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Thread: Trans-Tasman speculation

  1. #166
    Legend Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    Eales slithered off not long after the Force were cut and all the gory details were revealed at the Senate Inquiry. I still find it interesting that his Quarterback International company was listed as an arms-length supplier on several sets of ARU accounts over the period he was on the board. Conflict of interest much?

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  2. #167
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alison View Post
    Eales slithered off not long after the Force were cut and all the gory details were revealed at the Senate Inquiry. I still find it interesting that his Quarterback International company was listed as an arms-length supplier on several sets of ARU accounts over the period he was on the board. Conflict of interest much?
    Before the Force were axed, Eales assured me and a friend in two separate phone conversations that no ARU board decision had yet been made as to which team would be axed. The Senare Inquiry revealed otherwise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JSJ View Post
    Before the Force were axed, Eales assured me and a friend in two separate phone conversations that no ARU board decision had yet been made as to which team would be axed. The Senare Inquiry revealed otherwise.
    John Eales is only interested in whats in it for John Eales. Will only appear if he has been paid first.

    JSJ I am not surprised if you didnt have to pay $4.95 for the first minute and $2.00 for each minute after that or part there of.

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    Quote Originally Posted by .X. View Post
    John Eales is only interested in whats in it for John Eales. Will only appear if he has been paid first.

    JSJ I am not surprised if you didnt have to pay $4.95 for the first minute and $2.00 for each minute after that or part there of.
    Look hats off to him for actually sending me an email and giving me his mobile number, so I could call him when convenient for me. I wrote personal letters to all the directors and he was the only one who took the trouble to even acknowledge my letter. But the senate inquiry did not reflect well on his assurance.

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    Foxtel baulks at uncertainty over rugby schedule

    Wayne Smith, Senior Sport Writer
    9:00pm September 4, 2020

    Continued uncertainty about what Rugby Australia is actually offering in its “showbag” of television rights appears to have caused Foxtel to baulk at submitting a formal expression of interest by the close of RA’s deadline on Friday.

    That is not to say Foxtel will not make an offer — it has had extensive talks with RA officials about what next year and subsequent seasons will look like — but it is understood to be hedging on making a formal approach until it learns what RA is offering over the next five-year cycle.

    RA is still awaiting final confirmation from New Zealand that it is prepared to accept five Australians teams in a 10 to 12-team trans-Tasman competition, but indications are that COVID-19 biosecurity precautions on both sides of the ditch will mean that both countries are almost certain to play purely domestic competitions next year.

    Sources have indicated that if and when Foxtel does get around to making a formal offer, the only part of its bid that will acknowledge rugby as a “tier one sport” will be the Wallabies Tests. Even if a trans-Tasman competition does go ahead with the major population centres of Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra and Perth all covered by Super Rugby franchises (which effectively delivers everything that Foxtel had wished for), the offer to be made by Foxtel will be considerably under the $US125m ($171m) five-year deal former RA chief executive Raelene Castle rejected in November.

    Castle had hoped to trigger a bidding war on the open market, but it never eventuated, leaving rugby to rue her decision. Even had that deal been sealed, it is likely Foxtel would have wanted to renegotiate its offer to reflect the limited product rugby could have offered because of the pandemic. Still, RA’s position would have been far better than it is today.

    In a speech to a sports conference on Tuesday, Foxtel boss Patrick Delany seemingly deliberately excluded rugby from his list of tier one sports, an oversight that Castle’s interim successor, Rob Clarke, did not take particularly seriously.

    In Clarke’s mind, the global reach of rugby earned it “tier one” status, but seemingly only the international component of RA’s “showbag” is inducing any enthusiasm among broadcasters.

    “As one of the largest global sports, I think rugby is a tier one sport,” Clarke told the Sydney Morning Herald. “I think Patrick was including rugby in his commentary.”

    Apparently not.

    Delany in his speech stressed that Foxtel was now “quite fearless” about losing a sport.

    “In the past we have tried to have every sport we could get,” Delany said. “To be frank, there are too many sports in Australia with too big an expectation and too small a population.

    “We are now quite fearless of losing a sport. If a sport is asking too much money and we can’t make it work, and someone else can, well good luck to them.

    “We can see quite clearly the sports that are working and those sports know who they are. We did a great deal with the NRL to review our relationship. I want more of the NRL. Our relationship with the AFL is really fabulous. I want more AFL. The motorsports are going well for us, and we like cricket. But they are really the tier one sports and the rest are going to have to adjust.”

    Rugby is in its last year of a golden $285m deal done by Castle’s predecessor, Bill Pulver, with Delany in 2015, when the two organisations were still on excellent speaking terms. Under the terms of RA’s negotiation with Foxtel for this year’s domestic Super Rugby AU, the final international instalment of that 2015 deal will be paid out as long as RA honours its commitment to stage not just the two Bledisloe Cup Tests against New Zealand in southeast Queensland on October 10 and 17 but also The Rugby Championship, which also involves world champion South Africa and Argentina.

    All up, there are only eight internationals planned this year, well down on the customary 13 or 14 Tests. Already the inbound Tests, which this year featured Ireland in two internationals, have been cancelled and there is no sign that the traditional spring tour will go ahead in November.

    RA’s entire budget customarily hinges on the broadcast deal, but that might not be the case this year, with CVC Capital Finance and Silver Lake both interested in injecting private equity into the southern hemisphere rugby equation, though with a marked preference for a trans-Tasman Super Rugby-style competition.

    Wayne Smith
    Senior Sport Writer

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/spo...1acf591ec83d60

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  6. #171
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    Some catnip here

    Rob Clarke must gain field position so next Rugby Australia CEO can kick goals

    WAYNE SMITH
    Follow @WayneKeithSmith

    AN HOUR AGO SEPTEMBER 4, 2020

    The last of the witty Republicans, PJ O’Rourke, once wrote that the Democrats were the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer and remove the crabgrass from your lawn ... the Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then get elected and set about proving it.

    Effectively, then, a pox on both their houses, although, just speaking personally, I might volunteer for a stint in parliament if it makes me, say, 15cm taller.

    Rugby Australia has been through three chairmen, maybe four, and two chief executives so far this year, yet all of them have fallen dramatically short of what is expected by my co-columnist Alan Jones. Cameron Clyne, Paul McLean, Peter Wiggs, Hamish McLennan … all entirely different men, all different chairmen, all different agendas, yet all of them confined to the stocks and pelted with rotting fruit. Well, maybe not Wiggs, given that he lasted barely a single board meeting. And then there are the chief executives … Raelene Castle and Rob Clarke. Have no doubt that rugby is the most politicised sport on the Australian continent, bar none.

    There are those who openly wonder why a man of such diversified interests and talents as Mr Jones would delve so deeply into what is, after all, only a game, notwithstanding that it was the game which effectively helped make him who he is. Nothing like coaching a Grand Slam tour of the Home Union and winning the last Bledisloe Cup series on New Zealand soil to cement a man as a lifelong rugby devotee.

    Lately, Jones had targeted his fire on Clarke, the interim boss of Rugby Australia. Clarke has served the best part of the past two decades at or near the top of the game and so, naturally, has made his share of enemies. (Refer to the above description of Australian rugby.) Mostly he has let the praise and the insults slide off him and I confess I was surprised and somewhat delighted that he managed to raise a smile at my depiction of him as the pedantic Sir Bernard Woolley while lampooning the Yes Minister-style intrigue in the drawn-out process of culling the Western Force back in 2017.

    Back then, Clarke was seen as an undercover agent of the Melbourne franchise, constantly diverting the culling process away from the Rebels and focusing it again and again on the west.

    He has assured me that when he took back the Super Rugby licence from the Force, it was never with the intention of one day beating them over the head with it. This happened, remember, when the then CEO of the Australian Rugby Union, Bill Pulver, was still insisting he would not shrink the game to greatness. I am just not sure how far we can stretch credulity by suggesting that the ARU was consciously working against its own stated objectives. Yeah, yeah, quieten down at the back …

    I believed him then and I believe him now, though I can fully understand why people out west still harbour lavishly constructed conspiracy theories about his actions. It does look suspicious and I can fully understand why his first phone call after being appointed interim CEO of RA in May was to RugbyWA chairman John Edwards. “Awkward” doesn’t even begin to describe their exchange but Clarke had taken the bit between his teeth and broken the ice. Everything he has done subsequently appears to have been done in the best interests of the Force.

    Moreover, let’s get our facts straight. Clarke resigned from the ARU on May 4, 2017. The final decision on the fate of the Force wasn’t made till August 11, so his resignation came not only long before the Senate inquiry but long before the Force was actually culled. Not saying he didn’t influence the decision and by that August he was working for the Rebels as an adviser, which further fuels the conspiracy arguments. But this is why dates are so important in history — because only by referring to them can cause-and-effect be determined.

    Oh, and one more thing. Clarke didn’t sack the 12 development officers in NSW. That was done by the NSWRU. As for hiring hatchet men, my preference is not that they cut $15m from the RA budget but that they cut the right $15m.

    Jones has raised questions about Clarke’s interim appointment but curiously, has not asked the question that keeps bothering me and others.

    If he is in place to take all the tough decisions before he departs around Christmas time — deciding on competition models, negotiating with broadcasters, dealing with private equity firms, rectifying the constitutional issues and navigating between the states and franchises — then what is his successor to do? These are all fundamental pieces of the future rugby is trying to build for itself in this country but once they are in place, surely they are in place.

    Clarke might be a lame duck administrator, acting for a short period before being replaced, but consider all the damage Donald Trump could do if given a second term. Will the man or woman who succeeds Clarke become a captive to his decisions? On one hand, that would be immensely liberating, being able to blame whatever goes wrong on a predecessor. On the other, it would be like donning a straitjacket.

    Clarke insists he isn’t motivated by any long-term personal ambitions, that he is in a position to make what he considers are the best decisions in the interest of the game and then walk away.

    There are a couple of other factors to be considered.

    The agenda that Clarke is attempting to implement has been approved by McLennan and the board. And when Clarke does ride off into the sunset after completing his “to do list”, McLennan will be staying on, providing a real sense of continuity of ideas and strategy.

    As for what the incoming CEO might do, McLennan already has hinted at making the most of this opportunity to take the role in a new direction. If the nuts-and-bolts decisions have all been taken, might it not free up the new administrator to kick some goals in the commercial area or elsewhere?

    Meanwhile, Clarke has a lot of work on his plate.

    Wayne Smith
    Senior Sport Writer

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/spo...ba7fbd68febcfd

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    What are they saying over at Nein...

    Fox still in hunt for rugby broadcast rights despite missing deadline

    By Tom Decent
    September 4, 2020 — 8.16pm

    Fox Sports will continue talks with Rugby Australia over the coming weeks as it seeks clarity over what is exactly up for sale in the code's new TV rights deal.

    The pay-TV network missed RA's Friday deadline for formal expressions of interest in a new broadcast deal but discussions are ongoing.

    The code's existing free-to-air broadcaster, Network 10, also remains in talks with the governing body. Sources with knowledge of the negotiations suggest the network is keen on a discount from its previous rights deal.

    Last month RA announced its broadcast offering for the next cycle, which may be reduced from the usual period of five years – which was initially RA’s preference – depending on what an interested network is after.

    Instead of putting forward a whole-of-game broadcast rights package, RA has given potential bidders the option to cherry pick different competitions and pieces of rugby content.

    The hard part, however, is that RA is not 100 per sure what next year’s version of Super Rugby will look like. All indications are that another instalment of Super Rugby AU will run for a second season before a trans-Tasman competition in 2022, but that still needs sign-off from multiple parties.

    Fox Sports, which as broadcast Super Rugby since its inception in 1996, are understood to be interested in rugby – particularly Super Rugby and Test matches – and have had meetings with RA over the past few weeks. There have also been internal discussions among executives to talk about the potential production costs associated with broadcasting rugby once again.

    A source with knowledge of the negotiations said that while Foxtel didn't formally express interest on Friday, they had a “foot inside the process” and that clarity was being sought as to what was exactly on offer.

    Earlier this week, Clarke said he was confident number of parties would come to the table.

    “We’ve had very good dialogue with a range of broadcasters,” Clarke told the Herald on Wednesday. “As to what comes in in the form of official proposals on Friday, I’ll tell you on Friday."

    Clarke could not be contacted for comment on Friday, while RA would not confirm whether any formal expressions of interest had come forward on its deadline day.

    The September 4 deadline does not mean others cannot come forward in coming weeks to enquire about what is for sale and at what price.

    RA is in a weak negotiating position on a number of fronts. It has trumpeted a new State of Union series, rugby’s version of State of Origin, and a Super Eight concept – where provincial teams from across the world come together in four-week competition – but the reality is RA will take advice from broadcasters as to what they would like to show.

    There would be nothing stopping Fox Sports playing the waiting game before swooping and getting the rights at a discounted rate.

    RA understands that it won’t be able to demand anywhere near the same amount of money as its last deal that expires on December 31.

    Optus are understood to be still interested but are yet to claim so publicly. The telco was right in the running to make a play for the rights before COVID-19 brought a sudden halt to negotiations in March.

    This week Foxtel boss Patrick Delany took a subtle swipe at rugby’s position in the pecking order.

    He mentioned AFL, NRL, cricket and motor sport as “tier-one sports” and said the others were “going to have to adjust".

    “We are now quite fearless of losing a sport,” he said.

    In reply, Clarke said: “As one of the largest global sports, I think rugby is a tier-one sport.”

    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/rugby-u...04-p55skq.html

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  8. #173
    Veteran valzc's Avatar
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    Sounds like ol’ Wayno had a few glasses of Shiraz with his mate Clarke the other night and he’s gonna put in a good word for him - spare me.
    And RA are stil f####d with absolutely NO idea where to get any money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by valzc View Post
    Sounds like ol’ Wayno had a few glasses of Shiraz with his mate Clarke the other night and he’s gonna put in a good word for him - spare me.
    And RA are stil f####d with absolutely NO idea where to get any money.
    Yes, Wayne is rewriting history there and dates by saying "Moreover, let’s get our facts straight. Clarke resigned from the ARU on May 4, 2017. The final decision on the fate of the Force wasn’t made till August 11"

    However:

    "A Senate inquiry has found Australian Rugby Union had already decided to cut the Western Force from the super rugby competition in April, well before it looked into the books of the Force and the Melbourne Rebels.

    The Community Affairs References Committee into the future of rugby union in Australia found that the decision to cut the Force was effectively made on April 9, a day before the ARU, now Rugby Australia, met with Rugby WA."

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-...rce-rugby-team

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    Last edited by JSJ; 05-09-20 at 08:58.

  10. #175
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    But this is why dates are so important in history — because only by referring to them can cause-and-effect be determined.

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    Western Force admits it is sounding out NZ

    WAYNE SMITH
    RUGBY UNION
    @WayneKeithSmith

    AN HOUR AGO SEPTEMBER 7, 2020
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    The Western Force have acknowledged the possibility that they could be based in New Zealand next year as part of Super Rugby Aotearoa, even as reports filter across the Tasman that there will be some cross-over fixtures against Kiwi sides at the end of the domestic competitions.

    Matt Hodgson, the former Force skipper who has become head of Andrew Forrest’s Global Rapid Rugby, told The Australian on Monday that the Perth club was anxiously awaiting some formal decisions about what the 2021 season and beyond would look like before deciding which path to take.

    “There are many things to go through,” Hodgson said. “Obviously if we are in NZ we’ve probably got to be based in there because the trans-Tasman travel budget will be up by the time you start planning these things. It’s an interesting one.”

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    Rugby Australia appears to have only the vaguest idea that the Force is even considering relocating to NZ but clearly, if that was to happen, it would have immense ramifications for Australian rugby. For starters, it would mean there would be only four professional franchises remaining here – the NSW Waratahs, Queensland Reds, the Brumbies and the Melbourne Rebels – which would leave the Super Rugby AU competition next year light one team, possibly two.

    There have been reports of the Sunwolves returning to play in Australia but there are a staggering amount of logistical problems to be overcome before that happens. It has not even been decided yet whether a Japanese side is even needed; and if it is, would it need to relocate to Australia or might it be possible for them to play some matches at home.

    It might seem ingratitude by the Force to even be contemplating a trans-Tasman move after they have just been invited back into the Australian rugby fold. Yet it was not charity behind RA’s invitation but a crass need for a fifth team to give the Super Rugby AU competition credibility. After being unceremoniously culled from Super Rugby in 2017, the Force does not owe RA anything.

    “Whatever we are presented with, we will take the best option for the Western Force, that’s for sure,” Hodgson said. “We can’t just look at what 2021 is going to present but what does the future hold. That’s where we need to look at it. Align ourselves to make sure that the Western Force is secure in whatever path we take.”

    There seems no malice in the Force sounding out the NZ Rugby. But after spending three traumatic years on the outer, they can hardly be blamed for now using Forrest’s considerable financial might to their own advantage.

    “I just think we have to weigh up everything. I think we were very pleased to be back this year and playing football. At the start of the year there might have been the option of not playing any football. We are just waiting to be presented with what it looks like from multiple different avenues. I think everyone is waiting to see what the proposal from Rugby Australia is and the like.”

    One of the options is for the leading teams in the NZ and Australian competitions to play cross-over finals at the end of the 2021 season, an idea the Kiwis appear to be now embracing. Indeed, resistance to a full trans-Tasman competition in 2022, with all five Australian teams and a Pasifika side, appears to have faded away.

    A NZ-based Force would thoroughly test the loyalty of the famed Sea of Blue, the ferociously-dedicated organisation of club fans. It would mean a second season in which the Force would not play a serious competition match on WA soil. And yet even if that disappointment could be overcome, the time difference between NZ and Perth presents fundamental problems. A 7pm kick-off in Auckland on a Friday night converts to 3pm on a working day in Perth. And even if the Force could arrange for all their matches to be played on a Saturday, a 3pm kick-off would still cut directly across WA club rugby fixtures.

    The upside, however, would be that the Force would be exposed to a full year of NZ competition ahead of the 2022 season when, as reported in The Australian, the domestic competitions will give way to a trans-Tasman series.

    The Force finished the Super Rugby AU competition unluckily without a win, eight straight losses, and there is no question that they would need to bolster their playing strength immeasurably to survive against the likes of the Crusaders and the Blues. As it happens, though, they look like being immeasurably stronger next year.

    Coach Tim Sampson admitted they had attempted to recruit disgruntled Wallabies second-rower Izack Rodda for this year’s domestic competition and while they failed, they would be pursuing him for next season. “Matt and I have put a list together,” Sampson said.

    Hodgson acknowledged the club would indeed be pursuing Rodda, but a whole lot of other players beside. “You only have to look at the ability of the player and the status of that position in Australia at the moment, we’d be silly not to look at someone like him,” said Hodgson, adding that the two other Queensland “defectors”, Harry Hocking and Isaac Lucas, were also likely to be approached.

    “Yeah and you’d look at Will Skelton, you’d look at multiple players over there. We are definitely in the market for those kinds of players and we would work closely with Rugby Australia if they wanted those players to come back and play for the Wallabies.”

    Certainly RA is excited by the prospect of using Force funds to bring home such overseas-based players as Rory Arnold, Adam Coleman, Sean McMahon and Liam Gill, but they also need to be wary that because the Forrest-owned club does not have any financial constraints on it, they could be creating a superclub in Perth.
    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/spo...aa8811766e2590

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  12. #177
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    Quote Originally Posted by volvo View Post
    Certainly RA is excited by the prospect of using Force funds to bring home such overseas-based players as Rory Arnold, Adam Coleman, Sean McMahon and Liam Gill, but they also need to be wary that because the Forrest-owned club does not have any financial constraints on it, they could be creating a superclub in Perth.
    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/spo...aa8811766e2590
    Just love double standards from Smith, "it is so great Forrest can pay to bring back all the overseas Australian players, but ... we don't want them becoming a powerhouse team, definitely cant have that."

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    Last edited by volvo; 07-09-20 at 18:26.

  13. #178
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    Quote Originally Posted by volvo View Post
    Just love RA double standards, "it is so great Forrest can pay to bring back all the overseas Australian players, but ... we don't want them becoming a powerhouse team, definitely cant have that."
    Is that a quote from RA or commentary from Wayne Smith?

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  14. #179
    Legend Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    The Force and Andrew Forrest owe absolutely nothing to RA or SANZAAR. I’m hoping they will both be as hard-nosed about next year and beyond as it’s possible to be. This now needs to be all about what is right and advantageous for rugby in WA. Thanks to Andrew, we are now masters of our own destiny and I desperately hope we take every advantage of such an enviable position.

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    I will support the Force through thick and thin and whether they play at home or over the ditch..Only thing that matters is the boys are playing and hopefully Karma is served to a few Eastern states people & clubs

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