Pichot's Tilt at Power - Rugby's Future

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Post by 123456789. on Mon 13 Apr 2020, 8:32 pm

First topic message reminder :

Agustin Pichot has announced he's running for World Rugby Chairman. Unfortunately the only in-depth article I could find with relative ease was in the Mail, so apologies for that. With the lull in rugby now, it seems a sensible time to discuss what Pichot's bid means and rugby's future generally.

Daily Mail wrote:Pichot's six-point plan includes:

Addressing the challenges of COVID-19 as part of a wider alignment of the global playing calendar, creating a 'compelling narrative' for men and women in XVs and Sevens. Clubs, unions and private equity firms will be consulted about an annual tournament featuring 12 to 14 Tests per nation per year.
A democratic governance structure. A long-term goal of scrapping the weighted vote system that gives more power to wealthy nations, as well as revenue sharing.
A growing grassroots and youth game, including focus on developing emerging nations such as Brazil and Tunisia.
A safe and entertaining game, featuring a dedicated World Rugby Innovation Department to look at projects such as Hawkeye technology and a flagship rugby computer game.
Mandatory athletes' commissions to put players at the heart of decision making – with discussions about reducing wages to create sustainability.
A World Rugby management 'fit for purpose' – reviewing all internal structures to 'restore trust' in the governing body.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-8211135/Argentinian-great-Agustin-Pichot-promises-revolution-challenges-World-Rugbys-job.html


Look like he's pretty set on the Nations Cup idea and breaking up the traditional rugby structures. I think one of the things people outside the Six Nations don't understand is that we don't want to change it because we actually quite like it. Equally running to scrap the voting rights of the old rugby nations doesn't work when the old rugby nations collectively hold 27 out of 50 votes. Nonetheless it is time for things to change. For rugby's commercial stability it's important to expand into new economies, it's interesting that Pichot has earmarked Brazil and Tunisia for this. Personally I am of the opinion that several nations give far more to our game than they get in return; primarily the Pacific Islanders, and that rugby will be a far more exciting sport if we can harness some of the world's bigger economies to create genuine rugby powers but that should not come at the expense of what we already love about our game. I love the Six Nations, not just because of the rugby but what it constitutes beyond rugby. As a Scotland fan I know that in a good year we could win the tournament, as a realist I know that we will never win a 12 team Nations league. Rugby needs to learn the lesson that bigger does not always constitute better.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 24 Apr 2020, 1:26 pm

I dont think hes said he wants to bring that in as a rule either. He certainly has a more nationalistic approach to qualification that i dont agree (see not qualifying even with parents if not born in the country) with but as far as I've seen hes not changing that beyond what hes pressed for and achieved already in the resisdency increase.

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Post by le_chat on Fri 24 Apr 2020, 1:36 pm

Old Man wrote:I cannot see how Pichot will be able to force Unions to only select home players.

I think you're perhaps missing my point, which is the inevitable 'unintended consequences' of ideological changes. Happens in politics, business, whatever sector or organisation you work in. And it's clearly happened to Argentina. It's simple, he's told us what he wants to do - just about any and all suffering heaped upon the 6Ns will be justified with 'growing the game', 'making the game fairer' etc. but often, it's simply pain with no gain. Will the Jaguares translate to a long term domestic success in Argentina? It remains to be seen, particularly with Super Rugby in its death throes. What is guaranteed - what has literally been achieved - is lower wages for players than in Europe and a much weaker international team. What an impact...

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 24 Apr 2020, 1:40 pm

What are the things that hes promised to Fiji which is fantasy miaow?

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Post by 123456789. on Fri 24 Apr 2020, 3:56 pm

Agree with a lot of that on Pichot and Argentina. Argentina have gone backwards. I don't think Scotland have lost to Argentina since 2011. But I doubt Pichot sees it as a consequence of Argentinian mistakes rather the consequence of selfish European countries rigging the game against them. 2015 was the high point of SANZAAR in international terms. All four finalists came from the Rugby Championship. In the quarter-finals both France and Ireland were blown away. England were thrashed in the group stages. Scotland barely landed a blow on South Africa at the same stage of the tournament. By my reckoning, in 2015 there were seven matches between the Rugby Championship and the original Five Nations, the RC side won on every occasion. In 2019 I think there were nine with five NH wins. Firstly, after a poor showing in 2015 it is fairly normal that we've seen a NH backlash. Failure is the greatest lesson and so on and so forth. Secondly, the single greatest structural change in rugby was to expand Super Rugby enormously. It went from a tournament that pitted traditional rugby powerhouses against one another at a very high standard to a diluted product with manufactured sides across three continents overnight. The Japanese obviously don't think the Sunwolves helped. Argentina would struggle to argue the Jaguares have helped them. Between 2015 and 2017 Super Rugby lost 25% of its support. Rugby's first great globalisation experiment failed and backfired on its participants. Pichot for some reason has pointed the finger of blame at Europe and wants to continue on the great globalisation plan. Between him and Laporte both domestic and international rugby could be completely cut off from its anchors in a couple of years.

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Post by Brendan on Sat 25 Apr 2020, 1:01 am

le_chat wrote:
Brendan wrote:I also don't get the issue with France "raiding" the PIs for players.  If it wasn't them either it would be SR, Japan or worse yet no one.  These people want to play rugby and have no hope of doing that in the PIs.  Yes there needs to be rules but why disregard players from there.  WR might be better setting up their own academies and presenting future stars to the rich leagues to sign up.

I assume you simply don't know, which is fair enough, but listening to Ben Ryan on this issue will hopefully clarify why it's not a case of 'someone else would do it' or 'where's the harm?'. There are genuine human rights issues being violated according to Ryan, who obviously isn't going to underestimate the severity of the situation given his character and views to society, but he's also unlikely to be wildly off the mark. The Fijians who make it as pros and in to the national teams - of France or Fiji - obscure a much darker underbelly to the poaching/"academy" process.

After a quick search this is what I can find:

" The Telegraph has been provided with several case studies by the IRPA that highlight this growing trend. In one case, a player did not receive 11 months’ salary, leaving him with no money to buy food, toiletries or even a blanket to sleep under. In another, a former international faced the prospect of a criminal conviction for unpaid taxes for which his previous club were liable; only the intervention of the IRPA saved him. Others have their contracts torn up on the flimsiest of pretexts, often leaving individuals penniless in a foreign country. "

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/international/fiji/11854929/Rugby-uncovered-Despicable-abuse-of-young-Pacific-talent-is-huge-stain-on-game.html

"Then there is the issue of player exploitation. Pacific Rugby Welfare – an organisation set up by ex-players to support Pacific Islanders – has branded the French academies in Fiji  ‘illegal’. World Rugby regulations state that you are not allowed to have any academies outside of the physical boundaries of your nation, and yet Clermont Auvergne do just that."

https://www.varsity.co.uk/sport/13864

One of these will be where Ryan discusses it:





It is a uniquely French problem, with Pacific Islanders very much uniquely exploited. It's fine to ask the question, which you've done, if you weren't aware of the situation, but regulation and protection of the Islanders is absolutely paramount. As is supporting teams like the Fiji Drua who play in NZ. What is definitely not going to help is a. doing nothing, or b. promising Fiji the world with an unrealistic scenario Pichot can never deliver.


There are two issues you raise. One which I wasn't talking about and to imply that abuse of players by agents and clubs is the same as setting up academies is not right.  Clubs and agents who break the law when it comes to player welfare should be given bans from rugby and face massive fines.  WR should be actively following up on this as should the FFR and referring illegal actions to the police.  They should also support the players in taking unfair dismissal cases which currently seems to be left to the PI players group.  Are Georgians not facing the same issue but again maybe their professional league protects them.

WR can do many things to stop this from happening. Here are some suggestions off the top of my head, if i can do this in 2 mins imagine what they could do if they tried. If WR cared they would have acted but we know they dont. The PIs are just a tool. New Zealand did the same things back in the day but we never heard. Now the French have the money. If Japan had the most money then agents would be down there trying to traffic players to Japan.
1. Have a register of all forgien players in affiliated leagues, and have the league in question assign a liaison who works indepent of the player's club.
2. Like soccer ban the movement of players under a certain age. Clubs can give their parents work but a least their family is there.
3. Do their job and investigate rouge agents and clubs
4. Set up an anti trafficking committee/helpline. Any club found to be dealing in trafficked people who knew what was happening is not allowed to join any affiliated league for 10 years. Any Agent gets a lifetime ban.

Back to my orginal point of developing players from the PIs.  Scotland must have someone there to bring in players as they have brought in a few from Fiji.  Should French Clubs (or any other country) be allowed to put the money into developing countries that don't have these structures in place so they can develop the players to a high enough standard.  Samoa and Tonga for all their potential are relying more and more on people born outside of the country to represent them.  As a result there are lots of people not developed which could also be why those to nations have struggle at u20 level and may soon be pasted by more European Nations.  As you highlight we don't want "agent" buying ownership of players like we have in soccer but if there is no pathway to professionalism what other choice do players have.

Would you be for ok with each T2 country working with WR to put out tenders for say 2-4 academies to be run by rich Clubs from around the world (though most likely England, France and Japan) where they would then have a vested interest and the T2 Union could use its money elsewhere.  It is because there are no academies that the agents are able to get the promising stars because how else will they make it.

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Post by Brendan on Sat 25 Apr 2020, 1:42 am

123456789. wrote:Agree with a lot of that on Pichot and Argentina. Argentina have gone backwards. I don't think Scotland have lost to Argentina since 2011. But I doubt Pichot sees it as a consequence of Argentinian mistakes rather the consequence of selfish European countries rigging the game against them. 2015 was the high point of SANZAAR in international terms. All four finalists came from the Rugby Championship. In the quarter-finals both France and Ireland were blown away. England were thrashed in the group stages. Scotland barely landed a blow on South Africa at the same stage of the tournament. By my reckoning, in 2015 there were seven matches between the Rugby Championship and the original Five Nations, the RC side won on every occasion. In 2019 I think there were nine with five NH wins. Firstly, after a poor showing in 2015 it is fairly normal that we've seen a NH backlash. Failure is the greatest lesson and so on and so forth. Secondly, the single greatest structural change in rugby was to expand Super Rugby enormously. It went from a tournament that pitted traditional rugby powerhouses against one another at a very high standard to a diluted product with manufactured sides across three continents overnight. The Japanese obviously don't think the Sunwolves helped. Argentina would struggle to argue the Jaguares have helped them. Between 2015 and 2017 Super Rugby lost 25% of its support. Rugby's first great globalisation experiment failed and backfired on its participants. Pichot for some reason has pointed the finger of blame at Europe and wants to continue on the great globalisation plan. Between him and Laporte both domestic and international rugby could be completely cut off from its anchors in a couple of years.

As Scotland and Italy have shown you need at least 3 teams at a high level if you want to be compeditive. (Italy and Scotland's 3rd team is all their players playing outside the country). Both countries would love a third home team but know they can currently afford it and that WR would laugh at them if they asked for money.

Ireland is the smallest country to do home based players only. They have had to bring in strict rules on number of non irish players per position.  Ireland also has had years of churning out players who went aboard because they cost to much while still filling 4 teams for europe. If Ireland had done it in the late 90s it wouldn't of worked as they had no resources to back the 4 teams. It was only with the growth of the provinces that allowed them to be a part of the Celtic league and it was the growth in that which allowed the IRFU to bring in the rule. If the IRFU could only pay €300k max to a player we wouldn't have the rule.

It was madness to think that one team would work for Argentina. It was madness to have two coaches with two different plans manage the same team.  If you are only having one team just have the same person be SR and internationals.  WR are funding them so probably part of the deal that in order to get the money they had to be the internationals.

Argentina since joining the RC & SR remind be alot of Arsenal under Wenger.  His team was built on the back of a strong defence.  He improved the attack but not the defence.  As those older players left all Wenger had was attack.  Argentina's success was built on a strong defence and pack.  This was there because the players were battle hardened in the European leagues.  Moving to the SH competitions saw them become more like NZ and Aus.  As the older players retired the young players only knew running fast and silky skills.  Now teams like Scotland go from being bullied by 6Ns teams to bullying Argentina.

Argentina like Italy joined their T1 competition about 4 years to late. Italy's problem was all their star players retired soon after 2000 and if they had kept their kicker for the first 10 years they would have won alot more matches. If Argentina had joined in 2011 when SR was going well RA would not of had the disaster of adding a team and then cutting another. At S15 there was no conferences no no issue with what conference to put them in. Instead they have got the worse of SR

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Post by Cyril on Sat 25 Apr 2020, 11:44 am

A lot of hate for Pichot and Argentina on here. Makes you wonder if it’s not just about the rugby.

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Post by Old Man on Sat 25 Apr 2020, 11:44 am

Cyril wrote:A lot of hate for Pichot and Argentina on here. Makes you wonder if it’s not just about the rugby.

Of course not, it is about protecting the status quo

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Post by le_chat on Sat 25 Apr 2020, 12:09 pm

Brendan wrote:
There are two issues you raise. One which I wasn't talking about and to imply that abuse of players by agents and clubs is the same as setting up academies is not right.

I know you didn't raise it. But you were querying the idea of the PIs being 'raided', as if this were a problem, and if the PIers were uniquely 'raided'. Your question more than suggested you didn't know about the context I've provided with the Pacific academies for French clubs, and how they're treated once they get to France.

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Post by 123456789. on Sat 25 Apr 2020, 12:12 pm

Cyril wrote:A lot of hate for Pichot and Argentina on here. Makes you wonder if it’s not just about the rugby.

You're right, my scepticism about a fundamental overhaul of the sport I love is all down to the Falklands.

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Post by le_chat on Sat 25 Apr 2020, 12:18 pm

Classic projection of bad intentions on to other people. Of course, for all the reasons well made in this thread, the criticism of Pichot is all really just errrr...racism? Religious sectarianism? Anti-chippy scrum half bias...?

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Post by Cyril on Sat 25 Apr 2020, 12:37 pm

Still here, Miaow? It would appear that the rules over previously-banned users has been relaxed in the current climate.

I would agree that Argentina are a very unpopular side and nation in sport. Some of that is deserved, some is just the narrow-mindedness of posters on here.

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Post by le_chat on Sat 25 Apr 2020, 12:48 pm

Justify your claims, Cyril, otherwise it's just baseless projection of your own prejudices.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sat 25 Apr 2020, 1:02 pm

Miaow, asked this previously but you may not have seen. What is the fantasy that pichot had promised to fiji?

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Post by 123456789. on Sat 25 Apr 2020, 2:48 pm

Cyril wrote:Still here, Miaow? It would appear that the rules over previously-banned users has been relaxed in the current climate.

I would agree that Argentina are a very unpopular side and nation in sport. Some of that is deserved, some is just the narrow-mindedness of posters on here.

I can't speak for anybody else but I have no intrinsic dislike of Argentina in any sport. I want them to do well in Rugby, because the more competitive teams we have the better the sport will be. At the moment the Top 8 in the rankings are the traditional five nations and the traditional Tri-Nations. How boring is that? Each of those 8 teams play six or seven fixtures outside their traditional Championship each year. These fixtures tend to be vary slightly every year. Each team probably plays four or five Tier One teams with a Tier Two Side thrown in for good measure. There have been four teams to win a world cup out of nine, six of those nine have been won by New Zealand and South Africa. More countries, with different styles of play and different ways of doing things will make the game better. Argentina's slide is not good for the game of rugby.

My issue with Pichot is where he points the finger for Argentina's demise and the perceived demise of Southern Hemisphere rugby generally. The latter I think is rubbish, at international level, for what it's worth. Most of the 21st Century world cup have panned out similar to the last one. It's the domestic game that's hamstringing the big three. That has come about from the overzealous expansion of Super Rugby. Yet Pichot lumps the plight of Tier Two sides and players in with that of Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, and Europe is the bogeyman. Europe should stop being selfish and move to Pichot's vision of the game no matter what damage it will do to them. On the flipside no one came to Scotland's rescue when we had no money. Professionalism came at the worst time for us following Murrayfield's redevelopment and we are still paying the price. Two of our Pro Sides shut down and where we were once ahead of Ireland we are now behind in every facet of the game. At no point in the quarter of a century of professionalism has World Rugby suggested a fundamental restructuring to help us or to bail us out. World Rugby has not subsidised a team in the borders or Aberdeen to help us the way they have Argentina. Now for the first time in professionalism we are in the black financially, our (just two) pro-teams are competing in their leagues and the national side is starting to perform again. In the last two world cup cycles we have played in Fiji, Samoa, USA, Canada and Georgia. We have hosted Tonga, Georgia, Fiji and Samoa in that time also. Now Argentina, Australia and New Zealand are struggling we are supposed to help them out by changing our entire system for the good of the game. After the 2015 World Cup the underperforming NH sides went back to the drawing board. France rejigged their youth structure to compete and are now producing world stars. England got a new coach and overhauled their culture. Now it's Argentina, New Zealand and Australia that have fallen off of the pace it's the rest of rugby's fault.

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Post by TightHEAD on Sun 26 Apr 2020, 8:12 am

Wales look set to back Pichot, oh the irony! Kiss goodbye to their imported players with Welsh granny's.

C'mon Bill.
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Post by Old Man on Sun 26 Apr 2020, 8:22 am

TightHEAD wrote:Wales look set to back Pichot, oh the irony! Kiss goodbye to their imported players with Welsh granny's.

C'mon Bill.
You should run Bill’s campaign for him, you are wholly committed to his cause. Wink

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Sun 26 Apr 2020, 11:03 am

If he gets elected, Pichot that is, what does he do when the NH just says no?

The SH cannot afford to lose the NH teams tours, so they cannot afford to upset them to much whilst the NH could easily exist quiet well on it's own, developing the T2 nations in Europe and North America.

Possibly, get the Saxons, Wolfhounds and the like back and play them in a T2 6N configured to play on the same days as the lesser cup competitions so as not to allow hit the clubs too hard player wise.

I have nothing against the SH countries, but they seem to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater if they want to try and force the NH to pay them to play rugby.

If Wales wants to join with the SH, a 6N with SA playing instead of them would be just as good.

In reality, SA, France, England and possibly Ireland are the only countries that actually make money, if Wales do back Pichot and the rest of the NH tell them where to go, what are they going to do

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Post by 123456789. on Sun 26 Apr 2020, 12:32 pm

I think it's more simple than if European countries simply say no. If France and England say no then it won't happen. Rugby's population and money is overwhelmingly concentrated in those two countries. If they don't want to play they won't more importantly if the fans in those countries lose interest they will hold onto their money.

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Post by le_chat on Sun 26 Apr 2020, 12:37 pm

TightHEAD wrote:Wales look set to back Pichot, oh the irony! Kiss goodbye to their imported players with Welsh granny's.

C'mon Bill.

Francis, Rowlands, Tompkins? I think England's 'Commonwealth XV' approach is a tad more embarrassing in the grand scheme of things. Tuilagi, Vunipolas (more Welsh than English), Heinz, Shields, T'eo, Cokanasiga. The less said about Ireland and Scotland over the last decade, the better. Wales have been the least guilty of the residency and grandparent law than any of the other home nations.

The WRU often can be seen as following the trends in world rugby, or at least staying ahead of the likes of the RFU. I would suspect they think they're backing the winning horse.

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Post by le_chat on Sun 26 Apr 2020, 12:45 pm

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:If he gets elected, Pichot that is, what does he do when the NH just says no?

The SH cannot afford to lose the NH teams tours, so they cannot afford to upset them to much whilst the NH could easily exist quiet well on it's own, developing the T2 nations in Europe and North America.

The NH exists 'comfortably' at the backing of lucrative television rights and commercial sponsorship. Those investors want to see the best product in the widest market. That doesn't mean England v USA, it means the best v the best. SA and NZ are the two best teams in the world, now and, largely, forever. England and France are the two mandatory challengers to those two, bar the odd period like the last decade France have suffered. Wales and Ireland are relative small fry in comparison, as are Argentina, but punch above their weight commercially and some good decisions have put them in the reckoning for a good while yet.

Nobody wants to see a hemispherical divide, and Pichot is playing on exactly that, leveraging the very real and obvious need the NH has with the SH. The media and even the board members in the SH are all signed up to this mode of operation/politics. It will have some significant sway behind the scenes. Compromise is the only way, but I'd much rather see Beaumont win and then a genuine moderniser come forward, than hand Pichot to keys.

It's well worth listening to his interview with RugbyPass. The grievance(s) are clear.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sun 26 Apr 2020, 1:55 pm

Surely wales are more guilty seeing as they're the ones who have cheated the grandparents rules in the past? I'd say so. So which fantasy has been sold to fiji by Pichot miaow?

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Post by 123456789. on Sun 26 Apr 2020, 2:27 pm

Rather than descend into a my New Zealander is bigger than your New Zealander classic England against Wales debate perhaps it would make more sense to consider the nuances of the situation. Nationality is a very personal, abstract concept. It is therefore an unenviable task to dictate who does and doesn't qualify for selection for a certain country. I think we can all agree that three years is not long enough and that countries, some more than others, have exploited this to their own advantage. By the time rugby kicks off again Scotland could have Nel, Du Preez, Strauss (unlikely), Van Der Walt and Van Der Merwe all playing in Blue having come to Scotland from South Africa as "Project Players". There's something slightly ridiculous about that as far as I'm concerned, although if they all play and we win the Six Nations I'll be as happy as I would be if we had an entire team that trace their lineage through William Wallace. I'd like to see World Rugby move to a more intuitive system that addresses all the issues people have with the current eligibility model. One way would be a sort of points system. If you reach 100 points you have eligibility to play for a country. One parent or birth in a country would be worth 100 points, a Grandparent 60 points, a year of residency 25 points along with a discretionary panel that can investigate individual cases in certain situations. Residency period aren't so much an option for countries that don't have professional leagues.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sun 26 Apr 2020, 2:31 pm

Beamount would like to relax the rules on qualification whereas pichot has not made it part of his campaign. Theres a lot of guess work and sh vs nh in this thread.

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Post by le_chat on Sun 26 Apr 2020, 4:39 pm

123456789. wrote:Rather than descend into a my New Zealander is bigger than your New Zealander classic England against Wales debate perhaps it would make more sense to consider the nuances of the situation. Nationality is a very personal, abstract concept. It is therefore an unenviable task to dictate who does and doesn't qualify for selection for a certain country. I think we can all agree that three years is not long enough and that countries, some more than others, have exploited this to their own advantage. By the time rugby kicks off again Scotland could have Nel, Du Preez, Strauss (unlikely), Van Der Walt and Van Der Merwe all playing in Blue having come to Scotland from South Africa as "Project Players". There's something slightly ridiculous about that as far as I'm concerned, although if they all play and we win the Six Nations I'll be as happy as I would be if we had an entire team that trace their lineage through William Wallace. I'd like to see World Rugby move to a more intuitive system that addresses all the issues people have with the current eligibility model. One way would be a sort of points system. If you reach 100 points you have eligibility to play for a country. One parent or birth in a country would be worth 100 points, a Grandparent 60 points, a year of residency 25 points along with a discretionary panel that can investigate individual cases in certain situations. Residency period aren't so much an option for countries that don't have professional leagues.

I think this touches at the fundamental issue rugby faces on nationality - and how "a more intuitive system that addresses all the issues people have with the current eligibility model" is so difficult to actually achieve. In my view, it's impossible, other than having an imperfect kind of compromise we have at the moment, where there are always gaps for individuals to slip through.

Pichot is able to take a nationalistic and 'black and white' approach to this because Argentina are just about the only top nation, along with South Africa minus the odd Namibian and Zimbabwean, who only select players who are born, raised, and trained in their own country. So he can denounce the residency and grandparent-qualified players over and over with a sense of 'purity'.

However, the issue here is that Western Europe has prided itself on multiculturalism and immigration since the 1950s. It is both a social and economic policy, a sign of being open, tolerant, and how, in Britain alone, the legacy of the Empire was not subjugation, but of succession and enfranchisement. Forget the kind of facile retelling of postcolonialism we have at the moment within the media and institutions, which reads like something out of Star Wars - European national identity has ceased to be racial, religious, or even cultural, but is now primarily civic, and it has been that way for at least 70 years, with links going back far earlier than that. Aligned with treating sport like soft power - "yes, Mo Farah, run for us and we'll fund you really well"; "same goes for you, Manu Tuilagi" - and culture as a whole, the notion of saying an economic migrant isn't 'allowed' to represent their nation jars with the prevailing civic identity of the day. There's more that can be said about that, of course, but that's largely where we are as a country in the UK, particularly England.

On the flipside, what is relevant in Europe is not as relevant in Polynesia and the Pacific, and vice versa. There is a clear Islander link between New Zealand and Samoa, Tonga etc. that is a different kind of multiculturalism. While Australia and NZ have some of the same elements of civic identiy, the Islands really do not. More than that, there's a real sense of holding on to the Islander culture - which is so much stronger as a familial and cultural bond than we have in urbanised nations - irrespective of where you live. Which is why the idea of NZ pushing for allowing former All Blacks to play for Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga is so popular there. Rather than seeing themselves as displaced people who have become part of the system like we might in the NH, there's a retaining of a sense of self and community and nationality in a way that is just different for the Islands than it is in Europe, or Australia etc.

Trying to harmonise the Islander issue in particular seems really tricky. Allowing the Kiwis to be their spokesman, on some misapplied belief that the presence of the Maori and the proximity of NZ to these Pacific nations mean they have their best intentions at heart, seems a flawed move to me. Mainly because it's based on disliking the idea of a Fijian playing for France, or England, but seeing no problem with them playing for NZ. When, of course, reality is never that black and white: NZ's claim they have cultural connection, yet European nationality isn't built on culture any more. And this is where much of the misunderstanding comes from. Not only that, but it's quite apparent that NZ are motivated not out of altruism, but out of wanting to keep the Islands as a breeding ground for test stars, while weakening the NH. The post-ABs capping of Pacific Islanders cannot happen in a professional sport, it's a regression back to the amateur days.

But how do you fix this problem? It's not easy.

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Post by Old Man on Sun 26 Apr 2020, 5:28 pm

le_chat wrote:
123456789. wrote:Rather than descend into a my New Zealander is bigger than your New Zealander classic England against Wales debate perhaps it would make more sense to consider the nuances of the situation. Nationality is a very personal, abstract concept. It is therefore an unenviable task to dictate who does and doesn't qualify for selection for a certain country. I think we can all agree that three years is not long enough and that countries, some more than others, have exploited this to their own advantage. By the time rugby kicks off again Scotland could have Nel, Du Preez, Strauss (unlikely), Van Der Walt and Van Der Merwe all playing in Blue having come to Scotland from South Africa as "Project Players". There's something slightly ridiculous about that as far as I'm concerned, although if they all play and we win the Six Nations I'll be as happy as I would be if we had an entire team that trace their lineage through William Wallace. I'd like to see World Rugby move to a more intuitive system that addresses all the issues people have with the current eligibility model. One way would be a sort of points system. If you reach 100 points you have eligibility to play for a country. One parent or birth in a country would be worth 100 points, a Grandparent 60 points, a year of residency 25 points along with a discretionary panel that can investigate individual cases in certain situations. Residency period aren't so much an option for countries that don't have professional leagues.

I think this touches at the fundamental issue rugby faces on nationality - and how "a more intuitive system that addresses all the issues people have with the current eligibility model" is so difficult to actually achieve. In my view, it's impossible, other than having an imperfect kind of compromise we have at the moment, where there are always gaps for individuals to slip through.

Pichot is able to take a nationalistic and 'black and white' approach to this because Argentina are just about the only top nation, along with South Africa minus the odd Namibian and Zimbabwean, who only select players who are born, raised, and trained in their own country. So he can denounce the residency and grandparent-qualified players over and over with a sense of 'purity'.

However, the issue here is that Western Europe has prided itself on multiculturalism and immigration since the 1950s. It is both a social and economic policy, a sign of being open, tolerant, and how, in Britain alone, the legacy of the Empire was not subjugation, but of succession and enfranchisement. Forget the kind of facile retelling of postcolonialism we have at the moment within the media and institutions, which reads like something out of Star Wars - European national identity has ceased to be racial, religious, or even cultural, but is now primarily civic, and it has been that way for at least 70 years, with links going back far earlier than that. Aligned with treating sport like soft power - "yes, Mo Farah, run for us and we'll fund you really well"; "same goes for you, Manu Tuilagi" - and culture as a whole, the notion of saying an economic migrant isn't 'allowed' to represent their nation jars with the prevailing civic identity of the day. There's more that can be said about that, of course, but that's largely where we are as a country in the UK, particularly England.

On the flipside, what is relevant in Europe is not as relevant in Polynesia and the Pacific, and vice versa. There is a clear Islander link between New Zealand and Samoa, Tonga etc. that is a different kind of multiculturalism. While Australia and NZ have some of the same elements of civic identiy, the Islands really do not. More than that, there's a real sense of holding on to the Islander culture - which is so much stronger as a familial and cultural bond than we have in urbanised nations - irrespective of where you live. Which is why the idea of NZ pushing for allowing former All Blacks to play for Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga is so popular there. Rather than seeing themselves as displaced people who have become part of the system like we might in the NH, there's a retaining of a sense of self and community and nationality in a way that is just different for the Islands than it is in Europe, or Australia etc.

Trying to harmonise the Islander issue in particular seems really tricky. Allowing the Kiwis to be their spokesman, on some misapplied belief that the presence of the Maori and the proximity of NZ to these Pacific nations mean they have their best intentions at heart, seems a flawed move to me. Mainly because it's based on disliking the idea of a Fijian playing for France, or England, but seeing no problem with them playing for NZ. When, of course, reality is never that black and white: NZ's claim they have cultural connection, yet European nationality isn't built on culture any more. And this is where much of the misunderstanding comes from. Not only that, but it's quite apparent that NZ are motivated not out of altruism, but out of wanting to keep the Islands as a breeding ground for test stars, while weakening the NH. The post-ABs capping of Pacific Islanders cannot happen in a professional sport, it's a regression back to the amateur days.

But how do you fix this problem? It's not easy.

That was a really good post, albeit a bit onesided in its final delivery.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 27 Apr 2020, 7:30 am

So miaow now supports pichot on that point. Hes coming around. Now what fantasy did pichot promise fiji?

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Post by Irish Londoner on Mon 27 Apr 2020, 8:38 am

le_chat wrote:
WELL-PAST-IT wrote:If he gets elected, Pichot that is, what does he do when the NH just says no?

The SH cannot afford to lose the NH teams tours, so they cannot afford to upset them to much whilst the NH could easily exist quiet well on it's own, developing the T2 nations in Europe and North America.

The NH exists 'comfortably' at the backing of lucrative television rights and commercial sponsorship. Those investors want to see the best product in the widest market. That doesn't mean England v USA, it means the best v the best. SA and NZ are the two best teams in the world, now and, largely, forever. England and France are the two mandatory challengers to those two, bar the odd period like the last decade France have suffered. Wales and Ireland are relative small fry in comparison, as are Argentina, but punch above their weight commercially and some good decisions have put them in the reckoning for a good while yet.

Nobody wants to see a hemispherical divide, and Pichot is playing on exactly that, leveraging the very real and obvious need the NH has with the SH. The media and even the board members in the SH are all signed up to this mode of operation/politics. It will have some significant sway behind the scenes. Compromise is the only way, but I'd much rather see Beaumont win and then a genuine moderniser come forward, than hand Pichot to keys.

It's well worth listening to his interview with RugbyPass. The grievance(s) are clear.

Longer term the NH needs to play the SH teams, but the NH teams are better placed to sit out a period of dispute - the NH (at the professional level)) could survive on the basics of the three pro leagues, the 6Ns and the AI's - anyone think Japan for example won't come over given the treatment of the Sunwolves by SR? A summer tour for a year or two could be good for player welfare.

The SH sides - in particular NZ and Australia - cant afford to sit on the income from Super Rugby and the Rugby Championship a season, even South Africa might baulk at the issue of the Lions not coming next year.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 27 Apr 2020, 8:51 am

And remember from pichots perspective it's not the sh vs nh hes wanting a fairer system. At the moment the likes of nz are fine as despite making less from home games than england they know they'll get a tour every year and can and have been getting payments for playing countries in the ais. A team like Samoa, georgia Romania etc dont have a summer tour from England ever. They also get scraps if that from ais. A system of we get the money from home games as we built the stadia and pay for policing etc is fine if there is a set of games guaranteeing a reciprocal arrangement. It's a closed financial shop at the moment.

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Post by Brendan on Mon 27 Apr 2020, 9:26 am

There still is no proof that a nations league will produce more money for the top 6/7 nations than the current systems.

What is to say that a 6N played 5 games in 5 weeks in the AIs and 5 games in 5 weeks in 5he spring (still the 10 weeks) and have a home and away basis would generate more money than the current system.

The Rest of the World seems to rely on the AIs for raising money and have nothing to replace it with (who would watch the RC being played over 12 games than the current 6 games.

What would Europe lose if they got rid of the Summer Tours, we know the SH would lose alot.

Again the 6 nation teams get large crowds for home games.  Italy against Georgia in 2018 got 18k attend.  That is 6th v 7th in Europe.  This was more than Austrilia v Argentina in the 2018 Rugby championship  which was 16k, the reverse fixture did get up to 20k so at least it was only one game it beat.

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Post by Old Man on Mon 27 Apr 2020, 9:49 am

Not sure where you get your numbers from, the average attendance in Rugb6 Championship is 36000-38000 for 2018/9

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Post by Old Man on Mon 27 Apr 2020, 9:52 am

If Europe drop the summer tours then SH will drop the AI’s and find alternative fixtures.

You are making it sound like the NH holds all the cards. We get it, more people more money, though consider the long term effect of NH playing only against themselves.

The NH needs the SH as much as the SH needs the NH.

Just like England needs Ireland, Scotland and Wales for the Six Nations

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Post by Irish Londoner on Mon 27 Apr 2020, 10:30 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:And remember from pichots perspective it's not the sh vs nh hes wanting a fairer system. At the moment the likes of nz are fine as despite making less from home games than england they know they'll get a tour every year and can and have been getting payments for playing countries in the ais. A team like Samoa,  georgia Romania etc dont have a summer tour from England ever. They also get scraps if that from ais. A system of we get the money from home games as we built the stadia and pay for policing etc is fine if there is a set of games guaranteeing a reciprocal arrangement. It's a closed financial shop at the moment.

So how does the new system make it "fairer". The proposed "world league" merely secures the top teams in the top places, all the games in the international windows will be with the teams in the the league so England won't be playing Tonga or Samoa more often, quite the opposite - the top teams are not going to waste their time playing the T2 teams when there are league placings and presumably money riding on playing the other T1 sides.

The other question that Pichot has failed to answer, is that where is the money coming from? Where are all these new TV deals going to come from in a world where the major economies are going to be struggling post CV19 - and in the case of the NH the fall out from Brexit?


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Post by Irish Londoner on Mon 27 Apr 2020, 10:33 am

Old Man wrote:If Europe drop the summer tours then SH will drop the AI’s and find alternative fixtures.

You are making it sound like the NH holds all the cards. We get it, more people more money, though consider the long term effect of NH playing only against themselves.

The NH needs the SH as much as the SH needs the NH.

Just like England needs Ireland, Scotland and Wales for the Six Nations

The answer is very simple - which can go on without the other longer - can SA rugby take the hit of no Lions tour - can Rugby Australia get along without the money from NH tours - can NZ get along without the payments they currently get when they head north?

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Mon 27 Apr 2020, 10:35 am

Not sure I would like it, but the 6N could play on a a home and away basis to make up for the loss of the AIs, they would still get sell out crowds to most games.

Even Saxons games produce 50-60,000 gates if they want to play T2 sides like Romania, Georgia etc.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 27 Apr 2020, 10:44 am

I dont believe Pichot has gone into much detail on he proposed it to look londoner as he has been the vocal one of him and beaumont saying it needs many more detailed discussions with partners including clubs. Hes identified an improvement he thinks needs to be made. So has beaumont. The nations league is less of a talking point in terms of who youd prefer at the top as they both want it.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 27 Apr 2020, 10:46 am

Your second point to biltong reveals again the disparity of power. Nations and clubs will throw their weight around when they think they've got the upper hand. What you do about that is complicated but at least pichot identifies that the current voting system needs an overhaul.

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Post by Old Man on Mon 27 Apr 2020, 11:00 am

Irish Londoner wrote:
Old Man wrote:If Europe drop the summer tours then SH will drop the AI’s and find alternative fixtures.

You are making it sound like the NH holds all the cards. We get it, more people more money, though consider the long term effect of NH playing only against themselves.

The NH needs the SH as much as the SH needs the NH.

Just like England needs Ireland, Scotland and Wales for the Six Nations

The answer is very simple - which can go on without the other longer - can SA rugby take the hit of no Lions tour - can Rugby Australia get along without the money from NH tours - can NZ get along without the payments they currently get when they head north?

Londener, remember SA rugby carried on during the isolation years, granted it was the amateur era, they might have to lower salaries, but they will survive for as long as it takes, rugby is in our blood, we will continue to find solutions.

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Post by Old Man on Mon 27 Apr 2020, 11:01 am

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:Not sure I would like it, but the 6N could play on a a home and away basis to make up for the loss of the AIs, they would still get sell out crowds to most games.

Even Saxons games produce 50-60,000 gates if they want to play T2 sides like Romania, Georgia etc.

For how long though? Too much of one thing gets boring.

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Post by Irish Londoner on Mon 27 Apr 2020, 11:08 am

Old Man wrote:
Irish Londoner wrote:
Old Man wrote:If Europe drop the summer tours then SH will drop the AI’s and find alternative fixtures.

You are making it sound like the NH holds all the cards. We get it, more people more money, though consider the long term effect of NH playing only against themselves.

The NH needs the SH as much as the SH needs the NH.

Just like England needs Ireland, Scotland and Wales for the Six Nations

The answer is very simple - which can go on without the other longer - can SA rugby take the hit of no Lions tour - can Rugby Australia get along without the money from NH tours - can NZ get along without the payments they currently get when they head north?

Londener, remember SA rugby carried on during the isolation years, granted it was the amateur era, they might have to lower salaries, but they will survive for as long as it takes, rugby is in our blood, we will continue to find solutions.

I'm sure rugby in SA will survive, the question is how long that "professional rugby" can survive.

As I keep saying, I have no problem with more funding going to T2 and developing nations or with T1 nations playing more games against them rather than the "usual suspects", in particular I'd like to see the developing European countries like Spain, Romania and Georgia get more games, even against "Saxons" type teams: however I'm not in favour of the NH funding the SH T1 teams under any circumstances.

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Post by TightHEAD on Mon 27 Apr 2020, 11:16 am

Bill has the win already, being reported in the times.

Best man for the job won.
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Post by tigertattie on Mon 27 Apr 2020, 11:26 am

TightHEAD wrote:Bill has the win already, being reported in the times.

Best man for the job won.

Ah yes, if the Times says its a done deal then it must be true!

I'm totally against Pichot getting it due to his World League policy, but guess what, Bill has the same policy so how you can say the best man for the job got it when both candidates are standing on the same platform is beyond me.
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Post by Brendan on Mon 27 Apr 2020, 11:55 am

Old Man wrote:Not sure where you get your numbers from, the average attendance in Rugb6 Championship is 36000-38000 for 2018/9


I said it was for the Australia v Argentina
2018 Rugby Championship

South Africa v
New Zealand 51.8k
Australia 41.3k
Argentina 26.8k

Australia v
New Zealand 66.3k
South Africa 27.8k
Argentina 16.0k

New Zealand v
Australia 50.0k
South Africa 34.2k
Argentina 21.4k

Argentina v
New Zealand 50.0k
South Africa 27.5k
Australia 20.5k

Italy v (for AIs as few travelling fans)
Georgia 18.4k
Australia 18.6k
New Zealand 53.2k

So it looks like Italy have a core turnout of about 18k who will turn up for test matches.  If they were compeditive games these may go up but are unlikely to go down.  Would 10k show up in NZ or Oz to watch Japan or the USA.

What figures would Fiji/Japan/USA/Italy generate for home matches in Argentina, Australia South Africa or New Zealand. When you see the figures even South Africa generate in the other three countries it's worrying as to how yearly games against Wales, Ireland or Scotland would be attended. Would the RC teams be more likely to show up for home games v Ireland compared to South Africa or Australia.

The 6 Nation teams already playing non European teams nearly once every two years so I don't think Euro attendances would drop to much.

I can't see the 3 Celtic Nations getting less than 30k for any match

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Post by Brendan on Mon 27 Apr 2020, 12:09 pm

tigertattie wrote:
TightHEAD wrote:Bill has the win already, being reported in the times.

Best man for the job won.

Ah yes, if the Times says its a done deal then it must be true!

I'm totally against Pichot getting it due to his World League policy, but guess what, Bill has the same policy so how you can say the best man for the job got it when both candidates are standing on the same platform is beyond me.

Better the Devil you know
Also as a European Bill is well aware of the struggles of the Pro14 Nations and all the hard financial choices they had to make or restructuring without WR help. Each including Italy have come out better the other side and doing much better.
Not so sure Pichot does as he thinks the only problem is not enough money for everyone rather than certain countries need to make hard choices.

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Post by TightHEAD on Mon 27 Apr 2020, 12:12 pm

Bill knows it will never happen, that's why. Pichot would force it onto everyone.
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Post by TightHEAD on Mon 27 Apr 2020, 12:13 pm

Go Bill.
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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 27 Apr 2020, 12:16 pm

Think you need to go and read or listen to some of pichots interviews etc Brendan. Your comment does again relate to the view that european rugby is the be all and end all and cant adapt again. Tight head simply saying beamount is full of empty words is unfair however.

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Post by Old Man on Mon 27 Apr 2020, 12:38 pm

Brendan wrote:
Old Man wrote:Not sure where you get your numbers from, the average attendance in Rugb6 Championship is 36000-38000 for 2018/9


I said it was for the Australia v Argentina
2018 Rugby Championship

South Africa v
New Zealand 51.8k
Australia 41.3k
Argentina 26.8k

Australia v
New Zealand 66.3k
South Africa 27.8k
Argentina 16.0k

New Zealand v
Australia 50.0k
South Africa 34.2k
Argentina 21.4k

Argentina v
New Zealand 50.0k
South Africa 27.5k
Australia 20.5k

Italy v (for AIs as few travelling fans)
Georgia 18.4k
Australia 18.6k
New Zealand 53.2k

So it looks like Italy have a core turnout of about 18k who will turn up for test matches.  If they were compeditive games these may go up but are unlikely to go down.  Would 10k show up in NZ or Oz to watch Japan or the USA.

What figures would Fiji/Japan/USA/Italy generate for home matches in Argentina, Australia South Africa or New Zealand. When you see the figures even South Africa generate in the other three countries it's worrying as to how yearly games against Wales, Ireland or Scotland would be attended. Would the RC teams be more likely to show up for home games v Ireland compared to South Africa or Australia.

The 6 Nation teams already playing non European teams nearly once every two years so I don't think Euro attendances would drop to much.

I can't see the 3 Celtic Nations getting less than 30k for any match

Last time Samoa played in SA (2013) the attendance was 35725
They also toured SA in 2002 and the attendance was 25 796

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Post by Brendan on Mon 27 Apr 2020, 12:49 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Think you need to go and read or listen to some of pichots interviews etc Brendan. Your comment does again relate to the view that european rugby is the be all and end all and cant adapt again. Tight head simply saying beamount is full of empty words is unfair however.

It's a question of who backs who and what people want.
Pichot wants the Lions to expand - but in reality he wants the Lions to visit the Americas (really Argentina) and live off that cash cow like the other RC nations
He is backed by SANZAAR so he is in their pocket in part as I doubt they are doing it for the love of it.
It just so happens that during this run Argentina choose to no longer bid for the WC but get behind Australia.  If he cared about the Americas and T2 why not be pushing for WC to go to Russia (he might even get on one of the state company boards). There would be plenty of money for it (As rugby has key political people liking rugby) and would grow the game in a country where the people are built for it.
He was head of Mr Forrest's South American company (guy behind the Force)
He is/was part of USA Rugby aswell.
Not really the kind of man I want as head of WR. Once elected we are likely to see a different person to who we see now and he seems less than upfront about relationships.

Brendan

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Post by Brendan on Mon 27 Apr 2020, 1:01 pm

Old Man wrote:
Brendan wrote:
Old Man wrote:Not sure where you get your numbers from, the average attendance in Rugb6 Championship is 36000-38000 for 2018/9


I said it was for the Australia v Argentina
2018 Rugby Championship

South Africa v
New Zealand 51.8k
Australia 41.3k
Argentina 26.8k

Australia v
New Zealand 66.3k
South Africa 27.8k
Argentina 16.0k

New Zealand v
Australia 50.0k
South Africa 34.2k
Argentina 21.4k

Argentina v
New Zealand 50.0k
South Africa 27.5k
Australia 20.5k

Italy v (for AIs as few travelling fans)
Georgia 18.4k
Australia 18.6k
New Zealand 53.2k

So it looks like Italy have a core turnout of about 18k who will turn up for test matches.  If they were compeditive games these may go up but are unlikely to go down.  Would 10k show up in NZ or Oz to watch Japan or the USA.

What figures would Fiji/Japan/USA/Italy generate for home matches in Argentina, Australia South Africa or New Zealand. When you see the figures even South Africa generate in the other three countries it's worrying as to how yearly games against Wales, Ireland or Scotland would be attended. Would the RC teams be more likely to show up for home games v Ireland compared to South Africa or Australia.

The 6 Nation teams already playing non European teams nearly once every two years so I don't think Euro attendances would drop to much.

I can't see the 3 Celtic Nations getting less than 30k for any match

Last time Samoa played in SA (2013) the attendance was 35725
They also toured SA in 2002 and the attendance was 25 796

Just going off that last figures not distorted by WC. I am least worried about South Africa of the 4 but how is a World league going to fix finances if 5 of the 6 european Nations are getting more fans who end up paying more money per head to each game. If you take it the 6th team would see an increase in attendances compared to the AIs plus better tv money than currently receiving for the Summer (don't seem to ever get the big teams) and AIs.

The RC will see smaller attendances for games involving the 2 extra teams than current average plus less attendances than current tours as fans aren't going to fly from NZ to SA to Japan following Ireland as they would 3 games in SA. Extra travel cost to go to Fiji/Japan/USA for every nation involved.

Brendan

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