I'm a great believer in rugby consolidating itself where it is already popular before seeking to expand, especially if that expansion comes at the expense (in rugby terms) of the existing countries. I think, whilst rugby needs to look to improve and expand, we need to conserve what is good. That is why I oppose promotion and relegation from the Six Nations for example. However we also need to consider how we can improve the areas that fall short. In England, every top flight team aside from Gloucester has a Pacific Islander, by birth or immediate descent, in their squad. Both Scottish teams rely fairly heavily on Pacific Islanders, every Welsh region has a Samoan, Fijian or Tongan in their squad. It is hard to overestimate the importance of these Islands to our sport. Each Home Nation has regular starters of Samoan, Fijian or Tongan descent. Four out of England's current thirty man squad is of Pacific Islander descent (in the last cycle they have also capped Denny Solomona, Rokoduguni and Ben Te'o). The treatment of these countries by the International Rugby Community is abhorrent.

There are times that you must look beyond profitability and simply consider right and wrong. Tier One nations going to play in these countries is the right thing to do. Finding a way for these countries to pick their best players is the right thing to do. Samoa were utterly dreadful at this World Cup because they didn't have access to their best talents. It it true that clubs have to release their best players but there's no practical way of stopping a Samoan being tapped on the shoulder and reminded that his contract is up soon and it would greatly help his career to retire from international rugby. Or pointing out during initial negotiations that international rugby could be a hindrance. It's very easy for International players from wealthy countries to speak of playing for their country as the greatest honour. However growing up in relative poverty no doubt changes perceptions. Playing professional rugby offers the greatest chance for some of these players to become relatively well off. All the while that these countries are blocked from their best players it's academic to discuss joining the RC because they would not stand a chance. While their quality of rugby is lesser they do not stand a chance of gaining lucrative television deals. Part of my issue of how to further cement Japan's status in Tier One is how to do it in a way that does not worsen the plight of the Fijians, Samoans and Tongans. The obvious answer is to give as many chances as possible for these countries to play the high profile games they deserve and that they have earned. If Samoa were able to reach the level they achieved when they beat Australia in 2011 and Scotland, comfortably, in 2013 and do so on a fair deal and an equal footing then it may prove sustainable.

Would it cost England to do a three game tour of Fiji in a Lions year? Probably not hugely. But it would make the most enormous impact to Fijian rugby and Fiji as a whole. The flight from New Zealand to Fiji is three hours. Not once have they travelled to play there. Scotland gain credit for going there. However if we were brutally honest, would Scotland play there if they'd been offered games against South Africa, New Zealand or Australia? There are many, many obvious routes to improvement. When the Lions play in Australia or New Zealand they complain that they can't find competitive games, why not travel via the Pacific Islands. You could arrive on the Saturday, play a midweek in Tonga on the Wednesday, a game against Fiji on the Saturday and Tonga the following Tuesday before travelling to New Zealand to play the Super Rugby teams and the Test series. You could do the same with Australia, although I believe the flight is slightly longer to there.

Excellent post.

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 3:29 pm

I am sorry, but the idea of building a stadium that will only ever be 20% full does not make any sense. This is not "Field of Dreams".

So how can we help the lower Tier sides?

1) Ensuring they have meaningful competition. So we look at improving the Pacific Championship (current holders Japan), The Lower Tier European Championship (Current Holders Georgia) and Implementing an Americas Championship (Argentina (A team maybe if they stay in 4Ns), Uruguay, USA and Canada

2) Ensure regular matches with Tier 1 countries. First by helping our neighbours - so every year 6Ns sides play a lower tier European side, SA play Namibia, PI sides get to play against NZ & Australia. Secondly by including them in Summer Tours and AIs - NH sides tend to take big squads down under. If they look at taking 38 players, they could fit in a midweek game against a Tier 2 country.

3) Ensure each country has players featuring in professional leagues. Almost impossible to create a club competition that could feature PI teams but most of their players perform week in week out in top leagues. World Rugby needs to make sure that these players are available for international windows - even if this means subsidising wages as lets face it the clubs only pay as much as they do because they will be available. A number of Uruguayans are now in MLR, WR needs to fund the pro club game in US.

4) Funds. Hardest thing to manage as the economies of many of the countries (especially PI) are too small to support professional rugby, while a number of the Unions have been shown to be corrupt. Meaningful games and tournaments will increase TV revenues.

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Post by Gooseberry on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 3:43 pm

Old Man wrote:
123456789. wrote:Of the 186 countries in the list on Wikipedia Samoa has the 176th largest GDP, Tonga the 180th and Fiji marginally ahead on 152nd. These countries are incredibly poor. Ploughing money in to build a stadium to make rugby more enjoyable for rugby players and supporters from comparatively wealthy countries would border on insulting (although I do understand that was neither the intent or sentiment behind the suggestion). Handing money over to these places is not simple either, the governments are considered incredibly corrupt so there's no guarantee that handouts of any form will be invested to any great benefit, either in terms of rugby or in general.

In 2015, the RFU recorded revenues of £407.1m, Tonga's GDP as a country is £390.2m. I'm a great believer in rugby consolidating itself where it is already popular before seeking to expand, especially if that expansion comes at the expense (in rugby terms) of the existing countries. I think, whilst rugby needs to look to improve and expand, we need to conserve what is good. That is why I oppose promotion and relegation from the Six Nations for example. However we also need to consider how we can improve the areas that fall short. In England, every top flight team aside from Gloucester has a Pacific Islander, by birth or immediate descent, in their squad. Both Scottish teams rely fairly heavily on Pacific Islanders, every Welsh region has a Samoan, Fijian or Tongan in their squad. It is hard to overestimate the importance of these Islands to our sport. Each Home Nation has regular starters of Samoan, Fijian or Tongan descent. Four out of England's current thirty man squad is of Pacific Islander descent (in the last cycle they have also capped Denny Solomona, Rokoduguni and Ben Te'o). The treatment of these countries by the International Rugby Community is abhorrent.

There are times that you must look beyond profitability and simply consider right and wrong. Tier One nations going to play in these countries is the right thing to do. Finding a way for these countries to pick their best players is the right thing to do. Samoa were utterly dreadful at this World Cup because they didn't have access to their best talents. It it true that clubs have to release their best players but there's no practical way of stopping a Samoan being tapped on the shoulder and reminded that his contract is up soon and it would greatly help his career to retire from international rugby. Or pointing out during initial negotiations that international rugby could be a hindrance. It's very easy for International players from wealthy countries to speak of playing for their country as the greatest honour. However growing up in relative poverty no doubt changes perceptions. Playing professional rugby offers the greatest chance for some of these players to become relatively well off. All the while that these countries are blocked from their best players it's academic to discuss joining the RC because they would not stand a chance. While their quality of rugby is lesser they do not stand a chance of gaining lucrative television deals. Part of my issue of how to further cement Japan's status in Tier One is how to do it in a way that does not worsen the plight of the Fijians, Samoans and Tongans. The obvious answer is to give as many chances as possible for these countries to play the high profile games they deserve and that they have earned. If Samoa were able to reach the level they achieved when they beat Australia in 2011 and Scotland, comfortably, in 2013 and do so on a fair deal and an equal footing then it may prove sustainable.

Would it cost England to do a three game tour of Fiji in a Lions year? Probably not hugely. But it would make the most enormous impact to Fijian rugby and Fiji as a whole. The flight from New Zealand to Fiji is three hours. Not once have they travelled to play there. Scotland gain credit for going there. However if we were brutally honest, would Scotland play there if they'd been offered games against South Africa, New Zealand or Australia? There are many, many obvious routes to improvement. When the Lions play in Australia or New Zealand they complain that they can't find competitive games, why not travel via the Pacific Islands. You could arrive on the Saturday, play a midweek in Tonga on the Wednesday, a game against Fiji on the Saturday and Tonga the following Tuesday before travelling to New Zealand to play the Super Rugby teams and the Test series. You could do the same with Australia, although I believe the flight is slightly longer to there.

Excellent post.


Agreed, shockingly rooted in the real world mixed with a bit of ambition to do better. 

Its also worth noting that Argentina and Italy haven't really progressed in any meaningful way by getting included elite international and club competitions. 2007 when Argentina got to the SF of a world cup is a long time back now, that generations gone.

Being over prescriptive from the centre in regard to global league structure doesnt always help either. Supporting places like the US to find their own model for building on the growing popularity and relative wealth they have might be better than shoehorning them in to an overly complex global test league that no-one asked for. Developing a pro club structure within the US seems to me a better path for them. 

In terms of Japan it may become financially beneficial for the likes of Aus to play more games there, rather than cramming in extra tests against a NZ side that almost always beats them. Again it doesnt need world rugby to dictate it, it'll happen organically if/when it suits both parties. 

As for the 6 nations Im always stuffy about changes to it. The format works really well and produces an unpredictable competition with close meaningful games that are popular with the audience. People follow it, the players like it. Dont break it. If anything theres a case for ditching Italy, more so than for promoting anyone based purely on impact to that competition.

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Post by The Oracle on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 3:54 pm

123456789. wrote:Of the 186 countries in the list on Wikipedia Samoa has the 176th largest GDP, Tonga the 180th and Fiji marginally ahead on 152nd. These countries are incredibly poor. Ploughing money in to build a stadium to make rugby more enjoyable for rugby players and supporters from comparatively wealthy countries would border on insulting (although I do understand that was neither the intent or sentiment behind the suggestion). Handing money over to these places is not simple either, the governments are considered incredibly corrupt so there's no guarantee that handouts of any form will be invested to any great benefit, either in terms of rugby or in general.

In 2015, the RFU recorded revenues of £407.1m, Tonga's GDP as a country is £390.2m. I'm a great believer in rugby consolidating itself where it is already popular before seeking to expand, especially if that expansion comes at the expense (in rugby terms) of the existing countries. I think, whilst rugby needs to look to improve and expand, we need to conserve what is good. That is why I oppose promotion and relegation from the Six Nations for example. However we also need to consider how we can improve the areas that fall short. In England, every top flight team aside from Gloucester has a Pacific Islander, by birth or immediate descent, in their squad. Both Scottish teams rely fairly heavily on Pacific Islanders, every Welsh region has a Samoan, Fijian or Tongan in their squad. It is hard to overestimate the importance of these Islands to our sport. Each Home Nation has regular starters of Samoan, Fijian or Tongan descent. Four out of England's current thirty man squad is of Pacific Islander descent (in the last cycle they have also capped Denny Solomona, Rokoduguni and Ben Te'o). The treatment of these countries by the International Rugby Community is abhorrent.

There are times that you must look beyond profitability and simply consider right and wrong. Tier One nations going to play in these countries is the right thing to do. Finding a way for these countries to pick their best players is the right thing to do. Samoa were utterly dreadful at this World Cup because they didn't have access to their best talents. It it true that clubs have to release their best players but there's no practical way of stopping a Samoan being tapped on the shoulder and reminded that his contract is up soon and it would greatly help his career to retire from international rugby. Or pointing out during initial negotiations that international rugby could be a hindrance. It's very easy for International players from wealthy countries to speak of playing for their country as the greatest honour. However growing up in relative poverty no doubt changes perceptions. Playing professional rugby offers the greatest chance for some of these players to become relatively well off. All the while that these countries are blocked from their best players it's academic to discuss joining the RC because they would not stand a chance. While their quality of rugby is lesser they do not stand a chance of gaining lucrative television deals. Part of my issue of how to further cement Japan's status in Tier One is how to do it in a way that does not worsen the plight of the Fijians, Samoans and Tongans. The obvious answer is to give as many chances as possible for these countries to play the high profile games they deserve and that they have earned. If Samoa were able to reach the level they achieved when they beat Australia in 2011 and Scotland, comfortably, in 2013 and do so on a fair deal and an equal footing then it may prove sustainable.

Would it cost England to do a three game tour of Fiji in a Lions year? Probably not hugely. But it would make the most enormous impact to Fijian rugby and Fiji as a whole. The flight from New Zealand to Fiji is three hours. Not once have they travelled to play there. Scotland gain credit for going there. However if we were brutally honest, would Scotland play there if they'd been offered games against South Africa, New Zealand or Australia? There are many, many obvious routes to improvement. When the Lions play in Australia or New Zealand they complain that they can't find competitive games, why not travel via the Pacific Islands. You could arrive on the Saturday, play a midweek in Tonga on the Wednesday, a game against Fiji on the Saturday and Tonga the following Tuesday before travelling to New Zealand to play the Super Rugby teams and the Test series. You could do the same with Australia, although I believe the flight is slightly longer to there.


Can I just point out (hopefully correctly) that the Tier 1 nations don't get to pick and choose and decide if and when they tour to certain countries. World Rugby sets the touring calendar. And they changed it a few years back exactly for the reason of giving more tours to these nations as the 6N teams were mostly touring the tri nations sides at the time. World Rugby is in control of the tours (unless I've missed something recently) so it's perhaps incorrect to point the finger at 'home' unions for not touring these places.

Remember also that if we're hoping that touring leads to something 'good' happening in these places then we're likely talking about income? But as has been pointed out, if the population is poor and/or small then how much income are they going to generate? How much can they hope to make even on 100% of gate receipts? There will be little TV monies locally. Maybe we can convince our home broadcasters to show it and give the monies to the Tier 2 nations? But will it be much?

There's also the issue of facilities and insurance. I know that Wales game vs Samoa a couple of years back I think had to be moved to NZ as the players' insurance wouldn't cover them. Something to do with lack of appropriate hospital or medical facilities. I know, I know..... they're tough boys and shouldn't be worrying about things like that, blah, blah. But as a pro athlete, where one tackle ends your whole career, you'd be mad to tour without insurance. So if you can't get it then they can't tour. No issues with that.

So where does that leave us? Them touring here I guess, as we could offer much more from gate receipts, more from TV money if we can split that out, etc. But that has its draw backs. And it already happens in the AIs a bit.

I guess the question is - what do we think these nations will gain from us physically being there touring on their turf???
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Post by 123456789. on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 4:22 pm

The Oracle wrote:
123456789. wrote:Of the 186 countries in the list on Wikipedia Samoa has the 176th largest GDP, Tonga the 180th and Fiji marginally ahead on 152nd. These countries are incredibly poor. Ploughing money in to build a stadium to make rugby more enjoyable for rugby players and supporters from comparatively wealthy countries would border on insulting (although I do understand that was neither the intent or sentiment behind the suggestion). Handing money over to these places is not simple either, the governments are considered incredibly corrupt so there's no guarantee that handouts of any form will be invested to any great benefit, either in terms of rugby or in general.

In 2015, the RFU recorded revenues of £407.1m, Tonga's GDP as a country is £390.2m. I'm a great believer in rugby consolidating itself where it is already popular before seeking to expand, especially if that expansion comes at the expense (in rugby terms) of the existing countries. I think, whilst rugby needs to look to improve and expand, we need to conserve what is good. That is why I oppose promotion and relegation from the Six Nations for example. However we also need to consider how we can improve the areas that fall short. In England, every top flight team aside from Gloucester has a Pacific Islander, by birth or immediate descent, in their squad. Both Scottish teams rely fairly heavily on Pacific Islanders, every Welsh region has a Samoan, Fijian or Tongan in their squad. It is hard to overestimate the importance of these Islands to our sport. Each Home Nation has regular starters of Samoan, Fijian or Tongan descent. Four out of England's current thirty man squad is of Pacific Islander descent (in the last cycle they have also capped Denny Solomona, Rokoduguni and Ben Te'o). The treatment of these countries by the International Rugby Community is abhorrent.

There are times that you must look beyond profitability and simply consider right and wrong. Tier One nations going to play in these countries is the right thing to do. Finding a way for these countries to pick their best players is the right thing to do. Samoa were utterly dreadful at this World Cup because they didn't have access to their best talents. It it true that clubs have to release their best players but there's no practical way of stopping a Samoan being tapped on the shoulder and reminded that his contract is up soon and it would greatly help his career to retire from international rugby. Or pointing out during initial negotiations that international rugby could be a hindrance. It's very easy for International players from wealthy countries to speak of playing for their country as the greatest honour. However growing up in relative poverty no doubt changes perceptions. Playing professional rugby offers the greatest chance for some of these players to become relatively well off. All the while that these countries are blocked from their best players it's academic to discuss joining the RC because they would not stand a chance. While their quality of rugby is lesser they do not stand a chance of gaining lucrative television deals. Part of my issue of how to further cement Japan's status in Tier One is how to do it in a way that does not worsen the plight of the Fijians, Samoans and Tongans. The obvious answer is to give as many chances as possible for these countries to play the high profile games they deserve and that they have earned. If Samoa were able to reach the level they achieved when they beat Australia in 2011 and Scotland, comfortably, in 2013 and do so on a fair deal and an equal footing then it may prove sustainable.

Would it cost England to do a three game tour of Fiji in a Lions year? Probably not hugely. But it would make the most enormous impact to Fijian rugby and Fiji as a whole. The flight from New Zealand to Fiji is three hours. Not once have they travelled to play there. Scotland gain credit for going there. However if we were brutally honest, would Scotland play there if they'd been offered games against South Africa, New Zealand or Australia? There are many, many obvious routes to improvement. When the Lions play in Australia or New Zealand they complain that they can't find competitive games, why not travel via the Pacific Islands. You could arrive on the Saturday, play a midweek in Tonga on the Wednesday, a game against Fiji on the Saturday and Tonga the following Tuesday before travelling to New Zealand to play the Super Rugby teams and the Test series. You could do the same with Australia, although I believe the flight is slightly longer to there.


Can I just point out (hopefully correctly) that the Tier 1 nations don't get to pick and choose and decide if and when they tour to certain countries.  World Rugby sets the touring calendar.  And they changed it a few years back exactly for the reason of giving more tours to these nations as the 6N teams were mostly touring the tri nations sides at the time.  World Rugby is in control of the tours (unless I've missed something recently) so it's perhaps incorrect to point the finger at 'home' unions for not touring these places.

Remember also that if we're hoping that touring leads to something 'good' happening in these places then we're likely talking about income?  But as has been pointed out, if the population is poor and/or small then how much income are they going to generate?  How much can they hope to make even on 100% of gate receipts?  There will be little TV monies locally.  Maybe we can convince our home broadcasters to show it and give the monies to the Tier 2 nations?  But will it be much?

There's also the issue of facilities and insurance.  I know that Wales game vs Samoa a couple of years back I think had to be moved to NZ as the players' insurance wouldn't cover them.  Something to do with lack of appropriate hospital or medical facilities.  I know, I know..... they're tough boys and shouldn't be worrying about things like that, blah, blah.  But as a pro athlete, where one tackle ends your whole career, you'd be mad to tour without insurance.  So if you can't get it then they can't tour.  No issues with that.

So where does that leave us?  Them touring here I guess, as we could offer much more from gate receipts, more from TV money if we can split that out, etc.  But that has its draw backs.  And it already happens in the AIs a bit.

I guess the question is - what do we think these nations will gain from us physically being there touring on their turf???

Sometimes it's easy to get overburdened with working out the key to the greatest levels of profitability. Working out how much they'd get from ticket receipts and television revenues. The answer is fairly simple, not very much. In a poor country it's a fair guess that the prices of tickets won't be particularly high and the stadium is not very large. Apia park apparently has a capacity of 12,000, Murrayfied has a capacity of 67,144. In terms of teams going to play there in 2015 New Zealand's visit prompted them to invest in an upgrade on the stadium. So it's obvious that team's going to play have a material benefit. However there is another aspect. Apia park is a small stadium at 12,000. According to Wikipedia the population of Samoa is 196,000. So on any given occasion up to six percent of the population could see their team play. If these visits became more regular then we'd, no doubt, see further upgrades and greater exposure. So what will they gain from us being their on their turf? The same as people in Scotland, in England, in Wales and in Ireland do every November and every February and March, the same as people in New Zealand, in South Africa, Argentina and Australia do each year - the opportunity to see the best players in the world and the biggest teams. For countries that give so much to our sport it does not seem too much to ask.

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Post by The Oracle on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 5:17 pm

123456789. wrote:

Sometimes it's easy to get overburdened with working out the key to the greatest levels of profitability. Working out how much they'd get from ticket receipts and television revenues. The answer is fairly simple, not very much. In a poor country it's a fair guess that the prices of tickets won't be particularly high and the stadium is not very large. Apia park apparently has a capacity of 12,000, Murrayfied has a capacity of 67,144. In terms of teams going to play there in 2015 New Zealand's visit prompted them to invest in an upgrade on the stadium. So it's obvious that team's going to play have a material benefit. However there is another aspect. Apia park is a small stadium at 12,000. According to Wikipedia the population of Samoa is 196,000. So on any given occasion up to six percent of the population could see their team play. If these visits became more regular then we'd, no doubt, see further upgrades and greater exposure. So what will they gain from us being their on their turf? The same as people in Scotland, in England, in Wales and in Ireland do every November and every February and March, the same as people in New Zealand, in South Africa, Argentina and Australia do each year - the opportunity to see the best players in the world and the biggest teams. For countries that give so much to our sport it does not seem too much to ask.


I don’t think it’s enough. And I don’t like the language surrounding this (not accusing you, but in general). It all sounds like it’s being led by us. What WE will do, what WE think should happen, what US touring there will do for them. It smacks too much of the early attempts to ‘improve’ things in Africa by building wells and then f’ing off and leaving them to fall into disrepair! White saviours riding in to save the day, all high and mighty and giving developing nations what we think they need. This needs to be led by them. It should be viewed in the same ways as other areas on international development - advocacy, capacity building, empowerment. What they want and what we want for them might be very different things. Taking a few games there and generating a smallish amount of money might end up being a bit of a token gesture.
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Post by Taylorman on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 5:51 pm

BamBam wrote:Calling other people stupid one hour after suggesting the island of Tonga with its 100k population would regularly fill a 60k stadium is ironic

Ha ha, was thinking that myself. The logistics of Tonga even having a stadium that can hold 60k is bizarre. I mean everyone would have to walk around it to get anywhere for a start.

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Post by Lowlandbrit on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 5:54 pm

LondonTiger wrote:1) Ensuring they have meaningful competition. So we look at improving the Pacific Championship (current holders Japan), The Lower Tier European Championship (Current Holders Georgia) and Implementing an Americas Championship (Argentina (A team maybe if they stay in 4Ns), Uruguay, USA and Canada

2) Ensure regular matches with Tier 1 countries. First by helping our neighbours - so every year 6Ns sides play a lower tier European side, SA play Namibia, PI sides get to play against NZ & Australia. Secondly by including them in Summer Tours and AIs - NH sides tend to take big squads down under. If they look at taking 38 players, they could fit in a midweek game against a Tier 2 country.

3) Ensure each country has players featuring in professional leagues. Almost impossible to create a club competition that could feature PI teams but most of  their players perform week in week out in top leagues. World Rugby needs to make sure that these players are available for international windows - even if this means subsidising wages as lets face it the clubs only pay as much as they do because they will be available. A number of Uruguayans are now in MLR, WR needs to fund the pro club game in US.

4) Funds. Hardest thing to manage as the economies of many of the countries (especially PI) are too small to support professional rugby, while a number of the Unions have been shown to be corrupt. Meaningful games and tournaments will increase TV revenues.
Broadly agree with this, but realistically if you want to do both points 1 and 2 then those meaningful competitions probably need to be smaller than than they are now, not bigger.

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 6:28 pm

Improving competitions does not necessarily mean making them bigger. Increasing the focus, giving a genuine reward etc more important than increasing the numbers.

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Post by 123456789. on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 7:45 pm

The Oracle wrote:
123456789. wrote:

Sometimes it's easy to get overburdened with working out the key to the greatest levels of profitability. Working out how much they'd get from ticket receipts and television revenues. The answer is fairly simple, not very much. In a poor country it's a fair guess that the prices of tickets won't be particularly high and the stadium is not very large. Apia park apparently has a capacity of 12,000, Murrayfied has a capacity of 67,144. In terms of teams going to play there in 2015 New Zealand's visit prompted them to invest in an upgrade on the stadium. So it's obvious that team's going to play have a material benefit. However there is another aspect. Apia park is a small stadium at 12,000. According to Wikipedia the population of Samoa is 196,000. So on any given occasion up to six percent of the population could see their team play. If these visits became more regular then we'd, no doubt, see further upgrades and greater exposure. So what will they gain from us being their on their turf? The same as people in Scotland, in England, in Wales and in Ireland do every November and every February and March, the same as people in New Zealand, in South Africa, Argentina and Australia do each year - the opportunity to see the best players in the world and the biggest teams. For countries that give so much to our sport it does not seem too much to ask.


I don’t think it’s enough. And I don’t like the language surrounding this (not accusing you, but in general). It all sounds like it’s being led by us. What WE will do, what WE think should happen, what US touring there will do for them. It smacks too much of the early attempts to ‘improve’ things in Africa by building wells and then f’ing off and leaving them to fall into disrepair! White saviours riding in to save the day, all high and mighty and giving developing nations what we think they need. This needs to be led by them. It should be viewed in the same ways as other areas on international development - advocacy, capacity building, empowerment. What they want and what we want for them might be very different things. Taking a few games there and generating a smallish amount of money might end up being a bit of a token gesture.

I do agree with you to an extent. However in rugby you do, by definition, need two teams so we would have to travel there or they have to travel to us. They do travel to us, we never travel to them but our professional and national teams do field players of Fijian, Tongan and Samoan descent. The unfortunate fact is that in rugby, all the money and all the power is with nine or ten Unions. Where they go the money follows. I have no issue with that, it's life. But they do need to recognise that the Pacific Islanders contribute a huge amount to the product they sell and receive very little of the profit, either in monetary terms or in simple rugby terms. The Pacific Islands are fairly unique in that you could form an international team with their players playing for other countries. You can say the same of New Zealand and South Africa as well however, almost invariably, it's players not good enough for their international teams that play for them. Taking games there is what they want though, they were incredibly vocal about how pleased they were when Scotland came to play. Being led by them only work if other teams have any interest in following. Precious little has suggested they will.

I know it's hard to think of what to do that'll actually make a difference. Because everything that's been tried to expand rugby properly has failed in the long term. Italy and Argentina haven't improved in relative terms since they joined the top table. Yet every time a team threatens to break through, pundits line up one by one to demand a pro team is added to either the Pro14 or Super Rugby, and the International team added to one of the annual competitions. Despite it not being the magic pill that people thought it would be. I suppose in reality the way to have a successful rugby team is a devoted grass roots following in a relatively wealthy country, a national league structure, professional teams to play with crowds that are interested and a national team with acceptance from the international rugby community. Rugby simply being popular is not enough. In the world Rugby Union is the national sport of New Zealand, Wales, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Georgia and Madagascar. Only two of those countries fit all the categories. World Rugby, and by extension, the International Rugby Community cannot make a country rich, it cannot develop a country's infrastructure, it cannot bankroll professional teams. But what it can do is give back to countries that contribute disproportionately more than it gets back. You are probably one hundred percent right to point out that it would probably just be a token gesture, and I entirely understand the concerns behind the language of us helping them. But then I cannot speak from their point of view being British.

But it might, maybe make a difference. If the Lions, Barbarians, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Italy, Argentina, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand started to visit the Pacific Islands then surely television revenue would follow. Ticket receipts, albeit relatively small anyway, would rise. The games would be greater in stature than they have been before. Players would (or should) be better remunerated for playing. The games of greater stature could entice more of the big players back to the national fold more regularly. The product on the field when these teams play would improve raising interest and standards. Perhaps in the short term TV revenues would increase. In the long term it would improve the quality of the World Cup when it rolls around every four years. If the Pacific Islanders had been slightly better this year then we would have had fourteen teams aiming to qualify for the knockout stages. That would make the tournament better and help the existing top teams financially. If the Lions played a test in Tonga they would have the prime excuse to make an away kit to flog. it would be a marketer's dream. The first time they'd probably add a sort of pacific Islander theme to the alternate kit to commemorate playing there for the first time. Then they could make a sort of version of the blue kits the Lions wore in the 1920s or hooped ones before that.

In the far more likely scenario that none of the above happens quickly or even at all, the regular visits would still have the benefit of bringing top quality rugby to communities that give so much to the sport we love.

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Post by Gooseberry on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 8:35 pm

123456789. wrote: If the Pacific Islanders had been slightly better this year then we would have had fourteen teams aiming to qualify for the knockout stages.


You're being pretty kind to Scotland there.

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Post by The Oracle on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 9:27 pm

123456789. wrote:
The Oracle wrote:
123456789. wrote:

Sometimes it's easy to get overburdened with working out the key to the greatest levels of profitability. Working out how much they'd get from ticket receipts and television revenues. The answer is fairly simple, not very much. In a poor country it's a fair guess that the prices of tickets won't be particularly high and the stadium is not very large. Apia park apparently has a capacity of 12,000, Murrayfied has a capacity of 67,144. In terms of teams going to play there in 2015 New Zealand's visit prompted them to invest in an upgrade on the stadium. So it's obvious that team's going to play have a material benefit. However there is another aspect. Apia park is a small stadium at 12,000. According to Wikipedia the population of Samoa is 196,000. So on any given occasion up to six percent of the population could see their team play. If these visits became more regular then we'd, no doubt, see further upgrades and greater exposure. So what will they gain from us being their on their turf? The same as people in Scotland, in England, in Wales and in Ireland do every November and every February and March, the same as people in New Zealand, in South Africa, Argentina and Australia do each year - the opportunity to see the best players in the world and the biggest teams. For countries that give so much to our sport it does not seem too much to ask.


I don’t think it’s enough. And I don’t like the language surrounding this (not accusing you, but in general). It all sounds like it’s being led by us. What WE will do, what WE think should happen, what US touring there will do for them. It smacks too much of the early attempts to ‘improve’ things in Africa by building wells and then f’ing off and leaving them to fall into disrepair! White saviours riding in to save the day, all high and mighty and giving developing nations what we think they need. This needs to be led by them. It should be viewed in the same ways as other areas on international development - advocacy, capacity building, empowerment. What they want and what we want for them might be very different things. Taking a few games there and generating a smallish amount of money might end up being a bit of a token gesture.

I do agree with you to an extent. However in rugby you do, by definition, need two teams so we would have to travel there or they have to travel to us. They do travel to us, we never travel to them but our professional and national teams do field players of Fijian, Tongan and Samoan descent. The unfortunate fact is that in rugby, all the money and all the power is with nine or ten Unions. Where they go the money follows. I have no issue with that, it's life. But they do need to recognise that the Pacific Islanders contribute a huge amount to the product they sell and receive very little of the profit, either in monetary terms or in simple rugby terms. The Pacific Islands are fairly unique in that you could form an international team with their players playing for other countries. You can say the same of New Zealand and South Africa as well however, almost invariably, it's players not good enough for their international teams that play for them. Taking games there is what they want though, they were incredibly vocal about how pleased they were when Scotland came to play. Being led by them only work if other teams have any interest in following. Precious little has suggested they will.

I know it's hard to think of what to do that'll actually make a difference. Because everything that's been tried to expand rugby properly has failed in the long term. Italy and Argentina haven't improved in relative terms since they joined the top table. Yet every time a team threatens to break through, pundits line up one by one to demand a pro team is added to either the Pro14 or Super Rugby, and the International team added to one of the annual competitions. Despite it not being the magic pill that people thought it would be. I suppose in reality the way to have a successful rugby team is a devoted grass roots following in a relatively wealthy country, a national league structure, professional teams to play with crowds that are interested and a national team with acceptance from the international rugby community. Rugby simply being popular is not enough. In the world Rugby Union is the national sport of New Zealand, Wales, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Georgia and Madagascar. Only two of those countries fit all the categories. World Rugby, and by extension, the International Rugby Community cannot make a country rich, it cannot develop a country's infrastructure, it cannot bankroll professional teams. But what it can do is give back to countries that contribute disproportionately more than it gets back. You are probably one hundred percent right to point out that it would probably just be a token gesture, and I entirely understand the concerns behind the language of us helping them. But then I cannot speak from their point of view being British.

But it might, maybe make a difference. If the Lions, Barbarians, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Italy, Argentina, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand started to visit the Pacific Islands then surely television revenue would follow. Ticket receipts, albeit relatively small anyway, would rise. The games would be greater in stature than they have been before. Players would (or should) be better remunerated for playing. The games of greater stature could entice more of the big players back to the national fold more regularly. The product on the field when these teams play would improve raising interest and standards. Perhaps in the short term TV revenues would increase. In the long term it would improve the quality of the World Cup when it rolls around every four years. If the Pacific Islanders had been slightly better this year then we would have had fourteen teams aiming to qualify for the knockout stages. That would make the tournament better and help the existing top teams financially. If the Lions played a test in Tonga they would have the prime excuse to make an away kit to flog. it would be a marketer's dream. The first time they'd probably add a sort of pacific Islander theme to the alternate kit to commemorate playing there for the first time. Then they could make a sort of version of the blue kits the Lions wore in the 1920s or hooped ones before that.  

In the far more likely scenario that none of the above happens quickly or even at all, the regular visits would still have the benefit of bringing top quality rugby to communities that give so much to the sport we love.


I’m not saying we shouldn’t tour there. Just saying that can’t be all we do and then be pleased that we’re helping. Otherwise it becomes like Ed Sheeran on Comic Relief going to Africa and looking all pleased with himself for ‘making a difference’!

Just to point out that tours do happen. Perhaps not enough. But look at the 2017 tours. Italy playing in Fiji, Wales playing in Samoa, Ireland in Japan, Wales playing Tonga but unfortunately not in Tonga as planned due to insurance issues.... but the plan was to play them there initially. 2016 had tours to the PI nations although not the top teams (Georgia and Italy by the looks of it). This is what World Rugby, or the IRB at the time, planned when they changed the status quo in the tours a few years back. So it is happening. Perhaps not enough. But more than some would have you believe.
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Post by 123456789. on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 1:43 am

The Oracle wrote:
123456789. wrote:
The Oracle wrote:
123456789. wrote:

Sometimes it's easy to get overburdened with working out the key to the greatest levels of profitability. Working out how much they'd get from ticket receipts and television revenues. The answer is fairly simple, not very much. In a poor country it's a fair guess that the prices of tickets won't be particularly high and the stadium is not very large. Apia park apparently has a capacity of 12,000, Murrayfied has a capacity of 67,144. In terms of teams going to play there in 2015 New Zealand's visit prompted them to invest in an upgrade on the stadium. So it's obvious that team's going to play have a material benefit. However there is another aspect. Apia park is a small stadium at 12,000. According to Wikipedia the population of Samoa is 196,000. So on any given occasion up to six percent of the population could see their team play. If these visits became more regular then we'd, no doubt, see further upgrades and greater exposure. So what will they gain from us being their on their turf? The same as people in Scotland, in England, in Wales and in Ireland do every November and every February and March, the same as people in New Zealand, in South Africa, Argentina and Australia do each year - the opportunity to see the best players in the world and the biggest teams. For countries that give so much to our sport it does not seem too much to ask.


I don’t think it’s enough. And I don’t like the language surrounding this (not accusing you, but in general). It all sounds like it’s being led by us. What WE will do, what WE think should happen, what US touring there will do for them. It smacks too much of the early attempts to ‘improve’ things in Africa by building wells and then f’ing off and leaving them to fall into disrepair! White saviours riding in to save the day, all high and mighty and giving developing nations what we think they need. This needs to be led by them. It should be viewed in the same ways as other areas on international development - advocacy, capacity building, empowerment. What they want and what we want for them might be very different things. Taking a few games there and generating a smallish amount of money might end up being a bit of a token gesture.

I do agree with you to an extent. However in rugby you do, by definition, need two teams so we would have to travel there or they have to travel to us. They do travel to us, we never travel to them but our professional and national teams do field players of Fijian, Tongan and Samoan descent. The unfortunate fact is that in rugby, all the money and all the power is with nine or ten Unions. Where they go the money follows. I have no issue with that, it's life. But they do need to recognise that the Pacific Islanders contribute a huge amount to the product they sell and receive very little of the profit, either in monetary terms or in simple rugby terms. The Pacific Islands are fairly unique in that you could form an international team with their players playing for other countries. You can say the same of New Zealand and South Africa as well however, almost invariably, it's players not good enough for their international teams that play for them. Taking games there is what they want though, they were incredibly vocal about how pleased they were when Scotland came to play. Being led by them only work if other teams have any interest in following. Precious little has suggested they will.

I know it's hard to think of what to do that'll actually make a difference. Because everything that's been tried to expand rugby properly has failed in the long term. Italy and Argentina haven't improved in relative terms since they joined the top table. Yet every time a team threatens to break through, pundits line up one by one to demand a pro team is added to either the Pro14 or Super Rugby, and the International team added to one of the annual competitions. Despite it not being the magic pill that people thought it would be. I suppose in reality the way to have a successful rugby team is a devoted grass roots following in a relatively wealthy country, a national league structure, professional teams to play with crowds that are interested and a national team with acceptance from the international rugby community. Rugby simply being popular is not enough. In the world Rugby Union is the national sport of New Zealand, Wales, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Georgia and Madagascar. Only two of those countries fit all the categories. World Rugby, and by extension, the International Rugby Community cannot make a country rich, it cannot develop a country's infrastructure, it cannot bankroll professional teams. But what it can do is give back to countries that contribute disproportionately more than it gets back. You are probably one hundred percent right to point out that it would probably just be a token gesture, and I entirely understand the concerns behind the language of us helping them. But then I cannot speak from their point of view being British.

But it might, maybe make a difference. If the Lions, Barbarians, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Italy, Argentina, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand started to visit the Pacific Islands then surely television revenue would follow. Ticket receipts, albeit relatively small anyway, would rise. The games would be greater in stature than they have been before. Players would (or should) be better remunerated for playing. The games of greater stature could entice more of the big players back to the national fold more regularly. The product on the field when these teams play would improve raising interest and standards. Perhaps in the short term TV revenues would increase. In the long term it would improve the quality of the World Cup when it rolls around every four years. If the Pacific Islanders had been slightly better this year then we would have had fourteen teams aiming to qualify for the knockout stages. That would make the tournament better and help the existing top teams financially. If the Lions played a test in Tonga they would have the prime excuse to make an away kit to flog. it would be a marketer's dream. The first time they'd probably add a sort of pacific Islander theme to the alternate kit to commemorate playing there for the first time. Then they could make a sort of version of the blue kits the Lions wore in the 1920s or hooped ones before that.  

In the far more likely scenario that none of the above happens quickly or even at all, the regular visits would still have the benefit of bringing top quality rugby to communities that give so much to the sport we love.


I’m not saying we shouldn’t tour there. Just saying that can’t be all we do and then be pleased that we’re helping. Otherwise it becomes like Ed Sheeran on Comic Relief going to Africa and looking all pleased with himself for ‘making a difference’!

Just to point out that tours do happen. Perhaps not enough. But look at the 2017 tours. Italy playing in Fiji, Wales playing in Samoa, Ireland in Japan, Wales playing Tonga but unfortunately not in Tonga as planned due to insurance issues.... but the plan was to play them there initially. 2016 had tours to the PI nations although not the top teams (Georgia and Italy by the looks of it). This is what World Rugby, or the IRB at the time, planned when they changed the status quo in the tours a few years back. So it is happening. Perhaps not enough. But more than some would have you believe.


Think we’re broadly in agreement. I think more high profile tours would be useful but certainly not a magic pill. I completely understand the administrative trouble. Ultimately the root of these countries trouble is their abject poverty and governmental corruption. Something entirely out of the remit of World Rugby to remedy. Other measure would be helpful. The extension of the residency period to five years will help. It should stem the “poaching” (a phrase I despise generally as it suggests the players have no say in the decision) of their players. But then players get paid more to play for Tier One teams. They also want to play in the bigger games. If you hold out to play for France then you have the chance to play in World Cup knockout games and the Six Nations. The only hope would be that if “big teams” travelled to the Islands then these would be big enough games to incentivise turning out for the national side. I honestly am not sure what could be done to stop clubs preventing players from representing their countries. After all a lot of it seems to be rather tacit. A simple suggestion that they won’t have contracts offered or renewed unless they retire from or refuse international rugby. Bringing us back to the issue of poverty, it is not financially rewarding to represent their countries and having grown up poor they naturally see professional rugby as a chance to offer a better future to their own families. The only solution is for World Rugby to compensate clubs that lose players but then you have the issue of which countries and which clubs this is done for. The Scottish teams don’t restrict their Fijian players as it is for example (being centrally owned it would be rather sinister if they did) but would World Rugby compensate them? Or would it, in effect be a reward to the inflexible? Also all the compensation in the world will not solve the fact that the clubs need players to play during internationals. You can’t play a World Rugby handout at centre.

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Post by The Oracle on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 10:00 am

Yes I think we are in general agreement.

One thing I would like to suggest, and something that’s often overlooked..... we often complain of poaching, of exploitation, of unscrupulous clubs and unions, but sometimes for people and families in abject poverty getting ‘poached’, picked up or offered a contact in England/France/wherever is an amazing thing. It’s ‘making it’. Just like for many young black Americans in poor communities who see 3 main routes out of poverty - music, drugs or sport. It’s like winning the lottery for some. For us in the richer unions to go meddling with that and cutting off that avenue for super talented athletes to earn a top wage just because we think it would be better for them and their national team if they stay where they are....... not everyone in Fiji/Samoa/Tonga will be happy with that restriction. And all for what? Because we in the richer countries want to be spectators and see a better spectacle when these sides trot out at a World Cup? That’s a little selfish of us.

If we can work with these countries to help facilitate the growth of leagues and structures then great, but I bet there’s a lot of players actually happy when the call comes from NZ/England/France/wherever. Some, but not all, will be glad to get away. Yes they’ll probably always have an ancestral ‘pull’ to the home country, just as I have to Wales, but just like in Wales it’s not all roses at home and we don’t always want to be here if we can help it!

Some (but not all) would deem that opportunity that we call poaching to be a life changing opportunity for the better. Who are we to deny them that? Movement of people for economic reasons has been happening as far back as civilisation and trade began. We can’t deny people the right to export their skills to wherever the highest bidder is. So again it comes back to doing a bit (e.g. helping them grow, touring there) but not cutting off the avenues for them to move to France should they wish. Language like ‘poaching’ really doesn’t help things. And putting restrictions on clubs offering contracts because we fear it is doing harm........ if it’s done properly then for many it is probably actually doing good (again, we need to ask them!).
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Post by Old Man on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 10:07 am

I still believe there should be a global season, that way players are released for international duty.

I don’t have a problem with players being recruited/poached or whatever you want to call it.

My issue is with unscrupulous clubs/agents recruiting players from poor nations and then tap them on the shoulder or whisper in their ears that their careers are at stake and it would be better for them not to entertain thoughts of playing test rugby.

It is also sickening to think a club can recruit on the numbers based system leaving those who don’t make it to their own devices.

At least have the decency to get them back to their home nations with a little pocket money.

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Post by tigertattie on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 10:49 am

Old Man wrote:I still believe there should be a global season, that way players are released for international duty.

I don’t have a problem with players being recruited/poached or whatever you want to call it.

My issue is with unscrupulous clubs/agents recruiting players from poor nations and then tap them on the shoulder or whisper in their ears that their careers are at stake and it would be better for them not to entertain thoughts of playing test rugby.

It is also sickening to think a club can recruit on the numbers based system leaving those who don’t make it to their own devices.

At least have the decency to get them back to their home nations with a little pocket money.

Thats the problem though. The big money is in the English and French club teams. These teams are independant from the national unions so clubs simply turn round to players and say "sure, you can have 5 weeks off to go play for your country" (World Rugby have test windows where clubs must allow players to leave for international duties) What WR can't do anything about though is the clubs then saying "oh but while you are away, I'm not paying your wages"

You then get a situation where a player has to choose between playing for his country, or having is wages deducted Crying or Very sad
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Post by Old Man on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 11:00 am

tigertattie wrote:
Old Man wrote:I still believe there should be a global season, that way players are released for international duty.

I don’t have a problem with players being recruited/poached or whatever you want to call it.

My issue is with unscrupulous clubs/agents recruiting players from poor nations and then tap them on the shoulder or whisper in their ears that their careers are at stake and it would be better for them not to entertain thoughts of playing test rugby.

It is also sickening to think a club can recruit on the numbers based system leaving those who don’t make it to their own devices.

At least have the decency to get them back to their home nations with a little pocket money.

Thats the problem though. The big money is in the English and French club teams. These teams are independant from the national unions so clubs simply turn round to players and say "sure, you can have 5 weeks off to go play for your country" (World Rugby have test windows where clubs must allow players to leave for international duties) What WR can't do anything about though is the clubs then saying "oh but while you are away, I'm not paying your wages"

You then get a situation where a player has to choose between playing for his country, or having is wages deducted Crying or Very sad

Yes, it is a reality that the French and English clubs are a law onto themselves, I can’t even hazard a guess as to how they got into the position they are in. However if a block of two or three months of global season existed whilst there are no club rugby it might go a long way to solve some of these issues.

If the French and English clubs continue to play hardball, perhaps the rest of the unions should too.

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Post by Brendan on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 9:08 pm

One issue that the SH have to address which Europe already has is leagues and competitions are ok if they have a couple of bad teams.

In every league and European Club competition you have your great teams, your ok teams and your poor teams. We are ok with it. Yes we would like them to be better but it's ok. It allows them to grow and improve and build something.

In Super Rugby they only want great teams. If WR funded a home based Tongan, Samoan and Fijian team (paying them local wages so very little) SR would not want them in it. They would demand a certain standard right away and want the overseas players to come back. Before last season some in NZ weren't sure about the Jags as they felt they should be better.

Oz cut a team because they couldn't afford it (though it was offered to cover the costs). They thought if they put their players into 4 teams they would be better. It hasn't worked out and now it has lost support in the West of the country.

South Africa had to cut two teams not because they couldn't afford them but because they weren't good enough for the people in charge. Fast forward 3 years and one is Currie Cup champions and the other has got the financial backing it needed. Because of pressure from the Pro14 that those teams need to be a certain standard SA have now made changes to squad sizes so that each of the teams are stronger. Because SR thought that SA didn't deserve 6 teams they have now open up SA to NH rugby which won't end well. I wonder if having a teams up North helped convince SA to remove their playing aboard ban as it strengths SA but weakens SR.

SANZAAR reminds me a bit like the USSR in the early 80s. Unwilling to make internal changes to fix the problems that were coming to the surface. As long as they were strong they didn't care. Only problem was once it started to fall apart, it fell quickly. Going off SR history I'm not sure that any expansion will happen again which leaves them to fight over less and less money compared to Japan and Europe.

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Post by Old Man on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 9:52 pm

Super rugby is run behind closed doors with no transparency, it is hard to guage what is going on there.

I know Australian rugby and many of their fans have for some years now suggested South Africa must be kicked out of Super Rugby.

In the beginning Super rugby was exciting and the single round robin worked. Then they got greedy and wanted to expand. What they never got was the more teams you have, the more travel expenses and wages etc you have to pay, slicing the pie even though bigger between more teams still boil down to pretty much the same thing as before.

However , I don’t see where more SA teams will fit in Europe either.

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Post by 123456789. on Fri 18 Oct 2019, 10:53 am

I've never seen the point of aligning South Africa with the European teams. Ultimately the purpose of the Six Nations and of the Champions cup is to find the Country and best domestic side in Europe. These sort of designer tournaments where random teams are chosen for fairly tenuous reasons don't carry the same weight as far as I'm concerned.

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Post by tigertattie on Fri 18 Oct 2019, 11:23 am

Old Man wrote:
tigertattie wrote:
Old Man wrote:I still believe there should be a global season, that way players are released for international duty.

I don’t have a problem with players being recruited/poached or whatever you want to call it.

My issue is with unscrupulous clubs/agents recruiting players from poor nations and then tap them on the shoulder or whisper in their ears that their careers are at stake and it would be better for them not to entertain thoughts of playing test rugby.

It is also sickening to think a club can recruit on the numbers based system leaving those who don’t make it to their own devices.

At least have the decency to get them back to their home nations with a little pocket money.

Thats the problem though. The big money is in the English and French club teams. These teams are independant from the national unions so clubs simply turn round to players and say "sure, you can have 5 weeks off to go play for your country" (World Rugby have test windows where clubs must allow players to leave for international duties) What WR can't do anything about though is the clubs then saying "oh but while you are away, I'm not paying your wages"

You then get a situation where a player has to choose between playing for his country, or having is wages deducted Crying or Very sad

Yes, it is a reality that the French and English clubs are a law onto themselves, I can’t even hazard a guess as to how they got into the position they are in. However if a block of two or three months of global season existed whilst there are no club rugby it might go a long way to solve some of these issues.

If the French and English clubs continue to play hardball, perhaps the rest of the unions should too.

A 3 month block wouldnt work as you are shortening the domestic season. You are then also making international games needing to be played either at the start or end of a season which means players will be either not be math fit or will be knackered.
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Post by TightHEAD on Fri 18 Oct 2019, 4:00 pm

Japan and Fiji need more game time against tier 1 nations. I'd happily pay to watch both in the AI window.
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Post by mikey_dragon on Tue 22 Oct 2019, 11:47 pm

Sunwolves may not be axed from super rugby after all, and more talks of Japan joining the RC.

https://www.rugbypass.com/news/sunwolves-set-for-super-rugby-return-japan-primed-for-rugby-championship-inclusion-report

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Post by mikey_dragon on Tue 22 Oct 2019, 11:52 pm

It seems Japan’s World Cup success, their TV money/viewing figures, passion and enthusiasm, has caught the interest of SANZAAR.

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Post by SecretFly on Wed 23 Oct 2019, 10:19 am

Ha! Ha!   Japan now seen as much too dangerous to be allowed develop in isolation.  Better to have them in the tent p-issing out than outside the tent p-issing in.

SA, NZ and AUS want to keep a close eye on these boys, and have a closer study of what might be coming in the next WC.  Because despite the end scoreline in that SA QF, in it Japan proved they are no flash in the pan.  They just tired a lot in the second half and probably gave too much in the first.  But it was still a real team out there putting the scares on SA in that first half.

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Post by Brendan on Wed 23 Oct 2019, 10:31 am

mikey_dragon wrote:It seems Japan’s World Cup success, their TV money/viewing figures, passion and enthusiasm, has caught the interest of SANZAAR.

Or they suddenly realised if 40m were willing to watch the national team then if only half watched the RC they they could make lots of money.  Again Fiji need to be included if Japan are as less travel for the existing teams by adding them compared to Japan, and just as good.

On the Super Rugby side of things Japan wanted to have there own domestic league which following on from the WC should have a good following.  They can afford it, travel would be smaller and more local and gives the union greater control over rest periods.  In 2018 their average attendance was higher than the blues and brumbies (don't have 2019) at 10k (which includes Hong Kong). I can't see why Japan would go back to SR as it means only games in Tokyo less the ones in Hong Kong (a rival union), rumour was Japan were the ones who wanted out anyway as they realise one team won't grow the game. (They probably realize they could buy half the SR players too).

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Post by miaow on Wed 23 Oct 2019, 10:32 am

Hope Japan tell them to f it.

In all fairness, what Joseph did this year was pretty cheeky - effectively preparing Japan like a club team and sacricing 12 months of Super Rugby.

But there's clear commercial incentive in growing the game in Japan with their own league, doing things their own way, sticking to Japanese rugby values and not being a bit part player in a South Pacific competition.

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 23 Oct 2019, 10:35 am

https://www.rugbypass.com/news/why-adding-japan-to-an-existing-competition-is-the-worst-solution-to-world-rugbys-growing-problem


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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 23 Oct 2019, 10:36 am

https://www.rugbypass.com/news/england-set-for-two-match-2020-tour-to-japan/

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Post by Old Man on Wed 23 Oct 2019, 10:38 am

miaow wrote:Hope Japan tell them to f it.

In all fairness, what Joseph did this year was pretty cheeky - effectively preparing Japan like a club team and sacricing 12 months of Super Rugby.

But there's clear commercial incentive in growing the game in Japan with their own league, doing things their own way, sticking to Japanese rugby values and not being a bit part player in a South Pacific competition.

Do you then suggest they join the six nations?

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 23 Oct 2019, 10:43 am

Old Man wrote:
miaow wrote:Hope Japan tell them to f it.

In all fairness, what Joseph did this year was pretty cheeky - effectively preparing Japan like a club team and sacricing 12 months of Super Rugby.

But there's clear commercial incentive in growing the game in Japan with their own league, doing things their own way, sticking to Japanese rugby values and not being a bit part player in a South Pacific competition.

Do you then suggest they join the six nations?

I agree with the article I posted above.

Much better if Japan can sort out their domestic league, more time and money is put into the PNC, games are played against Tier 1 teams during AI and summer tours.

LondonTiger
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