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Should the top two English leagues be merged?

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Post by formerly known as Sam Tue 16 Jun 2020, 6:45 pm

First topic message reminder :

Ruck.co.uk have put together a rather pie in the sky piece about league reform in England.

https://www.ruck.co.uk/what-would-the-premiership-look-like-if-it-was-split-into-conferences-like-the-nfl/

It suggests splitting the top two divisions into 5 NFL style conferences. 

NORTHERN DIVISION
Doncaster Knights
Newcastle Falcons
Sale Sharks
Yorkshire Carnegie

LONDON DIVISION
Ealing Trailfinders
Harlequins
London Irish
Saracens

MIDLANDS 1
Bedford Blues
Leicester Tigers
Northampton Saints
Nottingham

MIDLANDS 2
Bristol Bears
Gloucester
Wasps
Worcester Warriors

SOUTHERN DIVISION
Bath
Cornish Pirates
Exeter Chiefs
Jersey

The issues emerge immediately as outraged Bristol fans want to know why they are a Midlands team and Bath are a Southern one. Midlands 2 would be much better re-badged as West.

Yorkshire/Leeds or whatever their name is this week obviously aren't fit to enter and Coventry would probably be annoyed by being overlooked after finishing last season on 4th. Not sure the Prem teams would be keen on sharing the television coverage pie but more games should mean more coverage options and maybe some shared coverage.

The West Country teams would probably want to be in the same group for derby game purposes but this would make their conference extremely harsh.

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Post by LondonTiger Fri 06 Nov 2020, 11:23 am

With the RFU cancelling all leagues below the Championship for next/this season (2020/21), and most of the Championship sides not wanting to play without crowds and thus asking that their season also be cancelled, I have seen suggestions that for 2021/22 we will see a 14 team Premiership with Saracens being automatically re-admitted and Ealing being given the chance to buy a stake in PRL and a place at the top table. This would probably then be ring fenced for a set time.

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Post by Brendan Sat 07 Nov 2020, 3:56 pm

LondonTiger wrote:With the RFU cancelling all leagues below the Championship for next/this season (2020/21), and most of the Championship sides not wanting to play without crowds and thus asking that their season also be cancelled, I have seen suggestions that for 2021/22 we will see a 14 team Premiership with Saracens being automatically re-admitted and Ealing being given the chance to buy a stake in PRL and a place at the top table. This would probably then be ring fenced for a set time.

With the financial issues going on I don't think the PRL is going to get a better time to ringfence and not have much pushback.
Because of the unknown state of the championship it is also one of the few times that the best championship players could be hovered up the the 14th team.

While I think the club's would jump at the idea I think some fans are so against Sarries that they would rather them have nothing then come back in.

Ringfencing the Premership would almost instantly ease the finacial devastation that is hanging over a few of the Prem clubs as they wouldn't have to worry about relegation next season and another year of big losses.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Sat 07 Nov 2020, 5:40 pm

The RFU have devastated most of the Championship by slashing the funding. Several of the clubs have already become semi pro and some (notably Hartbury) are already using a number of DR and loan players. I say using but Hartbury are half loan and DR players it's a little ridiculous. 

Even if the Championship season went ahead we'd be seeing a lot of the clubs become feeders for Prem teams. I believe Bedford had already signalled that intention.

As an aside lower tier football had been allowed small crowds. I don't see why Championship Rugby teams who are semi pro couldn't have limited crowds.

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Post by Gooseberry Sun 08 Nov 2020, 11:47 am

Some form of ring fencing has been inevitable for many years now, and as noted the current situation gives a drive to finally break the status quo.

14 teams though...more games without the best players, more blowouts, less meaningful games, lower intensity. I can see why its more attractive the financiers but I'm not enthusiastic about an expanded premiership without even getting into the Saracens issue. Far from convinced this is best for the development of genuinely elite players for tests and keeping clubs top in Europe.

Do feel a bit like the RFU have let this happen a bit by not taking the initiative in previous years and sorting out a 16 team two division pro system, instead letting the championship gradually decline whilst PRL remained locked into its closed shop mentality.

Still ultimately anything that helps secure a future for the game isn't entirely a bad thing.

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Post by Brendan Tue 10 Nov 2020, 3:24 pm

As the Season is shorter this year they could just do a play each team once which would be 13 games.  Then split into top section and bottom section. Top 7 teams play the reverse fixture for champions so 20 in total.

You could stipulate that as championship sides Sarries and Ealing are automatically in the bottom section.

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Post by LondonTiger Tue 10 Nov 2020, 4:48 pm

Brendan wrote:As the Season is shorter this year they could just do a play each team once which would be 13 games.  Then split into top section and bottom section. Top 7 teams play the reverse fixture for champions so 20 in total.

You could stipulate that as championship sides Sarries and Ealing are automatically in the bottom section.

Such a change is only projected for next season, 2021/22.

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Post by Guest Wed 11 Nov 2020, 8:19 pm

Ring fencing would be the last nail in the coffin for rugby as a traditional sport and turn it in to a corporate nightmare where money rules everything. Once you move to a Super Rugby style system, you're in to the realm of franchises, and thus you're in to the realm of the NFL.

Wave goobye to ever seeing another club do what Exeter did, and hello the Dubai Kings and Tokyo Titans.

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Post by Gooseberry Thu 12 Nov 2020, 8:36 am

rugby racing and beer wrote:Ring fencing would be the last nail in the coffin for rugby as a traditional sport and turn it in to a corporate nightmare where money rules everything. Once you move to a Super Rugby style system, you're in to the realm of franchises, and thus you're in to the realm of the NFL.

Wave goobye to ever seeing another club do what Exeter did, and hello the Dubai Kings and Tokyo Titans.

Hows the Pro14 working out?

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Post by Irish Londoner Thu 12 Nov 2020, 10:11 am

Gooseberry wrote:
rugby racing and beer wrote:Ring fencing would be the last nail in the coffin for rugby as a traditional sport and turn it in to a corporate nightmare where money rules everything. Once you move to a Super Rugby style system, you're in to the realm of franchises, and thus you're in to the realm of the NFL.

Wave goobye to ever seeing another club do what Exeter did, and hello the Dubai Kings and Tokyo Titans.

Hows the Pro14 working out?

The Pro14 is a slightly different case in that the teams have nowhere to go and no one is champing at the bit to join them - there's no third Scottish or fifth Welsh team who could at present join - in a different world there might have been a case for a couple of additional European teams, but in the current climate that's years away.

England "should" have a strong enough league system to comfortably support two divisions, however the determination of the PRL to pretend that they can have a Premier League level competition with League One money and attendances has prevented that. Maybe they should just be honest and ring fence rather than the pretence of promotion/relegation where the cards are always stacked in favour of the Premiership team anyway - in which case the question is simply do you cut one club adrift and stay at 12 or do you bring in another club to make it 14?

If it's expansion then who becomes the 14th club - Ealing may make the financial sense but does London need another Premiership club, given that it's less than four miles from London Irish, seven miles from Quins and only nine miles from Saracens - is that ever going to be viable?

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Post by Guest Thu 12 Nov 2020, 12:59 pm

Gooseberry wrote:
rugby racing and beer wrote:Ring fencing would be the last nail in the coffin for rugby as a traditional sport and turn it in to a corporate nightmare where money rules everything. Once you move to a Super Rugby style system, you're in to the realm of franchises, and thus you're in to the realm of the NFL.

Wave goobye to ever seeing another club do what Exeter did, and hello the Dubai Kings and Tokyo Titans.

Hows the Pro14 working out?

Badly.

It's an unsustainable competition that almost no-one cares about that has become monopolised by one country, in particular on city/area, aided by their union. Their squeezing of the other constituent clubs and countries has produced a race to the bottom that relies on unrealistic investment and addition of disparate clubs and countries like South Africa and the USA to continue funding a monopolised competition where the other countries and clubs, particularly in Wales, have seen their value decrease in relative terms due to the unequal footing of a cross-border competition. Add in the lack of relegation and sheer lack of jeopardy within a competition that no one has any real connection to, no real cultural resonance, and very limited care about as the best team in the competition that regularly wins it rarely play their best players, means it's not fit for purpose and is a major reason, along with Super Rugby, why France and England should do everything they can to avoid imitating systems and leagues that failed in order to continue what was succeeded, which is a domestic league pyramid structure with relegation and promotion.

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Post by Irish Londoner Thu 12 Nov 2020, 2:50 pm

rugby racing and beer wrote:
Badly.

It's an unsustainable competition that almost no-one cares about that has become monopolised by one country, in particular on city/area, aided by their union. Their squeezing of the other constituent clubs and countries has produced a race to the bottom that relies on unrealistic investment and addition of disparate clubs and countries like South Africa and the USA to continue funding a monopolised competition where the other countries and clubs, particularly in Wales, have seen their value decrease in relative terms due to the unequal footing of a cross-border competition. Add in the lack of relegation and sheer lack of jeopardy within a competition that no one has any real connection to, no real cultural resonance, and very limited care about as the best team in the competition that regularly wins it rarely play their best players, means it's not fit for purpose and is a major reason, along with Super Rugby, why France and England should do everything they can to avoid imitating systems and leagues that failed in order to continue what was succeeded, which is a domestic league pyramid structure with relegation and promotion.

So what do Wales do?

As I've posted previously they are where they are - they picked what seems to be the worst ownership model, they don't have the union central control and funding of Ireland and Scotland and don't have the affluent owners of England and France.

They could leave the Pro14 for an internal Welsh league but it's highly unlikely that could work - it's why the Celtic League/Pro12 was set up in the first place, they could try and join the English league but that would be even more unlikely, they can wait and hope for CVC to stick a B & I League on the table and see if the English clubs will bite - they might do, I'm sure most of the CVC initial money has already gone either on new contracts or keeping clubs afloat during CV19 so they might be more open to some sort of two division league, although of course that would have to be ringfenced anyway.

Is it better to assume than rather than blaming Ireland and Scotland for everything just take it that watching top level rugby in Wales is not as popular as it used to be (even when the English come to play in European games the crowds don't improve (other than when the English team brings a travelling support) so it's not just about the "when Cardiff used to play Bath in the 1970's there were fifty thousand people in the Arms Park" nostalgia, the Welsh Premiership crowds are declining as well, so it's not about not being able to see "your team" rather than a region, people who used to go Pontypridd or Bridgend and fell left behind by the regions haven't stayed loyal to their local clubs, so what is to be done?

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Post by Guest Thu 12 Nov 2020, 5:14 pm

LeinsterFan4life wrote:I think some on here are really overestimating how much money is in league. The average super league salary is around 40k and the NRL continues to lose players to union, see Koribete, Vunivalu, Radrada, Karmichael Hunt. The international game in union dwarfs anything in league. The Kangaroos still can't get anywhere close the exposure and attendances the Wallabies can. At the last RLWC, Aus couldn't sell out a 30k seater stadium for a final against England where as just a couple of months the before the Wallabies got 60k for their last Bledisloe cup game.

Not at all, you're also missing the point.

The original point raised was that if we, in Union, don't expand and compete with other analagous sports - namely League and NFL - by paying good wages to the very best athletes, then the natural access rugby has to talented 'ball players' and athletes will start getting picked at by other sports. It's already happening, however, if rugby doesn't fund the professional game well in order to make its star players and its decent professional players to a level they're happy with in comparison to other professional sportsmen, they will start getting picked off by other sports. Likewise, rugby's market share is under threat by other sports, and a declining product - like, say, your country starts losing more, or the club game becomes unimportant, as has happened in Oz - will lead to other sports hastening rugby's decline.

League is a perfect example. It tempted many Union stars to play League when Union was amateur. Union was a bigger sport, but it didn't matter, the money talked and it forced Union to go pro. In its early years Union was much wealthier than League - and for the most part, it still is, as on a global scale it is a much bigger sport whereas League is really only an Antipodean concern with pockets and regions within other countries that take a greater interest over Union. However, League is a bigger and wealthier sport in Australia. It commands a much larger share of the television money. It commands a much larger audience. League is dominant in a country where Union is a bit part sport. You reference some of the older heads moving over for a paycheque to Union but it's a much smaller number than it was 20 years ago, and these players are often moving for a much briefer period of their careers. Why? The money isn't there in Super Rugby in comparison, for starters. More worrying, however, is the talent in Australian schools rugby; many of the more talented Union players are ending up in League from schools rugby in Australia. That's a trend that was unthinkable 20 years ago, but it's not now - why? Simple, League is dominant, Union is dying in that particular country.

The reason I raise this is to show what happens if you don't invest in rugby: another code can and will take over. Phil's utterly inane and dishonest point is to derail and detract from that by wholeheartedly missing the point of why I raise League.

If you do not have a solvent and attractive sport, you will fail, and another, wealthier sport will move in and profit. You can use both the NRL and the AFL in Australia as evidence of where another code of 'football' has taken up the share of the market that has been vacated by Union.

And the point leading back to Union as a sport in its totality is this: the NFL and the NRL are primarily one country sports. The NFL in particular. However, that's changing. The NFL is making huge strides in to Europe and London in particular and appealing to particularly immigrant kids, particularly black, who can identify with the Americanised culture of NFL moreso than the English culture of rugby even though they are physically much closer to the latter. When you add in the issue with rugby's rules, and what it takes to play NFL - primarily athletic ability for most positions, kicking which Europeans have from football/soccer, and accuracy to get good stats - then my point is this: the hotbed of talent that traditional rugby cultures and countries are relying on may well be susceptible to other sports, and other codes similar to rugby, if they don't pay both the very best players and the also-rans a competitive wage. There are a number of rugby players who had done a decent job in the NFL - Alex Gray, for starters, who was on $500k last year. He wouldn't come close to earning that had he stayed in rugby. Again, my point is this: don't just look at the 'now', look at the future. The NFL has shed loads more money than rugby while only seeing growth in to Europe and other territories.

If rugby doesn't 'overpay', unsustainably so, the most talented and more importantly the most athletic rugby players who are coming through the academy and (more likely) the public school system whether on scholarships or otherwise, where they will be multi-disciplinary sportsmen, then enough of them will start to choose another sport to play instead of rugby. That's important for the very top stars, like Itoje who could probably play NFL had he wanted to, or Farrell who could play League or maybe even by an NFL kicker. But it's also important for the Alex Grays and Christian Wades of this world as well. The players are making a move over to other sports and in 15-20 years time, Australian Union may well be dead. It's not out of the question when you compare it in 2020 to 2000. Of course, you could always listen to Phil: apparently because posh schools play rugby in Australia they have more money...Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes

Already rugby has moved away from picking 'footballers' and many professionals are, frankly, athletes before rugby players. A decent portion of them don't know the laws by Haskell's recent admission, and frankly it shows a lot of the time. Rugby picks athletes, it picks raw physical attributes, and then is giving them a ball and building up the basics. Particularly in the most important positions in the game, the hardest ones to fill physically: 12, 8, flankers, locks, props.

Sport has become...hmmm. It's become a way of massive social mobility within one generation. And let's be honest, black people have the genetic gift to dominate, and so you can come from Africa - whether Mo Farrah or be the child of immigrants like Itoje - and rise to the top of a sport in the west with the training and opportunities we have. All sport is becoming a way for 'normal' people to become superstars, superwealthy, and to potentially become global celebritie. Rugby isn't soccer/football but one if its big hurdles is the fact it has so much overlap with both League and the NFL. Managing the growth of rugby will determine whether it lives or dies. League, and the AFL and soccer, in Australia has shown how rugby can decline in popularity and lose its grasp on the market if it is mismanged or outcompeted. The NRL trades on its rich club game - much like the Premier League in soccer in England - while Super Rugby is anathema to fans. The NFL is largely the same, it lacks the international aspect, but that doesn't mean they can't and won't eat in to the market and the player base rugby has and is looking to embrace in order to grow (or even survive).

The world will be vastly different in 20 years time. Don't just look at the present situation and pretend otherwise. Australia will be a primarily Asian-origin population by the middle of this century - they're not going to take much interest in Union, that's for sure, at least not in big numbers. The UK will be majority non-white-British by the same time period, which means a similar loosening of the cultural norms associated with rugby and its tradition and history within the school and social system. Are these people going to choose rugby? Soccer? Athletics? NFL? League? Who knows. My point is simple: if rugby becomes a third rate sport that pays small fry to its players, athletes will choose a better paying sport. Simple. We have to live beyond our means to an extent in order to survive. It's the inherent paradox of our current financial system and the constant economic battles we're involved in and it applies to sport, too.


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Post by Guest Thu 12 Nov 2020, 5:37 pm

Irish Londoner wrote:
rugby racing and beer wrote:
Badly.

It's an unsustainable competition that almost no-one cares about that has become monopolised by one country, in particular on city/area, aided by their union. Their squeezing of the other constituent clubs and countries has produced a race to the bottom that relies on unrealistic investment and addition of disparate clubs and countries like South Africa and the USA to continue funding a monopolised competition where the other countries and clubs, particularly in Wales, have seen their value decrease in relative terms due to the unequal footing of a cross-border competition. Add in the lack of relegation and sheer lack of jeopardy within a competition that no one has any real connection to, no real cultural resonance, and very limited care about as the best team in the competition that regularly wins it rarely play their best players, means it's not fit for purpose and is a major reason, along with Super Rugby, why France and England should do everything they can to avoid imitating systems and leagues that failed in order to continue what was succeeded, which is a domestic league pyramid structure with relegation and promotion.

So what do Wales do?

At the moment, tread water. They have the best 'model' for the present situation; private ownership with the union picking up the slack.

Longer term, they need to fund the game for Wales as it is, not as it was. The market towns and villages are dying - literally. Young people are leaving to the cities and the old people are dying off. The work isn't there, they're also increasingly impoverished wherever you live whether north, south, or west, and the idea that you can rebuild 'traditional' Welsh rugby based on local village rivalries where men are far less healthy than they were even 25 years ago is stupid. Men are more likely to be sat watching Sky Sports on a weekend than playing rugby these days. Kids the same, except TikTok or XBox or whatever.

I think the rugby solution follows the social and economic solutions, to be honest, which makes it hard. But basically, imitating NZ hasn't been too bad for Wales in the past, we could learn something about grassroots rugby from them. At the moment, we basically have an elitist rugby system - academies and fee paying schools whichever side of the border are creating/honing a lot of Wales' pro players. Which is great, but the grassroots rugby is being destroyed. Knowing what to allow to die, and what needs funding, at the amateur and community level is crucial. We should also be looking in to schools and as Senedd actually has influence over this area, there's no excuse for the pitiful state of sport in many Welsh comp schools across the country. Obviously there are exceptions, like the one in Cardiff that created Bale, Warburton, and Geraint Thomas as well as others.

With Gatland gone, it's inexcusable not to prioritise the grassroots which have been largely allowed to wither over the last 20 years of regionalism.

From there, we simply had to deal with what we have. I'd like a strong semi-pro or even pro Welsh league/comp. Something like the Super 6 in Scotland. Something that is a reward for a pyramid structure where you know you are 'part of' the system. Regionalism effectively destroyed the last threads of that system when it created the A League and the Welsh Prem was allowed to suffocate in its own stagnant juices.

If we need Super Regions to compete in European competition, so be it. Make East and West Wales and drop down to 2. We've basically only had 1.5 regions over the last 5 years anyway since Cuddy's decline at the Ospreys. The Blues are sort of there, the Scarlets have overperformed, and the Dragons have been until the last 12 months a sorry excuse for a professional sports club.

I would welcome a return to the Celtic League as it was - 3 Celtic countries, an actual league - but with a standardised model of funding and at least greter regulation without the Irish bias. Sadly, I can't see that happening, too many jobs are tied up with Irish-based bias within the Pro14 and I don't believe reformation is possible. So, I'd welcome a B&I competition in some form, if that is at all possible. Better yet, go back to domestic comps and then a European super comp. A lot depends on England and France, I can't see them destroying their own comps for the sake of a brave new world.

So, as it stands, I don't know the solution. Genuinely, no idea. The biggest problem we face is in coaching and it's another thing that's been disregarded/allowed to rot while focusing on Team Wales and the top players. Better coaches and better pathways/training from semi pro up in to professional rugby would be ideal. We've had far few of the 'sexy rugby' generation circa 2005 go in to coaching: Stephen Jones, Dwayne Peel...and that's it. Warburton, Gethin...it's not great. We've had a huge 'brain drain' precisely because the situation is so dire, pays so poorly, is so stressful, with a result where you're on to a hiding to nothing where we had to pick up Irish dregs just to coach two of our regions. I'd fund better coaching - utilise the links we have with NZ at the Scarlets - to ensure we at least have opportunity for talent, even if we're not successful. As far as I can tell, all the talent is just off to England, for obvious reasons. The Pro14 has strangled Welsh rugby.

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Post by Brendan Thu 12 Nov 2020, 10:42 pm

Rugby professionally is growing in France, but shrinking in England. There looks to be only 14 professional teams in England going forward.

The Pro14/16 has turned Wales and Ireland from terrible teams into World No 1. If Wales hadn't of changed course they would currently be like Scottish football where the best teams increase he gap on the others while falling behind those outside of Scotland.

Munster was built off the back of a strong club scene. When the AIL fell in standards it required them to adapt and improve the school system. They are now seeing fruit.

Wales need to adapt to their situation instead of blaming others. Exeter are where they are because they improved and grew. They didn't give out about the RFU process nor did they say certain parts of the country had advantages. The Welsh do better than the Scots and Irish at the u20s yet their squads seem weaker. Either these players are poorly managed or the IRFU and SRU are better at bringing through talent.

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Post by TJ Thu 12 Nov 2020, 10:54 pm

Hows the Pro14 working out?

Pretty well. Standards and gate continually rising, teams selling out grounds, lots of young players getting experience. Unless yo are welsh when its crap for weird reasons

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Post by Irish Londoner Fri 13 Nov 2020, 9:41 am

I've deleted your response to save space but I'm pleased that you recognise that the main problems with Welsh rugby are largely domestic and are things that the WRU could do something about - in fact needs to.

I'd also agree that the WRU needs to work out what it's purpose is - across the game everywhere there seems to be an increasing disconnect between elite level rugby and club level rugby - the game for all shapes and sizes (why schools loved it so much) is now a game for super fit specimens and in a lot of cases you can't tell a forward from a scrum half or a full back based on body size/shape, I do wonder if the high speed, very physical, "Big hit", flying into rucks at speed, game that's shown on TV puts off more kids/parents than it encourages.

I hope it can be sorted out as rugby in general needs a strong Wales at club level as well as international - apart from tonight where I hope you're rubbish Very Happy heart

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Post by Guest Fri 13 Nov 2020, 10:19 am

Irish Londoner wrote:I've deleted your response to save space but I'm pleased that you recognise that the main problems with Welsh rugby are largely domestic and are things that the WRU could do something about - in fact needs to.

Not quite, I think you've missed a quite important point. The WRU is in charge of Welsh rugby so of course it's where the decisions need to come from. The issue is in significant part due to playing in a living-dead, monopolised competition that has leeched the life out of Welsh rugby due to the uneven playing field each country is playing on. Ireland is literally a tax haven. I think the only thing stopping more Welsh people being up in arms about how ridiculous the situation is is because we're so atuned to England being the financial problem and leech of Welsh industry and talent that we aren't willing to see it when it comes from overseas.

You asked me what Wales should do. Of course the answer has to come from Wales. They can't appeal to a competition that is desperate for its own survival and has done so by weakening the actual competition and fawning to the wealthiest stakeholder time and time again over the last decade. My solution is to leave the Pro14 as soon as a more viable, fairer competition can be found. But expecting that to just materialise out of thin air would be naive/idiotic. So we tread water until we see where the restructuring of club rugby takes us.

There are many domestic issues. Naturally. There has been a creeping corporatism in to sport that sees only the bottom line and Welsh rugby in particular seems to have suffered by Roger Lewis et al seeing rugby as a commodity rather than something more complex.

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Post by Brendan Fri 13 Nov 2020, 1:41 pm

How come Jersey never made it into the Premership.  They are much more of a tax haven. No-one moves their cash to ireland only their business. Scotland do well in the Pro14 so not all about the Irish.

Ireland is a low corporation tax country but employees pay more on wages then any of the UK based teams so I don't see the benefit to the players.  The IRFU don't pay corporation tax so don't benefit from the low corporation tax.

I wouldn't be surprised if sponsership for the Scottish teams was higher then the Welsh. Having the pro team attached to the union is better for sponsers.

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Post by asoreleftshoulder Fri 13 Nov 2020, 2:30 pm

Irelans's tax break means a player earning €100,000 in Ireland takes home about an extra €6000 per year after tax than his equivalent in the UK.It isn't that much of a difference when you see the likes of Ian Madigan making £500,000 a year playing for Bristol.
Our tax break system is barely relevant in why Irish teams are more successful.


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Post by Irish Londoner Fri 13 Nov 2020, 3:16 pm

asoreleftshoulder wrote:Irelans's tax break means a player earning €100,000 in Ireland takes home about €6000 per year after tax than his equivalent in the UK.It isn't that much of a difference when you see the likes of Ian Madigan making £500,000 a year playing for Bristol.
Our tax break system is barely relevant in why Irish teams are more successful.

And of course unlike his English counterpart doesn't get offered the chance to start his own property/coffee/brewing/etc. "business" in association with the club owner..... Shocked

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Post by Guest Fri 13 Nov 2020, 4:36 pm

Brendan wrote:How come Jersey never made it into the Premership.

Dublin's a bit bigger than Jersey? Ask Google why they don't do their business in Jersey as well, I suppose...also ask the Dublin school system why it doesn't set up in the Channel Islands...

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Post by Welly Fri 13 Nov 2020, 7:48 pm

English rugby struggle to support 12 clubs let alone 24.

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Post by Brendan Sat 14 Nov 2020, 8:00 am

rugby racing and beer wrote:
Brendan wrote:How come Jersey never made it into the Premership.

Dublin's a bit bigger than Jersey? Ask Google why they don't do their business in Jersey as well, I suppose...also ask the Dublin school system why it doesn't set up in the Channel Islands...

So your comment about Irish doing great in the pro14 because it's a tax haven was a load of rubbish.

People interested in rugby in Wales and Ireland would be simillar
The Dublin School system has less to do about it being private and more about the standard of competition. Can't see how the large population from Newort to Swansea can't match the schools rugby levels of Dublin. U20s would imply they do.

Irish success is down to hard work, as is the Scottish.

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Post by RiscaGame Sat 14 Nov 2020, 5:43 pm

I don’t know what the Scottish have done to respond to COVID, but it must be common knowledge that the Welsh teams were hamstrung by Roger Lewis and have always been playing catch up from that. Now at least the IRFU have taken an emergency loan to support their pro teams, whereas the Welsh ones have been shortchanged again.

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Post by Welly Sun 15 Nov 2020, 3:06 pm

I feel part of the problem Wales is having is they need to embrace English club rugby at least for the short term.

Costelow is IMO a good example move to Scarlets and so far has had 1 game from the bench which he came on for 10 minutes for a winger.. and this is with Patchell away. From a Welsh POV is that really better than being Ford's back up? Henry who we signed as Costelow replacement already has played in 7 games.

A good example from a Tigers POV is Jack Roberts had a really good season with Tigers plays 16 premiership games 4 champions cup games, WRU and Cardiff come along say oh we are interested in you now he's playing for Jersey. (Still only 28 as well).

IDK Welsh rugby IMO are wrongly spending money on luring the welsh players back to the regions in a bid to bring up their level when they should be looking at investing in regions coaching.

Is it really any surprise that the Scottish teams started to improve when they improved their coaches? Same with the Irish teams (look what happened with MOC in charge at Leinster).




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Post by RiscaGame Sun 15 Nov 2020, 3:23 pm

I can’t speak for the others, but Dragons have invested more in coaching, with little impact noticeable yet. Perhaps they have the same problem as Wales, where players are adapting to new systems, but there has been a bit of a drop currently in our pack for one, since Mefin Davies has replaced Ceri Jones and we’ve promoted Luke Narraway.

So there probably is a bit of improving the back room staff already, especially if we are doing it (Dragons are usually pretty behind the curve). We’ve even appointed a mental skills and leadership coach.

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Post by Welly Sun 15 Nov 2020, 3:42 pm

I don't know I don't really rate Ryan that much if i'm being honest.
He peaked with Gloucester 12 years ago and that was it really.

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Post by mikey_dragon Sun 15 Nov 2020, 4:56 pm

I had reservations over Ryan for those reasons. He’s an improvement on Jackman, but I feel he might be better suited to some sort of assistant role rather than head coach. All regions could do with finding some decent Kiwi’s as coaches. At least then we’d know it’s the players and not blame the coaches. Scarlets have the right idea with their coaching staff and strengthening their front 5, you’d think and hope it clicks at some point.

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Post by RiscaGame Sun 15 Nov 2020, 10:07 pm

Ryan is good for us, as he has involvement on our board now, so you can see why our back room is progressing. He is also making a good job of us on the whole, given our weaknesses. However, I still question his selections most weeks and think despite his apparent talent on bringing youngsters through, he is ignoring people like Basham, Dyer and throwing certain young players to the wolves like he did with the front row against the Scarlets at the end of the last season ending derbies.


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Post by mikey_dragon Sun 15 Nov 2020, 10:58 pm

True and true.

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Post by Guest Tue 17 Nov 2020, 8:54 pm

Brendan wrote:
rugby racing and beer wrote:
Brendan wrote:How come Jersey never made it into the Premership.

Dublin's a bit bigger than Jersey? Ask Google why they don't do their business in Jersey as well, I suppose...also ask the Dublin school system why it doesn't set up in the Channel Islands...

So your comment about Irish doing great in the pro14 because it's a tax haven was a load of rubbish.

Sorry, explain?

The reason for Irish dominance of the Pro14 competition is multifaceted, as I have repeatedly said going back weeks on this post and on others. If your facetious point about Jersey was meant to be serious, and not an pitiful logical fallacy, then do let me know, but as it stands, no, not rubbish at all. In fact a very important point you haven't bothered to address. Certainly not with your silly reference to the Channel Islands.

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Post by Guest Tue 17 Nov 2020, 9:01 pm

Welly wrote: I feel part of the problem Wales is having is they need to embrace English club rugby at least for the short term.

Costelow is IMO a good example move to Scarlets and so far has had 1 game from the bench which he came on for 10 minutes for a winger.. and this is with Patchell away. From a Welsh POV is that really better than being Ford's back up? Henry who we signed as Costelow replacement already has played in 7 games.

A good example from a Tigers POV...

A lot of Leicester fans seem to think Costelow's something he's not. Lots of disappointment at losing him, clearly, but he is no way better than his current squad position at the Scarlets, which is 4th choice 10 behind Patchell (third choice Welsh 10, soon to be second), a solid Pro14 man in Dan Jones with lots of U20s pedigree, and a fairly exciting 10 with a good skillset in AOB. 12-24 months from now, you'd expect that to change, but if Costelow is Ford's back up at Leicester, that is a sign of how bad things are in the east Midlands, not an issue with Welsh rugby. No wonder Leiceter are circling the drop if they're relying on a raw youth player like Costelow in a position as important as 10 when their first choice player is away so often with England. That's not a proble with Welsh rugby in the slightest tbh. If anything we've been having to play youth players before they're ready, at all the regions, because the quality and depth of player - mainly due to not having the money to attract to overseas players the Scots and Irish clubs do - is simply not available to the regions. And so young players come in to an environment where they're not ready and are exposed/on a hiding to nothing. It's been happening for a few years now and is perhaps part of the reason we're not producing really top quality youngsters any more as well - as good as they are, they're not being allowed to develop like Costelow is, without the pressure of immediate expectation to produce. Costelow is years - and I stress this, years - away from being a reliable club player, let alone an international. He's 19 years old in one of the most important positions on the pitch. Leicester fans need a bit of perspective about him leaving tbh, it seems to have rattled some of you in a way that doesn't really make sense other than frustration at not having great players yourself.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Tue 17 Nov 2020, 9:51 pm

rugby racing and beer wrote:
Welly wrote: I feel part of the problem Wales is having is they need to embrace English club rugby at least for the short term.

Costelow is IMO a good example move to Scarlets and so far has had 1 game from the bench which he came on for 10 minutes for a winger.. and this is with Patchell away. From a Welsh POV is that really better than being Ford's back up? Henry who we signed as Costelow replacement already has played in 7 games.

A good example from a Tigers POV...

A lot of Leicester fans seem to think Costelow's something he's not. Lots of disappointment at losing him, clearly, but he is no way better than his current squad position at the Scarlets, which is 4th choice 10 behind Patchell (third choice Welsh 10, soon to be second), a solid Pro14 man in Dan Jones with lots of U20s pedigree, and a fairly exciting 10 with a good skillset in AOB. 12-24 months from now, you'd expect that to change, but if Costelow is Ford's back up at Leicester, that is a sign of how bad things are in the east Midlands, not an issue with Welsh rugby. No wonder Leiceter are circling the drop if they're relying on a raw youth player like Costelow in a position as important as 10 when their first choice player is away so often with England. That's not a proble with Welsh rugby in the slightest tbh. If anything we've been having to play youth players before they're ready, at all the regions, because the quality and depth of player - mainly due to not having the money to attract to overseas players the Scots and Irish clubs do - is simply not available to the regions. And so young players come in to an environment where they're not ready and are exposed/on a hiding to nothing. It's been happening for a few years now and is perhaps part of the reason we're not producing really top quality youngsters any more as well - as good as they are, they're not being allowed to develop like Costelow is, without the pressure of immediate expectation to produce. Costelow is years - and I stress this, years - away from being a reliable club player, let alone an international. He's 19 years old in one of the most important positions on the pitch. Leicester fans need a bit of perspective about him leaving tbh, it seems to have rattled some of you in a way that doesn't really make sense other than frustration at not having great players yourself.

The annoyance was because Tigers clearly had a development plan for him. He wasn't Ford's understudy but that was clearly the plan over the next couple of seasons. He was on loan in the Championship last season and pulled up trees, played a couple of games in the Euro Cup including making a try saver Vs Cardiff and was the go to option for the club in the A league. 

He was tempted back to Wales by promises from the WRU with Pivac calling him to train with the senior squad whilst he was with the under 20s during the 6N.

He may be 19 but sometimes age is just a number. He was a player we were confident could play above his age. He would have been third choice going into this season had he stayed and would have had significant game time after lockdown due to fixture congestion. He would have been behind a pair of internationals he could learn from at Tigers, England's first choice 10 and an experienced Argentinian international. Instead he's sat watching two journeymen 10s and Wales third choice international 10. He has the potential to surpass all three of those players inside the next 24 months. 

The lad is a good attacking 10 and you can see the influence of Ford with him passing close to the gainline at speed, he can kick and pound for pound he's a good defender. He should be building game time off the bench now for a tilt at the starting shirt next season so Scarlets have competition for the shirt which should drive Patchett on as I'm not convinced he's ever hit the heights he's capable of.

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Post by Brendan Wed 18 Nov 2020, 11:46 am

rugby racing and beer wrote:
Brendan wrote:
rugby racing and beer wrote:
Brendan wrote:How come Jersey never made it into the Premership.

Dublin's a bit bigger than Jersey? Ask Google why they don't do their business in Jersey as well, I suppose...also ask the Dublin school system why it doesn't set up in the Channel Islands...

So your comment about Irish doing great in the pro14 because it's a tax haven was a load of rubbish.

Sorry, explain?

The reason for Irish dominance of the Pro14 competition is multifaceted, as I have repeatedly said going back weeks on this post and on others. If your facetious point about Jersey was meant to be serious, and not an pitiful logical fallacy, then do let me know, but as it stands, no, not rubbish at all. In fact a very important point you haven't bothered to address. Certainly not with your silly reference to the Channel Islands.

You highlighted Irish teams doing great because the Republic is a tax haven.

As I have shown previously as an employee you pay more of your wage to the government  in the Republic then in the UK. So players in the UK take home more for the same wage.

As IrishLondoner said if you do get the tax break (which you only get if you finish your career in Ireland) it is only worth about 6%.

Jersey is an actual tax haven where players would not be paying the same money to the government as they would in the UK let alone the RoI.

If you say one of the reasons for IRFU team dominance is as a tax haven lets hear what benefits you think it gives the teams over others in the league. If there is no benefit then your point was rubbish

Irish players stay at home for 3 reasons.
1. We never buckled on the overseas rule except Sexton who had it OKed before going. Leave Ireland no international caps.
2  Few players find the experince away from Ireland nice (why most only go when there is no other job)
3. Alot of Irish players are mothers boys who only leave home when they must and not being able to see them whenever is a big issue.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 18 Nov 2020, 12:00 pm

You'd imagine the standard of youth players Jersey can rely on is quite a lot lower than a lot of teams.

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Post by Brendan Wed 18 Nov 2020, 1:49 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:You'd imagine the standard of youth players Jersey can rely on is quite a lot lower than a lot of teams.

I agree. The schools system plays a big part of getting good players coming through. It's why teams like the Cheetahs and Glaws do so well. It is why I can't understand how Wales can't have the schools system that Dublin has.

About 4 years the winner of the Leinster School Cup was a school of 250 students close enough to Limerick. That team was then a runner up the following year. 2020 saw a kildare team make the final.

In Hurling Kilkenny are able to build their team off about 4 schools who have a well run competition in the schools and also between the schools. If the Welsh can't find 10 compeditive schools in South Wales for Rugby who have retired people doing the rugby program then they are in massive trouble.

Newcastle do great with young players can't see them having much in terms of structure and must cover a area the size of South Wales

My point on Jersey is if it was about tax breaks then they would have a Premership team. As it was they were only a mid championship side.

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Post by Welly Wed 18 Nov 2020, 2:04 pm

rugby racing and beer wrote:
Welly wrote: I feel part of the problem Wales is having is they need to embrace English club rugby at least for the short term.

Costelow is IMO a good example move to Scarlets and so far has had 1 game from the bench which he came on for 10 minutes for a winger.. and this is with Patchell away. From a Welsh POV is that really better than being Ford's back up? Henry who we signed as Costelow replacement already has played in 7 games.

A good example from a Tigers POV...

- mainly due to not having the money to attract to overseas players the Scots and Irish clubs do -.

Do the Scottish spend that much more on players?
From what I see they tend to spend the money that the welsh spend on bringing players back to region on overseas players.






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Post by mikey_dragon Wed 18 Nov 2020, 2:37 pm

Welly wrote:
rugby racing and beer wrote:
Welly wrote: I feel part of the problem Wales is having is they need to embrace English club rugby at least for the short term.

Costelow is IMO a good example move to Scarlets and so far has had 1 game from the bench which he came on for 10 minutes for a winger.. and this is with Patchell away. From a Welsh POV is that really better than being Ford's back up? Henry who we signed as Costelow replacement already has played in 7 games.

A good example from a Tigers POV...

- mainly due to not having the money to attract to overseas players the Scots and Irish clubs do -.

Do the Scottish spend that much more on players?
From what I see they tend to spend the money that the welsh spend on bringing players back to region on overseas players.

They have a playing budget that is larger than all but one of the regions. Scotland have recruited well though. The SQ players from overseas, and then the South African and Island players. The SA players were that much of a success that they're now playing for Scotland. You just don't see the regions doing that, it's probably necessary right now.

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Post by Brendan Wed 18 Nov 2020, 4:24 pm

With the demise of the Championship you would wonder if a few more people who would be fringe championship/Premership player will find a Pro14 grandparent in the hope of getting a Pro14 contract.

I think alot of the better professionals in the championship see it as a way to get into a Premership squad.  With the reduction of wages being a squad player in a Pro14 team becomes the better choice over the Championship.

We have seen a couple of Irish players move to Italy rather than go to the championship.  You know if you are 3rd choice in your position you should get at least 5 starts to show what you can do in the Pro14.

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Post by Recwatcher16 Thu 19 Nov 2020, 10:27 pm

The lack of vision and support for the Championship from the RFU and PRL is very disappointing.
The passion and desire within the teams in the Championship is there but they need exposure by the media and occasionally play against a higher level in order to create a value that players and fans can believe in. It would then start to create interest and interest creates value.

This constant elitist approach and pulling up the drawbridge is fools gold. Copying the Super rugby/ Pro 12 model is not a justifiable approach for England and the sport of rugby. The Test team will look after itself as players will always play for England and the RFU needs to get their priorities realigned, which perhaps post Covid might change. One can hope.

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Post by Guest Fri 20 Nov 2020, 6:56 pm

Welly wrote:
rugby racing and beer wrote:
Welly wrote: I feel part of the problem Wales is having is they need to embrace English club rugby at least for the short term.

Costelow is IMO a good example move to Scarlets and so far has had 1 game from the bench which he came on for 10 minutes for a winger.. and this is with Patchell away. From a Welsh POV is that really better than being Ford's back up? Henry who we signed as Costelow replacement already has played in 7 games.

A good example from a Tigers POV...

- mainly due to not having the money to attract to overseas players the Scots and Irish clubs do -.

Do the Scottish spend that much more on players?
From what I see they tend to spend the money that the welsh spend on bringing players back to region on overseas players.






It's hard to say, but Scotland's 2 clubs have far more 'good' foreigners through the project player system primarily, as well as others brought in just to play for the clubs. Ireland also. The Welsh regions used to be able to do this - just look at the Ospreys circa 2007 - but obviously do not and cannot anymore. So, they don't have the money to attract foreign players - whether those foriengers go on to play for the national teams is neither here not there. I suppose Wales have started doing it by poaching Englishmen like Tompkins, Johnny Williams, and a few others, but they're way behind the curve compared to the other two countries. Can you imagine the Dragons signing Bundee Aki?

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Post by Guest Fri 20 Nov 2020, 7:06 pm

Brendan wrote:If you say one of the reasons for IRFU team dominance is as a tax haven lets hear what benefits you think it gives the teams over others in the league. If there is no benefit then your point was rubbish

It's very easy: the corporations are more profitable by existing in Ireland. Therefore there is a financial sector in Dublin that isn't in Cardiff or even Edinburgh. That collective wealth makes the city and country itself wealthier, with a welathier population to attend games, to send children to fee paying schools, for multinational corporations to contribute to said schools and also the wider community as a form of soft power and a necessary cost of operating in a country that allows them operate in said tax haven.

That is true for any business registered in the repulic of Ireland. The provinces are busiensses. The IRFU is a business. The academy systems are businesses. The media that covers Irish rugby are businesses. The corporate opportunities given to retiring players are businesses. The Saracens style 'benefits' afforded to big name players in Ireland is a product of good relations with said 'businesses'. World Rugby, operating in Dublin, is a business - where the headquarters of the referees is as well. The Pro14 is a business - headquarters in Dublin.

Are you getting the picture? Do you understand how the corporate benefits of operating in Ireland mean they are the senior partner in the Celtic Rugby experiment? Their success is mutual - there is both what one might call 'black and white' inequality in operation when it comes to the financial realities of operating a rugby team/business in ROI v the UK, but there are also what one might call the 'systemic' issues; like, for instance, preferential refereeing due to years of Ireland dominating, of the effects of full stadia, of knowing, deep down, where your bread is buttered. I've made these points many times on another thread and some of them are undeniable, some of them are shakier, but it is undeniable that Ireland is a tax haven and the financial growth of the Irish provinces compared to the decline of the Welsh regions, particularly in the last 15 years, is stark.

Now, if you still think that Jersey 'should' be in the Premiership after all of that, I really, truly cannot help you. Your point was, is, and remains a 'whaboutery' - a logical fallacy.

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Post by Guest Fri 20 Nov 2020, 7:14 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:
rugby racing and beer wrote:
Welly wrote: I feel part of the problem Wales is having is they need to embrace English club rugby at least for the short term.

Costelow is IMO a good example move to Scarlets and so far has had 1 game from the bench which he came on for 10 minutes for a winger.. and this is with Patchell away. From a Welsh POV is that really better than being Ford's back up? Henry who we signed as Costelow replacement already has played in 7 games.

A good example from a Tigers POV...

A lot of Leicester fans seem to think Costelow's something he's not. Lots of disappointment at losing him, clearly, but he is no way better than his current squad position at the Scarlets, which is 4th choice 10 behind Patchell (third choice Welsh 10, soon to be second), a solid Pro14 man in Dan Jones with lots of U20s pedigree, and a fairly exciting 10 with a good skillset in AOB. 12-24 months from now, you'd expect that to change, but if Costelow is Ford's back up at Leicester, that is a sign of how bad things are in the east Midlands, not an issue with Welsh rugby. No wonder Leiceter are circling the drop if they're relying on a raw youth player like Costelow in a position as important as 10 when their first choice player is away so often with England. That's not a proble with Welsh rugby in the slightest tbh. If anything we've been having to play youth players before they're ready, at all the regions, because the quality and depth of player - mainly due to not having the money to attract to overseas players the Scots and Irish clubs do - is simply not available to the regions. And so young players come in to an environment where they're not ready and are exposed/on a hiding to nothing. It's been happening for a few years now and is perhaps part of the reason we're not producing really top quality youngsters any more as well - as good as they are, they're not being allowed to develop like Costelow is, without the pressure of immediate expectation to produce. Costelow is years - and I stress this, years - away from being a reliable club player, let alone an international. He's 19 years old in one of the most important positions on the pitch. Leicester fans need a bit of perspective about him leaving tbh, it seems to have rattled some of you in a way that doesn't really make sense other than frustration at not having great players yourself.

The annoyance was because Tigers clearly had a development plan for him. He wasn't Ford's understudy but that was clearly the plan over the next couple of seasons. He was on loan in the Championship last season and pulled up trees, played a couple of games in the Euro Cup including making a try saver Vs Cardiff and was the go to option for the club in the A league. 

He was tempted back to Wales by promises from the WRU with Pivac calling him to train with the senior squad whilst he was with the under 20s during the 6N.

He may be 19 but sometimes age is just a number. He was a player we were confident could play above his age. He would have been third choice going into this season had he stayed and would have had significant game time after lockdown due to fixture congestion. He would have been behind a pair of internationals he could learn from at Tigers, England's first choice 10 and an experienced Argentinian international. Instead he's sat watching two journeymen 10s and Wales third choice international 10. He has the potential to surpass all three of those players inside the next 24 months. 

The lad is a good attacking 10 and you can see the influence of Ford with him passing close to the gainline at speed, he can kick and pound for pound he's a good defender. He should be building game time off the bench now for a tilt at the starting shirt next season so Scarlets have competition for the shirt which should drive Patchett on as I'm not convinced he's ever hit the heights he's capable of.

Not to get too off topic here (...!) but...but what's the issue?

There's a development plan for him at the Scarlets. You/other Tigers fans seem to be annoyed he hasn't played in the opening, what, 7 or so games we've played since the lockdown? Would he really be playing for Leicester?

I do think there is a talent gap between England and Wales as well. Harsh, but true. I've seen enough rugby at schools and academy levels to see that, for all the talent in England, Wales - particualarly west Wales - produces disproprtionately good footballers. So, you get one over in England and they look the absolute sh1t. Costelow being a great example.

I'm not doubting his quality, he looks a very good player, but I don't see you problem. Genuinely, I don't. Do you think Pivac 'tricked' him? I think it's fair to say that maybe he moved a season too soon given the depth at the Scarlets but perhaps not, Patchell barely plays, and any injury to one of the 10s and he's straight in to the matchday 23. The Scarlets have had major issues with 10 recently, to the point they were training Steff Hughes - a fairly decent centre but not exactly blessed with skill or pace - to play there and they sent him away for 6 months to play 10 in the Welsh Prem. That's how dire things were. Any injury, and Costelow comes in to the matchday squad. That's likely to happen at some point this season.

Completely disagree with your assessment of Dan Jones, AOB, and Patchell. It just sounds like sour grapes. They're all decent players with different skillsets. All good for him to learn from. Again, I'd make the case that you're just not used to seeing footballers in England. That's why Liam Williams goes to Saracens and the English start fawning over him - even telling themselves that Saracens 'made' or improved him.

When we produce good players in Wales, we produce very good players. Costelow's better off in Wales tbh, at least in the medium term. The Scarlets have a good track record of bringing talent through and feeding it in to the Welsh team. A very good track record in fact, better than any other Welsh region. I don't think a single point you've made is anything but disappointment at him leaving your own club. Which is fair enough, it's a fair reaction to have. But I'm not convinced by your arguments he's made some kind of 'mistake' leaving Leicester.

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Post by Guest Fri 20 Nov 2020, 7:30 pm

Recwatcher16 wrote:The lack of vision and support for the Championship from the RFU and PRL is very disappointing.
The passion and desire within the teams in the Championship is there but they need exposure by the media and occasionally play against a higher level in order to create a value that players and fans can believe in. It would then start to create interest and interest creates value.

This constant elitist approach and pulling up the drawbridge is fools gold. Copying the Super rugby/ Pro 12 model is not a justifiable approach for England and the sport of rugby. The Test team will look after itself as players will always play for England and the RFU needs to get their priorities realigned, which perhaps post Covid might change. One can hope.

They're getting what they want: managed decline. Deliberately weakening part of an organisation in order to strengthen another. It's basically modern management 101. A lot of people want to see the Championship, if not die off, then be separate from the Premiership. There's a lot of money and influence being thrown at people in the RFU to ensure that happens. It's all very grubby and I'll reiterate: English rugby should keep their pyramid structure for as long as they possibly can.

Ringfencing is as good as asset stripping. No one actually thinks test match rugby is better now than 15 years ago as a 'product' due to the Home Nations being packed full of foreigners. The England team has slowly turned away from picking residency players but killing what is the highest end of the 'grassroots' of rugby - a place where young men can bounce back down from the Prem without basically playing with fat men or kids - is vital. The Championship still plays a big role in rehabilitating many test players. It's also exactly the kind of thing that makes Kiwi rugby strong: competition. You weed out the wheat from the chaff by having proper competition at each and every stage. Academy systems clearly avoid some of this - and amateur or semi pro rugby combined with academies is a good happy medium. If you kill rugby below the Prem level, if you imitate Wales, then you'll live to regret it. Guaranteed.

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Post by RiscaGame Fri 20 Nov 2020, 11:06 pm

rugby racing and beer wrote:
Welly wrote:
rugby racing and beer wrote:
Welly wrote: I feel part of the problem Wales is having is they need to embrace English club rugby at least for the short term.

Costelow is IMO a good example move to Scarlets and so far has had 1 game from the bench which he came on for 10 minutes for a winger.. and this is with Patchell away. From a Welsh POV is that really better than being Ford's back up? Henry who we signed as Costelow replacement already has played in 7 games.

A good example from a Tigers POV...

- mainly due to not having the money to attract to overseas players the Scots and Irish clubs do -.

Do the Scottish spend that much more on players?
From what I see they tend to spend the money that the welsh spend on bringing players back to region on overseas players.






It's hard to say, but Scotland's 2 clubs have far more 'good' foreigners through the project player system primarily, as well as others brought in just to play for the clubs. Ireland also. The Welsh regions used to be able to do this - just look at the Ospreys circa 2007 - but obviously do not and cannot anymore. So, they don't have the money to attract foreign players - whether those foriengers go on to play for the national teams is neither here not there. I suppose Wales have started doing it by poaching Englishmen like Tompkins, Johnny Williams, and a few others, but they're way behind the curve compared to the other two countries. Can you imagine the Dragons signing Bundee Aki?

It’s hard to say, as journalists can’t pin down Scottish budgets. So you can see why there could be calls for more transparency in budgets. As I’ve said, Wales’ pro teams were hamstrung by Roger preferring paying off stadium debt sooner. So even if it is true that budgets are now similar, when you’ve been as hamstrung as the Welsh pro teams were, you can’t logically expect them to be better just because they’re now on equal funding. A gap doesn’t just close from that. Then look at the loans the Irish and Welsh unions have arranged. One has looked after their teams, the other hasn’t. Again, there seems to be little noise from Scotland on that, but hopefully they’ve managed to do better than the WRU.

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Post by Guest Mon 30 Nov 2020, 6:55 pm

Sam Costelow got game time off the bench v Ulster btw for those bemoaning his development.

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