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Superb article on the Pro12 and Europe

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Superb article on the Pro12 and Europe - Page 6 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 TJ Tue 24 Nov 2015, 4:59 pm

Chaps - calm down! boxing furious guinness RedWine Whisky Doh Hug kiss

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Post by LordDowlais Tue 24 Nov 2015, 4:59 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:Sorry if this seems people are hounding you but if you continue to peddle unsustainable opinions as facts, and you continue to post, at best dubious quotes, by other posters, honestly what do you expect.

Excuse me, but when have I said any of opinions are facts ? They are concerns, but not fact, as I have stated to you above. So please do not make things up. Why don't you try being constructive ?

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Post by Guest Tue 24 Nov 2015, 4:59 pm

LordDowlais wrote:I was enjoying my debate with Pot Hale and geoff until you pair decided to join in and try and cause an argument. FFS why don't you two just grow up ?

Watch your BP, LD.

I'm just back from a meeting. It wasn't me causing an argument. I just said you were telling porkies, which you were.

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Post by LordDowlais Tue 24 Nov 2015, 5:00 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
TJ wrote:Remember Glasgow won the league last year.  Its not the Irish are unfairly advantaged - its that the welsh regions underperform - as do the italians.  The Irish can be matched.

Yes I agree, they can, at the moment. But with their spending going up, and people paying for players like Johnny Sexton it will be an Irish 1234 in our league for a long time, the only uncertainty, is what order they will all finish in. It will be like the premier league, where who can spend the most, occupies the top places.

Since 2002 The Aviva has had 6 different champions and of those only 3 have won it more than once
Since 2003 the Pro12 has had 6 different champions and of those only 3 have won it more than once

No difference that league is dominate by a few clubs as much as the Pro12

Sorry if this seems people are hounding you but if you continue to peddle unsustainable opinions as facts, and you continue to post, at best dubious quotes, by other posters, honestly what do you expect.

I am not concerned of what has happened in the past, I am more concerned with what could end up happening in the future.

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Post by LordDowlais Tue 24 Nov 2015, 5:02 pm

Munchkin wrote:I just said you were telling porkies, which you were.

When and where ? Or are you accusing me of something again to suit your agenda, like when you accused me of wanting weaker provinces, which was another beauty from you ?

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Post by Marshes Tue 24 Nov 2015, 5:09 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
geoff999rugby wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
TJ wrote:Remember Glasgow won the league last year.  Its not the Irish are unfairly advantaged - its that the welsh regions underperform - as do the italians.  The Irish can be matched.

Yes I agree, they can, at the moment. But with their spending going up, and people paying for players like Johnny Sexton it will be an Irish 1234 in our league for a long time, the only uncertainty, is what order they will all finish in. It will be like the premier league, where who can spend the most, occupies the top places.

Since 2002 The Aviva has had 6 different champions and of those only 3 have won it more than once
Since 2003 the Pro12 has had 6 different champions and of those only 3 have won it more than once

No difference that league is dominate by a few clubs as much as the Pro12

Sorry if this seems people are hounding you but if you continue to peddle unsustainable opinions as facts, and you continue to post, at best dubious quotes, by other posters, honestly what do you expect.

I am not concerned of what has happened in the past, I am more concerned with what could end up happening in the future.

I would be very surprised if the future holds Connacht at the top table with the other three Irish provinces LD!

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Post by LordDowlais Tue 24 Nov 2015, 5:10 pm

Marshes wrote:I would be very surprised if the future holds Connacht at the top table with the other three Irish provinces LD!

They are there at the moment, and with the extra funding they are going to get, they would be a good bet for the fourth spot.

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Post by Guest Tue 24 Nov 2015, 5:10 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
Munchkin wrote:I just said you were telling porkies, which you were.

When and where ? Or are you accusing me of something again to suit your agenda, like when you accused me of wanting weaker provinces, which was another beauty from you ?

I have no agenda.

I was obviously responding to your claim that many Irish posters on here have stated they think the level of reffing in Pro12 is good, when in fact what we have been saying is that it's probably no different than any of the other leagues.
You also told another porky this morning when you claimed I agreed with Fly's comment yesterday. Even though I do agree with him, I never once agreed with Fly yesterday.
As for my claim you want weaker Provinces. You do. You buy into this nonsense Chunky has spouted, and believe that we spend more than the English clubs. You then want a salary cap equal to the English clubs, not above, and so you want what you imagine to be the the Provinces spend to be cut. Even if that spend exists only in your noggin.

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Post by Guest Tue 24 Nov 2015, 5:15 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
Marshes wrote:I would be very surprised if the future holds Connacht at the top table with the other three Irish provinces LD!

They are there at the moment, and with the extra funding they are going to get, they would be a good bet for the fourth spot.

Is this were a lot of this rage is coming from? That the four Provinces dare to occupy the top 6 places at the moment? I hope all four do make into the top 6. They will be there by merit.

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Post by Marshes Tue 24 Nov 2015, 5:19 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
Marshes wrote:I would be very surprised if the future holds Connacht at the top table with the other three Irish provinces LD!

They are there at the moment, and with the extra funding they are going to get, they would be a good bet for the fourth spot.

Well it's more a case of while the world cup cats are away, the mice can play (while also conceding a boat load of tries)! Game against Munster this weekend will be a good test of where they are at. But it is not with Ospreys or Glasgow when they are full strength

And the extra investment was to improve strength and conditioning facilities and employ  head of fitness, wages remained static. There are plans to redevelop the Sportsground, but not until the funding is available: http://www.the42.ie/connacht-funding-bunce-fitness-1473040-May2014/

They are still some way off the top three

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Post by Pot Hale Tue 24 Nov 2015, 5:24 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
Pot Hale wrote:Okay so, right now, there isn't a problem in your view. You want to put salary spending rules in place to prevent a problem arising in the future around inequity of spending?

Yes that is exactly one of my concerns, at the moment our league is at least unpredictable, we do not know who is going to be where before the season starts.

Pot Hale wrote:And you think the cap should match the current PRL levels and their various rules about players incentives, sponsorships, non-salary components, etc, etc - is that right?

I cannot comment on that because I do not know what the rules are in England about non-salary components, do the Irish provinces spend the same as the English including these little extra's ? So that would be the 5.5 million plus extra's. I do not know. I think it should be one amount, 5.5 million and thats it if you ask me. No grey area's.

"our league is at least unpredictable, we do not know who is going to be where before the season starts. " I don't understand what you mean by this. Unpredictable in what sense - salary levels? You don't know who is going to be where? You mean which players at what clubs???

But you have commented on a proposed salary cap - you've said that it should match that of the Premiership clubs. There are over 20 clauses relating to what constitutes salary to a player. Non-salary components (not counted towards the cap) has a similar number of definitions and inclusions. You can read them here - http://www.premiershiprugby.com/downloads/SalaryCapRegulations201516.pdf

Here's what the AP says broadly about the Salary Cap on its website:

"The level of the Salary Cap is proportionate and aligned to the growth of the business and is linked directly to the annual net central distributions to the Clubs from Premiership Rugby. The current level of the Salary Cap for 2015/16 is £5.1m, plus 2 Excluded Players whose salaries sit outside the cap, enabling Clubs to recruit and retain world class talent. Clubs are also encouraged to develop home grown talent by accessing up to £400,000 of Home Grown Player Credits, they can provide an unlimited education (academic or vocational) fund to their Players, and can replace long term injured players without impacting on their Salary Cap ceiling. As this is a Rugby World Cup season, there are RWC Credits available for a Club to manage the absence of players selected in the tournament at a rate of £35,000 per RWC Player. There is also an Academy Salary Cap of £100,000, meaning the total available to clubs is £5.6m (plus the excluded player and injury replacement provisions), a significant increase from the original £1.2m in 1999 and £4m in 2010.

In summary (I've inserted euro values at today's current exchange rates £1 = €1.41)

• £5.1 million (€7.21m) - Senior Salary Cap
• £400,000 - (€565k) Home Grown Player Credits* see definition below
• 2 Excluded Players (Salary is not included in the Salary Cap)
• Injury Replacement *** see notes below
• Clubs can also benefit from the £100,000 Academy Cap which supports the development and retention of home grown talent at each Club. Each Home Grown Academy Player's Salary will not be counted in the £100,000 Cap.

So - keeping with your example - if this were to be applied to the Irish provinces, then each province would be able to nominate two players not subject to the Salary Cap (presumably not home-grown), and have to operate within a budget of €7.21m each, this season. Next season, it is going to increase further.

Pot Hale
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Post by ScarletSpiderman Tue 24 Nov 2015, 5:53 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:
ScarletSpiderman wrote:
geoff999rugby wrote: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)

Token sides from Wales and Scotland now?  So none of the other Pro 12 sides are even in the quality bracket as the Aviva.  That seems to be a constant view on here.  I can see people throwing huge money at the league now, seeing how highly rated the teams in it are (especially by a few Irish and Scottish fans).


You misunderstand my post that is not how I view it but it is how the chairmen of Bath, Saracens etc will view it.
It will be a hard nosed decision about commercialism and the bottom line in £££££ and on that bases the structure I suggest is the most likely outcome of a very unlikely event

Geoff, to be honest I assumed you meant that. The whole point of that post (which you took the relevant bits from, which is fair enough as it was a long post), was that we are all guilty of 'damaging the value' of the league to sponsor (if they really were reading all this) by bad mouthing each other in one way or other.
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Post by Guest Tue 24 Nov 2015, 6:18 pm

Marshes wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
Marshes wrote:I would be very surprised if the future holds Connacht at the top table with the other three Irish provinces LD!

They are there at the moment, and with the extra funding they are going to get, they would be a good bet for the fourth spot.

Well it's more a case of while the world cup cats are away, the mice can play (while also conceding a boat load of tries)! Game against Munster this weekend will be a good test of where they are at. But it is not with Ospreys or Glasgow when they are full strength

And the extra investment was to improve strength and conditioning facilities and employ  head of fitness, wages remained static. There are plans to redevelop the Sportsground, but not until the funding is available: http://www.the42.ie/connacht-funding-bunce-fitness-1473040-May2014/

They are still some way off the top three

What do you think of the new kit, Marshes?

ConnachtSuperHero's

Very Happy

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Post by ScarletSpiderman Tue 24 Nov 2015, 6:28 pm

Munchkin wrote:

What do you think of the new kit, Marshes?

ConnachtSuperHero's

Very Happy

Fair play these DC comics kits seem pretty cool. Marvel should take note (Scarlets Spider-Man kit please)
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Post by Pot Hale Tue 24 Nov 2015, 7:08 pm

Munchkin wrote:
Marshes wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
Marshes wrote:I would be very surprised if the future holds Connacht at the top table with the other three Irish provinces LD!

They are there at the moment, and with the extra funding they are going to get, they would be a good bet for the fourth spot.

Well it's more a case of while the world cup cats are away, the mice can play (while also conceding a boat load of tries)! Game against Munster this weekend will be a good test of where they are at. But it is not with Ospreys or Glasgow when they are full strength

And the extra investment was to improve strength and conditioning facilities and employ  head of fitness, wages remained static. There are plans to redevelop the Sportsground, but not until the funding is available: http://www.the42.ie/connacht-funding-bunce-fitness-1473040-May2014/

They are still some way off the top three

What do you think of the new kit, Marshes?

ConnachtSuperHero's

Very Happy

That is hilarious. Fair play on the idea. Hadn't noticed it before on the other teams.
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Post by wayne Tue 24 Nov 2015, 7:24 pm

Pot Hale wrote:
Munchkin wrote:
Marshes wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
Marshes wrote:I would be very surprised if the future holds Connacht at the top table with the other three Irish provinces LD!

They are there at the moment, and with the extra funding they are going to get, they would be a good bet for the fourth spot.

Well it's more a case of while the world cup cats are away, the mice can play (while also conceding a boat load of tries)! Game against Munster this weekend will be a good test of where they are at. But it is not with Ospreys or Glasgow when they are full strength

And the extra investment was to improve strength and conditioning facilities and employ  head of fitness, wages remained static. There are plans to redevelop the Sportsground, but not until the funding is available: http://www.the42.ie/connacht-funding-bunce-fitness-1473040-May2014/

They are still some way off the top three

What do you think of the new kit, Marshes?

ConnachtSuperHero's

Very Happy

That is hilarious.  Fair play on the idea.   Hadn't noticed it before on the other teams.
We (Ospreys) are also wearing ours this weekend against the Blues, it is our Charity jersey this year, we are giving a full set to our designated Charity to Auction off as well as any sales through the shop get a percentage to that organisation, another good marketing ploy used.

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Post by Marshes Tue 24 Nov 2015, 7:36 pm

Munchkin wrote:
Marshes wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
Marshes wrote:I would be very surprised if the future holds Connacht at the top table with the other three Irish provinces LD!

They are there at the moment, and with the extra funding they are going to get, they would be a good bet for the fourth spot.

Well it's more a case of while the world cup cats are away, the mice can play (while also conceding a boat load of tries)! Game against Munster this weekend will be a good test of where they are at. But it is not with Ospreys or Glasgow when they are full strength

And the extra investment was to improve strength and conditioning facilities and employ  head of fitness, wages remained static. There are plans to redevelop the Sportsground, but not until the funding is available: http://www.the42.ie/connacht-funding-bunce-fitness-1473040-May2014/

They are still some way off the top three

What do you think of the new kit, Marshes?

ConnachtSuperHero's

Very Happy

Haha yeah it's walking a fine line above cringey, when I first saw it thought it was a joke! To be honest I think it will sell a few extra if it is marketed well, but your average rugby fan/comic book guy (and I include myself in that) wouldn't have the physique to carry off the auld painted on abs!! Think this but in green:

Superb article on the Pro12 and Europe - Page 6 The_Simpsons-Jeff_Albertson

Laugh

It's going to make its debut against Munster on the weekend apparently Very Happy

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Post by Guest Tue 24 Nov 2015, 7:52 pm

It's only BLK sponsored teams that are doing this by the looks. Toulouse are too.

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Post by wayne Tue 24 Nov 2015, 8:04 pm

Risca Rev wrote:It's only BLK sponsored teams that are doing this by the looks. Toulouse are too.
Yes, they also have the rights to DC Comics and are mixing and matching.

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Post by Marshes Tue 24 Nov 2015, 8:12 pm

wayne wrote:
Risca Rev wrote:It's only BLK sponsored teams that are doing this by the looks. Toulouse are too.
Yes, they also have the rights to DC Comics and are mixing and matching.

Quite like the Ospreys one!

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Post by ScarletSpiderman Tue 24 Nov 2015, 8:36 pm

wayne wrote:
Risca Rev wrote:It's only BLK sponsored teams that are doing this by the looks. Toulouse are too.
Yes, they also have the rights to DC Comics and are mixing and matching.

Just seen ISC are doing the same with Marvel for NRL, gutted.

Also the Ospreys batman looks far better than Toulouse batman.
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Post by wayne Tue 24 Nov 2015, 9:25 pm

ScarletSpiderman wrote:
wayne wrote:
Risca Rev wrote:It's only BLK sponsored teams that are doing this by the looks. Toulouse are too.
Yes, they also have the rights to DC Comics and are mixing and matching.

Just seen ISC are doing the same with Marvel for NRL, gutted.

Also the Ospreys batman looks far better than Toulouse batman.
What else would you expect SS Very Happy

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Post by ScarletSpiderman Tue 24 Nov 2015, 9:27 pm

Wayne, it hurt me deeply to have to say it too.
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Post by Guest Tue 24 Nov 2015, 9:47 pm

ScarletSpiderman wrote:
Munchkin wrote:

What do you think of the new kit, Marshes?

ConnachtSuperHero's

Very Happy

Fair play these DC comics kits seem pretty cool.  Marvel should take note (Scarlets Spider-Man kit please)

Forgot you are a fan. Used to be a Marvel fan myself, as well as the British take on Spiderman; 'The Leopard of Lime Street'. Many moons ago Very Happy

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Post by Guest Tue 24 Nov 2015, 9:52 pm

Marshes wrote:
Munchkin wrote:
Marshes wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
Marshes wrote:I would be very surprised if the future holds Connacht at the top table with the other three Irish provinces LD!

They are there at the moment, and with the extra funding they are going to get, they would be a good bet for the fourth spot.

Well it's more a case of while the world cup cats are away, the mice can play (while also conceding a boat load of tries)! Game against Munster this weekend will be a good test of where they are at. But it is not with Ospreys or Glasgow when they are full strength

And the extra investment was to improve strength and conditioning facilities and employ  head of fitness, wages remained static. There are plans to redevelop the Sportsground, but not until the funding is available: http://www.the42.ie/connacht-funding-bunce-fitness-1473040-May2014/

They are still some way off the top three

What do you think of the new kit, Marshes?

ConnachtSuperHero's

Very Happy

Haha yeah it's walking a fine line above cringey, when I first saw it thought it was a joke! To be honest I think it will sell a few extra if it is marketed well, but your average rugby fan/comic book guy (and I include myself in that) wouldn't have the physique to carry off the auld painted on abs!! Think this but in green:

Superb article on the Pro12 and Europe - Page 6 The_Simpsons-Jeff_Albertson

Laugh

It's going to make its debut against Munster on the weekend apparently Very Happy

Very Happy Brilliant. It will be fun seeing how it looks on Buckley Erm

Fair play to Connacht though. It's a great idea, and great timing for the kids at Christmas. If they are going to get a kit anyway, all the better that it is a super hero one.


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Post by Guest Tue 24 Nov 2015, 10:25 pm

ScarletSpiderman wrote:
wayne wrote:
Risca Rev wrote:It's only BLK sponsored teams that are doing this by the looks. Toulouse are too.
Yes, they also have the rights to DC Comics and are mixing and matching.

Just seen ISC are doing the same with Marvel for NRL, gutted.

Also the Ospreys batman looks far better than Toulouse batman.

My mate (an O's fan) prefers the Toulouse one.

I think I prefer the Ospreys one. Darker black for a start.

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Post by ScarletSpiderman Tue 24 Nov 2015, 10:28 pm

Risca Rev wrote:
ScarletSpiderman wrote:
wayne wrote:
Risca Rev wrote:It's only BLK sponsored teams that are doing this by the looks. Toulouse are too.
Yes, they also have the rights to DC Comics and are mixing and matching.

Just seen ISC are doing the same with Marvel for NRL, gutted.

Also the Ospreys batman looks far better than Toulouse batman.

My mate (an O's fan) prefers the Toulouse one.

I think I prefer the Ospreys one. Darker black for a start.

Also the red just doesn't go right for batman.
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Post by Engine#4 Tue 24 Nov 2015, 11:31 pm

Question LD; which do you honestly think would make for a stronger Pro12?

A) A salary cap which forces the Irish Provinces to freeze their wage bills and allows English and French clubs to pick off the best of the best (and the best of the rest) of their homegrown players, coached and developed in Ireland, by Ireland, with Irish money.

B) Other clubs / unions getting their own houses in order and coming up to the financial standards necessary to maintain competition.

Irish provinces are apparently still spending less on foreign players than they were 7-8 years ago.  Money spent keeps Irish players in Ireland.  How that can be held against the provinces is beyond me.

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Post by LordDowlais Wed 25 Nov 2015, 8:18 am

Engine#4 wrote:Question LD; which do you honestly think would make for a stronger Pro12?

A) A salary cap which forces the Irish Provinces to freeze their wage bills and allows English and French clubs to pick off the best of the best (and the best of the rest) of their homegrown players, coached and developed in Ireland, by Ireland, with Irish money.

B) Other clubs / unions getting their own houses in order and coming up to the financial standards necessary to maintain competition.

Irish provinces are apparently still spending less on foreign players than they were 7-8 years ago.  Money spent keeps Irish players in Ireland.  How that can be held against the provinces is beyond me.

I have said what I like, I am getting fed up of this. Why don't you tell everybody what you would like, or do you think our league is fine the way it is ?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 25 Nov 2015, 9:06 am

Certainly the English clubs as a whole felt that a cap, below the French, benefitted the league as a whole. The issue though is you need agreement and Saracens and Bath are proving its a little pointless anyway.

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Post by Chunky Norwich Wed 25 Nov 2015, 9:40 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Certainly the English clubs as a whole felt that a cap, below the French, benefitted the league as a whole. The issue though is you need agreement and Saracens and Bath are proving its a little pointless anyway.

That is 1 small issue compared to the Pro12. Imagine being in a league where you have 5 nations, all with differing ideologies on salary caps, some owned by Unions, some independent businesses, some with lots of broadcasters to please, some with 1 broadcaster to please, some providing half the referees to that league, some providing hardly any. And not one of them sharing a land border with another. A logistical nightmare.

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Post by LordDowlais Wed 25 Nov 2015, 9:54 am

Yet nobody on here other than myself have made suggestions on how we could improve, they have all just try to pick niggly little arguments. certain members call me a troll, and I am the only person being constructive, yeah that makes a lot of sense.

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Post by Chunky Norwich Wed 25 Nov 2015, 9:59 am

LordDowlais wrote:Yet nobody on here other than myself have made suggestions on how we could improve, they have all just try to pick niggly little arguments. certain members call me a troll, and I am the only person being constructive, yeah that makes a lot of sense.

It's because they don't want change. Because the current shambles suits them. Give it a couple more seasons like this one and they might see things differently. As I've been saying for about 4 years now.

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Post by geoff999rugby Wed 25 Nov 2015, 10:05 am

Chunky Norwich wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:Yet nobody on here other than myself have made suggestions on how we could improve, they have all just try to pick niggly little arguments. certain members call me a troll, and I am the only person being constructive, yeah that makes a lot of sense.

It's because they don't want change. Because the current shambles suits them. Give it a couple more seasons like this one and they might see things differently. As I've been saying for about 4 years now.

Lord Dowlais this is exactly the sort of post I mean - of course others want change to improve your league.

You yourself suggested one a salary cap that is matches the English.
I ,as I have said, fully agree with you and I am pretty certain you will not find an Irish poster who disagrees with you.

Unfortunately, as illustrated here, you have fellow countrymen who do you no favours with their irrational negativity and head in the sand attitude to the reality on the ground.

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Post by geoff999rugby Wed 25 Nov 2015, 10:07 am

LordDowlais wrote:
Marshes wrote:I would be very surprised if the future holds Connacht at the top table with the other three Irish provinces LD!

They are there at the moment, and with the extra funding they are going to get, they would be a good bet for the fourth spot.

No chance they are top because of 2 things.

They lost 1 player to the World Cup squad whilst others lost a lot more.
They have played 3 games against the Italian sides.

They are improving year on year but are not good enough to claim a top 4 spot - a top 6 spot is a possibility though and that would be an achievement

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Post by Chunky Norwich Wed 25 Nov 2015, 10:10 am

geoff999rugby wrote:head in the sand attitude to the reality on the ground.

Very Happy Very Happy That's pretty amusing, seeing as I am, as far as I know, the only poster that has spent a large amount of time creating a detailed counter philosophy to ascertain what the alternative to the "reality on the ground" is.

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Post by marty2086 Wed 25 Nov 2015, 10:14 am

Chunky Norwich wrote:
geoff999rugby wrote:head in the sand attitude to the reality on the ground.

Very Happy Very Happy That's pretty amusing, seeing as I am, as far as I know, the only poster that has spent a large amount of time creating a detailed counter philosophy to ascertain what the alternative to the "reality on the ground" is.

A counter philosophy? You must have been working on that phrase for months

The right term is pipe dream or fantasy because you ignore the reality that while the league is imperfect it is evolving, growing and improving year on year and focus on an idea that you have no idea how it can work because you just automatically assume it will because you say it is so


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Post by geoff999rugby Wed 25 Nov 2015, 10:14 am

LordDowlais wrote:
geoff999rugby wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
TJ wrote:Remember Glasgow won the league last year.  Its not the Irish are unfairly advantaged - its that the welsh regions underperform - as do the italians.  The Irish can be matched.

Yes I agree, they can, at the moment. But with their spending going up, and people paying for players like Johnny Sexton it will be an Irish 1234 in our league for a long time, the only uncertainty, is what order they will all finish in. It will be like the premier league, where who can spend the most, occupies the top places.

Since 2002 The Aviva has had 6 different champions and of those only 3 have won it more than once
Since 2003 the Pro12 has had 6 different champions and of those only 3 have won it more than once

No difference that league is dominate by a few clubs as much as the Pro12

Sorry if this seems people are hounding you but if you continue to peddle unsustainable opinions as facts, and you continue to post, at best dubious quotes, by other posters, honestly what do you expect.

I am not concerned of what has happened in the past, I am more concerned with what could end up happening in the future.

Aren't we all but what makes you think the Aviva, and indeed the Top14 will not be dominated by the usual suspects in the future as well.

I see no realistic prospect of Sale, Worcester, London Irish, Newcastle making any contribution in the near future
Gloucester, Exeter and Harlequins have a mountain to climb

The usual suspects will be on top - Leicester, Saracens, Wasps, Saints, Bath
No different from the Pro12

Scarlets and Edinburgh are as likely to make a serious challenge in the next 3/4 years as the Gloucester, Exeter and Harlequins group

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 25 Nov 2015, 10:15 am

Not really Chunky, comes down to agreement with the clubs, fewer people negotiating as with Pro 12 may make it earier.

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Post by geoff999rugby Wed 25 Nov 2015, 10:16 am

Chunky Norwich wrote:
geoff999rugby wrote:head in the sand attitude to the reality on the ground.

Very Happy Very Happy That's pretty amusing, seeing as I am, as far as I know, the only poster that has spent a large amount of time creating a detailed counter philosophy to ascertain what the alternative to the "reality on the ground" is.

Coming from someone who doesn't understand how the date and time of Pro12 fixtures are determined that is funny laughing

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Post by Marshes Wed 25 Nov 2015, 10:46 am

LordDowlais wrote:Yet nobody on here other than myself have made suggestions on how we could improve, they have all just try to pick niggly little arguments. certain members call me a troll, and I am the only person being constructive, yeah that makes a lot of sense.

I don't have many ideas for how the league could be improved (maybe not as creative as yourself LD!), but I do think there are a few things underway in the league that could be beneficial if they are done right and some suggestions you and other posters have put forward could be useful:

- If the Pro 12 officiating review announced last month has teeth and the power to introduce change, it could be really beneficial for improving the standard across the league. I agree that the league should be looking to improve, but as I've said before this is not only the Pro 12's problem, a wider scope of refereeing review is needed in the Top 14 and worldwide (I don't have as much exposure with the Aviva, maybe an other poster can say). On the thread discussing that either yourself or Chunky was saying that Irish referees benefited Irish teams, which bandwagonsociety showed to be false, and that perceived bias is pervasive in the general match-going public despite not being borne out by the facts, which needs to be addressed. Equally there was a problem with referee's being connected to clubs, which I think is a good thing to have. Referees are not the only reason the officiating could be improved, players need to be accountable as well. Better communication between refs and squads means better understanding of the rules and ideally fewer infringements.
- A salary cap for the league in line with the British salary cap. I disagree with a businessman being able to supplement Sexton's wages in the same way I do having two players to whom the salary cap does not apply. One size fits all. But it should be at the upper end of the current scale, bringing it down to where the regions are is pointless as it removes the buying power of the league and retention of players as a whole and so the marketability. Maybe the WRU needs to get the finger out and provide more support rather than the finger being pointed across the water
- People pushing for a bigger TV deal for me with SKY are trying to run before we can walk. I think the league should be as accessible as possible both at the venue and on TV. This year Connacht kicked off the league against Dragons on a Friday and could I watch that anywhere? There was a two minute highlight reel on youtube Sunday night. I don't think SKY would improve that by putting it behind a paywall. Continue building attendances and the brand, and work with local TV providers to give increased access (BBC NI/Alba/S4C). Stop having games at ridiculous times, which is not only a problem for the Welsh clubs.
- People need to put down the pipe dream of a B & I league, it is not going to happen. They need to stop undermining the brand by desperately flirting with the uninterested English league and get behind the Pro 12.
- I think addressing the quality of the Italian teams is also important, as finishing consistently bottom is no good for them or national interest in the league. No idea how that could be done though.

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Post by Marshes Wed 25 Nov 2015, 10:49 am

geoff999rugby wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
Marshes wrote:I would be very surprised if the future holds Connacht at the top table with the other three Irish provinces LD!

They are there at the moment, and with the extra funding they are going to get, they would be a good bet for the fourth spot.

No chance they are top because of 2 things.

They lost 1 player to the World Cup squad whilst others lost a lot more.
They have played 3 games against the Italian sides.

They are improving year on year but are not good enough to claim a top 4 spot - a top 6 spot is a possibility though and that would be an achievement

I agree, like I say Munster this weekend will be a good litmus test. Also in the long run if they could hold on to Henshaw even for another season or two, although I doubt that will be the case.

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Post by marty2086 Wed 25 Nov 2015, 10:57 am

Chunky Norwich wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:Yet nobody on here other than myself have made suggestions on how we could improve, they have all just try to pick niggly little arguments. certain members call me a troll, and I am the only person being constructive, yeah that makes a lot of sense.

It's because they don't want change. Because the current shambles suits them. Give it a couple more seasons like this one and they might see things differently. As I've been saying for about 4 years now.

Are you done patting yourself on the back?

Theres been plenty of suggestions by others particularly regarding how to deal with referees

Chunky you only want a B&I league so criticising others for sticking to a position is just a little hypocritical

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Post by Pete330v2 Wed 25 Nov 2015, 10:58 am

Marshes wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:Yet nobody on here other than myself have made suggestions on how we could improve, they have all just try to pick niggly little arguments. certain members call me a troll, and I am the only person being constructive, yeah that makes a lot of sense.

I don't have many ideas for how the league could be improved (maybe not as creative as yourself LD!), but I do think there are a few things underway in the league that could be beneficial if they are done right and some suggestions you and other posters have put forward could be useful:

- If the Pro 12 officiating review announced last month has teeth and the power to introduce change, it could be really beneficial for improving the standard across the league. I agree that the league should be looking to improve, but as I've said before this is not only the Pro 12's problem, a wider scope of refereeing review is needed in the Top 14 and worldwide (I don't have as much exposure with the Aviva, maybe an other poster can say). On the thread discussing that either yourself or Chunky was saying that Irish referees benefited Irish teams, which bandwagonsociety showed to be false, and that perceived bias is pervasive in the general match-going public despite not being borne out by the facts, which needs to be addressed. Equally there was a problem with referee's being connected to clubs, which I think is a good thing to have. Referees are not the only reason the officiating could be improved, players need to be accountable as well. Better communication between refs and squads means better understanding of the rules and ideally fewer infringements.
- A salary cap for the league in line with the British salary cap. I disagree with a businessman being able to supplement Sexton's wages in the same way I do having two players to whom the salary cap does not apply. One size fits all. But it should be at the upper end of the current scale, bringing it down to where the regions are is pointless as it removes the buying power of the league and retention of players as a whole and so the marketability. Maybe the WRU needs to get the finger out and provide more support rather than the finger being pointed across the water
- People pushing for a bigger TV deal for me with SKY are trying to run before we can walk. I think the league should be as accessible as possible both at the venue and on TV. This year Connacht kicked off the league against Dragons on a Friday and could I watch that anywhere? There was a two minute highlight reel on youtube Sunday night. I don't think SKY would improve that by putting it behind a paywall. Continue building attendances and the brand, and work with local TV providers to give increased access (BBC NI/Alba/S4C). Stop having games at ridiculous times, which is not only a problem for the Welsh clubs.
- People need to put down the pipe dream of a B & I league, it is not going to happen. They need to stop undermining the brand  by desperately flirting with the uninterested English league and get behind the Pro 12.
- I think addressing the quality of the Italian teams is also important, as finishing consistently bottom is no good for them or national interest in the league. No idea how that could be done though.

That's a +1 for me.
Something with a grasp on reality instead of the 'I Want' mentality.

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Post by Chunky Norwich Wed 25 Nov 2015, 11:01 am

marty2086 wrote:
Chunky Norwich wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:Yet nobody on here other than myself have made suggestions on how we could improve, they have all just try to pick niggly little arguments. certain members call me a troll, and I am the only person being constructive, yeah that makes a lot of sense.

It's because they don't want change. Because the current shambles suits them. Give it a couple more seasons like this one and they might see things differently. As I've been saying for about 4 years now.

Are you done patting yourself on the back?

Theres been plenty of suggestions by others particularly regarding how to deal with referees

Chunky you only want a B&I league so criticising others for sticking to a position is just a little hypocritical

Not criticising contructive thinking. I just think it a little amusing at being accused of havign my head in the sand.

I wonder what some posters would say to the Ospreys CEO for calling for a British and Irish League if they had a chance to discuss it with him face to face?
Has he got his head in the sand?
Is he "trolling"?
Is he "living in a fantasy land?"
Is he "a loony conspiracy theorist"?

All things constantly labelled at me for wanting the same thing as the chief of a PrO'12 side.

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Post by marty2086 Wed 25 Nov 2015, 11:12 am

Marshes wrote:
- If the Pro 12 officiating review announced last month has teeth and the power to introduce change, it could be really beneficial for improving the standard across the league. I agree that the league should be looking to improve, but as I've said before this is not only the Pro 12's problem, a wider scope of refereeing review is needed in the Top 14 and worldwide (I don't have as much exposure with the Aviva, maybe an other poster can say). On the thread discussing that either yourself or Chunky was saying that Irish referees benefited Irish teams, which bandwagonsociety showed to be false, and that perceived bias is pervasive in the general match-going public despite not being borne out by the facts, which needs to be addressed. Equally there was a problem with referee's being connected to clubs, which I think is a good thing to have. Referees are not the only reason the officiating could be improved, players need to be accountable as well. Better communication between refs and squads means better understanding of the rules and ideally fewer infringements.
- A salary cap for the league in line with the British salary cap. I disagree with a businessman being able to supplement Sexton's wages in the same way I do having two players to whom the salary cap does not apply. One size fits all. But it should be at the upper end of the current scale, bringing it down to where the regions are is pointless as it removes the buying power of the league and retention of players as a whole and so the marketability. Maybe the WRU needs to get the finger out and provide more support rather than the finger being pointed across the water
- People pushing for a bigger TV deal for me with SKY are trying to run before we can walk. I think the league should be as accessible as possible both at the venue and on TV. This year Connacht kicked off the league against Dragons on a Friday and could I watch that anywhere? There was a two minute highlight reel on youtube Sunday night. I don't think SKY would improve that by putting it behind a paywall. Continue building attendances and the brand, and work with local TV providers to give increased access (BBC NI/Alba/S4C). Stop having games at ridiculous times, which is not only a problem for the Welsh clubs.
- People need to put down the pipe dream of a B & I league, it is not going to happen. They need to stop undermining the brand  by desperately flirting with the uninterested English league and get behind the Pro 12.
- I think addressing the quality of the Italian teams is also important, as finishing consistently bottom is no good for them or national interest in the league. No idea how that could be done though.

-Interesting thoughts, the man in charge of the refs undertook a similar review for the AP a number of years ago so he should know what hes doing. He also left that job when the AP clubs wanted to weaken his position and take more control over the officials

-A salary cap wouldn't work in the Pro12, players are paid by clubs and unions not to mention that the salary cap in the AP is affected by their tv deals so it would have little effect on the Pro12 upping the salary cap plus clubs receive funding from unions. So saying one size fits all is wrong when each league has different constraints etc. A cap for the ERCC squads may be appropriate though

-The Italians are one of the biggest issues with the league, they have shown glimpses of promise then it fades. The payments they make to the league should be scrapped and allowed to be reinvested into their structures and grassroots which, if they bear fruit, will be worth a lot more per year to the league than what they currently pay.

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Post by marty2086 Wed 25 Nov 2015, 11:20 am

Chunky Norwich wrote:
marty2086 wrote:
Chunky Norwich wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:Yet nobody on here other than myself have made suggestions on how we could improve, they have all just try to pick niggly little arguments. certain members call me a troll, and I am the only person being constructive, yeah that makes a lot of sense.

It's because they don't want change. Because the current shambles suits them. Give it a couple more seasons like this one and they might see things differently. As I've been saying for about 4 years now.

Are you done patting yourself on the back?

Theres been plenty of suggestions by others particularly regarding how to deal with referees

Chunky you only want a B&I league so criticising others for sticking to a position is just a little hypocritical

Not criticising contructive thinking. I just think it a little amusing at being accused of havign my head in the sand.

I wonder what some posters would say to the Ospreys CEO for calling for a British and Irish League if they had a chance to discuss it with him face to face?
Has he got his head in the sand?
Is he "trolling"?
Is he "living in a  fantasy land?"
Is he "a loony conspiracy theorist"?

All things constantly labelled at me for wanting the same thing as the chief of a PrO'12 side.


Constructive thinking saying others don't want change? Not sure where you pulled that from

For one I haven't heard him say it or produce an argument for it so I can't comment on what he said but in your case yes. You have given little thought to logistics, marketing, advertising, structures etc you just automatically make the assumption that it will automatically be better because BT will surely pay a shed load of money meaning more for everyone and it will be better rugby etc. Theres no weighing of pros and cons and no understanding of the bigger picture

marty2086

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Post by Marshes Wed 25 Nov 2015, 11:41 am

marty2086 wrote:

-Interesting thoughts, the man in charge of the refs undertook a similar review for the AP a number of years ago so he should know what hes doing. He also left that job when the AP clubs wanted to weaken his position and take more control over the officials

-A salary cap wouldn't work in the Pro12, players are paid by clubs and unions not to mention that the salary cap in the AP is affected by their tv deals so it would have little effect on the Pro12 upping the salary cap plus clubs receive funding from unions. So saying one size fits all is wrong when each league has different constraints etc. A cap for the ERCC squads may be appropriate though

-The Italians are one of the biggest issues with the league, they have shown glimpses of promise then it fades. The payments they make to the league should be scrapped and allowed to be reinvested into their structures and grassroots which, if they bear fruit, will be worth a lot more per year to the league than what they currently pay.

Sorry marty I should have been clearer, what I meant is one size fits all within the league in that there would be no exemptions to the salary cap, no two players who are exempt and don't count in the wages like in the Aviva, and no sugardaddy to come in and supplement a players wages like with Sexton. Both of those for me are the fly a bit in the face of fairness and penalise the smaller clubs who are not in a position to do that. I mean I'm sure a salary cap could be figured out between the unions and the clubs in regard to dual contracts, but I don't think I'm the man for the nuts and bolts of it! Wales are on the road to NDC too so should be open to discussion, but like I say it should be at the upper end of the current scale, we should be aiming to keep pace with the two national leagues.

Marshes

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Post by Marshes Wed 25 Nov 2015, 11:44 am

Chunky Norwich wrote:
marty2086 wrote:
Chunky Norwich wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:Yet nobody on here other than myself have made suggestions on how we could improve, they have all just try to pick niggly little arguments. certain members call me a troll, and I am the only person being constructive, yeah that makes a lot of sense.

It's because they don't want change. Because the current shambles suits them. Give it a couple more seasons like this one and they might see things differently. As I've been saying for about 4 years now.

Are you done patting yourself on the back?

Theres been plenty of suggestions by others particularly regarding how to deal with referees

Chunky you only want a B&I league so criticising others for sticking to a position is just a little hypocritical

Not criticising contructive thinking. I just think it a little amusing at being accused of havign my head in the sand.

I wonder what some posters would say to the Ospreys CEO for calling for a British and Irish League if they had a chance to discuss it with him face to face?
Has he got his head in the sand?
Is he "trolling"?
Is he "living in a  fantasy land?"
Is he "a loony conspiracy theorist"?

All things constantly labelled at me for wanting the same thing as the chief of a PrO'12 side.

For the two items in bold yes, you could tell him it is not going to happen.

Marshes

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Post by Marshes Wed 25 Nov 2015, 11:47 am

marty2086 wrote:

-The Italians are one of the biggest issues with the league, they have shown glimpses of promise then it fades. The payments they make to the league should be scrapped and allowed to be reinvested into their structures and grassroots which, if they bear fruit, will be worth a lot more per year to the league than what they currently pay.

And on this yeah currently it is a ten team league with two whipping boys, there will be the occasional win but it is never indicative of progress. I agree allowing the teams to built the structures would be beneficial rather than paying to be clubbed, even the other unions could help out with expertise and coaching support. Something like Argentina have done with national academies could bear fruit in the next five years

Marshes

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