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Thread: SANZAAR faces axe as details of NZ Rugby's 'Aratipu' review emerge

  1. #61
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    Australian Super Rugby teams to be limited to three import players

    Wayne Smith, Senior Sport Writer
    8:13 PM July 19, 2020

    Rugby Australia is likely to put a limit of three foreign players per team next season as it seeks to bolster the credibility of its five Australian franchises heading into operational talks with New Zealand Rugby this week over a trans-Tasman competition.

    NZR on Friday released a broad outline of its planned Super Rugby competition for next season, indicating it would involve between eight and 10 teams overall, including between two and four Australian sides, plus a Pasifika team. But there is next to no appetite within RA for culling existing sides, which officials believe would send the game backwards.

    While they already have four Super Rugby sides – the Waratahs, Reds, Brumbies and Rebels – the Andrew Forrest-backed Western Force has been brought into this year’s Australian-only Super Rugby AU competition and as far as RA chairman Hamish McLennan is concerned, the Force is now here to stay.

    “I see the Force as a big part of our future and the smartest thing to do is to establish a competition between Australia and NZ while we come to grips with the Covid crisis and I would look to bring others in 2022,” McLennan said.

    The Pasifika side could not be assembled hurriedly and there is even conjecture over whether it should be based in Auckland, where it could severely impact on the Blues’ fan base, or in western Sydney, which boasts Australia’s largest islander population. The belief is that setting up a successful Pasifika team in western Sydney would play a huge role in reversing or at least slowing the number of kids switching to rugby league.

    New Zealand has understandable concerns about the player depth within Australia but RA will argue that three foreign players per team – effectively a full team of foreigners spread across the five franchises – would improve the credibility of all sides as well as heightening fan engagement.

    Incoming Wallabies coach Dave Rennie, a Kiwi, was unsure on Sunday whether NZ officials would allow New Zealand players to turn out for Australian clubs yet still be eligible for All Black selection.

    “History says no,” Rennie told The Australian. “Basically if you are not playing in New Zealand, you can’t be an All Black so I’m not sure if they would alter that stance. We have also talked about this, if we get a Wallaby playing for a NZ side and we’re playing against each other week in, week out, you’re comparing apples with apples. I would see that as positive but I’m not sure what NZ’s view on it would be.”

    The NZR announcement effectively terminated the involvement of South Africa and Argentina in Super Rugby and RA interim CEO Rob Clarke has reached out to his SA counterpart, Juri Roux, and Argentinian rugby strongman Gus Pichot to reassure them of support.

    The Pumas appear to be deserting in droves to French clubs but reports that SA rugby could relocate its interests to the northern hemisphere appear to be wildly incorrect. SA rugby could take the form of a beefed-up Currie Cup but it is understood that private equity fund CVC could be pursuing the Springboks as it has done the Six Nations and the Premiership in England.

    Private equity is set to also play a huge role in Australian rugby in the future, with Silver Lake and US fund Providence both circling the game, but there is little doubt that the most highly valued competition would involve five teams each from Australia and NZ. In that way, administrators from both nations would be able to alleviate their funding issues without needing to sell the farm.

    There are a lot of “ifs’ in RA plans but officials also believe massive opportunities are starting to open up. If they are able to secure the Super Rugby competition format they are hoping for, plus a private equity deal and a reasonable deal with broadcasters – who also have stipulated they see a trans-Tasman series as the only viable option – then it could be that rugby gets back in the game.

    Understandably, RA does not want to go through the same turmoil it experienced in 2017 when it culled the Force from Super Rugby. The Rebels were the other team facing the axe then but, with McLennan now committed to Forrest and the Perth club, Melbourne would be prime targets if RA decided to revisit dumping a team.

    But that won’t happen, for a variety of reasons. Not least is the massive support the Victorian government gives to rugby and the important role it would play in a 2027 World Cup in Australia.

    Given that NSW and Queensland are “untouchable”, that only leaves the Brumbies which are understood to be at the top of the list of Australian teams wanted by New Zealand.

    Wayne Smith
    Senior Sport Writer

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/spo...3e8eb6c838f53c

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    Fair dinkum crossroads: Australia to stand firm on five Super teams

    By Georgina Robinson
    July 20, 2020 — 12.01am

    Rugby Australia is hardening its resolve around a five-team Super Rugby future despite New Zealand's unilateral invitation to contribute as few as two to next year's competition.

    An RA board meeting will on Monday discuss New Zealand Rugby's Aratipu review, which was released on Friday with a pitch for an eight- or 10-team competition, including its own five sides and a Pasifika team.

    Later this week RA boss Rob Clarke will take an operational call from his Kiwi counterparts to discuss in more detail the review and what NZR has in mind for the future of the trans-Tasman partnership.

    But RA chairman Hamish McLennan said Australia was firm on defending its five-team footprint - the Waratahs, Reds, Rebels, Brumbies and Force - and would continue to explore striking out on its own with an Argentinian, Japanese and South African flavour.

    "We're looking at two plans, one with the Kiwis and one without. The call as I understand it, between [NZR boss] Mark Robinson and Rob [Clarke] was quite perfunctory," McLennan said.

    "It's pretty obvious to me that we have the chance to build the best professional competition in the world together, with a bit of a twist, so I hope they can seize the opportunity. As countries we are best alone, better together."

    New Zealand's opening gambit was the talk of rugby circles over the weekend, with reactions varying from wry amusement to the verbal equivalent of the raised middle finger.

    NZR's delivery was the main issue. After weeks of little communication between the unions, Robinson's "invitation" to Australia to submit "expressions of interest" to join what was framed as New Zealand's competition, was noted.

    Many believed Australia deserved better after 25 years together in the SANZAAR joint venture and more than 90 years of Bledisloe Cup history, on top of the two nations' close historic, economic, cultural and political ties.

    For others it was incredulity, based on what a two-, three- or even four-team footprint would mean for the game on this side of the Tasman.

    With the exception of high-performance purists including the likes of respected analyst Ben Darwin and England coach Eddie Jones, who believe a three-team professional footprint will lead to better Wallabies performances, few in the game see the benefits of shrinking Australia's professional presence further.

    Reliving the horrors of 2017, when the Force were axed, is not on the agenda for a code already at a low ebb. McLennan believes a rebuild is what the game needs and he knows rebuilds cost money.

    On the high-performance side, the new chairman has acknowledged Australia's player-depth issues, leading RA to approach Argentina and South Africa about using Australia as a destination of choice for their players next year. McLennan even told London's The Sunday Times he would be open to taking a full team from South Africa: "We'd take a whole team, and if the South Africans were open to it they could relocate for the duration of the season".

    The weekend's Super Rugby AU matches will also reassure fans and administrators on both sides of the ditch that the on-field improvement has begun.

    On the financial side of things, RA feels strengthened by genuine interest from a handful of major private-equity players, from Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest's "long-term, patient" Tattarang model to shorter-term conventional involvements being pursued by Silverlake, CVC, Providence and KKR.

    Long gone are the days of relying on a broadcast partner to fund the majority of your business. RA will take the new competition to market and could be described in real-estate parlance as a motivated - if still cautious - seller.

    What it offers up depends on what plays out between Australia and New Zealand over the next few weeks, but early feedback from RA officials suggested Australia was in no rush to submit their EOIs.

    There is a growing belief here that the spectre of COVID-19 will hamper everyone's plans well into next year, leaving 2022 as the year for fully developed visions and next year as a bridging solution.

    One of the first victims might be the Pasifika team NZR wants included in the new competition, although McLennan believes problems within New Zealand could put paid to that first.

    "If they're seriously considering putting a Pasifika team into Auckland that will weaken the Blues," he said.

    RA wants a trans Tasman future but not the one the Kiwis pitched last week. It believes Australia has the time zone and commercial potential to make it a valuable partner at the negotiating table, not a beggar searching for scraps.

    McLennan believes broadcasters will prefer a 10- or 12-team competition over an eight-team model or another year of Super Rugby Aotearoa.

    "It would get pretty boring playing themselves next year," he said.

    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/rugby-u...19-p55dex.html

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    RA is between a rock and a hard place. NSW and QLD are “untouchable”, WA has a billionaire backer, ACT has the most successful AU team, and VIC can expose a lot of secrets that certain people would want locked in a vault with the Cabinet papers for the next 30 years.

    They have to go with five teams!!

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    Which means that the only Aussie team in NZ could be the WF.
    There is no incentive to remain with the RA alternative.

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    Quote Originally Posted by andrewg View Post
    Which means that the only Aussie team in NZ could be the WF.
    I think that's unlikely, because:

    (a) short of seceding from the existing national body, the Western Force will still need sanctioning to play rugby union games on WA soil; then ...

    (b) NZR has to back that gambit in - by sending teams into the former area of the Aussie governing body.

    Of course, RA might just let WA join SRA (or split away to join it) and wish Aotearoa all the best ... or Aotearoa, in conjunction with Hodgo, might create a new code of "rugby".

    But I'm not convinced.

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    I don't blame NZRU for thinking that NSW and Qld are "untouchable". I wouldn't touch NSWRU if we could avoid it

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    Without the support of Twiggy, do you think they would have even considered getting the Force included -I highly doubt it. As Perth Girl said, they only want Twiggy’s money and not the Force. Majority of comments are that RA just has to get this new comp running and Twiggy provides the finances and everything’s sweet & rosy - Oh BTW, the Force can join in too FFS, stuff the lot of ‘em! The Force has trod its own path till now, so let’s see where it goes without the baggage. If the Force is the only Aus team in NZ doesnt bother me.

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    Opening sentence is interesting :Rugby Australia is likely to put a limit of three foreign players per team next season as it seeks to bolster the credibility of its five Australian franchises heading into operational talks with New Zealand Rugby this week over a trans-Tasman competition.

    A cunning plan to hobble the Force? Thrush, Brache. Kahui, Stowers, Taefu, Stander, Hardman, Bardoul. Heiberg, Alatima. ???? Some of those guys have been here for years

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    Quote Originally Posted by JSJ View Post
    A cunning plan to hobble the Force?
    It might be ... but I reckon AF would get that modified quick enough.

    He's in a strong position.

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    Three internationals on "the field" for a team at any one time, but as many in squad would fix it.

    There is something similar about in another comp I can't think of right now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The InnFORCEr View Post
    Three internationals on "the field" for a team at any one time, but as many in squad would fix it.

    There is something similar about in another comp I can't think of right now.
    Japanese Top League is able to have 2 internationals on the field at one time but teams can have more in the squad.

    I assume that's what your talking about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The InnFORCEr View Post
    Three internationals on "the field" for a team at any one time, but as many in squad would fix it.

    There is something similar about in another comp I can't think of right now.
    I wonder how they would a classify an "International"?. eg Brache has lived here for 6 years or so, and played for the Force long before the USA. He is no doubt is an Australian permanent resident. Stander has also been here a similar time and played for nobody else in that time and is hopefully qualified to be picked for the Wallabies. Amazing how everybody in the east has suddenly noticed how good those two are, just because the Force have played a couple of Super games.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JSJ View Post
    Amazing how everybody in the east has suddenly noticed how good those two are, just because the Force have played a couple of Super games.
    They're no longer playing in an "inferior" competition

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    C'mon the

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    Quote Originally Posted by JSJ View Post
    Amazing how everybody in the east has suddenly noticed how good those two are, just because the Force have played a couple of Super games.
    Its not that amazing. They are actually "ex-Stormer Brynard Stander and " former South African, and USA international Marcel Brache". So not really WA players.Simples.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shasta View Post
    Its not that amazing. They are actually "ex-Stormer Brynard Stander and " former South African, and USA international Marcel Brache". So not really WA players.Simples.
    I almost through my remote at the tv the amount of times the commentators made comments like that. Even in the pre show promo it was "Reds return home to face there old team"

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