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Thread: Tasmania and Canberra join Australian Rugby Shield

  1. #1
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    Tasmania and Canberra join Australian Rugby Shield

    March 03, 2006 - 2:14pm
    Story by: ARU
    Tasmania and Canberra have been included in a new, expanded Australian Rugby Shield which will kick off in May.
    The competition has been expanded from six to eight teams, giving amateur players in Tasmania and Canberra the chance to represent their state in a national competition and press for higher representative honours.

    The expansion to eight teams has resulted in a two-pool draw, with Canberra joining Darwin, NSW Country and QLD Country in Pool 1 and Tasmania joining Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth in Pool 2.
    Now in its seventh year, the Australian Rugby Shield will kick off on 6 May, with the top two teams in each pool going through to the Semi Finals on 27 May.

    Tasmania Rugby Union President Tony Kube said inclusion in the Australian Rugby Shield was great news.
    "This is the best thing that has happened in Tasmanian Rugby since we hosted a Rugby World Cup match in 2003.
    "This competition gives our players a clearly defined representative pathway and allows them to aspire to playing Rugby at the highest level.
    "I think every Rugby player in Australia dreams that one day they could play for the Wallabies, and our players now have access to a national competition that allows them to strive towards that ultimate goal.
    "Inclusion in the Australian Rugby Shield is also great for our coaches and referees because it will give them exposure to a higher level of Rugby and open up new opportunities."

    Bill Milward, Community Rugby Manager of ACT and Southern NSW Rugby Union said:
    "We are really looking forward to the opportunity to play against some teams that we haven't really had much chance to play before.
    "We obviously play NSW Country fairly regularly, but it will be great to test ourselves against the likes of QLD Country and Darwin."
    "It also fills a gap in our representative season, so we are looking forward to it."


    Burgs:
    This news is about as good as it gets for Australian Rugby all round!
    Not only has the competition expanded to include two new regions, but Western Australia is being allowed to stay in the competition despite the formation of the Western Force.
    It will be very tough going for Tasmania in the early days but this exposure is certain to help them as it has Darwin and Adelaide over the last six years. They would have perhaps been better off having Darwin in their Pool but the Adelaide match will be their must win for the season.
    It had been feared that Perth Gold would be omitted as the new S14 team supposedly offered career paths and opportunities to Western Australians.
    Thankfully the ARU have seen that there is still a large enough gap between WA Rugby and Super 14 Rugby to warrant maintaining the current structure.
    Being in a Pool with Melbourne, Adelaide and Tasmania, Perth is virtually guaranteed of a Semi Final berth if not a Finals start. This pretty much ensures that the Perth Gold Squad will play the maximum number of matches this year to further develop this group of players.
    Has anyone heard what the selection criteria are going to be for the Perth Gold Squad?

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  2. #2
    Player MysticBalls's Avatar
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    Isn't this Australian Rugby Shield the blueprint for the proposed APC ? Add in more regions to spice it up, like North Qld and Northern NSW for example, and put in a two tier system, and you'd have an expanded Australian Rugby Shield. ARS might not be aspirable to though as a name!
    Change of name?

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  3. #3
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    It has been previously sponsored by Telstra so fortunately it has been previously referred to as TARS!
    The Australian Shield is an amateur comp and the variation in standard already will be dramatic between the top four of Perth, NSW Country, Qld County & ACT and the bottom four of Melbourne, Adelaide, Darwin & Tasmania. The "spicing it up" you suggest would probably kill the bottom four by being too competitive.
    They could possibly look to including teams from the Suburban North & South of both Sydney and Brisbane and maybe Newcastle (?Hunter Valley RU?) and Far North Queensland to make two tiers of seven, rather than two pools of four with a promotion/relegation of two teams per season.
    This would probably lead to North Sydney, South Sydney, North Brisbane, South Brisbane & ACT usually in the top tier; Newcastle, Far North Queensland, Perth, NSW Country & Qld County floating between tiers; and Melbourne, Adelaide, Darwin & Tasmania usually in the bottom tier.
    The trouble is giving a higher competition to these feeder groups of players without causing too much disruption of standard to the players own clubs otherwise it will be counter productive.
    To make this a template for including the professional players for an APC would water down the standard of the APC too far at this stage and would both lead to the disruption of the Sydney and Brisbane Premier comps and mean relocating players around Australia for a short period each year. Both would be extremely "expensive" to the ARU in propping up the local host Union for the short season.
    The only way I can see a nation wide comp succeeding is if NSWRU and QRU agree to disbanding their Premier Grade Comps and having clubs competing from those two cities against the junior squad (ie without the S14 starting 22 early in the season and no Wallabies at the end of the season) from the Force (with Perth Gold players) and Brumbies (existing Brumby Runners) to become the elite level "club" comp in Australia.
    This would obviously take all of the elite players out of the Perth Premier Comp, which in itself is counter productive and, to be honest, I have a better chance of walking on the moon than Qld and NSW allowing their Premier Comps be disbanded!
    It is a very complex situation Mystic and not easily solved due to the extreme variation in standard across Australia. The NPC works in NZ as there is enough teams of a similar high standard to make a competitive comp and, with their huge quality player depth, it doesn't detract from the local suburban clubs standard too much.
    I'm sure we will slowly see the expansion of the APC in future years but it needs to be a quality comp to survive and the playing depth and standard needs to lift before other teams could possibly be considered.

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