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Thread: Former NZ Rugby, NRL boss David Moffett tells Aussies: cut two Super Rugby teams

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    Former NZ Rugby, NRL boss David Moffett tells Aussies: cut two Super Rugby teams

    Paul Cully
    14:18, Aug 18 2020

    Former New Zealand rugby boss David Moffett says Rugby Australia can ‘shrink to greatness’, as Wales did when he cut their number of professional teams.

    Highly experienced sports administrator David Moffett has criticised both NZ Rugby and Rugby Australia for their approach to Super Rugby talks but has urged Australia to “stop taking the soft option” and cut two teams for an eight-team trans-Tasman competition.

    Moffett has been the CEO of NZ Rugby, Sanzar (as it was then), and the NRL in a decorated career, but he was also the administrator who worked through the intense politics of Welsh rugby in the early 2000s and reduced the number of professional teams, a decision that caused considerable angst at the time but is now seen by many as critical in helping to revive the Welsh test team.

    “I saw a comment by the chairman of Rugby Australia [Hamish McLennan] where he said you can't shrink to greatness,” Moffett told Stuff on Tuesday.

    “Well, I have one question for him. Wales did it. Wales are above Australia in the world and Australia ranked No.7

    “And Wales shrank to greatness because when I was there we took them down from 12 professional teams down to four, and that is still most likely one team too many for Wales.

    “I would just point out to him, mate you just cannot bring that sort of corporate speak into a sporting environment.

    “Because, in actual fact, I can show you one country where we did shrink to greatness.”

    Moffett’s concern for the game go far beyond competition structure.

    In fact, he was so aggrieved at seeing All Blacks Brodie Retallick “put out of action” at the ruck by the Springboks last year that he started work on a new project.

    Along with respected former Wallabies loosehead prop ‘Topo’ Rodriguez, Moffett has created Rugby Rules, a new contact sport concept that is largely based on rugby but tries to strip away the complexity, time wasting at scrums, and dangerous cleanouts that Moffett believes have become a blight on the code.

    “The problem starts at the very top,” Moffett said. “World Rugby has never had a look at itself and what its role is, and especially when it comes to law changes and interpretations.

    “People are turned off by eternally reset scrums, they are turned off by the dangerous play off the ball, and the potential for head injuries, and players congratulating each other for getting a [scrum] penalty...and it’s too difficult for people to understand. So, we’re looking to simplify it.”

    But Moffett also offered some firm thoughts on future of Super Rugby, describing the current impasse between NZ Rugby and Rugby Australia as “a pissing competition” that was getting in the way of the best model: an eight-team format.

    “I've been pushing for a trans-Tasman competition for five to seven years,” Moffett said. “Super Rugby had its day a long time ago when they started fiddling around with the number of teams.

    “It became all about quantity not quality, and it wasn’t authentic.

    “A succession of administrators have been the architects of their own demise.

    “[But] What I’m not favour of is the way both countries are going about it at the moment.

    “New Zealand saying ‘you’re only going to have two teams’, and Australia saying ‘we need five, or we’ll go it alone’.

    “Well, they can’t do that. The answer lies in a very simple equation: five teams from New Zealand and three from Australia.”

    Rugby Australia is adamant that it won't cut any of its teams, but Moffett said he would take the axe to the Brumbies and the Rebels, leaving the Reds, Waratahs and Western Force (“Twiggy Forrest has got some real money, and I think he would be prepared to fund a team.”)

    Having pushed through painful reforms in Welsh rugby, Moffett said Rugby Australia couldn't put off cutting teams because it would be too hard politically.

    “I know I’m being hard-nosed about it but I would drop the Brumbies I’d definitely drop the Rebels, because the Rebels are never going to be successful in Melbourne,” he said.

    “That’s the three teams I would have in a heartbeat. Yes, you would wear some political flak but get on with it.

    “This guy [McLennan] hasn't been put there to take soft decisions, soft options. Soft options are always the wrong options, and that’s what they are doing now.”

    Moffett said that Australia could also negotiate for a binding agreement to look again at expansion teams in five years, giving them the chance to add another team if certain criteria were met.

    However, he urged administrators on both sides of the ditch to put something together that would incentivise the broadcasters who pay for the game to put their hands in their pockets.

    “You could say, ‘What's the first thing we want? We want an authentic competition, and we want a competitive competition’.

    “In order to get those things and in order to get the most value out of your broadcasting rights, you are going to have to demonstrate to those people who are going to part with their money, that you are going to have the best players playing in this competition they are paying a lot of money for.”

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    This would be the Wales that has beaten NZ how many times, and hasn't beaten them since when...?

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    “I know I’m being hard-nosed about it but I would drop the Brumbies I’d definitely drop the Rebels, because the Rebels are never going to be successful in Melbourne,” he said.


    Like what he's saying.

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    But that's not what Moffett did in Wales! Wales had 9 professional town-based clubs (Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Ebbw Vale, Llanelli, Neath, Newport, Pontypridd & Swansea) and they were organised into 5 regional sides: Cardiff Blues (Caerphilly & Cardiff), Celtic Warriors (Bridgend & Pontypridd), Gwent Dragons (Ebbw Vale & Newport), Llanelli Scarlets (Llanelli), and the Neath-Swansea Ospreys (Neath & Swansea).

    After a year the Celtic Warriors were dropped (mainly absorbed by Cardiff), and eventually with most of the location descriptions, so the teams are now: Cardiff Blues, Dragons, Ospreys & Scarletts.

    So the Welsh didn't do what Moffett described, they did something more like the NRC; amalgamating the local sides into regional teams (and went through a lot of the angst the Sydney NRC teams did, too!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyS View Post
    This would be the Wales that has beaten NZ how many times, and hasn't beaten them since when...?
    3 wins - The last of which came in 1953

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    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chopper1 View Post
    “I know I’m being hard-nosed about it but I would drop the Brumbies I’d definitely drop the Rebels, because the Rebels are never going to be successful in Melbourne,” he said.


    Like what he's saying.
    Yeah, but you can't drop the Brumbies and pretend it has anything to do with improving performance, It's the same as dropping the Force and pretending it's got to do with Grassroots funding, just a great big crock of smelly shit.

    By all means talk about culling the most successful Rugby Team in Australia based upon crowd numbers, finances or anything other than improved performance.

    Rebels, have been a drain on the Union's resources since day dot, they meet every known criteria for being dropped.

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    C'mon the

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    Quote Originally Posted by jargan83 View Post
    3 wins - The last of which came in 1953
    well,Llanelli beat them in 1972,but they were only a club team,LOL

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    Name:  Honey I shrank to greatness.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by GIGS20 View Post
    Yeah, but you can't drop the Brumbies and pretend it has anything to do with improving performance, It's the same as dropping the Force and pretending it's got to do with Grassroots funding, just a great big crock of smelly shit.

    By all means talk about culling the most successful Rugby Team in Australia based upon crowd numbers, finances or anything other than improved performance.

    Rebels, have been a drain on the Union's resources since day dot, they meet every known criteria for being dropped.
    No more dropping teams please. If the Kiwi dont wont 5 Aussie teams, then bring the Tahs, Reds, Brumbies and Rebels into GRR or whatever. And the Kiwis can run and fund their own comp. Covid restrictions will probably stop a trans Tasman comp in 2021 anyway.

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    If RA want to have balls and make the big decisions then they can use the current situation to bring in a draft or similar for young guys to spread the talent around teams. Teams can keep their stars but there is nothing worse then seeing good talent in a squad and not even getting a bench spot when they could be utilized and have game time in other teams. Deegan is a good example, he should be on the bench for us taking over from Jono.
    Spreading Talent across the teams can only make all the teams better and provide more experienced depth for Oz.
    The whole which state develops the talent should keep them argument should be thrown out. I don’t mind seeing a west Aussie go well in another team if we passed them over.

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