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URC 2023 - 24

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Post by demosthenes Tue 11 Jul 2023, 1:12 pm

Fixtures are out : https://www.unitedrugby.com/latest/news/urc-2023-fixtures

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Post by RiscaGame Tue 11 Jul 2023, 5:12 pm

Glad I held off on a Dragons ST, to be honest. One home league game between mid November and mid March is a tough sell. I don’t overly like how our home derbies are done by January either. I guess you have to balance that out, with us not losing a home game to Judgement Day though.

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Post by neilthom7 Tue 11 Jul 2023, 6:02 pm

Tell you what, you would need a proper lie down after setting those fixtures if that was your job wouldn't you.

Can't start the season to near end of October cos of the RWC
First 2 rounds of games have to be played on Saturdays and Sundays only and can't be played a specific times on those days as they may clash with RWC
South African teams are only doing 2 tours this year so you have to accomodate all those games back to back not to mention the european teams travelling to South Africa for those games.
You still can't use weekends designated for Europe and have the 6 nations in the middle of the whole thing
Some teams share stadiums with football clubs so have to accomodate that
Some traditional fixtures like boxing day etc have to be accomodated
You have to find 2 weekends off in January because players will otherwise be playing too much
All the usual fixture making decisions you have to make off course
Can't even finish the season late cos that new international tournament starts next summer
And you have I think now 9 different TV bradcasters all looking for games at certain times on certain days etc

Would give me a headache even thinking about it

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Post by Kingshu Tue 11 Jul 2023, 9:14 pm

Yeah I read some of the planning they have to work round to make the schedule, overall seams good and great they got it out so early, so trips can be planned, hope HCup works with this so SA European trips work with the tours.

Also read Ospreys may be have to move some home games, WOl eeporting they are thinking of moving the games V SA teams to London, though can't see Premiership agreeing to that.

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Post by Kingshu Tue 11 Jul 2023, 9:26 pm

RiscaGame wrote:Glad I held off on a Dragons ST, to be honest. One home league game between mid November and mid March is a tough sell. I don’t overly like how our home derbies are done by January either. I guess you have to balance that out, with us not losing a home game to Judgement Day though.

Doesnt seam that bad, home round 5, away to SA round 6 and 7, away Cardiff round 8, Home round 9, away round 10 and 11, home 12 and 13.

Overall HHAHHAAAHAAHHAHHAA

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Post by TAFKA The Oracle Tue 11 Jul 2023, 9:29 pm

Kingshu wrote:Yeah I read some of the planning they have to work round to make the schedule, overall seams good and great they got it out so early, so trips can be planned, hope HCup works with this so SA European trips work with the tours.

Also read Ospreys may be have to move some home games, WOl eeporting they are thinking of moving the games V SA teams to London, though can't see Premiership agreeing to that.

That’s just so ‘Welsh rugby’, isn’t it?! They’ve got some fixture clashes with Swansea City football as the Swans have primacy of tenure, so Ospreys need to look around:

Chance to take some games on the road around the region? E.g. St Helen’s, The Gnoll, Bridgend’s Brewery field, etc?
Nah, bad idea.
Parc Y Scarlets is only 11 miles away? Could that be an option?
F-off! That’s the home of our sworn enemy!
I know……….. let’s go to London! As far away from rivalry and tribal nonsense as possible, while also alienating our home support!

Can’t believe they’re even considering it! There must be a more local option Erm

Smile

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Post by TAFKA The Oracle Tue 11 Jul 2023, 9:30 pm

Kingshu wrote:
RiscaGame wrote:Glad I held off on a Dragons ST, to be honest. One home league game between mid November and mid March is a tough sell. I don’t overly like how our home derbies are done by January either. I guess you have to balance that out, with us not losing a home game to Judgement Day though.

Doesnt seam that bad, home round 5, away to SA round 6 and 7, away Cardiff round 8, Home round 9, away round 10 and 11, home 12 and 13.

Overall HHAHHAAAHAAHHAHHAA

No need to laugh at him! Wink

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Post by RiscaGame Tue 11 Jul 2023, 9:34 pm

Kingshu wrote:
RiscaGame wrote:Glad I held off on a Dragons ST, to be honest. One home league game between mid November and mid March is a tough sell. I don’t overly like how our home derbies are done by January either. I guess you have to balance that out, with us not losing a home game to Judgement Day though.

Doesnt seam that bad, home round 5, away to SA round 6 and 7, away Cardiff round 8, Home round 9, away round 10 and 11, home 12 and 13.

Overall HHAHHAAAHAAHHAHHAA

Fair play, when you see it like that it’s not a bad split for home and away games. With the Mickey Mouse challenge cup games in between, it might be better. Not having a pop at the league with it, to be fair. Just wondering how many of the games I would’ve made and glad I have got the Viaplay deal.

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Post by neilthom7 Tue 11 Jul 2023, 11:01 pm

Surely Ospreys aren't actually thinking of moving some home games to London?

I understand they can't play them at the stadium because of Swansea but why would they decide to go to London?

I mean it's obviously no where near them, it's not even as if London is a massive rugby loving city either. I wonder what their thinking is on that?

Can't imagine season ticket holders would be delighted. I assume they have some sort of reason though?

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Post by Kingshu Wed 12 Jul 2023, 1:25 am

neilthom7 wrote:Surely Ospreys aren't actually thinking of moving some home games to London?

I understand they can't play them at the stadium because of Swansea but why would they decide to go to London?

I mean it's obviously no where near them, it's not even as if London is a massive rugby loving city either.  I wonder what their thinking is on that?

Can't imagine season ticket holders would be delighted.  I assume they have some sort of reason though?


I guess the reason is London is full of South Africans, and they may get bigger attendances V Sharks and Lions, than they would at Bridgend or Gnoll or even Swansea stadium, but does throw away home advantage, annoys season ticket holders and the premiership would never let a rival play in their territory, taking away fans and TV viewers from the premiership. Cheetahs would prob get big crowds if they played in London, but I guess they aren't invited for same reasons, and have to play home challange cup games in Italy last year and Brussels this year.

On Dragons games they do have that AAAHAA sequence, where other teams just have AAHAA, that 3rd away game does sit out, but I suppose it is V Cardiff which isn't much travel. Only 2 sunday games, which used to be an issue for Dragons, though most teams only have 1 alot with none.

Overall prob not the best fixture list for Dragons, and I have a lot of repect for the Rodney Parade crowds maybe having more hone games at start and end of season when weather is better may be a good thing.

Think while it may not be the best for Dragons its better than it used to be, and overall for all teams it seams pretty fair, with all the considerations that need to be taken into account, and credit where its due getting it out early, with dates and kickoff times for the full season is a big big improvement, and a good thing for fans.

The URC for all it detractors does appear to be improving year on year, with fixtures, Neutral refs (for none derby games), neutral TMOs etc. I'd love to see a Welsh team in the top 4, and really capturing the Welsh publics attention, as I think it needs the same positivity in Wales that it gets elsewhere. I do think that whereas some Welsh fans blamed and never took to the Pro 12/14, Magners etc, the URC has resolved most of the issues and its not blamed, its the WRU that are now at fault.

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Post by TAFKA The Oracle Wed 12 Jul 2023, 9:49 am

A Welsh team in the top 4 in the next 6 years would be nothing short of a miracle, Kingshu! Would love to see it, but can't see how they can while at the same time slashing budgets (as agreed as part of the new 6 year the funding deal). Expect to see a lot of Welsh semi-pro and academy players in the URC next season Sad

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Post by mikey_dragon Wed 12 Jul 2023, 11:32 am

I think Ospreys playing in London is another nothing-story posted by WOL for clicks.

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Post by Kingshu Wed 12 Jul 2023, 12:17 pm

TAFKA The Oracle wrote:A Welsh team in the top 4 in the next 6 years would be nothing short of a miracle, Kingshu!  Would love to see it, but can't see how they can while at the same time slashing budgets (as agreed as part of the new 6 year the funding deal).  Expect to see a lot of Welsh semi-pro and academy players in the URC next season Sad

Yeah I dont see it either, Scarlets look to have assembled a top coaching team, but the players aren't there. It would be ok if the squads were cut back to rely on youth, if there were was a golden generation coming though, but the Welsh youth teams have been as under invested in as the regions, think it was 2017, the last time a Welsh under 20s team finished 3rd in the under 20s 6 nations. Italy have been finishing better and last season the Welsh under 20s got a wooden spoon, doesn't exactly fill you with confidence that these youth players are going to shine. I'm sure a few will, but not in the numbers that the regions need. It really is a dark time for Welsh rugby. I always feel that when SA teams joined, that was the time to set out a stall, a successful team early doors capatures public and sponsors attention and sets them up for the future, Welsh teams aren't doing that and will get left behind.

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Post by Kingshu Wed 12 Jul 2023, 12:30 pm

While praising the URC I noticed that

Most Watched Teams

1. Munster
2. Cell C Sharks
3. Vodacom Bulls
4. DHL Stormers
5. Connacht

And wondered how Connacht could be so high, and Ulster (arguably the best supported team in the league) dont feature.

Looking at this season every Connacht, Leinster and Munster game home and away is available to watch free to air in Ireland. Ulster have only 6 home and away games that are on free to air TV, which is a real shame, and big disadvantage for Ulster fans compared to the other 3 provinces. Sime Ulster games are on RTE/TG4 but these will be geoblocked in NI.

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Post by Kingshu Wed 12 Jul 2023, 2:32 pm

Number of games that are on free to Air. Counting things like S4C being able to be viewed in Scotland and TG4 RTE being Geo Blocked.

Leinster, Munster, Connacht = 18
Dragons, Cardiff Ospreys = 13
Scarlets = 12
Benetton, Zebre = 10
Ulster = 6
Glasgow and Edinburgh = 1
Stormers,Bulls, Lions, Sharks = zero

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Post by mikey_dragon Wed 12 Jul 2023, 3:55 pm

TAFKA The Oracle wrote:A Welsh team in the top 4 in the next 6 years would be nothing short of a miracle, Kingshu!  Would love to see it, but can't see how they can while at the same time slashing budgets (as agreed as part of the new 6 year the funding deal).  Expect to see a lot of Welsh semi-pro and academy players in the URC next season Sad

I think scarlets will be thereabouts by the end of the season. They’ve recruited well (players and coaches). Their first team will be very good, but they’re losing more to international call-ups this time around. They’ve recruited okay at lock, but still need a TH which it doesn’t look like is happening. Ospreys have the team for it, the pack, but they’re still not performing - I’m not sure if next season will be different. They should be steamrolling a few teams and they simply don’t do it.

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Post by TAFKA The Oracle Wed 12 Jul 2023, 10:47 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:
TAFKA The Oracle wrote:A Welsh team in the top 4 in the next 6 years would be nothing short of a miracle, Kingshu!  Would love to see it, but can't see how they can while at the same time slashing budgets (as agreed as part of the new 6 year the funding deal).  Expect to see a lot of Welsh semi-pro and academy players in the URC next season Sad

I think scarlets will be thereabouts by the end of the season. They’ve recruited well (players and coaches). Their first team will be very good, but they’re losing more to international call-ups this time around. They’ve recruited okay at lock, but still need a TH which it doesn’t look like is happening. Ospreys have the team for it, the pack, but they’re still not performing - I’m not sure if next season will be different. They should be steamrolling a few teams and they simply don’t do it.

Love your optimism Mikey. But just can’t see either Ospreys or Scarlets’ recruitment being enough to go from 13th/14th to top 4. That’s a huge jump when others have also invested in their squads and coaching staff. I know there’s no point being pessimistic and un-ambitious but there’s so many good teams competing for that top 4. Munster, Leinster, Ulster, Glasgow, Bulls, Stormers, Sharks. They need to knock 4 of them out of the way to get a top 4 spot. No mean feat on a 5m budget (if I’ve understood the budgets correctly). And that’s while others have not needed to make the anywhere near the same cuts. And yes, SA are probably paid less but their currency and cost of living is not really comparable. Adjusted for that I’m sure their budgets are closer to £8, £9, £10 million, etc.

I suppose Leicester managed it in football though that season when they won. And Connacht won it against the odds a few years back. So who knows! Fingers crossed.

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Post by TAFKA The Oracle Wed 12 Jul 2023, 10:48 pm

Sorry, just realised you might have meant in the next 6 years? If so, yes hopefully and a much more realistic development goal. Thought you meant next season?!

Edit: but even then, the budgets are going down to £4.5m for the remaining 5 years of the deal. So for Os or Scarlets to break top 4 in the next 6 years they've got to hope new talent comes through and is really good, AND that they are happy to stay on lowish wages at those sides when they'll be getting better offers from around the world. Gonna be a tough ask.


Last edited by TAFKA The Oracle on Thu 13 Jul 2023, 8:53 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Kingshu Thu 13 Jul 2023, 12:10 am

The league is getting tougher, Ulster Munster Leinster are 3 top teams, so are Stormers Bulls and Sharks, the SA teams are increasing budgets, and I think its next year they become shareholder in UrC and will likely increase again, Connacht are a very good team (semifinals with the toughest fixtures is a great achievement. Those 8 will be tough to displace, Glasgow are a good team and have good fixture. Italian under 20s have been good last number of years and Bennaton have been making strides. Its difficlt to see how teams finishing below them with not great under 20s can cut budgets but still climb above 3 of them to make playoffs nevermind 6 of them to make top 4.

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Post by TAFKA The Oracle Thu 13 Jul 2023, 8:57 am

I really don't want to derail this any further with Welsh woes as it probably needs it's own thread, but a lot of the narrative in Wales (see Welsh rugby Twitter as an example) is about the 'greedy regions who take money from the rest of the game in Wales'. The view by many is that they fleece the WRU and squander it. And this at a time when they will probably be some of the lowest funded pro sides in Europe. It's hard to develop and grow when fighting not only externally against rivals and competitors but within their own country and fan base too.

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Post by Oakdene Thu 13 Jul 2023, 10:47 am

TAFKA The Oracle wrote:I really don't want to derail this any further with Welsh woes as it probably needs it's own thread, but a lot of the narrative in Wales (see Welsh rugby Twitter as an example) is about the 'greedy regions who take money from the rest of the game in Wales'.  The view by many is that they fleece the WRU and squander it.  And this at a time when they will probably be some of the lowest funded pro sides in Europe.  It's hard to develop and grow when fighting not only externally against rivals and competitors but within their own country and fan base too.

I mean the community clubs should be doing ok. I am the treasurer of one of the smallest clubs in Wales & we do ok. Every club in the community game has to sign a document to say they don't pay players so they can receive a full core grant - don't get me wrong there are clubs that sign the document & are creative with ways of paying players but that's by the by.

We get around £14,000 per year in grants from the WRU & that's not all we can get. If we improve certain things in & around our club we can get more.

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 13 Jul 2023, 8:59 pm

It should be born in mind that salary levels have been squeezed elsewhere.
I reckon Ulster have gone from about £6.8 million to £5.5 million.

Only one central contract, only one Foreign international and a squad down below 40 full professionals


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Post by TAFKA The Oracle Thu 13 Jul 2023, 11:00 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:It should be born in mind that salary levels have been squeezed elsewhere.
I reckon Ulster have gone from about £6.8 million to £5.5 million.

Only one central contract, only one Foreign international and a squad down below 40 full professionals


Well that’s good news, at least for us here in Wales. Is that consistent across Ireland though? Or just Ulster feeling the pinch?

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 14 Jul 2023, 8:15 pm

Not as much as Ulster.

Connacht tend to spend less anyway so are probably on a similar figure..

Munster have 3 CCs and a some private funding + any touring game going.
My back of a fag packet guess is about £6.7 million

Leinster are in a different league, so many CC's and some private money.
Around £9 million I reckon.



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Post by TAFKA The Oracle Sat 22 Jul 2023, 9:09 am

Lots of talk in Wales about the WRU proposals to host a BaaBaas game the same day as a Welsh derby, and also to host Bristol
V Gloucester the same day as Cardiff host another Welsh derby next door. I get the need for the WRU to increase revenue as this pays for the pro game, but surely they shouldn’t be in competition with the pro clubs? These games will likely impact the attendances at the URC derbies on those weekends. This does nothing to change the view in Wales (and perhaps beyond) that the WRU are in direct conflict with the regions and are not facilitators of growth for these sides (which arguably they should be). This big ‘reset’ that they talk about (yet another one) is surely the chance to all pull in the same direction and have a synergy that helps to grow the game, and revenues, for everyone? Yet these proposals seem to go against that right at the start of the new 6 year deal and right at the start of the tenure of the new ceo. Not a great start.

Not my club, but here’s a letter from the Cardiff supporters trust to the new wru ceo outlining their views on the above. Nicked from Twitter:

https://cf10rugbytrust.org/sites/default/files/letter_to_new_wru_chair_richard_collier.pdf

Anyone think this is a bit off or are we being moaning Welshies again?! Just seems short sighted to me at a time when all eyes are on the WRU to really make a difference and get things right for once.

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Post by carpet baboon Sat 22 Jul 2023, 12:14 pm

It does seem slightly mad.
I couldn't imagine the IRFU hosting sarries v Leicester at the Aviva the same day Leinster are playing Munster at the RDS.
Actually it's not mad it's an act of clear self harm that's quite quite insane

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Post by mikey_dragon Sat 22 Jul 2023, 3:48 pm

I don’t disagree with what’s been said, and the Wales vs Barbarians fixture is a naf idea given the timing and players’ availability. I see the sense in hosting a Bristol game if we can make money from it. I seriously doubt Cardiff would get a bigger crowd…

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Sat 22 Jul 2023, 6:33 pm

What's the deal with this Bristol game? I've heard nothing about this?

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 22 Jul 2023, 9:10 pm

It just seems a bit bizarre, like they seem to be down treading their own teams, can’t they see how that is going to hurt them in the long run, if you are seen to not care about your teams then you teach others not to care about them and then you can’t be surprised when people don’t want to go to their games.
They are after all the breeding grounds for the national team, it’s like the wru are trying to kill rugby in Wales sometimes

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Post by mikey_dragon Sun 23 Jul 2023, 1:38 pm

Just wondering but is the All Blacks vs Springboks at twickenham an RC fixture? Or friendly?

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Post by neilthom7 Sun 23 Jul 2023, 2:24 pm

Friendly, it’s an RWC warm up match. Think they are only playing each other once in rugby championship this year.

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Post by BigGee Mon 24 Jul 2023, 11:45 am

I see Dai Young has left Cardiff.

The investigation into the alleged bullying was inconclusive but it seems his relationship with the club has broken down because of it. Sounds like a messy business and probably better for all parties to move on.

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Post by Kingshu Mon 24 Jul 2023, 11:55 am

BigGee wrote:I see Dai Young has left Cardiff.

The investigation into the alleged bullying was inconclusive but it seems his relationship with the club has broken down because of it. Sounds like a messy business and probably better for all parties to move on.

'it could not find sufficient evidence to uphold the original allegations, and as a result Young was exonerated'

Yet still terminated his contract.

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Post by mikey_dragon Mon 24 Jul 2023, 12:41 pm

Termination of the contract was agreed by both parties though, and it's not a surprising outcome. I think this happened before, rumours of it banding around when they brought Mark Hammett over. I also remember Lualala stating the club was run by amateurs on twitter but he later removed this tweet. The Cardiff Board needs to sort itself out and by that I mean get rid of at least half of them...

There's a place for Dai at the Dragons, DOR Very Happy.

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Post by mikey_dragon Tue 25 Jul 2023, 1:56 pm

Anyone 'know' who initially made the complaint against Dai Young?

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