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Thread: Rugby Australia should buy a European club as an additional talent pool for Wallabies

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    Legend Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    Rugby Australia should buy a European club as an additional talent pool for Wallabies

    An article in The Guardian by Bret Harris: Rugby Australia should buy European club to tap into northern wealth

    An overseas-based Australian team could become an additional talent pool for the Wallabies.

    In an historic, yet largely unnoticed announcement, Raelene Castle revealed last Friday that Rugby Australia was exploring partnership arrangements with Japanese clubs. Castle’s revelation was in response to New Zealand Rugby confirming it had entered into a partnership with English club Harlequins.

    The details of the Kiwis’ partnership were a little vague, but it seemed there would be a mutually beneficial exchange of coaches, players and ideas between New Zealand and Harlequins.

    “This alignment will create significant opportunities for both sides, with players, coaches and staff able to learn from different environments with different people, challenges and cultures,” NZR chief-executive Steve Tew said.

    While the partnership is an interesting concept, I would urge Rugby Australia to go one step further and buy or invest in a European club to tap into the huge reservoir of Australian talent playing overseas and to capitalise on the riches in the northern hemisphere.

    At present, Australians playing overseas are ineligible to play for the Wallabies unless they have reached a 60-Test threshold, which means the vast majority of Australians playing overseas cannot play for Australia.

    With the axing of the Western Force, there are now more Australian professional rugby players playing overseas than playing in Australia. If Rugby Australia acquired a club in England or France, it could populate it with Australian players, who would become eligible to play for the Wallabies whether they had payed 60 Tests or not.

    The team could be coached by an Australian coach, who could implement a program that was in synchronisation with the Wallabies. This would significantly increase the player pool for Wallabies selection, but perhaps more importantly, an investment in a European club would connect Australian rugby more directly to the wealth of the northern hemisphere.

    The value of broadcast rights have gone through the roof in European rugby, which makes investing in a team an attractive option. Most English and French clubs are privately owned or sponsored by millionaires and billionaires, which may put them out of reach of cash-strapped Rugby Australia. But Rugby Australia could use some of the $5m it saved from the axing of the Force to buy into an English or French club and create a “boomerang” pathway for expatriate Australians.

    This may seem far-fetched, but it is not exactly novel. Consider that South African Super Rugby franchise the Stormers have a stake in English club Saracens, while the Crusaders and the Canterbury Rugby Union recently bought into new American team the Seattle Seawolves.

    A few years ago an Australian consortium including former Wallabies coach Bob Dwyer and ex-Australian Test captain Rocky Elsom bought a second division French club in Narbonne. If they can do it, so too can Rugby Australia. Maybe “Twiggy” Forrest could even buy a European club in partnership with Rugby Australia and name it Northern Force.

    It could even work the other way by enticing rich European clubs to buy into financially struggling Australian Super Rugby teams in the same way English soccer giant Manchester City acquired Melbourne Heart, re-branded Melbourne City.

    At the end of the day, something needs to be done about the player drain to Europe and Japan. The disparity in wealth between the northern and southern hemispheres will only grow wider, which means yet more Australians will head to greener paddocks.

    Perhaps this explains why Rugby Australia is exploring partnership opportunities in Japan where there is a plethora of Wallabies, All Blacks and Springboks.

    A number of current and ex-Wallabies played in the recent Japanese Top League grand final between Suntory Goliath (Matt Giteau and Sean McMahon) and Panasonic Wild Knights (David Pocock and Berrick Barnes). Okay, Pocock has returned to the Brumbies from his sabbatical, but McMahon has remained in Japan with doubts about his availability for the 2019 World Cup.

    Japan is relaxing its restrictions on foreign players even further, which means more players like McMahon will head up there. Any partnership deal between Rugby Australia and Japanese clubs must address this issue.

    Rugby, like every other business enterprise, now operates in a world of globalisation, which means Australian rugby must be alive to investment opportunities overseas.

    To be sure, any investment carries risk, but without risk there is no reward. If Australian rugby does not plug into wealth-creating opportunities in the north, the game in this country will fall further behind in the money-ball game.

    https://www.theguardian.com/sport/20...ment-113094970

    Thoughts anyone?!!

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    Why the guy was a failed CEO.

    Is there not restrictions on the number of foreign players in these Overseas sides?

    So to "buy a club" and "populate it with Australian players, who would become eligible to play for the Wallabies whether they had payed 60 Tests or not."

    Sheer fairy tale.

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    SA tried this over 10 years ago by creating a SA Exiles side. The RFU laughed at it and turned it down.

    Won't happen the RA couldn't afford the UK tax bill paid in pounds and both competitions have foreign player restrictions.

    Consider that South African Super Rugby franchise the Stormers have a stake in English club Saracens
    Their Stormers part owners SAIL do, not the broke Super Rugby team based in Cape Town.

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    "it could populate it with Australian players, who would become eligible to play for the Wallabies whether they had payed 60 Tests or not."

    Would this not add to the divide in wealth between the Northern and Southern hemisphere? If all the top players are there, then that would make it the top competition which would then make it earn the highest broadcast revenue.

    RA have no money apparently. Even if it did I think it would be better to use the club for fringe players and those who exceed 60 tests and encourage the best Australian players to play in Australia, Use the wealth to subsidise player salaries, maybe offer to release players to that team who are Wallaby consideration but are being benched in Australia to maintain match fitness. Taf, Cooper, Toomua, etc

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    At the end of the day, something needs to be done about the player drain to Europe and Japan.
    Yeah, IPRC

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    How to mitigate the (obvious to everybody bar Rats Arse) fallout from a monumental f@ck-up by Brett Harris. Invest money you haven't got in another f@ck-up.

    Andrew Forrest must get a chuckle at how many ways these East Coast dribblers can dream up for him to spend money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by travelling_gerry View Post
    Why the guy was a failed CEO.

    Is there not restrictions on the number of foreign players in these Overseas sides?

    So to "buy a club" and "populate it with Australian players, who would become eligible to play for the Wallabies whether they had payed 60 Tests or not."

    Sheer fairy tale.
    Wrong Harris I think you will find

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    Quote Originally Posted by wholetruth View Post
    Wrong Harris I think you will find
    Bugger....failed journo then

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    It'll never happen for several reasons

    Rat's Arse are broker than Brokey McBrokeface
    If they suggested it as an idea to the RFU they would get laughed out of town
    Rat's Arse are broker than Brokey McBrokeface
    All the good players would, by definition, not be available for the Waratahs
    Rat's Arse are broker than Brokey McBrokeface
    They would have to remove the 60 test restriction on foreign based players which means they no longer have any seemingly valid reason to sink the IPRC
    Most players wo go to Europe do so because they understand they'll never be selected for the Wallabies because of the rampant nepotism involved and simply run away to the casharonis. THey will need to pay more than the other teams to get any talent at all
    Most of the teams in Europe are using established internationals to fill the top end of their list. Rat's Arse won't do that because it isn't Sydney

    Should I continue?

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    C'mon the

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    Maybe buy a team for $1.......oh wait that’s already been done

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    On a less facetious note . Have a read of Fingertips post . Why go overseas when you have excluded a huge portion of your own territory. Ms Castle get your own house in order first ....then assess whether there’s a need to go elsewhere for talent .

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    Now Cheika wants to meet TPN on his 'grassroots' funded Six Nations 'fact finding mission' to see if he is interest in coming back to play Super Rugby. TPN should tell Cheika straight that they didn't want me last year and if I am going to come back to Australia it is to play for the Force.

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