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British League?

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dullonien

Guest
Has England reaching the final of the World Cup put British rugby back a number of years?

Don't get me wrong, this is not a anti-english post, far from it! I congratulate England on getting to the final against all odds, but........

The fact that Wales and Ireland went out in the group stages, and Scotland out in the quarters. If England had gone out at that point too, there would have had to be serious discussions about how rugby could be improved throughout Britain.

I believe a British League could have been on the cards, and imo this would improve the standard throughout.

Wales, Ireland and Scotland have the Magners, which struggles due to the lack of importance put on it by the Irish teams, the lack of intensity up front, the lack of teams participating and lack of support.

England have the GP, which is of much better standard, but still has a number of faults imo. The amount of foreign players is hurting the development of younger talent, with this set on getting worse with the introduction of numerous NZ players coming over to boost their bank balance. I also think that not enough emphasis is put on running rugby (the complete opposite to the Magners).

The faults in both competitions is clearly showing through at international level. Wales and Irelend don't have a platform up front to unleash their backs, Scotland lacking enough players and England struggling to create anything behind the scrum and having to rely on 30-36 yr olds to produce the goods.

Surely combining the two, learning from each other would be best for everyone?

What do people think about the issues I've tried to highlight? How would a British League work if it was implemented? Do the English supporters even think it would be a good idea? Would it help?

Discuss.
 
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RoyalBlueStuey

Guest
It was only 8 months ago that everyone was saying the Magners was superior to the Guinness.

They couldn't possibly have been talking about the beverages 'cause Magners tastes of nothing nowadays.
 
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Fa'atau82

Guest
It was only 8 months ago that everyone was saying the Magners was superior to the Guinness. [/b]

Well, everyone thinks Guinness looks nice, but you like it or you don't and Magners is nice but ultimately leaves you thinking something is lacking with it and it's a bit watered down.

Quite good sponsorships to recognise the characters of these leagues then.

A huge, more developed version of the EDF Energy cup could be interesting.
 
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dullonien

Guest
A huge, more developed version of the EDF Energy cup could be interesting.[/b]

But that would leave Scotland and Ireland out in the cold. This thread is all about improving rugby throughout all the home nations.
 
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snoopy snoopy dog dog

Guest
A British and Irish League would have huge financial clout but would decrease the importance of the Heineken Cup. I'd advocate going one step forward and the creation of a European Super League. There'd be something in it for all 6 participating countries and potentially other nations too.

Say we have a 36 team league, a 22 game season, followed by 12 team playoffs and a split like this:

France - 13 teams
England - 12 teams
Wales - 4 teams
Ireland - 3 teams
Scotland - 2 teams
Italy - 2 teams

Here are the gains (and losses) for each founder nation:

France
At the expense of one Top 14 team, the other French clubs gain by adding crowd pullers like Leicester, Munster and Cardiff to their ranks. Clubs like Biarritz, Toulouse, Bourgoin and Stade Francais have all shown a willingness to move games to bigger stadia in Europe which would add additional sources of revenue. Biarritz have played in Spain while Bourgoin travelled to Switzerland which could help expand the rugby gospel to other nations. The Top 14 in it's current guise is only about 2 years old so changing an old structure isn't an issue.

England
It is possible for top Premiership players to play about 45 games per season (between the GP, Playoffs, HCup, EDF Cup and internationals). The new format would reduce that number by about a quarter while each team in still guaranteed 11, if not more, home games. The value of TV rights and sponsorship should more than make up the shortfall of, perhaps, three lost home games per year, while guaranteed inclusion in the League year upon year will banish relegation and secure the clubs' future.

Wales
Wales currently play disinterested Irish teams in the ML and equally disinterested English teams in the EDF Cup. Their only source of consistently meaningful games in the Heikeken Cup. The new league would significantly boost the amount of meaningful games for the regions, and thus would help win over those sceptical about the regionalisation of Welsh rugby ie meaningful games = a reason to show up. Wales lose nothing in this plan.

Ireland
A by-product of the IRFU accepting an invitation to such a league is that Connacht will be axed. It's a small price to pay (unless you're a Connacht fan). Existing Connacht players could be dispersed among the other provinces. A uniformal European leagus would mean that it's of no additional benefit for players to remain in Ireland, thus players could make the move abroad and expand the playing base, despite Connacht's disappearance. Leinster and Munster would have no problem filling their stadia on a weekly basis. That would increase revenue for the IRFU to put into growing the game at grassroots level and funding a new 8 to 10 team All Ireland League (along the lines of the ARC or Air New Zealand Cup) as a genuine pathway to the pro game.

Scotland
Scotland is much the same as Ireland in that fans will show up (relatively speaking) for the bigger games. It provides their two regions with regular meaningful action and can spur greater growth in the game at home.

Italy
Italy have the most reorganising to do. Ireland, Wales and Scotland have condensed their representative scene and Italy should be obliged to follow suit. Two teams (be it existing teams or new sides based in Milan, Rome, Bologna or Parma) should enter the league. It could open up a can of worms for authorities but if Wales could manage it, anyone can! By condensing their player base into two sides, Italian rugby should benefit through regularly playing at a higher standard. It may also result in the current exodus of Italian talent to France and England being reversed.






Having 36 teams would by no means be set in stone. Much like the NFL (upon which this model is loosely based), there is the possibility of expansion into the "disenfranchised" areas (like Connacht, regions of France and Italy) or newer territories like a full time team in Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona, Bucharest, Tblisi, Moscow, Geneva, Berlin, Prague etc. Relocation could be an option for uncompetitive franchises (which is horrible for those fans who lose a team but, looking at the bigger picture, would be the right move. At present it's unlikely that a Georgian or Romanian club team will ever become a European superpower - this proposal could change that in one fell swoop.

Along with expanding the 6 Nations into a European international league, a revamped and greatly empowered Heineken Cup (or ERC or whatever you want to call it) would have the clout to enter the consciousness of new rugby followers in previously impenetrable territories such as Germany. It would also speed up the progress of tier 2 and 3 nations like Portugal, Georgia and Romania (assuming they're allocated franchises in the initial expansion phase). Should somebody show the foresight to propose such a competition, rugby would never look back.
 
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dullonien

Guest
If something like this happened I think it would be guaranteed that Wales, Ireland and Scotland would use central contracts (Ireland continuing) to keep players in their Countries clubs.

In my opinion, the best way for this to work would be to reduce the number of English and French teams (similar to Regions or Provinces in Wales and Ireland) and get rid of most of the foreigners. How about a couple of Argantinian teams playing from Spain?

Taking this further, there could be a division one league following a similar plan, helping develop players (also a place for internationally retired players to help the youngsters coming through). That would be hugely beneficial to Wales where the Welsh Premiership isn't cutting it imo. Whats others opinions on other countries?
 
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SaintsFan_Webby

Guest
In my opinion, the best way for this to work would be to reduce the number of English and French teams (similar to Regions or Provinces in Wales and Ireland) and get rid of most of the foreigners.[/b]



Wow. Simple as that huh?



I hate it whenever this "let's cut the number of teams" debate comes up.



Which of the top English clubs would you drop or merge? Leicester and Northampton are the obvious 2 to form an East Midlands region, but you couldn't possibly expect either huge fanbase to accept it.



And which stadium would they play at? Welford Road is sligtly bigger, but Franklins Gardens is more developed.



The same is true in a number of other regions, it just isn't a feasible solution.
 
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snoopy snoopy dog dog

Guest
If something like this happened I think it would be guaranteed that Wales, Ireland and Scotland would use central contracts (Ireland continuing) to keep players in their Countries clubs. [/b]
You're probably right. Central contracting has served Ireland well in that the top Irish players (ie those who bring in the crowds) are on competitive wages while the IRFU can still afford marquee signings from abroad like Felipe Contepomi and Doug Howlett

In my opinion, the best way for this to work would be to reduce the number of English and French teams (similar to Regions or Provinces in Wales and Ireland) and get rid of most of the foreigners. How about a couple of Argantinian teams playing from Spain?[/b]
Top 14 and Guinness Premiership sides wouldn't go for such a plan if their numbers were immediately cut in half. That's where relocation comes into play. As an example, if Leeds aren't performing, what's to stop their owner relocating the team to somewhere like Barcelona if he could earn more money? Likewise, some of the smaller French teams could switch to other European cities for financial reasons. The primary goal would be to make money (which is where business and sport clash) but a positive by-product would be rugby's expansion into non-traditional areas.

Taking this further, there could be a division one league following a similar plan, helping develop players (also a place for internationally retired players to help the youngsters coming through). That would be hugely beneficial to Wales where the Welsh Premiership isn't cutting it imo. Whats others opinions on other countries? [/b]
A system similar to the Ice Hockey or Baseball minor leagues could easily be put in place. France would still have the Pro D2 (now the top domestic league), Italy would still have their league, the Magners League and English Division 1 could be reformatted as a British and Irish League while other countries would see their domestic leagues unchanged. A shadow "A League" could also easily be formed.
 
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Prestwick

Guest
One condition.

Munster put out their first XV for every match. No excuses or rest periods.

No first team, no league. I don't want to be in a situation where Saracens lose to Munster's 70th XV because they're resting for the HEC or for the Irish team.
 
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Bullitt

Guest
Nobody let the RFU see this, those ******** will ditch the only decent league in the UK quicker then then a Welsh rugby sportswear salesman and a fat cockney bird with her bracelet.

Still, as RBS says, it's amazing how the ringfenced Magners league, which allowed for this "beutiful freflowing rugby" was the 'key to sucess at all levels' a mere few months ago.

How things change.
 
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dullonien

Guest
Wow. Simple as that huh?


I hate it whenever this "let's cut the number of teams" debate comes up.

Which of the top English clubs would you drop or merge? Leicester and Northampton are the obvious 2 to form an East Midlands region, but you couldn't possibly expect either huge fanbase to accept it.

And which stadium would they play at? Welford Road is sligtly bigger, but Franklins Gardens is more developed.

The same is true in a number of other regions, it just isn't a feasible solution.[/b]



Nothing would be simple, but I wouldn't like the idea of England keeping all of the current clubs they currently have in the GP, with some of them packed with foreigners. I don't want rugby going the same way as Football, where most teams have more foreigners than British players!



I have nothing against having a few quality foreign players each team, that will bring different ideas, experience etc. and help the up and coming talent.



I also don't think that the number would need to be cut in half, mayb just needs the numbers cutting slightly.



I'am trying to suggest what I believe would be best for England. I might not be right, as I am not as clued up about English rugby as some on this board.

Edit. What's up with the spacing when you use the Add Reply button, and not the Fast Reply?
 
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snoopy snoopy dog dog

Guest
Still, as RBS says, it's amazing how the ringfenced Magners league, which allowed for this "beutiful freflowing rugby" was the 'key to sucess at all levels' a mere few months ago.

How things change. [/b]
It was nothing more than media driven BS. When England were underperforming, it was easy to look at the structure of the Premiership as opposed to other ring fenced leagues (like the Super XIV a Magners League) and say, why don't we do it that way? At around the same time, ML teams dominated GP sides in the opening round of the Heineken Cup. That prompted genius' like Stuart Barnes to call for a ring fencing of the GP as the best way forward.

Now he's changing his tune and saying the GP is more cut-throat and teaches you how to win. That's a load of triumphalist crap. The reason England beat Australia is because the latter neglected the fundamental idea that you need a good pack to win games. Australian arrogance, rather than the ring fenced structure of the Super XIV caused that. If Australia's pack is weak because of the Super XIV, how does that explain the continuing excellence of South Africa and New Zealand? Likewise, France didn't beat New Zealand because of the Top 14. They got lucky because New Zealand lacked leadership and common sense in neglecting to kick a drop goal from the French 22 when they had multiple chances.

I think it was Dick Best who said that England mustn't let their massive improvement in the World Cup mask the fact that the GP has it's failings. He's 100% correct. Ireland rested on their laurels when their structure saw Munster win the Heineken Cup and the national team go from strength to strength. Our journalists trotted out the same rubbish that English journalists are putting to paper now. Structures should constantly be reviewed. If it's concluded that the current Premiership model is the best option so be it but assumptions mustn't be made based on just 6 weeks in France.
 
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Bullitt

Guest
Try again. Nobody except Rob Andrew and Francis Baron, who are both considered blithering idiots on the grandest of scales and neither of which want a domestic game to exist anyway, ever wanted a ringfenced Premiership.

That was all claptrap and bullshit coming from the likes of Steven Jones about the same time as O'Gara made his infamous "English teams an players are all over-rated, none of whom can hack it at the top levels of the game". Oh, the irony, just a few months down the road and of the weak home nations, it was those over-rated English players that lifted the HEC, as per usual, and even managed to sneak their way through to the final of the World Cup through sheer bloody mindedness.

I don't buy into this "the ML is a competitive league" bullshit, it's a bunch of underfunded union-owned franchises which have all but killed the domestic games in Scotland and Wales, while the 2 big Irish "clubs" only use it for a ticket to get into the HEC. Poor old Connacht neident bother turning up.
 
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snoopy snoopy dog dog

Guest
Try again. Nobody except Rob Andrew and Francis Baron, who are both considered blithering idiots on the grandest of scales and neither of which want a domestic game to exist anyway, ever wanted a ringfenced Premiership.[/b]
I stand corrected.

That was all claptrap and bullshit coming from the likes of Steven Jones about the same time as O'Gara made his infamous "English teams an players are all over-rated, none of whom can hack it at the top levels of the game". Oh, the irony, just a few months down the road and of the weak home nations, it was those over-rated English players that lifted the HEC, as per usual, and even managed to sneak their way through to the final of the World Cup through sheer bloody mindedness.[/b]
That's what I'm talking about when I spoke of triumphalism. O'Gara made self congratulatory comments which came back to bite him in the rear end. He choked when it really mattered (the World Cup) like he has done in the past (the 2000 Heineken Cup final). The England team are to be commended for the way they fought back in the World Cup from what seemed like a potential early exit. In my opinion it was down to individual talent which most, including myself, thought they were lacking in at this point in time. I don't think playing teams like Worcester and Northampton who were involved in relegation dogfights was the key to Englands resurrection, rather fighting for spots in the Heineken Cup (the major advantage the GP has over the ML) geared the players in cup rugby.

I don't buy into this "the ML is a competitive league" bullshit, it's a bunch of underfunded union-owned franchises which have all but killed the domestic games in Scotland and Wales, while the 2 big Irish "clubs" only use it for a ticket to get into the HEC. Poor old Connacht neident bother turning up. [/b]
Which is the fault of the IRFU and Eddie O'Sullivan rather than the provincial coaches. It's O'Sullivan who demands that players don't play in the competition while the coaches are left with no option but to comply.

If the clubs are underfunded, how does it explain Welsh and Irish teams being able to keep virtually all their star players (unlike the Sanzar nations) while also being able to attract top players from abroad like Felipe Contepomi, Doug Howlett, Justin Marshall, Marty Holah, Lome Fa'atau, Regan King and Justin Harrison? Ambitious teams like Leinster, Ulster, Munster, Ospreys, Llanelli and Cardiff Blues are flourishing despite an inadequate system.

The Magners League as is presently constituted is flawed; of that I'm not going to argue. There seems to be no appetite for professional rugby in Scotland, the IRFU treat is as a series of trial matches before the Heineken Cup and the Welsh want to hop into bed with the English clubs at any given opportunity. Which is why I'm in agreement that the Magners League isn't a competitive league. It only interests those clubs who have a chance to challenge for the title. It's a decent league but until it's taken seriously by all Unions (by way of proper competition for European places) it won't compete with the Premiership in terms of revenue generated or successful club teams.

All of which is probably an issue for another thread rather than focusing on the merits of a British Isles League, which could make financial sense (although that would be to the detriment of the Heineken Cup in its current format).
 
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RC

Guest
Nobody let the RFU see this, those ******** will ditch the only decent league in the UK quicker then then a Welsh rugby sportswear salesman and a fat cockney bird with her bracelet.[/b]

Hey!!!

Bah, you're right, who am i to argue.
 
D

DC

Guest
DO you as a rugby fan want the best players on the pitch at all times by allowing other nationalities to play?

or

DO you as a rugby fan want it to be a micky mouse development league that leaves the best players from other countries out of the mix?

I'll tell you the one i would like to see, it would be the best players on the pitch at all times, REGARDLESS of nationality. The purpose of PRO rugby is to appeal to the fan, not solely about developing players for the national team, if they cant make the cut they cant make it.

Look at the EPL for example, rugby can be like that if its allowed to grow like a pro sport should.
 
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snoopy snoopy dog dog

Guest
DO you as a rugby fan want the best players on the pitch at all times by allowing other nationalities to play?

or

DO you as a rugby fan want it to be a micky mouse development league that leaves the best players from other countries out of the mix?

I'll tell you the one i would like to see, it would be the best players on the pitch at all times, REGARDLESS of nationality. The purpose of PRO rugby is to appeal to the fan, not solely about developing players for the national team, if they cant make the cut they cant make it.

Look at the EPL for example, rugby can be like that if its allowed to grow like a pro sport should. [/b]
You bring up good points. If young, home grown players are good enough, they'll break through. Cutting the number of foreign players in the Premiership will reduce the standard and probably have a knock on effect of less revenue being generated.

A problem which prevails at the moment is that international players can miss a chunk of the season through games clashing. That needs to be eradicated. If a global calender is implemented we can then see all the best players on the pitch at all times. It is my belief that a pan-European league in conjunction with a global season can increase the profile and revenue of pro rugby exponentially when compared with the current situation.
 
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DC

Guest
<div class='quotemain'> DO you as a rugby fan want the best players on the pitch at all times by allowing other nationalities to play?

or

DO you as a rugby fan want it to be a micky mouse development league that leaves the best players from other countries out of the mix?

I'll tell you the one i would like to see, it would be the best players on the pitch at all times, REGARDLESS of nationality. The purpose of PRO rugby is to appeal to the fan, not solely about developing players for the national team, if they cant make the cut they cant make it.

Look at the EPL for example, rugby can be like that if its allowed to grow like a pro sport should. [/b]
You bring up good points. If young, home grown players are good enough, they'll break through. Cutting the number of foreign players in the Premiership will reduce the standard and probably have a knock on effect of less revenue being generated.

A problem which prevails at the moment is that international players can miss a chunk of the season through games clashing. That needs to be eradicated. If a global calender is implemented we can then see all the best players on the pitch at all times. It is my belief that a pan-European league in conjunction with a global season can increase the profile and revenue of pro rugby exponentially when compared with the current situation.
[/b][/quote]

Yep a global season would do it i think, although taking around 5 weeks off in february/march would be a bit of a stretch it would deffinately benefit pro rugby. Taking the EPL for example on bigger international weekends they hault the play of their games so that players can go participate with their national teams and to make sure that the club always has the best personel on the field. Also taking a international break could give the lower league teams (i.e. national 1) some television time and exposure on sky sports to substitute for the games being missed with the GP international break. It's a win win for all the people involved.. The clubs will be happy to remain in their current table position, the fans will be happy to see their club stay in that position and they can get some exposure to the lower league teams as well as mixed in with the internationals, the players will be happy as some get to play for their national team (which is a huge honor for them, and will increase their moral) and the ones who dont make their national team get a nice little break.

Although 5 weeks is a bit much for a break theres got to be a way to work around that.
 
C

Crackdown

Guest
My observation is thus: supporters and clubs in the GP/ND1 are happy with the system (except with international clashes) - ML supporters think that it should be changed even though they don't participate. Says it all IMO. :rolleyes:
 
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snoopy snoopy dog dog

Guest
My observation is thus: supporters and clubs in the GP/ND1 are happy with the system (except with international clashes) - ML supporters think that it should be changed even though they don't participate. Says it all IMO. :rolleyes: [/b]
That's not necessarily the case. The GP is definitely better run because it has proper European qualification as opposed to the ML. Speaking from an Irish perspective, it appears as though Irish provinces get up for interprovincial fixtures and the rest of their home games. They can take or leave their games in Scotland and Wales. When 1/3 of the season is viewed with less importance than the rest, it's hard to take the league as seriously as it no doubt requires.

The GP is fine as is. It can continue making a lot of money if it follows the same trajectory as it's currently on. On the other hand, problems such as club and country fixtures clashing, are holding it back somewhat. As I see things, widening the base of the league can eradicate that problem. I could be wrong though.
 
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