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"Pro12 is run by unions ...to fill our ranks with top class talent"

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Rory_Gallagher
St John The Enforcer
Notch
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rodders
LordDowlais
marty2086
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HammerofThunor
VinceWLB
formerly known as Sam
Stone Motif
Pot Hale
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Post by Pot Hale Sun 29 Nov 2015, 6:47 pm

First topic message reminder :

From Iain Morrison in The Scotsman:

Money talks as richer leagues prey on the Pro12

Last weekend was not a good one for the Guinness Pro12 clubs in the Champions Cup. Of the six clubs competing, five lost their ties while the sixth didn’t play at all. Stade Francais postponed their Paris match against Munster, although you doubt the pools panel would mark it an away win.

As recently as 2012, the Pro12 produced three of the four European Cup semi-finalists as Leinster went on to beat Ulster in that Aviva final. A few short years later and the Pro12 are struggling to ensure any representation in the last eight. English clubs bleated for years that the dice were stacked against them but if they are arguing the opposite now they are doing so very quietly.

Wasps and Bath have both beaten Leinster in the last two weekends, Saracens hammered Ulster in Belfast and Glasgow were a poor second to Northampton in their Scotstoun stronghold. Ospreys were the best of a bad bunch, earning two bonus points at Clermont but only after grabbing two tries in the final 35 seconds of a bizarre match.

What the heck happened?

Money may be an obvious answer but in the world of elite sport it does not so much talk as howl from the rooftops. Only last week George North chose to ignore ‘Gatland’s Law’ and re-signed with Northampton. David Denton added around £100,000 to his annual salary when he swapped Edinburgh for Bath and Greig Laidlaw pretty much doubled his moolah in moving to Gloucester.

And it isn’t just the Scots.

The prospect of the stand-off groomed as Ronan O’Gara’s long-term replacement leaving Munster seemed as likely as the club swapping their traditional red strip for a corset and suspenders – but JJ Hanrahan duly quit Thomond Park last summer, snapped up by Northampton, who already have Stephen Myler on their books.

Meanwhile, his Welsh equivalent, Owen Williams, shows no sign of leaving Leicester Tigers and Rhys Priestland is at Bath.

Only last week Richie Gray swapped one French club for another but if the Top 14 are in another financial league altogether the English are fast catching up. A body chosen to investigate breaches of the Aviva Premiership’s salary cap took the unprecedented decision not to make their findings public while claiming with a straight face that no wrongdoing had been proven. Anyway, the official salary cap rises to 
£7 million in 2017/18.

Add in various allowances and two marquee players who are excluded and that number actually tops out between £9-10 million. Glasgow currently spend about £5 million by way of comparison, so holding on to the next Niko Matawalu is going to be no easier than keeping the original model.

If Pro12 teams expect to be outbid by the financial muscle of the Top 14 and the Aviva, they must have been stunned by the size of the carrot reportedly dangled in front of Leinster’s Ian Madigan by an English Championship club – albeit one with Premiership pretensions.

Bristol are said to have offered the midfielder £350,000 a year. Ten years ago that would have been the biggest salary in Europe, now it is being offered by a second division side to a stand-off who can’t command a start for club or country.

It got lost in the World Cup hubbub but the Pro12 appointed a managing director to raise the league’s profile, on the commercial and marketing side. Martin Anayi, pictured left, boasts a background with IMG in motor sport and an Irish/Iraqi heritage that warns against starting a stramash, so I tread carefully when I suggest he picked a tough time to join Pro12.

“I would say the other way around,” Anayi counters. “I have come in at a very good time. You can’t look at results of just one round, you have to look at the whole and we had good results (in the Challenge Cup) by Connacht and Zebre.

“Part of my job is to actually focus on the good things and there are a lot of good things going on in the Pro12. We have proper competition to get into Europe. We have a proper broadcaster base. We have some amazing coverage. We have 130 games live across the course of the season. We have some fantastic spectacle games like the Judgement game (the Millennium Stadium double header) and the 1872 Cup. Those are the things that we focus on and want to develop.”

Anayi makes the valid point that several marquee names have returned to the Pro12 and several others are on the way. Jonny Sexton boasts the highest profile but Dan Lydiate (Ospreys) and Jon Davies, who returns to Scarlets colours next season, are not far behind. But for every player returning ‘home’ there is one who has stayed away and another on the brink of leaving.

Luke Charteris has quit Racing only to join Bath. Jamie Roberts has left Racing but signed for Harlequins, once he gets the Varsity Match out of the way, and who knows how many are looking for a quick getaway this summer. Simon Zebo is linked with Pau, while both Toulon and Clermont are said to be courting Alun-Wyn Jones. Taulupe Faletau has already stayed with the Dragons far longer than anyone expected and clubs are queueing up for Sean O’Brien’s signature.

There is no danger that the Pro12 will become a feeder for the wealthier leagues in England and France because it has already happened. The question is whether it matters and Anayi adopts a sanguine view.

He argues: “Whilst there is clearly a disparity in the wage bill we don’t have that model. We have a different model and focus on how that model can work for us. The Pro12 is run by unions and it allows unions to fill our ranks with top class talent who have been unearthed at an early stage.

“It’s exactly what Super Rugby has been doing for years and been doing incredibly well so I don’t think it’s any different.”

Instead of hard cash Anayi looks to innovation and entertainment. He wants the Pro12 to emulate Super Rugby on the field with an exciting brand of running rugby, but all he offers by way of innovation is a player mic and whatever possibilities player GPS tracking offers. The former has already been trialled: Ulster centre Stuart McCloskey played with a microphone in a September fixture against the Scarlets, the first player in the Northern Hemisphere to do so.

Against that, the Aviva’s idea of innovation is an eye-catching match in New York between London Irish and Saracens during the Six Nations.

The Pro12 has some catching up to do but Anayi is in no hurry to make the one innovation that could transform the league, swapping the twin Italian sides for the Scottish and Welsh exile clubs in London. He cites the obvious political problems of such a move and he insists that, with stability now guaranteed for a number of years, the Italians teams will eventually come good.

I hesitate to argue but, by his own admission, the new Pro12 boss is paid to be optimistic.


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Post by Pot Hale Mon 30 Nov 2015, 3:08 pm

Chunky Norwich wrote:
Pot Hale wrote:

Martin Anayi, pictured left, boasts a background with IMG in motor sport and an Irish/Iraqi heritage



So he IS IRISH then?

From what I can read of his background, he appears to have played a lot for London Welsh, so maybe he is WELSH at heart. He went to University of Leeds, then Guildford College of Law, worked in London for a law firm, and IMG sports, and still seems to be based in London. He has a British accent if that makes you feel happier and he talks about the Pro 12 "having a lot of players in the British Lions". Here's a recent clip of him on BBC Scrum V talking about his new role, including his views on Italian rugby and potentially bringing in London Welsh and London Scottish to a Pro 14 and about the size of the potential Irish populations in US and in England and says he is half-Irish himself - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p039bcw4



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Post by HammerofThunor Mon 30 Nov 2015, 3:10 pm

It would be interesting if any studies have been done on the amount of game time and the injury rate.  Clearly if you play more you'll be involved in more tackles and therefore have a higher rate of event based injuries.  But is there an increase beyond that due to additional wear and tear?

We seem to have a lot of injuries in England but then we have 3 times more players than most other countries.  And all nations go through cycles of injuries coming all at once.

EDIT: and another one to consider is quality of life after retiring from rugby.

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Post by Exiledinborders Mon 30 Nov 2015, 3:28 pm

From Iain Morrison in The Scotsman wrote:The Pro12 has some catching up to do but Anayi is in no hurry to make the one innovation that could transform the league, swapping the twin Italian sides for the Scottish and Welsh exile clubs in London. He cites the obvious political problems of such a move and he insists that, with stability now guaranteed for a number of years, the Italians teams will eventually come good.
Firstly the two exile clubs have nowhere to play in London and no great support anyway.

Secondly is it not a bit self serving for a Scot to ask to ditch the two Italian sides and also try to include two English clubs in the league? If the Welsh and Irish clubs decided to join forces with the English clubs and leave the Scots in the lurch what would be his response?

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Post by LordDowlais Mon 30 Nov 2015, 3:30 pm

The thing is Hammer, for me, the Irish provinces have never taken the league as seriously as Europe, because they have not needed to. But with more and more DC being signed here in Wales, and the fact that we are now going to start keeping our players rather than lose them, then I guess we will see the provinces having to play their better players in the league out of necessity.

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Post by Notch Mon 30 Nov 2015, 3:37 pm

LordDowlais wrote:The thing is Hammer, for me, the Irish provinces have never taken the league as seriously as Europe, because they have not needed to. But with more and more DC being signed here in Wales, and the fact that we are now going to start keeping our players rather than lose them, then I guess we will see the provinces having to play their better players in the league out of necessity.

Or, you will see that players on direct contracts are managed in exactly the same way as Irish players i.e playing most games when available but occasionally being rested and rotated to make sure they are in top condition for test rugby.

The amount of game time Irish international players play in the Pro12 is not decided at the provincial level, just when they play it. This is obvious common sense. To get the best out of a player for his whole career, they need to be managed carefully with regards to the number of games they play. The WRU know that they need to do this just as well as the IRFU do.

The policy won't change depending on how the provinces perform in the league anyway.
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Post by LordDowlais Mon 30 Nov 2015, 3:44 pm

Notch wrote:The policy won't change depending on how the provinces perform in the league anyway.

It will if they stop qualifying for Europe.

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Post by rodders Mon 30 Nov 2015, 4:02 pm

LordDowlais wrote:The thing is Hammer, for me, the Irish provinces have never taken the league as seriously as Europe, because they have not needed to.

Correction Munster have never taken the league seriously.

Ulster have gone all out and come up short a couple of times in the last few years. Leinster have won it several times whilst battling on 2 fronts.

Obviously Europe has been the primary target - obviously if you were challenging in the competition it would be - but I think there is more a focus on the Pro12 in recent seasons as Europe becomes harder to challenge for with the financial muscle of Toulon, Toulouse, Racing, Saracens etc.

BTW not sure if anyone saw the drubbing Toulon gave Clermont at the weekend - scary stuff.
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Post by marty2086 Mon 30 Nov 2015, 4:08 pm

rodders wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:The thing is Hammer, for me, the Irish provinces have never taken the league as seriously as Europe, because they have not needed to.

Correction Munster have never taken the league seriously.


Even that statement is a bit off rodders, Munster have what 3 titles, 4 seconds and a couple of third place finishes? Not a bad record for never taking it seriously, I think there have been some seasons they've went all out on the European front and limped home in the league but that's all depended on how they've fared across the two fronts that season

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Post by Pot Hale Mon 30 Nov 2015, 4:17 pm

That's what has possibly cheesed off a lot of Welsh fans in that they put out second teams and still qualified for Europe. If the Wales rugby people can get their act together now and bring in/back more quality players so that their are four competitive teams rather than one each season then the provinces might have to shift out of second gear.

Leinster are finding out this season how scraping into 5th has affected their prospects in European rugby.

Not sure if there are bonus payments for placings in the Pro12 but it would be a good incentive if there were hefty rewards for where you finish in the league. That would make all the clubs, not just the Irish ones, pull up their socks.
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Post by LordDowlais Mon 30 Nov 2015, 4:23 pm

Pot, over the years, not so much now as I have become more accustomed with the Irish players, I was always miffed when I saw Munster or Leinster rock up and start with players I had never here'd of. Over the years you have had some absolute quality NIQ players to get you over the line. I remember Contepomi and Isa Necewa beating Cardiff Blues almost on their own for years at one point.

Now though, I do not think it will be enough, the regions slowly seem to be getting their acts together and working with the WRU to keep our best players here, so we will see what the next few years bring, and if it is more of the same from the provinces, then you could well be scrapping it out to get into the European places with each other.

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Post by Guest Mon 30 Nov 2015, 5:23 pm

LordDowlais wrote:Pot, over the years, not so much now as I have become more accustomed with the Irish players, I was always miffed when I saw Munster or Leinster rock up and start with players I had never here'd of. Over the years you have had some absolute quality NIQ players to get you over the line. I remember Contepomi and Isa Necewa beating Cardiff Blues almost on their own for years at one point.

Now though, I do not think it will be enough, the regions slowly seem to be getting their acts together and working with the WRU to keep our best players here, so we will see what the next few years bring, and if it is more of the same from the provinces, then you could well be scrapping it out to get into the European places with each other.

Well then you agree with what many of us have been saying for months now. If you want us to put out stronger sides then raise your game. Make us compete. Not that we can magically play all our best players all the time, in Pro12. We are still under orders to rest players, and we will still prioritise some games over others, such as Euro cup over Pro12, unless we have little hope of making the quarters.

In truth, I don't think much will change, other than the intensity of some games.

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Post by St John The Enforcer Mon 30 Nov 2015, 5:37 pm

LordDowlais wrote:I remember Contepomi and Isa Necewa beating Cardiff Blues almost on their own for years at one point.
Contepomi and Nacewa played together 3 times in Wales. Once against the Blues and they didn't win that one.

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Post by LordDowlais Mon 30 Nov 2015, 5:54 pm

Sorry I did not mean together, I just rember them always ripping us a new one when ever I watched them. Although I did not say they did it together.

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Post by Notch Mon 30 Nov 2015, 6:32 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
Notch wrote:The policy won't change depending on how the provinces perform in the league anyway.

It will if they stop qualifying for Europe.

Maybe that would provoke some kind of counter-measure, because that would hurt the financial health of the provinces- but not as much as the national teams performance dropping off badly would hurt the overall financial health of Irish Rugby. As long as test rugby brings in more money than provincial rugby it will be prioritised. So I have to say it- I think you're wrong.
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Post by Pot Hale Mon 30 Nov 2015, 7:23 pm

LordDowlais wrote:Pot, over the years, not so much now as I have become more accustomed with the Irish players, I was always miffed when I saw Munster or Leinster rock up and start with players I had never here'd of. Over the years you have had some absolute quality NIQ players to get you over the line. I remember Contepomi and Isa Necewa beating Cardiff Blues almost on their own for years at one point.

Now though, I do not think it will be enough, the regions slowly seem to be getting their acts together and working with the WRU to keep our best players here, so we will see what the next few years bring, and if it is more of the same from the provinces, then you could well be scrapping it out to get into the European places with each other.

LordDowlais wrote:Sorry I did not mean together, I just rember them always ripping us a new one when ever I watched them. Although I did not say they did it together.

LD, in case you hadn't noticed, the provinces are scrapping it out with each other to get into the European places - and have been for last three seasons, particularly with Connacht now coming to the boil.  

Contemponi and Nacewa only had one season together, but they were two great players for Leinster. However, I'd take issue with your two comments about Nacewa/Contepomi beating Cardiff on their own for years at one point, and the club having some quality NIQ to get Leinster over the line.   I might respond that the memory can sometimes play tricks with all of us.  Without doubt, players like Contepomi, Nacewa, Elsom and Thorn contributed handsomely to the side.   But that ignores the home-grown talent that still managed to do their job quite effectively in the league as well as the H Cup.  

Taking your example of Cardiff Blues, here's what actually happened in the Leinster/Cardiff matches since 2005, who scored, and who won MOTM:

W 2005 Leinster 34-15 Cardiff (Contepomi captained and scored 14 points along with MOTM Horgan, Darcy and Gissing (2) )
L 2006 Cardiff 40-31 Leinster (Contepomi converted 4 tries from Hickie, Darcy, Horgan, Kearney with Mike Phillips getting MOTM and the win)
W 2006 Leinster 16-9 Cardiff (Contepomi kicking with Michael Berne getting the match-winning try and MOTM)
L 2007 Cardiff 27-11 Leinster (Contepomi kicked 2 pens and got a sin-bin to go with Horgan's try in the TBP loss)
W 2007 Cardiff 19-30 Leinster (No Contepomi.   Newbies Fitzgerald and Sexton got 3 tries and Heaslip the fourth with Sexton kicking points and MOTM)
*W 2008 Leinster 24-17 Cardiff (Contepomi playing and arguably MOTM with a 14pt haul along with Fitzgerald and Berne touching down)
D 2008 Cardiff 16-16 Leinster (Nacewa playing first match/Contepomi playing - a try apiece in the draw) No MOTM
*W 2009 Leinster 21-20 Cardiff (Nacewa/Contepomi playing 7 pens by Felipe who was MOTM)
W 2009 Leinster 23-6 Cardiff (Nacewa playing - MOTM Sexton kicked all the points with tries from Horgan/Keogh)
W 2010 Cardiff 20-29 Leinster (Nacewa playing - MOTM McFadden scored and kicked with Jackman try as well)
*W 2010 Leinster 34-23 Cardiff (Nacewa scored a try along with Madigan, McFadden and Jennings for the bonus point. Nacewa got MOTM)
L 2011 Cardiff 11-3 Leinster (Nacewa scored a single penalty in the loss)
W 2011 Leinster 52-9 Cardiff (Nacewa playing with the scores made by Boss, Madigan, White, Au'uva, D Kearney with MOTM McFadden kicking 18 points)
W 2012 Cardiff 19-23 Leinster (Nacewa didn't start with Kearney and O'Brien scoring and Heaslip MOTM)
W 2012 Leinster 59-22 Cardiff (Nacewa didn't play with nine tries coming from 8 different players - Jordi Murphy MOTM)
W 2013 Cardiff 11-26 Leinster (Nacewa didn't play with Madigan kicking the points and tries from Murphy/Boss - Owen Williams got MOTM!)
W 2013 Leinster 34-20 Cardiff (Madigan getting MOTM for his try and 12 points, Cronin and Ryan got one each)
W 2014 Cardiff 22-34 Leinster (Reddan, Bent, Strauss and MOTM Conan got the bonus point win - Gopperth kicked)
W 2014 Leinster 37-23 Cardiff (Another Irish quad of MOTM Darcy, Ruddock, and two McGraths got the bonus point with Madigan kicking)
W 2015 Cardiff 13-22 Leinster (Reid, McGrath, Gopperth and Furlong got the tries with Josh Navidi getting MOTM)
W 2015 Leinster 23-15 Cardiff (Nacewa back as capt. with Josh van der Flier as MOTM and Conan scoring a try)

I still see Welsh teams rock up and start with players I've never heard of - happens each week.  I'm sure their fans know who they are though.

For example, in Sept 2007, Leinster arrived at Arms Park having been soundly beaten there earlier in the year.  The line-ups were:

Leinster: Kearney, Brown, McFadden, Warner, Fitzgerald, Sexton, Whitaker, Wright, Jackman, Knoop, Hogan, Cullen, McLaughlin, Jennings, Heaslip
Cardiff: Blair, Roberts, Selley, Hewitt, James, Robinson, Spice, Yapp, Williams, Powell, Sidoli, Tito, Lewis, Sowden-Taylor and Rush.

Leinster won 30-19 with names you probably never heard of at the time - newbies Luke Fitzgerald and Jonathan Sexton getting three tries, Sexton kicking and getting MOTM - what's not to like?


Last edited by Pot Hale on Mon 30 Nov 2015, 8:05 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Post by Rory_Gallagher Mon 30 Nov 2015, 7:33 pm

Stop bringing facts to this discussion please.

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Post by Pot Hale Mon 30 Nov 2015, 7:40 pm

Rory_Gallagher wrote:Stop bringing facts to this discussion please.

Apologies.

I'll try not to do it for a little while.....
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Post by Rory_Gallagher Mon 30 Nov 2015, 7:49 pm

Pot Hale wrote:
Rory_Gallagher wrote:Stop bringing facts to this discussion please.

Apologies.

I'll try not to do it for a little while.....

Not to worry my friend, LordDowlais will be back to fix this problem.

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Post by madmaccas Mon 30 Nov 2015, 11:28 pm

Exiledinborders wrote:
From Iain Morrison in The Scotsman wrote:The Pro12 has some catching up to do but Anayi is in no hurry to make the one innovation that could transform the league, swapping the twin Italian sides for the Scottish and Welsh exile clubs in London. He cites the obvious political problems of such a move and he insists that, with stability now guaranteed for a number of years, the Italians teams will eventually come good.
Firstly the two exile clubs have nowhere to play in London and no great support anyway.

Secondly is it not a bit self serving for a Scot to ask to ditch the two Italian sides and also try to include two English clubs in the league?  If the Welsh and Irish clubs decided to join forces with the English clubs and leave the Scots in the lurch what would be his response?

I can't speak for London Welsh, but as a former player and lifelong supporter I can safely say there is a good core of support at Scottish. Most games have between 1000-2000 in attendance and there are a lot more fans who would come back with bigger games.

Back in '99 our average attendances were between 2000 and 3000. Bear in mind that put them on a par with Sale, London Irish Newcastle, Leeds and just behind Quins. Interestingly if you look at the 98-99 season you'll see the the attendances for LS started off terribly at just 850 in the opening game, but rose dramatically over the course of the season culminating in 3000 and 4600 in the last 2 home games.

That was way back then, rugby has a far higher profile now and I can say with some certainty that we could easily bring in more than the woeful average 2,059 that Zebra do, the 3,761 that Treviso do and I think even the 4,382 that Edinburgh do.

There are hundreds of thousands of Scots and Scot heritage men, women and children in London. We could easily become the most supported Scottish team with the right marketing effort. Also bear in mind the Irish and Welsh supporters based in London who would come to see their native teams on their doorstep. We're talking thousands.

You're right that a ground is a problem, but the RAA was expanded up to 6k in the 97-99 seasons using the kinds of temporary stands used at Scotstoun if it's good enough for the champs eh?). Going forward a new ground/perm stands would be needed, but Brentford's new stadium will be just up the road. Without the bureaucratic restriction on ground in the PRO12 it wouldn't be a problem to share if they were up for it. We could also look at sharing with Quins again as we did in the past.

Finally, we don't have to drop the Italians, the TOP14 works, so why not the PRO14?

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Post by Notch Mon 30 Nov 2015, 11:56 pm

The Top14 works? It's insanely over-sized and you could make a real argument that the long slog is making it more difficult for Frances players to peak for test rugby. As far as I'm concerned the Top14 is a example of what not to do- going for more games of a lower quality as opposed to fewer, higher quality games.

But I wouldn't be adverse to a 14-team competition if it means we can go to two seven-team conferences and reduce regular season games for each team from 22 games to 14 games. We seriously need to figure out how to reduce the number of games we're playing in the NH. It's crazy- rugby almost every weekend for over 9 months.
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Post by Guest Mon 30 Nov 2015, 11:57 pm

14 is too many. It's tough enough finding room to fit in all the games. The PRL moan about the packed fixture list, and yet they want more?

Why would London Scottish/Welsh work in Pro12, and not in the AP?

London Scottish/Welsh/Irish are English teams. They are not Scottish, Welsh or Irish. Only in name.

I know it's not what you are suggesting, but I would not be happy with them replacing the Italians, and the Italians would be better than either Welsh or Scottish.

Sorry if that sounds a bit harsh. It isn't really meant to come across that way. I'm just rubbish at being nice Erm

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Post by profitius Tue 01 Dec 2015, 12:12 am

The Italians will get better. Already theres signs of them being more competitive and remember too that the European cup negotiations ment they couldn't invrest in the team as much. Now that their immediate future has been sorted, they can kick on.
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Post by Pot Hale Tue 01 Dec 2015, 1:19 am

Munchkin wrote:14 is too many. It's tough enough finding room to fit in all the games. The PRL moan about the packed fixture list, and yet they want more?

Why would London Scottish/Welsh work in Pro12, and not in the AP?

London Scottish/Welsh/Irish are English teams. They are not Scottish, Welsh or Irish. Only in name.

I know it's not what you are suggesting, but I would not be happy with them replacing the Italians, and the Italians would be better than either Welsh or Scottish.

Sorry if that sounds a bit harsh. It isn't really meant to come across that way. I'm just rubbish at being nice Erm

That is now one of my favourite all-time quotes on this forum, Munchkin.

I think bringing in London Welsh and London Scottish would be a good thing, and whilst they may start out somewhat uncompetitive, I reckon that could change. However, them joining would need to guarantee additional broadcaster/sponsorship monies particularly since they would open up a segment of the English TV market. Not sure if the union affiliation (SRU and WRU) would present a problem with the politics of the regional club owners, etc. Might Welsh players want to play in London instead of one of the existing regions? Would LW have NDC players on their books? How would broadcasting income from LW and LS be viewed - accruing to their new unions - or directly into Pro 12 a la Sky deal?

I'd agree with a two seven-team conference model - similar to early days of the Celtic League - and if reducing the number of matches in the season could happen as a result without impacting too greatly on income, then all to the good. Top three in each conference to advance to play-offs for final and/or establish order of the European spots for 5th/6th, 4th place play-off for 7th spot in the european cup tournaments, and 5th place for the euro playoff spot. I think you'd have to lose the automatic country allocation of 1 team minimum. Maximum of 17 games, you'd gain a month in the season and allow the national teams better time to prepare for the June internationals.

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Post by madmaccas Tue 01 Dec 2015, 1:40 am

Munchkin wrote:14 is too many. It's tough enough finding room to fit in all the games. The PRL moan about the packed fixture list, and yet they want more?

Why would London Scottish/Welsh work in Pro12, and not in the AP?

London Scottish/Welsh/Irish are English teams. They are not Scottish, Welsh or Irish. Only in name.

I know it's not what you are suggesting, but I would not be happy with them replacing the Italians, and the Italians would be better than either Welsh or Scottish.

Sorry if that sounds a bit harsh. It isn't really meant to come across that way. I'm just rubbish at being nice Erm

They would work better in the PRO12 because it's not based around promotion and relegation. You can build a sustainable structure, squad and improve year on year - as opposed to having to shell out huge amounts on 2nd rate unattached journeymen in the 3 months between winning the Championship play offs and starting in the Aviva.

Again I can't speak for London Welsh, but London Scottish are very much a Scottish club. They are a member of the SRU (always have been), are committed to having at least 30% Scottish qualified players (would be more but for the financial incentives from the RFU for fielding English players) and even wear the SRU logo on the arm.

I'm not saying they have to replace the Italians, I just think it's an incredible opportunity for both the team itself and the league as a whole. Can you imagine the potential, there are almost quarter of a million Scots born and 2nd gen Scots in London. There are more Irish and 1st gen Irish in London than Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford put together. Those crowds could be immense, and that's not including Ulster or Wales.

Plus, having at least 1 London based team would be a boon for sponsorship and TV rights.

I disagree about the Italian teams being better. Maybe at this second, but it wouldn't take long to build a quality squad. Last season Scottish gave a good account of themselves against Glasgow going down 38-19, that score against the Italians wouldn't have been surprising. In fact Glasgow beat Cardiff 33-12 just a few weeks later!


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Post by madmaccas Tue 01 Dec 2015, 1:58 am

Munchkin wrote:
Sorry if that sounds a bit harsh. It isn't really meant to come across that way. I'm just rubbish at being nice Erm

Try this

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Post by Exiledinborders Tue 01 Dec 2015, 7:19 am

madmaccas wrote:
I'm not saying they have to replace the Italians, I just think it's an incredible opportunity for both the team itself and the league as a whole. Can you imagine the potential, there are almost quarter of a million Scots born and 2nd gen Scots in London. There are more Irish and 1st gen Irish in London than Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford put together. Those crowds could be immense, and that's not including Ulster or Wales.
The first thing that springs to mind is that this exile formula has not worked very well for London Irish. The crowds are not "immense".

A quarter of a million Scots born and 2nd generation Scots you say. That is half the population of the Leicester urban area spread over a very large area. It also presupposes that second generation Scots are more likely to travel to see London Scottish rather than watch a nearer team to whom they have built allegiance.

In any event it is not going to happen as the RFU would quite rightly insist that clubs in England play within their structure.

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Post by Guest Tue 01 Dec 2015, 11:34 am

madmaccas wrote:
Munchkin wrote:
Sorry if that sounds a bit harsh. It isn't really meant to come across that way. I'm just rubbish at being nice Erm

Try this

It's how to be nice in the USA. I'm an Ulster man. We don't do smiling at, and talking to every stranger. Otherwise......

"Pro12 is run by unions ...to fill our ranks with top class talent" - Page 2 17mbqvf04d7l1jpg

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Post by madmaccas Thu 03 Dec 2015, 12:31 am

Exiledinborders wrote:
madmaccas wrote:
I'm not saying they have to replace the Italians, I just think it's an incredible opportunity for both the team itself and the league as a whole. Can you imagine the potential, there are almost quarter of a million Scots born and 2nd gen Scots in London. There are more Irish and 1st gen Irish in London than Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford put together. Those crowds could be immense, and that's not including Ulster or Wales.
The first thing that springs to mind is that this exile formula has not worked very well for London Irish. The crowds are not "immense".

A quarter of a million Scots born and 2nd generation Scots you say. That is half the population of the Leicester urban area spread over a very large area.  It also presupposes that second generation Scots are more likely to travel to see London Scottish rather than watch a nearer team to whom they have built allegiance.

In any event it is not going to happen as the RFU would quite rightly insist that clubs in England play within their structure.

It used to. London Irish had great local support till they moved 50 miles away! Using the city name of London is a bit of a joke really.

You mention Leicester, well it's about the same population as Aberdeen, making London Scotland's joint 3rd city in terms of population.

As I said, Scottish have had support that's at least equivalent of the Italian teams, and would reasonably be expected to be at least on a par with Edinburgh's relatively meager crowds.

But let's look at London Welsh in the Aviva, who rather foolishly moved 70 miles away from their support to Oxford (where there are approximately 10 Welshmen). They managed crowds of between 3000-6000 - again on a par with Edinburgh. Had they stayed up that figure would no doubt have increased (as most crowds do over the years) - all without their support base.

Finally I don't see why it can't happen. If the Premiership ring fence, as they've been talking very seriously about, then they couldn't legally stop Scottish then playing in a better league than the Championship as they'd be preventing competition. Just look at the Welsh teams in the Premier League.

Is it that you're more against the idea as you don't consider them to be Scottish enough?

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Post by stub Thu 03 Dec 2015, 8:43 am

madmaccas wrote:
Exiledinborders wrote:
madmaccas wrote:
I'm not saying they have to replace the Italians, I just think it's an incredible opportunity for both the team itself and the league as a whole. Can you imagine the potential, there are almost quarter of a million Scots born and 2nd gen Scots in London. There are more Irish and 1st gen Irish in London than Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford put together. Those crowds could be immense, and that's not including Ulster or Wales.
The first thing that springs to mind is that this exile formula has not worked very well for London Irish. The crowds are not "immense".

A quarter of a million Scots born and 2nd generation Scots you say. That is half the population of the Leicester urban area spread over a very large area.  It also presupposes that second generation Scots are more likely to travel to see London Scottish rather than watch a nearer team to whom they have built allegiance.

In any event it is not going to happen as the RFU would quite rightly insist that clubs in England play within their structure.

It used to. London Irish had great local support till they moved 50 miles away! Using the city name of London is a bit of a joke really.

You mention Leicester, well it's about the same population as Aberdeen, making London Scotland's joint 3rd city in terms of population.

As I said, Scottish have had support that's at least equivalent of the Italian teams, and would reasonably be expected to be at least on a par with Edinburgh's relatively meager crowds.

But let's look at London Welsh in the Aviva, who rather foolishly moved 70 miles away from their support to Oxford (where there are approximately 10 Welshmen). They managed crowds of between 3000-6000 - again on a par with Edinburgh. Had they stayed up that figure would no doubt have increased (as most crowds do over the years) - all without their support base.

Finally I don't see why it can't happen. If the Premiership ring fence, as they've been talking very seriously about, then they couldn't legally stop Scottish then playing in a better league than the Championship as they'd be preventing competition. Just look at the Welsh teams in the Premier League.

Is it that you're more against the idea as you don't consider them to be Scottish enough?

Apologies, but can't help being pedantic this morning - I don't think Leicester and Aberdeen are comparable sized cities. I think Leicester is much bigger than most people realise. Aberdeen is undoubtedly a fine city nevertheless.

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Post by madmaccas Thu 03 Dec 2015, 2:11 pm

stub wrote:

Apologies, but can't help being pedantic this morning - I don't think Leicester and Aberdeen are comparable sized cities. I think Leicester is much bigger than most people realise. Aberdeen is undoubtedly a fine city nevertheless.

I was talking about the Scots population in London being the same as the population in Aberdeen. Sorry I should have been clearer.

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Post by profitius Thu 03 Dec 2015, 2:58 pm

A London based Scots/Welsh/Irish side is a non runner as far as I'm concerned.


Lets use London Irish as an example. For starters, they had to move out of London for ground capacity reasons. Secondly, they have an academy that produces English players for England. They're not going to suddenly start turning away non Irish. Thirdly, they've very few Irish players in their squad. Many other premiership sides have more! They're a business thats trading off their name eg their match in the USA next year.


If LI joined the Pro 12, how would they fund themselves? The IRFU are not going to fund them because they can't afford to. And why send players to an English side? Players would be in a better position to join the AP than head back home. They're also not going to attract any wealthy businessmen to keep them going, without any return.


And LI are the biggest of the 3!
I can't see any union willing to support a London based side. The SRU would get a much bigger bang for their buck if they instead created a third side somewhere in Scotland, like Aberdeen. London Welsh joining is the biggest joke of all. Cardiff and Dragons are regularly down near the bottom of the league so why add another side and stretch resources more?


If the Pro 12 wants to expand into England it will be an RFU backed team(s) and I can't see that happening because the clubs wouldn't allow it.


I would look to Europe to expand the Pro12. Create divisions or conferences and build it up that way over time.
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Post by Stone Motif Thu 03 Dec 2015, 5:14 pm

http://www.cardiffrfcfans.co.uk/editorials/putting-the-cart-before-the-horse/
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Post by Exiledinborders Thu 03 Dec 2015, 5:37 pm

Stone Motif wrote:http://www.cardiffrfcfans.co.uk/editorials/putting-the-cart-before-the-horse/
Good article but why would RFU and English clubs agree to this? It seems to be an open secret that English game is moving to a fourteen team league adding Leeds and Bristol to current twelve and abandoning annual relegation.

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Post by Stone Motif Thu 03 Dec 2015, 9:23 pm

Exiledinborders wrote:
Stone Motif wrote:http://www.cardiffrfcfans.co.uk/editorials/putting-the-cart-before-the-horse/
Good article but why would RFU and English clubs agree to this? It seems to be an open secret that English game is moving to a fourteen team league adding Leeds and Bristol to current twelve and abandoning annual relegation.

Bigger better product. Arguably two fully pro divisions.
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Post by stub Thu 03 Dec 2015, 9:31 pm

madmaccas wrote:
stub wrote:

Apologies, but can't help being pedantic this morning - I don't think Leicester and Aberdeen are comparable sized cities. I think Leicester is much bigger than most people realise. Aberdeen is undoubtedly a fine city nevertheless.

I was talking about the Scots population in London being the same as the population in Aberdeen. Sorry I should have been clearer.

Ah, I see what you mean. That makes sense - definitely a large population worth tapping into.

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Post by Pot Hale Thu 03 Dec 2015, 11:39 pm

Stone Motif wrote:
Exiledinborders wrote:
Stone Motif wrote:http://www.cardiffrfcfans.co.uk/editorials/putting-the-cart-before-the-horse/
Good article but why would RFU and English clubs agree to this? It seems to be an open secret that English game is moving to a fourteen team league adding Leeds and Bristol to current twelve and abandoning annual relegation.

Bigger better product. Arguably two fully pro divisions.

How would there be two fully pro divisions if the Welsh regions joined the English league?
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Post by Stone Motif Fri 04 Dec 2015, 8:01 am

Pot Hale wrote:
Stone Motif wrote:
Exiledinborders wrote:
Stone Motif wrote:http://www.cardiffrfcfans.co.uk/editorials/putting-the-cart-before-the-horse/
Good article but why would RFU and English clubs agree to this? It seems to be an open secret that English game is moving to a fourteen team league adding Leeds and Bristol to current twelve and abandoning annual relegation.

Bigger better product. Arguably two fully pro divisions.

How would there be two fully pro divisions if the Welsh regions joined the English league?

Because at the moment there are some teams in the Championship that are fully pro and some that are just pretending.
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Post by Chunky Norwich Fri 04 Dec 2015, 9:21 am

Stone Motif wrote:http://www.cardiffrfcfans.co.uk/editorials/putting-the-cart-before-the-horse/

superb stuff.

Week by week it's gathering momentum. It will happen.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 04 Dec 2015, 9:40 am

You never did answer my questions on this British and Irish league...

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Post by Chunky Norwich Fri 04 Dec 2015, 9:53 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:You never did answer my questions on this British and Irish league...

Fire away old chap

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 04 Dec 2015, 9:54 am

They're there on the other thread. As ever the arguments for the Welsh to join other leagues even at a lower level as stated here make sense for them. The other argument is not persuasive.

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Post by Pot Hale Fri 04 Dec 2015, 6:56 pm

Chunky Norwich wrote:
Stone Motif wrote:http://www.cardiffrfcfans.co.uk/editorials/putting-the-cart-before-the-horse/

superb stuff.

Week by week it's gathering momentum. It will happen.

"So the solution is for the WRU to focus on making our four teams vibrant, successful commercial businesses. They should be working with the RFU and begging the English clubs for access to their pyramid – even if it means entering the lower levels for there is no future in the present structure. If they can deliver a British League, then suddenly Welsh teams will have access to a much larger market and much larger TV money. Suddenly, it will make long term sense for players to keep playing in Wales. Pro-teams will improve, and success will follow.

With the WRU now (relatively) awash with cash, they should be using these funds to put a deal on the table that delivers a league that gives Welsh pro-clubs access to the English TV market.

"It" in this case, is Welsh regions joining the English in First Division, if necessary, outside of a ring-fenced Premiership to create a British league - if I've read the article correctly. Or revive an Anglo-Welsh league idea that was put on the table 15 years ago apparently.

Is this what you think is gathering momentum?





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