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Pro 16 needs to pull the plug on Premier Sports

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Post by bsando Thu 11 Mar 2021, 6:20 pm

First topic message reminder :

Pro 16 needs to pull the plug on Premier Sports - Page 10 Error_10

If the Pro 16 wants to compete with the likes of the other top leagues in Europe and further abroad, they need to part ways with Premier Sports. The current Premier Sports contract with the Pro 14 finishes at the end of this season it still remains to be seen if this will be renewed or another broadcaster will takeover the rights.

Many fans have voiced their dislike of the online platform which after several seasons appears to be stable via Sky or Virgin sports packages but less so as an outright online viewing package. Coupled with annoying multiple login requirements to swap from devices and random lost connection error codes before, during and even when trying to watch on demand matches, it would be a real shame to see the new Pro 16 format begin in this manner.

Do you feel the upcoming Pro 16 competition would be a good addition to BT Sports or Sky Sports or even one of the streaming platforms like Amazon Prime?

Would it be better for a return to the domestic networks in a similar format as before?

Could CVC play a part in this decision with their recent investment in the Pro 14 league and 6N?

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Post by LordDowlais Tue 18 May 2021, 4:12 pm

PhilBB wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
PhilBB wrote:S4C were still broadcasting, week in week out.

They actually were not.


The PrO'14 (dated here 24th July, 2018) suggests otherwise? https://www.pro14.rugby/latest/news/s4c-will-continue-to-show-free-to-air-guinness-pro14-games-until-2021


Yes, but not every week. OK

And not all live.

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Post by PhilBB Tue 18 May 2021, 4:13 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
I don't know. Perhaps they thought it was not worth it. I don't know.

What I am saying is, that if it never went to PS in the first place, I reckon that better broadcasters would be sniffing around now. I just think it was a bit of short term gain by the league and they just took the money, it was a bit of a money grab, they did not consider the long term damage.

But the 'money' is relatively very little. And the 'better broadcasters' weren't interested.

But at least you recognise that you "don't know". What's clear is that there's little logic to your claims once they are challenged.
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Post by PhilBB Tue 18 May 2021, 4:14 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
PhilBB wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
PhilBB wrote:S4C were still broadcasting, week in week out.

They actually were not.


The PrO'14 (dated here 24th July, 2018) suggests otherwise? https://www.pro14.rugby/latest/news/s4c-will-continue-to-show-free-to-air-guinness-pro14-games-until-2021


Yes, but not every week. OK

And not all live.

17 live games. In a competition with how many rounds?
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Post by RiscaGame Tue 18 May 2021, 4:14 pm

LordDowlais wrote:

Numbers were down before the pandemic. OK

There was only one Judgement Day at the PS, after the Pro went to Premier.

So if you are hanging your hat on decreasing numbers before the pandemic, you should accept that the storm etc had an impact and stop using it as justification to "prove" a decrease in interest.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Tue 18 May 2021, 4:16 pm

PhilBB wrote:
LeinsterFan4life wrote:
PhilBB wrote:
LeinsterFan4life wrote:
How were the previous rights not sold properly if the league is garbage in your opinion? This is comical.

Because getting just €900k out of TG4 and £150k out of BBC Alba is clearly an indication of not doing things properly, wouldn't you say? Especially when Sky pumped in £5m and BBC Wales £4.5m, for reference.

And please do answer the points about CVC
Getting 900k out of TG4 is an achievement to be honest. Laugh  You have to agree then surely the Premier and Eir deal was very good. Super leagues Sky deal is worth 25 million for instance.

Yes, Super League (a minority sport that interests just about two counties England) is a more valuable TV contract that the premier Rugby Union offering of three nations.

And you think the Premier deal 'was very good'?

Ok. That must mean that you value the league even more lowly than I do.
Super leagues and the pro 14s average attendances are very similar. In fact super league is probably better attended as the likes of Munster count season ticket holders who don't show up in their stats.

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Post by PhilBB Tue 18 May 2021, 4:18 pm

LeinsterFan4life wrote:
Super leagues and the pro 14s average attendances are very similar. In fact super league is probably better attended as the likes of Munster count season ticket holders who don't show up in their stats.

Right, but why are you mentioning that?

TV broadcasters value the competition by how many subscribers / viewers it will bring for them, not by how many turn up in the ground.

Run and wriggle is a minority sport, played basically in two counties in England, yet still it generates a better deal than Union can in Ireland, Scotland and Wales (whilst also being broadcast in England).

The value of the Super League deal does nothing but show how crap is the PrO'Drivel
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Post by PhilBB Tue 18 May 2021, 4:19 pm

RiscaGame wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:

Numbers were down before the pandemic. OK

There was only one Judgement Day at the PS, after the Pro went to Premier.

So if you are hanging your hat on decreasing numbers before the pandemic, you should accept that the storm etc had an impact and stop using it as justification to "prove" a decrease in interest.

Well, in fairness, that's the only one of his claims that can't be undone by facts.
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Post by LordDowlais Tue 18 May 2021, 4:20 pm

PhilBB wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
I don't know. Perhaps they thought it was not worth it. I don't know.

What I am saying is, that if it never went to PS in the first place, I reckon that better broadcasters would be sniffing around now. I just think it was a bit of short term gain by the league and they just took the money, it was a bit of a money grab, they did not consider the long term damage.

But the 'money' is relatively very little. And the 'better broadcasters' weren't interested.

But at least you recognise that you "don't know". What's clear is that there's little logic to your claims once they are challenged.

What are you on about Phil ?

It is not a competition on here, you do not have to win the forum, I am just speaking about my opinions, this is what places like this are for. I do not think places like this are for you, such is your constant craving to always be right, when in retrospect, none of us are as we do not know the ins and outs of anything that is to do with TV deals.

I have said I think the decision to go to PS was a bad idea, and I have given my reasons why I think that. If you disagree then fine, I really do not care, your sense of entitlement is astounding. Rolling Eyes

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Tue 18 May 2021, 4:22 pm

PhilBB wrote:
LeinsterFan4life wrote:
Super leagues and the pro 14s average attendances are very similar. In fact super league is probably better attended as the likes of Munster count season ticket holders who don't show up in their stats.

Right, but why are you mentioning that?

TV broadcasters value the competition by how many subscribers / viewers it will bring for them, not by how many turn up in the ground.

Run and wriggle is a minority sport, played basically in two counties in England, yet still it generates a better deal than Union can in Ireland, Scotland and Wales (whilst also being broadcast in England).

The value of the Super League deal does nothing but show how crap is the PrO'Drivel
Attendances are a good guide to how popular and viewed the leagues are. Of course they can generate a better tv deal, once again their fans actually go out and support their teams unlike here.

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Post by LordDowlais Tue 18 May 2021, 4:24 pm

RiscaGame wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:

Numbers were down before the pandemic. OK

There was only one Judgement Day at the PS, after the Pro went to Premier.

So if you are hanging your hat on decreasing numbers before the pandemic, you should accept that the storm etc had an impact and stop using it as justification to "prove" a decrease in interest.

Risca, please just remember, I said it was a coincidence, I didn't say it was fact. So please can we just debate, without this "prove" nonsense, as I am not trying to "prove" anything. OK

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Post by PhilBB Tue 18 May 2021, 4:25 pm

LordDowlais wrote:

What are you on about Phil ?

It is not a competition on here, you do not have to win the forum, I am just speaking about my opinions, this is what places like this are for. I do not think places like this are for you, such is your constant craving to always be right, when in retrospect, none of us are as we do not know the ins and outs of anything that is to do with TV deals.

I have said I think the decision to go to PS was a bad idea, and I have given my reasons why I think that. If you disagree then fine, I really do not care, your sense of entitlement is astounding. Rolling Eyes

Odd response.

All I've done is question your opinion and shone the gaping holes in it. I'm not sure what that has to do with "winning the forum", sorry, or about a "sense of entitlement".

I disagree with your opinion, I showed why (with facts) why I disagreed with your opinion, I highlighted when you had written things that were factually untrue. That's the nature of a discussion. You have your opinions, I challenge them (as I disagree with them) and I show how flimsy or downright false is the basis for your opinion.

A sensible man would admit when he made mistakes, a sensible man would note that he has next to no basis for his previous opinion now that he has been shown the evidence that challenges it. Instead, you chose to write the above rather than just write "yeah, I got that wrong".

That impacts only on you, not me.
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Post by LordDowlais Tue 18 May 2021, 4:28 pm

OK phil. OK

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Post by PhilBB Tue 18 May 2021, 4:29 pm

LeinsterFan4life wrote:
Attendances are a good guide to how popular and viewed the leagues are. Of course they can generate a better tv deal, once again their fans actually go out and support their teams unlike here.

I don't know why you've written "unlike here", sorry, but I'd be pretty careful being a Leinster fan whilst criticising other clubs for poor attendances (if that's what you're doing).

It's odd that you claim anything about attendances when it comes to a TV deal. Sky want people watching on TV, not at the ground

https://www.totalrl.com/up-or-down-an-in-depth-club-by-club-look-at-attendances-over-the-past-decade/

"Attendances are in decline in Super League, with 2019’s average of 8,408 making it the fourth consecutive season in which crowd totals have gone down." The figures don't seem to back up your claim, either.

8,408 in a league with lots of away fans in attendance means the core market is tiny (as we know already, as it appeals mainly in only two counties in England)
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Post by LordDowlais Tue 18 May 2021, 4:30 pm

PS, I am still more than happy that BBC Wales are now showing games again next season. OK

I do not have provide any facts for why I'm happy do I ? Very Happy

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Post by PhilBB Tue 18 May 2021, 4:30 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
RiscaGame wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:

Numbers were down before the pandemic. OK

There was only one Judgement Day at the PS, after the Pro went to Premier.

So if you are hanging your hat on decreasing numbers before the pandemic, you should accept that the storm etc had an impact and stop using it as justification to "prove" a decrease in interest.

Risca, please just remember, I said it was a coincidence, I didn't say it was fact. So please can we just debate, without this "prove" nonsense, as I am not trying to "prove" anything. OK

So its a coincidence. Fair play. It's just that you have spent some time this afternoon linking it to a change of broadcaster, whilst ignoring that (on the whole) crowds went up in Wales.
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Post by LordDowlais Tue 18 May 2021, 4:33 pm

PhilBB wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
PhilBB wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
PhilBB wrote:S4C were still broadcasting, week in week out.

They actually were not.


The PrO'14 (dated here 24th July, 2018) suggests otherwise? https://www.pro14.rugby/latest/news/s4c-will-continue-to-show-free-to-air-guinness-pro14-games-until-2021


Yes, but not every week. OK

And not all live.

17 live games. In a competition with how many rounds?

But they havent.

That link can say what it likes, they have never adhered to it.

How many live games have been shown on S4C over the past few weeks ? Not many, and there has been no live games from the Rainbow cup either. OK

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 18 May 2021, 4:34 pm

To bring it full circle no you don't have to provide facts as to why you're happy LD. You've given your opinion that with more casual viewers watching a product which in your opinion isn't very good it will increase interest in the league.

You've also said its just coincidence that judgement day attendances are down while saying you also reckon it was because people were just not that bothered anymore because they were not watching the regions week in week out.

Youve said why its good in your opinion but don't be surprised it leaves people scratching their heads!

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Post by PhilBB Tue 18 May 2021, 4:34 pm

LordDowlais wrote:PS, I am still more than happy that BBC Wales are now showing games again next season. OK

I do not have provide any facts for why I'm happy do I ? Very Happy

Sure, but a little 'sorry, all, I was mistaken in thinking crowds fell at Judgement Day for two years running under Premier Sports' wouldn't go amiss, would it?
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Post by PhilBB Tue 18 May 2021, 4:35 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
PhilBB wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
PhilBB wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
PhilBB wrote:S4C were still broadcasting, week in week out.

They actually were not.


The PrO'14 (dated here 24th July, 2018) suggests otherwise? https://www.pro14.rugby/latest/news/s4c-will-continue-to-show-free-to-air-guinness-pro14-games-until-2021


Yes, but not every week. OK

And not all live.

17 live games. In a competition with how many rounds?

But they havent.

That link can say what it likes, they have never adhered to it.

How many live games have been shown on S4C over the past few weeks ? Not many, and there has been no live games from the Rainbow cup either. OK

Um, wasn't the contest the seasons that we were discussing? Hence I put the date of the article on there?

I don't know how many games have been shown in S4C this season, sorry. I have Premier Sports....
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Post by LordDowlais Tue 18 May 2021, 4:37 pm

PhilBB wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
PhilBB wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
PhilBB wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
PhilBB wrote:S4C were still broadcasting, week in week out.

They actually were not.


The PrO'14 (dated here 24th July, 2018) suggests otherwise? https://www.pro14.rugby/latest/news/s4c-will-continue-to-show-free-to-air-guinness-pro14-games-until-2021


Yes, but not every week. OK

And not all live.

17 live games. In a competition with how many rounds?

But they havent.

That link can say what it likes, they have never adhered to it.

How many live games have been shown on S4C over the past few weeks ? Not many, and there has been no live games from the Rainbow cup either. OK

Um, wasn't the contest the seasons that we were discussing? Hence I put the date of the article on there?

I don't know how many games have been shown in S4C this season, sorry. I have Premier Sports....

Well take your own advice and say "sorry I got that one wrong" Very Happy

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Post by PhilBB Tue 18 May 2021, 4:40 pm

LordDowlais wrote:

Well take your own advice and say "sorry I got that one wrong" Very Happy

I will, once the evidence has been provided. Got it?
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Post by LordDowlais Tue 18 May 2021, 4:40 pm

Anyway, time for me to tap out on this one, as I do not want to get in trouble for bickering.

So I respect all your point of views, risca, 7.5 and phil, and I will leave it there to debate another day.

Good night all and hopefully good riddance Premier Sports.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 18 May 2021, 4:42 pm

Lol. No one gets in trouble for expressing views LD. You haven't answered the contradictions, so look forward to next time.

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Post by Brendan Tue 18 May 2021, 4:44 pm

It seems like this is being done to satisfy the Welsh teams.  Doesn't do anything for the league that S4C wasn't doing.  Don't see BBC Ulster or Alba getting the same deal which tells you everything.

I think we should remember the discussion over the last page as contributors are now going to be positive on the league and believe this will change things in Wales.  I don't believe it will make a difference. But look forward to their new found positivity even though the teams and league hasn't changed since it was last on the BBC Wales.

Ospreys attendance will be up because they seem to be getting their stuff together.  I expect Dragons to see a bump too with their improvement.

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Post by PhilBB Tue 18 May 2021, 4:47 pm

Brendan wrote: Don't see BBC Ulster or Alba getting the same deal which tells you everything.

What does it tell us?
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Post by LeinsterFan4life Tue 18 May 2021, 5:15 pm

PhilBB wrote:
LeinsterFan4life wrote:
Attendances are a good guide to how popular and viewed the leagues are. Of course they can generate a better tv deal, once again their fans actually go out and support their teams unlike here.

I don't know why you've written "unlike here", sorry, but I'd be pretty careful being a Leinster fan whilst criticising other clubs for poor attendances (if that's what you're doing).

It's odd that you claim anything about attendances when it comes to a TV deal. Sky want people watching on TV, not at the ground

https://www.totalrl.com/up-or-down-an-in-depth-club-by-club-look-at-attendances-over-the-past-decade/

"Attendances are in decline in Super League, with 2019’s average of 8,408 making it the fourth consecutive season in which crowd totals have gone down." The figures don't seem to back up your claim, either.

8,408 in a league with lots of away fans in attendance means the core market is tiny (as we know already, as it appeals mainly in only two counties in England)
Leinster's attandances should be much better yes. Once again attendances are an indicator to the popularity of the league, the leagues with the biggest attendances also have the biggest tv deals, who'd have known? Not sure what point your trying to prove with your source, the average attendance is still similar to the pro 14.

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Post by y ddraig goch Tue 18 May 2021, 7:32 pm

Pot Hale wrote:
y ddraig goch wrote:
Pot Hale wrote:
y ddraig goch wrote:Also am I right in thinking that RTE and TG4 are Irish state broadcasters? Someone mentioned earlier that they have bid for the rights to the competition. Is this correct? Irish state broadcasting has basically outbid the British state broadcaster through the backdoor (i.e. via Eir Sports and Premier Sports, reducing viewership in the UK to discincentivise the BBC or a UK-based private broadcaster like Sky competing with them) despite the fact that the BBC represents 6.5 teams in the competition and the ROI represents 3.5 teams?

TG4 have broadcast Rugby Beo almost since the start of the Celtic League.   They stayed with it when RTE stepped out of bidding for PRO12 some years ago (2010-2014)  - they didn't have the funding at that point.   TG4 is a niche broadcaster with a fraction of the budget that SC4, let alone, BBC would have.   They have bid for the Irish rights for the competition - that is their broadcasting territory - in Ireland only, not Northern Ireland.   RTE is also stepping in to bid for the Irish rights because Eir Sport have announced that they are not going to be bidding for sports rights for the foreseeable future.   That's Ireland.

Premier Sports operates in the UK only - that is its licencsed territory and would compete against Sky/BT/BBC/ITV, etc for sports rights - its territory covers all of UK or its constituent regional markets.  

The BBC are bidding for some of the sports rights for the UK - specifically in Wales, Scotland and NI for some of the FTA matches.   Potentially, PS could bid for the primary rights and use the BBC as a production partner, or else use another company such as Sunset + Vine.   It could also come to an arrangement with RTE who would produce the games in Ireland and send feed to Premier for UK audience.  (In turn, RTE would use outside broadcasting companies such as OBServe to actually cover the games technically.).  

The decisions by PRO14 for broadcasting deals are made by a team within the executive comprising people from England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, South Africa and Italy.    In reality, the populations and ultimately, price/value of rights are greater in Sco/Wal/NI than they are in Ireland - always have been.

For the record the make-up of PRO14 Rugby company reads something like this in terms of senior executive people:

Chair - Dominic McKay - who took over from Welsh chair, and is now heading to Celtic IIRC - Scotland
CEO - Martin Anayi - born in UK, and grew up/played in Wales IIRC - England
Tournament Director - David Jordan - Scotland
Commercial Director - Vacant
Finance Executive - Alba Sarrias - Italy
Press Sec, Italy - Federica GAGGIATO - Italy
High Performance Manager - Greg Garner - England
Head of Operations - Charl Crous - South Africa
Marketing Director - Tom Lister - England
Head of Marketing - Marc Fernadez - England
Head of Broadcast & Communications/PR - Adam Redmond - Ireland
Head of Insight - Rob Balmer - England
Events & Commercial Operations Manager - Laura Ruhan - England
Digital Channels Manager - Mathew Thoma - England

The Board of PRO14 Rugby has equal representation from all stakeholders involved - WRU/ProRugby Wales, SRU, IRFU, FIR, SARU with SRU currently in the chair.

That's interesting about TG4. So a fringe broadcasting company has managed to gain the rights to broadcasting in the ROI. Does this mean Eir Sports and Premier Sports overpaid?

Again, I'd have to ask 'why'? Was it an ambitious attempt to make a name in the UK like Setanta Sports that backfired because the Pro14 isn't as popular in GB as it is in Ireland? They must have known what they were bidding for? Which again begs the question: how did this happen? How have the broadcasting rights transferred from British state television to Irish state television, with Eir and Premier Sports being the fall guy?

" In reality, the populations and ultimately, price/value of rights are greater in Sco/Wal/NI than they are in Ireland - always have been."

It would be interesting to see the financial reality of this. You'd assume it would be bigger in the UK than ROI but just taking a look at the views on the Pro14's YouTube highlights and it's clear that the Irish consistently receive more hits than any other country.


TG4 is an Irish-language television station.  It has been involved in Celtic/PRO Rugby almost from the beginning and shared some matches with RTE as the primary broadcaster in Ireland.   When RTE stepped out because Sky were bidding for a multi-territory deal, TG4 put in a bid to show some matches on FTA same as S4C did.   When Eir Sport bid for the Irish rights instead of Sky, TG4 negotiated a live rights package for some of the Irish home games and delayed TX on others.  

Your second para doesn't make sense to me.  The markets/broadcasting territories are different between UK and Ireland.  The broadcasting rights for the UK territory have not transferred from BBC to RTE.  Don't know what the "fall guy" reference is for.   Premier Sports put in all-UK bid and offered a greater web platform presence than the BBC did with its bid only for Wal/Sco/NI.   RTE will possibly bid for the primary rights for Ireland only - not Wal/Sco/NI.

The potential TV viewing/net platform populations in Wales+Scotland+Northern Ireland+England for expats would be greater than the potential viewing pop in Ireland.   Advertisers would pay more.   Multinational sponsors with big brand names such as Guinness, Specsavers, etc just see it as one market opportunity.

All the unions and region club owners welcomed the increased TV deal because it increased their income/playing budgets.  

Sky, if they wanted to, could put in a multi-territory bid because they have licenses in all UK & Ireland territories.   But, it would appear they are not, or are not willing to bid as high as other alternatives.  

So does TG4 have a better value deal (money per matches) post-Eir Sports? Eir Sports can't have anticipated covid but it must have been a calculated risk to capture more Irish subscribers, even if meant disenfranchising the British fans by having Premier Sports (based in Ireland) broadcast in the UK.

It doesn't seem nefarious on TG4's part but it does seem suspicious that an Irish broadcaster outbid all the UK deals, including the state funded BBC, to end up 3 years later with Irish state broadcasting (RTE) regaining its broadcasting rights of what is now a less valuable competition in the UK that attracts less competition (Sky not interested, BBC don't see the same value in it they used to).

My point is quite simple really. Private Irish broadcasting companies (Eir and Premier) outbid their competition, including the BBC, and now Eir can no longer continue broadcasting, the likes of Sky have no doubt looked at viewing figures and subscriptions both before and after the two private Irish broadcasters took over and have decided it isn't worth it. There are lots of factors to consider, like covid and so on, but it either seems like desperately poor planning by the Pro14 to go for a quicker and slightly bigger buck from the inferior Irish broadcasters when they must have known what the consequence would be in the UK. It's either poor planning, something exemplified by the ridiculous decision to cut short the Pro14 season for another money-centric yet flawed plan, or it suggests there's some co-ordination to reach the point where the BBC doesn't consider the Pro14 worth the bid despite representing 6.5 of the teams in the competitios, while RTE does despite representing 3.5. I think the first option is far more likely than the latter which is getting in to the realm of conspiracy (though that doesn't mean there's no truth to it even if impossible to prove) but even if that is the case it's still a dreadful indictment of the Pro14 as a business and the obvious priorities of its leadership in spite of its 'national diversity'.

The clubs are going to encourage every penny that's understandable. The Pro14 is responsible for the competition's survival and development and the last year has shown that money can be found from somewhere if/when times are desperate (by putting the load on future shoulders but that's another matter). The argument for taking the most money irrespective of any other consideration just doesn't hold anymore (if it ever did). The integrity and growth of the competition is damaged by moving it to a fringe broadcaster, while the online/social media content (key for growing the game to new, young fans) is absolutely diabolical and adds to the mockery of the league. Accepting Premier Sports as the primary UK broadcaster has disenfranchised the so called 'legacy fans' in the UK who will likely pay one or both of BT or Sky for their telecommunications and TV package but won't pay extra just to watch a rugby competition that gets less and less serious by the season. At the same time they are doing nothing to grow the sport and have produced inferior online content to try to 'encourage' people to get behind the paywall to see anything resembling decent highlights.

It's a welcome move if the BBC is going to be broadcasting live games again but it all feels a little bit too late. The Pro14 has been on the slippery slope since 2013 and though I don't think changing broadcaster is going to save it I would still like to see a less financially desperate decision making process at every level of the Pro14 going forward. That doesn't seem likely though so it's just a case of holding on for as long as it lasts.

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Post by y ddraig goch Tue 18 May 2021, 7:40 pm

As for BOD's comments there's no club more responsible for the decline in the Pro14 as a serious competition than Leinster. It's not because they play their seconds and thirds although that doesn't help. It's the fact they have monopolised the league and there has been no serious attempt to even address the problems that come from that. Leinster operate in a different world to the rest of the comp and the IRFU operates on different terms to the UK unions. If you weren't complaining when Leinster were doing their Dublin Saracens act then you have no room to complain now it might finally occur to Leinster fans that this level of dominance is unhealthy for the long term health of the competition.

I think there's a more obvious answer though. Ireland have prioritised the health of their provincial game in a way that only NZ has in tier 1 rugby. Wales and to a lesser extent Scotland have prioritised their national teams, knowing that is where they make their money and that matters more than any other level for sustainability and growth. This is reflected in how the teams perform at club and national level. The Irish dominate the Pro14 and use that dominance or a strong foothold in European competition. They stop players moving abroad to keep the provincial game strong even if it hurts their long term development as players as the Pro14 is second rate compared to England or France. Apart from Schmidt they also try to keep coaching in house as well and Schmidt did come through the Irish provincial set up unlike Gatland or Cotter. Ireland don't manage to carry that dominance over the Welsh, Scottish, and most English and French teams to the national stage. They still haven't reached a RWC semi final which is a sign of how they probably underperform slightly at national level for the sake of overperforming at provincial level.

The Welsh have basically sacked off the Pro14 since the Ospreys couldn't compete financially anymore. They use it as a way to manage workloads and prepare for the international stage which worked well under Gatland and looks like Pivac is capable of doing the same. The Scots are still catching up as they're about a decade behind the other two unions with professional modernisation and at the moment they are importing lots of talent in to both the clubs and national team. Now that they've lost their stars from Glasgow there's no exceptional Scottish club and the rankings by nation this season in the Pro14 were clear: 1. Ireland 2. Wales 3. Scotland.

This season was an anomaly because rugby desperately needed money and the only sensible way of doing that is through international competition (including selling the ANC to Amazon). Ireland are an anomaly in that they follow the NZ model without having NZ's quality or strength so they've clearly struggled with so much international rugby and the disruption to their usual preparation for Europe by managing workloads in the Pro14. Blaming Leinster's defeat on the Pro14 is embarrassing. It completely misses the point that the league has been fundamentally broken as a legitimate competition for a long time. It also ignores the fact that Ireland chose to imitate NZ to keep full crowds and a strong domestic game which has backfired this year with so little club rugby and no fans to pay on matchday. Ireland should accept that their decision to turn the Pro14 in to what it is, as well as maintain their home players only rule, means that they win some and they lose some. This year that meant losing more often than not because if Ireland hadn't beaten England, or the result had been reversed, Farrell would be under huge pressure.

If BOD wants to have a serious discussion about making the Pro14 better there's an interesting discussion to be had there but it starts with Leinster and the IRFU agreeing to a more level playing field which they're not going to do (the South African teams aren't going to work) as they want to chase European Cups.

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Post by carpet baboon Wed 19 May 2021, 8:07 am

Glad some things never change.

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Post by Old Man Wed 19 May 2021, 8:30 am

(the South African teams aren't going to work)

Unclear what you mean?

Not going to work in what sense?

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Post by PhilBB Wed 19 May 2021, 11:03 am

LeinsterFan4life wrote:
Leinster's attandances should be much better yes. Once again attendances are an indicator to the popularity of the league, the leagues with the biggest attendances also have the biggest tv deals, who'd have known? Not sure what point your trying to prove with your source, the average attendance is still similar to the pro 14.

Why did you write "once again" when the opposite to your claim has been proven?

And why are you unsure of the obvious point that a minority sport played in two counties has a better TV deal than the PrO'Shambles manages?
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Post by PhilBB Wed 19 May 2021, 11:04 am

y ddraig goch wrote:

The Welsh have basically sacked off the Pro14 since the Ospreys couldn't compete financially anymore. They use it as a way to manage workloads and prepare for the international stage which worked well under Gatland and looks like Pivac is capable of doing the same.

Other than the Scarlets winning it post-Ospreys.

The financial point is, of course, key.
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Post by LeinsterFan4life Wed 19 May 2021, 3:57 pm

PhilBB wrote:
LeinsterFan4life wrote:
Leinster's attandances should be much better yes. Once again attendances are an indicator to the popularity of the league, the leagues with the biggest attendances also have the biggest tv deals, who'd have known? Not sure what point your trying to prove with your source, the average attendance is still similar to the pro 14.

Why did you write "once again" when the opposite to your claim has been proven?

And why are you unsure of the obvious point that a minority sport played in two counties has a better TV deal than the PrO'Shambles manages?
Huh?

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Post by Pot Hale Wed 19 May 2021, 9:19 pm

This thread is depressing.
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Post by PhilBB Thu 20 May 2021, 9:10 am

Pot Hale wrote:This thread is depressing.  

As depressing as the broadcast contract falling apart for this dreadful competition?
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Post by thebandwagonsociety Thu 20 May 2021, 1:33 pm

Pot Hale wrote:This thread is depressing.  

Agreed.
In the long term I wonder if there is any viable competition that can include Irish and Welsh sides?

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Post by Old Man Thu 20 May 2021, 1:42 pm

Listening to you lot is making me think perhaps SA should stay away from the Pro14

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Post by LordDowlais Thu 20 May 2021, 2:09 pm

The thing is, we are not allowed to criticise it on here, if we do then woe betide you. Rolling Eyes

I do not hate the league, I think it has the foundations to be a great league, but if myself, or any other Welsh members on here ever raise concerns, or point out things then we get all the diatribe from the sympathisers.

The red dragon summed it up perfectly, yet Pot Hale will come out with comments like he has above.

Not one person on here has answered what the red dragon has brought up. He is right, selling the rights to Premier Sports has massively devalued the league as a product, they should never have sold it to that broadcaster.

It's not depressing to talk about the league's negative points, what is depressing is people telling us we are talking rubbish, we are all tin hatted conspiracy theorists, or that we are just moaning.

The way the league is now, it is set up to favour the Irish provinces and fans, nothing has ever changed for them since the outset, they have never had to make sacrifices, and they have had 4 teams bankrolled by their union. It suits them, so why would they see the negatives ? They wouldn't. Munster and Connacht would be nowhere near where they are now with the IRFU backing them.

In Munsters case, I wonder if they would still exist without the IRFU backing ?

All but two finals held in Ireland. There have been 12 finals. Irish broadcasters, Irish sponsors, the only tier one league in the 6N that does not have a salary cap to make it more competitive, crap refs, I could go on.

I live in hope that the inclusion of the South African sides will change the status quo, I hope we get more neutral refs with the introduction of South African referees, I hope the appeal to more mainstream broadcasters grows with the introduction of the South African sides. I live in hope that now BBC Wales will be showing games again it will lift the profile of the league in my country.

All in All I just live in hope for the Pro 16. It has massive potential. It just needs to be done better.


Last edited by RiscaGame on Thu 20 May 2021, 2:13 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Stop writing nonsense about getting red penned etc. You don’t get moderated for having an opinion!!!)

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Post by neilthom7 Thu 20 May 2021, 5:36 pm

The league isn't perfect, no league is. Everyone's perspective on the league will be different. Some people will always love it, others always hate it, some will change based on how their team is doing.

In reality how good you think the league is will mostly depend on what you choose to use as a measure since different people will use different measurements.

On a few of the points above

The refs could definitely be better, not just more country neutral refs but a better standard. The South African refs will help with that a bit but also Scotland and Italy will need to produce more refs too. It wouldn't do any harm for the league to try and set up referee training as well to get the quality of officials more consistent.

The finals I reckon should be on some sort of rotation basis between the 5 countries now involved

The fact that the Irish teams are backed by the IRFU (which owns them btw so you are essentially criticising owners for giving money to their teams) seems to cause a commotion and quite frankly I don't see why. There are only 4 Irish provinces, in order for them to produce the required number of players to make the national team in any way successful they are all needed and so the IRFU helps fund them. IRFU does not have to run their teams in the exact way you want, there's nothing stopping the Welsh, Scottish etc running their teams the same way. Also the Irish teams can only sign a limited number of non irish players so it's not like they are out here throwing unlimited money at foreign players.

In terms of sponsors being Irish and Irish broadcasters surely the league just accepts the best offers for sponsorship/broadcast deals? Am i wrong about that? If I am right then are you saying you would like the league to accept less money just to have broadcasters/sponsors from other nations?

Broadcasters i could maybe understand accepting an offer of slightly less if you thought it would give more people a chance to watch and if you thought that would definitely happen and help for future. Although that is not easy to decide.

However sponsors, they affect basically nothing other than the coffers of the league and the ads you see so surely you take the highest offer? Assuming of course the sponsor isn't some sort of awful company that would do harm to be associated with.


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Post by RiscaGame Thu 20 May 2021, 6:22 pm

I’ll be honest, I don’t know what the SA refs are like, but it’ll be good if we did improve the pool of referees. I can only remember seeing Stuart Berry and not being a fan of his, but hopefully they can boost the standards. I would love more neutral officials, but it still doesn’t alter the fact that there are a lot of poor officials involved in the league. You still get things like Italian refs perceived as homers etc.

Have to wonder what Greg Garner does really. He seems to have a pretty easy gig, where officiating is poor but seemingly never held to account or punished by being removed from games. I’ve never seen Garner criticised (from memory), just always mentioned as a coach having to contact him.

I do believe that there should be a salary cap of sorts, but suspect it would be worked around anyway. It’s pointless there being a gap already and from a Welsh POV always playing catch up (especially when the WRU don’t pay the pro teams what they should). Maybe the proposal of there being less games around international games may help, but I will believe that when I see it too.

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Post by neilthom7 Thu 20 May 2021, 6:52 pm

RiscaGame wrote:I’ll be honest, I don’t know what the SA refs are like, but it’ll be good if we did improve the pool of referees. I can only remember seeing Stuart Berry and not being a fan of his, but hopefully they can boost the standards. I would love more neutral officials, but it still doesn’t alter the fact that there are a lot of poor officials involved in the league. You still get things like Italian refs perceived as homers etc.

Have to wonder what Greg Garner does really. He seems to have a pretty easy gig, where officiating is poor but seemingly never held to account or punished by being removed from games. I’ve never seen Garner criticised (from memory), just always mentioned as a coach having to contact him.

I do believe that there should be a salary cap of sorts, but suspect it would be worked around anyway. It’s pointless there being a gap already and from a Welsh POV always playing catch up (especially when the WRU don’t pay the pro teams what they should). Maybe the proposal of there being less games around international games may help, but I will believe that when I see it too.

I've only just recently learned that he even had a job, i think a lot of people probably don't even know about him. The standard of officiating is not good though and if it is his job to fix it then he really needs to be sacked. Maybe we should be worrying less about bringing in new rules and more about making the referees capable of enforcing the ones already there properly. I will say it is not an easy job, the rules of rugby are no simple thing and there can be a great deal for a referee to focus on in various situations so I do have sympathy but I don't think this is the best we can do

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Post by neilthom7 Thu 20 May 2021, 7:08 pm

A salary cap is something that could potentially work but it would have to be really well thought through and I don't know if we can say that is a strong point of the Pro 16.

Too high and nothing really changes, too low and you don't make a better league you just make a few teams worse so you get a more competitive set of rugby from which the standard is much lower.

It needs to be at the crossover point where it makes the league more competitive but forces others to up their games at the same time.

We cannot just sit here and try to make rules etc to control Leinster who have been dominant, we also need to make the other teams better, force them to improve otherwise you are making the league worse rather than better.

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Post by RiscaGame Thu 20 May 2021, 7:48 pm

The trouble is obviously, is that teams won’t sign up to a cap, because it’ll affect them against some European teams.

It’s a fair point on officiating being difficult, especially now in the Rainbow Cup when they have extra things to worry about. But I also think there have been a few things that a Head of Referees should be on top of. I didn’t know his name/role until Bernard Jackman started complaining about officials in Dragons games mind Very Happy

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Post by neilthom7 Thu 20 May 2021, 8:07 pm

RiscaGame wrote:The trouble is obviously, is that teams won’t sign up to a cap, because it’ll affect them against some European teams.

It’s a fair point on officiating being difficult, especially now in the Rainbow Cup when they have extra things to worry about. But I also think there have been a few things that a Head of Referees should be on top of. I didn’t know his name/role until Bernard Jackman started complaining about officials in Dragons games mind Very Happy

Very true also you would be hard pressed to get the IRFU to agree to it since they want to keep their players in Ireland, don't know how the other unions would feel about a salary cap.


Yeah agreed there is a lot a head of officiating should/could be doing and it kind of doesn't seem like he is doing any of it, I notice JP Doyle went to USA maybe they could have got him on board, as a current ref from another major league he surely would have had some ideas that could have helped

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Post by Old Man Thu 20 May 2021, 8:20 pm

From a South African perspective.

Stuart Berry is one of the worst, number of years ago he was dropped from refereeing Super Rugby as his standard was very poor and he was heavily criticised.

I don’t think SA referees are necessarily better, but there are a handful that are decent.

It seems to me that the Pro14 isn’t competitive enough. That is something every Union’s Provinces/Clubs willhave to sort for themselves.

The most successfulformula for a long time has been NZ, not only in domestic rugby, butalso international.

Their whole system is set up where the Mitre10 provinces feed their five Super Rugby Franchises and the Francises feed the AB’s

Salary Cap isn’t the only answer to improve team performance, that is clearly demonstrated by NZ. It is talent identification and development.

Salary Caps in itself in my opinion is only necessary to keep one country’s players fairly distributed between their own teams.

Case in point in SA the Bulls currently spend more on top players, how they do it I am not entirely sure as there is a cap of R60 million per franchise.

New Zealand does central contracting of their Super Rugby player pool, I think that is important as talent gets equally distributed.

I wish SARU would do the same.

I think applying a salary cap across the whole of Pro16 is not practical from a few perspectives, none of the unions have the same amount of money. Each country must retain as many players as possible, so let each pay what theycan afford.

So in summary.

Each country need to work on their own system to identify talent at grass roots, whether they have academies, clubs or schools to nurture that talent is up to them

Our development system isn’t perfect, but we have a route for development thatfor the most part works, there are plenty of rugby schools and next level schools where boys play quality rugby, from there many more getexposure at varsity cup level (17 universities compete in two leagues, Varsity Cup and Varsity Shield)

Then ontoCurrie Cup B division and Currie Cup Premier, then onto Super Rugby/Pro16.

The problem for SA iswe don’t have enough money to retain players, hence we lose many to overseas clubs and countries.

Since 2019 we have managed to get some top experienced players back, such as Willem Alberts, Jannie du Plessis, Ruan Pienaar, Francois Steyn, Morne Steyn and a number of others who at least now share their rugby intellect with the youngsters, something we have been devoid of for quite a while.

There aren’t easy answers, but competitive rugby is the most important magnet for sponsors, ticket sales and broadcast contracts.

Each country must work on that.

I would even go so far as to expand the celtic/Italian/SA league to more teams with two tiers. Promotion and relegation applying to the two bottom teams.

That way teams alwyas have a reason to perform.

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Post by profitius Thu 20 May 2021, 9:32 pm

Old Man wrote:From a South African perspective.

Stuart Berry is one of the worst, number of years ago he was dropped from refereeing Super Rugby as his standard was very poor and he was heavily criticised.

I don’t think SA referees are necessarily better, but there are a handful that are decent.

It seems to me that the Pro14 isn’t competitive enough. That is something every Union’s Provinces/Clubs willhave to sort for themselves.

The most successfulformula for a long time has been NZ, not only in domestic rugby, butalso international.

Their whole system is set up where the Mitre10 provinces feed their five Super Rugby Franchises and the Francises feed the AB’s

Salary Cap isn’t the only answer to improve team performance, that is clearly demonstrated by NZ. It is talent identification and development.

Salary Caps in itself in my opinion is only necessary to keep one country’s players fairly distributed between their own teams.

Case in point in SA the Bulls currently spend more on top players, how they do it I am not entirely sure as there is a cap of R60 million per franchise.

New Zealand does central contracting of their Super Rugby player pool, I think that is important as talent gets equally distributed.

I wish SARU would do the same.

I think applying a salary cap across the whole of Pro16 is not practical from a few perspectives, none of the unions have the same amount of money. Each country must retain as many players as possible, so let each pay what theycan afford.

So in summary.

Each country need to work on their own system to identify talent at grass roots, whether they have academies, clubs or schools to nurture that talent is up to them

Our development system isn’t perfect, but we have a route for development thatfor the most part works, there are plenty of rugby schools and next level schools where boys play quality rugby, from there many more getexposure at varsity cup level (17 universities compete in two leagues, Varsity Cup and Varsity Shield)

Then ontoCurrie Cup B division and Currie Cup Premier, then onto Super Rugby/Pro16.

The problem for SA iswe don’t have enough money to retain players, hence we lose many to overseas clubs and countries.

Since 2019 we have managed to get some top experienced players back, such as    Willem Alberts, Jannie du Plessis, Ruan Pienaar, Francois Steyn, Morne Steyn and a number of others who at least now share their rugby intellect with the youngsters, something we have been devoid of for quite a while.

There aren’t easy answers, but competitive rugby is the most important magnet for sponsors, ticket sales and broadcast contracts.

Each country must work on that.

I would even go so far as to expand the celtic/Italian/SA league to more teams with two tiers. Promotion and relegation applying to the two bottom teams.

That way teams alwyas have a reason to perform.


Is the mitre 10 semi professional? Must cost them a bit to run it. In ireland we have the AIL but it's amateur and the problem is the jump from that to professional is enormous.
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Post by Old Man Thu 20 May 2021, 9:43 pm

As far as I know it is semi professional

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Post by LordDowlais Fri 21 May 2021, 8:18 am

Thanks for the reasoned replies guys. OK

The reason why I suggested a salary cap is because I want to make things a little fairer. We have independent businessmen trying to compete with a whole union who can afford to throw endless money at their teams.

I mean lets take Connacht for example, they are funded way above their means, which is good for them, and good for the IRFU as they have players who can then play for Ireland, but it skews the league, all of a sudden, we have a team who on their own would have less resources than Dragons, but they are given a leg up.

Munster, were operating at a massive loss, have been bailed out by their union, if they were operating within their means, then perhaps we would see a more even keel in the league.

In any other professional sport I do not think the two above scenarios would be allowed. Look what happened to Saracens.

Perhaps more people in Wales would appreciate the league if the teams they are supposed to support had a fairer chance at achieving things, even getting into Europes top competition is monopolised by the Irish provinces, people in Wales are bored with the Welsh regions just trying to survive, never mind competing against a co-oporation that has an endless pot to always turn to. It's AKIN to the oligarchs who run PSG or Chelsea or Man City in football, sometimes people will just say, it's no point.

So when you factor the above into everything else, poor officials, finals always in Ireland, Irish sponsors ect...... then it is little wonder why people here in Wales either hark back to the Welsh league as it was, or pine for an anglo/welsh league.

LordDowlais

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 21 May 2021, 8:51 am

Re Munster spending within their means then what you may be thinking is more football fair play rather than a salary cap. One rich owner could bankroll a team to the same extent. obviously the Prem have a salary cap and it only works if the teams buy into it. Bath and Saracens both cheated and benefitted anyway using the fact other teams played to the rules to hoover their talent. And people bend o er backwards to defend them at times.

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Post by Old Man Fri 21 May 2021, 9:09 am

LordDowlais wrote:Thanks for the reasoned replies guys. OK

The reason why I suggested  a salary cap is because I want to make things a little fairer. We have independent businessmen trying to compete with a whole union who can afford to throw endless money at their teams.

I mean lets take Connacht for example, they are funded way above their means, which is good for them, and good for the IRFU as they have players who can then play for Ireland, but it skews the league, all of a sudden, we have a team who on their own would have less resources than Dragons, but they are given a leg up.

Munster, were operating at a massive loss, have been bailed out by their union, if they were operating within their means, then perhaps we would see a more even keel in the league.

In any other professional sport I do not think the two above scenarios would be allowed. Look what happened to Saracens.

Perhaps more people in Wales would appreciate the league if the teams they are supposed to support had a fairer chance at achieving things, even getting into Europes top competition is monopolised by the Irish provinces, people in Wales are bored with the Welsh regions just trying to survive, never mind competing against a co-oporation that has an endless pot to always turn to. It's AKIN to the oligarchs who run PSG or Chelsea or Man City in football, sometimes people will just say, it's no point.

So when you factor the above into everything else, poor officials, finals always in Ireland, Irish sponsors ect...... then it is little wonder why people here in Wales either hark back to the Welsh league as it was, or pine for an anglo/welsh league.

The main problem with a salary cap across the board for all participating nations in Pro16 is that you will have to introduce a salary cap based on the “poorest” union.

SA salary cap is R60 mil, which in today’s money is three and a half million euros. I am pretty sure the other teams all have caps bigger than that. The Irish will not be keen to lower their caps to 3.5 mill.

It means they will expose their player more to overseas clubs, and might hurt their recruitment of other countries’ player, be it as projects or whatever. This may well impact Scotland teams as well, as they do recruit quite a number.

I personally cannot see salary caps across the board ever working unless those caps increase to the 8 mil mark. Who could afford that anyway?

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