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Dragons Season Thread 21/22

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RiscaGame
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Post by The Oracle Thu 26 Aug 2021, 5:43 pm

James Benjamin has been turned into a hooker! We do have too many back rowers so this might be good for him from a personal point of view in terms of getting game time, but will be interesting to see if he's able to become a top level player in that position.

https://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/19540310.james-benjamin-moves-flanker-hooker-dragons/
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Post by RiscaGame Thu 26 Aug 2021, 7:03 pm

It seems a bit mad. We already have four on the books that I can immediately think of (Dee, Hibbard, Shipp and Davies). I know we got hit a bit with injuries, but to let Lawrence go and then do this seems a little counter productive.

I do like Jumbo as a player, but this is his third positional change now, so you have to question his value a bit. I actually thought he may do okay at centre and he didn’t really get a chance at that.

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Post by mikey_dragon Fri 27 Aug 2021, 11:54 am

The Oracle wrote:James Benjamin has been turned into a hooker!  We do have too many back rowers so this might be good for him from a personal point of view in terms of getting game time, but will be interesting to see if he's able to become a top level player in that position.  

https://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/19540310.james-benjamin-moves-flanker-hooker-dragons/

I don't see it happening.


We've signed Lewis Jones on loan, it's another one they've bigged up only for it to be an underwhelming signing. I didn't realise we were short there, so I assume Betrano is away for a few weeks. Cardiff fans really don't rate Lewis Jones.

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Post by RiscaGame Fri 27 Aug 2021, 12:00 pm

Yeah. Bertrano is away until after the Autumn, I think?

Seems a bit of an unnecessary signing mind. We still have Dean Ryan's fave Tavis Knoyle on our books and I thought Babos looked okay still, in the Mickey Mouse cup.

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Post by RiscaGame Fri 27 Aug 2021, 2:51 pm

Fixtures, taken from Dragons release. Shame to swap the Christmas derbies around. Also a pity for it to be a Cardiff derby without the internationals. Likely to be two Sunday games to start, including the Ospreys game. Bit rubbish that too.

Full Fixture List

R1 - Sunday, September 26 - Dragons v Ospreys | 14:00 UK / 15:00 ITA & SA | Premier Sports

R2 – Weekend of October 1/2/3 - Dragons v Leinster | Date & KO TBC | S4C, RTÉ, Premier Sports

R3 – Saturday, October 9 - Connacht v Dragons | 17:15 UK / 18:15 ITA & SA | TG4, S4C, Premier Sports

R4 – Friday, October 15 - Dragons v DHL Stormers | 19:35 UK / 20:35 ITA & SA | BBC Wales, Super Sport, Premier Sports

R5 –  Saturday, October 23 - Cardiff v Dragons | 17:15 UK / 18:15 ITA & SA | Premier Sports

R6 – Saturday, November 27 - Dragons v Edinburgh | 17:15 UK / 18:15 ITA / 19:15 SA | Premier Sports

R7 – Saturday, December 4 - Glasgow Warriors v Dragons | 17:15 UK / 18:15 ITA / 19:15 SA | Premier Sports

R8 - Sunday, December 26 - Ospreys v Dragons | 17:15 UK / 18:15 ITA / 19:15 SA | S4C, Premier Sports

R9 – Saturday, January 1 - Dragons v Cardiff | 15:00 UK / 16:00 ITA / 17:00 SA | BBC Wales, Premier Sports

R10 – Saturday, January 8 - Scarlets v Dragons | 19:35 UK / 20:35 ITA / 21 :35 SA | Premier Sports

R11 – Weekend of Jan 28/29/30 - Dragons v Benetton

R12 – Weekend of Feb 18/19/20 - Dragons v Ulster

R13 - Weekend of Mar 4/5/6 - Munster v Dragons

R14 – Weekend of March 25/26/27 - Vodacom Bulls v Dragons

R15 – Weekend of April 1/2/3 - Cell C Sharks v Dragons

R16 – Weekend of April 22/23/24 - Dragons v Scarlets

R17 – Weekend of April 29/30 and May 1 - Zebre v Dragons

R18 – Weekend of May 20/21/22 - Dragons v Emirates Lions

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Post by RiscaGame Fri 27 Aug 2021, 2:52 pm

Oh and great offer put on by the DOSC, for the Wasps pre-season game on Sep 12. £15 Coach and Match ticket. Great value that.

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Post by The Oracle Fri 27 Aug 2021, 3:31 pm

Thanks for creating the thread, Risca. Bit lazy of me for not doing it as I was the one who mentioned it needed doing! Smile I did think about it, honest!
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Post by RiscaGame Fri 27 Aug 2021, 3:45 pm

Haha. I did think about it, because we aren’t supposed to have threads over 20 pages anyway.

But my creativeness is lacking.

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Post by The Oracle Fri 27 Aug 2021, 4:16 pm

Understated and to the point, no bells and whistles. Just like the Dragons! Run
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Post by The Oracle Thu 02 Sep 2021, 1:52 pm

We've signed Jordan Olowofela from Leicester Tigers on loan. Anyone any insight into him? Sounds like he has played in Oz in Super Rugby too. Wing or full-back, and a bit of cover for injured Ashton Hewitt.

https://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/19553835.dragons-sign-leicester-back-jordan-olowofela-loan/
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Post by RiscaGame Thu 02 Sep 2021, 6:08 pm

Centre as well, I saw on FB? Fair play, he looks like he can shift and he has a bit more pedigree than a lot of players I’d expect us to sign (ie Super Duper Rugby experience).

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Post by RiscaGame Thu 02 Sep 2021, 6:10 pm

Seems like we are doing all we can to get Cory Allen fit too.

Plus, I just saw SWA say that Rhodri is struggling to be ready for Ospreys.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu 02 Sep 2021, 6:39 pm

The Oracle wrote:We've signed Jordan Olowofela from Leicester Tigers on loan.  Anyone any insight into him?  Sounds like he has played in Oz in Super Rugby too.  Wing or full-back, and a bit of cover for injured Ashton Hewitt.

https://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/19553835.dragons-sign-leicester-back-jordan-olowofela-loan/

Very good acceleration, he's quick but not the fastest it's his acceleration that opens the gaps. He runs good lines off the wing as well. Questions remain over his defence and positioning. He looked like he stepped up down in Australia and scored some really nice tries.

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Post by RiscaGame Fri 03 Sep 2021, 11:15 am

Thanks FKAS.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Fri 03 Sep 2021, 1:08 pm

RiscaGame wrote:Thanks FKAS.

No worries I'm really hoping he goes well for you guys. His confidence was knocked coming through at a time when he were playing badly and he was exposed at 15. Hasn't really had consistent chances since. Academy graduate so it would be good to see him tear it up again, he did well down in Perth so I was surprised not to see him get a chance here.

https://www.smh.com.au/sport/rugby-union/english-guns-history-making-hat-trick-20210423-p57m01.html

See here for his acceleration. He scored a hat trick in that game as well.

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Post by RiscaGame Fri 03 Sep 2021, 1:17 pm

Dragons released a bit of a video, so I think most were on that.

Playing tomorrow too, against his parent club.

Team: Jordan Williams, Owen Jenkins, Jared Rosser, Jamie Roberts, Jordan Olowofela, Sam Davies (c), Dan Babos, Josh Reynolds, Richard Hibbard, Chris Coleman, Joe Davies, Joe Maksymiw, Ben Fry, Taine Basham, Ollie Griffiths.

Replacements: James Benjamin, Aaron Jarvis, Mesake Doge, Ben Carter, Lennon Greggains, Lewis Jones, Evan Lloyd, Jack Dixon, Luke Yendle, Huw Taylor, Ioan Davies, Josh Lewis, Aneurin Owen.

Interesting side really. It’s a bit obvious he has paired our likely weakest props with our strongest hooker, to give Benjamin a chance to scrummage between two more experienced props. Interesting to see Rosser get a shot at 13 again. I’m a little surprised to see Davies be made captain, as even though it is a friendly I would’ve thought it would be better to let Davies concentrate on his game and especially his goal kicking. Hibbard or Roberts would’ve been more obvious choices.

Also, I thought we weren’t seeing any of our internationals for this game, so wouldn’t have expected to see Carter available. He had a pretty heavy summer etc.

Game apparently being streamed by Leicester.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Fri 03 Sep 2021, 1:25 pm

Game will be streamed live. Link will be on the Tigers website, former local BBC presenter and a Tigers player to be doing the commentary. Shame Holmes and Bateman aren't playing as well so up the level of former Tigers coming back to Welford Road. 

We haven't named our side yet but I'd expect a mix. Probably not the best time to deploy your weakest props as none of Genge, Heyes or Cole played last week so I'd assume some of them will come back in. Unsure who's playing 10 as Burns went off early last week and Ford finished last season with an injury so unsure how fit he is currently. Hoping Kelly plays as I'd be interested to see how he does up against Roberts.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Fri 03 Sep 2021, 2:06 pm

Tigers team;

15 Freddie Steward

14 Kobus van Wyk

13 Guy Porter

12 Dan Kelly

11 Hosea Saumaki

10 Freddie Burns

9 Jack van Poortvliet

1 James Whitcombe

2 Nic Dolly

3 Joe Heyes

4 Ollie Chessum

5 Cameron Henderson

6 Hanro Liebenberg (c)

7 Tommy Reffell

8 Gareth Evans

REPLACEMENTS: Francois van Wyk, Tom Youngs, Dan Cole, Eli Snyman, George Martin; Jonny Law, Dan Lancaster, Juan Pablo Socino, Jacob Cusick, Harry Potter, Nemani Nadolo, Kini Murimurivalu

Still no Ford which is a worry. A young starting tight five for Tigers with all of them under the age of 24. An entire replacement backline on the bench so might be a bit disjointed in the second half.

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Post by RiscaGame Fri 03 Sep 2021, 3:43 pm

Got your wish then with Kelly.

Our front row is the same and quite young. It’s more an issue with Coleman scrummaging (TH). That’s just making assumptions that Leicester will always have a big pack. If they’re relatively young too, it might be a bit more even.

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Post by RiscaGame Fri 03 Sep 2021, 3:44 pm

Reffell v Basham/Griffiths could be very exciting.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Fri 03 Sep 2021, 4:15 pm

RiscaGame wrote:Got your wish then with Kelly.

Our front row is the same and quite young. It’s more an issue with Coleman scrummaging (TH). That’s just making assumptions that Leicester will always have a big pack. If they’re relatively young too, it might be a bit more even.

Yeah I'd expected us to go with more experience to be honest. The props are both good scrummagers for their age but there isn't a lot of weight behind them. Henderson is very much a lineout leader style lock and Chessum has played blindside since being promoted from the development squad previously though he played lock at age grade. Should be a good battle at scrum time.

Roberts will be a good test for Kelly who's still only 20 but played really well last season and got his England debut in the summer. Roberts might not be his vintage best but he's still going to be a handful and his rugby brain will still be sharp. Burns at 10 isn't the most committed defender so Kelly will have to marshall that 10/12 channel well.

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Post by The Oracle Mon 06 Sep 2021, 9:18 am

Anyone see the Leicester game? Sounded like they were very comfortable first half and then they perhaps relaxed a bit and we hit back with a few intercepts and another try. So perhaps not as close as the final score suggested? Always difficult to read into these warm up games as that was a pretty mixed starting lineup for us. But saying that there was some decent experience and 1st team players there for the Dragons too, so perhaps should have done better (1st half)?
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Post by mikey_dragon Mon 06 Sep 2021, 10:10 am

Most of that starting front 5 are surplus, so this is inevitable.

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Post by The Oracle Mon 06 Sep 2021, 10:45 am

Do you see the props (Reynolds and Coleman) as being up n coming and potential to develop into decent pros or ones who should be let go? Not seen much of either to be honest.
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Post by mikey_dragon Mon 06 Sep 2021, 11:06 am

You would previously have assumed both have good potential, but Coleman has been a let down so should probably be let go, especially seeing as most pro's elsewhere are ready to step up at age 20. Josh Reynolds looks as though he has a few good things about him but not at the scrum, which is where it matters the most for a prop forward. Joe Davies just doesn't do enough. Pro rugby have moved forward, we still haven't. I can't see us letting anyone go anyway, unless we can buy better.

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Post by RiscaGame Fri 10 Sep 2021, 1:38 pm

Wasps: Ali Crossdale; Marcus Watson, Malakai Fekitoa, Michael Le Bourgeois, Josh Bassett, Jacob Umaga, Dan Robson, Robin Hislop, Tom Cruse, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Vaea Fifita, Elliott Stooke, Brad Shields (captain), Thomas Young, Tom Willis.

Replacements: Dan Frost, Ben Harris, Biyi Alo, Tim Cardall, Ben Morris, Sam Wolstenholme, Jimmy Gopperth, Zach Kibirige, Elliot Millar-Mills, Mario Pichardie, Kieran Curran, Will Porter, Rob Miller, Will Simonds, Sam Spink, Matteo Minozzi, Luke Mehson

Dragons: Ioan Davies; Jonah Holmes, Jack Dixon, Aneurin Owen, Jordan Olowofela; Sam Davies (captain), Dan Babos; Aki Seiuli, Ellis Shipp, Mesake Doge, Ben Carter, Will Rowlands, Aaron Wainwright, Taine Basham, Ross Moriarty.

Replacements: James Benjamin, Josh Reynolds, Chris Coleman, Joe Maksymiw, Huw Taylor, Ollie Griffiths, Ben Fry, Lewis Jones, Josh Lewis, Adam Warren, Evan Lloyd, Jordan Williams.

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Post by RiscaGame Fri 10 Sep 2021, 1:43 pm

I would probably have partnered Benjamin with the two more experienced props again, but I guess Shipp is the more likely to feature v Ospreys.

Probably would’ve played Warren over Dixon at 13. Everything else I’m pretty happy with. Probably not far off what’ll start v Ospreys pack wise, save for Griffiths for Basham probably and dependant on how Brown and Dee recover.

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Post by mikey_dragon Fri 10 Sep 2021, 9:27 pm

Are Dee and Brown injured, or just resting? The pack and replacements is certainly very close to the best we will be putting out for the season.

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Post by RiscaGame Sat 11 Sep 2021, 7:25 am

Brown has a stinger still and Dee has a calf problem, I think Chris Kirwan said.

Probably just managing them.

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Post by mikey_dragon Sat 11 Sep 2021, 9:37 am

Hope they are available for the Ospreys game. I’d like to get over and watch that, it’s been a while…

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Post by RiscaGame Sat 11 Sep 2021, 9:40 am

I would go to that too, if I could.

Will be interesting to see the gate for it. Should do pretty well, given the time off etc.

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Post by The Oracle Sat 11 Sep 2021, 9:41 pm

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/58529060

Dragons considering a name change. The Blues/Cardiff example mentioned too, so I’m guessing they’re thinking along the lines of ‘Newport’.

What are people’s thoughts? As a Newport boy I’m undecided. I was actually against the calls to revert back to Newport years ago as I genuinely felt that embracing the notion of the region trying to represent a bigger area was the way to go. And I do not feel that the flood gates will suddenly open if we change to Newport and that the crowds will be huge. Crowds aren’t too dissimilar now to a lot of the attendances when it was Newport before regional rugby.

On the other hand I’ve also come to believe that ‘representing an area’ is a bit of marketing/blazers spin and perhaps doesn’t need to happen to attract crowds. To use football as an example, Manchester City and Utd attract fans just fine from wider areas than just from Manchester. People from all over the UK and indeed the world support them so having a city name in the title doesn’t really matter for them. Leicester Tigers probably draw in fans from wider than just the city of Leicester. So I don’t think there’s an issue generally with having a team called Newport and it not representing other areas of Wales such as the valleys, etc. People will support it if they want, and for a variety of reasons (family, favourite player, where they grew up, first game they got taken too, etc.), and they don’t have to either if they don’t want to. But perhaps the marketing becomes easier if you have that place name identity otherwise they wouldn’t be thinking about changing it again.

I know growing up I had some friends from places such as Cwmbran and Chepstow and other places outside Newport, and they supported Newport RFC just because it was the biggest pro team locally. So the ‘regional’ thing, or lack of it, wasn’t an issue for them. I also met guys at the Dragons in more recent years who were from places such as Blaenavon who only started attending Rodney Parade when regional rugby started as they felt that this was now their team as it was a Gwent team. They never supported Newport RFC. So I’m not sure what would happen if we changed. Lose a few and gain a few most probably.

What do you think? Thinking about you Risca given your posting name - were you ever a Newport fan or just a Dragons fan as a result of regional rugby as they covered a wider area including Risca?

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Post by RiscaGame Sat 11 Sep 2021, 11:44 pm

I watched Ebbw as the game turned pro more, as my mates played for them. However, I did do a few games at the Port, including the cup final win. When the game went regional, I found it easier to get behind the whole Men of Gwent thing, when it became obvious that was the direction. For a good while I found it easier to get behind Ospreys, as I found it a bit hard to get behind a Newport team for various reasons and I lived away for six years, so never really watched much rugby live anyway. When I came closer to home, I went with my friends to RP and noticed the Gwent chants etc and liked that.

Now I am not too bothered what the name is, but they can’t keep having this potential debate either. I have always thought we should celebrate some sort of history, be it Gwent rugby as a whole or just Newport’s. Now I see more value in using the Newport name and being alongside Newport County. I don’t like the idea of Dragons becoming Newport County in name though.

I guess the buy out has to happen first and that seems a million miles away still, so I’m not really getting too excited by it yet.

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Post by mikey_dragon Sun 12 Sep 2021, 9:03 pm

According to Dean we struggled in the scrum against Wasps, I didn’t see it so I’m not sure who and when. That’s still a little concerning, as Wasps aren’t a big scrum team although they are pretty good at throwing the ball around.

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Post by RiscaGame Mon 13 Sep 2021, 8:38 am

Both sets of props struggled really. It was worse in the second half though. Benjamin had two throws during the game and missed them both too.

Reynolds’ burst for his try was very good though.

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Post by LordDowlais Mon 13 Sep 2021, 9:20 am

The Oracle wrote:https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/58529060

Dragons considering a name change.  The Blues/Cardiff example mentioned too, so I’m guessing they’re thinking along the lines of ‘Newport’.

What are people’s thoughts?  As a Newport boy I’m undecided.  I was actually against the calls to revert back to Newport years ago as I genuinely felt that embracing the notion of the region trying to represent a bigger area was the way to go.  And I do not feel that the flood gates will suddenly open if we change to Newport and that the crowds will be huge.  Crowds aren’t too dissimilar now to a lot of the attendances when it was Newport before regional rugby.

On the other hand I’ve also come to believe that ‘representing an area’ is a bit of marketing/blazers spin and perhaps doesn’t need to happen to attract crowds.  To use football as an example, Manchester City and Utd attract fans just fine from wider areas than just from Manchester.  People from all over the UK and indeed the world support them so having a city name in the title doesn’t really matter for them. Leicester Tigers probably draw in fans from wider than just the city of Leicester.  So I don’t think there’s an issue generally with having a team called Newport and it not representing other areas of Wales such as the valleys, etc.  People will support it if they want, and for a variety of reasons (family, favourite player, where they grew up, first game they got taken too, etc.), and they don’t have to either if they don’t want to.  But perhaps the marketing becomes easier if you have that place name identity otherwise they wouldn’t be thinking about changing it again.

I know growing up I had some friends from places such as Cwmbran and Chepstow and other places outside Newport, and they supported Newport RFC just because it was the biggest pro team locally.  So the ‘regional’ thing, or lack of it, wasn’t an issue for them.  I also met guys at the Dragons in more recent years who were from places such as Blaenavon who only started attending Rodney Parade when regional rugby started as they felt that this was now their team as it was a Gwent team.  They never supported Newport RFC.  So I’m not sure what would happen if we changed.  Lose a few and gain a few most probably.

What do you think?  Thinking about you Risca given your posting name - were you ever a Newport fan or just a Dragons fan as a result of regional rugby as they covered a wider area including Risca?


The whole regional setup is farcical, first things first, we need to be open and honest. Not many people wanted to support a made up region, some did, I was a Warriors season ticket holder from the outset. Crowds were always bigger back when they were clubs, mostly because you had a lot of travelling support. It is a lot easier to go and watch your club play away 50 miles away than it is 500 miles away, be honest, we do not see any Scottish/Italian/Irish fans rock up at the regions to watch their teams, everyone relies on the home support and in Wales, there is far too much rugby going on for the amount of people who want to watch it.

If Dragons revert to Newport, just as Cardiff have dropped Blues, then we will be halfway back to where we were from the start, and we would have wasted the best part of 20 years trying to change.

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Post by Welshmushroom Mon 13 Sep 2021, 11:50 am

I get the viewpoint from sponsorship but from a personal perspective I would find it hard to support a newport named team. I know its not a big deal but the whole point of regions in the first place is that they represent entire counties.

Granted Cardiff being the size of city they are and given they just never got much support from up the valleys so for them it probably never worked out as much of a loss. Newport isnt the size of Cardiff and the difference here is there are a number of Dragons fans that do travel from places like, Blackwood, Risca, etc.

Maybe its not enough of a change to stop me supporting them but i think this no doubt will affect their ability to draw new fans from further out locations.

With Cardiff I understand the added issue that we will have a league with a team with similar name in it (Blue Bulls) but there isn't a union side currently with a name of Dragons attached.

As I said I probably wont stop me supporting them but I'm not going to lie and say I think that the side represents Gwent with a name like Newport.

To be honest both Cardiff and Dragons think name changes may help supporters numbers when in reality success tends to be the only thing that really impacts supporters numbers in the long term. People forget that when Newport did draw 10K crowds it wasn't because of the name but primarily because their benefactor put a great side out on the field and they did well in the league.

So putting a winning team out impacts crowds more than any novelty name changes.

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Post by LordDowlais Mon 13 Sep 2021, 12:14 pm

Welshmushroom wrote:As I said I probably wont stop me supporting them but I'm not going to lie and say I think that the side represents Gwent with a name like Newport.

Yep, this is the honesty I was looking for. OK

The regions will continue to struggle for support if people feel they have no affinity to them. Be nice for the people of Newport though, to have their club back. Very Happy

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Post by The Oracle Mon 13 Sep 2021, 12:50 pm

Welshmushroom wrote:I get the viewpoint from sponsorship but from a personal perspective I would find it hard to support a newport named team.  I know its not a big deal but the whole point of regions in the first place is that they represent entire counties.

Granted Cardiff being the size of city they are and given they just never got much support from up the valleys so for them it probably never worked out as much of a loss.  Newport isnt the size of Cardiff and the difference here is there are a number of Dragons fans that do travel from places like, Blackwood, Risca, etc.

Maybe its not enough of a change to stop me supporting them but i think this no doubt will affect their ability to draw new fans from further out locations.  

With Cardiff I understand the added issue that we will have a league with a team with similar name in it (Blue Bulls) but there isn't a union side currently with a name of Dragons attached.  

As I said I probably wont stop me supporting them but I'm not going to lie and say I think that the side represents Gwent with a name like Newport.

To be honest both Cardiff and Dragons think name changes may help supporters numbers when in reality success tends to be the only thing that really impacts supporters numbers in the long term.  People forget that when Newport did draw 10K crowds it wasn't because of the name but primarily because their benefactor put a great side out on the field and they did well in the league.

So putting a winning team out impacts crowds more than any novelty name changes.

See, the bit in bold above I used to agree with. And I was happy to argue this for years when people said about reverting to Newport. But I’m just not sure that it’s true anymore. Crowds, according to LD above, are smaller now at the Dragons than at Newport (I’d argue the opposite based on match reports from pre-regional days). Where are all of these new fans from around ‘the region’? For me, I just no longer feel that a place name in the title is the predictor of crowd size and ability to attract a crowd from outside the area. I support Aston Villa in football. I have no ties to Birmingham, have only been to Birmingham a handful of times and that was to attend Villa matches, etc., etc. So I am a fan from outside the area. At some point I decided to support them and I didn’t need to feel they represented me to do so. Why is that the case for all sports yet never for Welsh rugby? It just doesn’t make sense. Yes of course you are more likely to get support from your local area, but that does not preclude others from outside from becoming a fan. The best example of this is the number of Ospreys jerseys you’d see walking around areas of Gwent. Why? It’s not because they felt disenfranchised by the Dragons. It was because the Ospreys had the stars and were winning stuff and they wanted to be associated with that rather than the failing and unfashionable Dragons. Just like everyone in school (apart from me for some reason!) supporting Liverpool, Man Utd, Everton, etc. when were young in the late 80s. No-one supported the likes of Cardiff City or Newport County back when we were in school and then all of a sudden they rose up the leagues and everyone is a Newport County fan all of a sudden!

So yes, I completely agree that the success thing is the main factor. And if the business ‘suits’ think a name change is the best way of delivering success and therefore growth then perhaps a name change is warranted. And try to grow support based on some success. Like I said, I’m torn on this but I’m coming round to this way of thinking even if only in terms of what ‘support’ actually means and where it has the potential to come from.
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Post by LordDowlais Mon 13 Sep 2021, 1:06 pm

Yes Oracle, I agree, success will bring more fans, but back in the old Welsh Premiership the crowds were obviously bigger, you had more away fans in the grounds.

Pontypridd to Newport is a lot easier for fans, than anywhere in Ireland or Scotland to Newport. I used to go to Rodney Parade to watch games between Ponty and Newport and the place would be rocking. Cardiff and Newport would be epic, Llanelli, Swansea, Neath had massive crowds, it's just how it was, people would always travel with their club. This is proven with the regional derbies, they are sellout for the most part, because the fans will travel within Wales.

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Post by The Oracle Mon 13 Sep 2021, 1:09 pm

LD, love you to bits but why do you always make such sweeping statements that are so easy to prove wrong?!!! Just Google some league weeks from the years before regional rugby. So like 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 and you’ll see some of the woeful crowds. So not always bigger than regional rugby. Rose tinted specs on there I think! Hug The average attendances for the teams were woeful. Yes some bigger derbies but these then inflate the average figure (as they do a bit for the regions). Attendances have steadily grown since regional rugby though.

Compare Swansea average crowds pre regional compared to Ospreys now. Compare Llanelli then to Scarlets now. It’s ridiculously different now! Only Dragons/Newport has seen a decline (average of 6000+ in the years before regional and something in the 4000s now).
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Post by Welshmushroom Mon 13 Sep 2021, 1:22 pm

I think people need to remember under the old club system local Welsh teams match day tickets used to costs a fiver. If you look at regional rugby match day tickets are now around the 10-20 quid mark if your not a season ticket holder. That has made supporting a side a more substantial undertaking as part of a drinking day out. Probably doesn't apply to the majority but I'm sure spending 20 over a 5 has made a difference to some people's decisions. Especially when you then consider some of the clubs just simply have been poor over the last decade.

I see your point oracle but the reality is that a name change won't drive standards on the field. The only way that would change is to put more money into the pot and then manage it well. I don't always agree that finance was the issue for regions. In reality they spent poorly.

Look at the Scarlets their season. They are getting 9 million from the WRU this season. They decided to spend it on having almost 2 international backlines. Upfront though its a different story and given this is the area where games will be decided they no doubt will lose matches because of this. Surely the 300K for Halfpenny for example (whos at the end of his career) would have been better spent on a top draw lock. I'm specifically pointing at this example because it's doubtful halfpenny will even make the starting scarlets line up. There are dozens of these kind of mismanaged finances in welsh regional rugby history.

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Post by The Oracle Mon 13 Sep 2021, 1:26 pm

Welshmushroom wrote:I think people need to remember under the old club system local Welsh teams match day tickets used to costs a fiver.  If you look at regional rugby match day tickets are now around the 10-20 quid mark if your not a season ticket holder.  That has made supporting a side a more substantial undertaking as part of a drinking day out. Probably doesn't apply to the majority but I'm sure spending 20 over a 5 has made a difference to some people's decisions.  Especially when you then consider some of the clubs just simply have been poor over the last decade.

I see your point oracle but the reality is that a name change won't drive standards on the field.  The only way that would change is to put more money into the pot and then manage it well.  I don't always agree that finance was the issue for regions.  In reality they spent poorly.

Look at the Scarlets their season.  They are getting 9 million from the WRU this season.  They decided to spend it on having almost 2 international backlines.  Upfront though its a different story and given this is the area where games will be decided they no doubt will lose matches because of this.  Surely the 300K for Halfpenny for example (whos at the end of his career) would have been better spent on a top draw lock. I'm specifically pointing at this example because it's doubtful halfpenny will even make the starting scarlets line up.  There are dozens of these kind of mismanaged finances in welsh regional rugby history.

Firstly, isn’t that just inflation?! Pints have gone up around 3 times since 1999 too!

But if the cost is so much higher why are average attendances for Scarlets, Ospreys and Blues higher now than Llanelli, Neath or Swansea and Cardiff used to get? Only Newport - Dragons is down now compared to pre-regional days.
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Post by Welshmushroom Mon 13 Sep 2021, 1:27 pm

Its also the main concern the WRU have with the Regions.....because even if they finance them better, they dont get any input on how it is spent and if the regions have shown us anything it's they havent been great at managing their spends. Even if the WRU gave each region 10 million a season we probably still wouldn't see success because the people who are managing those franchises have no experience in managing top clubs.

Its why I maintain the best investment will always start with a astute clever manager who knows how to build and spend a budget. Sadly its the primary area the regions have always under invested and that then results in poor spends on budgets.

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Post by Welshmushroom Mon 13 Sep 2021, 1:33 pm

The Oracle wrote:
Welshmushroom wrote:I think people need to remember under the old club system local Welsh teams match day tickets used to costs a fiver.  If you look at regional rugby match day tickets are now around the 10-20 quid mark if your not a season ticket holder.  That has made supporting a side a more substantial undertaking as part of a drinking day out. Probably doesn't apply to the majority but I'm sure spending 20 over a 5 has made a difference to some people's decisions.  Especially when you then consider some of the clubs just simply have been poor over the last decade.

I see your point oracle but the reality is that a name change won't drive standards on the field.  The only way that would change is to put more money into the pot and then manage it well.  I don't always agree that finance was the issue for regions.  In reality they spent poorly.

Look at the Scarlets their season.  They are getting 9 million from the WRU this season.  They decided to spend it on having almost 2 international backlines.  Upfront though its a different story and given this is the area where games will be decided they no doubt will lose matches because of this.  Surely the 300K for Halfpenny for example (whos at the end of his career) would have been better spent on a top draw lock. I'm specifically pointing at this example because it's doubtful halfpenny will even make the starting scarlets line up.  There are dozens of these kind of mismanaged finances in welsh regional rugby history.

Firstly, isn’t that just inflation?!  Pints have gone up around 3 times since 1999 too!  

But if the cost is so much higher why are average attendances for Scarlets, Ospreys and Blues higher now than Llanelli, Neath or Swansea and Cardiff used to get?  Only Newport - Dragons is down now compared to pre-regional days.

I wasn't disputing your point. If anything i was enforcing it saying that crowds are higher in regional rugby than they were back in club rugby and even in cases were some at higher attendances, they did it with much lower ticket prices.

Yes inflation is a thing but not at 400% in 15 years. Accepted inflation rates would be 30% to 40% in that time frame so if tickets cost a tenner that would account for inflation but not at 20 quid. But people forget with the financial recession a few years back that people salaries ended up getting reset. In other words salaries did not rise by 40% in wales for the majority of people in Wales. Only people who were lucky to have stayed with a company for the same length of time probably saw that kind of salary rise.

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Post by The Oracle Mon 13 Sep 2021, 1:36 pm

Welshmushroom wrote:Its also the main concern the WRU have with the Regions.....because even if they finance them better, they dont get any input on how it is spent and if the regions have shown us anything it's they havent been great at managing their spends.  Even if the WRU gave each region 10 million a season we probably still wouldn't see success because the people who are managing those franchises have no experience in managing top clubs.

Its why I maintain the best investment will always start with a astute clever manager who knows how to build and spend a budget.  Sadly its the primary area the regions have always under invested and that then results in poor spends on budgets.

I’d disagree with that.  Just off the top of my head Dean Richards Ryan (!) has a lot of experience of managing budgets and managing top clubs.  He’s been DoR at a few places, been in the English RFU system too.  In an ideal world who would have that sort of experience?  Are you talking about people who’ve been at clubs further up the leagues?  Like top 5 England and France? Or people from other sports?
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Post by LordDowlais Mon 13 Sep 2021, 1:59 pm

Hi Oracle, I have searched the web and I cannot find anything for the attendances for the Welsh clubs back in the late 90's early 2000's.

But perhaps you are correct, and I am looking at things through rose tinted glasses. But I remember games between the usual big hitters, Llanelli, Swansea, Cardiff, Newport, Pontypridd, Neath and to a lesser extent Bridgend and Ebbw Vale always had big crowds and an atmosphere to match, the Arms Park would always be a sell out for the Schweppes Cup final, OK teams like Treorchy and Dunvant and the other lesser clubs were a joke, but it was always the travelling fans that used to crank up the atmosphere and attendances.

The thing is, in the league now, the only time you will see travelling fans, is when the regions play each other, so unless you have a massive city behind you, like Leinster have with Dublin, or like Ulster have with Belfast, then you will not get the crowds, not in a country where there are more rugby teams and football teams to support in the same area. Welsh rugby was built on local rivalry, and a public who could put all that rivalry behind them to support their country when needed.

We were dragged kicking and screaming into professionalism with the promise that you would now get a "region" to connect with, I feel it would be a massive shame if we put the best part of 20 years onto the scrap heap by going back on it.

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Post by The Oracle Mon 13 Sep 2021, 2:12 pm

I guess what I would say, LD, is this: you don’t need the WRU to tell you that a team represents you, surely? You don’t need them to draw you a map and put the place you live within a line on the map that relates to where a team ‘covers’? Feeling represented is a strange concept in sport. Do Glamorgan cricket club represent me here in Newport? Nope. Do I support them? Yep! I don’t need the ICC or whatever the governing body is to re-draw a map and tell me they are my team. That comes from within. So support a team you want to support rather than wait for the national governing body to tell you which team is yours. I think that’s one of the failures and wastes of the over the last 20 years - having the WRU try to create teams and attribute fans to them based on where they live. Just let people support who they want to!
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Post by LordDowlais Mon 13 Sep 2021, 2:48 pm

The Oracle wrote:I think that’s one of the failures and wastes of the over the last 20 years - having the WRU try to create teams and attribute fans to them based on where they live. Just let people support who they want to!

Yes I agree, and to an extent, I think it is happening. On the face of it, when you add all the people committed to the community game, all the people who play and support and help out, I think you get just as much, or perhaps more people supporting and being a part of rugby within the supposed region, than the actual team that is supposed to represent that region.

So if say there is 4000/5000 people each week watching Dragons, I would wager there are a lot more people in Gwent supporting, playing for, helping out various clubs within the region who do not have the time or money to support Dragons as well. I know in Merthyr there are at least 7 clubs with age grades with a lot of people who would not be supporting Cardiff, not including Aberdare, Pontypridd, Treforrest ect....

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Post by The Oracle Mon 13 Sep 2021, 4:23 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
The Oracle wrote:I think that’s one of the failures and wastes of the over the last 20 years - having the WRU try to create teams and attribute fans to them based on where they live. Just let people support who they want to!

Yes I agree, and to an extent, I think it is happening. On the face of it, when you add all the people committed to the community game, all the people who play and support and help out, I think you get just as much, or perhaps more people supporting and being a part of rugby within the supposed region, than the actual team that is supposed to represent that region.

So if say there is 4000/5000 people each week watching Dragons, I would wager there are a lot more people in Gwent supporting, playing for, helping out various clubs within the region who do not have the time or money to support Dragons as well. I know in Merthyr there are at least 7 clubs with age grades with a lot of people who would not be supporting Cardiff, not including Aberdare, Pontypridd, Treforrest ect....

Completely agree. And I’ve agreed with you on this topic in the past. Because the regions are made up, rather than historical entities, they ended up competing with lower league clubs rugby rather than complementing them. So someone who supports Abertillery might only have the money to support Abertillery rather than getting a Dragons ST on top. Plus the games will often clash. I don’t think this was the intended outcome when they set up ‘regions’. I think they just expected fans within a region to ditch their old club and sign up for the umbrella organisation (region).

For me the regional concept should just be applied from an administration point of view. I can see a reason for dividing Wales into 4 areas so that the youth teams and lower league clubs each have a development pathway, development officers assigned to them, coaching clinics run in each of the 4, schools in an area all feed into the same thing and can have inter- and intra- area (regional) competitions, development pathways upwards in each of the 4 that all feed up towards the pro team for that area (region). That’s much better than having nothing as it would be too big to manage. Breaking it down to 4 is good. But it doesn’t mean the fans need to be regional too! But for ‘regions’ see the old districts. We’ve had them for donkeys years, we’ve had East and West Wales stuff too, so I’m not sure they really needed a new way to divide the country into 5 (now 4) for admin purposes.
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