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English Premiership- is it just me?

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doctor_grey
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Post by B91212 Mon 20 Nov 2023, 4:07 pm

Hello to everyone. Some may remember me from the earlier days of 606v2. Big rugby fan, used to go and watch Saints at the Gardens back when we still lived in the UK.

The reason for this post is that I’m struggling with premiership rugby, and I’d like to know what others think please. Is it just me because I’m out of the loop and don’t have like minded people in real life to discuss it with? I always had a small interest in American Football but since moving here I guess I’m what you’d now call a fan, taking part in a prediction league at work and starting to dabble in fantasy football. But that could just be an excuse to head out and meet the guys for a beer.

I’ve always subscribed to the prem since it became available here a couple of years after emigrating. It isn’t cheap because the broadcaster (Sportsnet) lumps it in with its premium package of Ice Hockey and WWE, $36.75 a month which is £21.54 at the current exchange rate. I’m not a hockey or wrestling fan and generally I only watch the Sunday morning prem game in full as due to the time difference Friday evenings game is during work and life seems to get in the way most Saturday mornings, so basically it works out at over £5 a game for me. That didn’t bother me before but when I watch a game now I feel that the standard is lower than it was.

With the 3 teams going out of business last season felt a bit of a wash out. Added to that although I understand why it is needed the reduced salary cap seems to be really having an impact on the quality. I dislike the lack of relegation and also dislike that English teams, with the exception of Saracens, can’t even come close to competing in Europe. Speaking of Europe that is no longer carried by broadcasters here so we have to stream it directly from the website if we want to watch it and again it isn’t particularly cheap. The lack of relegation was the main reason that I never watched the Pro 12/14/URC even though it was available through a different streaming service that I already subscribed to as it was the best place to watch American Football. Thankfully that same service still carries the 6N so I do get to watch that still.

I really enjoyed the recent Rugby World Cup as the standard was unsurprisingly so much better. It was also streamed by a rival broadcaster for $9.43/ £5.53 a month. So is it that I just don’t like rugby as much anymore? On a side note while I know that safety is super important I think that we should embrace that it is a collision sport and make it the safest version of that possible, kind of like what I’ve heard that the Australian NRL are doing instead of trying to what feels like is change the fundamentals of the sport.

I let my subscription expire to see if I’d miss it, and so far I haven’t. I thought that this past weekends local derbies might make me miss it now (maybe that is just because the damn Tigers won), but no. So what do you think? Is it because I’m out of the loop or has the product quality dropped to the point where I can’t justify the cost? Or is it a combination of both? I still listen to a few rugby podcasts on my drive to and from work so there must be some interest there still?

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Tue 21 Nov 2023, 10:51 am

You won't watch the URC because it doesn't have promotion/relegation, but yet you watch the NFL? Perhaps promotion,/relegation isnt that big of a factor then?

If there are any MLR teams near you, try going to one of those games. Going to a live game could reignite some of the passion you once had in watching club rugby.

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Post by B91212 Tue 21 Nov 2023, 6:37 pm

You make a valid point. When we first moved here and I started watching more NFL I couldn’t get my head around why so many teams went into the playoffs/ wildcard games, but it really does help keep the interest going through the regular season. They are also much more open to moving games into prime time at short notice if the original scheduled game doesn’t have anything on it. In general I feel the that the US understands better that the supporter is king and without them wouldn’t thrive.

My overriding memory of the URC is when it was the pro 12/14 and watching games like Dragons Zebre on a windy and rainy evening where I didn’t recognize hardly any players and again the standard wasn’t great.

You make an excellent point about watching a MLR game in the flesh. I’m up in Canada but travel down to the US 2 or 3 times a year for work. Plus myself and the Mrs take holidays down there as well. Unfortunately I’ve not managed to time a trip to catch a game although my job would be more than happy to let me delay my flight back and I’d only need to pay for any extra hotel nights. On the MLR we are supposed to be able to stream the games up here but when I tried it said they were locked although no providers carry it.

Saw Canada vs Scotland in Edmonton a few years and throughly enjoyed it. There is a decent Scottish expat community up there, there were loads of Scotland tops everywhere, and it was a lovely sunny and still day weather-wise. Even the Mrs who has no interest in rugby enjoyed the day out and it was a real novelty for me to watch a live international fixture in person. Perhaps the point is that a lesser standard is more enjoyable in the flesh.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Tue 21 Nov 2023, 7:47 pm

The standard of the URC has grown exponentially since the pro 14 days. Even Zebre are looking decent so far this year! The SA sides have completely transformed the competition.

On the MLR, games not involving your local side should be available to stream for free on the rugby network. They also have a premium version where you pay a small fee and it shows aviva premiership games. New England games look to be the most fun, their stadium was packed this year and they always had some sort of festival going after the game. San Diego looks good too, they had a crowd of over 11k at one of their home games!

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Post by B91212 Wed 22 Nov 2023, 3:02 am

I have subscribed to the rugby network Canada thank you. I remember reading a bit about it before it all started but then it went pretty quiet and obviously launched over here without much fanfare. We can’t seem to get the prem package in Canada as although it lets me go through the sign up process it doesn’t like my Canadian address. I guess otherwise no only rugby fan like myself would ever subscribe to Sportsnet. I wonder if once the rights come up again they will go for them up here as well? I hope so as $65 a year is much easier to justify, even if I feel that the standard might be dropping.

Without fail I will give the URC another go although I’m not sure if I can believe you about Zebre until I see it with my own eyes! I do appreciate your responses, thank you.

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Post by doctor_grey Wed 22 Nov 2023, 1:16 pm

B91212 wrote:I have subscribed to the rugby network Canada thank you. I remember reading a bit about it before it all started but then it went pretty quiet and obviously launched over here without much fanfare. We can’t seem to get the prem package in Canada as although it lets me go through the sign up process it doesn’t like my Canadian address. I guess otherwise no only rugby fan like myself would ever subscribe to Sportsnet. I wonder if once the rights come up again they will go for them up here as well? I hope so as $65 a year is much easier to justify, even if I feel that the standard might be dropping.

Without fail I will give the URC another go although I’m not sure if I can believe you about Zebre until I see it with my own eyes! I do appreciate your responses, thank you.
Most important point first: The Rugby Network should now accept your Provincial address. There was an issue with their web site accepting either American states or Canadian provinces. A few of us had sent them a number of emails, including screen shots, and I received an email just before last weekend indicating they fixed their problem. And now it works. It still looks strange when I put in a US state or Canadian province, but does work - now all we need is for Saints to start winning a bit more...

Their email to me:

We are contacting you to confirm that the incident in the activation through the web www.therugbynetwork.com has been solved. If you are so kind, please log in again and go through the contracting process again to enjoy the contents.

If you encounter any further issues or have additional concerns, feel free to reach out. We appreciate your patience and understanding.
Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience you've experienced, and we understand your frustration. We are getting in touch with you regarding the issue with the subscription to confirm that it is already resolved, and the resolution is now in place. We apologize for any disruption this may have caused.

If we can help you with anything else please do not hesitate to contact us by email contact@therugbynetwork.com we will be glad to assist you.

Kind regards from The Rugby Network team.

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Post by geoff999rugby Wed 22 Nov 2023, 4:42 pm

B91212 wrote: Without fail I will give the URC another go although I’m not sure if I can believe you about Zebre until I see it with my own eyes! I do appreciate your responses, thank you.

You dont need to believe anyone just use your eyes to look at the table

All 4 Welsh side and 2 Saffers sides are below Zebre in the table, after 5 Rounds

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Post by Rugby Fan Thu 23 Nov 2023, 1:35 pm

Rugby Ranter Banter, a podcast by an Englishman living in America called Eddie Stephens, had its 200th episode this week. Tim Cocker from Eggchasers, and some of the Maul Over Rugby podcast team were guests.

Like Eggchasers, Maul Over consists of middle aged rugby enthusiasts rather than old pros. Maul Over has been on a lengthy sabbatical, and they explained why. The contributors have become increasingly fed up with the game. They were finding it a chore to watch matches on TV.

One Maul Over guy called Doug, who works as a TV cameraman at sports events, including rugby, likened rugby on telly to an episode of Judge Judy. He hates the way commentators spend so much of their time litigating referee decisions. He also covers darts, and says darts tournaments thrive, because organizers embrace what supporters love about the game. In contrast, he thinks rugby often seems embarrassed about what kind of sport it is.

Tim Cocker used to have a professional gig with BT Sport but that contract has ended. Along with the Eggchasers podcast, he set up a YouTube channel during the World Cup, which accumulated 50,000 subscribers.

Cocker remains enthusiastic about rugby but is not blind to the challenges. One of his Eggchasers colleagues called JB, who is a divisive figure, threatened to pack the sport in last season when the tackle height changes were introduced to the amateur game in England.

Cocker noted how interest in rugby in England has quickly evaporated after the World Cup, with no real follow-through to the Premiership

The blokes on that podcast are not a demographically diverse group but they do represent a large chunk of rugby's most consistent supporters. It does sometimes seem as if rugby is stuck between trying to appeal to new audiences, and retaining the unconditional love of existing fans. Some regions have joined the dots with more success. England, and specifically the Premiership, are struggling on that front.

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Post by king_carlos Thu 23 Nov 2023, 5:54 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:Cocker remains enthusiastic about rugby but is not blind to the challenges. One of his Eggchasers colleagues called JB, who is a divisive figure, threatened to pack the sport in last season when the tackle height changes were introduced to the amateur game in England.
Somewhat an understatement on the JB part. Fella seems to have fully gone off the deep end. His rants on the pod are somewhat moderated too. Some of his stuff on Twitter outside of rugby was sliding into full conspiracy theory areas during COVID. The weird argument he had on Twitter with Cipriani after suggesting the only reason blokes watch women's rugby is to leer at young women was a particularly bizarre one that said more about JB than anyone else. I stopped listening to Eggchasers regularly as I just couldn't be bothered with his BS anymore. A textbook polemicist. He's just about bright enough to find a contrarian viewpoint but usually lacks the understanding to back it up. Then just debates by screeching louder. These days he seems like a nuclear grade w**ker basically.

B91212 - Firstly, good to see you back!

I'm very much in agreement and have been lamenting the divebomb in the Premierships quality for a while. The lowered cap was necessary after COVID but definitely had an effect there. Ringfencing is the biggest issue though. Removing the threat of relegation allowed the quality of the average game to plummet. Teams could carry worse squad depth, rotate away from home, phone it in later in the season if they were adrift from the playoffs, etc. It's gone from a brutally competitive, cut throat league to a cosy, low intensity one.

The best games are still a very high standard. The final between Sarries and Sale last season was about as close to international physicality and intensity as domestic rugby gets for instance. There are now so many dud games in between. Tries scored have gone up and that is often equated to better rugby. Whereas in the current league it's mostly due to abject defence. The Tigers vs Quins game a couple of weeks ago was a glaring example. Lots of high profile players on show but some of the defensive organisation looked like they were blindfolded.

Long time Leicester Tigers fan for context there.

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Post by Rugby Fan Fri 24 Nov 2023, 12:30 am

Perhaps prompted by the discussion he took part in, Cocker from Eggchasers has a new video looking at the gulf between interest in domestic and international rugby.




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Post by B91212 Fri 24 Nov 2023, 5:17 pm

doctor_grey wrote:Kind regards from The Rugby Network team.[/i]
Hey there good doctor. Thank you so much for the Rugby Network information. So I am registered successfully but it still doesn't like me trying to upgrade to the premium package. Now this could be either due to my plague infected brain not working or they are having to hold it back up here because of a rights thing with Rogers Sportsnet. I so hope that it is the first one as I dislike anything to do with Rogers and once I'm thinking somewhat straight I will try contacting TRN about it.

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Post by B91212 Fri 24 Nov 2023, 5:45 pm

king_carlos wrote:It's gone from a brutally competitive, cut throat league to a cosy, low intensity one.
Hey KC, and thank you for the nice welcome. That quote sums up just how was finding it. I too watched the Sarries Sale final last year and enjoyed it but the regular games were just not enjoyable to me. I don't want try-fests- I like tight high intensity spectacles like we had for the most part in the knock out stages of the world cup. I don't know how to get us back there, but much more worryingly I don't think that those in power have any idea how to.    

I had still remembered that you were a Tigers fan. I always found it unsettling that there have been a few decent and insightful posters on here that follow 'that' team from up the road.


Last edited by B91212 on Fri 24 Nov 2023, 6:09 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by B91212 Fri 24 Nov 2023, 6:09 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:Perhaps prompted by the discussion he took part in, Cocker from Eggchasers has a new video looking at the gulf between interest in domestic and international rugby.
I have listened to Eggchasers since just after they started but agree with KC that JB has made it less appealing over the past 12 months, and it's gone from being my Monday to and from work drive pod to a if I have time to get it in pod before the weekend, and no biggy if I don't. It is a shame because Tim's love of the game especially does come through well. I didn't get to see him much on tv as our coverage over here was mainly just the game itself but do you know why Tim lost his intervening gig with BT? Being a media professional (radio presenter), played to a semi high standard of just under the top level, brother was a pro and also being super knowledgeable on the league and having a genuine interest in the game then I'd have thought he was perfect?

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Post by Rugby Fan Sun 26 Nov 2023, 12:06 am

B91212 wrote:I have listened to Eggchasers since just after they started but agree with KC that JB has made it less appealing over the past 12 months
I didn't want to distract from your topic with a JB pile-on but he has turned a lot of people away from the podcast. He once put Tim Cocker in a difficult position by being abusive on Twitter to his BT Sports colleague Ben Kay. Don't think that was a factor in Cocker's employment - it seems there was a shake-up of the presenting team with the TNT Sports rebranding.

These days, JB sees rugby through a culture war prism, and anyone who disagrees with him about the sport is an enemy, trying to destroy it.

Cocker followed up his earlier video, airing some of the responses to the qestion of why there's such a gilf between the audiences for international and domestic rugby.


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Post by B91212 Mon 04 Dec 2023, 8:28 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:Cocker followed up his earlier video, airing some of the responses to the qestion of why there's such a gilf between the audiences for international and domestic rugby.

I finally got around to watching this (all 20 mins of it), thanks RF. Interesting points made again, I like Tim Cocker-Rouse as he generally does talk sense but from a position of loving the game. I did subscribe to his channel on YT.

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Post by B91212 Mon 04 Dec 2023, 8:38 pm

B91212 wrote: We can’t seem to get the prem package in Canada as although it lets me go through the sign up process it doesn’t like my Canadian address.
Hey good Dr..... I checked with the rugby network and sure enough they don't have the rights to the prem up here (yet, hopefully). Their reply was as follows-

Unfortunately, at this time, we currently only have the rights to stream the Men's Gallagher English Premiership for viewers located in the United States. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and understand any disappointment.

If you have any other questions or if there's anything else we can assist you with, please feel free to let us know. We're here to help!

Thank you for your understanding.

Hopefully they are due for renewal at the end of this season here in Canada. As previously mentioned I think that I could stomach the reduced standard more for less than a quarter of the price they want on Sportsnet. For this season I think that I will stick with just watching the highlights on YouTube and trying the odd URC game (like the Irish derby the other week).

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Post by Irish Londoner Tue 05 Dec 2023, 10:06 am

As a London Irish fan I've given up all but a passing interest in domestic English rugby, I've cancelled my BT Sport and get enough live rugby either from watching Donny Knights or from the FTA URC games on S4C and BBC Norn Iron plus the English games on FTA TV and the Flats and Topsy highlights package.

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