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Thread: Nathan Sharpe column: Rugby charges forward

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    Nathan Sharpe column: Rugby charges forward

    Australian rugby is on the verge of change.

    With the inception of the Melbourne Rebels in what will be next year's Super 15 competition, rugby's footprint across the nation is set to grow. Naturally this change brings about debate over Australia's ability to provide enough depth to sustain a fifth team.

    The Melbourne Rebels have just been given the green light to commence their recruitment as early as March 15 which in itself creates a set of issues for existing clubs who are in full swing with their Super 14 campaign. With the need to recruit a 30-man squad I'm sure I don't need to outline the effects on players and teams this could potentially have.

    Having been in a similar situation in 2005, I understand the intensity that comes in making these huge career decisions in the midst of a tough Super 14 competition.

    The decision for me to leave Queensland was an extremely emotional and confrontational one. The result for the Reds with the inception of the Force was painstaking.

    Many players who were unsatisfied with the direction of the Reds at the time made the move west putting the Reds in a position whereby they essentially needed to start again.

    I remember being in Cape Town when I finally made the decision to join the Western Force. At that time it was rare that players would move interstate unless they couldn't get a run in their home State - making my decision highlighted all the more.

    This point in time concerning Australian rugby was well documented, undoubtedly as a result all State unions will be keen to avoid a similar situation in 2011.

    I think it is important for the Australian Rugby Union to get the balance right in terms of recruiting restrictions across all the States to ensure this doesn't happen again. The Rebels have been granted the ability to contract 10 marquee players to their squad but have already stated they would prefer home-grown talent.

    Again the issue of depth in Australian rugby at present will be highlighted.

    There is no doubt an abundance of potential talent is beginning to emerge, however, it will take several years for that talent to gather experience at this level. Long term, the prospect is very exciting and the additional exposure to high-level rugby will have a long-term, positive impact on the performance of the national team.

    Long-term recruitment and retention strategies are vital for the success of provinces going forward.

    With the transient nature of professional rugby players nowadays, there needs to be a much stronger focus on provinces having the organisational structure that can support the players and their desire to develop on and off the field.

    The best rugby programs will be rewarded with attracting the best rugby players.

    Over the last year, this has been a strong focus for the Force, and despite our results on the paddock so far this season, I'm confident the organisation has laid solid foundations for the years to come.

    The competition next year will involve a new format whereby Australian, New Zealand and South African provinces play their own domestic rivals twice in an expanded format. Therefore the Force will meet the Reds, Waratahs, Brumbies and Rebels once at home and once away. Each team will also play eight of the 10 sides in the other conferences, NZ and South Africa, giving each club 16 matches in the regular season.

    http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/spo...arges-forward/

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    "The competition next year will involve a new format whereby Australian, New Zealand and South African provinces play their own domestic rivals twice in an expanded format. Therefore the Force will meet the Reds, Waratahs, Brumbies and Rebels once at home and once away. Each team will also play eight of the 10 sides in the other conferences, NZ and South Africa, giving each club 16 matches in the regular season."



    Definitely looking forward to more Australian rugby. With teams only playing 8 out of 10 SA or NZ teams draws could become a huge advantage. I'm interested to know how this factor will be balanced by SANZAR.

    Perhaps teams will need to use the ARU OS player recruiting rules better. The Force seemed to have had a good crack at this but not much luck getting approvals from the ARU… perhaps there is a better way for all clubs to top up their squads with a couple of internationals…

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    Quote Originally Posted by mudskipper View Post


    Definitely looking forward to more Australian rugby. With teams only playing 8 out of 10 SA or NZ teams draws could become a huge advantage. I'm interested to know how this factor will be balanced by SANZAR.
    As it has been with the Super 14's the season roster is rotated around a 4 year roster which see's us playing the same roster this yaer as in 2006. The 15's format would be over a few more years but you would still meet each other team the same amount of times over that period............I think

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    The Wallabies - Still the only team to score tries and win away from home in both, yes both its World Cup victories!

    I vote - and I want a proper rectangular stadium in Perth!

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    I would have thought it would become a ten year cycle...five years to miss one of the teams from each location, then reversed on home and away.

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    Should we assume each team would miss I SA team and one NZ each season?

    Is the semis made up from the first 3 teams on the overall S15 table and the next highest from each conference? to make up the six team finals series?

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    Im not convinced that missing out a south african team will be an advantage. The kiwi teams are generally all very competitive, with even the highlanders generally being competitive. However, there are usually 3 crap teams in SA and two very strong ones. This year it is the Sharks, Cheetahs and Lions who are crap and the Stormers and Bulls strong. Hence missing out on an SA team might be missing out a relatively easy win.

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    My understanding was that it was the top team from each conference, and then the next three based on overall score.

    And therein lies the rub - as you say Farva, the Kiwi teams are very competitive and will all tend to nick points off each other. By comparison, we and SA may have three struggling teams yet get to play them extra times. It will be interesting to see how it plays when, despite having strong teams and the most competitive pool, the Kiwis only get one team in the finals each year...

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    If a team doesn't have to play the top sides from SA Bulls & NZ Chiefs in the same year its nice draw.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mudskipper View Post
    If a team doesn't have to play the top sides from SA Bulls & NZ Chiefs in the same year its nice draw.
    At the moment sure but post 2011 I wonder how each of those teams will look. I doubt Matfield and Botha will stick around.

    Sharpie didn't really go into it but the ARU really needs to divvy up those OS Melbourne spots if Melbourne don't use them. I'm all for Aussie players getting a crack but the teams need to be competitive or else we might not attract the young-ins.

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