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The Southern Hemisphere Exodus - what does it mean?

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Post by George Carlin Tue Jun 09, 2015 6:53 am

Nice piece in WalesOnline yesterday about the number of Southern Hemisphere based players who are predictably coming north after the RWC: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/startling-list-global-rugby-stars-9407065

I didn't realise quite how extensive that was until I saw an aggregate list:
Dan Carter: The biggest name in world rugby and he’s set to become the game’s highest-paid p
layer. All Blacks outside-half Carter, who had a brief injury-hit spell with Perpignan in 2008, has signed a three-year deal with Racing Metro, reportedly worth in excess of £1m per year. The move will mark the end of his illustrious Test career.

Will Genia: The Wallaby scrum-half was originally set to join Bath, but pulled out of a pre-contract agreement with them and signed a three-year deal with Stade Francais instead.

Ma’a Nonu: One of the most recognisable figures in the game, the dreadlocked All Blacks centre will become the latest big-name recruit for three-times European champions Toulon when he joins them after the World Cup. The 94-cap Hurricanes midfield powerhouse has signed a two-year deal with Leigh Halfpenny’s team.
 
Adam Ashley-Cooper: The man who has been Mr Consistent in the Wallaby back-line for a decade, winning more than 100 caps, will be playing in the Champions Cup next season, having agreed a two-year deal with Bordeaux, who booked their spot at Europe’s top table with a play-off win over Gloucester.

Conrad Smith:  It says everything about the financial might of French rugby that Pau were about to recruit the All Blacks’ most-capped centre Smith on a two-year deal despite being in the Second Division. With Pau having gained promotion, the 33-year-old will be playing in the Top 14 next season.

Ben Mowen: Made his Test debut for Australia at 28 and then retired from international rugby at 29, while the incumbent Wallabies skipper. The Brumbies back-rower cited an intense travel schedule and lack of time with his wife and daughter as reasons for putting family first by joining Montpellier.

Charles Piutau: When it was announced the 23-year-old All Blacks wing would be joining Ulster, it caused real shockwaves in New Zealand and it may impact on his World Cup hopes. But a two-year deal, believed to be worth £1m, was too good to turn down.

Colin Slade: The 27-year-old Crusaders and All Blacks utility back is one of the latest additions to the exodus, having signed a lucrative deal with Pau through to mid-2018. He explained it was an opportunity he just couldn’t pass up.

Bernard Foley: A special agreement has been reached enabling the 25-year-old Wallabies fly-half to play two seasons in Japan – probably for Tokyo’s Ricoh Black Rams –as part of a new three-year deal to stay in Australian rugby.

James Horwill: Like Genia, the former Wallabies skipper said goodbye to the Reds faithful at the weekend. His future now lies in England, where he will be packing down in the Harlequins second-row on a three-year deal.

Jacques du Plessis: There was massive shock in South Africa when it was announced that the 21-year-old flanker – one of the country’s brightest prospects – had been lured to Montpellier on a two-year deal.

Israel Folau: According to reports in the French media this weekend, Toulon are speaking to the Wallaby wonder.

Francis Saili: Recruiting the twice-capped Auckland Blues centre on a two-year deal is a real coup for Munster and the explosive 24-year-old is likely to make a big impact on the Pro12.

Willem Alberts: The Sharks appear resigned to losing the giant Springbok back rower after the World Cup, with the French media reporting that he is to join Parisan outfit Stade Francais.

Scott Higginbotham: The 31-cap Wallabies back-rower will put his international career on hold after the World Cup by quitting the Melbourne Rebels for a lucrative stint in Japan.

Bismarck du Plessis: One of the finest hookers in world rugby, the Springbok hard man is to play his rugby outside of South Africa after the World Cup, probably at Montpellier.

Sekope Kepu: Will be joining fellow Wallaby Ashley-Cooper at Bordeaux.

Francois Steyn: One of a host of South African stars being linked with the Jake White-coached Montpellier.

Kurtley Beale: It’s being reported Down Under that the controversial Wallaby utility back wants a flexible contract, enabling him a slice of the Japanese action.

Pierre Spies: Recent reports in the French press say that the 53-cap Springboks back-rower will leave the Bulls and play for Montpellier on a two-year contract.

Rey Lee-Lo: There is at least one Super 15 international heading to Wales, with the Samoan Test centre joining Cardiff Blues from the Hurricanes.

Francois Hougaard: Heavily linked with Leicester and Exeter, the South African scrum-half is another thought to be considering a lucrative move to Japan.

Wycliff Palu: The latest player to bid sayonara to Australian rugby, with the 51-cap Wallabies No 8 to move to Japan at the end of the year.

Quade Cooper: Cooper’s future in Australian rugby remains very much in doubt with a substantial offer from big-spending Toulon on the table.

Tom Taylor: The Crusaders utility back will be playing Second Division rugby in France next season with Bayonne having just been relegated.

Duane Vermeulen: This powerful Springbok No.8 has been linked with both Toulon and Bath.

Nic White: The 19-cap Wallaby scrum-half is to join his former Brumbies coach Jake White and captain Ben Mowen at Montpellier.

Ben Tameifuna: The giant Chiefs prop could join Carter at Racing Metro and may throw his international lot in with Tonga.

Demetri Catrakilis: Yet another South African on his way to Montpellier, the fly-half, 25, switching from the Stormers.

Peter Betham: Capped twice on the wing by Australia, the Kiwi-born Betham is joining Leicester from the Waratahs for next season.

Jannie du Plessis: Like his brother Bismarck, 62-cap prop Jannie is being linked with the southern exodus to Montpellier.

Luke Braid: The Auckland Blues flanker – younger brother of Sale captain Daniel Braid – is on his way to Bordeaux.

Flip van der Merwe: Clermont Auvergne beckons for the 35-cap South African second-row.

Wiaan Liebenberg: At just 22, the Bulls back-rower is leaving South Africa behind to join Montpellier.

Manuel Carizza: Experienced Pumas lock looks set to leave South Africa for another spell with Racing Metro.

Steven Kitshoff: A 23-year-old South African prop leaving the Stormers to ply his trade for Bordeaux.

Jesse Mogg: Wallaby full-back Mogg is to be reunited with former Brumbies coach Jake White at Montpellier. Impressed when the Lions toured Australia in 2013.

Sarel Pretorius: The Cheetahs scrum-half joins the long list of South Africans who have headed for Rodney Parade.

Api Naikatini: The Fijian back-five forward is moving from Wellington to play for newly-promoted Agen.

Schalk van der Merwe: He’s South African, so he’s off to Montpellier! The prop is leaving the Lions.

Ben Franks: All Blacks prop who is joining London Irish.

Taqele Naiyaravoro: The Fijian Test wing is moving from the Waratahs to Pro12 champions Glasgow.
My question for these boards is whether the damage which received wisdom dictates will inevitably be done to the SANZAR international set-ups because of this is overstated.

From my recollection, there is always a post-RWC exodus, this year exacerbated by the seemingly great pools of cash sloshing around in the Jeff, Pro12 and Top14 leagues.

The other question is whether the New Zealand, Australian and South African RFUs should accept that this is happening and tailor selection policies around this exodus or whether the converse should be true and now is the time to draw a line in the sand to encourage younger stars to stay.

Is this good for the sport generally or not?

Really don't know where I come down on this so would be grateful for views.

Please, please can we not get into a highly pitched hissy about project players or national team selections based on foreign signings on this thread, mind you? There are dozens of others here for people to pollute with their respective brain droppings about that.
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Post by Notch Tue Jun 09, 2015 7:30 am

I think it's bad juju. In the NH we're all trapped in this race to the bottom where we need to go after big signings to try and keep up with the French sides. Purchase or perish- meanwhile the knock-on effect for rugby worldwide is an over-concentration of resources in a few countries, which is just bad for the global health of the game

I like watching guys like Ruan Pienaar and I look forward to watching Charles Piutau. However, I have serious misgivings about the whole direction of club rugby. The NZRU should stick to their guns over never selecting overseas based players and the SARU should reverse their policy of accommodating them.
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Post by Ozzy3213 Tue Jun 09, 2015 7:39 am

South Africa are selecting overseas based players, so as long as their contracts with their clubs don't prohibit this I can't see any massive issue for them.  

New Zealand just have a conveyor belt of talent.  Rugby is in their DNA and looking at that list of leavers I don't see any issue for them whatsoever.  They will need to find a long term 12, but Nonu isn't getting any younger and would have been phased out during the next RWC cycle anyway, Cruden and Barrett will contest the 10 jersey and Fekitoa will replace Conrad Smith.  There post world cup backline could read 9. Smith 10. Cruden 11. Savea 12. Sonny Bill Williams 13. Fekitoa 14. Smith 15. Dagg.  I'll not be writing the sympathy card out for them just yet.

The Aussies are the ones who could struggle a little.  They don't have the same talent pools as the other two, as their domestic structure is not as strong.  They've opened it up with their recent change in policy for the likes of Genia, Cooper and Horwill to still wear the gold jersey, but if any of them are going to be hit hard by the lure of cash in the north it will be them.
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Post by Notch Tue Jun 09, 2015 7:45 am

In terms of international rugby I'm not really worried about how it will affect our national team, to be fair. We've managed to find the middle ground between homegrown players and imports that has the maximum net benefit for our national side.

But I do believe it's damaging to the French national team and it's very worrying for the Tri-Nations. My concern is only that if a country loses its most respected and beloved homegrown players, there's less guys for the next generation to look up to and be inspired by. You can survive losing a few but when they leave en masse it's bad for the whole rugby ecosystem in that country. But there will not be any massively devastating immediate effects because of the sheer strength in depth that exists- they really have the best structures for developing players and that will serve them well.

Even if all of the best players in Super Rugby moved to the Top14 tomorrow the Top14 is still not going to overtake Super Rugby in terms of the quality of rugby played because Super Rugby has less games, a saner schedule and better coaching. So that's why the Tri-Nations should stick to their guns by refusing to pick overseas based players. They can replace most of their best players internally. The SARU might struggle, but the SARU have let the horse bolt by letting too many overseas players represent the Boks in the first place.
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Post by Ozzy3213 Tue Jun 09, 2015 7:57 am

I guess for the SNAZAR nations it's different for each. All the NZ guys who are leaving, with the exception of Piutau are at the end of their careers and would be replaced in the AB jersey over the next 12 months regardless of them leaving to come north. With SA and Aus it's different as the guys they are losing are generally younger and would expect to be around the international side up to RWC19 at least.

It's a tough one, but I do think SA have the talent pool coming through to take the NZ stance on things and say if you want to where the green jersey you need to be playing Super Rugby.

France are the national side most likely to suffer as a result of these players coming north. The majority are going to the Top 14 and are effectively blocks to the young French talent coming through. Sadly I don't see that changing, as in France it is most defeintely all about the money. Mad Mourad has an awful lot to answer for to be honest, and I just hope that here at home, the rest of the club chairmen and the PRL can keep a check on Mssrs Wray and Craig so as to avoid our game ending up in the same position.
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Post by Notch Tue Jun 09, 2015 8:06 am

From the outside seems like English professional club rugby is at a bit of a crossroads with the alleged salary cap breaches from Bath and Saracens. Either that is followed up on and cracked down upon, or other teams will attempt to do the same thing. If the salary cap is not enforced, you do not have a salary cap.
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Post by George Carlin Tue Jun 09, 2015 8:11 am

It does make you wonder what would have to change for the French set up to be forced to impose NFQ quotas and the like.

France absolutely bombing at this World Cup would surely be a pretty good expedient.

Guy Noves having a nutty about the meagre levels of talent available to him as national team coach would be another.
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Post by whocares Tue Jun 09, 2015 8:43 am

from 2015/2016 onwards french clubs are meant to put at least 12 JIFF players on their match squads (23) if they want to receive 100% of their tv rights. it is not clear yet what percentage they will lose out next season (is the incentive enough for some teams?) but from 2017 they would get zero if they fail to to put 12 players. this only applies for T14 (not RCC). anyway this might not seem like much but technically Montpelier could start with the following team next season (courtesy of a montpelier forum, doesnt even include the du plessis bros) :
1/VAN DER MERWE
2/BURDEN
3/CILLIERS
4/TIMANI
5/RTW*
6/QERA
7/MOWEN
8/SPIES
9/WHITE
10/CATRAKILIS
11/LUCAS
12/STEYN
13/EBERSHON
14/TUITAVAKE
15/ MOGG

* robin tchale-walou : from Cameroum, only JIFF player (but NFQ) in this 100% foreigner starting XV

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Post by MichaelT Tue Jun 09, 2015 8:46 am

Looking through that list, to me the 2016 June tours and AIs will be very competitive. New Zealand losing Smith and Nonu, plus Ben Franks and I imagine Tony Woodcock must be close to finishing up and what about McCaw - that must be around 500 caps, you dont replace that in a season. Yes they are the All Blacks, and probably still win, but the gap could get very small with such a change over.

On a side note to this, I wonder what Sonny Bill Williams will do in 2017. Lions tour or RL world cup? Both in New Zealand a few months apart. Does anyone know if this has been mentioned/ decided?

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Post by ScarletSpiderman Tue Jun 09, 2015 8:53 am

MichaelT wrote:Looking through that list, to me the 2016 June tours and AIs will be very competitive. New Zealand losing Smith and Nonu, plus Ben Franks and I imagine Tony Woodcock must be close to finishing up and what about McCaw - that must be around 500 caps, you dont replace that in a season. Yes they are the All Blacks, and probably still win, but the gap could get very small with such a change over.

On a side note to this, I wonder what Sonny Bill Williams will do in 2017. Lions tour or RL world cup? Both in New Zealand a few months apart. Does anyone know if this has been mentioned/ decided?

If their a few months apart then he will do both. (providing he is still up to the grade)
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Post by Notch Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:08 am

George Carlin wrote:It does make you wonder what would have to change for the French set up to be forced to impose NFQ quotas and the like.

Well, they can try and introduce more than the very soft quotas they have now. Whether or not they succeed against clubs willing to fight the union all the way or not is speculative.
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Post by LordDowlais Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:27 am

George Carlin wrote:From my recollection, there is always a post-RWC exodus, this year exacerbated by the seemingly great pools of cash sloshing around in the Jeff, Pro12 and Top14 leagues.

There is no great pools of cash sloshing around in the Pro12, not in Wales anyway. Of all those players listed, only 4 of them are coming to the Pro12, and only one of them will be on a massive contract, and he is going to Ulster, I would say the biggest vultures are the French followed by the English who are trying to keep up.

George Carlin wrote:The other question is whether the New Zealand, Australian and South African RFUs should accept that this is happening and tailor selection policies around this exodus or whether the converse should be true and now is the time to draw a line in the sand to encourage younger stars to stay.

I would say they need to change their selection policies, if they still selected the players who leave, perhaps the NH clubs would be more reluctant to sign them, if they do not change their selection policies then they will struggle on the world stage.

George Carlin wrote:Is this good for the sport generally or not?

This all depends on which side of the fence you are on, for me I do not think it is good for the sport in general, but in England and more so in France, they do not see international rugby as the pinnacle, they see it as more of a hindrance, and they would rather see these superstars at their clubs, even if it does affect the national side, like it has started to do in France.




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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:34 am

Bit of a sweeping statement that in England 'they' don't see international as the pinacle. Not sure that's even true for the money men let alone the rest of use.

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Post by LordDowlais Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:37 am

Ozzy3213 wrote: Mad Mourad has an awful lot to answer for to be honest, and I just hope that here at home, the rest of the club chairmen and the PRL can keep a check on Mssrs Wray and Craig so as to avoid our game ending up in the same position.

This must be a BIG worry for any English rugby fan who sees their national side the pinnacle above all, we have seen the mess of the french national side, and if the English raise/scrap their cap to keep up with the French, then it stands to reason that they will go the same way as them, also, if the English clubs do get into that position, then their will be bidding wars for these players and they salaries paid could end up sky rocketing.

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Post by LordDowlais Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:38 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Bit of a sweeping statement that in England 'they' don't see international as the pinacle. Not sure that's even true for the money men let alone the rest of use.

Sorry I should have said that some people see it that way, not all, but I would say it is a majority in France.

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Post by George Carlin Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:42 am

WhoCares - how do you think that the club v country tension will end in France?

It's fairly well known that the clubs are run as businesses by big local companies (Michelin, Volkswagon, Total) or wealthy individuals (the Boudjellybaby) and don't give a merde about developing French players for the national side. How can this be stopped given the financial drivers to continue to buy in glamourous imports?
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Post by whocares Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:53 am

George Carlin wrote:WhoCares - how do you think that the club v country tension will end in France?

It's fairly well known that the clubs are run as businesses by big local companies (Michelin, Volkswagon, Total) or wealthy individuals (the Boudjellybaby) and don't give a merde about developing French players for the national side. How can this be stopped given the financial drivers to continue to buy in glamourous imports?

like in any other economy it's all about incentives...

every 4 years or so the FFR and the LNR (clubs) renogociate terms of their agreement (the LNR needs approval of the FFR to run the pro game). that means it's a bit of continuous fight and that's how JIFF rules were implemented and will keep on getting strenghtened (hopefully) with financial incentive as well (see above). More incentive is also meant to go to clubs that do develop players but in my opinion that's not good enough yet. i think bigger incentive should be given for developing players in specialist positions like FH and TH and also make sure those players that take time and money to develop do not end up being poached for free by other clubs. once that happens then academies will take a bigger place in the picture.

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Post by lostinwales Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:22 am

I was going to ask if at some point the shear number of imports will start putting the fans off turning up. Then I remembered football Erm

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Post by Notch Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:30 am

Well, Montpellier fans might have an interesting perspective on it but Toulon fans don't seem stressed.

For me a big part of the appeal is seeing guys who have come through local Schools Rugby and club rugby achieving their ambition of playing for their province- but it's good to see top class players from outside too. The balance between those things is the key. No-one is too upset to see Van der Merwe keeping Lewis Stevenson out of the Ulster team or Pienaar keeping out Paul Marshall but your Rory Bests, Andrew Trimbles, Chris Henrys etc. are the heartbeat of the club.
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Post by ScarletSpiderman Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:38 am

lostinwales wrote:I was going to ask if at some point the shear number of imports will start putting the fans off turning up. Then I remembered football Erm

The thing is we are looking at 40 odd players coming up north, but then there are what 38 top flight teams in the three leagues, plus a handful of teams in the LNR2, and English Championship (ok less so), who have high hopes of making it to the top table. So realistically are these movements that much worse than normal or are they just higher calibre players?
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Post by lostinwales Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:51 am

They are big name players but at the tail end of their careers. You do wonder if Racing Metro will get their money's worth out of DC given his recent injury history. He might do what Johnny did.

The worrying ones will be the young to middle of their career type players

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Post by Notch Tue Jun 09, 2015 11:31 am

Piutau is a big one, as he's just 23 and a current All Black. Earmarked as a future regular with all his best years ahead of him- but he will probably return at the end of his contract so I still think his best years will be in Black. Ben Mowen leaving was also huge as he was a key player for Australia but I think that was to do with lifestyle as much as anything else.
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Post by lostinwales Tue Jun 09, 2015 11:48 am

Another thing to think about is the number of current imports going home or retiring at the same time. I have no idea on numbers, but the actual changes may be less than we expect outside of the biggest spending French clubs.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Tue Jun 09, 2015 11:58 am

How are Montpellier fans reacting to all these SH players coming in? It could take a while to get the team firing with so many new imports.

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Post by George Carlin Tue Jun 09, 2015 12:08 pm

Notch wrote:Piutau is a big one, as he's just 23 and a current All Black. Earmarked as a future regular with all his best years ahead of him- but he will probably return at the end of his contract so I still think his best years will be in Black. Ben Mowen leaving was also huge as he was a key player for Australia but I think that was to do with lifestyle as much as anything else.
Higginbotham going was also massive. And now their worst fears have been realised - if they can't keep Genia, they can't keep anyone.

Watch this space to see the sort of money Folau is going to net per season when he moves. Not 'if' he moves.
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Post by Ozzy3213 Tue Jun 09, 2015 12:17 pm

Not sure I agree about Genia GC. He is not an automatic starter for Australia and looks a shadow of the player he was a couple of years back. I am not suprised he is taking the money and hopefully a chance to reignite his game.
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Post by whocares Tue Jun 09, 2015 12:32 pm

Meanwhile Mohed Altrad, Montpelier owner, won a entrepreneur of the year award (for his other activities obviously)
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/e609fd84-0c8b-11e5-90a9-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3cYwNZYGu

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Post by Geordie Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:08 pm

Wow the French national team is going to be screwed in a few years!!!!

My personal view is, its good to have some top world class guys coming up...but I don't want to see too many at the expense of young local lads coming through in all the European countries.

I hope to god the English Prem keeps its head and doesn't allow this kind of thing to happen.

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Post by The Saint Tue Jun 09, 2015 5:37 pm

Montpellier though....

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Post by marty2086 Tue Jun 09, 2015 6:15 pm

Notch wrote:Well, Montpellier fans might have an interesting perspective on it but Toulon fans don't seem stressed.

For me a big part of the appeal is seeing guys who have come through local Schools Rugby and club rugby achieving their ambition of playing for their province- but it's good to see top class players from outside too. The balance between those things is the key. No-one is too upset to see Van der Merwe keeping Lewis Stevenson out of the Ulster team or Pienaar keeping out Paul Marshall but your Rory Bests, Andrew Trimbles, Chris Henrys etc. are the heartbeat of the club.

The likes of Muller, FvDM and Pienaar don't just bring quality on the field, they bring experience and character off it and are used as mentors off it. At times it seems teams overlook the character of a player and like the idea of signing a big name. I saw Toulouse linked with Manu Tuilagi today and wondered why? He's spent the last few seasons injured after looking like he could become a world beater during the Lions tour and seems to spend more time in trouble than playing and Toulon look set to have James O'Connor and Quade Cooper next season, hardly solid and reliable characters there.

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Post by maestegmafia Tue Jun 09, 2015 6:19 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Wow the French national team is going to be screwed in a few years!!!!

My personal view is, its good to have some top world class guys coming up...but I don't want to see too many at the expense of young local lads coming through in all the European countries.

I hope to god the English Prem keeps its head and doesn't allow this kind of thing to happen.

According to Premiership Rugby an average of around 40% of the English premiership are overseas players

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Post by The Saint Tue Jun 09, 2015 6:31 pm

maestegmafia wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Wow the French national team is going to be screwed in a few years!!!!

My personal view is, its good to have some top world class guys coming up...but I don't want to see too many at the expense of young local lads coming through in all the European countries.

I hope to god the English Prem keeps its head and doesn't allow this kind of thing to happen.

According to Premiership Rugby an average of around 40% of the English premiership are overseas players

Yet they can still put out over 30 competitive English players in the England rugby team.

I think France might cope, they have 14 top flight teams after all. If they select from just 8 teams, leaving out the bottom few and Montpellier (because I don't think they have many French players?) then they still get a lot of quality players. Long-term though it be damaging, say 10 years down the line... But given their recent U18 and U20 teams have performed well then it says they still have good rugby academies. One of the main issues is probably alienation. This seems to be happening at Montpellier, lead by Jake White who's no doubt seen his popularity take a hit in both SA and France.

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Post by LondonTiger Tue Jun 09, 2015 6:42 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:
I hope to god the English Prem keeps its head and doesn't allow this kind of thing to happen.

So long as we keep the minimum EQP rules to get the RFU cash, we should be fine.

Last season 510 players were registered to play AP rugby at some point through the season. 325 of these were EQP. While that may be only 64%. it is still a of of players. Most sides would have been able to field a decent EQP side.

Losing a lot of talent is never fun for a country, but many of those names do not have another WC in them after the Autumn. I firmly believe that SA should follow NZ and only select super rugby based players. No-one though should ever begrudge someone like Ben Mowen the chance to improve his work/life balance and get a pay rise.

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Post by yappysnap Tue Jun 09, 2015 6:43 pm

True but with 12 teams supplying 30+ players to the EPS each season, 40% on average isn't too bad. Especially as a majority of those are either quality players at the top clubs, or good club men at lower level clubs who probably didn't have anyone to supply anyway.

Every weekend there are 276 players running out in the Prem, 60% is 165. Which to my mind is waaaaaaaay more then enough cheers Wink

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Post by HammerofThunor Tue Jun 09, 2015 7:00 pm

40%?

'We are delighted to confirm the number of England-qualified players in Aviva Premiership rugby has passed 70 per cent for the first time, and we want to drive the numbers even higher,' Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty said.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-2759686/Premiership-Rugby-introduce-TWO-marquee-players-club-2015-season.html#ixzz3caaKenfE

Mail, I know, but it was the first one I found. So more like 192 now.

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Post by profitius Tue Jun 09, 2015 7:17 pm

Those names are just some of the players leaving super rugby. More players are coming to Europe, more will come, they are going to Japan and there are players retiring.

Up to this point the SH nations didn't really mind older players leaving for Europe as it opened up new opportunities for young players but they have to be worried the way things are going now. Theres a serious amount of quality leaving super rugby to head north and Australia in particular might be hit hard.

Just making it out roughly. There are over 20 more foreign players coming into the top 14 next season than leaving... and its early days yet with more signings likely. Thats a whole new team of players.
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Post by Welshmushroom Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:37 pm

Well to be fair the Pro12 sides as pointed out are spending a lot of their cash on retaining their own stars so there isn't a massive amount of cash available to start signing whoever they want. Besides they are limited. Ireland have limits as do Wales. Dragons for example cant go out and sign 15 all blacks even if they had the cash. So there is a limit. Scotland I don't think operate a policy currently due to the nature of their limited pool of players.

The Aviva teams are always after top quality signings to bolster their squads given there is such a high demand for quality English players. In order to bridge that quality gap by those top teams they have no choice but to bring in top quality imports if they want to remain competitive. There is a bit of pressure on the bottom sides but given only 1 gets relegated and only if the team due promotion fits the criteria. The move to a 14 team league (if this go's ahead) will put to bed any need to panic by clubs signing short term quality players to stay up.

Top 14 is a totally different animal. The relegation battle is immense. They don't have any time to really develop French youngsters. Even if the bottom sides do, they tend to migrate to the better French teams. Given the sheer amount of aging players in the league they always had to recruit outside to fill the major gaps appearing.

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Post by Fanster Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:09 am

Am I the only one who feels the T14 are running toward the edge of a cliff?

There is a limit on the popularity of the sport being profitable, I know we're talking about huge money but in context of the sporting world it doesn't rank anywhere the big sports.

With the limitations of the sports popularity, how are the lies of Toulon going to survive long term? You can only plow millions into a club for so long before you either stop, or run off to ensure you don't get into financial trouble yourself, and well Boudj doesn't seem like the kind of guy who stands at the helm and goes down nobly with his sinking ship!

Am I missing something?

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Post by whocares Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:38 am

You're missing the fact that Toulon is actually profitable (amongst the only 2 clubs that didn't report a loss this year). So Mourad is not plowing his own money anymore (hasnt been for at least 3 years). Have my doubts with the likes of racing, montpelier and stade Francais though... Teams like Toulouse and Clermont are safe as not dependent on one man but rather historic sponsors that will always be around (they tend to be quite conservative as well).

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Post by beshocked Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:40 am

Fanster no the T14 is not running off the edge of the cliff - it's just moving more towards football in all aspects - more commercially viable, more foreigners, higher profile.

The likes of Carter,Cooper and Nonu will help to continue to build the brand of T14 just as the likes of Wilkinson and Giteau have.

It will continue to damage the competitiveness of the French international team but that's not the T14's issue.

Geordiefalcon the problem is that the French are putting pressure on the AP to relax the salary cap.

As for the SH sides - I think Ozzy3123 summed it up nicely - the biggest loser could be Australia but also it damages Super 15 too.

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Post by GavinDragon Wed Jun 10, 2015 11:01 am

this will only benefit the SH sides to the detriment of France and to an extent England international sides.

The more players playing abroad means you have more players playing domestically at the top level means you increase your depth of player pool.


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Post by Fanster Wed Jun 10, 2015 12:54 pm

whocares / beshocked

The French might be heading toward the football model, but Rugby doesn't have the audience, popularity, or market to follow football. It feels like the model has outplayed the demand for the model, and in my view just cannot be sustainable!

As for Toulon being profitable, I cannot beleive that, despite how much 'proof' may be available. With that squad, spending and despite trophies galore in the last 3 years I can't see where the money has come from to offset those costs! With Boudj's background he seems a bit psychotic, and has no problem railroading anyone in his way, using all and every method possible. There are plenty of 'profitable' clubs in the NH in recent years who have turned out to be fudged or flat out lies.

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Post by Fanster Wed Jun 10, 2015 12:58 pm

Also I'm still in shock about the Dan Carter signing, that is the most ridiculous thing i've heard in years, which leads me to believe there has to be more money than sense in French T14 rugby right now, and where there is money there are sharks profiting somewhere.

I see the French model collapsing, maybe not soon, but I don't see it as sust

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Post by profitius Wed Jun 10, 2015 12:58 pm

I read before that Toulon get €3m per year from the local city council.
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Post by Fanster Wed Jun 10, 2015 1:06 pm

Doesn't the local council own the stadium? Wouldn't that money be for upkeep and Matchday expenses for the local authorities?

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Post by LondonTiger Wed Jun 10, 2015 1:33 pm

Fanster wrote: There are plenty of 'profitable' clubs in the NH in recent years who have turned out to be fudged or flat out lies.

Such as?

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Post by Guest Wed Jun 10, 2015 1:49 pm

He set out clearly how much importance he places on proof earlier in that same paragraph so I wouldn't be expecting much of it in his reply LT.

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Post by lostinwales Wed Jun 10, 2015 2:13 pm

And I know it can be difficult and unbalancing for the other teams in a league when someone comes in and invests a ton of cash in a club, but surely that is better than not having any investment at all.

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Post by Welshmushroom Wed Jun 10, 2015 3:33 pm

I don't think Toulon's financials are worth the paper they are printed on. The owner has already gone on record as saying despite the clear guidelines of spends by the league, its a grey area how some of the salary top ups can be handled through dummy corps that pay those players for commercial property rights. Essentially its his way of getting round the hard cap France have in place, and legally too by the looks of things. However what that won't do is give a fair reflection of actual spends. Don't forget France too abide by a salary cap, its just they are having problems enforcing it. I very much doubt Toulon are abiding by the 10 million euro cap on players salaries right now. A link below to a interesting article:

http://www.rugbyworld.com/countries/france-countries/top-14-finances-salary-cap-strongly-policed-france-42028

So to sum up they are breaking their own caps but in a legal manner. So assuming the spends are far in excess of the reported figures I can't see how Toulon are anywhere close to making a profit.

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Post by Welshmushroom Wed Jun 10, 2015 3:45 pm

For the record I've always said the benefactor model wont work in rugby. For starters because the majority of millionaires tend to invest into football not rugby. So the pool of so called sugar daddy's isn't exactly massive. Also with the odd exception even when you look at the amount they do put in over a long period in a lot of cases its actually quite insignificant. Take the Blues for example with Pie man. His accounts actually show most of his investments are in fact repayable loans. Then when you consider how much he actually has put in since regionalism its not exactly big money either (around the 10 million mark).

I'm not saying its a pittance but considering regions have been going since 2003 that's less than 850K per year investment (and don't forget he gets a awful lot of business advertising and perks from this). Ironically the WRU fund the regions for a hell of a lot more than that annually. In wales for example I've always said the next step should be for benefactors to be removed. Benefactors can work but they need to be the type that do actually contribute significantly in funding and to be honest rugby isn't full of those types of Directors.

Even in France we are only talking about 4 or 5 clubs who have any real financial clout. I'm sure that will change in the coming years in France but currently there is an actual limit to how many players these clubs can actually sign. So the supply and demand chain is very limited, which currently is shown by the massive amount of free agent players in June who still have clubs to find for next season.


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