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'better for everyone. The SA teams will mean bigger, tougher games'

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Post by profitius Sun 30 May 2021, 12:25 pm

First topic message reminder :

Interesting article here.
https://www.the42.ie/south-africa-pro16-5451128-May2021/


Its from a SA point of view but there was also this line: There is hope that the Pro16 could double or treble its turnover in the next six or seven years.


More competition, tougher games, big name players and teams with big fan bases, a straight forward league instead of conferences, better refs (hopefully). Sounds good to me. If Benetton get up to speed it would boost Italian interest too.


I also heard that it won't be called the pro16. Its going to get a new name.
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Post by LordDowlais Wed 07 Jul 2021, 7:55 am

Brendan wrote:Again why would SARU, IRFU, SRU, WRU & FIR with 16 teams sign up to something that brings in 14 teams and effectively hands over control. I can't imagine SARU signing up for it.

Simple answer £££££'s.

Why do you think South Africa have joined the Pro14 ?

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Post by Brendan Wed 07 Jul 2021, 12:18 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
Brendan wrote:Again why would SARU, IRFU,  SRU, WRU & FIR with 16 teams sign up to something that brings in 14 teams and effectively hands over control.  I can't imagine SARU signing up for it.

Simple answer £££££'s.

Why do you think South Africa have joined the Pro14 ?

South Africa joined the URC so that they didn't have 3 Currie Cups a year in isolation and fall behind everyone else. Bennetton showed how it's hard to judge the standard of a domestic only league. They spent enough time in isolation in the 80s and when they came out of it 1992 and got smashed by Australia it left them a scare. Look at their tour of France and England that same year, not great reading for a team that has been one of the top nations before isolation.

It is easy to run down the URC but they are all teams who have improved v SA at international level because of the league. They want some of that for themselves.

The URC deal has increased because of the SA money going in SR is now going into URC, £20m seems about right. Not really rocket science.  Add in that all games are in prime time and the other teams have SA players so fans might watch Munster to see how their internationals are doing.  SA TV deal isn't going to be going up by much just because English teams are in it.

Then you come to the UK & Ireland Market.  Ireland Market is only going up if someone gets exclusive rights.  Sky and BT have both deemed the amount paid by RTE & Co was not worth it.  Can't see how an Irish TV deal would be increased massively.

The UK market currently has BT who were the only ones who bid for the Premership (so not much interest) and Premier and the FTA.  Sky clearly only wants the things the masses want so internationals and Lions.  A fan from Doncaster isn't suddenly going to be watching a B&I league if they aren't watching the Prem.  Welsh fans aren't going to start paying for BT just because the English play the Welsh when they don't watch the Regions on FTA nor do they want to because so many clubs in Wales (unless that statement wasn't true).

URC we are told will bring in £55m per year.  For 16+14 = 30 teams the TV deal would need to be £103m just to pay the same per team as the URC.  Add in the EURO TV rights and it would need to be well over £110m.  Premier can't afford it most likely and SKY don't want it so that leaves BT.  If on BT then all the FTA games go and we will have 1 FTA per week that will be shown in every country to.  I am not going to watch Worcester v Dragons on FTA or even Ospreys v Bath.

So how do you figure more money when the Biggest market (England) couldn't increase their TV deal yet the T14  and URC did so it clearly wasn't covid.  Happy to hear real figures.  We heard this with the revamped Euro Cups and we ended up with less people watching and unable to get sponsers while Heineken paid less because they weren't the title sponsers.  Or the TT where we are seeing fans and money is behind an Oz league rather than SR being the only league in town.

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Post by LordDowlais Wed 07 Jul 2021, 12:32 pm

South Africa wanted out of the SH competition because they were more or less propping it up, they want to be part of the European competition because there is more money. Make no bones about this, they will want to be part of the 6N next, because it's a cash cow. That is the end game for SA.

With added teams and added audience, a B&I would obviously generate more money, even if it's a two tear system. I think it's a case of when not if a B&I league is a reality.

Money talks at the end of the day.

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Post by Brendan Wed 07 Jul 2021, 2:08 pm

LordDowlais wrote:South Africa wanted out of the SH competition because they were more or less propping it up, they want to be part of the European competition because there is more money. Make no bones about this, they will want to be part of the 6N next, because it's a cash cow. That is the end game for SA.

With added teams and added audience, a B&I would obviously generate more money, even if it's a two tear system. I think it's a case of when not if a B&I league is a reality.

Money talks at the end of the day.

Again how would the league get £110 m a year when BT are the only ones who could/Would pay it. Currently the two leagues bring I I think £88m between them. Will there be another £20m from the UK market because the English want to see their teams play other countries. Going by the comments on the URC from Prem fans on-line it would seem not. Why would Ireland and SA pay as much as now if two teams were in division two. If a two division was so profitable the T14 won't just give them 25% of TV rights and the championship wouldn't have just been made semi pro. If two divisions the second division would get a signal deal to the ProD2 not an equal share.

Making a second division would effectively make half the URC team unviable. But people think those fans would turn up for those second division matches. Look at the championship. Those Leeds V Bristol games were all the chat and everyone care or was it just another D2 game that resulted in Leeds going broke. A team of Sarries standing became irrelevant when they went to the championship. They were the best team in the Premiership. What hope would Edinbugh, Newcastle or Glaws have of staying relevant and not becoming the next Notts Forest in soccer who were Top of the world but now are passed by massive clubs like Burnley.

6 Nations would take money from RC not create new money from nowhere. Believe it or not the 6N as with the Prem & URC have TV deals all around the world and they could care less where the teams come from unless they are domestic.

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Post by LordDowlais Wed 07 Jul 2021, 2:39 pm

Can you not recognise, that with a bigger audience, the advertising and sponsorship deals would get bigger ? It's not all about the TV money, although, again, that would increase because of the wider audiences.

A league involving Ireland, Wales, Scotland, England, and then perhaps Italy and South Africa would be massive, and would have a potential audience of almost 200 million, which is an advertisers dream.

Why would BT only ones who/could pay for it ? I would imagine there would be numerous TV companies across all the countries who would pay for it.

I think it will eventually happen, I don't know when though. Not in the near future, but I think it is coming.

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Post by Brendan Wed 07 Jul 2021, 3:42 pm

LordDowlais wrote:Can you not recognise, that with a bigger audience, the advertising and sponsorship deals would get bigger ? It's not all about the TV money, although, again, that would increase because of the wider audiences.

A league involving Ireland, Wales, Scotland, England, and then perhaps Italy and South Africa would be massive, and would have a potential audience of almost 200 million, which is an advertisers dream.

Why would BT only ones who/could pay for it ? I would imagine there would be numerous TV companies across all the countries who would pay for it.

I think it will eventually happen, I don't know when though. Not in the near future, but I think it is coming.

Sounds like all those sponsers lined up for the Euro Cup in 2014 that where going to pay loads of money for the club's.  Only result was Heineken went from title sponser to the only sponser but paying less for the privilege.

Non of the FTA tv companies have wads of cash to spend so who will make BT pay more.  6Ns just end back up on FTA because they got a deal together but it wasn't like there was loads of bids that the FTA companies got it.

If you don't include SA you lose about £30-40m which a B&I can't make up.  SA isn't going to pay more to have their teams in a leagues especially if only 2 of their teams are going to be in the top division.  In the heartlands of Glaws, Worcester, even Saints and Tigers will viewing figures stay high when they are in the second division. Tigers could lose ground to the Foxes as one would be a top dog, the other will be battling Glaws, Worcester Zebre and Dragons. That's alot of Rugby fans to lose to a competition.

Basically you would need a sponsorship that would match both current sponsership deals.  Not sure a league with 6 English, 2 SA, 2 Welsh, 2 Irish, 1 Scot and 1 Italian would have the pulling figures people think and losing SA and even Italy would lose alot of money..  It is not soccer and casual rugby fans support international not top level club like soccer so why would this league succeed where the Premership has failed..  Again the Euro debate was France and England have more people so if only they could have more teams we could get bigger sponsers.  Didn't seem to work out.  In fact it cause sky to leave club rugby which has cause the Premership to No longer be getting big deals and are left with whatever BT feel like.

Again I am basing it off the same talk of the Euro Cups. You are basing it off pie in the sky or things that happened in the 70s and 80s.

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Post by LordDowlais Wed 07 Jul 2021, 3:47 pm

Brendan wrote:Again I am basing it off the same talk of the Euro Cups. You are basing it off pie in the sky or things that happened in the 70s and 80s.

I was willing to debate this with you properly, but you end up showing your true colours with childish comments above.

OK, I'm out. The way you are going you will have nobody to debate with on here.

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Post by Brendan Wed 07 Jul 2021, 4:09 pm

Attendance (from Wiki so might not be right)

Premership
02/03 8518
18/19 14507
Highest 16/17 15065

URC
01/02 4504
18/19 8240
Highest 16/17 8771

T14
03/04 7680
18/19 14624
Highest 18/19

Championship
00/01 908
18/19 1713
Highest 14/15 2738
If you took out the relegated team that attendance would drop.


London Irish
18/19 Champ 3770 high v Doncaster 10106.
17/18 Prem 12183
16/17 Champ 4396
15/16 Prem 11833
Not sure if there was an issue with the stadium

Newcastle
16/17 Prem 7090
17/18 Prem 9757
18/ 19 Prem 9166 (R)
19/20  Champ 4707 (highest attendance v Pirates 6315)

Can see the same happening to every team not in D1 of a B&I


Last edited by Brendan on Wed 07 Jul 2021, 4:37 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Brendan Wed 07 Jul 2021, 4:25 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
Brendan wrote:Again I am basing it off the same talk of the Euro Cups. You are basing it off pie in the sky or things that happened in the 70s and 80s.

I was willing to debate this with you properly, but you end up showing your true colours with childish comments above.

OK, I'm out. The way you are going you will have nobody to debate with on here.

I appreciate that my figures are based off what has happened in the last 10 years with change to compitions and caused increase and decrease in competition values.

If you are unable to point out why the B&I can bring in more or why my figures are wrong happy to talk.

Tigers in 18/19 had 230,855 fans attend Premership games with an average of 20 987 (Highest in Prem).  How much would they lose if they had to play Scarlets or Glasgow  or Bulls instead of Irish, Worcester and Newcastle.  Or if it was in division 2 would they even get about 10k Attendance.  Tigers attendance in the Euros isn't as great as the league what does that tell you.

So you haven't shown how any part of the B & I league will increase revenue based on facts.  You haven't disagreed that BT forcing SKY out of club reduced the new TV deal.  You haven't shown what TV companies are waiting in the wings.  As far as I can see only Premier and BT made bids on their leagues in the UK.  You haven't shown how sponsership will go up when I have clear shown you it could potentially go down.

I stand by my statement that your argument is based on the old Welsh v English matches that have never been replicated in the professional era so is pie in the sky.

What is the highest attendance of any Welsh/Irish v English team that wasn't a knockout recorded since 2000. And how does it even make it into the top 20 of Premership games.

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Post by The Oracle Wed 07 Jul 2021, 4:47 pm

Is Brendan the Irish PhilBB?!
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Post by Brendan Wed 07 Jul 2021, 5:02 pm

The Oracle wrote:Is Brendan the Irish PhilBB?!

I am happy to be shown to be wrong on any of my assumptions.

I have pointed out where the money going into the URC mainly came from
I have pointed out why the Prem tv deal didn't go up like the French or URC.
I have pointed out that attendances would be down for English teams and 2nd division could see 50% drop in their current attendances.
I have pointed out how sponsership went down with the Euro Cups when increased French and English numbers was meant to make it bigger.

I pulled up a post because their response was
1. Welsh v English teams back in the day
2. All the money (without actually tackling any of the above)
3. The URC is doomed to fail.

Just because I think that the URC and Prem have the ability to be stand alone leagues makes me a wum.  If anyone wants to argue my facts happy to do so.

If people can't argue the facts then that's not my problem.

If I missed these challenges let's me know but I think my replies cover their point and counters it.

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Post by PhilBB Wed 28 Jul 2021, 2:39 pm

I've seen the strength of the SA teams without their international players.

Not great, is it?

And the SA national team is half made up of players who play outside of SA.
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Post by Old Man Wed 28 Jul 2021, 3:24 pm

You’ve seen the strength of SA teams against the best the home nations have to offer, drawing conclusions from that is premature.

Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks, 12 caps, 0 pts) 
Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers, 47 caps, 5 pts)
Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers, 38 caps, 5 pts)
Ox Nché (Cell C Sharks, 1 cap, 0 pts) 
Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers, 36 caps, 35 pts) 
Scarra Ntubeni (DHL Stormers, 1 cap, 0 pts) 
Marvin Orie (DHL Stormers, 3 caps, 0 pts)
Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers, 55 caps, 25 pts)

Siya Kolisi (Cell C Sharks, 50 caps, 30 pts) 
Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers, 10 caps, 20 pts)
Sanele Nohamba (Cell C Sharks, uncapped)
Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks, 15 caps, 15 pts) 
Wandisile Simelane (Emirates Lions, uncapped) 
Aphelele Fassi (Cell C Sharks, uncapped) 
Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks, 14 caps, 70 pts) 
Sbu Nkosi (Cell C Sharks, 11 caps, 40 pts)
Yaw Penxe (Cell C Sharks, uncapped) 
Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers, 6 caps, 5 pts)
Of the three teams Lions played the Sharks were missing 8 starters, and virtually their starting backline with exception of Bosch.
Stormers were missing 8 players of whom seven are starters. 

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Post by Brendan Thu 29 Jul 2021, 9:34 am

We saw with the Sharks they were much better the second game and without the red card would have been a tight enough game.

When a Lions 23 can be named that leave out Liam Williams, Josh Adams and LRZ it tells you the standard of the B&I Lions.  Those three would get into most teams in the URC.

Add in that the SA teams seem to be bringing in good squad players they will be hard to beat at home. Get wins in all your home games and you should make to top 8 as you should pick up the odd points away from home. Connacht finished 4th overall last season by only getting 50% win rate.

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Post by mikey_dragon Thu 29 Jul 2021, 11:41 am

Stormers and especially Bulls will be very strong with their internationals available, not to mention some of the guys yet to be capped are pretty good. SA just have too many players overseas in England, France, Japan, etc. I imagine if a lot of them were still in SA, their teams would be unstoppable.

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Post by Brendan Thu 29 Jul 2021, 1:06 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:Stormers and especially Bulls will be very strong with their internationals available, not to mention some of the guys yet to be capped are pretty good. SA just have too many players overseas in England, France, Japan, etc. I imagine if a lot of them were still in SA, their teams would be unstoppable.

I think the line between become a Bok and just being a club player is really small. Plenty good locks in SA as an example would find it hard to even get 10 caps with the current crop of internationals currently there.

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Post by PhilBB Fri 30 Jul 2021, 11:55 am

Old Man wrote:Stormers were missing 8 players of whom seven are starters.

As they will be for many PrO'URC games, as we proved last time we discussed the fixture list.
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Post by PhilBB Fri 30 Jul 2021, 11:57 am

Brendan wrote:

Add in that the SA teams seem to be bringing in good squad players they will be hard to beat at home. Get wins in all your home games and you should make to top 8 as you should pick up the odd points away from home.  Connacht finished 4th overall last season by only getting 50% win rate.

Thanks for proving, again, how the fixture list determines the more successful teams in the competition.

That's another reason why the competition is a joke.
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Post by Old Man Fri 30 Jul 2021, 11:57 am

PhilBB wrote:
Old Man wrote:Stormers were missing 8 players of whom seven are starters.

As they will be for many PrO'URC games, as we proved last time we discussed the fixture list.
No, not many, but even if they would, every team in the URC would be in the same situation.

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Post by PhilBB Fri 30 Jul 2021, 11:59 am

Old Man wrote:
PhilBB wrote:
Old Man wrote:Stormers were missing 8 players of whom seven are starters.

As they will be for many PrO'URC games, as we proved last time we discussed the fixture list.
No, not many, but even if they would, every team in the URC would be in the same situation.

We went through this last time.....

The SA national team selection (mostly through the TRC) will mean these guys missing the start of the season.

The idea of 'tours' will mean others will be missing at stages of the season, too.
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Post by Brendan Fri 30 Jul 2021, 9:27 pm

PhilBB wrote:
Brendan wrote:

Add in that the SA teams seem to be bringing in good squad players they will be hard to beat at home. Get wins in all your home games and you should make to top 8 as you should pick up the odd points away from home.  Connacht finished 4th overall last season by only getting 50% win rate.

Thanks for proving, again, how the fixture list determines the more successful teams in the competition.

That's another reason why the competition is a joke.

Not really.  Munster have Coombs because Stander was away.  Or Casey because Murray was away.  The reason the Irish teams have been successful is because we don't focus on the 15 starters we build a squad where the front two in each position are expected to fight it out for top spot while the loser will be looking over their should at the young 3rd choice.

To show the point Conan is a starting Lion but until recently he was considered a has been because he was passed by the younger "better" Doris and Deegan.  Same with VDF with Leavy and Connors.  Marmion seen as Ireland's number 2 Scrum half lost his battle to Blade at Connacht.

If you are worried about the fixtures list then your team is already in trouble.  I would say injuries play a bigger part in the season than fixtures but even then it's a bit of straw clutching.

As a Munster fan I don't care when we play any team. Any team not missing internationals are only as good as our non internationals so what does it matter not playing them without the internationals.  If they have internationals they will be missing them the same time we are. If we struggle to play a team the week after coming back from SA with 5 days back home we are in trouble anyway come knockouts.  If we can't go down to SA and be as good as them then we are in trouble anyway.  If the players that are outside the 23 aren't good enough then you need to trade them for players that suit your style.

Munster will not play their strongest team every round (its a league not the WC knockouts) and will be constantly looking to bring in a forward and back each game and adjusting the bench.  But you can be sure the fans, players and staff will think it is more than good enough to win. When injuries hit fans won't be overly worried because they know what the replacement can do.

Rennie and Cockers showed what happens to teams who play their strongest 23 each round.  They do great till about April and then fall apart and end up with a disappointing last few games and knockouts.

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Post by Brendan Fri 30 Jul 2021, 9:36 pm

PhilBB wrote:
Old Man wrote:
PhilBB wrote:
Old Man wrote:Stormers were missing 8 players of whom seven are starters.

As they will be for many PrO'URC games, as we proved last time we discussed the fixture list.
No, not many, but even if they would, every team in the URC would be in the same situation.

We went through this last time.....

The SA national team selection (mostly through the TRC) will mean these guys missing the start of the season.

The idea of 'tours' will mean others will be missing at stages of the season, too.

Going off the Sharks v B&I Lions second test their squad looked good enough to take on most teams in the URC.

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Post by The Oracle Fri 30 Jul 2021, 9:38 pm

Brendan wrote:
The Oracle wrote:Is Brendan the Irish PhilBB?!

I am happy to be shown to be wrong on any of my assumptions.

I have pointed out where the money going into the URC mainly came from
I have pointed out why the Prem tv deal didn't go up like the French or URC.
I have pointed out that attendances would be down for English teams and 2nd division could see 50% drop in their current attendances.
I have pointed out how sponsership went down with the Euro Cups when increased French and English numbers was meant to make it bigger.

I pulled up a post because their response was
1. Welsh v English teams back in the day
2. All the money (without actually tackling any of the above)
3. The URC is doomed to fail.

Just because I think that the URC and Prem have the ability to be stand alone leagues makes me a wum.  If anyone wants to argue my facts happy to do so.

If people can't argue the facts then that's not my problem.

If I missed these challenges let's me know but I think my replies cover their point and counters it.


I meant more your ‘debating’ style, where you talk down to people and shout ‘fact’ at them. Very similar.
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Post by Brendan Fri 30 Jul 2021, 10:50 pm

The Oracle wrote:
Brendan wrote:
The Oracle wrote:Is Brendan the Irish PhilBB?!

I am happy to be shown to be wrong on any of my assumptions.

I have pointed out where the money going into the URC mainly came from
I have pointed out why the Prem tv deal didn't go up like the French or URC.
I have pointed out that attendances would be down for English teams and 2nd division could see 50% drop in their current attendances.
I have pointed out how sponsership went down with the Euro Cups when increased French and English numbers was meant to make it bigger.

I pulled up a post because their response was
1. Welsh v English teams back in the day
2. All the money (without actually tackling any of the above)
3. The URC is doomed to fail.

Just because I think that the URC and Prem have the ability to be stand alone leagues makes me a wum.  If anyone wants to argue my facts happy to do so.

If people can't argue the facts then that's not my problem.

If I missed these challenges let's me know but I think my replies cover their point and counters it.


I meant more your ‘debating’ style, where you talk down to people and shout ‘fact’ at them. Very similar.

Sorry if it comes across as aggressive. I like stats and facts. Happy for them to be pulled apart but not for people to just ignore them by saying they are rubbish yet not giving reason why.

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Post by The Oracle Fri 30 Jul 2021, 11:10 pm

Brendan wrote:
The Oracle wrote:
Brendan wrote:
The Oracle wrote:Is Brendan the Irish PhilBB?!

I am happy to be shown to be wrong on any of my assumptions.

I have pointed out where the money going into the URC mainly came from
I have pointed out why the Prem tv deal didn't go up like the French or URC.
I have pointed out that attendances would be down for English teams and 2nd division could see 50% drop in their current attendances.
I have pointed out how sponsership went down with the Euro Cups when increased French and English numbers was meant to make it bigger.

I pulled up a post because their response was
1. Welsh v English teams back in the day
2. All the money (without actually tackling any of the above)
3. The URC is doomed to fail.

Just because I think that the URC and Prem have the ability to be stand alone leagues makes me a wum.  If anyone wants to argue my facts happy to do so.

If people can't argue the facts then that's not my problem.

If I missed these challenges let's me know but I think my replies cover their point and counters it.


I meant more your ‘debating’ style, where you talk down to people and shout ‘fact’ at them. Very similar.

Sorry if it comes across as aggressive.  I like stats and facts. Happy for them to be pulled apart but not for people to just ignore them by saying they are rubbish yet not giving reason why.

Exactly. Just like Phil, but from the other side.
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Post by PhilBB Tue 10 Aug 2021, 3:00 pm

Brendan wrote:The reason the Irish teams have been successful is because we don't focus on the 15 starters we build a squad where the front two in each position are expected to fight it out for top spot while the loser will be looking over their should at the young 3rd choice.

For a man who claims to like facts, I can't believe you wrote that with a straight face.

The reason the two Irish domestic teams (not 'the Irish teams' as Connacht and Ulster have one proper trophy between them this century) have been successful is because they could afford to pay for such strength in depth, thanks to the IRFU's pockets.

It's not about focus, or any other such drivel. It's solely about money.
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Post by LordDowlais Tue 10 Aug 2021, 3:01 pm

Did not know where to post this, so I chose this topic, but it looks like the new league has been thrown up in the air again:-

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/new-united-rugby-championship-plan-21271227

The new United Rugby Championship plan amid worrying reports and no fixtures for PRO14 replacement
There have been reports in South Africa that the new cross-continent tournament has been thrown into doubt

Over the weekend, reports came out of South Africa that the new United Rugby Championship had been thrown into doubt.

The Afrikaans-language newspaper Rapport ran a story saying there were issues over the country’s four Super Rugby sides being able to come over to play games in the UK because of Covid travel restrictions.

That’s because South Africa is on the UK’s red list, which means people fron that country have to spend 10 days in quarantine on arrival here.

There were suggestions the four franchises - the Stormers, Sharks, Lions and Bulls - might have to play their away games at neutral venues.

Concern was also raised that any UK teams travelling to South Africa for matches would have to quarantine for 10 days on their return home.

Meanwhile, there is no sign yet of a fixture list for the new competition which is due to get underway next month and we wait for confirmation over whether games will be shown live on BBC Wales.

So where does that leave us?

Rugby correspondent Simon Thomas has been speaking to his contacts and has details of the plans that are being drawn up to address the various issues.

What’s the plan?

The first thing to say is the competition organisers are fully confident the URC season will get underway as scheduled on the weekend of September 25, with the four South African sides on board.

The question is how are they going to achieve that given the Covid restrictions?

Well, the plan is for the Stormers, Sharks, Lions and Bulls to all play a block of four away matches over the opening four weekends, starting off with fixtures in Ireland and Italy.

By beginning in those countries, where different regulations apply, they wouldn’t have to go through a 10-day quarantine, although negative PCR tests would be required.

They would then be able to head over to the UK and play matches in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, without the need for an isolation period, as they would be coming in from Italy or Ireland.

So they will kick off with away games on four successive weekends and then head home to play derby matches in the fifth round.

They would come over to play another block of two matches in Europe before Christmas.

So the likelihood is Welsh teams won’t be heading over to South Africa until the new year.

When will we see the fixtures?

Putting together the fixture list has proved a major logistical challenge because of the travel issues and the number of different TV companies involved.

In addition to Premier Sport staying on board as broadcasters, showing every game live, you also have SuperSport in South Africa, with RTÉ and TG4 coming on board in Ireland.

Then, in Wales, you have the BBC returning to the mix.

The deal has not been officially announced yet, but I understand it’s a case of crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s.

It looks as though BBC Wales will be showing some 15 URC games live in their traditional Friday night slot.

On top of that, you’ve got S4C continuing to televise a match most weekends.

So there’s a lot of organising to do in terms of agreeing the fixture list with the assorted broadcasters and getting all the teams’ travel schedules in place.

But the hope is the fixtures might come out next week.

Remind me of the tournament format?

The four South African franchises are joining the 12 professional sides from Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Italy to create a new 16-team competition.

They replace the Cheetahs and Southern Kings who had previously taken part in the PRO14.

While there will be more teams, there will actually be fewer regular season fixtures - down from 21 to 18 - with the aim of reducing the number of league matches played on international weekends.

Each team will play the other 15 sides either home or away, while there will also be three return derby matches.

There will be an expanded knock-out series, with quarter-finals and semi-finals culminating in a Grand Final played in a destination venue in late June 2022.

The old two conference system will be replaced by a single table to rank the teams who will reach the knock-out stages and compete to win the title.

But there will also be four regional pools - Irish, Welsh, South African and Scottish/Italian.

All points won during the URC season will contribute to rankings in those pools and the highest-ranking team in each section will earn a place in the Heineken Champions Cup for the following season.

The remaining four places in the Champions Cup will be awarded to the four highest-ranked teams from the single-standing league table who have not already qualified through the four regional pools.

The South African quartet will be eligible to qualify for the Champions Cup for the 2022/23 season.

As for title sponsorship of the URC, discussions are ongoing.

URC FIXTURE DATES

Round 1: September 24-26

R2: October 1-3

R3: October 8-10

R4: October 15-17

R5: October 22-24

R6: October 29-31

R7: December 3-5

R8: December 24-26

R9: December 31-January 1/2

R10: January 7-9

R11: January 28-30

R12: January 18-20

R13: March 4-6

R14: March 25-27

R15: April 1-3

R16: April 22-24

R17: April 29-31

R18: May 20-22

Quarter Finals: June 3-5

Semi-Finals: June 10-12

Final: June 23-25

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Post by PhilBB Tue 10 Aug 2021, 3:17 pm

I see the papers in England are reporting how the SA players will miss a fair bit of rugby this season.......
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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 13 Aug 2021, 10:07 am

this part of the Wales Online report is incorrect

'Well, the plan is for the Stormers, Sharks, Lions and Bulls to all play a block of four away matches over the opening four weekends, starting off with fixtures in Ireland and Italy.'

Two of the SA teams will play 3 games and the other 2 will only play 2 games.
This is because any one team will only play 2 Irish and 1 Italian team away during the course of a season.
For two of the teams one of those Irish sides will be Ulster.


Last edited by geoff999rugby on Fri 13 Aug 2021, 1:11 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by mikey_dragon Fri 13 Aug 2021, 10:44 am

WOL was wrong? Oh...

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Post by Old Man Fri 13 Aug 2021, 11:20 am

Been watching the Carling Currie Cup this past few weeks, the teams have been very focused on increasing ball in hand play and increasing ball in play minutes.

There are a bunch of highlight videos on youtube if anyone is interested.

It seems the focus for the SA teams are to play open fast rugby for their home matches and a more attritional forward style away in Europe

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Post by doctor_grey Sat 14 Aug 2021, 4:49 pm

Any match in particular worth taking a look at? We have coverage of the Currie Cup here and I can go back and look.

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Post by Old Man Sat 14 Aug 2021, 5:01 pm

pretty much any from this weekend, Lions and Cheetahs had a great match on Wednesday, Sharks and Bulls last week, Bulls and Lions .

If you look up Carling Currie Cup on youtube the highlight vids are all around 5 minutes

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Post by doctor_grey Sat 14 Aug 2021, 5:08 pm

Thanks. Will take a look. Not a bad Bok-Pumas match right now.....

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Post by LordDowlais Tue 17 Aug 2021, 4:02 pm

Oh well, here we go, players missing for the Welsh derbies in the league:-

First Welsh derbies of the season set to be played without Wales players amid fixture issues
International players will be away with the Welsh squad as they prepare to take on the All Blacks

The four Welsh regions look set to be without their Wales stars for the opening derbies of the season in the new United Rugby Championship.

No fixtures have yet been released for the cross-continent tournament which will feature 16 teams with the introduction of the four South African Super Rugby sides.

But my understanding is the fifth round of matches on the weekend of October 23 will be made up of derbies.

Read more:Alun Wyn Jones ignored as England and Ireland internationals pick best professional Lions XV

The complication there is that Wales open their autumn international series on October 30 by taking on New Zealand at the Principality Stadium.

Under the agreement between the WRU and the regions, Wales have access to home-based players for a 13-day training camp before the start of each Test campaign.

So that means autumn squad members won’t be available for the derbies on October 22-24 unless national coach Wayne Pivac releases them to get some game-time ahead of taking on the All Blacks.

That is unlikely to go down well with regional fans, with the Welsh derbies being such eagerly anticipated fixtures in the calendar.

Ireland and Scotland also play out-of-window Tests on October 30, with the Irish travelling out to Paradise, Nevada, to face the USA and the Scots hosting Tonga at Murrayfield the same day.

It has to be doubtful whether many of their international players will be available to feature in the derbies the week before, particularly the Irish as they have to travel out to the States.

There is also a round of URC matches on the weekend of October 29-31. Clearly the bulk of players in international squads will be unavailable for those games.

One somewhat confusing quirk of the fixture list is that while there are URC matches on the final two weekends of October - when teams will be impacted by international calls - there are no games on November 26-28 when the Test players will be available to their domestic teams again.

As for the South African provinces, it’s uncertain whether they will have any access to their Springbok players during this period.

The world champions conclude their Rugby Championship campaign on October 2 when they face New Zealand.

They then begin their autumn tour of Europe by taking on Wales at the Principality Stadium on November 6.

It remains to be seen whether the ‘Boks stars will play for their franchises at all in the intervening weeks, especially with Covid travel regulations and isolation periods to be taken into consideration.

The four South African teams - the Bulls, Sharks, Stormers and Lions - are set to begin their URC campaign with a block of four away games.

They will kick-off, on the weekend of September 24-26, with fixtures in either Ireland or Italy.

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/first-welsh-derbies-season-set-21332548


What a mess.

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Post by Old Man Tue 17 Aug 2021, 5:13 pm

I think Covid will affect the availability of the SA players as it will be risky to remove them from the Springbok bubble.

However, if they are already having to travel to Europe for those away European legs they might well be allowed to play for their franchises.

Question is though, whether the franchise coaches will select players that has been outside for that period of time

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Post by Brendan Tue 17 Aug 2021, 7:27 pm

Is it a mess not really.

URC was smart enough to give the SA teams games in Italy and Ireland so they can then gain access to the UK. Great planning.

Surely the Welsh playing each other would be better for the Welsh teams than having to play other teams that aren't losing players for training camps.  Some people will never be happy but surely this gives the Welsh teams the best hope of getting the most points.

Away game to start off URC for SA teams is really smart as it gives them their best chance in their home games later..  While they will be missing their Boks I am sure the teams will still be good enough.  Sharks recruiting some nice squad players who will do a job.  Also gives fans a break after only playing each other to get new teams.  Add in having the 4 teams in Europe heading into the AIs period means that if they need to call up some players they are already in the UK so bubble not really a problem

I am sure with only NZ not affected by NH based players (If Oz picks overseas players), the RC will be on the same time as 6N.  The ironic thing is that teams in France would rather have their SH stars away at a different time to their French players.  Moving the RC means the French clubs would lose alot during Feb/Mar rather than a couple of players each time

Covid is covid and no one is going to do anything that changes it.  Look at NZ reaction to 1 case v UK current rules.  This year will see Unions building up money via Tests and who can blame them

Finally each Union treats their players differently.  It is not the league or other Unions problems how Unions do their rest periods.  If fans don't like how their union disadvantages their team then protest the Union at matches, don't blame the league.

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Post by The Oracle Tue 17 Aug 2021, 7:34 pm

Some of this is self inflicted though (for Wales). As it says in the article, Wales pays the regions for access to the top players outside of the international window. 13 days (so basically 2 weeks) ahead of the tests. While it benefits team Wales it is not the league’s fault that Wales do this. So the ‘mess’ is in part created by the WRU. It would be almost impossible to fit in all the league games AND have 2 weeks before the internationals AND a proper test/pre-season. They’d be playing all year! Something has to give and that, unfortunately is overlap between the club and international seasons. Wales could choose not to call players up earlier than the official test windows of course. But personally I’d prefer them to carry on and the clubs take the hit. After all they’re paid to do so, and that money should be being used to bolster the squads for the absence of the international players (can’t remember if that is a direct payment or part of the 80/20% wage contribution of the WRU for the top 38 players).
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Post by profitius Tue 17 Aug 2021, 10:02 pm

It's not a mess. Think of it like this. The WRU pay the wages so the players are essentially theirs. The regions get access to those players for large parts of the season, so the regions are not losing out but gaining.
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Post by LordDowlais Wed 18 Aug 2021, 8:04 am

It's not just the Welsh players though is it ?

Ireland are playing the USA and Scotland are playing Tonga.

It is a mess.

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Post by Oakdene Wed 18 Aug 2021, 8:53 am

profitius wrote:It's not a mess. Think of it like this. The WRU pay the wages so the players are essentially theirs. The regions get access to those players for large parts of the season, so the regions are not losing out but gaining.

The WRU pay some (80%) of the wages, but to be thinking of going to watch a derby match in Wales without our international players there is a sad state of affairs & to be honest probably sums up the regional game right now.

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Post by Old Man Wed 18 Aug 2021, 9:17 am

News about fixture list for SA teams

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Post by Brendan Wed 18 Aug 2021, 11:17 am

LordDowlais wrote:It's not just the Welsh players though is it ?

Ireland are playing the USA and Scotland are playing Tonga.

It is a mess.

Part of that is down to making money that was lost to covid to keep the lights on and the players at home.  As a Munster fan happy to give up players for 1 league game if it means an extra chuck of money at the end of the season to keep key players.

As a fan always like to see players capped and players dreams fulfilled.  The first NZ win for Ireland was outside the AIs, sure most Irish fans were happy to have given up the players for more than one weekend for that experience.

USA & Tonga needs more games against T1 teams, is that not worth giving up a weekend to develop T2 nations as they prepare for the next WC.

Finally the players taking their place in the league games will get more from playing derby games than against other nations teams so a win for player development.  The stars can't play 18 league game, 6 European games and 11 internationals.  I think any Munster fan (Or other team's fan) would feel players who think if they play well in the opening rounds of the URC could get into that USA game will mean Munster has 5 or 6 players going extra hard which makes us stronger.

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Post by LordDowlais Wed 18 Aug 2021, 11:22 am

Brendan wrote:Part of that is down to making money that was lost to covid to keep the lights on and the players at home. As a Munster fan happy to give up players for 1 league game if it means an extra chuck of money at the end of the season to keep key players.

It will be more than one league game.

Brendan wrote:As a fan always like to see players capped and players dreams fulfilled. The first NZ win for Ireland was outside the AIs, sure most Irish fans were happy to have given up the players for more than one weekend for that experience.

USA & Tonga needs more games against T1 teams, is that not worth giving up a weekend to develop T2 nations as they prepare for the next WC.

Finally the players taking their place in the league games will get more from playing derby games than against other nations teams so a win for player development. The stars can't play 18 league game, 6 European games and 11 internationals. I think any Munster fan (Or other team's fan) would feel players who think if they play well in the opening rounds of the URC could get into that USA game will mean Munster has 5 or 6 players going extra hard which makes us stronger.

Errrrrrrmmmmm. OK. OK

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Post by Brendan Wed 18 Aug 2021, 11:25 am

The Oracle wrote:Some of this is self inflicted though (for Wales). As it says in the article, Wales pays the regions for access to the top players outside of the international window. 13 days (so basically 2 weeks) ahead of the tests. While it benefits team Wales it is not the league’s fault that Wales do this. So the ‘mess’ is in part created by the WRU. It would be almost impossible to fit in all the league games AND have 2 weeks before the internationals AND a proper test/pre-season. They’d be playing all year! Something has to give and that, unfortunately is overlap between the club and international seasons. Wales could choose not to call players up earlier than the official test windows of course. But personally I’d prefer them to carry on and the clubs take the hit. After all they’re paid to do so, and that money should be being used to bolster the squads for the absence of the international players (can’t remember if that is a direct payment or part of the 80/20% wage contribution of the WRU for the top 38 players).

When the WRU are paying 80% they definitely are not taking them for 80% of the time.  I think the WRU and Regions have what is best for the players and teams.  You are right on the number of games fitting in, we cant really go less than 18 games and keep full squads so it's the happy medium where fans don't have to watch the region and national team the same weekend.  I would not mind seeing the URC teams looking to set up midweek games against travelling test teams during the window.

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Post by Brendan Wed 18 Aug 2021, 11:32 am

LordDowlais wrote:
Brendan wrote:Part of that is down to making money that was lost to covid to keep the lights on and the players at home.  As a Munster fan happy to give up players for 1 league game if it means an extra chuck of money at the end of the season to keep key players.

It will be more than one league game.

Brendan wrote:As a fan always like to see players capped and players dreams fulfilled.  The first NZ win for Ireland was outside the AIs, sure most Irish fans were happy to have given up the players for more than one weekend for that experience.

USA & Tonga needs more games against T1 teams, is that not worth giving up a weekend to develop T2 nations as they prepare for the next WC.

Finally the players taking their place in the league games will get more from playing derby games than against other nations teams so a win for player development.  The stars can't play 18 league game, 6 European games and 11 internationals.  I think any Munster fan (Or other team's fan) would feel players who think if they play well in the opening rounds of the URC could get into that USA game will mean Munster has 5 or 6 players going extra hard which makes us stronger.

Errrrrrrmmmmm. OK. OK

So the money the owners make from the internationals won't offset the cost and still have money left over to make their league teams stronger.

It's not ideal but I think the benefits more than outweigh the negatives to the league team. If the league teams are stronger then the league is stronger. The teams would be resting players anyway so this just makes planning easier as it is signposted well in advance.

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Post by Brendan Wed 18 Aug 2021, 11:40 am

Old Man wrote:News about fixture list for SA teams

If that is right it would seem that they are pitying Pro12 #1 v SA #1 and Pro 12 #2 v SA #2 in round one.. If the Sharks have 7 of their last 8 at home that gives them a good run to go on to secure a top 4 finish. Add in no RC in Feb/Mar and they will be well set for the playoffs.

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Post by LordDowlais Wed 18 Aug 2021, 11:46 am

Brendan wrote:It's not ideal but I think the benefits more than outweigh the negatives to the league team. If the league teams are stronger then the league is stronger. The teams would be resting players anyway so this just makes planning easier as it is signposted well in advance.

How are the best players in the league, not playing in the league, making the league stronger ?

You will have to spin this one to me. chin

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Post by Brendan Wed 18 Aug 2021, 1:08 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
Brendan wrote:It's not ideal but I think the benefits more than outweigh the negatives to the league team. If the league teams are stronger then the league is stronger. The teams would be resting players anyway so this just makes planning easier as it is signposted well in advance.

How are the best players in the league, not playing in the league, making the league stronger ?

You will have to spin this one to me. chin

If Casey & Coombes hadn't been given the opportunity to play in the league while Stander and Murrary were away would Munster be stronger or weaker now.  It was because they got game time at Munster that they are now Irish capped.  If Stander had have played all the big games at 8 would Coombes have got an Irish cap.  We now have had our international No 8 retire and is being replaced by an Irish capped No 8.

The Munster scrum halves that have become internationals are Stringer, O'Leary, Murray and now Casey.  Each of the last three were helped by getting games while internationals were away and were each the better choice when they took over at the team. They learn to play under pressure and so were trusted to run the team.

On the other hand at fly-half it wasn't the same as Munster played O'Gara too much in too many games meaning the other options didn't develop in the heat of battle which the derbies are.  They wouldn't trust the youngsters and they had to move on. Finally seem to be fixing it except for Lock.

Leagues ars about squads so stronger squads are stronger league. It's why the T14 is the strongest league. Teams are for cups and knockout matches. In rugby squads are even more important where 25% of the first team may be injured on any given weekend.

Brendan

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Post by LordDowlais Wed 18 Aug 2021, 2:00 pm

Brendan wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
Brendan wrote:It's not ideal but I think the benefits more than outweigh the negatives to the league team. If the league teams are stronger then the league is stronger. The teams would be resting players anyway so this just makes planning easier as it is signposted well in advance.

How are the best players in the league, not playing in the league, making the league stronger ?

You will have to spin this one to me. chin

If Casey & Coombes hadn't been given the opportunity to play in the league while Stander and Murrary were away would Munster be stronger or weaker now.  It was because they got game time at Munster that they are now Irish capped.  If Stander had have played all the big games at 8 would Coombes have got an Irish cap.  We now have had our international No 8 retire and is being replaced by an Irish capped No 8.

The Munster scrum halves that have become internationals are Stringer, O'Leary, Murray and now Casey.  Each of the last three were helped by getting games while internationals were away and were each the better choice when they took over at the team.  They learn to play under pressure and so were trusted to run the team.

On the other hand at fly-half it wasn't the same as Munster played O'Gara too much in too many games meaning the other options didn't develop in the heat of battle which the derbies are.  They wouldn't trust the youngsters and they had to move on. Finally seem to be fixing it except for Lock.

Leagues ars about squads so stronger squads are stronger league.  It's why the T14 is the strongest league.  Teams are for cups and knockout matches.  In rugby squads are even more important where 25% of the first team may be injured on any given weekend.


But people will want to pay to watch the star players turning out for their regions.

Look, I get it that it could make for stronger squads, but surely we would want players with pulling power rocking up for the teams in the league, not their understudies. I can imagine this in the Premier league, clubs top players not playing because they have to represent their countries, there would be murders.

If we want to showcase the league, then we need the star players turning out for the teams playing in it. I'm sorry, I do not buy into your pie in the sky theories. OK

LordDowlais

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