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URC Squad sizes and player types for 2022/23

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Post by Pot Hale Tue 14 Jun 2022, 5:36 pm

Given the normalisation of next season compared to the last two, all squads have gone through a process of cost-cutting and player shedding.
Senior squad sizes range from 40-55 players (apparently) with some being able to rely on substantial academies to bolster their playing depth during the season, or Currie Cup squads in the case of SA.

From what I can gather to date (bearing in mind that not all player movements are completed, nor have academy intakes been finished), here's an initial picture for each of the URC teams, starting with those in South Africa and finishing with Wales.   Any errors or omissions are entirely mine - feedback/corrections welcome.

What's interesting is to see the actual player numbers reduced in senior squads, and the number of academy recruits coming through. Based on data so far, some teams have made very few changes e.g. in SA, others have had comparative bloodbaths e.g. Dragons, or wholesale changes e.g. Connacht.

The number of non-qualified test players in respective unions has also a strong contrast with less than 5 in SA, and over 20 players in other countries.


Last edited by Pot Hale on Tue 14 Jun 2022, 10:25 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Post by Pot Hale Tue 14 Jun 2022, 5:55 pm

South Africa

Bulls - 5 out, 6 in
Senior squad total: 52 incl test cap players - 14
Academy/development: 0
NSAQ - 0

Lions - 6 out, 4 in
Senior squad total: 48 incl test cap players - 6
Academy/development: 0
NSAQ - 2

Sharks - 7 out, 7 in
Senior squad total: 55 incl test cap players - 17
Academy/development: 0
NSAQ - 6

Stormers - 1 out, 2 in
Senior squad total: 54 incl test cap players - 9
Academy/development: 0
NSAQ - 0

SA Total - 9 out, 11 in
Senior squad total: 209 incl test cap players - 42
Academy/development: 0
NSAQ - 6


Scotland

Edinburgh - 6 out, 3 in (0 academy players)
Senior squad total: 41 incl test cap players - 24
Academy/development: 15
NSQ - 11

Glasgow - 8 out, 8 in (4 academy players)
Senior squad total: 44 incl test cap players - 27
Academy/development: 11
NSQ - 11

Scotland total  - 14 out, 11 in (4 academy players)
Senior squad total: 85 incl test cap players - 51
Academy/development: 26
NSQ - 22


Last edited by Pot Hale on Sun 28 Aug 2022, 6:25 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Post by Pot Hale Tue 14 Jun 2022, 10:18 pm

Ireland

Connacht - 11 out, 12 in (6 academy players)
Senior squad total: 46 incl test cap players - 11
Academy/development: 13
NIQ - 3

Leinster - 10 out, 9 in (7 academy players)
Senior squad total: 45 incl test cap players - 29
Academy squad: 23
NIQ - 3

Munster - 12 out, 8 in (5 academy players)
Senior squad total: 45 incl test cap players - 21
Academy Squad: 14
NIQ - 2

Ulster - 6 out, 8 in (2 academy/club players)
Senior squad total: 48 incl test cap players - 21
Academy squad: 12
NIQ - 3

Ireland Total - 39 out, 37 in (20 academy players)
Senior squad total: 184 incl test cap players - 82
Academy squads: 62
NIQ - 11


Last edited by Pot Hale on Tue 13 Sep 2022, 10:22 am; edited 14 times in total
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Post by Pot Hale Tue 14 Jun 2022, 10:19 pm

Italy

Benetton - 13 players out; 12 players in (6 academy/amateur club players)
Senior squad total: 44 incl test cap players - 32
Additional Player squad:7
NIQ - 12

Zebre - 21 out and 22 in (0 academy players)
Senior squad total: 47 incl test cap players - 13
Academy/additional: 10
NIQ - 12

Italy Total - 34 out and 34 in (1 academy players)
Senior squad players: 91 incl test cap players - 45
Academy/additional: 15
NIQ - 24

Wales

Cardiff - 13 out, 7 in (1 academy player)
Senior squad total: 44 incl test cap players - 27
Academy/additional: 17
NWQ - 4

Dragons - 19 out, 11 in (0 academy players)
Senior squad total: 42 incl test cap players - 15
Snr Academy squad: 10
NWQ - 4

Ospreys - 7 out, 3 in (2 academy players)
Senior squad total: 47 incl test cap players - 22
Academy/development: 9
NWQ - 8

Scarlets - 8 out, 1 in (0 academy players)
Senior squad total: 51 incl test cap players - 22
Academy/development: 12
NWQ - 6

Wales Total - 47 out; 22 in (3 academy players)
Senior squad players - 184 - 86 test capped players
Academy players - 48
NWQ - 20


Last edited by Pot Hale on Tue 13 Sep 2022, 10:32 am; edited 8 times in total
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Post by mikey_dragon Wed 15 Jun 2022, 9:38 pm

The South Africans have large squads, that must include Curry Cup players?

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Post by Intotouch Wed 15 Jun 2022, 11:25 pm

So there are no academies rub by the 4 SA sides. What is the typical pathway there for young players wanting to play pro rugby? Is it the Luke Fitzgerald route? Straight from school into pro rugby but only for the supremely talented?

The Italian sides made a huge number of changes. I hope that was to hire some of those great young players their academies recently produced. Before they were voted out of existence this year.

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Post by Old Man Thu 16 Jun 2022, 1:38 am

The SA structure is Varsity Cup, the whole tournament is televised and exptremely popular, that is one pathway to pro rugby.

Here is a list of all the Tournaments in SA during 2022.

2022 SA Rugby Competition structure

Carling Currie Cup Premier Division
Participating teams: Vodacom Bulls (defending champions), Cell C Sharks, Tafel Lager Griquas, DHL Western Province, Airlink Pumas, Toyota Cheetahs, Sigma Lions
Opening round: 14/15 January (double round of matches)
Final: 25 June

Carling Currie Cup First Division
Participating teams: Leopards (defending champions), Griffons, Valke, Boland Kavaliers, Eastern Province, Border Bulldogs, SWD Eagles, Georgia, Kenya, Zimbabwe
Opening round: 1/2 April (single round of matches)
Final: 24/25 June

Women’s Premier Division
Participating teams: Border Ladies (defending champions), DHL Western Province, EP Queens, Boland Dames, Blue Bulls Women, Cell C Sharks Women, Mastercard Golden Lions Women
Opening round: 22/23 April (double round of matches)
Final: 30 July

Women’s First Division
Participating teams: Leopards, Valke, Limpopo, Pumas, Free State, Griffons, Griquas, SWD
Opening round: 10/11 June (competition structure to be confirmed)
Final: 16 July

SA Rugby Under-20 Cup
Participating teams: Lions (defending champions), DHL Western Province, Vodacom Bulls, Cell C Sharks, Leopards, Toyota Free State, Eastern Province
Opening round: 25/26 February (single round of matches)
Final: 16 April

SA Rugby Under-20 Shield
Participating teams: North – Limpopo, Pumas, Valke; South – Boland, Border, SWD
Opening round: 8/9 April (two pools of three teams each, double round of matches)
Final: 28 May

SA Rugby Under-21 Cup
Participating teams: Vodacom Bulls, Toyota Free State, Eastern Province, Leopards, Lions, Cell C Sharks, DHL Western Province
Opening round: 19/20 August (single round of matches)
Final: 15 October

SA Rugby Under-21 Shield
Participating teams: Boland, Border, Griffons, Griquas, Limpopo, Pumas, Valke
Opening round: 19/20 August (single round of matches)
Final: 15 October

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Post by Guest Thu 16 Jun 2022, 10:41 am

One possible amendment, Pot. George Young for the Dragons. He's showing as being in the Dragons senior squad on Wiki, but not in their senior squad on the Dragons website. He's listed in the academy still on the website. So we're either at 42 squad members or we're 43 with 1 academy 'in' making the 'ins' 11, I think! (Not that it matters much really Smile )

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Post by Pot Hale Thu 16 Jun 2022, 3:04 pm

Old Man wrote:The SA structure is Varsity Cup, the whole tournament is televised and exptremely popular, that is one pathway to pro rugby.

Here is a list of all the Tournaments in SA during 2022.

2022 SA Rugby Competition structure

Carling Currie Cup Premier Division
Participating teams: Vodacom Bulls (defending champions), Cell C Sharks, Tafel Lager Griquas, DHL Western Province, Airlink Pumas, Toyota Cheetahs, Sigma Lions
Opening round: 14/15 January (double round of matches)
Final: 25 June

Carling Currie Cup First Division
Participating teams: Leopards (defending champions), Griffons, Valke, Boland Kavaliers, Eastern Province, Border Bulldogs, SWD Eagles, Georgia, Kenya, Zimbabwe
Opening round: 1/2 April (single round of matches)
Final: 24/25 June

Women’s Premier Division
Participating teams: Border Ladies (defending champions), DHL Western Province, EP Queens, Boland Dames, Blue Bulls Women, Cell C Sharks Women, Mastercard Golden Lions Women
Opening round: 22/23 April (double round of matches)
Final: 30 July

Women’s First Division
Participating teams: Leopards, Valke, Limpopo, Pumas, Free State, Griffons, Griquas, SWD
Opening round: 10/11 June (competition structure to be confirmed)
Final: 16 July

SA Rugby Under-20 Cup
Participating teams: Lions (defending champions), DHL Western Province, Vodacom Bulls, Cell C Sharks, Leopards, Toyota Free State, Eastern Province
Opening round: 25/26 February (single round of matches)
Final: 16 April

SA Rugby Under-20 Shield
Participating teams: North – Limpopo, Pumas, Valke; South – Boland, Border, SWD
Opening round: 8/9 April (two pools of three teams each, double round of matches)
Final: 28 May

SA Rugby Under-21 Cup
Participating teams: Vodacom Bulls, Toyota Free State, Eastern Province, Leopards, Lions, Cell C Sharks, DHL Western Province
Opening round: 19/20 August (single round of matches)
Final: 15 October

SA Rugby Under-21 Shield
Participating teams: Boland, Border, Griffons, Griquas, Limpopo, Pumas, Valke
Opening round: 19/20 August (single round of matches)
Final: 15 October

Thanks Old Man.

Is there a defined pathway for male players to reach URC squads?  In effect, are the Currie Cup squads serving as quasi-academies for the URC teams?   And can they draw from any of the Currie Cup teams?  Which would a huge pool to theoretically draw from.

I note that SA teams this season named an initial squad for touring in Europe, and then expanded squads in December.   The max number of registered senior squad players at any one time for URC is 50 players, so just wondering if SA are registering and deregistering players at different times - which is within rules. Although there is meant to be a final registration deadline in mid-March 2023 IIRC.
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Post by Pot Hale Thu 16 Jun 2022, 3:16 pm

The Oracle wrote:One possible amendment, Pot.  George Young for the Dragons.  He's showing as being in the Dragons senior squad on Wiki, but not in their senior squad on the Dragons website.  He's listed in the academy still on the website.  So we're either at 42 squad members or we're 43 with 1 academy 'in' making the 'ins' 11, I think!  (Not that it matters much really Smile )

I don't know the answer to that one, Oracle. I can see what you mean. He got a ten minute appearance with the seniors this season, but may still be in the academy squad. Probably best to go with what the Club website says. I'll adjust senior squad down and academy up.
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Post by Old Man Thu 16 Jun 2022, 3:29 pm

Pot Hale wrote:
Old Man wrote:The SA structure is Varsity Cup, the whole tournament is televised and exptremely popular, that is one pathway to pro rugby.

Here is a list of all the Tournaments in SA during 2022.

2022 SA Rugby Competition structure

Carling Currie Cup Premier Division
Participating teams: Vodacom Bulls (defending champions), Cell C Sharks, Tafel Lager Griquas, DHL Western Province, Airlink Pumas, Toyota Cheetahs, Sigma Lions
Opening round: 14/15 January (double round of matches)
Final: 25 June

Carling Currie Cup First Division
Participating teams: Leopards (defending champions), Griffons, Valke, Boland Kavaliers, Eastern Province, Border Bulldogs, SWD Eagles, Georgia, Kenya, Zimbabwe
Opening round: 1/2 April (single round of matches)
Final: 24/25 June

Women’s Premier Division
Participating teams: Border Ladies (defending champions), DHL Western Province, EP Queens, Boland Dames, Blue Bulls Women, Cell C Sharks Women, Mastercard Golden Lions Women
Opening round: 22/23 April (double round of matches)
Final: 30 July

Women’s First Division
Participating teams: Leopards, Valke, Limpopo, Pumas, Free State, Griffons, Griquas, SWD
Opening round: 10/11 June (competition structure to be confirmed)
Final: 16 July

SA Rugby Under-20 Cup
Participating teams: Lions (defending champions), DHL Western Province, Vodacom Bulls, Cell C Sharks, Leopards, Toyota Free State, Eastern Province
Opening round: 25/26 February (single round of matches)
Final: 16 April

SA Rugby Under-20 Shield
Participating teams: North – Limpopo, Pumas, Valke; South – Boland, Border, SWD
Opening round: 8/9 April (two pools of three teams each, double round of matches)
Final: 28 May

SA Rugby Under-21 Cup
Participating teams: Vodacom Bulls, Toyota Free State, Eastern Province, Leopards, Lions, Cell C Sharks, DHL Western Province
Opening round: 19/20 August (single round of matches)
Final: 15 October

SA Rugby Under-21 Shield
Participating teams: Boland, Border, Griffons, Griquas, Limpopo, Pumas, Valke
Opening round: 19/20 August (single round of matches)
Final: 15 October

Thanks Old Man.

Is there a defined pathway for male players to reach URC squads?  In effect, are the Currie Cup squads serving as quasi-academies for the URC teams?   And can they draw from any of the Currie Cup teams?  Which would a huge pool to theoretically draw from.

I note that SA teams this season named an initial squad for touring in Europe, and then expanded squads in December.   The max number of registered senior squad players at any one time for URC is 50 players, so just wondering if SA are registering and deregistering players at different times - which is within rules. Although there is meant to be a final registration deadline in mid-March 2023 IIRC.

I cannot find confirmation on this Pot, it used to work on the basis whereby each super rugby franchise had feeder provinces to their squads. Such as the Bulls would have Pumas from Mpumulanga and Leopards from Northwest Province.

Whether that still applies is irrelevant from the perspective that the Four URC teams also have there Currie Cup squads which feeds them. They then recruit directly from the Currie Cup first division as well as the Cheetahs, Griquas and Pumas who play alongside their Currie Cup teams in the Currie Cup premier division.

To be fair it is a really open system in the sense all the teams below the Bulls, Stormers, Lions and Sharks just develop players that go straight into the URC teams.

Unfortunately I cannot tell you whether they remove players from their roster and add others. I think that would mainly be if there were season ending injuries.

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Post by Old Man Thu 16 Jun 2022, 3:30 pm

Basically each URC franchise have contracts with their Currie Cup squad and URC squad whom the other three franchises cannot touch. The other provinces are all open season, although there have been occasions in the past where a player surplus to requirement from say the Sharks would be on loan to the Stormers.

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Post by Intotouch Fri 17 Jun 2022, 12:28 am

Thanks for all that information Old man. I wish more AIL clubs fed players into our provinces but that seems rare now. The gap between the pro and semi pro/ amateur clubs here seems really big. The SA system sounds fluid and healthy with less of a gap in standards between leagues.

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Post by Guest Fri 17 Jun 2022, 10:14 am

Intotouch wrote:Thanks for all that information Old man. I wish more AIL clubs fed players into our provinces but that seems rare now. The gap between the pro and semi pro/ amateur clubs here seems really big. The SA system sounds fluid and healthy with less of a gap in standards between leagues.

We see the same in Wales. The Semi-pro Welsh prem is a huge step down from the regions, although it is a good fun league to watch. It's a bit of a viscous circle - it would be great for players not getting game time at the regions to step down to the Welsh prem to keep match fit, etc. But the feeling is that the level is so low that it would hinder their development (although better than not playing at all, in my view). But if the fringe pro players are not in that league then how does it improve? I've always thought it would be awesome to have a 2nd tier similar to the Currie Cup or NZ NPC. After all, in NZ and SA that is where you see the historical and traditional club names, with franchises then sitting above them. And similarly in Wales we have the old famous and traditional clubs in the Welsh Premiership - Newport, Cardiff, Pontypridd, Ebbw Vale, Bridgend, Neath, Swansea, etc.

Not sure how we get there though, but a stronger 2nd tier would be awesome for rugby in Wales.

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Post by Old Man Fri 17 Jun 2022, 10:20 am

The Oracle wrote:
Intotouch wrote:Thanks for all that information Old man. I wish more AIL clubs fed players into our provinces but that seems rare now. The gap between the pro and semi pro/ amateur clubs here seems really big. The SA system sounds fluid and healthy with less of a gap in standards between leagues.

We see the same in Wales.  The Semi-pro Welsh prem is a huge step down from the regions, although it is a good fun league to watch.  It's a bit of a viscous circle - it would be great for players not getting game time at the regions to step down to the Welsh prem to keep match fit, etc.  But the feeling is that the level is so low that it would hinder their development (although better than not playing at all, in my view). But if the fringe pro players are not in that league then how does it improve?  I've always thought it would be awesome to have a 2nd tier similar to the Currie Cup or NZ NPC.  After all, in NZ and SA that is where you see the historical and traditional club names, with franchises then sitting above them.  And similarly in Wales we have the old famous and traditional clubs in the Welsh Premiership - Newport, Cardiff, Pontypridd, Ebbw Vale, Bridgend, Neath, Swansea, etc.  

Not sure how we get there though, but a stronger 2nd tier would be awesome for rugby in Wales.

Is it not possible to have the traditional clubs just be the feeders for URC teams? That is how itis done in SA.

Two closest clubs linked to one urc team?

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Post by Guest Fri 17 Jun 2022, 11:41 am

Old Man wrote:
The Oracle wrote:
Intotouch wrote:Thanks for all that information Old man. I wish more AIL clubs fed players into our provinces but that seems rare now. The gap between the pro and semi pro/ amateur clubs here seems really big. The SA system sounds fluid and healthy with less of a gap in standards between leagues.

We see the same in Wales.  The Semi-pro Welsh prem is a huge step down from the regions, although it is a good fun league to watch.  It's a bit of a viscous circle - it would be great for players not getting game time at the regions to step down to the Welsh prem to keep match fit, etc.  But the feeling is that the level is so low that it would hinder their development (although better than not playing at all, in my view). But if the fringe pro players are not in that league then how does it improve?  I've always thought it would be awesome to have a 2nd tier similar to the Currie Cup or NZ NPC.  After all, in NZ and SA that is where you see the historical and traditional club names, with franchises then sitting above them.  And similarly in Wales we have the old famous and traditional clubs in the Welsh Premiership - Newport, Cardiff, Pontypridd, Ebbw Vale, Bridgend, Neath, Swansea, etc.  

Not sure how we get there though, but a stronger 2nd tier would be awesome for rugby in Wales.

Is it not possible to have the traditional clubs just be the feeders for URC teams? That is how itis done in SA.

Two closest clubs linked to one urc team?

Yes, that is a possibility. And they have tried that sort of regional alignment in the past. But as always in Wales….. politics, money, etc. has caused division and problems. We’ve also got the issue of relegation and, in theory, the issue of a region having no feeders if their feeders were relegated. So ring fencing would solve this, but again it’s political. But we’ve been there recently and have ring fenced, but have changed the Welsh Prem so much in terms of numbers and format I can’t even keep up with it anymore! The current proposal being discussed I think is for just 8 teams in that 2nd tier, ring fenced, 2 per region. The idea being, like you say, to have 2 feeders, but going to 8 should concentrate the talent a bit more and the funding for that league will go further per team. There are currently 12 in the league, but it’s been 10 I think in the recent past. They just can’t seem to decide. Plus the politics of cutting teams solely based on their geography, I.e. you miss out because three are already 2 teams for that region. It’s a tough one.

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Post by Old Man Fri 17 Jun 2022, 12:30 pm

The Oracle wrote:
Old Man wrote:
The Oracle wrote:
Intotouch wrote:Thanks for all that information Old man. I wish more AIL clubs fed players into our provinces but that seems rare now. The gap between the pro and semi pro/ amateur clubs here seems really big. The SA system sounds fluid and healthy with less of a gap in standards between leagues.

We see the same in Wales.  The Semi-pro Welsh prem is a huge step down from the regions, although it is a good fun league to watch.  It's a bit of a viscous circle - it would be great for players not getting game time at the regions to step down to the Welsh prem to keep match fit, etc.  But the feeling is that the level is so low that it would hinder their development (although better than not playing at all, in my view). But if the fringe pro players are not in that league then how does it improve?  I've always thought it would be awesome to have a 2nd tier similar to the Currie Cup or NZ NPC.  After all, in NZ and SA that is where you see the historical and traditional club names, with franchises then sitting above them.  And similarly in Wales we have the old famous and traditional clubs in the Welsh Premiership - Newport, Cardiff, Pontypridd, Ebbw Vale, Bridgend, Neath, Swansea, etc.  

Not sure how we get there though, but a stronger 2nd tier would be awesome for rugby in Wales.

Is it not possible to have the traditional clubs just be the feeders for URC teams? That is how itis done in SA.

Two closest clubs linked to one urc team?

Yes, that is a possibility. And they have tried that sort of regional alignment in the past. But as always in Wales….. politics, money, etc. has caused division and problems. We’ve also got the issue of relegation and, in theory, the issue of a region having no feeders if their feeders were relegated. So ring fencing would solve this, but again it’s political. But we’ve been there recently and have ring fenced, but have changed the Welsh Prem so much in terms of numbers and format I can’t even keep up with it anymore! The current proposal being discussed I think is for just 8 teams in that 2nd tier, ring fenced, 2 per region. The idea being, like you say, to have 2 feeders, but going to 8 should concentrate the talent a bit more and the funding for that league will go further per team. There are currently 12 in the league, but it’s been 10 I think in the recent past. They just can’t seem to decide. Plus the politics of cutting teams solely based on their geography, I.e. you miss out because three are already 2 teams for that region. It’s a tough one.

In SA there has been some farting around with the tiers before as well.

Many years ago it was six premier currie cup teams, Bulls (then Northern Transvaal) Lions (then Transvaal) Stormers ( then Western Province) Sharks (then Natal), Kings (then Eastern Province) and Cheetahs (then Freestate)

With the eight smaller provinces in the second tier.

Over the years they have experimented with having alk 14 in one currie cup league, but that failed due tothe inequality in talent. They had seven in the premier, then eight in the premier (at the time other teams from Africa were invited)

There is now promotion and relegation, between the two tiers, but regardless of promotion or relegation the funding remains the same for teams.

You effectively have R66 million for the four big provinces and R10 million for the 10 smaller unions.

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Post by Old Man Fri 17 Jun 2022, 5:08 pm

Question for PotHale. Youmentionedthe squad limit of 50 players, however I keephearing Leinster have used 60 players in the URC this season, is thatcorrect?

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Post by Kingshu Fri 17 Jun 2022, 5:11 pm

Always wondered if there is friction between the SA clubs and franchises like there is in Wales, for example Pontypridd fans do not support Cardiff, even though they are a feeder club to that region, as Cardiff are just a promoted version of thier old rivals Cardiff RFC. Does similar happen in SA, with say for instance Pumas and Lions? Or are the franchises just promoted clubs that are big enough to stand on thier own and don't really draw in fans of the currie cup teams in their area?

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Post by Old Man Fri 17 Jun 2022, 5:33 pm

Biggest rivalries in SA rugby is Bulls vs Stormers, the north vs the south.

Dr Danie Craven used to say when Bulls and Stormers are strong SA rugby is healthy.

Lions vs Bulls who are close neghbours (only 70km apart) are also quite a rivalry.

Bulls are the least popular team in SA outside of Pretoria, but that is more down to a traditional hate for Naas Botha who was a match winner extraordinaire.

I will never forget the 1986 could be 1987 final when the Lions scored 4 tries to nil, but lost to Naas Botha who just kicked the shyte out of them.

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Post by Kingshu Fri 17 Jun 2022, 6:15 pm

Do fans of say Boland Cavaliers, support Stormers or do they just see them as a promoted Western Province side. What I'm wondering are there large areas/numbers of SA rugby fans that feel disenfranchised like there is in Wales, and the 4 URC don't cover the whole of SA, or are most SA rugby fans on board with it.

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Post by Old Man Fri 17 Jun 2022, 6:27 pm

Kingshu wrote:Do fans of say Boland Cavaliers, support Stormers or do they just see them as a promoted Western Province side. What I'm wondering are there large areas/numbers of SA rugby fans that feel disenfranchised like there is in Wales, and the 4 URC don't cover the whole of SA, or are most SA rugby fans on board with it.

You need to consider that the provincial teams as they stand today have been around from the start. Ithas always been the big six, and the smaller provinces, the six now only four as Cheetahs and Kings(Eastern Province) couldn't be accommodated, the chaeetahs at one stage got combined with the Lions during the Super Rugby tournament for two seasons and were known as the Cats, that ended badly as the infighting between the coaches and players around which stadium shoulld be their home stadium and other things meant they were cancelled, then the Cheetahs got into Super Rugby and Lions got dropped out of Super Rugby.

So I would suggest the Cheetahs are the ones whi have lost out the most, SARU promised to find them a place in a cross international style tournament, so I think the Cheetahs will be very happy to be part ofthe Challenge cup.

Other than that, the provinces now are the same as 60 years back, so no bitterness from that point of view.

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Post by Pot Hale Fri 17 Jun 2022, 8:28 pm

Old Man wrote:Question for PotHale. Youmentionedthe squad limit of 50 players, however I keephearing Leinster have used 60 players in the URC this season, is thatcorrect?

Yes.  Both those statements are correct.  The registered senior squad limit is 50 players.  Leinster make regular use of their academy players, who are all on one-year renewable contracts for up to 4 years if good enough.  For example, Joe McCarthy who played in the Heineken Cup final and URC semi-final is a second year academy player.  He's been promoted early to the senior squad for next season. He was registered for the squad for both comps during the season. Dan Leavy was also registered and then de-registered when his injury forced him to retire.


Last edited by Pot Hale on Fri 17 Jun 2022, 8:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Old Man Fri 17 Jun 2022, 8:31 pm

Then how is that possible? Do they change their roster midway through the season?

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Post by Pot Hale Fri 17 Jun 2022, 8:38 pm

Old Man wrote:Then how is that possible? Do they change their roster midway through the season?

They have space for five additional players at any time. Academy players move in and out as they are trialled.
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Post by Old Man Fri 17 Jun 2022, 8:43 pm

OK thanks

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Post by Pot Hale Fri 17 Jun 2022, 8:46 pm

Old Man wrote:OK thanks

REGISTRATION OF ADDITIONAL PLAYERS

Each Club may register additional Players to replace Players previously registered by the Club and to compete on the Club’s behalf in the Championship by (a) submitting to Pro Rugby Championship no later than 48 hours before the scheduled kick-off of the first Match in which the Club proposes the relevant additional Player will participate, all relevant details of the additional Player(s) and the replaced Player(s) on an accurately and comprehensively completed Squad Registration Form, and (b) by the same deadline, procuring that each additional Player completes and signs an Acknowledgement and Agreement Form (which form the Club must provide to Pro Rugby Championship on request), by way of Footprint.

FOR THE AVOIDANCE OF DOUBT:

a) Player who has been replaced pursuant to clause 6.1.4, above, may re-join a Club’s Championship squad pursuant to clause 6.1.4, above; and

b) at all times a Club’s registered Championship squad can number no more than 50 Players.

Subject to Championship Rules, additional Players may not be registered after 21 March 2022.
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Post by Old Man Fri 17 Jun 2022, 8:48 pm

So you would for example have your 50 man squad, then might remove five players prior to the March due date and replace them with another five players?

I assume after the March due date you are then committed to the fifty on your roster?

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Post by Pot Hale Fri 17 Jun 2022, 9:00 pm

Old Man wrote:So you would for example have your 50 man squad, then might remove five players prior to the March due date and replace them with another five players?

I assume after the March due date you are then committed to the fifty on your roster?

Well, Leinster's senior squad was 45 players this season - so they had 5 spare slots. Depending on use and when, these could move in and out during season.

The March deadline has curious wording "subject to Championship rules" - don't know what that means. So I suppose you have to plan ahead and see who you're likely to use in remaining matches at that point. But I do sometimes wonder how strictly that is enforced. IIRC, the Stormers had to bring in a hooker from a Currie Cup squad in the week leading up to the match against Leinster in April/May. Equally, Leinster brought 11 academy players on that same SA tour. Perhaps it wasn't enforced this season due to Covid restrictions and rearrangement of matches.
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Post by Pot Hale Tue 21 Jun 2022, 11:24 pm

As a tenuous link to squad sizes and indeed playing pools, this article from The Irish Times has an interesting take on playing pools across the various URC unions, albeit in the the context of the Ireland tour to NZ.

https://www.irishtimes.com/sport/rugby/2022/06/21/gerry-thornley-the-strength-of-irish-rugby-is-a-minor-miracle-given-how-few-play-it/
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Post by Guest Wed 22 Jun 2022, 9:02 am

That's an interesting article, Pot. However, it seems to suggest that Wales has more registered players than Ireland. Yet lots of articles dispute that:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rugby_union_playing_countries#:~:text=List%20of%20rugby%20union%20playing%20countries%20%20,%20%200%20%2026%20more%20rows%20

https://lastwordonsports.com/rugby/2020/07/14/top-20-rugby-union-countries-registered-players/

https://www.therugbypaper.co.uk/guest-blogs/38650/rugby-union-countries-with-most-registered-players-ready-to-know/

https://www.ruck.co.uk/top-20-country-registered-rugby-players-world/


But the numbers of some of the others is a real shock - 405,000 in SA! Over 300,000 in England???! Over 200,000 in OZ?!

It would be great to see an accurate make up of these figures - what and who they include - as I suspect some count schools and women while others just count adult males. And for the purposes of the URC discussion it would be just adult males that we need to compare really.

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Post by Old Man Wed 22 Jun 2022, 9:15 am

There are 1,500 000 registered soccer players in south africa.

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Post by Old Man Wed 22 Jun 2022, 9:17 am

By what I can see there are 121 000 registered adult players in South Africa

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Post by Old Man Wed 22 Jun 2022, 9:20 am

The biggest challenge in South Africa to gain any semblance of accuracy is our administration and record keeping of registered players, we add social clubs and farm clubs etc.

I would suggest half the registered players are mostly social and clubs in small towns and rural areas where they don't really get exposed to any serious rugby.

Unless scouts pick up talented players there is a lot of talented players never gaining opportunity to show their talent.

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Post by Old Man Wed 22 Jun 2022, 9:28 am

Gauteng which feeds the Lions and Bulls only have 17 rugby amateur clubs, a couple are closed currently due to covid and economics.

western Cape has 19
Kwazulu Natal has 17

So realistically amateur rugby clubs directly feeding the four franchises amount to around 53.

And to be honest, kids being picked up to the Franchises for academy development and contracts come mostly from Rugby schools, universities and Craven week.

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Post by Old Man Wed 22 Jun 2022, 9:31 am

If you watnt to make it in rugby in SA the path is being picked up by a scout, sent to a rugby school and get into Craven week.

From there you would play Varsity Cup, and then go to the Currie Cup, or alternatively you will go to U21 Currie Cup and be noticed there.

There are very few players who get into the system by going to a club as an unknown and then get into the professional system.

If SARU can harness every nook and cranny in SA our rugby depth for talent will be the biggest in the world.

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Post by Intotouch Thu 23 Jun 2022, 3:23 pm

Old Man wrote:If you watnt to make it in rugby in SA the path is being picked up by a scout, sent to a rugby school and get into Craven week.

From there you would play Varsity Cup, and then go to the Currie Cup, or alternatively you will go to U21 Currie Cup and be noticed there.

There are very few players who get into the system by going to a club as an unknown and then get into the professional system.

If SARU can harness every nook and cranny in SA our rugby depth for talent will be the biggest in the world.

It still sounds like a healthy system. It bothers me here that people switched from supporting the AIL to the provinces (mostly) and that we can’t seem to adequately do both. Too small a sport here I guess.

I remember a discussion (around CJStander moving to Ireland I think) on to where a SA journalist said the contrast between SA and Irish systems is that in SA talented young players are far more  numerous,  and can be discarded casually (and more take their place), but in Ireland a talented young player is celebrated like finding a rare pearl, nurtured and treasured, guarded, encouraged, coached and even fed daily. Munster fans here especially  were shocked to hear that  CJ was told he’d never be a Springbok. He one the man of the match so often when he played that we started calling it the CJStander award.

If SA has never had a need to make efforts to identify and nurture each and  every talented rugby player then it’ll take a big shift in mindset and practise to start doing this. And is this costs more money so why bother? If some of the best still get through then the system doesn’t need improvement.

Something that I always find encouraging and bizarre about international rugby is that so many small countries compete with big ones, and in NZs case, dominate. But at any one time a country needs about thirty good players. For some reason small rugby playing nations seems able to coach/ manage/ create this many regularly. Clearly a lot of skill and intelligent play can be taught and a good system for doing so can work wonders. But there does seem to be a minimum amount of pro rugby sides to get enough payers playing at a high level to achieve this. I think two teams only in Scotland and Italy is just not enough. And four in a country of SAs playing numbers only four URC pro teams seems like an unnecessarily small number.

Does SA really need the URC with so many players and supporters? The top 14 is all the French need really to create a high standard club comp for their players. Why not just have your domestic league again with ten teams? Sorry if this is a dumb question. It seems like most clubs/ fans would prefer to be in a league that was local only, getting lots of away and home supporters, less travel, more profit etc, with such big playing numbers and fans I’d expect this in SA and then maybe apply for the best two or three to compete in the H cup? Maybe this isn’t an option anyway.

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Post by Old Man Thu 23 Jun 2022, 3:45 pm

Intotouch wrote:
Old Man wrote:If you watnt to make it in rugby in SA the path is being picked up by a scout, sent to a rugby school and get into Craven week.

From there you would play Varsity Cup, and then go to the Currie Cup, or alternatively you will go to U21 Currie Cup and be noticed there.

There are very few players who get into the system by going to a club as an unknown and then get into the professional system.

If SARU can harness every nook and cranny in SA our rugby depth for talent will be the biggest in the world.

It still sounds like a healthy system. It bothers me here that people switched from supporting the AIL to the provinces (mostly) and that we can’t seem to adequately do both. Too small a sport here I guess.

I remember a discussion (around CJStander moving to Ireland I think) on to where a SA journalist said the contrast between SA and Irish systems is that in SA talented young players are far more  numerous,  and can be discarded casually (and more take their place), but in Ireland a talented young player is celebrated like finding a rare pearl, nurtured and treasured, guarded, encouraged, coached and even fed daily. Munster fans here especially  were shocked to hear that  CJ was told he’d never be a Springbok. He one the man of the match so often when he played that we started calling it the CJStander award.

If SA has never had a need to make efforts to identify and nurture each and  every talented rugby player then it’ll take a big shift in mindset and practise to start doing this. And is this costs more money so why bother? If some of the best still get through then the system doesn’t need improvement.

Something that I always find encouraging and bizarre about international rugby is that so many small countries compete with big ones, and in NZs case, dominate. But at any one time a country needs about thirty good players. For some reason small rugby playing nations seems able to coach/ manage/ create this many regularly. Clearly a lot of skill and intelligent play can be taught and a good system for doing so can work wonders. But there does seem to be a minimum amount of pro rugby sides to get enough payers playing at a high level to achieve this. I think two teams only in Scotland and Italy is just not enough. And four in a country of SAs playing numbers only four URC pro teams seems like an unnecessarily small number.

Does SA really need the URC with so many players and supporters? The top 14 is all the French need really to create a high standard club comp for their players. Why not just have your domestic league again with ten teams? Sorry if this is a dumb question. It seems like most clubs/ fans would prefer to be in a league that was local only, getting lots of away and home supporters, less travel, more profit etc, with such big playing numbers and fans I’d expect this in SA and then maybe apply for the best two or three to compete in the H cup? Maybe this isn’t an option anyway.

the thing about CJ Stander is he listened to one man, Jake White. But he made his decisions and made a success of it.

As for rugby develpment for onternational teams, I agree four teams at top level should be a minimum. I have alwys been of the opinion that it is easier to find talent and nurture/identify talent in a smaller population than a country such as SA, France or England. Purely from the point of ciew it is easier to assess 100 schools than a thousand.

I mentioned in a previous post on one of these threads the reason why SA can't sustain 14 provinces is purely down to revenue vs cost.

Currently we have 4 teams on R60 million salaries and 10 teams on R10 million. So our total salaries for the 14 provinces are around R340 million.

If we wanted to have a league of 14 and be able to retain those hundreds of players playing outside of SA we need need to at least double our salary caps to R120 million per club, which would require a revenue increase of another R1.2-1.3 billion Rand, which even if Super sport comes tothe party with some of it, itjust isn't realistic.

I compared SARU's breakdown of revenue a few years back and whilst tv revenue is similar across the board for most unions, we fall flat on ticket revenue, sponsorships and merchandise.

Our ticket revenue is about 10-15 % of The other countries due to affordability, the RFU makes huge revenue additional for Twickenham and a hotel I believe. And our sponsorships don't come close. The economics aren't there unfortunately.

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Post by Intotouch Fri 24 Jun 2022, 11:45 pm

Old Man wrote:
Intotouch wrote:
Old Man wrote:If you watnt to make it in rugby in SA the path is being picked up by a scout, sent to a rugby school and get into Craven week.

From there you would play Varsity Cup, and then go to the Currie Cup, or alternatively you will go to U21 Currie Cup and be noticed there.

There are very few players who get into the system by going to a club as an unknown and then get into the professional system.

If SARU can harness every nook and cranny in SA our rugby depth for talent will be the biggest in the world.

It still sounds like a healthy system. It bothers me here that people switched from supporting the AIL to the provinces (mostly) and that we can’t seem to adequately do both. Too small a sport here I guess.

I remember a discussion (around CJStander moving to Ireland I think) on to where a SA journalist said the contrast between SA and Irish systems is that in SA talented young players are far more  numerous,  and can be discarded casually (and more take their place), but in Ireland a talented young player is celebrated like finding a rare pearl, nurtured and treasured, guarded, encouraged, coached and even fed daily. Munster fans here especially  were shocked to hear that  CJ was told he’d never be a Springbok. He one the man of the match so often when he played that we started calling it the CJStander award.

If SA has never had a need to make efforts to identify and nurture each and  every talented rugby player then it’ll take a big shift in mindset and practise to start doing this. And is this costs more money so why bother? If some of the best still get through then the system doesn’t need improvement.

Something that I always find encouraging and bizarre about international rugby is that so many small countries compete with big ones, and in NZs case, dominate. But at any one time a country needs about thirty good players. For some reason small rugby playing nations seems able to coach/ manage/ create this many regularly. Clearly a lot of skill and intelligent play can be taught and a good system for doing so can work wonders. But there does seem to be a minimum amount of pro rugby sides to get enough payers playing at a high level to achieve this. I think two teams only in Scotland and Italy is just not enough. And four in a country of SAs playing numbers only four URC pro teams seems like an unnecessarily small number.

Does SA really need the URC with so many players and supporters? The top 14 is all the French need really to create a high standard club comp for their players. Why not just have your domestic league again with ten teams? Sorry if this is a dumb question. It seems like most clubs/ fans would prefer to be in a league that was local only, getting lots of away and home supporters, less travel, more profit etc, with such big playing numbers and fans I’d expect this in SA and then maybe apply for the best two or three to compete in the H cup? Maybe this isn’t an option anyway.

the thing about CJ Stander is he listened to one man, Jake White. But he made his decisions and made a success of it.

As for rugby develpment for onternational teams, I agree four teams at top level should be a minimum. I have alwys been of the opinion that it is easier to find talent and nurture/identify talent in a smaller population than a country such as SA, France or England. Purely from the point of ciew it is easier to assess 100 schools than a thousand.

I mentioned in a previous post on one of these threads the reason why SA can't sustain 14 provinces is purely down to revenue vs cost.

Currently we have 4 teams on R60 million salaries and 10 teams on R10 million. So our total salaries for the 14 provinces are around R340 million.

If we wanted to have a league of 14 and be able to retain those hundreds of players playing outside of SA we need need to at least double our salary caps to R120 million per club, which would require a revenue increase of another R1.2-1.3 billion Rand, which even if Super sport comes tothe party with some of it, itjust isn't realistic.

I compared SARU's breakdown of revenue a few years back and whilst tv revenue is similar across the board for most unions, we fall flat on ticket revenue, sponsorships and merchandise.

Our ticket revenue is about 10-15 % of The other countries due to affordability, the RFU makes huge revenue additional fork Twickenham and a hotel I believe. And our sponsorships don't come close. The economics aren't there unfortunately.

Twiickenham is a gold mine. No other country makes as much from tickets.

Maybe South Africa could get 6 teams involved in the URC soon? 14 sounds like an impossible jump from 4, but 2 more sounds realistic given that there we’re two other teams from. SA in the URC recently. Ticket revenue, sponsorship and merchandise sales could improve with more success in the URC and with teams visiting to play in the h cup there will be more home matches next year. Hopefully so anyway.

Is it true that in South Arica the Bulls are like your country’s Toulon? As in every one except people from that region hate them.?

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Post by Old Man Sat 25 Jun 2022, 4:27 am

Hahaha, yes, you could pretty much say that.

Historically the Bulls (Northern Transvaal) and Stormers (Western Province) are the two most successful teams since amateur era.

The story as I see it, during the amateur days the Bulls "manipulated" the military draft to garner the best rugby talent in SA to be stationed in Pretoria, which meant when you reported for military duty (we did a two year compulsory national service after school) you would play rugby for Northern Transvaal if you were good enough.

Then during the eighties the Bulls had the man everyone loved to hate Naas Botha, he was a phenominal match winner and won many a title for Northern Transvaal.

I suspect there are many more reasons.

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 28 Jun 2022, 12:24 pm

Pot I think you will find your figures for Ulster are wrong.
See my post of 27th May on the Ulster thread - there are 44 full professionals listed not 47.

As to Development/Academy

Only one player known for certain - Postlewaite who has a Development contract which will be automatically upgraded to a full
contract for 2023/4. No other development contract have been announced

As to the Academy 9 listed but that is the 2021/2 list.
The Ins and Outs have yet to be announced

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Post by Pot Hale Wed 29 Jun 2022, 9:07 am

geoff999rugby wrote:Pot I think you will find your figures for Ulster are wrong.
See my post of 27th May on the Ulster thread - there are 44 full professionals listed not 47.

As to Development/Academy

Only one player known for certain - Postlewaite who has a Development contract which will be automatically upgraded to a full
contract for 2023/4. No other development contract have been announced

As to the Academy 9 listed but that is the 2021/2 list.
The Ins and Outs have yet to be announced

Ok - there's 47 players listed for the senior squad for next season.   Postlethwaite is one of them, promoted from Academy and I've treated him the same as other players promoted from other academies.  

As I said in OP, the academy numbers will change as they're not completed with intake for year 1.  And there may yet be other senior players announced for one of the 16 teams.
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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 30 Jun 2022, 9:49 am

The only place I can see 47 listed is on Wiki which is not 100% reliable

I did miss out Toomunga-Allen - we hadn't signed him when I made that list - my error

I think the 47 comes because it includes the two players on Development contracts next year - Postlewaite and O'Brien

So the true figures are 45 Senior players and 2 Development Players with the Academy lists to be announced

At Ulster the Development players tend not to train with the Senior squad.
Sometimes they get called in during mid season if they are doing well and playing regularly e.g. Doak
Sometimes they get nowhere near the senior squad e.g. Sexton

Their status is different and I would classify them differently but that is just my opinion

There will be no further changes to the Senior squad for 2022-23

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Post by Pot Hale Wed 20 Jul 2022, 10:04 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:The only place I can see 47 listed is on Wiki which is not 100% reliable

I did miss out Toomunga-Allen - we hadn't signed him when I made that list - my error

I think the 47 comes because it includes the two players on Development contracts next year - Postlewaite and O'Brien

So the true figures are 45 Senior players and 2 Development Players with the Academy lists to be announced

At Ulster the Development players tend not to train with the Senior squad.
Sometimes they get called in during mid season if they are doing well and playing regularly e.g. Doak
Sometimes they get nowhere near the senior squad e.g. Sexton

Their status is different and I would classify them differently but that is just my opinion

There will be no further changes to the Senior squad for 2022-23

I make that 48 in senior squad now with signing of Michael McDonald from Aus team and 12 in the Academy squad.
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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 21 Jul 2022, 10:53 am

If you include the Development squad players it is 48 +12

I suspect that the squad will reduce, by 5 or 6, next summer.
Lot of contracts up of players that are almost certainly surplus to requirements

When I said no further signings I should have said no further NIQ signings.
Pleasantly surprised we unearthed an Irish born SH in Aus.

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Post by Pot Hale Fri 22 Jul 2022, 10:26 am

geoff999rugby wrote:If you include the Development squad players it is 48 +12

I suspect that the squad will reduce, by 5 or 6, next summer.
Lot of contracts up of players that are almost certainly surplus to requirements

When I said no further signings I should have said no further NIQ signings.
Pleasantly surprised we unearthed an Irish born SH in Aus.

Yes - I think Andy Friend had been scouting him too. He’s highly rated - could be a great signing.
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Post by PhilBB Thu 25 Aug 2022, 11:37 am

Ulster used 46 players last season - https://www.cardiffrfcfans.com/analysis/4779.php?clubID=31&seasonID=27
Leinster used 60 players last season - https://www.cardiffrfcfans.com/analysis/4779.php?clubID=16&seasonID=27
Connacht used 49 players last season - https://www.cardiffrfcfans.com/analysis/4779.php?clubID=9&seasonID=27
Munster used 59 players last season - https://www.cardiffrfcfans.com/analysis/4779.php?clubID=19&seasonID=27
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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 25 Aug 2022, 12:05 pm

Good information.
Looked at the rest and saw 2 Saffer sides the lowest on 44 and Cardiff the highest on 64

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Post by PhilBB Thu 25 Aug 2022, 12:25 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:Good information.
Looked at the rest and saw 2 Saffer sides the lowest on 44 and Cardiff the highest on 64

Cardiff had the issue of most of the first team squad being in quarantine when they played Toulouse, so that's a bit of an anomaly

We haven't published all of the data yet, but Leinster have used 55 players or more four times in the last six seasons, for example.

Simply put, the effect of international rugby is ridiculous on teams within small nations.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 25 Aug 2022, 1:48 pm

Just get a lower level of player. Saracens complained about. Leicester have a few grumbles now. The benefit of the play offs rather than just go straight to the league results is that they get the chance to have a crack with their full squads. Internationals aren't going away obviously as they are the pinnacle of the game and the games that most people want to watch.

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