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Thread: Tests to move from winter to spring to entice the best quality teams

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    Champion KenyaQuin's Avatar
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    Tests to move from winter to spring to entice the best quality teams

    Tests to move from winter to spring to entice the best quality teams
    Bret Harris | November 21, 2007

    THE ARU will consider an innovative proposal to move the traditional window for Test matches from winter to spring to fall into line with an integrated global season.

    "The most important thing in the international game is to preserve quality and meaning,'' said ARU deputy Matt Carroll. Picture: Alan Pryke
    The idea of aligning the international windows in the northern and southern hemispheres will be discussed at a three-day IRB-sponsored conference in England next week.

    At present, Test rugby is played in November in the northern hemisphere and in June/July in the southern hemisphere, excluding the Six Nations and Tri-Nations competitions.

    The IRB is thinking about creating a new Test window from September to November in non World Cup years, which will allow tours in both hemispheres at the same time.

    One of the benefits of an integrated season would be to ensure international touring teams took away their strongest available squads, which is something that has not happened in recent years. Wales and South Africa both sent second-string sides to Australia this year, while France toured New Zealand with a C-grade team.

    "The most important thing in the international game is to preserve quality and meaning," said ARU deputy Matt Carroll, who will attend next week's conference. If you don't have the best teams, the games lose value and meaning.

    "We are looking at moving the June/July window, post 2010, to later in the year. In-bound and out-bound tours would occur in the same periods. That's your international season.

    "It would give continuity to the season. You would have Super 14, Tests and then rest.

    "It would be the same in the northern hemisphere.

    "It sounds easy, but it won't be. A lot of thought will have to be put into it.

    "You are dealing with 14 or 15 nations rather than just three or six and you have to align everyone's needs, wants and desires.

    "You also have to take into account Argentina, the Pacific islands and emerging nations such as Georgia as well as the US, Canada and Japan."

    The shifting of the southern hemisphere's international window from winter to spring would also allow SANZAR to expand the Super 14 series, which runs from February to May.

    "It would allow us to look at our domestic competitions," Carroll said.

    "The expansion of Super 14 would open up greater opportunities for rugby. We could have additional teams or additional rounds. Either way there would be more Super rugby."

    Carroll will also seek a response from the IRB to the ARU's request for next year's winter Tests to be played under the new experimental laws.

    It is understood the northern hemisphere teams, which have not yet played under the Stellenbosch rules, would prefer to play the Tests in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa under existing laws. "I think no doubt there is concern in the northern hemisphere because none of the nations have played under the (experimental law variations)," Carroll said.

    "If the IRB says that's the way it will be, then that's the way it will be.

    "But are very keen to have either, or, the new rules. There are 30 changes and some are more critical than others. If we didn't get all of them, that would be OK.

    "The key ones are converting penalties into free-kicks, standing five metres back from the scrum and kicking out from the 22.

    "They would be easy to introduce and they alone would deliver a better game for the players and spectators."

    The ARU will also support the 20-team World Cup format at a the IRB meeting.

    Despite talk of reducing the number of teams to 16 to avoid lopsided results Carroll said the developing countries had performed creditably in France and deserved the chance to compete in the game's showpiece event.

    "You don't go backwards," Carroll said. "The minnows did quite well at the World Cup.

    "You won't grow the game by reducing the number of nations."

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    Veteran Contributor frontrow's Avatar
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    I am mightily excited by the prospect of an expanded super14 competition, along with the chance to watch international matches with full strength teams later in the year, perfect for us down-south as we will have rugby almost year round, barring the summer months(cricket instead). Sounds excellent to me, as does the Matt Carrolls reference to the stellenbosch laws, relating to three of the thirty recommendations he really thought added to the game,ie 22m kicking, 5m from back of scrum, and free kicks instead of penalties, all of which i too believe are necessary immediate changes, and could be easily introduced if deemed suitable. Bring it on i say...

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    Senior Player Contributor hopep's Avatar
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    Oh well, thats the end of any Test Rugby in WA then.
    Spring is in the AFL finals period and the WAFC won't be allowed to let anyone play on their sacred ground at Subi.

    There goes another few hundred thousand the Perth businesses could have had.

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hopep View Post
    Oh well, thats the end of any Test Rugby in WA then.
    Spring is in the AFL finals period and the WAFC won't be allowed to let anyone play on their sacred ground at Subi.

    There goes another few hundred thousand the Perth businesses could have had.

    It's not until after 2010 which would be 2011 which is a RWC year so it may not happen until 2012. I hope we have proper rectangular stadium by then!

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    Senior Player Contributor hopep's Avatar
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    That would be great, but I'm getting the feeling that the WAFC are holding out to control the new (oval) stadium and think the Govt. have almost knocked on on this matter.
    Doubt we'll have ANY new stadium by 2011. A totally new one will have at least a 4 year build, if they start next year it won't be built till 2012 at the earliest. If they go for the Subi rebuild option it could take longer as they have to acquire housing and build around current Subi, then do a demolish and quick fill in. I'd guess at about 5 years. willing to be corrected by any engineers/town planners out there.

    The more I think about it the more depressed I get - Hey 'll have to donate to Movember.

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    half full or half empty hopep?

    I have just a little more faith in the supporters (of all codes/events wanting a rectangular ground) and dare I say pollies. This will continue to be a BIG issue once we decide on Kevin or John.

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    Champion KenyaQuin's Avatar
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    Excellent editorial in the West, this past Saturday's edition, regarding the stadium issue. Pretty much telling Kobelke to pull his finger out and not allow the WAFC dictate the terms for the new stadium. If anyone missed it I'll try and get the clipping posted here.

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    Veteran Contributor frontrow's Avatar
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    I read that i think, it was in the editors column wasn't it...Basically refering to the fact we usually blame the govt for these things dragging on, but this time they have to bear some of the blame, but not all, the WAFC needs to be blamed as the predominant disruption to progress in this instance, with their refusal to cede to the govt managment of the facility, and demanding that they be sole controller over it. I say F*** you WAFC, i hope you get reamed for delaying progress...

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    Senior Player Contributor gustafsl's Avatar
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    Back to the original topic here.

    I don't know why decisions like this (scheduling) seem to be such a hard task. Of course we are talking about the IRB here, crumbed or battered is a complicated decision for them. I know there will be exceptions but basically as it is now we (as in Aus/NZ/SAF, I am aware I don't play for the teams) play tests against NH teams in June. And NH play against other NH teams in November. How hard is it to say, we are going to move June tests to September/October? Minnow nations don't play many tests (when's the last time Canada or the US toured here??? excluding the WC), so I'm sure we'll be able to find a week or two a year to squeeze one of them in. In fact I think it would open it up more for the minnow nations, because we'd want to have a few warm ups before tri nations. Here's how the schedule could look in a non WC year:

    Feb/Mar/Apr/May - Super 14
    June - couple tests against minnow nations
    July/Aug/Sep - Tri Nations
    Oct - host NH teams
    Nov - NH tour

    I don't know if the Super 14 could be expanded that much (in terms of number of games) without eating into the start of Tri Nations. I'd prefer that Super 14 end at the same time and we have a couple warm up tests before playing Tri Nations.

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    "It would give continuity to the season. You would have Super 14, Tests and then rest.

    "It would be the same in the northern hemisphere.
    I don't get this...surely that would make it Test (Sept-Nov), HC (Dec-Mar), 6N (Apr-May) and then rest in the NH? Can't see the NH players being enthused about jumping straight into tests.

    I'd have rather seen:
    HC (Dec-Mar), 6N (Apr-May), International tests (June-Aug) and rest
    ___________S14 (Feb-May), International tests (June-Aug), 3N (Sept-Oct) and rest

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    Veteran Contributor frontrow's Avatar
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    I like the idea of more rugby, especially an expanded super14, wether by adding another team (argies would be my choice) or by more matches....I would also believe that NH players wouldn't like to jump straight into tests before the season begins with HC and 6N..
    It seems that is how you would like to see it as well Andy...well i agree with you in that regard...as for your idea gustafsl, i like your idea regarding minnow nations, we should do more to include them in the schedule, for the benefit of global rugby...

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    Quote Originally Posted by frontrow View Post
    ...as for your idea gustafsl, i like your idea regarding minnow nations, we should do more to include them in the schedule, for the benefit of global rugby...
    Absolutely. What I'd like to see there is both Aus and Aus A touring together, with Aus A obviously providing support but playing shadow tests against "minor" nations. Similarly during second part of the test season, with the Pacific Cup being run in parallel with 3N (and giving places like Canberra and Adelaide some live rugby).

    Quote Originally Posted by hopep
    ...Oh well, thats the end of any Test Rugby in WA then
    As proposed, it probably would get messy for the non-3N internationals (no match against Fiji!) but we would still be in line for our occassional 3N match. But, if a 60,000 seat stadium gave us a shot at a Bledisloe and the WAFC tried to block it, then there'd be a fight.

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    great idea, if we cant get more rugby, just space it out better to cover a longer time period, The best bit is trying to get tests not to conflict with other comps therefore allowing the best players to play for there nations teams

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