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Thread: Super Rugby Pacific Draft

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    Super Rugby Pacific Draft

    'We're joined at the hip': NZ players' boss Rob Nichol embraces Super Rugby Pacific draft idea with Aussies
    Paul Cully

    Players’ association chief executive Rob Nichol has warmly embraced the possibility of a Super Rugby Pacific draft involving Australia and the Pacific Islands, rubbishing the idea that Super Rugby sides in New Zealand “owned” the talent coming through their systems.

    A draft idea for the competition has been championed by Rugby Australia as a way to even up the spread of talent in Super Rugby Pacific, with incoming chief executive Phil Waugh vowing this week to discuss it with New Zealand Rugby boss Mark Robinson.

    Any draft would be dead in the water without the consent of the players’ associations on both sides of the Tasman, but Nichol told Stuff that he was “100%” open to it and had already been involved in talks about the concept with Rugby Australia chair Hamish McLennan.

    “We never say no to opportunities,” Nichol said. “Something I think that can be really attractive is a prospect of a draft which is around New Zealand talent, Australian talent and Pacific talent.

    “New Zealand, Australia, and the Pacific now through Moana Pasifika, we're joined at the hip to retain professional rugby in this part of the world.

    “I don't think people really understand that. We’re competing in the global marketplace, which is becoming incredibly aggressive with private equity interests becoming very influential in the northern hemisphere.

    “We've got to be innovative. We’ve got to say, ‘How can we all work together to not just retain but actually attract talent back to this part of the world?’

    “We have a generation of professional players who have gone offshore, from Australia and New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, have stayed offshore, settled, got married, had children, and those children are now coming into the prime of their rugby careers.


    “And, they're all eligible to play for countries down here.”

    The devil would be in the detail for any draft proposal, as drafts for organisations such as the NBA and NFL differ significantly from the old Super Rugby draft, when coaches could protect a certain number of players from being available to other sides.

    Players would also need to be confident that if they nominated for the draft they would be well looked after whenever they landed.

    However, Nichol’s heavyweight support of the concept removes one significant hurdle to some form of draft that would invariably increase fan engagement.

    “Should we be considering it? Absolutely,” Nichol said. “We should be considering it because we need to consider everything.

    “We want to strengthen all of the teams, and we want to provide pathways for our professional players or aspiring professional players to be able to get out there and express their talent.”

    One obstacle could be the current eligibility laws, which would prevent a young New Zealander from representing the All Blacks if, for example, he accepted a draft deal with the Waratahs in Sydney.

    But, Nichol said the introduction of a draft would represent the perfect time to take another look at those regulations.

    “I think it becomes really important,” Nichol said. “It might not be super important for the young 19, 20, 21 year-old who's looking to get a one or two-year break, but it becomes incredibly important when they get into a Super Rugby environment, they’re starting to find form, and then they start thinking about the next step.

    “It's always a conversation that we're having...the logical [answer] is that as long as you play in a competition that New Zealand [Rugby] is an owner in, what about that?

    “In other words, if you play in Super Rugby Pacific, could you be eligible for the All Blacks? That to me, if there was to be a change, that's probably the logical change to go to.”

    Nichol also dismissed potential opposition from Super Rugby clubs who might lose some local talent they had helped to nurture.

    Nichol said that athletes had a right to choose where they went, and that player development did not equate to player control.

    “It’s not about forcing people or exerting some form of ownership over them,” he said.

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    Champion Contributor todd4's Avatar
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    They need to do something. I don't look forward to seeing Aussie teams beaten by the Kiwi teams week after week. Even if it's not a draft but simply allowing all players in the Super Rugby comp to qualify for their national team no matter who they play for. Players would then be more willing to cross the ditch in a effort to progress their careers.

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    Breath of fresh air there. IMO it either has to be a draft OR amend the national selection criteria to allow playing in any SR franchise in tandem with a hard salary cap. It might be far too difficult to implement a uniform trans-Tasman/Pacific salary cap. The stumbling block there would be getting the franchises to agree. So a draft might be the simplest option

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    "Nichol said that athletes had a right to choose where they went, and that player development did not equate to player control."

    I'm not sure he has really grasped the essential characteristic of a draft. What he seems to actually be backing is open selection...

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    If the CEO of a players union does not understand how a draft works he should be handing back his salary. But considering some of the "expert commentary" around SRP, nothing much is out of the question, Andy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyS View Post
    "Nichol said that athletes had a right to choose where they went, and that player development did not equate to player control."

    I'm not sure he has really grasped the essential characteristic of a draft. What he seems to actually be backing is open selection...
    I don't want to put words in his mouth - but I believe that he is trying to say that a player should be able to nominate for the draft without fear of repercussion from his "City/County/State" of Origin

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    I think the Force will end up on the arse end of this.
    Local players will nominate and Overseas players less motivated to relocate to the "most remote capital"
    Something has to change (a bit...) but i fear this is not it.

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    I don't understand how a draft system could be optional. Surely it's 'all in' or not at all. If it was optional there would have to be a real incentive for a player to agree to be told where to live & play rather than chose for himself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgs View Post
    I think the Force will end up on the arse end of this.
    Local players will nominate and Overseas players less motivated to relocate to the "most remote capital"
    Something has to change (a bit...) but i fear this is not it.
    Burgs with respect mate. I disagree.

    Perhaps Force Management needs to do a survey of previous "brave souls" who agreed to journey across the wide brown land we call Australia and who took up residence in the "most Remote Capital".

    From Sharpe to Canno, Gitteau, and Mitchell. Pocock and Hodgeson, O'Connor and Stannerforth, etc, etc, etc. By Highlighting the advantages and the beauty the West has to offer - the players will come running.

    Turning a negative into a positive can put together a team of world-beaters.

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    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by .X. View Post
    From Sharpe to Canno, Gitteau, and Mitchell. Pocock and Hodgeson, O'Connor and Stannerforth
    Not an unreasonable comment X, but who, out of that list, has settled in the West and now call(s) it home?

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    C'mon the

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    Maybe not those ones but there would be a decent list. Hodgo, Peter Grant, Junior Peleseasa, John Welborn, Michael Foley just for a start, I am sure a lot more

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    Quote Originally Posted by GIGS20 View Post
    Not an unreasonable comment X, but who, out of that list, has settled in the West and now call(s) it home?
    Didn't Scott Stannerforth open up an Office Furniture fit-out company in Perth?

    Gitteau married a Perth Girl (I think). So it is a real possibility that he will settle in Perth once he stops earning from Rugby.

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    Champion Tazzmania's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by .X. View Post
    Didn't Scott Stannerforth open up an Office Furniture fit-out company in Perth?

    Gitteau married a Perth Girl (I think). So it is a real possibility that he will settle in Perth once he stops earning from Rugby.
    Scott has gone back to NSW after a legnthy stay in WA, he is now Managing Partner at Stadia Capital in Sydney

    Matt is married to Buddy Franklin's (AFL legend) sister and I am not sure were they will land up.

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    Simon Cron: “People talk about winning and losing all the time and they are critical, but there’s a process to get into and it’s the ability to stay present, do your job and execute skills under pressure.”

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    Champion Tazzmania's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Owen View Post
    Maybe not those ones but there would be a decent list. Hodgo, Peter Grant, Junior Peleseasa, John Welborn, Michael Foley just for a start, I am sure a lot more
    Tom Hockins
    Jono Lance
    Heath Tessman
    Jeremy Thrush
    Chris Heiberg
    Greg Holmes
    Brynard Stander
    Richard Brown
    Pat Dellit
    Chris Tuatara-Morrison
    David Pusey
    Chris O Young

    Can be added to the list

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    Last edited by Tazzmania; 13-06-23 at 13:03.
    Simon Cron: “People talk about winning and losing all the time and they are critical, but there’s a process to get into and it’s the ability to stay present, do your job and execute skills under pressure.”

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    So Richard Brown didn't return to Julia Creek?

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