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

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Post by profitius Sun May 30, 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 profitius Wed Aug 18, 2021 2:40 pm

What's far more damaging to the league than star players missing is the constant negativity.


The fact is that every league has to rotate. La Rochelle and Toulouse were targeting specific games at the end of their season by playing B sides. This in the top 14, the world's most lucrative league.


People complain about the fixture list but rugby isn't fair anyway. A team might finish 20 points clear but get a load of injuries and get beaten in the final after a dodgy decision by the ref. It is what it is.
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Post by LordDowlais Wed Aug 18, 2021 2:56 pm

profitius wrote:What's far more damaging to the league than star players missing is the constant negativity.

We're allowed an opinion aren't we ? That's what this place is for after all.

profitius wrote:People complain about the fixture list but rugby isn't fair anyway. A team might finish 20 points clear but get a load of injuries and get beaten in the final after a dodgy decision by the ref. It is what it is.

Whats that go to do with the league losing players to the international teams ? I would prefer it if the league worked with the unions and perhaps did not play the showcase games, like the derbies, during an international window.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed Aug 18, 2021 4:38 pm

You can see why teams do it to balance the books though. The other option could be charge far more for a ticket to see a club team.

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Post by Brendan Wed Aug 18, 2021 4:47 pm

As we get told people want to see rivalries. Surely the rivalry in the derbies is stronger selling point than who plays. If it is star players sell tickets then the URC has more stars than the Premiership who have few stars than years past.

Soccers top teams constantly rest players on unimportant weeks to prepare the players for Champions league and top of the table clashes. They even rest players after international matches to give them a rest.

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Post by Old Man Wed Aug 18, 2021 4:52 pm

Have to agree with Brandon, each club/province/franchise has the responsibility to grow depth in their squad, be it via the wallet, through academies or recruiting.

The calendar is full because every team or union need their pound of flesh in order to balance the books.

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Post by Brendan Wed Aug 18, 2021 4:59 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:You can see why teams do it to balance the books though. The other option could be charge far more for a ticket to see a club team.

That is the problem. It reaches a point where it is no long cost effective to spend money.

The WRU pays 80% of more or less the top 38 players in Wales. If the WRU got them for 80% of the year they would have them for 41.6 weeks which is alot less than they do. Even if having them for half the year the Scarlets Boss said he wasn't sure it was cost effective which means he thinks the "STARS" aren't really better for the club from a financial point. Does someone on 200k sell enough tickets to justify his wages, if you bump up someone's wages by 20k does income linked to them cover it or is it to avoid losing the player and the bad press.

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Post by profitius Wed Aug 18, 2021 5:30 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
profitius wrote:What's far more damaging to the league than star players missing is the constant negativity.

We're allowed an opinion aren't we ? That's what this place is for after all.

profitius wrote:People complain about the fixture list but rugby isn't fair anyway. A team might finish 20 points clear but get a load of injuries and get beaten in the final after a dodgy decision by the ref. It is what it is.

Whats that go to do with the league losing players to the international teams ? I would prefer it if the league worked with the unions and perhaps did not play the showcase games, like the derbies, during an international window.


Yes I'm just giving my opinion. Not stopping you from giving yours. Wink


Hard to juggle all the tournaments.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu Aug 19, 2021 8:51 am

Lifteed this from Walesonline:

'Two Welsh regional rugby chiefs have expressed their annoyance the regions are set to be without their Wales players for the opening Welsh derbies of the season.

Although the fixture list for the new United Rugby Championship is yet to be published, it is understood the first round of derby matches have been initially scheduled for the weekend of October 23 when Wales internationals will be in camp for the autumn series.

They could also miss the round of fixtures scheduled for October 30, the day Wales are playing the All Blacks, but there are reportedly moves to shift those URC games to a date later in November.

Responding to anger from fans on social media, who are frustrated that the PRO14 replacement competition continues to be undermined by the absence of the best players, Scarlets chairman Simon Muderack said: "There are great teams across the league now.

"But only if we have access to OUR players. We should not be playing on international weekends and all countries represented should have equal access rights to their players and end to end player welfare across all games has to be managed."

Dragons chairman David Buttress added: "I think we are both acutely aware of this product issue. It is the most important one for rugby to fix.

"I personally would not play a league fixture if players are in camps or playing international fixtures. I don’t know how it came about in the first place."'


Bit of have your cake and eat it too? How can the clubs play their players and maintain player welfare to a high standard? How can clubs afford the players if they don't accept the creep of an additional international?

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Post by The Oracle Thu Aug 19, 2021 9:41 am

I thought one of the real positives and the things they trumpeted about this new league was not playing during the international window??? Maybe I misremembered. But I’m sure we discussed it on these boards and said how it was much better for the league, how we’d have more credible fixtures and a more credible league, how it was better for player welfare, etc. Is that now not the case?
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Post by Old Man Thu Aug 19, 2021 9:43 am

You cannot take the covid affected seasons as a normalseason.

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Post by neilthom7 Thu Aug 19, 2021 11:13 am

Aren't some of these international matches outside the usual test windows though? Or are they all within the test window that world rugby demand players must be released for.
If that's the case and world rugby demands players released that's an issue for the league however if these are outside the window or it's not world rugby but the unions asking for players to be released and they can do this because either the union owns the teams or have agreements with them then that's the fault of those teams and unions and the league cannot be blamed for that.

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Post by The Oracle Thu Aug 19, 2021 1:10 pm

To be fair, the comments I’ve read (e.g. in the article above) are not blaming the league. They’re not blaming anyone really, just angry at the situation. I completely agree with you, Neil, that if they’re talking about games outside the window or players leaving for camp earlier than normal then it’s the national team/union to blame. But if they don’t play that fixture and don’t have players leaving early for extra time in camp then the clubs (in Wales) lose payment for that, so as 7.5 says it’s a bit of ‘cake and eat it’.

One thing I’m not sure of though…..is the fixture list usually out this late? They’re starting soon aren’t they?! And we don’t yet know who’s playing who and when!
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Post by neilthom7 Thu Aug 19, 2021 3:14 pm

Yeah it is a very late fixture list, no helped by covid i would assume, see a thing on twitter today saying they have communicated with the clubs about it and now they are working with tv companies to schedule the exact slots and they would be releasing soon, so hopefully we will get it soon, think its only a month or so to they start or summit

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Post by Brendan Thu Aug 19, 2021 3:38 pm

There are no games during the windows apart from the RC which may or may not happen.

Teams have set up extra games outside the window so that is the union.
Star players are going to be rested anyway during the league anyway as Europe and international matches are 16 games most likely.

I am sure English and French players will also have camps that affect games not to mention actual games during the window so the league is doing grand.

Only other choice is to have even less games like Oz & NZ at Club level and have no money.

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Post by LordDowlais Thu Aug 19, 2021 3:41 pm

Brendan wrote:Star players are going to be rested anyway during the league anyway as Europe and international matches are 16 games most likely.

I have never got this either, only we do this, none of the other leagues rest their player and prioritise Europe. We really should be the other way around.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu Aug 19, 2021 3:48 pm

Hmm is that true. 2 sides named for Exeter, which is the league and which was the euro comp? And which would you say is closer to first choice?



15Hogg
14Nowell
13Slade
12WhittenSubstituted forDevotoat 68'minutes
11O'Flaherty
10Simmonds
9MaunderSubstituted forHidalgo-Clyneat 61'minutes
1HepburnSubstituted forMoonat 68'minutes
2Cowan-DickieSubstituted forYeandleat 62'minutes
3WilliamsSubstituted forFrancisat 62'minutes
4J GraySubstituted forArmandat 68'minutes
5Hill
6Ewers
7SkinnerSubstituted forDennisat 77'minutes
8Simmonds



15Dollman
14Cordero
13HendricksonSubstituted forBaldwinat 61'minutes
12Devoto
11Woodburn
10Skinner
9TownsendSubstituted forMaunderat 61'minutes
1KeastSubstituted forKennyat 44'minutes
2InnardSubstituted forTaioneat 59'minutes
3StreetSubstituted forPetchat 59'minutes
4WittySubstituted forDennisat 52'minutes
5PriceSubstituted forWittyat 61'minutes
6Capstick
7Armand
8HinkleySubstituted forWrightat 61'minutes

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Post by RiscaGame Thu Aug 19, 2021 4:31 pm

The Oracle wrote:To be fair, the comments I’ve read (e.g. in the article above) are not blaming the league. They’re not blaming anyone really, just angry at the situation. I completely agree with you, Neil, that if they’re talking about games outside the window or players leaving for camp earlier than normal then it’s the national team/union to blame. But if they don’t play that fixture and don’t have players leaving early for extra time in camp then the clubs (in Wales) lose payment for that, so as 7.5 says it’s a bit of ‘cake and eat it’.

One thing I’m not sure of though…..is the fixture list usually out this late? They’re starting soon aren’t they?! And we don’t yet know who’s playing who and when!

Not helped by the uncertainty of the SA teams being allowed to travel (and others), then throw in the new TV deal and it’s a nightmare. I bet that URC wish that it was still solely on Premier, as having to deal with different companies arguing over scheduled games on top of everything else, must be a nightmare.

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Post by Brendan Thu Aug 19, 2021 7:08 pm

RiscaGame wrote:
The Oracle wrote:To be fair, the comments I’ve read (e.g. in the article above) are not blaming the league. They’re not blaming anyone really, just angry at the situation. I completely agree with you, Neil, that if they’re talking about games outside the window or players leaving for camp earlier than normal then it’s the national team/union to blame. But if they don’t play that fixture and don’t have players leaving early for extra time in camp then the clubs (in Wales) lose payment for that, so as 7.5 says it’s a bit of ‘cake and eat it’.

One thing I’m not sure of though…..is the fixture list usually out this late? They’re starting soon aren’t they?! And we don’t yet know who’s playing who and when!

Not helped by the uncertainty of the SA teams being allowed to travel (and others), then throw in the new TV deal and it’s a nightmare. I bet that URC wish that it was still solely on Premier, as having to deal with different companies arguing over scheduled games on top of everything else, must be a nightmare.

Supposedly they have it sorted now.  The good news for us is if there is any covid issues there are 9 international weekends that we can play any re-arranged games in.  Not ideal but at least it gives wriggle room.  Neither the T14 or Prem will have the same free weeks if they have any issues.

I would assume of the 8 games any given weekend there will be 2 Friday night games. I know BBC Wales want to show one and Ulster like their Friday night and you would assume SS will and one too. Then it's a fight over Saturday times and a Sunday slot.

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Post by Brendan Thu Aug 19, 2021 10:28 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
Brendan wrote:Star players are going to be rested anyway during the league anyway as Europe and international matches are 16 games most likely.

I have never got this either, only we do this, none of the other leagues rest their player and prioritise Europe. We really should be the other way around.

That must be why the English teams do so rubbish in the Champions Cup.  All the talk about Sarries was they were so strong they often sent weaker teams to league games to keep the stars fit for Europe.  Exeter the last two years were doing a similar thing as they managed both competitions.  Even Toulouse and La Rochelle in their run to the final of Europe.

Only teams that don't view the Champions Cup as the top competition they play in is either because they aren't good enough to win (any weaker French team) or they struggle in their league.  Sarries sacrificed the league for European glory the year Exeter first won which tells you were they saw their focus.  Bristol even focused on the Challange Cup missing out on the Prem playoffs 2 seasons ago.  More and more French teams are starting to see Europe as the pinicle (though winning the T14 is still special).  SA team know that the Champions Cup is the best tournament in the world.

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Post by thebandwagonsociety Fri Aug 20, 2021 9:08 am

Has any agency put out the first 5 rounds (or the rounds through to xmas). Looks like what day and time over each weekend is still up for grabs but it would be nice to see what everyone is moaning about.

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Post by Brendan Fri Aug 20, 2021 7:44 pm

Lord would you prefer for the two weeks before the AIs. Welsh teams v Welsh teams or Welsh teams v non Welsh teams.

On star players how many games should a star player (assume you mean the internationals) play a season and which of the 35 regular season games (18 league games, 6 European and 11 internationals) should they be rested for so as to not burn them out.  That would be before you add in the 3 potential knockouts in the league and Europe.

I guess the extra 6 league games the English teams will play and the extra 8 games the French teams will play will all be jam packed with their stars or will they be more likely covered by their understudies.

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Post by Brendan Fri Aug 20, 2021 7:52 pm

thebandwagonsociety wrote:Has any agency put out the first 5 rounds (or the rounds through to xmas). Looks like what day and time over each weekend is still up for grabs but it would be nice to see what everyone is moaning about.

The exact fixtures aren't out but there a few reports (one linked by old man) which give clues as to what has been agreed and sent to the club's but not released till next week.

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Post by doctor_grey Mon Aug 23, 2021 1:11 am

Brendan wrote:Lord would you prefer for the two weeks before the AIs. Welsh teams v Welsh teams or Welsh teams v non Welsh teams.

On star players how many games should a star player (assume you mean the internationals) play a season and which of the 35 regular season games (18 league games, 6 European and 11 internationals) should they be rested for so as to not burn them out.  That would be before you add in the 3 potential knockouts in the league and Europe.

I guess the extra 6 league games the English teams will play and the extra 8 games the French teams will play will all be jam packed with their stars or will they be more likely covered by their understudies.
In every corner of NH Rugby we have too many games. It will be very difficult, I think, from a business perspective to roll back the number of games to reasonable player load numbers. And until we actually come out of Covid, hopefully in the not too distant future, the pressure on finances will remain high so nothing will change.

Brendan, when you lay out the number of games the way you did only serves to make Rugby look bad. I think people want to see their star players playing other stars. Not their number 2s or number 3s playing most of the season because the stars are either away with their nation or injured. Or just plain worn out.

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Post by LordDowlais Mon Aug 23, 2021 8:18 am

doctor_grey wrote:Brendan, when you lay out the number of games the way you did only serves to make Rugby look bad. I think people want to see their star players playing other stars. Not their number 2s or number 3s playing most of the season because the stars are either away with their nation or injured. Or just plain worn out.

This 100%. I could not agree more. People pay good money to support their teams, they should be given the best spectacle they can, and that is star players duking it out against other star players.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Aug 23, 2021 8:28 am

And yet people will also moan when their star players don't perform to their optimum. Covid meant a constriction in games last year in the Prem meaning that all players had restrictions on the amount they could play and the timing of those games; was very entertaining. Also helps the youngsters get a lot more game time leading to more star players etc.

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Post by Brendan Mon Aug 23, 2021 11:17 am

doctor_grey wrote:
Brendan wrote:Lord would you prefer for the two weeks before the AIs. Welsh teams v Welsh teams or Welsh teams v non Welsh teams.

On star players how many games should a star player (assume you mean the internationals) play a season and which of the 35 regular season games (18 league games, 6 European and 11 internationals) should they be rested for so as to not burn them out.  That would be before you add in the 3 potential knockouts in the league and Europe.

I guess the extra 6 league games the English teams will play and the extra 8 games the French teams will play will all be jam packed with their stars or will they be more likely covered by their understudies.
In every corner of NH Rugby we have too many games.  It will be very difficult, I think, from a business perspective to roll back the number of games to reasonable player load numbers.  And until we actually come out of Covid, hopefully in the not too distant future, the pressure on finances will remain high so nothing will change.    

Brendan, when you lay out the number of games the way you did only serves to make Rugby look bad.  I think people want to see their star players playing other stars.  Not their number 2s or number 3s playing most of the season because the stars are either away with their nation or injured.  Or just plain worn out.      

The only way to do that is reduce games by 50% at the top level and only have about half the number of games on TV or at home.  Only way to do it  is to go to a Super Rugby Model which couldn't pay the bills and didn't give fans fully what they wanted.

So you would have 10 European games where the top players for each team play plus 11 internationals giving internationals 21 games.  The leagues would then need to have a T2 competition which would be the current lagues.  No one is going to sign up for that in Europe so what is the solution. Currie and Mitre 10 are now feeder leagues to Super Rugby which is a feeder league to internationals.

URC has the best it can be and much better than the TT or Japan that don't pay the bills or the Prem & T14 that has double competitions some weekends.
1. Each week is only for one competition (RC the acception but world calender fixes that with SA and Argentina now playing the NH season)
2. Rest weeks for teams at the later part of the season if elimated from Europe allowing extra recovery time.
3. Enough games to pay the bills and make the league viable and keep players at home.
4. Enough games to develop national player bases at a high enough standard.

You aren't going to have a league where 4 weeks in the year have no games to avoid training camps.  Add in rest periods after internationals and you are talking 8+ weeks.  We can't run a league with 10 games and if we could Wales and Ireland already would be doing it.

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Post by Brendan Mon Aug 23, 2021 11:30 am

LordDowlais wrote:
doctor_grey wrote:Brendan, when you lay out the number of games the way you did only serves to make Rugby look bad. I think people want to see their star players playing other stars. Not their number 2s or number 3s playing most of the season because the stars are either away with their nation or injured. Or just plain worn out.

This 100%. I could not agree more. People pay good money to support their teams, they should be given the best spectacle they can, and that is star players duking it out against other star players.

Should the international team also play it best players each test aswell as fans are also paying good money to see them.

Most off the top internationals don't usually play against Italy, any T2 side and some get Summer Tours off. Are you opposed to all that aswell.

Look at WC winning English team. They had their stars and they played so much that when they retired England had alot of players that hadn't built up any experience to carry on to the same level. Resting stars to bring through the next player is part of a team sport. Fans pay to see the team. BOD was kept on at Ireland level because because Ireland hadn't brought through a suitable replacement that the coach could trust.

If a Star play like AWJ/Sexton are injuried or rested which both are alot by their Region/Province it allows they next player to stake a claim. If we only play the best player every game you don't get young players taking their chance because they aren't the star.

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Post by BigGee Mon Aug 23, 2021 12:48 pm

Pretty much the only way we are going to see international players playing a lot more club rugby, is for their to be less international matches.

As it is the international matches that pay the bills, certainly for the Celtic nations, that seems unlikely to happen any time soon. A lot more teams ate going for the four internationals this autumn, understandably to try and recoup some of the lost revenue of the past two seasons.

As a Glasgow fan, I have never felt that we don't see enough of our internationals. They get time off after international blocks and also get rotated in and out of the team an appropriate amount. The star players often get prioritised for the bigger games as well, which is understandable.

It is a squad that wins a championship and not just a team. Younger players need time to develop and the value of club journeymen should not be understated either.

The tweaks made to the URC scheduling may help the situation this year onwards, but you can't make players play any more than they do at the moment.

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Post by profitius Mon Aug 23, 2021 4:10 pm

The sooner people realise rugby is a squad based game the better. Players have to be managed. There is no way around that. They can only play a certain amount of games per year and still need to be rotated.
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Post by LordDowlais Mon Aug 23, 2021 4:24 pm

profitius wrote:The sooner people realise rugby is a squad based game the better. Players have to be managed. There is no way around that. They can only play a certain amount of games per year and still need to be rotated.

I get that, but I would rather the big fixtures, like the derbies, had all the star players available.

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Post by neilthom7 Mon Aug 23, 2021 6:07 pm

That's a fair enough opinion.

I think it's difficult for the league because everyone will have a different opinion.

For example I would actually rather play the other provinces in those periods as it would likely be less of a disadvantage than playing some outside teams who have all their internationals.

If we were for example to play the derbies some other times when everyone is available that would mean we would have to play games against outside teams when the internationals were away.

So you could end up with say ireland and wales playing 4 internationals in November and the others playing 3, Ulster then have to play the bulls. No internationals for Ulster full squad for Bulls, they hammer Ulster and at the end of the season Ulster miss out on play offs/europe by only a few points.

That would make me much more unhappy than than playing Munster when we both had say 3 to 5 guys missing. I'd still be interested in that cos its an inter pro and cos of the passion that would be on display etc.

However that is just my opinion and others will differ and that is kind of the point I'm trying to make.

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Post by Brendan Mon Aug 23, 2021 6:38 pm

For the bigger teams such as Leinster and Ospreys do they really see Connacht/Dragons as a big a game as say Glasgow.

Derbies might be big in the Country but when it comes to the top teams playing each other alot more people will want to see the top players playing, your Scarlets v Leinster, Munster v Ospreys, Ulster v Glasgow. It's what sells the TV money.

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Post by BigGee Mon Aug 23, 2021 7:42 pm

It's also the reality of a league or a conference.

If you are the top dog and have points in hand, you can afford to rest a few players.

If you are in a dogfight for a playoff or a European place, you might be inclined to throw the kitchen sink at it.

Easy to complain about the top teams resting players, but if you are the top teams, to some extent you have earned that right.

The answer is really simple. Beat them when they put out a weaker team, they might be a bit less inclined to do it the next time!

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Post by profitius Tue Aug 24, 2021 5:31 pm

Sharks have been busy recruiting. They're looking strong.
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Post by Old Man Tue Aug 24, 2021 6:08 pm

The currie cup has been very interesting from a competitive point of view.

And I am not sure what to make of it.


There has been a number of matches cancelled due to covid.

So it doesn't provide a true reflection of where teams are as some may have missed playing the Bulls or Sharks and others the Lions.

Bulls lead the log with Sharks second.

But then Pumas are third, ahead of Western Province and Griquas having played on less match.

Lions are at the bottom, I think they are in trouble, Rudolh Strauli has announced they are looking for a new coaching team for the Lions.

I think Bulls and Sharks will be the two best teams this season as they have done by far the most recruiting.

Stormers is difficult to predict, and Lions will struggle


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Post by mikey_dragon Tue Aug 24, 2021 7:39 pm

I know Bulls have been, but what about Sharks? Are they just nicking players from other teams in SA?

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Post by Old Man Tue Aug 24, 2021 8:06 pm

some from other SA teams, some South African players returning from Europe and one Australian Ben Tapuai

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Post by mikey_dragon Tue Aug 24, 2021 8:51 pm

Grobler was decent and brings a lot of club level experience. I wonder if he has international ambitions? He would struggle to get a look-in though.

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Post by Old Man Tue Aug 24, 2021 9:05 pm

Yeah our locking stocks are pretty full, Etzebeth, de Jager, Mostert and Snyman, and then you already have Marvin Orie and Janse van Rensburg brought into the squad.

May even have forgotten one.

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Post by mikey_dragon Tue Aug 24, 2021 10:51 pm

A couple years back, Etzebeth was pictured with an SA schoolboy, and he was even bigger… I wonder who he was? Maybe it was David Meihuizen, a big man for sure.

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Post by Brendan Wed Aug 25, 2021 11:10 am

From what I can see from the RC championship the Sharks have 8 players which include their 2 props and back 3.  That back three with Am at centre looks very tasty and will be really good going forward not that those players looked that bad defending. They also picked up a win v the Bulls which is great for the mental attitudes.

Stromers have 6 players including their front row.

Bulls have 4. The challange for them is are they the team that beat SA A or are they more the Rainbow Cup final team of plan A and we aren't changing. I think the big difference between the two games was Goosen.

The team I am really worried for is the Lions.  Bottom of the Currie Cup, no Boks missing and most likely to struggle up front.  As the Cheetahs showed when they lost badly to Zebre away from home their first season even the weak Pro12 teams will be organised up front.

Sharks are the one team to play before the AIs and I pity the teams going to Durban in the run in after the 6 nations.  Most of their 8 players got good playing time over both games which shows their standards and their Currie Cup team has looked good. They are also strenghting their squad.

Defence though is still the big question mark for each SA team as the Bulls conceded against Benetton like they did against the other SA teams but couldn't open the defence as easily as they would with SA teams. 2032 pts so far in 32 games or 63.5 per game. I think Leinster v Bulls will be a big win but SAs top teams to learn quickly.

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Post by Old Man Wed Aug 25, 2021 12:31 pm

Brendan, the best thing that could have happened was the Bulls losing to Benneton.

The SA teams have been put on notice. They are preparing for what's coming. There is no sense of complacency now.

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Post by Brendan Wed Aug 25, 2021 3:23 pm

Old Man wrote:Brendan, the best thing that could have happened was the Bulls losing to Benneton.

The SA teams have been put on notice. They are preparing for what's coming. There is no sense of complacency now.

I agree it was the best thing to happen and the SA teams well aware of the challange they will face. I know Jake White was asked if the Currie Cup scores were worry heading into he URC and he gave a political answer of they must adapt to us as much as we must to them.

But just like the Lions knew what was coming v SA A it was alot different when it came. I think Leinster are going to be looking to lay down a statement in their opening game against the Bulls. It will be the first game in front of their fans in 18 months and they will also want to show that they are top dog still. I am expecting them to hit 50pts as they will have a strong team out and alot of those players are fighting for their place such as the Byrnes at 10. Few teams can run over or around Leinster but they will do both to the opposition and the bench will be so strong aswell.

But it is nagging me that the Bulls are much more match fit so it might be closer than I think. The SA teams are probably better conditioned and better at their gameplay.

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Post by Old Man Wed Aug 25, 2021 4:02 pm

Brendan wrote:
Old Man wrote:Brendan, the best thing that could have happened was the Bulls losing to Benneton.

The SA teams have been put on notice. They are preparing for what's coming. There is no sense of complacency now.

I agree it was the best thing to happen and the SA teams well aware of the challange they will face.  I know Jake White was asked if the Currie Cup scores were worry heading into he URC and he gave a political answer of they must adapt to us as much as we must to them.

But just like the Lions knew what was coming v SA A it was alot different when it came.  I think Leinster are going to be looking to lay down a statement in their opening game against the Bulls.  It will be the first game in front of their fans in 18 months and they will also want to show that they are top dog still.  I am expecting them to hit 50pts as they will have a strong team out and alot of those players are fighting for their place such as the Byrnes at 10. Few teams can run over or around Leinster but they will do both to the opposition and the bench will be so strong aswell.

But it is nagging me that the Bulls are much more match fit so it might be closer than I think.  The SA teams are probably better conditioned and better at their gameplay.

I still think there are a couple of teams in the URC with stronger squads than we have, I don't think we must get too excited about the recruiting the SA teams have done yet.

i think they need a few seasons, get more revenue sothat they can really build strong squads.

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Post by Brendan Wed Aug 25, 2021 4:49 pm

My view is Sharks for top 4 and Bulls top 8. Having seen the extra players the Sharks brought in plus their internationals I think puts them ahead of the Bulls. SR 2020 really was their year to win SR.

Stormers could be top12 but 7-12 should be compeditive.

Lions could be cellar dwellers unless things start turning around, things seem to be off. Their games should be all running though so can't wait for them v Connacht which should be like a SR match of all out attack.

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Post by LordDowlais Mon Sep 06, 2021 10:57 am

Fans in Wales are not happy at all with the scheduling of the Welsh derbies, it's all over twitter, and it has made the national news in Wales as well.

I know it's WOL, and people do not like it, but it is all here for you:-

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/fans-fume-over-welsh-derby-21420926

Fans fume over Welsh derby dates in new United Rugby Championship as league branded 'absolute joke'

There will be no traditional west Wales derby on Boxing Day and the Wales stars won’t be available for Cardiff v Dragons in October

Welsh rugby fans have been reacting with anger to the way derby matches have been scheduled in the new United Rugby Championship.

There is unrest over the fact there will be no traditional west Wales derby on Boxing Day, while Welsh international stars won’t be available for the Cardiff-Dragons showdown in October.

Both of those fixtures normally attract bumper crowds and there is concern over how attendances will now be affected.

There has been a change to the scheduling of derby matches for this first season of the URC, the 16-team cross-continent competition which will feature South Africa’s top four sides.

In the old PRO12/14, all the teams generally played derbies on the same weekends.

But now they are dotted all around the calendar, as revealed by the release of the URC fixture list.

You have one Welsh derby in week one (Dragons v Ospreys), another in week two (Ospreys v Cardiff) and a further one in week five (Cardiff-Dragons).

The scheduling of that latter east Wales derby for Saturday, October 23, at the Arms Park is going down badly with fans.

That’s just seven days before Wales take on New Zealand at the adjoining Principality Stadium in the opening autumn international.

So the Welsh stars will be in camp preparing to take on the All Blacks and will only be available for the Cardiff-Dragons game if Wayne Pivac decides to release them to get some game-time.

One fan took to social media to write: “Scheduling a fixture which should be a likely sell-out in that way strips it of credibility and will inevitably kill interest.

“It’s hugely disappointing and I’d love to know the explanation.

“If you want to increase interest in a league which attracts the casual fan the way steak restaurants attract vegans, you can not throw derby games in the bin like that.

“The simplest way to encourage fans in is through derbies. Packed grounds, good games, good atmospheres.

“Which is why those games need to be treated like gold dust.”

Another commented: “So no internationals for a derby then? Absolute joke of a league stealing money.

“What are the games that gets people into the grounds and therefore increase interest and revenue? Derbies.

“What are the things the URC mess with? Derbies.

“Whoever in the unions and the league suggested and signed off on this should be sacked.”

There are the traditional Welsh derbies over the Christmas holiday period, with two on Boxing Day and two more on New Year’s Day.

But it’s the way they have been scheduled which has caused further displeasure.

Boxing Day normally sees west Wales and east Wales derbies.

But this year, Cardiff will host the Scarlets on December 26, while the Ospreys entertain the Dragons.

Instead, it will be New Year’s Day which sees Dragons v Cardiff and Scarlets v Ospreys.

The absence of the usual west Wales derby on Boxing Day has not gone down well.

One fan said: “Absolute joke of a fixture list.

“Why on earth schedule Cardiff-Scarlets on Boxing Day?

“It’s a traditional big pay day for the Ospreys and Scarlets, and keeps it as local as possible.

“Are they actually TRYING to destroy the support in Wales?”

Another chipped in to say: “Poor there’s no local Derby on Boxing Day and Scarlets have to go to Cardiff.”

Looking at the sporting schedule over Christmas in terms of the east Wales clash, Newport County are at home to Forest Green Rovers on Boxing Day, so Rodney Parade would have been unavailable.

On this point, one fan said: “If the change to the Boxing Day scheduling is because Newport County are at home, why not play the Cardiff vs Dragons Christmas derby at the Arms Park then switch the fixtures?

“Then the October derby that’s going to end up being an A game can be played at Rodney Parade.”

Making a more general point, one fan said: “Apart from the disaster that is the Cardiff v Dragons date, the only thing I would have changed is having the opening round as derbies for all four Welsh clubs. It would have got the season off to a bang.”

And another tweeter added: “Fixtures done by lucky dip by a blind man’s dog?”

Turning to later in the season, Judgement Day is set to return following a break due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It will take place on the weekend of April 22-24 at the Principality Stadium, with Cardiff taking on the Ospreys and the Dragons facing the Scarlets.

There will be further individual derbies on January 8 (Scarlets v Dragons), the weekend of April 1-3 (Scarlets v Cardiff) and in the penultimate round of matches at the end of April (Ospreys v Scarlets).

It just goes to show, that the league has not got a clue when it comes to fans and support in Wales, it's no wonder how the league is struggling.

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Post by Old Man Mon Sep 06, 2021 11:06 am

Spare a thought for the SA teams who will play their first four matches in Europe without any of their Springboks. I cannot think of a harsher and more challenging start for the SA teams in the newly formed URC.

Talking of starting your first four rounds on the back foot.

They will have it all to do after such a start.

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Post by LordDowlais Mon Sep 06, 2021 11:41 am

Yep, it's not ideal I know, but the Welsh derbies are money spinners for the regions, especially the local ones, messing about with the traditional boxing day ones is really going to upset the fans in Wales.

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Post by Brendan Mon Sep 06, 2021 11:44 am

Lord no offence but you can't blame the URC for the derbies.  What TV company will be showing them.  Might they have had the biggest say in what derbies took place over the new year period.  It's not like any Other TV company or union or team in the league cares if one of the Welsh derbies take place on Stephen's Day or New Years day.  That is a Wales issue not a league issue.

On the derby in October there would be loads of complaints if the two Welsh teams had to play against stacked non Welsh teams with their internationals while the poor welsh were away.  If people want to be upset they will always find a way. Again it's not the leagues fault that WRU organised a game a week early.  Saints play Leicester and Quinn's play Sarries the week before England's first AI, is the Prem now a joke and loads of outrage in England.  URC run the competition not the teams.

They complain that there are derbies week one and two.  You would figure with fans finally let back in the stadiums, the fans would want a good derby in the early weeks.

I don't see any issue with derbies spread over the season.  Either they are your biggest games or they are not. Also easy to organise to go to Swansea over Edinbrugh on a month notice if you supported another Welsh team.

It seems people just want to complain about the league rather than hold the people in Wales organisations responsible.

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Post by LordDowlais Mon Sep 06, 2021 11:47 am

Brendan wrote:Lord no offence but you can't blame the URC for the derbies.  What TV company will be showing them.  Might they have had the biggest say in what derbies took place over the new year period.  It's not like any Other TV company or union or team in the league cares if one of the Welsh derbies take place on Stephen's Day or New Years day.  That is a Wales issue not a league issue.

On the derby in October there would be loads of complaints if the two Welsh teams had to play against stacked non Welsh teams with their internationals while the poor welsh were away.  If people want to be upset they will always find a way. Again it's not the leagues fault that WRU organised a game a week early.  Saints play Leicester and Quinn's play Sarries the week before England's first AI, is the Prem now a joke and loads of outrage in England.  URC run the competition not the teams.

They complain that there are derbies week one and two.  You would figure with fans finally let back in the stadiums, the fans would want a good derby in the early weeks.

I don't see any issue with derbies spread over the season.  Either they are your biggest games or they are not.  Also easy to organise to go to Swansea over Edinbrugh on a month notice if you supported another Welsh team.

It seems people just want to complain about the league rather than hold the people in Wales organisations responsible.

Yes, that is exactly it. Well done. Rolling Eyes

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