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Thread: Tony Lewis - RA urged to create Asia-Australia comp

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    Tony Lewis - RA urged to create Asia-Australia comp

    RA urged to create Asia-Australia comp

    Justin Chadwick AAP
    Tue, 25 May 2021 2:29PM

    Western Force chief executive Tony Lewis has urged Rugby Australia to forge ties with Asia to create another competition that will better prepare players for the rigours of Super Rugby.

    Australian teams are 0-10 after two rounds of the Trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition, with the lopsided results further proof of how far superior NZ rugby is.

    With the second-tier National Rugby Championship scrapped, Lewis feels there is a big gap between club rugby and Super ranks in Australia.

    He doesn't want to see the NRC reinstated, but feels a new competition taking in teams from Australia and Asia would be the best fit.

    "The most important thing is there's no place in rugby in Australia where that next-tier player gets that opportunity to develop," Lewis said.

    "All of our development is taking place in Super Rugby, which to me is showing no consideration to the welfare of the player and the development of the player.

    "Young Will (Waratahs flyhalf Will Harrison) gets slaughtered in the media, but is it his fault that his rugby development has been 15 Super games in a team that's struggling?

    "You saw it last week with James Turner for the Waratahs. He's been the form winger in Sydney club rugby this year, gets thrown into the game against a couple of All Blacks and he looks average.

    "The classic thing is he went over there with moulded boots and no one thought to tell him that it's slightly wet in NZ and studs would be a good idea."

    When the Western Force were booted out of Super ranks in 2017, billionaire mining magnate Andrew Forrest launched a competition called Global Rapid Rugby that was set to include teams from the Asia Pacific region.

    Lewis feels there's still scope for that but he wants teams from Australia's major cities to be involved as well, rather than just the Force.

    "We need to align with Japan," Lewis said.

    "NZ has got their competition (National Provincial Championship). We don't need to follow them. We need to be innovative and get out there and see what's there. There's other parts of Asia.

    "I know South Korea's national side is strong. They've had a rugby program going for quite some time.

    "If we worked in partnership with Japan and the other Asian countries we could build something that's going to have public appeal."


    https://thewest.com.au/sport/rugby-u...comp-c-2929363

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    With respect to Tony, the only way that is going to happen is if GRR is reprised in the same mould it was i.e. as an Asian run competition by and for the member clubs involved directly. If RA is involved, they will want to run the whole thing and will bestow their usual Edward Penisfingers touch. Far, far better to set it back up much as before, but including the Japanese clubs (who are the key to the success of the whole thing), then maybe think about introducing the Australian clubs as expansion teams. Fundamental to the whole has to be the clubs actually bringing something to the table though...I honestly doubt Asian teams are going to run a comp as some sort of benefit function for Australian rugby, which is pretty much how SANZAR treated the Sunwolves.

    For mine, let RA go their own thing, get GRR back up with Adelaide, maybe Newcastle, and if anyone from 'Australian rugby', perhaps the Vikings. Then let the chips fall and see what works.

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    Last edited by AndyS; 25-05-21 at 20:00.

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    I am 100% with Tony.

    Resurrect GRR with normal rules. Make it a development comp for Australian sides, who need to request entry, and keep it Asian run to keep RA from screwing it up.

    Australia can't level the playing field without a tier between club and Super.

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    Maybe a certain GRR backer will be wielding more weight in keeping said RA's hand off it? Dunno.

    Anyway, it seems many hands are in the mix now. Including Robbie Deans... In this case they're talking about a Champ League idea


    Crusaders v Panasonic? Japanese rugby boss says talks under way about NZ-Japan-Aussie comp

    Paul Cully 23:27, 25 May 2021

    It appears that it’s a matter of when and not if Kiwi Super Rugby teams face the best in Japan, and Panasonic Wild Knights coach Robbie Deans says the interest in Japan would be "enormous".

    Top League chairman Osamu Ota revealed on Tuesday evening that talks were under way between the JRFU, New Zealand Rugby and Rugby Australia about a blockbuster cross-border competition that will have the cash-strapped Kiwi Super Rugby clubs licking their lips.

    The most likely format is a short competition that follows the Super Rugby season – whatever that looks like in the future – and Deans was so confident of the new competition standing up he said: “It’ll happen.”

    Ota, who will oversee the Top League’s transition to a professional competition in 2022, said Japan was right behind the concept. ”We haven't got any details about this topic yet, but for sure the discussions are under way as to the cross-border competition,” Ota told reporters through an interpreter.

    ”If there is such a competition we would love to participate in it.

    ”But...lots of discussions will be needed. And I can also say that the JRFU have been in conversations with many other unions, including New Zealand Rugby and also Australian rugby. Once everything has been fixed we’ll make an announcement as soon as possible.

    ”I personally would look forward to that opportunity coming in the near future. We’d love to participate in such a competition.”

    Deans won the Top League title for the fourth time after the Panasonic Wild Knights beat Barrett’s Suntory side on Sunday, and the former Crusaders and Wallabies coach said he felt the top Japanese teams could hold their own in an abbreviated format.

    “I think there would be an appetite for it, particularly with the way the season is structured,” Deans said.

    “You’d have a domestic competition concluded and a domestic champion, or ranking if you like. And then you go across border, so your support base would follow that with interest.

    “Obviously there could be discrepancies in terms of level but that's nothing different from what we are witnessing at the moment [in Super Rugby Trans Tasman].

    “I think we’d be competitive in an abbreviated format. There’s no doubt that anyone who goes toe to toe with the New Zealand franchise is going to find it hard.

    “We would need to develop more depth to be able to do that over an extended competition but that could come in time.

    “In the first instance, the optimal way to interact would be post domestic comp.”

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    Osamu Ota, the chairman of the lucrative Top League in Japan, turned out for Ponsonby during his playing days and has an affinity with Kiwi rugby.

    New Zealand’s Super Rugby clubs have frequently talked about their desire to take part in competitions in new markets, and Beauden Barrett, Brodie Retallick, TJ Perenara, Deans, Wayne Smith, Jamie Joseph, Tony Brown, Kazuki Himeno and Michael Leitch have in different ways raised the profile of Japanese rugby to New Zealand audiences in recent years.

    Deans also dangled a carrot for New Zealand rugby as Super Rugby clubs struggle to fill stadia around the country.

    “In terms of interest, the interest here would be enormous, as it is week to week,” Deans said. “Covid aside, we play to full houses.

    ”...It will happen. It's inevitable I would suggest.”

    Deans’ side have enormous ambition, with Panasonic GM Hitoshi Iijima on Tuesday confirming their desire to face overseas opposition and unapologetically declaring they wanted to be the “best club in the world”.

    Deans also confirmed he had “a shopping list” of talent he wants to bring to Japan, and Stuff understands standout Wallabies wing Marika Koroibete is one target he could land.

    There has been widespread speculation about a ‘World Club Championship’ happening every two years following the 2023 Rugby World Cup, but Ota said the discussions between Japan, New Zealand and Australia were separate to this, raising the possibility the new competition could occur in 2022 or 2023 if agreement can be found on timing.

    https://i.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/su...panaussie-comp

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    Last edited by Ham105; 25-05-21 at 20:36.

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    "Obviously there could be discrepancies in terms of level but that's nothing different from what we are witnessing at the moment [in Super Rugby Trans Tasman]."

    I can only assume Robbie has his tongue firmly in his cheek when he says that, given they have a 40 year old Australian player still running around in their team. The discrepancy would be at least the same again as between the Aus and NZ teams, and the Kiwis would be sticking a ton on them every single game. Doesn't matter what the interest is in Japan, it wouldn't last long with that happening.

    If Japan is going to do a CL with SR, it would have to be using combined representative teams like the Wolf Pack. That was what Jamie Joseph was talking about last year, and frankly even then they will find it bloody hard yards...they were competitive in 2019 pre-RWC with SR reserves teams, not a lot more.

    But that then would be a completely separate thing from an Asian club competition. The most important thing there if it is going to be interesting is that all teams are broadly competitive, which essentially means at the level of the Japanese clubs. Realistically, and all brave words aside, that is going to be at about the level of a proper professional NRC for the forseeable future and why a GRR/NRC would be a good match. One day well down the track that might become SR teams instead, but start with that and the whole thing will die stillborn.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyS View Post
    "[I]If Japan is going to do a CL with SR, it would have to be using combined representative teams like the Wolf Pack. That was what Jamie Joseph was talking about last year, and frankly even then they will find it bloody hard yards...they were competitive in 2019 pre-RWC with SR reserves teams, not a lot more.
    Don't agree with that point Andy, a competition can be built where non-rugby-heartland teams can be competitive but it's not by going to combined squads, if the NZ Super Rugby franchises pick their best and roll them out against the best in any other league it's still a slaughter, because it's All Blacks against whoever.

    If, instead, they split into a greater number of teams (eg used ALL the NPC teams or such like, they could then start to control the level of the comp. Imagine a game between Suntory and Tasman, it would pit a professional Top League team against a semi-professional kiwi development side and the outcome wouldn't be as predictable. If Australia could get their shit together and reign in the special interest groups in Sydney and Melbourne there could also be player development benefits. Shute Shield could put all their teams up, WA could do a North/South split (or something else) Melbourne could bolster the Rebels to try and meet the level even SA and Tassie could offer a side.

    The player development benefits would be spectacular, as the weaker provinces would benefit from regular game time against a variety of opponents that are of a generally higher level than they are playing and the better teams would get a bunch more game time.

    I recognise that this comp would likely have upwards of 30 teams, but that could be managed by using an effective conference system, even NZ could benefit, especially if the level is commensurate with NPC, because their NPC teams would have more games.

    The trick would be in timing it, Making it fit into a calendar that includes NPC, Super Rugby, Internationals and Top league (not to mention whatever they do in say Korea, the APC etc it would be difficult to find a window that keeps everybody happy, but perhaps that could be eased by locking it into the World Rugby defined test window and banning test players from playing altogether.

    Food for thought

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    What I mean is, if the Japanese clubs are going to play someone as themselves, it needs to be at Perth Spirit/GRR level. Realistically they are better than NRC, and aspire/are making active plans to improve further. So GRR level is probably appropriate for at least the next few years.

    But if they intend to play the Crusaders, the Japanese clubs need to get together and create a combined squad. Two different things, and there would actually be no reason both couldn't happen. But the idea of individual Japanese clubs taking on the NZ teams head to head, as seems to be being suggested by Deans, would be verging on the ridiculous when you saw what happened to the Reds.

    And I absolutely wouldn't be throwing it out for everyone, everywhere. They will all arrive rattling their tin cans expecting to be minted. After the Sunwolves disaster, no quicker way for the Japanese to flip it the bird. It needs to be a competition of equals as much as possible, not a free-for-all fundraiser for RA and NZR. Which guaranteed is how they will treat it...you can almost hear them wet dreaming over Japanese broadcasting money again.

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