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

  1. #76
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    Rugby world is no longer marching to New Zealand’s drum

    Wayne Smith
    September 25, 2020

    Amid all the bleating from New Zealand about the scheduling for The Rugby Championship, what was missing was an acknowledgment that the tournament was still alive and going ahead.

    True, one can never be too prescriptive about these things in Pandemic World. As it is, South Africa’s participation is still conditional on its government giving permission for the Springboks to take part in international competition. So that could be the end of the tournament. Or Argentina might have a coronavirus flare-up. Or Australia.

    As events in Britain have shown — Victoria, too, for that matter — the course of this pandemic has been anything but linear. On too many occasions the virus has doubled back on itself, forcing old restrictions to be reimposed. Sporting administrators — so often the butt of our jokes — do deserve some respect for factoring in all the constantly-changing variables and still producing a workable competition.

    Yet New Zealand’s role throughout this pandemic season deserves closer scrutiny. Right from the outset, the Kiwis have marched to their own beat and expected the world to change step and fall into line. Once, they might have. It’s a curious and illogical thing, but rugby administrators earn kudos and respect in direct proportion to how their team is performing — even though they generally have nothing to do with it.

    If their team is going well — and that almost always applies to the All Blacks — NZ’s senior officials are considered to be the font of all knowledge. For a brief time, this also used to work for Australia. Once it used to exercise considerable clout in world rugby circles. Not only was everyone mimicking how the Wallabies players and recruiting Australian coaches, but they would all sit humbly at the feet of people like John O’Neill and wait for the next lesson to begin.

    Now O’Neill — with whom I enjoyed many a good scrap — was a very good administrator but even more than that, he was a lucky one. He just happened to be in office when John Eales and Tim Horan and Matthew Burke were in their prime. He admits that himself. But when O’Neill spoke, the rugby world paid attention.

    That is how it has been for New Zealand rugby bosses since pretty much forever. So they would have seen nothing at all out of the ordinary about their behaviour when they released the details of their proposed “trans-Tasman” competition earlier this year. Yet in one fell swoop, they abandoned SANZAAR — at least as far as Super Rugby was concerned — booted South Africa out into the wilderness, so too Argentina, and effectively told Australia it was top-heavy from one to three professional teams. “We would appreciate it if you fixed that problem before submitting your expressions of interest for participating in our competition,” they said.

    There would have been plenty of times in the past when Australia would have meekly obliged. But to his resounding credit, Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan basically said “get stuffed”, and pretty much in that language. And he went ahead with a stand-alone all-Australian competition which, to almost universal surprise, turned out so well Australia has decided to do it again next year.

    Moving on to The Rugby Championship, it is in every nation’s interest the tournament goes ahead, within the constraints of player safety and welfare. Every SANZAAR member is struggling financially and the only way broadcasters will honour the final installment of their 2016-2020 cycle contract is if all 12 matches are played and all four joint venturers are present.

    Some fairly left-field proposals have been considered to make the TRC happen, including playing the entire tournament in Uruguay. But NZ was always the first choice — until it wasn’t.

    Yet it wasn’t Australian perfidy that cost NZ the tournament. It was the NZ Government’s own inflexible quarantine regulations. As it turns out, those regulations weren’t entirely inflexible because Jacinda Ardern did change them after the Wallabies complained they wouldn’t be competing in the first Bledisloe Test unless they were given adequate time to train together. But by then, The Rugby Championship had already been transferred to Australia.

    And, now, this latest example of Kiwi rugby’s myopic worldview: Mark Robinson, the CEO of NZ Rugby, contained himself for precisely seven minutes before issuing a press statement on Thursday complaining that the Kiwis had never agreed to a December 12 date for the final TRC Test. The significance is that 12 plus 14 days of isolation equals December 26 before players will be let out of quarantine. Not ideal by any means, but the problem was that the tournament runs for six weekends — four joint venturers playing three matches apiece, on a home and away basis — and couldn’t really start any earlier than November 7 because South Africa and Argentina have scarcely played any rugby.

    NZ wanted the tournament to wind up on December 5, December 6 latest, so its players and officials could spent Christmas with their families. Curiously, this was not a consideration while NZ was hosting the tournament. So the Australians, South Africans and Argentinians could all wander back home for a cheerless Christmas in isolation but the Kiwis would be fine.

    Even when the tournament did cross the ditch, Australia said it would be happy to work towards a five-weekend model if that idea could be sold. Eventually it was put to a SANZAAR vote. Australia and NZ supported it, South Africa and Argentina didn’t. It was 2-2 and, where SANZAAR is concerned, all major decisions have to be unanimous. So it stayed.

    Twice now, once on the decision to relocate TRC, and again on the competition schedule itself, SANZAAR boss Andy Marinos has had to come out and effectively put the Kiwis in their place. Nothing was “sprung” on them, Marinos insisted, either by Australia or by SANZAAR.

    “They (the Kiwis) have been fully consulted and have been part of the process right from the get-go,” Marinos said.

    In the end, it may be much ado about nothing. December 12 is a long way off and by then quarantine regulations may have eased sufficiently so that players are able to spend Christmas with their families, not alone in a hotel room. Still, working Christmas Day is all part of a nurse’s life, or a policeman’s or, dare I say it, a journalist’s. But NZ Rugby should also consider stopping and think about how they are behaving — which is to say not very well.

    The world is changing. The rugby world most certainly is. Dictating terms is so pre-Covid. Sharing the load, sharing the pain is now the only way to operate.

    Wayne Smith
    Senior Sport Writer

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/spo...31f927139dbac0

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    Once the facts and time line are laid out the extent of the NZRU's blinkered view is fairly obvious. When it comes to Rugby, that affliction is pretty wide spread across the ditch. A lot seem unaware that apart from a minority population of Rugby tragics outside NZ most people don't give a flying f@ck and have much bigger concerns (and sports).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ham105 View Post
    Rugby world is no longer marching to New Zealand’s drum

    Wayne Smith
    September 25, 2020

    Amid all the bleating from New Zealand about the scheduling for The Rugby Championship, what was missing was an acknowledgment that the tournament was still alive and going ahead.

    True, one can never be too prescriptive about these things in Pandemic World. As it is, South Africa’s participation is still conditional on its government giving permission for the Springboks to take part in international competition. So that could be the end of the tournament. Or Argentina might have a coronavirus flare-up. Or Australia.

    As events in Britain have shown — Victoria, too, for that matter — the course of this pandemic has been anything but linear. On too many occasions the virus has doubled back on itself, forcing old restrictions to be reimposed. Sporting administrators — so often the butt of our jokes — do deserve some respect for factoring in all the constantly-changing variables and still producing a workable competition.

    Yet New Zealand’s role throughout this pandemic season deserves closer scrutiny. Right from the outset, the Kiwis have marched to their own beat and expected the world to change step and fall into line. Once, they might have. It’s a curious and illogical thing, but rugby administrators earn kudos and respect in direct proportion to how their team is performing — even though they generally have nothing to do with it.

    If their team is going well — and that almost always applies to the All Blacks — NZ’s senior officials are considered to be the font of all knowledge. For a brief time, this also used to work for Australia. Once it used to exercise considerable clout in world rugby circles. Not only was everyone mimicking how the Wallabies players and recruiting Australian coaches, but they would all sit humbly at the feet of people like John O’Neill and wait for the next lesson to begin.

    Now O’Neill — with whom I enjoyed many a good scrap — was a very good administrator but even more than that, he was a lucky one. He just happened to be in office when John Eales and Tim Horan and Matthew Burke were in their prime. He admits that himself. But when O’Neill spoke, the rugby world paid attention.

    That is how it has been for New Zealand rugby bosses since pretty much forever. So they would have seen nothing at all out of the ordinary about their behaviour when they released the details of their proposed “trans-Tasman” competition earlier this year. Yet in one fell swoop, they abandoned SANZAAR — at least as far as Super Rugby was concerned — booted South Africa out into the wilderness, so too Argentina, and effectively told Australia it was top-heavy from one to three professional teams. “We would appreciate it if you fixed that problem before submitting your expressions of interest for participating in our competition,” they said.

    There would have been plenty of times in the past when Australia would have meekly obliged. But to his resounding credit, Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan basically said “get stuffed”, and pretty much in that language. And he went ahead with a stand-alone all-Australian competition which, to almost universal surprise, turned out so well Australia has decided to do it again next year.

    Moving on to The Rugby Championship, it is in every nation’s interest the tournament goes ahead, within the constraints of player safety and welfare. Every SANZAAR member is struggling financially and the only way broadcasters will honour the final installment of their 2016-2020 cycle contract is if all 12 matches are played and all four joint venturers are present.

    Some fairly left-field proposals have been considered to make the TRC happen, including playing the entire tournament in Uruguay. But NZ was always the first choice — until it wasn’t.

    Yet it wasn’t Australian perfidy that cost NZ the tournament. It was the NZ Government’s own inflexible quarantine regulations. As it turns out, those regulations weren’t entirely inflexible because Jacinda Ardern did change them after the Wallabies complained they wouldn’t be competing in the first Bledisloe Test unless they were given adequate time to train together. But by then, The Rugby Championship had already been transferred to Australia.

    And, now, this latest example of Kiwi rugby’s myopic worldview: Mark Robinson, the CEO of NZ Rugby, contained himself for precisely seven minutes before issuing a press statement on Thursday complaining that the Kiwis had never agreed to a December 12 date for the final TRC Test. The significance is that 12 plus 14 days of isolation equals December 26 before players will be let out of quarantine. Not ideal by any means, but the problem was that the tournament runs for six weekends — four joint venturers playing three matches apiece, on a home and away basis — and couldn’t really start any earlier than November 7 because South Africa and Argentina have scarcely played any rugby.

    NZ wanted the tournament to wind up on December 5, December 6 latest, so its players and officials could spent Christmas with their families. Curiously, this was not a consideration while NZ was hosting the tournament. So the Australians, South Africans and Argentinians could all wander back home for a cheerless Christmas in isolation but the Kiwis would be fine.

    Even when the tournament did cross the ditch, Australia said it would be happy to work towards a five-weekend model if that idea could be sold. Eventually it was put to a SANZAAR vote. Australia and NZ supported it, South Africa and Argentina didn’t. It was 2-2 and, where SANZAAR is concerned, all major decisions have to be unanimous. So it stayed.

    Twice now, once on the decision to relocate TRC, and again on the competition schedule itself, SANZAAR boss Andy Marinos has had to come out and effectively put the Kiwis in their place. Nothing was “sprung” on them, Marinos insisted, either by Australia or by SANZAAR.

    “They (the Kiwis) have been fully consulted and have been part of the process right from the get-go,” Marinos said.

    In the end, it may be much ado about nothing. December 12 is a long way off and by then quarantine regulations may have eased sufficiently so that players are able to spend Christmas with their families, not alone in a hotel room. Still, working Christmas Day is all part of a nurse’s life, or a policeman’s or, dare I say it, a journalist’s. But NZ Rugby should also consider stopping and think about how they are behaving — which is to say not very well.

    The world is changing. The rugby world most certainly is. Dictating terms is so pre-Covid. Sharing the load, sharing the pain is now the only way to operate.

    Wayne Smith
    Senior Sport Writer

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/spo...31f927139dbac0
    Usually have alot of time for Wayne Smith but this article would of been better spent on other issues. A straight six weeks competition is going to be real tough on the players. A tuff schedule then seen at most world cups. Player welfare should be the topic. Comparing someone working on Christmas day to someone spending 10 weeks away is ridiculous. Also the 'Aratipu' review is a review on New Zealand professional rugby looking solely at maintaining the value of their franchises who are all privately owned. Good on NZRU to make its reviews public something the ARU tend to keep private.

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  4. #79
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    Five weeks in a row is unworkable. Six Nations don’t play consecutive weekends and two teams have played no Rugby.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kukerin kid View Post
    Usually have alot of time for Wayne Smith but this article would of been better spent on other issues.
    Perhaps, although he may not be on his own.

    How did SANZAAR betray New Zealand when the chairman is a Kiwi?

    Prominent Kiwi commentator lashes New Zealand’s handling of the Rugby Championship as SANZAAR boss Andy Marinos is accused of angling for plum Australian gig.

    WAYNE SMITH
    SENIOR SPORT WRITER
    5:47PM SEPTEMBER 28, 2020

    Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan has come out in strong support of SANZAAR chief executive Andy Marinos who has been vilified in the New Zealand media for endorsing Australia’s handling of the Rugby Championship match schedule.

    According to the NZ Herald – an outlet which is seen within Australian rugby circles as a mouthpiece for NZ Rugby – Marinos has backed Australia’s version of events “in the hope of landing a new plum position” as Rugby Australia’s CEO, replacing the interim chief executive Rob Clarke.

    “The Sydney-based South African has been short-listed for the Rugby Australia’s chief executive position, and with that in mind it’s only fair to ask how objective he can be in the standoff between NZ Rugby and RA over the Rugby Championship scheduling debacle that threatens to force the All Blacks to quarantine through Christmas on their return home,” the NZ Herald wrote.

    The “standoff” looks set to fizzle out entirely in the wake of a report in The Sunday Telegraph that flights between NSW and New Zealand could resume within weeks to kick start the trans-Tasman travel bubble on both sides of the ditch. There would reportedly be no quarantine period required.

    Yet even if the prospect of the All Blacks having to spend Christmas in quarantine as a result of playing the December 12 Test against the Wallabies is removed, the slur against Marinos remains.

    “I’m only speaking out because I take great offence to any disgraceful slur on Andy’s reputation,” McLennan told The Australian. “Andy has been honourable and transparent through the entire TRC process and New Zealand lost the bid because Australia provided a superior commercial outcome and better quarantine regime for all nations.

    “It’s absurd to blame the SANZAAR CEO for the outcome which was endorsed by South Africa and Argentina. NZ shouldn’t throw the CEO under the bus when the chairman of SANZAAR is a Kiwi – and also the head of NZ Rugby (Brent Impey).

    “A subcommittee has been formed to look at the CEO process which I oversee and I have never spoken to Andy about the (RA) CEO role and he has not been interviewed by the subcommittee. He is a high-quality individual but it is wrong for NZ to speculate on our CEO process. And they are wrong.”

    When NZ looked like holding the Rugby Championship because of its then Covid-free status, Australia requested the tournament be played by December 5 in order to allow the Wallabies to return home and complete quarantine in time for them to spend Christmas with their families. NZ would not agree. But when the tournament was taken off NZ and given to Australia and the Kiwis made precisely the same request, Australia felt honour bound to support them.

    The problem was that for all major decisions, the four SANZAAR joint venturers must be in agreement and while Australia and NZ voted to compress the tournament, South Africa and Argentina did not. December 12 stood as the date of the final round, although even that issue now looks likely to be solved at NSW and NZ government level.

    Yet clearly there is some faulty thinking going on at the highest levels of NZ Rugby – and it is not just Australians who believe so. On Friday, senior NZ sports presenter and rugby commentator Scotty Stevenson launched an extraordinary attack on NZR, describing their handling of the Rugby Championship as “an absolute shambles”.

    “I think unfortunately NZR got ahead of themselves – far too ahead of themselves – and this is the result,” Stevenson told the TVNZ Breakfast program. “They’ve beaten down Australian rugby for many, many years and the fans have too – it’s been rather infectious how we laughed at Australian rugby – and now Australian rugby is having a laugh back.”

    He also claimed NZR had underestimated Australia’s response to being told that only two of their sides could compete in the trans-Tasman competition.

    “We underestimated the umbrage they took with being told that. Had the boot been on the other foot, how would NZ have reacted?”

    While the off-field battle between Australia and NZ is humming, Wallabies coach Dave Rennie insists there will be no excuses in the build-up to Bledisloe I on October 11 in Wellington. His side will spend today in individual isolation at a managed isolation facility in Christchurch but – assuming everyone passes the Covid test tomorrow – they will then be free to resume training as an entire team.

    All 44 players are fit and available for selection, said Rennie, which effectively means Queensland outside centre Jordan Petaia’s hip flexor problem won’t keep him out of the Test.

    Rennie is determined not to overload the players’ minds with too much information, striving for intensity on match day by prioritising what they need to know.

    “We’ve got a lot of clarity,” he said. “There will be no excuses, we’ve got enough time to prepare.”

    WAYNE SMITH
    SENIOR SPORT WRITER

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/spo...f70001e3c89127

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    Will Australia’s 25-year association with South African Super Rugby clubs end later today?

    South Africa set to quit Super Rugby and head for Europe

    Australia’s 25-year association with teams such as the Bulls appears to be over

    Wayne Smith
    Senior Sport Writer
    5:24PM September 28, 2020

    Australia’s 25-year association with South African Super Rugby clubs will almost certainly end later today when the general council of SA Rugby meets to vote on whether to send its four strongest franchises north into what will become the European Pro16 competition.

    After threatening for so long to switch its provincial focus from SANZAAR to Europe, South Africa finally is about to do the deed, though it has taken nothing less than a global pandemic to bring about this long-predicted outcome. Certainly within South African rugby circles it is regarded as an open secret that the general council will vote to send the Sharks, Stormers, Bulls and Lions into the Pro16.

    Technically speaking, this arrangement is purely for 2021, in much the same way as NZ’s Super Rugby Aotearoa and Australia’s Super Rugby AU are also only holdover competitions for next year until the coronavirus crisis passes. After that, supposedly, they will all resume the 14-team Super Rugby series that, as SANZAAR members, they have committed to through to 2025.

    At least, that is how it stands at present. The expectation, however, is that the SANZAAR executive committee will decide in 2021 to recognise that South African rugby’s future lies permanently in Europe, while Australia and NZ are likely to link up in a trans-Tasman series. Sadly, the only loser out of this will be Argentina

    There was much consternation back in July when New Zealand announced plans to ditch Super Rugby and set up in its place an eight to 10-team trans-Tasman competition involving a Pasifika team, one from Japan and between two and four Australian teams.

    The NZ announcement was greeted with disdain by Australia, which threatened to – and ultimately did – set up its own purely domestic competition.

    But South Africa too reacted harshly. SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux accused the Kiwis of acting outside the terms of the joint venture agreement that is SANZAAR.

    “If anybody kicked anyone out of Super Rugby, it was New Zealand kicking themselves out,” Roux said at the time.

    But for all the threats of legal action, South Africa itself has teased SANZAAR for most of the past decade with threats of abandoning Super Rugby and heading to Europe instead. Having found itself isolated by the COVID pandemic – Australia and NZ both had completed their competitions before the South Africans even started – it began looking seriously at joining the Pro12 competition.

    For a brief time, the Pro12 became the Pro14, following the inclusions of the two Super Rugby sides culled in 2017, the Cheetahs and the Southern Kings. But, as the pandemic descended, the expanded competition took a new hit, with the Kings going into liquidation and the Cheetahs being grounded.

    It could get very messy indeed in South African rugby if the general council approves of its four senior sides taking the places of the two Super Rugby rejects in what will become the Pro16. While the Kings look like going quietly, the Cheetahs are gearing up for legal action.

    As The Sunday Times pointed out, there is also considerable disgruntlement within the general rugby population in South Africa. “The traditionalists will miss regular contact with New Zealand teams,” the newspaper pointed on the weekend.

    True, the South Africans have had some great contests with the five Kiwi franchises, replicating the Springbok-All Black Tests. The final Super Rugby ledger records that of the 523 games played between NZ and SA, the Kiwis won 320 of them, a winning percentage of 61.18. But the South Africans also come out behind Australia over the quarter-century of Super Rugby, with the five Australian teams winning 225 games out of 424 with SA rivals, a win ratio of 53.06.

    For the three Australian teams which have been part of Super Rugby since its inception in 1996, the ratio jumps to 55.22 (206 wins from 373 matches).

    And aside from the Crusaders, who won 78.21 per cent of matches against SA rivals, no team did better than the Brumbies, who dominated 66 of their 103 games, a rate of 64.07 per cent.

    Meanwhile, new Wallabies lineout coach Geoff Parling admits the broken arm that Toulouse lock Rory Arnold suffered on the weekend could jeopardise his chances of being recalled to Australia as one of the coach’s picks for The Rugby Championship.

    “It’s unfortunate for Rory,” Parling said on Monday. “He is certainly someone who came in for discussion about joining us for The Rugby Championships but now we’ll reassess. I’ve also got lots of confidence in the guys we have here, great players and great athletes and we’ll find out how bad that injury is and then go from there.”

    Wayne Smith
    Senior Sport Writer

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/spo...7c6dc78fa84ee4

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    Some of the comment on the above:

    ---
    Kate 1 hour ago

    Much smarter to have an Australia/NZ/Pasifika/Japan competition

    ---
    Phil 1 hour ago (Edited)

    It's fine, it will only hasten the process of developing a professional club competition here in Australia.
    Rugby will become local again and it will be the national teams that play the international matches.
    No problem.

    ---
    Hugh 2 hours ago

    Lets see. The Saffers and whoever they end up playing against in the UK will soon tire of going from an icy winter field in the midlands or Wales, right in the middle of their 6 Nations, to January in Capetown and Durban.

    For 2021 in Aus, a 10 or 12 team competition with NZ. 5 Aus teams, 5 SA teams. Add in a team each from Japan and Fiji, 2 pools of 6 (allows home and away games in both NZ and Aus) 16 game regular season (the Aus and NZ teams and public and business models have got used to 8 home games). 4 team finals series, which keeps it brief, all wrapped up by end of June.

    ---
    Andrew 3 hours ago

    What a mess rugby is in, and not just Australia.
    Very sad all round.

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    Brian 3 hours ago

    I think South African rugby will suffer from not playing against the kiwis in the future. They are still by far the consistent global standard and Australia will be better off for as much exposure as possible., They will want back in one day.

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    IanE 2 hours ago

    They will probably get bored playing the Euro style of rugby playing for a penalty and then attempting a penalty conversion rather than trying to score a try!

    ---
    John 1 hour ago

    Ah no. South Africa and England have moved beyond NZ. As the World Cup showed.
    NZ has made sure it no longer has any decent local competition to push it to be able to compete with South Africa and England.
    OJ

    ---
    David 4 hours ago

    I think some Australians are blinkered by these events. South Africa provides most of the TV income in Super rugby and drives a lot more of it. Most Kiwis would tell u SA vNZ is their ultimate. Australia could end up in its own bubble playing forgettable games against forgettable teams -as WA has found-the Bledisloe Cup and local Super in which only a few games will really count. However all is not lost and I believe South Africa who will be sadly underdone for the upcoming championship, will return to Super rugby for climatic and public pressure reasons because their locals will soon tire of the boring northern game style compared to ANZ style

    ---
    DOUG 1 hour ago

    This is all very true..SA is the dominant income provider to Super Rugby. Australia is the weak link in many respects ( income and playing depth ). Hopefully we can keep playing the SA teams in some format as it helps us stay in touch with the 2 rugby powerhouses...

    ---
    Miles 4 hours ago

    Ah the same Super rugby that voted way too many times for expansion, adding dud teams.
    SA rugby belongs in the south, end of story.

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    russ 4 hours ago

    Like the game the media coverage spends to much energy on administrative politics rather than the game.

    ---
    Ian 5 hours ago

    I once had a religious devotion to Rugby but I don’t care now because this modern trash they play isn’t the game I loved.
    Obviously I am not my own because fewer and fewer people are watching it.
    I wonder whether we will ever see the game return to its former glory through the appropriate law changes in the breakdown and line out area ;
    how did it ever come about that jumpers can be lifted ?!

    ---
    Marty 2 hours ago

    I put it down to changing from leather balls to synthetic and replacing skull caps with head gear. Oh, and not quite sure what the rules have to do with South Africa maybe playing in the Northern hemisphere.

    ---
    Makybe 5 hours ago

    This would seem inevitable. Aust/nz/Pacific /japan and maybe the argies surely makes more sustainable sense.

    ---
    David 5 hours ago

    Rugby in Australia blighted by private school Sydney mentality.Add Alan Jones,and the blazer brigade and have a recipe for long term mediocrity.Plus a supporter base that only loves winners,not rugby.

    ---
    Freddy 1 hour ago

    No, rugby in Australia hamstrung by the refusal of gov schools to get on board. RA have thrown huge amounts of money and resources at this issue but the gov schools are only interested in soccer, league and AFL. Meanwhile the private schools subsidise the cost of coaching and producing rugby graduates and keep rugby alive in this country. Look at the results our U21 and schoolboys have achieved in the last few years. Your anti-private school rant has no basis in reality and is just your personal bias.
    ---
    Tim 5 hours ago

    I wonder how the Northern Hemisphere teams will enjoy flying out of the snow in Paris to play at 40c in a Joburg summer. Rugby gets nuttier every day.

    ---
    John 6 hours ago

    The kiwis obsessive undermining of Australian rugby for so many years is really starting to bite. Especially after their World Cup failure.
    OJ

    ---
    John 6 hours ago

    Always blame the Kiwis. It’ll make you feel better.

    ---
    James 5 hours ago

    Don't get OJ started on Kiwi coaches......
    ---
    Bob 12 hours ago

    That's OK. The inclusion of the South African teams was always a loopy idea.

    ---
    Robert 3 hours ago

    No, the inclusion of the Argies was a loopy idea.

    ---
    MikeT (WA) 13 hours ago

    Good on the South Africans - there are too many primadonnas in the Southern Hemisphere

    ---
    Warren 14 hours ago

    We are in danger of becoming irrelevant. NZ have the 14 team Mitre competition rolling ahead.
    We have 44 blokes locked up in isolation over there about to be flogged.
    Argentina, Japan , Fiji, Samoa and Tonga are one team Nations. The Islanders have no funding so we blackbird their talent.

    Rugby in Europe is thriving with various competitions and a lot of the best players.
    Meanwhile we have RA playing tough guys.
    NZ will be our only hope without them we are RS.

    ---
    Warren 15 hours ago

    How did the Reds go Wayne ?

    ---
    Damon 13 hours ago

    A couple of injuries was the difference.

    ---
    Wayne 4 hours ago

    Reds v South African teams: played 102 games, won 57, lost 44, drew 1. Second best win ratio of Australian teams behind Brumbies.
    Other stats: Brumbies 103 (66-35-2), Tahs 102 (56-44-3), Rebels 66 (27-39-0) and Force 51 (19-31-1)

    ---
    Robert 3 hours ago (Edited)

    And would have won a lot more with neutral referees when played in SA. The Reds were on the receiving end of some of the most blatantly biased decisions in world rugby.
    I wonder if Pro 14 or whatever it is will reel that in. SANZAR clearly didn’t care.

    ---
    Colin 1 hour ago

    Look a bit closer to home. A celebrated Aussie ref gave SA a win ratio of around 20% when their overall win ratio was well in excess of 50%.

    Secondly, remember how politics hamstrung their selections. Accepting racist selection policies is a scandal in its own right; shame on the IRB for accepting it. There should've been sanctions, in a similar fashion as was applied in the apartheid days.

    Instead of which we had "I have principles, if you don't like them, I have others."

    ---
    Hugh 2 hours ago

    Very interesting stats and underlying the reality that having both the Force and Rebels is unviable, the infrastructure and culture is just not there. Roll the Rebels into the Brumbies and watch Australian rugby thrive.

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!

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