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Thread: RA to launch interim comp, Western Force to be included

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    RA to launch interim comp, Western Force to be included

    Rugby Australia to launch domestic competition following Super Rugby's coronavirus shutdown

    Posted 1h ago, updated 50m ago

    Rugby Australia (RA) is set to announce an interim domestic men's competition to replace this year's Super Rugby tournament, with the Perth-based Western Force to be included.

    Key points:
    • Rugby Australia hopes the competition will kick off in July at the earliest, although it may not be a long-term replacement for Super Rugby
    • The Western Force are set to be included alongside the Waratahs, Reds, Brumbies and Rebels
    • Japan's Sunwolves may also be included in the competition, but they would have to be based in Australia


    The Force were kicked out of Super Rugby at the end of the 2017 season, but they are set to play alongside Australia's existing franchises, the New South Wales Waratahs, the Queensland Reds, the Brumbies and the Melbourne Rebels.

    Japan's Sunwolves, who are to be left out of Super Rugby beyond this year, may also be included in the competition and be based in Australia.

    RA's decision to launch a domestic tournament comes after Super Rugby was suspended in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    The future of Super Rugby — which includes teams from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan and Argentina — is clouded, however RA's competition may not be a long-term proposition for its domestic franchises.

    RA hopes the competition will begin in July at the earliest.

    An RA spokesperson said the organisation was still working through all the details of the competition and the competing teams.

    It would mirror similar competitions in New Zealand and South Africa, although the format has not been finalised.

    Training for the Australian teams will begin this week after they are given biosecurity briefings.

    RA's push for an interim domestic competition came less than a week after Rob Clarke was appointed as its chief executive on a short-term basis.

    Clarke, an experienced rugby union administrator, stepped into the role following Raelene Castle's resignation last month after serving less than three years as chief executive.

    He returns to RA at a time when it is enduring one of the most turbulent periods of its history.

    RA was facing financial difficulty prior to the coronavirus outbreak, having announced in March it had posted a provisional $9.4 million operating deficit for 2019.

    It forecast it could lose up to $120 million in revenue if the professional game did not resume this year, while it was forced to stand down 75 per cent of its staff.

    RA is also attempting to renegotiate its broadcast deal, however the uncertainty about the future of Super Rugby has not helped its cause on this front.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-...?section=sport

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    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
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    Is this a push for Clarke to appear effective by announcing something that has been on the cards since a couple of weeks before he was even being considered for the role?

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    Legend Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GIGS20 View Post
    Is this a push for Clarke to appear effective by announcing something that has been on the cards since a couple of weeks before he was even being considered for the role?
    Worth an incentive payment of at least $100K on top of his interim salary don’t you think?!

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    Legend Contributor .X.'s Avatar
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    Well, I am just happy that there will be some Rugby to watch.

    And interesting to see what Level the Western Force are compared to the Australian SuperRugby Teams.

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    Quote Originally Posted by .X. View Post
    Well, I am just happy that there will be some Rugby to watch.

    And interesting to see what Level the Western Force are compared to the Australian SuperRugby Teams.
    I dont bet, but would think the Force will win some of their games at least. If they can play like they did in the NRC and especially in the final, then they could surprise these Super sides. The Force should have their best side as well, unlike the NRC where their World Cup players and a few injured senior players were missing. The Force coaches have used the shut down to do video analysis of the Super sides and work on their game plans for each.

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    Good old ABC telling us something everybody knew weeks ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JSJ View Post
    I dont bet, but would think the Force will win some of their games at least. If they can play like they did in the NRC and especially in the final, then they could surprise these Super sides. The Force should have their best side as well, unlike the NRC where their World Cup players and a few injured senior players were missing. The Force coaches have used the shut down to do video analysis of the Super sides and work on their game plans for each.
    I don't believe that the Force will be Top of the Table. I think that they will surprise people.

    But - The one thing that worries me is that I believe that the Western Force team feed off the Sea-of-Blue. With no spectators vocally behind I worry that they wont meet their own expectations.

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Fair few questions to be answered there I imagine. Will Rugby Australia treat all teams equally - IF anybody agrees to pay for coverage? It has been stated that this comp would trigger telecast fees to resume. I do bet and I'd take short odds that that is not automatic, given the argy-bargy that's gone on with NRL & AFL. Who will foot the bill for travel and accommodation? What payments will WF players receive? Who will fund that? Will games be played in Perth - conditional on interstate borders being open by July. Has AF, Mark Evans or Hodgo been included in any talks? Or is Clarke shooting from the hip?

    If this does go ahead and matches are played in Perth, I wonder if the paid up members will be allowed in - under social distancing in a few months

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    Quote Originally Posted by .X. View Post
    But - The one thing that worries me is that I believe that the Western Force team feed off the Sea-of-Blue. With no spectators vocally behind I worry that they wont meet their own expectations.
    That wasn't an issue in Japan and Fiji.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wholetruth View Post
    Good old ABC telling us something everybody knew weeks ago.
    I suspect the timing isn't a coincidence. All those RA journos placing stories to deflect from the articles being published in The Aus.

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    Good luck getting the Sunwolves into the country

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    Rugby 'combine' set to kick off Australian competition

    By Georgina Robinson
    May 11, 2020 — 12.01am

    A one-day 'combine'-style event is on the cards to help reboot Australia's aborted Super Rugby season when it kicks off in eight weeks' time.

    In a televised event one week before the competition's hoped-for July 4 start date, the country's top players would compete against each other in a series of power, skill and speed-based events such as the Bronco shuttle test, a 40-metre dash, kicking challenge and a weighted sled dash.

    It would be similar to the NFL's draft combine, an annual scouting event used by colleges and agents to scout talent and televised by the league. The NBA also holds a skills challenge as part of its annual All Stars weekend.

    Under rugby's proposal, put to Rugby Australia by senior players last week, players would accumulate points on a leaderboard, with a team being crowned the overall winner. The authors also propose accepting challenges from fans to include in proceedings.

    "The 'Combine' concept is structured much like an 'athletics track and field' model with the 'events' being rugby specific to highlight the talents of our particular athletes," the authors propose. "Each 'event' will have a competitor from each club, with an ultimate event winner."

    Broadcaster support will be key and it may be too expensive an event to stage in one city, although the authors believe this is the model most likely to make the day a success as a television product.

    But competition architects are believed to be broadly supportive of it as a way of generating some excitement before the return of professional rugby on Australian shores.

    The combine proposal coincides with the release of RA's biosecurity framework for the upcoming competition, which will feature the Reds, Waratahs, Brumbies, Rebels and the Western Force.

    The plan maps out how and when teams build back up to full training amid the coronavirus shutdown, and pointedly avoids a blanket call on how a player testing positive for the COVID-19 virus will affect the competition.

    "A positive test does not necessarily affect the team’s ability to participate in a match," the document states. "The Rugby AU [chief medical officer], in consultation with the relevant team doctor, and relevant Public Health Unit, will be required to undertake a risk assessment on the ability of the impacted team to play and will have the ultimate authority on determining whether a team is fit to play."

    By Tuesday this week teams will be able to train in groups of more than two people and by May 25 some contact training in larger groups will be possible, under a guiding principle of "Get in, train, get out". Early on only 'essential' players and staff will return, with only one medico allowed to treat players.

    Skinfold tests will not be conducted until June 8, when teams step up to full training and RA hopes to have the competition format locked in with broadcasters and their SANZAAR partners in New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina.

    It will not be possible to eradicate the risk of viral transmission ... but risk-mitigation strategies must be implemented.

    Rugby Australia return to play guide

    Players will have their temperatures taken upon entry to any training or game facility and be asked to go into isolation if they record a reading higher than 37.5 degrees.

    Any player who contracts or is suspected of having the virus and is cleared to return may have to undergo a cardiology assessment due, the plan states, to "limited but growing evidence that individuals may suffer from cardiac pathologies during or following COVID-19".

    From May 12 all players will be asked to download and use the federal government's COVID Safe app; to keep their mobile phones on them but limit their handheld use; avoid public transport and avoid using communal water and supplement facilities at training.

    Before their return to training all players and staff will also be asked to confirm in writing that they understand the risks of coronavirus to vulnerable people and the potential for "unintended transmission".

    "It will not be possible to eradicate the risk of viral transmission in a contact sport like rugby union; but risk-mitigation strategies must be implemented wherever it is possible to do so," the document states.

    Georgina Robinson is the chief rugby reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.

    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/rugby-u...10-p54rkc.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by jargan83 View Post
    Good luck getting the Sunwolves into the country
    Likely just an arse-covering statement, given the Moondogs are part of the (quote, unquote) existing tv deal. They're going to try to package up the SR Aotearoa + Strayasoup + Saffasoup to recoup part of the cash from those previous deals.

    Maybe the Force should get the Sunwolf share.

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    Quote Originally Posted by .X. View Post
    I don't believe that the Force will be Top of the Table. I think that they will surprise people.

    But - The one thing that worries me is that I believe that the Western Force team feed off the Sea-of-Blue. With no spectators vocally behind I worry that they wont meet their own expectations.
    Although the restrictions lifting in WA is advance of the other states, the WA Gov wants to keep our border closed for a long time. The AFL teams have been refused permission to fly in and out of WA, so I suspect the Force may have to relocate to Sydney or Brisbane for this Super comp or for first few weeks anyway.

    Cannot see the Australian gov allowing the Sunwolves in.

    The Force won Super games previously in the eastern states

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    It's easy for the Force to play in the RA comp, but what are the other GRR teams going to do? If they can bring in the SunWolves, then they can bring in the Pacific GRR sides at the very least

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