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Thread: Rugby union looks at staging its own State of Origin match The Australian

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    Rugby union looks at staging its own State of Origin match The Australian

    WAYNE SMITH
    Senior sport writerBrisbane
    @WayneKeithSmith

    Queensland and NSW are negotiating to stage the long-anticipated inaugural rugby union state of origin match during the June Test window next year.

    While QRU chief executive Richard Barker is an enthusiastic supporter, his Waratahs counterpart Andrew Hore is taking a more cautious approach.

    “We applaud the initiative and we’re certainly open for discussion,” Hore said. “But we’re mindful of our stakeholders like the (Sydney) Shute Shield clubs. We would (also) need to work with the Australian Rugby Union on this.

    “But an origin game does highlight the fact that the vast majority of professional rugby players in this country come from NSW and Queensland and sometimes it doesn’t hurt to mention that. And there is no question, too, that we are looking at the June window very carefully.”

    That is the driver behind the initiative, that both unions struggle to find meaningful content during the period when Super Rugby grinds to a standstill for a month while three Tests are played.

    Given that both unions are wanting to stage the match as a quality “hole-filler” in the Test window, there would be, almost by definition, doubts over the availability of Wallabies players. But the Tests next year are against Scotland, Italy and Fiji — and there is little doubt that a full-scale state of origin match would have far more spectator appeal.

    Hore doesn’t see involvement of the Test stars as a deal-breaker. “Out of necessity comes innovation,” he said. “It’s a bit like the Big Bash being played while the Australian cricket team almost becomes an international club.”

    ARU boss Bill Pulver was unavailable for comment yesterday but it is clear the national body has a central role to play in the staging of an origin match. Not only would it be responsible for deciding which players could play, it might also have to make a call on drawing players from the three other Super franchises to play for the two origin teams.

    The Waratahs could well require No 8 Lopeti Timani and centre Reece Hodge from the Melbourne Rebels and flanker Scott Fardy and loosehead Scott Sio from the Brumbies, while Queensland no doubt would select backrower Sean McMahon and winger Dom Shipperley from the Rebels, Luke Morahan from the Western Force and Rory *Arnold from the Brumbies.

    And then there is the question of David Pocock. His family moved to Queensland when they left Zimbabwe. He slipped through the Reds’ fingers to make his Super Rugby debut for the Force before he then joined the Brumbies. Pocock will be playing his last game of rugby for a year when he lines up against England at Twickenham on Sunday morning (AEDT) as he is due to take a sabbatical. But for a match of this historic importance, he might be persuaded to break his holiday.

    The Rebels, Force and Brumbies might have severe reservations about releasing their players for origin duty but the reality is that the Melbourne side this year organised their own practice matches against New Zealand’s Super Rugby sides simply to keep their players match-fit during the June window.

    The ARU also could have a role to play as an arbiter in terms of disputes over players.

    Both states, for example, would be determined to select Israel Folau at fullback. Certainly he was born in Minto in NSW and played his first senior rugby for the Waratahs but he came to Queensland at the age of 15 and attended Marsden State High and because he played rugby league for Norths in the Brisbane competition, he graduated to the Maroons in league’s State of Origin.

    Queensland would also claim that his preference was to play for the Reds when he signed with rugby in 2012 but the ARU effectively forced him to play for the Waratahs because NSW needed a drawcard.

    There might also be a tug of war over Arnold. Though he was Wagga Wagga-born and raised in Murwillumbah, it was while playing for the Gold Coast Breakers that he first made his presence known in rugby.

    Barker says Australian rugby cannot have a dead hole in the heart of the Super Rugby season.

    “The Test window has to be held later and we have to allow momentum to build in the Super Rugby competition,” Barker said. “All of a sudden we come to a dead stop at a time when rival codes are building to the high point of their seasons. We need the IRB (World Rugby) and Bill (Pulver) to work pretty hard on this.

    “Let’s play a state of origin match at Ballymore. It’s a rugby-owned ground, so rugby would get all the proceeds.”

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    Player yungfen's Avatar
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    It will be hard to bring passion into this 'origin' game, it might build up with time but I am not a fan of copying Rugby League!

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    The terms of selection seem very loose to me. I can't honestly see it getting off the ground. Pocock for example lived in Perth for as long as he lived in QLD.

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    there is little doubt that a full-scale state of origin match would have far more spectator appeal.

    Hore doesn’t see involvement of the Test stars as a deal-breaker. “Out of necessity comes innovation,” he said. “It’s a bit like the Big Bash being played while the Australian cricket team almost becomes an international club.”
    What a load. Dead set. Without Wallaby squad players there's a good chance I wouldn't even bother to watch. At that time of the year there is just too much quality footy to attract interest.

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    a big yawn

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    There was a story yesterday about how League will be dead in 10 years as rugby is taking over globally, perhaps this is stirring the same pot.

    Bloody mungos!

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    yeah, this doesn't excite me one bit. Take out all the test players and the quality isn't there.

    I'd prefer they made all the non-test players go back to club land and spend the month promoting the grassroots stuff. You can bet they will need to engage better with the rugby grassroots to try to sell tickets to these three tests. Why not doing by allowing their quality players back and then spend a bit of promotional working pumping those games/competitions. Hashtag it #BackToOurRoots or something.

    Better for the game than a halfarsed origin concept.

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    Veteran Contributor Exile's Avatar
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    They tried this in the 1990s.

    Pretty sure Channel 7 called it the "State of Union" series

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    *yawn* what else is boring.

    They can't even nut out eligibility requirements and all it will take is one lengthy injury to a player who plays for the Force, Rebels or Brumbies before those 3 clubs stop releasing players for a mickey mouse concept that will be watered down by not having Test players available.

    The only thing in that article I agree with is that Australian Rugby cannot have a dead hole in the middle of the season. But I don't think this concept will fill said hole.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Exile View Post
    They tried this in the 1990s.

    Pretty sure Channel 7 called it the "State of Union" series
    was never a place of origin game though was it? Just like the Ricoh Challenge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RugbyReg View Post
    was never a place of origin game though was it? Just like the Ricoh Challenge.
    I cant say with certainty Reg. But it sounds right.

    I drank a lot of Bundy Rum in the 90's.

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    Surely a NSW vs Qld match without Wallabies is the Brisbane City/Queensland Country Barbarians vs Sydney NRC teams Barbarians?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jargan83 View Post
    *yawn* what else is boring.

    They can't even nut out eligibility requirements and all it will take is one lengthy injury to a player who plays for the Force, Rebels or Brumbies before those 3 clubs stop releasing players for a mickey mouse concept that will be watered down by not having Test players available.

    The only thing in that article I agree with is that Australian Rugby cannot have a dead hole in the middle of the season. But I don't think this concept will fill said hole.
    I doubt if the Force, Rebels and Brumbies will release any of their players for this in the first place unless forced by the ARU. Then the question would be can the ARU force these franchises to release players when they are not being paid by the ARU but the franchises. The risk is too great.

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    I don't imagine the ARU would want to draw attention away from the test matches either.

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    Shame the Pacific Islands concept isn't around anymore.

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    Last edited by chibi; 02-12-16 at 14:25.


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