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Superb article on the Pro12 and Europe

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Superb article on the Pro12 and Europe - Page 3 Empty Superb article on the Pro12 and Europe

Post by Chunky Norwich Sun 22 Nov 2015, 11:59 am

First topic message reminder :

https://theblitzdefence.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/the-declining-power-of-pro12-in-europe/

We are only a few games in to the new European Champions Cup tournament but already we have seen the best the Pro12 can offer being humbled by their French and English counterparts.

The reigning Pro12 champions Glasgow Warriors lost at home to Northampton Saints, Ulster were humbled at the Kingspan to Saracens while down in Llanelli not even a farcical red card awarded to a Racing Metro player could even up the tie as the Scarlets were defeated to effectively end their hopes in this year’s competition.



The decline in the Pro12

Things are not looking good on the Pro12 front. Last year the Pro12 provided just one team for the quarter finals but we could potentially find ourselves in the situation towards the end of the season where we have an all Anglo-French quarter final line up. This isn’t good for the game in the northern hemisphere.

As the graph below shows, the Pro12 has consistently contributed at least two of the tournament’s quarter finalists – usually Irish teams, with the dominance of Leinster and Munster being augmented by a recently resurgent Ulster.

The other noticeable trend is the drop off in Welsh representation post the 2009/10 season, save for Cardiff Blues’ appearance in the 2011/12 quarter final.

Heineken quarters



To be a strong and popular tournament the European Champions Cup needs as many teams and nations to be competitive as it can. The way the club and regional rugby scene is evolving in Europe we are in serious danger of having the Pro12 teams from the 4 nations being uncompetitive at the top level in Europe.

We will now look at each Pro12 nation and their historical success and future prospects.



Ireland

Ireland has consistently provided strong teams that have had great success in Europe; in fact they have dominated the tournament in certain phases of its history.

Between the 2005/06 season and the 2011/12 season Ireland had 5 of the 7 winners of what was called the Heineken Cup – Munster winning it twice and Leinster 3 times. Ulster joined in on the act in 2012 when an all-Ireland affair in Twickenham saw Leinster take away the trophy for the third time.

But since that day in south west London the Euro bubble seems to have burst for the Irish teams. They have still contributed teams to the knock out stages but the last 3 finals have not contained a single Irish team; just Leinster made it to the quarter finals last year.

This year’s tournament hasn’t started particularly well either. Dai Young’s Wasps defeated Leinster convincingly in their own back yard last week and they followed that up with an away defeat at Bath while Ulster suffered a home defeat to Saracens.

Munster seem to be in a fairly rapid state of decline so they won’t relish having to come out of a group which contains Leicester Tigers and Stade Francais. If there is one team that raises its performances in European competition it is Munster but their form this season to date doesn’t bode well for progression out of the group.

It is conceivable there will be no Irish team in the quarter finals come April next year.



Italy

Since their introduction to the top tier of European rugby, Italian teams have always struggled to be competitive against Europe’s elite.

Benetton Treviso have made the best fist of the Italian clubs but even their record is fairly modest; in 18 full seasons of European rugby they have won just 19 games. A more depressing statistic is that in the last 10 full seasons they have only recorded 5 victories – Ospreys (H 14/15), Ospreys (H 12/13), Biarritz (H 11/12), Perpignan (H 9/10) and NG Dragons (A 7/8).

This season they have again found the going tough with heavy defeats away at Munster (32-7) and at home to Leicester (3-36).

Just a couple of seasons ago there were glimmers of hope that Treviso were starting to put together a team that could be more competitive. In the 2012/13 Pro12 season they finished a commendable 7th out of 12 teams – far above their traditional position in the bottom couple of spots.

Although they only notched up a single win, they came 2 minutes away from beating Leicester at home and put in two commendable performances against Toulouse.

Treviso rugby seemed on the up but a number of factors have conspired to put Treviso back to the bottom of the European pile.



Scotland

Scotland’s European representatives have also found it hard to make a lasting mark in  European rugby.

Glasgow Warriors’ recent improvements at the Pro12 level haven’t translated to success at European level and the reigning Pro12 champions already looking unlikely to progress beyond this year’s group stage following  a home defeat to Northampton Saints.

Since a solitary quarter final appearance in the early days of the Heineken Cup, Glasgow have failed to get out of their group in the top European competition.

Edinburgh have been slightly more successful with the highlight being a semi-final appearance in the 2011/12 season. This was an exceptional season for the team and represents the only time they have got out of the pool in the last 10 seasons.

They now play in the second tier European Challenge Cup.



Wales

It is a sad reality that the Welsh regions have not been troubling the latter stages of the top European competition since the 2011/12 season when the Cardiff Blues made it out of their pool before being thumped by Leinster 34-3 in the quarter final in Dublin.

Since then, the civil war within the Welsh game has conspired to reduce the strength of the regions to the point where they cannot compete against the powerhouse teams from France, England and Ireland.

It wasn’t that long ago that Cardiff Blues were ranked in the top seeds group for the Heineken Cup (the 2012/13 season) and just losing to Leicester in a penalty goal decided semi-final (2008/09),  but with the team now playing in the second tier Challenge Cup (and losing to Sale’s second team at home) a brighter future seems a long way off.

The Ospreys’ zenith came between 2007 and 2010 when they played 3 quarter finals but couldn’t quite make the leap to achieve a semi final spot. Since then their stock has fallen to the point where they finished last season with a comprehensive home defeat to Northampton Saints and followed this up with a humbling defeat to Treviso.

With the French giants Clermont in the Ospreys’ pool this year, progressing to the quarter finals will be a very difficult task.

Llanelli Scarlets have arguably been the best performing Welsh team in Europe over the years with a semi-final spot in the 2006/07 season their highlight. The Scarlets recent performances though have mirrored the pattern in the other Welsh teams – a gradual decline to the point where they are not expected to make the knock out stages of the top European competition.



With two teams in the second tier competition and the Ospreys and Scarlets struggling in the Champions Cup, having a Welsh region get to the quarter finals of the Champions Cup looks unlikely for the foreseeable future.



Can the decline be halted?

There are probably two main factors at play which is driving the changes we are seeing.

The first is that the Pro12 teams have large numbers of players that have been away on international duty and therefore it will take longer for them to integrate back in to the domestic set up. This is particularly true for the likes of Glasgow, Leinster and the Ospreys who effectively contribute their first team squad to international duty.

A constant theme on theblitzdefence articles is the balance between a strong domestic league and ensuring a competitive national team. It is no coincidence that over the past few years the Welsh and Irish national teams have been strong because they have been given prominence over the regional teams, while the opposite is true in England and France.

The second factor, which is more structural, is we are seeing the impact of the asymmetrical distribution of money and resources across the European leagues filtering through to the performances on the field.

The obvious examples are the huge playing squads and resources of the French teams which means they can mop up some of the best players in the world and have benches that are as strong as some teams first XV. It is not surprising that these teams are beating those with much smaller budgets.

Those teams with the money and the ability to generate more income will be in the big markets of France and England. They have the benefit of wealthy investors, large domestic markets and with that comes TV deals and more money.

It is difficult to see the Pro12 teams competing with the growing financial muscle of France and England given their respective populations and wealth, in fact we would go as far to say it will be impossible to compete if the current trends continue.

The only possible means of keeping up with the big nations’ financial clout is the emergence of a UK-Irish league which would include the Pro12 nations and allow them to share in the wealth that comes from the larger market.

Until that time comes (if it ever does) expect to see the continued gradual decline in the competitiveness of the Pro12 teams at the top European table. The ladder is being pulled up and the Pro12 needs to find a way to quickly grab hold before they are left too far behind.

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Post by LordDowlais Mon 23 Nov 2015, 4:27 pm

SecretFly wrote:I do have to remind you what you said.  I find it effective in debating terms.  You'd rather I ignored inconsistencies in your posts.  If you have the 'bare faced cheek' to goad me then first cover your tracks and be more consistent in your opinions.


Covering my tracks for what ? I have always said that I think we should prioritise our league over Europe, unfortunately you do not care about the Pro12.

Also, how am I goading you ? please explain.

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Post by Chunky Norwich Mon 23 Nov 2015, 4:31 pm

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:

Someone will lose out under your proposed format and that's why it won't ever gain consensus.

Who would lose out under my proposed format?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 23 Nov 2015, 4:45 pm

The English and Italians. And according to you, the Irish.

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Post by Chunky Norwich Mon 23 Nov 2015, 4:47 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:The English and Italians. And according to you, the Irish.

Italians get to play at their level. Which English and Irish lose out and why?

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Post by Guest Mon 23 Nov 2015, 4:56 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
SecretFly wrote:I do have to remind you what you said.  I find it effective in debating terms.  You'd rather I ignored inconsistencies in your posts.  If you have the 'bare faced cheek' to goad me then first cover your tracks and be more consistent in your opinions.


Covering my tracks for what ? I have always said that I think we should prioritise our league over Europe, unfortunately you do not care about the Pro12.

Also, how am I goading you ? please explain.

You're basically asking what can be done to make the Provinces more competitive in Europe, yet you were suggesting a weaker Provinces to allow a more competitive Pro12. A weaker Provinces should be something you welcome, not asking for solutions to make them stronger.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Mon 23 Nov 2015, 4:59 pm

Why would the French take on the Italians? They wouldn't bring anything to the comp and also the Federale 1 clubs would be furious if the two italians teams went straight into the Pro d2 ahead of them.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 23 Nov 2015, 4:59 pm

So you think the Italians want to go back to their own league?
The English will lose money, have some Pro 12 teams possibly gain greater financial parity which they don't want, have increased competition (which you posted an article about can adveresley affect crowds and lose power in decision making. You've said the league is set up to favour the Irish so unless the new 1 is they lose out.

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Post by LordDowlais Mon 23 Nov 2015, 5:00 pm

Munchkin wrote:You're basically asking what can be done to make the Provinces more competitive in Europe, yet you were suggesting a weaker Provinces to allow a more competitive Pro12. A weaker Provinces should be something you welcome, not asking for solutions to make them stronger.

Again, why all this parochialism about the provinces, I know people like SF do not care about the Pro12, but I do. What can we do as the Pro12 to make our league better so that our teams can compete better with the French and English ? This is all I am asking.

My first thing would be to make the Pro12 more marketable and try and get more money from the TV companies and sponsors. thus generating more money for all of us. I know that does not happen overnight but we need to do more for the Pro12. Weather some of you care about it or not. Otherwise we will have to go down chunky's route of a B&I league, if the English will let us.

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Post by SecretFly Mon 23 Nov 2015, 5:06 pm

Chunky Norwich wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:The English and Italians. And according to you, the Irish.

Italians get to play at their level. Which English and Irish lose out and why?

.... well away from 'us' and well away from competing for their share of all the allegedly lovely millions of extra cash flooding the scene. Yeah, nice to have someone smugly willing to remove them from that scene with a shrug of the shoulder.

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Post by Chunky Norwich Mon 23 Nov 2015, 5:11 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:So you think the Italians want to go back to their own league?
The English will lose money, have some Pro 12 teams possibly gain greater financial parity which they don't want, have increased competition (which you posted an article about can adveresley affect crowds and lose power in decision making. You've said the league is set up to favour the Irish so unless the new 1 is they lose out.

How will the English lose money?

The alternative for the Irish and all teams in the PrO'12 is pro rugby teetering on the verge of obscurity. It's slowly starting to sink in. Expect to see more and more articles like this one in the coming months. And more rugby chiefs call for the British and Irish league. OK

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Post by Guest Mon 23 Nov 2015, 5:12 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
Munchkin wrote:You're basically asking what can be done to make the Provinces more competitive in Europe, yet you were suggesting a weaker Provinces to allow a more competitive Pro12. A weaker Provinces should be something you welcome, not asking for solutions to make them stronger.

Again, why all this parochialism about the provinces, I know people like SF do not care about the Pro12, but I do. What can we do as the Pro12 to make our league better so that our teams can compete better with the French and English ? This is all I am asking.

My first thing would be to make the Pro12 more marketable and try and get more money from the TV companies and sponsors. thus generating more money for all of us. I know that does not happen overnight but we need to do more for the Pro12. Weather some of you care about it or not. Otherwise we will have to go down chunky's route of a B&I league, if the English will let us.

Because it was you that made the claim that the Provinces aiming to compete in Europe made the Pro12 weaker, and it is you that wants a weaker Provinces in order to make Pro12 more competitive. You can't have it both ways, LD. Either you want a weaker Provinces, or you don't. If you don't, and you want to see them compete at the top in Europe, then you can't really complain about our strength in Pro12.

We all care about Pro12, LD, and Pro12 is working, and succeeding, in attracting more sponsorship/greater broadcasting revenue. To help this along all sides need to up their game, be more competitive, and attract a growing fan base (bums on seats). The Regions need to raise their game against the Provinces. Not the Provinces lower their standard to help make the games more even. That helps none of us. If you want to really increase market value then Pro12 must be competitive in Europe.

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Post by Guest Mon 23 Nov 2015, 5:15 pm

Chunky Norwich wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:So you think the Italians want to go back to their own league?
The English will lose money, have some Pro 12 teams possibly gain greater financial parity which they don't want, have increased competition (which you posted an article about can adveresley affect crowds and lose power in decision making. You've said the league is set up to favour the Irish so unless the new 1 is they lose out.

How will the English lose money?

The alternative for the Irish and all teams in the PrO'12 is pro rugby teetering on the verge of obscurity. It's slowly starting to sink in. Expect to see more and more articles like this one in the coming months. And more rugby chiefs call for the British and Irish league. OK

What starting to slowly sink in? That Pro12 attendance is up? That broadcasting revenue is up? That sponsorship is up? Is that what's sinking in?

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Post by TJ Mon 23 Nov 2015, 5:18 pm

Don't feed the troll!

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Post by Exiledinborders Mon 23 Nov 2015, 5:20 pm

All this talk of a B&I league is just that. Talk. It is not going to happen. The truth is there is nothing in it for the English clubs or even the RFU.

Many of the posters have spoken about populations and franchises and how this would mean places like Leicester would have no team. That is of course nonsense. If franchises were based on population then in a fourteen team league England would have eleven teams and the other three nations one each. I am sure no one wants that.

Change will happen. A fourteen team ring fenced English league will be formed. It will include the current clubs plus Bristol and Leeds. It is what the clubs want. It is what the RFU want but if they are sensible the RFU will extract a price for agreeing to this in terms of increased access to international players, expansion of the academies etc..

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 23 Nov 2015, 5:27 pm

I'll answer when you answer mine Chunky.

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Post by HammerofThunor Mon 23 Nov 2015, 6:01 pm

SecretFly wrote:
HammerofThunor wrote:
SecretFly wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:


Neither Saints nor Leicester fans would support the idea. However if such an idea comes about it will be created as a "fait ccompli"  and there will be no choice.

Leicester will just have to play in the level below, which I would follow instead.

Hold on a sec, Tiger.  I think you're jumping the gun a bit and probably why I mentioned the Illuminati.  The bosses of two present teams will not dictate the construction and loyalties to a new system of conglomerate teams created out of the embers of already proud and historic clubs.  They won't just step up and say "We command it so".  They're naïve if they'd think that's a smooth sail even if they bring a bookload of facts and figures about profits and market share.

Em, you might look to the Welsh Regions actually a case in point of an idea of consolidation that has been backfiring and spluttering for many years now (with much resistance to the very idea of their creation very much still in the minds of traditional 'club' supporters).

you seem to be slightly misreading him.  He seems to be saying that Chunky is right that the fans would prefer the teams to be entered as separate teams, however they wouldn't have a choice.  It would be the owners, competition organisers who make that decision and the fans would be stuffed. And then he said he would just have follow Leicester at level below.  Pretty much exactly how the Regions came into being, with the same outcome.

I'm not misreading.  I'm saying the fans would have a choice.  Ask the Welsh posters here about the choices Welsh rugby fans have made through the years in distinguishing enthusiasm and support for old clubs whilst many raised two fingers to the imposed Regional concept.  They made the choice over the years with their footfalls on the terraces or their bums on seats.  And I guess, that's what's called market resistance to what looked a bright idea on paper.  It's taken a long time to bed down.  

They couldn't stop it from happening though did they? That was point LT was making.

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Post by LordDowlais Mon 23 Nov 2015, 6:04 pm

Munchkin wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
Munchkin wrote:You're basically asking what can be done to make the Provinces more competitive in Europe, yet you were suggesting a weaker Provinces to allow a more competitive Pro12. A weaker Provinces should be something you welcome, not asking for solutions to make them stronger.

Again, why all this parochialism about the provinces, I know people like SF do not care about the Pro12, but I do. What can we do as the Pro12 to make our league better so that our teams can compete better with the French and English ? This is all I am asking.

My first thing would be to make the Pro12 more marketable and try and get more money from the TV companies and sponsors. thus generating more money for all of us. I know that does not happen overnight but we need to do more for the Pro12. Weather some of you care about it or not. Otherwise we will have to go down chunky's route of a B&I league, if the English will let us.

Because it was you that made the claim that the Provinces aiming to compete in Europe made the Pro12 weaker, and it is you that wants a weaker Provinces in order to make Pro12 more competitive. You can't have it both ways, LD. Either you want a weaker Provinces, or you don't. If you don't, and you want to see them compete at the top in Europe, then you can't really complain about our strength in Pro12.

We all care about Pro12, LD, and Pro12 is working, and succeeding, in attracting more sponsorship/greater broadcasting revenue. To help this along all sides need to up their game, be more competitive, and attract a growing fan base (bums on seats). The Regions need to raise their game against the Provinces. Not the Provinces lower their standard to help make the games more even. That helps none of us. If you want to really increase market value then Pro12 must be competitive in Europe.



Ok, indulge me, when or where have I ever said I want weaker provinces ? I am sure sometimes you just make things up to paint a picture of me to suit your agenda. I have raised my concern about the IRFU spending more on their provinces thus could potentially monopolise the league and I wanted a salary cap, but I have never said what you are suggesting. It is obvious that certain people on here talk behind forked tongues. Do you really care about the Pro12 ? Or are you just like Secretfly and you only care about the provinces ? The way you go on about the CC would suggest you are just like Secretfly and you only care about the 4 Irish sides and not the league as a whole. OK

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Post by Sin é Mon 23 Nov 2015, 6:08 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
Munchkin wrote:You're basically asking what can be done to make the Provinces more competitive in Europe, yet you were suggesting a weaker Provinces to allow a more competitive Pro12. A weaker Provinces should be something you welcome, not asking for solutions to make them stronger.

Again, why all this parochialism about the provinces, I know people like SF do not care about the Pro12, but I do. What can we do as the Pro12 to make our league better so that our teams can compete better with the French and English ? This is all I am asking.

My first thing would be to make the Pro12 more marketable and try and get more money from the TV companies and sponsors. thus generating more money for all of us. I know that does not happen overnight but we need to do more for the Pro12. Weather some of you care about it or not. Otherwise we will have to go down chunky's route of a B&I league, if the English will let us.

A start would be for Chunky & Co to stop bad mouthing the PRO12. No one is going to pay good money to be associated with a league that the Welsh are always knocking.

Secondly, you could stop complaining about tv scheduling because this is done by the TV companies who will stay away from something that is going to give them nothing but grief.


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Post by Guest Mon 23 Nov 2015, 6:25 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
Munchkin wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
Munchkin wrote:You're basically asking what can be done to make the Provinces more competitive in Europe, yet you were suggesting a weaker Provinces to allow a more competitive Pro12. A weaker Provinces should be something you welcome, not asking for solutions to make them stronger.

Again, why all this parochialism about the provinces, I know people like SF do not care about the Pro12, but I do. What can we do as the Pro12 to make our league better so that our teams can compete better with the French and English ? This is all I am asking.

My first thing would be to make the Pro12 more marketable and try and get more money from the TV companies and sponsors. thus generating more money for all of us. I know that does not happen overnight but we need to do more for the Pro12. Weather some of you care about it or not. Otherwise we will have to go down chunky's route of a B&I league, if the English will let us.

Because it was you that made the claim that the Provinces aiming to compete in Europe made the Pro12 weaker, and it is you that wants a weaker Provinces in order to make Pro12 more competitive. You can't have it both ways, LD. Either you want a weaker Provinces, or you don't. If you don't, and you want to see them compete at the top in Europe, then you can't really complain about our strength in Pro12.

We all care about Pro12, LD, and Pro12 is working, and succeeding, in attracting more sponsorship/greater broadcasting revenue. To help this along all sides need to up their game, be more competitive, and attract a growing fan base (bums on seats). The Regions need to raise their game against the Provinces. Not the Provinces lower their standard to help make the games more even. That helps none of us. If you want to really increase market value then Pro12 must be competitive in Europe.



Ok, indulge me, when or where have I ever said I want weaker provinces ? I am sure sometimes you just make things up to paint a picture of me to suit your agenda. I have raised my concern about the IRFU spending more on their provinces thus could potentially monopolise the league and I wanted a salary cap, but I have never said what you are suggesting. It is obvious that certain people on here talk behind forked tongues. Do you really care about the Pro12 ? Or are you just like Secretfly and you only care about the provinces ? The way you go on about the CC would suggest you are just like Secretfly and you only care about the 4 Irish sides and not the league as a whole. OK

For a start you have claimed that Pro12 is ran by the Irish for the Irish. You have also complained that the Provinces top players don't play enough in Pro12. You also state that you want a salary cap imposed across the league, meaning that you have a gripe about the Provinces spending power, and would like to see that limited. All in the interest of creating a level playing field of course.... Yes, LD, you want a weakened Provinces.

As for the rest of your comment; is that nonsense really necessary? I can't be bothered debating with that, so I won't.

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Post by SecretFly Mon 23 Nov 2015, 6:38 pm

LordDowlais wrote: It is obvious that certain people on here talk behind forked tongues. Do you really care about the Pro12 ? Or are you just like Secretfly and you only care about the provinces ? The way you go on about the CC would suggest you are just like Secretfly and you only care about the 4 Irish sides and not the league as a whole. OK

Secretfly says the Pro12 is a good vehicle used by the four Nations to preserve, promote and work for the development and success of rugby within their own Nations.  You forget so quickly that one of the most longwinded posters during the European debate that went on for months in these parts was mouthy SecretFly - in full blown support for Pro12 - when many Pro12 people in your neck of the woods were saying 'Let's chase the money and forget these other dead weights in Pro12.'

SecretFly says the Pro12 is the best vehicle for developing and protecting rugby union within the Nations that are joined to it.  We all use it for our own distinct and different agendas.  A league is a League.  Fans don't have allegiances to/emotional attachments to, tears or smiles for Leagues, they have emotional attachments to teams within Leagues.  So yes, SecretFly's priorities are Irish Provinces within the Pro12 League.  A B&I League in action would be no different.  Welsh fans would continue to have an emotional attachment to Welsh Regions, not Irish or Scottish ones.  It's natural, Lord.

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Post by ScarletSpiderman Mon 23 Nov 2015, 7:05 pm

Sin é wrote:
A start would be for Chunky & Co to stop bad mouthing the PRO12. No one is going to pay good money to be associated with a league that the Welsh are always knocking.

Secondly, you could stop complaining about tv scheduling because this is done by the TV companies who will stay away from something that is going to give them nothing but grief.



For a start, I really doubt that any sponsors sit there and thing, "I wonder what people posting on a forum, that is getting notorious for incessant bickering, have to say about the league". And the Welsh are not always knocking the league, there are some who despise the league, there are those who are indifferent about it, there are those who think it really could be improved, and even there are those who think it is a decent league. But again, it all depends on where you look for these opinions. And a forum like this is never going to highlight the fans that think things are good and need no tinkering.

Second point, as if the to companies give a flying one about what is said on forums like this, they go by what their viewing figures.
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Post by ScarletSpiderman Mon 23 Nov 2015, 7:12 pm

SecretFly wrote:
LordDowlais wrote: It is obvious that certain people on here talk behind forked tongues. Do you really care about the Pro12 ? Or are you just like Secretfly and you only care about the provinces ? The way you go on about the CC would suggest you are just like Secretfly and you only care about the 4 Irish sides and not the league as a whole. OK

Secretfly says the Pro12 is a good vehicle used by the four Nations to preserve, promote and work for the development and success of rugby within their own Nations.  You forget so quickly that one of the most longwinded posters during the European debate that went on for months in these parts was mouthy SecretFly - in full blown support for Pro12 - when many Pro12 people in your neck of the woods were saying 'Let's chase the money and forget these other dead weights in Pro12.'

SecretFly says the Pro12 is the best vehicle for developing and protecting rugby union within the Nations that are joined to it.  We all use it for our own distinct and different agendas.  A league is a League.  Fans don't have allegiances to/emotional attachments to, tears or smiles for Leagues, they have emotional attachments to teams within Leagues.  So yes, SecretFly's priorities are Irish Provinces within the Pro12 League.  A B&I League in action would be no different.  Welsh fans would continue to have an emotional attachment to Welsh Regions, not Irish or Scottish ones.  It's natural, Lord.

For the Irish, a bug advantage of a b&i league would be that they wouldn't be the bogeymen anymore, as it would be 'an English league, run by the English for the English' as in reality the most powerful (population/money) rule and the rest go along for the ride, grumbling as they go.
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Post by 123456789 Mon 23 Nov 2015, 7:55 pm

I think we need to be realistic to an extent and accept that the style of rugby played in the Pro12 did not suit the conditions for the weekend, Northampton played very little rugby and played a highly effective game and took a stranglehold on the game, Glasgow were tactically naive however if they'd had a decent tighthead things could have been different.

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Post by Pot Hale Tue 24 Nov 2015, 12:34 am

If the Irish provinces are the bogeymen, maybe they should consider if an Anglo-Irish league is possible and exit the PRO 12. They'd pick up plenty of expat eyeballs in England and have good travelling fans. They have more money and a better pedigree.

Shure, the English would be falling over themselves.
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Post by Guest Tue 24 Nov 2015, 1:16 am

Even if that were possible, I wouldn't want it. I like the English teams They have a great tradition, and great fans, but there's a few that are controlling the game over there, and steering it in a direction that isn't good for rugby union. I really don't want the Provinces to be a part of them. I'm also a big fan of Pro12. I really enjoy it, and hope to continue to do so for a long time.

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Post by Pot Hale Tue 24 Nov 2015, 1:23 am

Munchkin wrote:Even if that were possible, I wouldn't want it. I like the English teams They have a great tradition, and great fans, but there's a few that are controlling the game over there, and steering it in a direction that isn't good for rugby union. I really don't want the Provinces to be a part of them. I'm also a big fan of Pro12. I really enjoy it, and hope to continue to do so for a long time.

Ok fair enough. Back to the good old Pro 12 then

So who's playing next week now that the European thingy cup is out of the way?

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Post by Pot Hale Tue 24 Nov 2015, 4:08 am

ScarletSpiderman wrote:
Sin é wrote:
A start would be for Chunky & Co to stop bad mouthing the PRO12. No one is going to pay good money to be associated with a league that the Welsh are always knocking.

Secondly, you could stop complaining about tv scheduling because this is done by the TV companies who will stay away from something that is going to give them nothing but grief.



For a start, I really doubt that any sponsors sit there and thing, "I wonder what people posting on a forum, that is getting notorious for incessant bickering, have to say about the league".  And the Welsh are not always knocking the league, there are some who despise the league, there are those who are indifferent about it, there are those who think it really could be improved, and even there are those who think it is a decent league.  But again, it all depends on where you look for these opinions.  And a forum like this is never going to highlight the fans that think things are good and need no tinkering.

Second point, as if the to companies give a flying one about what is said on forums like this, they go by what their viewing figures.

Couldn't agree more with this.

It is interesting though that some of the views expressed by a couple of Welsh fans on this forum seem to be
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Post by Sin é Tue 24 Nov 2015, 7:53 am

ScarletSpiderman wrote:
Sin é wrote:
A start would be for Chunky & Co to stop bad mouthing the PRO12. No one is going to pay good money to be associated with a league that the Welsh are always knocking.

Secondly, you could stop complaining about tv scheduling because this is done by the TV companies who will stay away from something that is going to give them nothing but grief.



For a start, I really doubt that any sponsors sit there and thing, "I wonder what people posting on a forum, that is getting notorious for incessant bickering, have to say about the league".  And the Welsh are not always knocking the league, there are some who despise the league, there are those who are indifferent about it, there are those who think it really could be improved, and even there are those who think it is a decent league.  But again, it all depends on where you look for these opinions.  And a forum like this is never going to highlight the fans that think things are good and need no tinkering.

Second point, as if the to companies give a flying one about what is said on forums like this, they go by what their viewing figures.

You would think wrong if you think that potential sponsors are not checking out social media and attitudes to the league. Its not just social media either. Wales on Line have been fairly criticial of the Pro12, not to mention the high profile wrangling of the Welsh Regions to leave the Pro12 and join the Aviva Premiership. No sponsors wants to be associated with a competition that is held in such low esteem by fans and clubs and which is reflected in the attendances in Wales. At least in Scotland they seem to be building attendances.

For the record, Rabo Direct won a European Marketing Award for their social media interaction with fans in the Pro12 a few years back.
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Post by HammerofThunor Tue 24 Nov 2015, 8:04 am

Then ouch. This forum is easily the most positive to the pro12 in terms of Welsh supporters, that I've been on.

Nice bit of pot/kettle thing going on here though sin e. Clearly any less positive result from Europe sponsorship can be placed squarely at your feet Smile

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Post by Sin é Tue 24 Nov 2015, 8:16 am

HammerofThunor wrote:Then ouch. This forum is easily the most positive to the pro12 in terms of Welsh supporters, that I've been on.

Nice bit of pot/kettle thing going on here though sin e. Clearly any less positive result from Europe sponsorship can be placed squarely at your feet Smile

Are you suggesting that I'm the only one that finds the new competition less attractive than the Heineken Cup?
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Post by TJ Tue 24 Nov 2015, 8:18 am

perhaps the welsh should go and play in the english second division and the rest of us can get on with the vibrant growing Pro 12 inviting a few more european teams to join us.  It seems to only be the Welsh who have issues with the pro 12 although I completely fail to understand the attraction to playing in the english second division

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Post by Sin é Tue 24 Nov 2015, 8:27 am

It would be some laugh over salary caps if the Welsh teams joined up with the English 2nd Division, bearing in mind that Bristol apparently have offered Ian Madigan 500K per annum to join them.

By the way LD & Chunky, the article in the Indo said that Madigan was on 80K per annum up to recently.
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Post by HammerofThunor Tue 24 Nov 2015, 8:29 am

Sin é wrote:
HammerofThunor wrote:Then ouch. This forum is easily the most positive to the pro12 in terms of Welsh supporters, that I've been on.

Nice bit of pot/kettle thing going on here though sin e. Clearly any less positive result from Europe sponsorship can be placed squarely at your feet Smile

Are you suggesting that I'm the only one that finds the new competition less attractive than the Heineken Cup?

No. But you treat Europe the same way some Welsh treat the Pro12. It was just an observation. You are basically the Chunky (as in the poster) of European rugby. Please feel free to carry on, certainly don't take this as a request to stop.

Edit: I take that back. You've always been a lot more rational than Chunky. Completely biased and proactively seeking out negatively and avoiding any positivity, but still in a rational way. I think TJ is the Chunky of European rugby.

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 24 Nov 2015, 9:00 am

Munchkin wrote:There are a few solid reasons why a B&I will not happen, and no solid reasons why it will.

Exactly something the OP fails to accept.

Also interesting this is the same individual trying to claim, falsely, the Irish match the French in spending.

Of course the true reality is we are seeing nothing different from the Welsh, Scottish and Italians we see every year.
For different reasons these countries fail to compete at this level.

The reality is the top French sides and the English salary cheats are spending more than the Irish sides and that has started to have an impact in the last 2/3 years.
Also to a certain extent these things go in cycles - we have years when England and France have done badly and this is what is happening now.

All 3 Provinces are in transition - Munster have lost the likes of POC, ROG and Wallace they are huge players.
Leinster have gone from the best threes in Ireland to the worst threes in Ireland
Ulster have lost talismen like Muller and Ferris and have a serious issue with sub standard coaching (hopefully Kiss will rectify)

In a year or two some of the Provinces will be better than know - whether or not they can compwte depends on the expenditure of the top French and how 'creative' some English teams are.

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Post by TJ Tue 24 Nov 2015, 9:01 am

Ouch Hammer - thats a bit harsh Smile

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 24 Nov 2015, 9:07 am

In the very unlikely event that a B & I league ever came to past it will only occur if it offers the English something and that will be commercial success. The only teams that can increase the income for the English are the 3 leading Irish provinces.
They bring in the crowds home and away that other teams do not.

The reality is a B & I premiership division will be the big crowd pulling English (the current Aviva minus Sale, London Irish and Newcastle) plus the 3 Irish Provinces plus a token sides from Wales and Scotland (Ospreys and Glasgow)

The rest would be in a 2nd tier

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Post by LordDowlais Tue 24 Nov 2015, 9:36 am

Munchkin wrote:For a start you have claimed that Pro12 is ran by the Irish for the Irish. You have also complained that the Provinces top players don't play enough in Pro12. You also state that you want a salary cap imposed across the league, meaning that you have a gripe about the Provinces spending power, and would like to see that limited. All in the interest of creating a level playing field of course.... Yes, LD, you want a weakened Provinces.

So where in all that tripe does it show I want weaker provinces ? You have been shown up to be a fibber again, and you are now clutching at straws to justify your ends. The fact that you have stated that I want the provinces playing their top players in the league kind of de-bunks your theory. If I did not know any better, with this false picture you are trying to portray of me, I would think you are trolling. But I am not like that.

Munchkin wrote:As for the rest of your comment; is that nonsense really necessary? I can't be bothered debating with that, so I won't.

It is necessary because it shows the real true colours of our Irish members on here. You do not give a FF about the Pro12. You cannot be bothered debating about it, because you know it is true.

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 24 Nov 2015, 9:45 am

Ok lets be positive what do you think that salary cap should be - the same as the stated aim of the 3 senior Irish provinces which is matching the top English sides or do thing it should be higher or lower ?

I think one of the grips Irish people have is the claim the league is run for the Irish without ant evidence to back it up.
Allied to the fact they are 1 of only 4 Unions who have input into the league and as such cannot impose their decisions on the others.

Also Irish sides may well have equated success in Europe as the ultimate success but that does not mean that they consider the Pro12 unimportant - that is a long long way from being the truth

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Post by LordDowlais Tue 24 Nov 2015, 9:58 am

geoff999rugby wrote:Ok lets be positive what do you think that salary cap should be - the same as the stated aim of the 3 senior Irish provinces which is matching the top English sides or do thing it should be higher or lower ?

I think it should be the same as the English, but if certain media outlets can be believed, that is still less than what the Provinces spend, so I do not know how we could work it.

geoff999rugby wrote:I think one of the grips Irish people have is the claim the league is run for the Irish without ant evidence to back it up.
Allied to the fact they are 1 of only 4 Unions who have input into the league and as such cannot impose their decisions on the others.

I have been guilty of saying this in the past, it was at the time when the Pro12 final was moved to Ireland and the fact that we always had the crap Irish refs reffing us. I admit, again, that I may have said it in the heat of the moment, but it was how I felt at the time.

geoff999rugby wrote:Also Irish sides may well have equated success in Europe as the ultimate success but that does not mean that they consider the Pro12 unimportant - that is a long long way from being the truth

I think the Irish do not see the Pro12 as their main competition. Secretfly even admitted he only cared about the Irish provinces and could not give two figs about the league, munchkin more or less agreed with him. Also, when I see all the centrally contracted players being paraded in the CC and not so much in the league, what are you to think ?

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Post by Poorfour Tue 24 Nov 2015, 10:06 am

geoff999rugby wrote:The reality is the top French sides and the English salary cheats are spending more than the Irish sides and that has started to have an impact in the last 2/3 years.

Also to a certain extent these things go in cycles - we have years when England and France have done badly and this is what is happening now.

Let's be very clear: as far as the legal fog surrounding the situation goes, only two or possibly three AP clubs were involved in the salary cap settlement. While I'm sure it's fun to brand them all as cheats, it oversimplifies the situation.

English clubs have so far won 10/11 games in the Champions Cup and 8/12 in the Challenge Cup. 6 teams top their tables. For me the material difference is likely to be in the increase in revenues from the new ERCC structure and the BT deal, which has allowed for an increase in the salary cap. Most teams have slightly increased squad size and recruited a couple of quality overseas players, strengthening the squads enough to put them on more even terms in Europe. We'll see how it plays out over the course of the season but it looks like this is a structural shift and English clubs will be better able to compete with French ones from now on.

It's harder to assess the Pro12 performance because I don't get to watch that much of it, but both Ireland and Wales have quite a big hangover of injuries and retirements post-RWC that is probably a big factor. That said, a pretty strong Cardiff squad (on paper) went down to a Quins side that didn't include several key players (Jones, Robshaw, Wallace, Evans, Lowe and Brown weren't in the squad, Marler and Care were on the bench) and spent over half the match with a hooker and a lock playing as flankers. Cardiff fans have said they are in the middle of rebuilding.
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Post by ScarletSpiderman Tue 24 Nov 2015, 10:33 am

Sin é wrote:
ScarletSpiderman wrote:
Sin é wrote:
A start would be for Chunky & Co to stop bad mouthing the PRO12. No one is going to pay good money to be associated with a league that the Welsh are always knocking.

Secondly, you could stop complaining about tv scheduling because this is done by the TV companies who will stay away from something that is going to give them nothing but grief.



For a start, I really doubt that any sponsors sit there and thing, "I wonder what people posting on a forum, that is getting notorious for incessant bickering, have to say about the league".  And the Welsh are not always knocking the league, there are some who despise the league, there are those who are indifferent about it, there are those who think it really could be improved, and even there are those who think it is a decent league.  But again, it all depends on where you look for these opinions.  And a forum like this is never going to highlight the fans that think things are good and need no tinkering.

Second point, as if the to companies give a flying one about what is said on forums like this, they go by what their viewing figures.

You would think wrong if you think that potential sponsors are not checking out social media and attitudes to the league. Its not just social media either. Wales on Line have been fairly criticial of the Pro12, not to mention the high profile wrangling of the Welsh Regions to leave the Pro12 and join the Aviva Premiership. No sponsors wants to be associated with a competition that is held in such low esteem by fans and clubs and which is reflected in the attendances in Wales. At least in Scotland they seem to be building attendances.

For the record, Rabo Direct won a European Marketing Award for their social media interaction with fans in the Pro12 a few years back.

Really? This is getting really old now. The regions (bar the Scarlets) have shown increased attendances year upon year, and all of them are pulling average attendances larger than that of the Scots. I appreciate that this does not sit with your opinion, but it is a fact sorry.
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Post by ScarletSpiderman Tue 24 Nov 2015, 10:39 am

Sin é wrote:
ScarletSpiderman wrote:
Sin é wrote:
A start would be for Chunky & Co to stop bad mouthing the PRO12. No one is going to pay good money to be associated with a league that the Welsh are always knocking.

Secondly, you could stop complaining about tv scheduling because this is done by the TV companies who will stay away from something that is going to give them nothing but grief.



For a start, I really doubt that any sponsors sit there and thing, "I wonder what people posting on a forum, that is getting notorious for incessant bickering, have to say about the league".  And the Welsh are not always knocking the league, there are some who despise the league, there are those who are indifferent about it, there are those who think it really could be improved, and even there are those who think it is a decent league.  But again, it all depends on where you look for these opinions.  And a forum like this is never going to highlight the fans that think things are good and need no tinkering.

Second point, as if the to companies give a flying one about what is said on forums like this, they go by what their viewing figures.

You would think wrong if you think that potential sponsors are not checking out social media and attitudes to the league. Its not just social media either. Wales on Line have been fairly criticial of the Pro12, not to mention the high profile wrangling of the Welsh Regions to leave the Pro12 and join the Aviva Premiership. No sponsors wants to be associated with a competition that is held in such low esteem by fans and clubs and which is reflected in the attendances in Wales. At least in Scotland they seem to be building attendances.

For the record, Rabo Direct won a European Marketing Award for their social media interaction with fans in the Pro12 a few years back.

Talking about running down the product, have a look at the posts on here over the last year and a half, and you will find there are plenty of posts from Irish (and TJ) that are less than positive about the welsh participation in the pro12. If the sponsors do read the negativity on these boards and decide not to be involved because it, then the whole back biting from both sides is going to be responsible.
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Post by TJ Tue 24 Nov 2015, 10:54 am

And there comes the false accusations of anti welsh pro Irish bias again. It really is tiresome and has ABSOLUTLY NO TRUTH TO IT

For the record once more. I think the pro 12 needs the welsh, the welsh need the pro 12, I am fed up of the incessant carping from a small minority of welsh fans who claim anti welsh conspiracy at every turn and who continually denigrate the pro 12 and waste so much energy on infighting.

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Post by HammerofThunor Tue 24 Nov 2015, 11:03 am

TJ wrote:Ouch Hammer - thats a bit harsh Smile

Thought you might like that, could resist Smile

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Post by LordDowlais Tue 24 Nov 2015, 11:06 am

TJ wrote:And there comes the false accusations of anti welsh pro Irish bias again.  It really is tiresome and has ABSOLUTLY NO TRUTH TO IT

For the record once more.  I think the pro 12 needs the welsh, the welsh need the pro 12, I am fed up of the incessant carping from a small minority of welsh fans who claim anti welsh conspiracy at every turn and who continually denigrate the pro 12 and waste so much energy on infighting.

Who are these small minorities ?

There are plenty of people on here, who are not Welsh, that have such double standards they accuse people of all sorts and make stuff up to suit their own agenda's. For the record, I like the Pro12. I also think it needs a hell of a lot of work done to it, the situation with the officials needs sorting out, we need to start prioritising it like other countries do with their leagues, and we need to market it more. But there are people on here who will try to convince me that:-

1. There are nothing wrong with our standards of refs.
2. There is nothing wrong with having refs employed by the same people as the teams/players/coaches.
3. It's not their unions fault with anything that is or has been wrong with the league.
4. It's all the fault of the Welsh/WRU for the leagues inadequacies.

So I think there should be a little more empathy shown before you type this again:-

small minority of welsh fans who claim anti welsh conspiracy at every turn and who continually denigrate the pro 12 and waste so much energy on infighting wrote:

Also, for the record, I will not bury my head in the sand like many on here and think all is rosy in the Pro12, because it keeps on improving year on year, well for me it doesn't. We still have the crappy problems we have had for the last 10 years.

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Post by HammerofThunor Tue 24 Nov 2015, 11:06 am

Poorfour wrote:
geoff999rugby wrote:The reality is the top French sides and the English salary cheats are spending more than the Irish sides and that has started to have an impact in the last 2/3 years.

Also to a certain extent these things go in cycles - we have years when England and France have done badly and this is what is happening now.

Let's be very clear: as far as the legal fog surrounding the situation goes, only two or possibly three AP clubs were involved in the salary cap settlement. While I'm sure it's fun to brand them all as cheats, it oversimplifies the situation.

Poorfour, I think what Geoff meant (please correct) is that the English salary cap cheats spend more than the Provinces, but the Provinces spend up to the cap so those at or below don't. So he wasn't calling all English clubs cheats, just pointing out those are the ones spending more than the Irish.

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Post by ScarletSpiderman Tue 24 Nov 2015, 11:30 am

TJ wrote:And there comes the false accusations of anti welsh pro Irish bias again.  It really is tiresome and has ABSOLUTLY NO TRUTH TO IT

For the record once more.  I think the pro 12 needs the welsh, the welsh need the pro 12, I am fed up of the incessant carping from a small minority of welsh fans who claim anti welsh conspiracy at every turn and who continually denigrate the pro 12 and waste so much energy on infighting.

What accusations?  Read the post, but this time without trying to take offence.


"Talking about running down the product, have a look at the posts on here over the last year and a half, and you will find there are plenty of posts from Irish (and TJ) that are less than positive about the welsh participation in the pro12. If the sponsors do read the negativity on these boards and decide not to be involved because it, then the whole back biting from both sides is going to be responsible."

What in there at all is a FALSE ACCUSATION OF ANTI-WELSH PRO-IRISH BIAS AGAIN????
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Post by TJ Tue 24 Nov 2015, 11:34 am

Scarlet - I guess we are at cross purposes here - / mutual misunderstanding

However you did say I was less than positive about welsh participation in the pro 12 - thats simply wrong. I just get fed up at the continual carping by some welsh fans. I enjoy having the welsh teams to play against

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Post by ScarletSpiderman Tue 24 Nov 2015, 11:35 am

TJ wrote:Scarlet - I guess we are at cross purposes here - / mutual misunderstanding

However you did say I was less than positive about welsh participation in the pro 12 - thats simply wrong.  I just get fed up at the continual carping by some welsh fans.  I enjoy having the welsh teams to play against

TJ wrote:perhaps the welsh should go and play in the english second division and the rest of us can get on with the vibrant growing Pro 12 inviting a few more european teams to join us. It seems to only be the Welsh who have issues with the pro 12 although I completely fail to understand the attraction to playing in the english second division

Very positive.
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Post by TJ Tue 24 Nov 2015, 11:48 am

Sarcastic comment in reply to the continual carping - a nuance missed by you - as I say - mutual misunderstanding. I did miss out the word "fans" in the second sentance which would have made it clearer

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