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Post by RubyGuby Wed 11 Nov 2015, 10:06 am

Is the Burgess debacle likely to deter other RL players from changing codes in the NH? It's been a seemingly attractive move for some players in recent years and I'm just wondering if this is going to make others think a little bit more about moving.

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Post by lostinwales Wed 11 Nov 2015, 10:26 am

Successful code changes have always been low in number. The Burgess failure is just a lot more high profile than most (if not all).

What I hope it will do is make the parties on both sides think much harder about the risks involved before going ahead with more deals of this kind.

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Post by Biltong Wed 11 Nov 2015, 10:30 am

Agree with lostinwales, this isn't new, it is just this case was high on the media profile due to the rwc.

It won't change anything
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Post by LondonTiger Wed 11 Nov 2015, 10:35 am

While SH have seen plenty of successful converts (did many of those play RU at school maybe?) NH has seen very few - just Jason Robinson springs to mind.

The lure of massive international crowds - and higher salary caps - will continue to attract.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 11 Nov 2015, 10:38 am

We maybe get too caught up in a really good international player here when considering this. There's plenty who have been good club players.

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Post by lostinwales Wed 11 Nov 2015, 10:54 am

LondonTiger wrote:While SH have seen plenty of successful converts (did many of those play RU at school maybe?) NH has seen very few - just Jason Robinson springs to mind.

The lure of massive international crowds - and higher salary caps - will continue to attract.

Don't think that applies to SA. I suspect that in NZ/Aus players are more likely to be exposed to both codes than they are here in the UK, where RL is very much restricted to small region.

Obviously the big lesson is that while there are transferable skills, and a great athlete in one code is likely to be a great athlete in the other, a successful transfer takes time.

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Post by ScarletSpiderman Wed 11 Nov 2015, 11:19 am

LondonTiger wrote:The lure of massive international crowds - and higher salary caps - will continue to attract.

It is pretty much the reverse of how things used to be when Wales lost the likes of Jiffy, Quinnell, Gibbs etc to league.
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Post by doctor_grey Wed 11 Nov 2015, 11:26 am

I think in the professional era the separation between League and Rugby is increasing. The sports are different and the skills and conditioning are different. So there will likely be fewer and fewer players going from League to Rugby. And of course, almost no one goes from Rugby to League. In fact, given the financial discrepancy between the sports, except possibly in Australia, I would suppose fewer and fewer top athletes will choose League.

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Post by lostinwales Wed 11 Nov 2015, 11:36 am

doctor_grey wrote:I think in the professional era the separation between League and Rugby is increasing.  The sports are different and the skills and conditioning are different.  So there will likely be fewer and fewer players going from League to Rugby.  And of course, almost no one goes from Rugby to League.  In fact, given the financial discrepancy between the sports, except possibly in Australia, I would suppose fewer and fewer top athletes will choose League.

I think the money in the NRL also influences NZ based players.

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Post by chewed_mintie Wed 11 Nov 2015, 11:39 am

doctor_grey wrote:I think in the professional era the separation between League and Rugby is increasing.  The sports are different and the skills and conditioning are different.  So there will likely be fewer and fewer players going from League to Rugby.  And of course, almost no one goes from Rugby to League.  In fact, given the financial discrepancy between the sports, except possibly in Australia, I would suppose fewer and fewer top athletes will choose League.

This just simply isn't the case.  A significant number of kids in NZ grow up playing both sports (as I did).  I think more are now than ever before.  There is no reason why you cannot learn the intricacies of each and apply these where necessary.  We also know there are many skills that transfer over too.

As for fewer athletes choosing League, Auckland has the biggest pool of rugby talent in the world and every year NRL scouts are hoovering up schoolboy rugby players on Under 20 contracts and taking them to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.  Wellington and Christchurch suffer too to a lesser extent....

A good many of these players lured off will eventually return to rugby.  Roger Tuivasa-Shek has just joined the Warriors from Sydney Roosters as a potential example - played schoolboy rugby in Auckland, joined the NRL, became one of the biggest names in the game and has returned to NZ.  Has stated his future intention is to play Union again and make the All Blacks.  Watch out if he does

But to sum up, what you are saying is probably correct in the UK, but this does not transfer to NZ/OZ.

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Post by Cumbrian Wed 11 Nov 2015, 1:44 pm

As as lad who grew up playing league and union in a league hotbed, I too find it curious that some exclusively union fans seem to think that it is utterly impossible that somebody from outside the sport can learn the game. Is it arrogance? I mean union is more complicated admittedly, but it is not rocket science! A lot of the basics are the same and union teams have been employing league defence coaches for years now, so there must be some cross-over there. Breakdown skills and decision making are different, but they aren't THAT much of an enigma. I know people will point to the league players that have failed in the transition, but that is still quite a small sample number. For the record, I don't think Eastmond has 'failed' either, he is a very decent club player so far.
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Post by lostinwales Wed 11 Nov 2015, 1:51 pm

Cumbrian wrote:As as lad who grew up playing league and union in a league hotbed, I too find it curious that some exclusively union fans seem to think that it is utterly impossible that somebody from outside the sport can learn the game.  Is it arrogance?  I mean union is more complicated admittedly, but it is not rocket science!  A lot of the basics are the same and union teams have been employing league defence coaches for years now, so there must be some cross-over there.  Breakdown skills and decision making are different, but they aren't THAT much of an enigma.  I know people will point to the league players that have failed in the transition, but that is still quite a small sample number.  For the record, I don't think Eastmond has 'failed' either, he is a very decent club player so far.

Yes but its not an instant process transferring the skills. You get a decent league player with a decent work ethic to give up potentially 2 years of his career to work at the transition then you get a decent union player.

For whatever reason there are differences and it seems at the top level it takes longer than we'd expect to adapt.

Agree on Eastmond. I think Myler is another one who is deemed to have switched codes and hes done pretty well.

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Post by nlpnlp Wed 11 Nov 2015, 2:05 pm

I think it comes down to what you determine to be success or failure.  For me Eastmond is a decent club player, but did the chairman of Bath shell out many £,000's on a 'decent club player'?  Could he not have gone and get a Thomas Waldron or Horacio Agulla for an awful lot less.  When you have a marquee signing you expect great not decent - decent comes a lot cheaper.

I have played both league and union and understand that they are very very different games, something that seems to bypass most people.  Just as there were few union players who could transfer successfully to league in the 90s, so there are few league players who can transfer successfully to union now.  The stranger thing to me is that people thought that Burgess would automatically be a success at union, when he had few of the skills required to do so.  Yes I thought he could be a useful impact player for the last 20 minutes of a games when the opposition were tiring a la Sonny Bill Williams, but not a starting player for England.

I think the shoddy treatment of Burgess and in particular the carping by the likes of George Ford now that Burgess has gone (and not to his face!), is particularly distasteful.  This will undoubtedly put off a lot of league players considering a move to union - they will see it as union looking down at league.  doctor_grey said above "almost no one goes from Rugby to League."  Rugby??? Do you mean rugby union to rugby league?  It just smacks of arrogance.  Rugby league is a humble working class game and many of its players will think twice before mixing with the public school blazer crowd that is "Rugby".  Rant over, I will now retire to a dark room and admire my posters of the Burgess boys, and consider a Andy Farrell / Shaun Edwards coaching team for England now Lancaster has gone.

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Post by Cumbrian Wed 11 Nov 2015, 2:17 pm

Oh I agree that it isn't as simple as strapping on your boots and getting out there, but I do believe it can be learned. As a fan of league I get piqued about some of the things I read sometimes such as about tackling technique. I read a union fan say on another site that league players couldn't tackle in union because they are only used to tackling players head on. Think about what that is saying, apparently league players can't tackle players running at an angle! ludicrous!

Oh and I no leaguies are much worse for their criticism, coming the other way but I still believe that the sports are more interchangable than people might think.

After all Burrell, Ford and Farrell all come from league backgrounds (admittedly having spent a long time playing union).

I am keeping an eye on how Josh Jones goes at Exeter.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 11 Nov 2015, 2:40 pm

Are you just wumming nlp? Waldrom or Agulla instead of Eastmond. I'm giving you the ebenfit of the doubt you're doing it deliberately.

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Post by Scarpia Wed 11 Nov 2015, 2:49 pm

When the trend was union to league the players had to improve a small set of skills but could forget or at least ignore, many others. Coming from league to union means learning a much wider set of skills. This is possible of course but it takes a lot longer than Burgess was given. Position also matters. Jason Robinson easily adapted to wing/fullback which has a small skill set. But centre and especially outside half is, quite literally, another ball game.

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Post by RubyGuby Wed 11 Nov 2015, 3:13 pm

Scarpia wrote:When the trend was union to league the players had to improve a small set of skills but could forget or at least ignore, many others. Coming from league to union means learning a much wider set of skills. This is possible of course but it takes a lot longer than Burgess was given. Position also matters. Jason Robinson easily adapted to wing/fullback which has a small skill set. But centre and especially outside half is, quite literally, another ball game.

That's the best post yet for me so nice one Scarpia. I would add that as both codes become increasingly professional and specialised the gap between them along with the transition becomes increasingly more difficult.


I also quite like the working class analogy mixing with the toffs above as well. Not quite sure if we've heard the last of that and it'll be interesting to listen to the RL grapevine as to what their view of this is.

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Post by George Carlin Wed 11 Nov 2015, 4:23 pm

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Post by fa0019 Wed 11 Nov 2015, 5:04 pm

I think it will but only for a short while. The financial gains are too different. How many league players are on the sort of money that union guys can command?

I do think that star players have to come under a union acquisition however.  You can't have a situation where a player is played in one position by his club and another completely different one by his country. Outside of chaps such as Robinson who as a winger was quite easy to adapt (the one position where its possible).

The rest, it will be tough.

Burgess could have been a class player given time but he wasn't managed the way Folau, SBW etc was. It was amateur night.

Until the RFU change their policy however I think few will think its worth the risk though. Project players need to be handled by the RFU well, they need to pay the salaries in part, have the clubs agree which position they want them to play and then work them in... not use them as kleenex like lancaster & co used Burgess (shamefully).

No wonder Burgess left.... the whole episode was a real example of what not to do.

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Post by Poorfour Wed 11 Nov 2015, 5:23 pm

From what I have seen over the years, most of the successful converts (Robinson excepted) have a solid grounding in union from their youth or early career or have to put in the hard yards.

It seems to be easier to go from union to league than the other way round, and it seems to hinge on the way the channels work in defence and the breakdown.
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Post by majesticimperialman Wed 11 Nov 2015, 7:36 pm

I cannot think of any one except Sam Burgess, who came in from league to union at ( international level ) with so little time to get too know the game.

And i think that is why so much has been made of this. Will it stop other players from crossing over? I don't think it will, but i do think that the coaches will think twice before playing them in a Rugby World Cup. With so little time from crossing over.

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Post by ScarletSpiderman Wed 11 Nov 2015, 7:47 pm

majesticimperialman wrote:I cannot think of any one except Sam Burgess, who came in from league to union at ( international level ) with so little time to get too know the game.

And i think that is why so much has been made of this. Will it stop other players from crossing over? I don't think it will, but i do think that the coaches will think twice before playing them in a Rugby World Cup. With so little time from crossing over.

Iestyn Harris, big money paid to bring him over. Decent players dropped to facilitate getting him in the international side, proved to be a flop. Went back to league, and shone. I think Burgess is pretty much the same story (bar the centre/flanker cack too)
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Post by doctor_grey Wed 11 Nov 2015, 9:21 pm

Cumbrian wrote:As as lad who grew up playing league and union in a league hotbed, I too find it curious that some exclusively union fans seem to think that it is utterly impossible that somebody from outside the sport can learn the game.  Is it arrogance?  I mean union is more complicated admittedly, but it is not rocket science!  A lot of the basics are the same and union teams have been employing league defence coaches for years now, so there must be some cross-over there.  Breakdown skills and decision making are different, but they aren't THAT much of an enigma.  I know people will point to the league players that have failed in the transition, but that is still quite a small sample number.  For the record, I don't think Eastmond has 'failed' either, he is a very decent club player so far.
I find it amusing to accuse anyone of 'arrogance' for making the statements the two sports are different and in the modern professional sporting world the training methods and phycial requirements for the athletes are different.  Skills are more focused, too.  Therefore, my conclusion was simply it will become increasingly harder for mature athletes to change their game and cross from one of the sports to the other.  

As an example, I agree breakdown skills are not impossible to learn.  But at the very top level it is that split second timing about getting there whch is frequently the difference between success and failure.  Perhaps if someone grows up playing both sports, that barrier is not so bad to overcome.  But for most, it is a clear challenge,  In fact, it is most of those split second, virtually muscle memory types reads in every sport whiich sets them apart from every other.  

In the northern hemisphere we rarely now see athletes even discuss changing from the League game to the Union game.  I'm sure this us mainly financial and opposite to 30, 40, 50 years ago.  With significant increases in the Premiership salary cap (where followed) the gap is widening.  

I also agree Eastmond is a fine player.  Perhaps not International level, but a fine player.  I am also a big fan of Stevie Myler who switched to Union when he was in his early 20s, and is a solid productive fly-half fo my Saints.  I think a last part of the problem is expectation.  Eatmond, Burgess, and a raft of others have come across to headlines predicting they will be the next England 'answer', though to be fair the fault for that was sometimes mainly media driven.  Myler came across for a team in bad shape with no equivalent expectation.  For his consistent high level play in the Premiership, he might be the most successful English player to convert since Jason Robinson.

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Post by blackcanelion Thu 12 Nov 2015, 12:36 am

chewed_mintie wrote:
doctor_grey wrote:I think in the professional era the separation between League and Rugby is increasing.  The sports are different and the skills and conditioning are different.  So there will likely be fewer and fewer players going from League to Rugby.  And of course, almost no one goes from Rugby to League.  In fact, given the financial discrepancy between the sports, except possibly in Australia, I would suppose fewer and fewer top athletes will choose League.

This just simply isn't the case.  A significant number of kids in NZ grow up playing both sports (as I did).  I think more are now than ever before.  There is no reason why you cannot learn the intricacies of each and apply these where necessary.  We also know there are many skills that transfer over too.

As for fewer athletes choosing League, Auckland has the biggest pool of rugby talent in the world and every year NRL scouts are hoovering up schoolboy rugby players on Under 20 contracts and taking them to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.  Wellington and Christchurch suffer too to a lesser extent....

A good many of these players lured off will eventually return to rugby.  Roger Tuivasa-Shek has just joined the Warriors from Sydney Roosters as a potential example - played schoolboy rugby in Auckland, joined the NRL, became one of the biggest names in the game and has returned to NZ.  Has stated his future intention is to play Union again and make the All Blacks.  Watch out if he does

But to sum up, what you are saying is probably correct in the UK, but this does not transfer to NZ/OZ.

Have top agree. Junior kids in our club (under 13), play union for the club on Sunday, a lot played league on Sunday (although almost all in our part of town started in union), most play touch (through school, or through touch). Neighbors kids play union through school (and rep rugby via hurricanes), league also through school, 7's and touch (and or flag). They all interact and add in my opinion. I lot of professional league and union players here have experience all three).

The big issue here is the lack of professional pathway from school to provincial. That's where leagues really made an impact. The NRL clubs scour 1st XV's for under 20 sides. I think it rips the heart out of Australia and huge impact on NZ. Some kids don't adjust in time, others skills don't always transfer, some do very well. The Kiwi squad in England contains at least 4 players with some union background (Tuivasa Shek, Jordan Kahu, Ben Matalino and Tohu Harris). Tohu Harris played for the same side as Perenara (the league scouts were actually after Perenara). It's a very weak squad, ex union players that were in the last league world cup final also include the likes of Simon Mannering, Elijah Taylor and Shaun Johnson. If you look at a side like Melbourne Storm you'll see a number of kiwi union players, current players coming through include Nelson Asofa Solomona (He's probably going to be a superstar in league and I think he would have been a once in a generation player in Union (imagine a combination of SBW, Brad Thorne and Body Retallick). There are also players like Jared Waewera Hargreaves, Manaia Cherrington who grew up playing rugby in Australia (it's worth noting that New Zealanders don't automatically qualify as Australian citizens even if they are born there). I heard a really interesting interview with Steven Kearney attributed a significant influence on the current team as Wayne Smith.


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Post by blackcanelion Thu 12 Nov 2015, 12:38 am

blackcanelion wrote:
chewed_mintie wrote:
doctor_grey wrote:I think in the professional era the separation between League and Rugby is increasing.  The sports are different and the skills and conditioning are different.  So there will likely be fewer and fewer players going from League to Rugby.  And of course, almost no one goes from Rugby to League.  In fact, given the financial discrepancy between the sports, except possibly in Australia, I would suppose fewer and fewer top athletes will choose League.

This just simply isn't the case.  A significant number of kids in NZ grow up playing both sports (as I did).  I think more are now than ever before.  There is no reason why you cannot learn the intricacies of each and apply these where necessary.  We also know there are many skills that transfer over too.

As for fewer athletes choosing League, Auckland has the biggest pool of rugby talent in the world and every year NRL scouts are hoovering up schoolboy rugby players on Under 20 contracts and taking them to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.  Wellington and Christchurch suffer too to a lesser extent....

A good many of these players lured off will eventually return to rugby.  Roger Tuivasa-Shek has just joined the Warriors from Sydney Roosters as a potential example - played schoolboy rugby in Auckland, joined the NRL, became one of the biggest names in the game and has returned to NZ.  Has stated his future intention is to play Union again and make the All Blacks.  Watch out if he does

But to sum up, what you are saying is probably correct in the UK, but this does not transfer to NZ/OZ.

Have top agree. Junior kids in our club (under 13), play union for the club on Sunday, a lot played league on Sunday (although almost all in our part of town started in union), most play touch (through school, or through touch). Neighbors kids play union through school (and rep rugby via hurricanes), league also through school, 7's and touch (and or flag).  They all interact and add in my opinion. I lot of professional league and union players here have experience all three).

The big issue here is the lack of professional pathway from school to provincial. That's where leagues really made an impact. The NRL clubs scour 1st XV's for under 20 sides. I think it rips the heart out of Australia and huge impact on NZ. Some kids don't adjust in time, others skills don't always transfer, some do very well. The Kiwi squad in England contains at least 4 players with some union background (Tuivasa Shek, Jordan Kahu, Ben Matalino and Tohu Harris). Interesting almost the entire NZ schools backline that played with Shek went to league. Tohu Harris played for the same side as Perenara (the league scouts were actually after Perenara). It's a very weak squad, ex union players that were in the last league world cup final also include the likes of Simon Mannering, Elijah Taylor and Shaun Johnson. If you look at a side like Melbourne Storm you'll see a number of kiwi union players, current players coming through include Nelson Asofa Solomona (He's probably going to be a superstar in league and I think he would have been a once in a generation player in Union (imagine a combination of SBW, Brad Thorne and Body Retallick). There are also players like Jared Waewera Hargreaves, Manaia Cherrington who grew up playing rugby in Australia (it's worth noting that New Zealanders don't automatically qualify as Australian citizens even if they are born there). I heard a really interesting interview with Steven Kearney attributed a significant influence on the current team as Wayne Smith.


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Post by doctor_grey Thu 12 Nov 2015, 5:24 am

blackcanelion wrote:
chewed_mintie wrote:
doctor_grey wrote:I think in the professional era the separation between League and Rugby is increasing.  The sports are different and the skills and conditioning are different.  So there will likely be fewer and fewer players going from League to Rugby.  And of course, almost no one goes from Rugby to League.  In fact, given the financial discrepancy between the sports, except possibly in Australia, I would suppose fewer and fewer top athletes will choose League.

This just simply isn't the case.  A significant number of kids in NZ grow up playing both sports (as I did).  I think more are now than ever before.  There is no reason why you cannot learn the intricacies of each and apply these where necessary.  We also know there are many skills that transfer over too.

As for fewer athletes choosing League, Auckland has the biggest pool of rugby talent in the world and every year NRL scouts are hoovering up schoolboy rugby players on Under 20 contracts and taking them to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.  Wellington and Christchurch suffer too to a lesser extent....

A good many of these players lured off will eventually return to rugby.  Roger Tuivasa-Shek has just joined the Warriors from Sydney Roosters as a potential example - played schoolboy rugby in Auckland, joined the NRL, became one of the biggest names in the game and has returned to NZ.  Has stated his future intention is to play Union again and make the All Blacks.  Watch out if he does

But to sum up, what you are saying is probably correct in the UK, but this does not transfer to NZ/OZ.

Have top agree. Junior kids in our club (under 13), play union for the club on Sunday, a lot played league on Sunday (although almost all in our part of town started in union), most play touch (through school, or through touch). Neighbors kids play union through school (and rep rugby via hurricanes), league also through school, 7's and touch (and or flag).  They all interact and add in my opinion. I lot of professional league and union players here have experience all three).

The big issue here is the lack of professional pathway from school to provincial. That's where leagues really made an impact. The NRL clubs scour 1st XV's for under 20 sides. I think it rips the heart out of Australia and huge impact on NZ. Some kids don't adjust in time, others skills don't always transfer, some do very well. The Kiwi squad in England contains at least 4 players with some union background (Tuivasa Shek, Jordan Kahu, Ben Matalino and Tohu Harris). Tohu Harris played for the same side as Perenara (the league scouts were actually after Perenara). It's a very weak squad, ex union players that were in the last league world cup final also include the likes of Simon Mannering, Elijah Taylor and Shaun Johnson. If you look at a side like Melbourne Storm you'll see a number of kiwi union players, current players coming through include Nelson Asofa Solomona (He's probably going to be a superstar in league and I think he would have been a once in a generation player in Union (imagine a combination of SBW, Brad Thorne and Body Retallick). There are also players like Jared Waewera Hargreaves, Manaia Cherrington who grew up playing rugby in Australia (it's worth noting that New Zealanders don't automatically qualify as Australian citizens even if they are born there). I heard a really interesting interview with Steven Kearney attributed a significant influence on the current team as Wayne Smith.

I hear you and understand there is a different dynamic in NZ and Aus. However, I cannot believe you think that different sports with different conditioning requirements and some different skill sets are not becoming more and more specialized, making players less able to jump from one to the other. In this era of professional sport where the top players do so much position specific and sport specific training, it cannot be any other way. Clearly, if kids play multiple sports it might be easier to jump as adults, but there is will only be rare exceptions at the top levels. Recreational and junior levels are very different.

There will always be those special talents who can play multiople sports at a high level. Israel Folau, Sonny Bill Williams, Jason Robinson. Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson. These guys are unique. Not the norm.

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Rugby League to Rugby Union Empty Re: Rugby League to Rugby Union

Post by aucklandlaurie Thu 12 Nov 2015, 6:57 am


There will always be players jumping between the codes at all levels.


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Rugby League to Rugby Union Empty Re: Rugby League to Rugby Union

Post by dummy_half Thu 12 Nov 2015, 7:35 am

Much easier to cross codes if you play both as a kid. As someone who has played more RL than Union, it is undoubtedly a technically and tactically easier sport but physically harder (the ball is in play for much longer and there are more collisions at high speed).

I actually think defence and tackling are the most transferable aspects, with ball carrying the next. The difficulty is developing the instinct of what to do as the tackler / tackled player and next player into the breakdown to gain the most advantageous position for your side, You can certainly learn the basics in a few weeks, but to get really good to the point where it happens almost without thinking takes a lot longer, and an RL convert with no Union background will always be at a disadvantage against his contemporaries who have been playing RU for 15 + years.

There are parallels in the failures of Iestyn Harris and Burgess, mainly to do with the insistence on where they play. Harris could have been a very good 12, but was shoe-horned in at 10, while Burgess was obviously better suited to the back row but Lancaster wanted his attributes in a centre.

Oh, and it isn't just League to Union converts who fail - Terry Holmes for one never made the grade in league. Don't remember Dai Young being that great either.

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Rugby League to Rugby Union Empty Re: Rugby League to Rugby Union

Post by blackcanelion Thu 12 Nov 2015, 7:45 am

I agree with you Dr. I think at the junior level they can play both, but when they play one professionally  it becomes difficult to readjust. There are 2 ex union/league players is in next years Blues squad (Matt Duffie and Matt McGahan) and a smattering throughout NZ and Australian Union sides. I think wing seems the easiest transition (Mcgahan's had problems adjusting back to flyhalf after 2 years in the Storm under 20's). I do think it becomes easier once they've adjusted to the professional game. Both SBW and Brad Thorn seemed to transition back and forth ok.

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Rugby League to Rugby Union Empty Re: Rugby League to Rugby Union

Post by doctor_grey Thu 12 Nov 2015, 8:02 am

A good mate of mine who ives in New Jersey now played League for London Broncos and jumped to Union near to the end of his career. Even back when he did the deed about 18 years ago he felt his first year playing Union was really difficult.

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Rugby League to Rugby Union Empty Re: Rugby League to Rugby Union

Post by Cumbrian Thu 12 Nov 2015, 8:33 am

doctor_grey wrote:
Cumbrian wrote:As as lad who grew up playing league and union in a league hotbed, I too find it curious that some exclusively union fans seem to think that it is utterly impossible that somebody from outside the sport can learn the game.  Is it arrogance?  I mean union is more complicated admittedly, but it is not rocket science!  A lot of the basics are the same and union teams have been employing league defence coaches for years now, so there must be some cross-over there.  Breakdown skills and decision making are different, but they aren't THAT much of an enigma.  I know people will point to the league players that have failed in the transition, but that is still quite a small sample number.  For the record, I don't think Eastmond has 'failed' either, he is a very decent club player so far.
I find it amusing to accuse anyone of 'arrogance' for making the statements the two sports are different and in the modern professional sporting world the training methods and phycial requirements for the athletes are different.  Skills are more focused, too.  Therefore, my conclusion was simply it will become increasingly harder for mature athletes to change their game and cross from one of the sports to the other.  

As an example, I agree breakdown skills are not impossible to learn.  But at the very top level it is that split second timing about getting there whch is frequently the difference between success and failure.  Perhaps if someone grows up playing both sports, that barrier is not so bad to overcome.  But for most, it is a clear challenge,  In fact, it is most of those split second, virtually muscle memory types reads in every sport whiich sets them apart from every other.  

In the northern hemisphere we rarely now see athletes even discuss changing from the League game to the Union game.  I'm sure this us mainly financial and opposite to 30, 40, 50 years ago.  With significant increases in the Premiership salary cap (where followed) the gap is widening.  

I also agree Eastmond is a fine player.  Perhaps not International level, but a fine player.  I am also a big fan of Stevie Myler who switched to Union when he was in his early 20s, and is a solid productive fly-half fo my Saints.  I think a last part of the problem is expectation.  Eatmond, Burgess, and a raft of others have come across to headlines predicting they will be the next England 'answer', though to be fair the fault for that was sometimes mainly media driven.  Myler came across for a team in bad shape with no equivalent expectation.  For his consistent high level play in the Premiership, he might be the most successful English player to convert since Jason Robinson.

I didn't suggest that it was arrogance to point out that they were different sports or that they required different skill sets. I just sometimes get the feeling (generally not on this board though) that there is a haughty element of Union fans that believe that it is simply beyond league players to grasp the intricacies of rugby. A feeling that is intensified when a league player fails to make an instant impact because he has been dragged out onto the international stage far too early.
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