Southland consider leaving air nz cup

Discussion in 'ITM (NPC) Cup' started by esoj, Oct 16, 2007.

  1. esoj

    esoj Guest

    well this is was a bit of a shock reading it on tvnz. Southland are considering leaving the air nz cup due to finanical trouble. part of the problem seems to be the small population according to their ceo. it also gets you thinking maybe how many of the other smaller unions are cutting it close finanically.
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  3. With the population size of NZ and number of unions in the ANZ some folding/merger/going into the heartland championship might be on the cards no?.

    I understand that many of these unions are historical and apart of NZ rugby history but that is the sad reality of Professional sport. :(
  4. C A Iversen

    C A Iversen Guest

    It would be that cut and dried if the big unions didn't have all the sponsorship, money and player base.

    It's not their fault exactly, as that's professional sport. On the other hand if something isn't done soon, every year's final will feature Canterbury, Auckland, Wellington or Waikato. The only reason the other Super 14 franchise doesn't feature in that is because Otago have mis-managed their franchise in every way possible, ever since Laurie Mains got the player power push.

    The unions I've mentioned above are attracting massive sponsorship and all of the best players, so why doesn't the NZRFU intervene, by making these unions contribute more into a central fund for the privilege and fact that they are S14 bases.

    That fund could be funnelled into unions that could prove hardship on the basis of an independent financial report. Share the wealth in other words.

    I'm not just saying this for Southland's sake, but for the whole comp. Once Southland goes, it'll be a matter of time before another union goes belly-up. Maybe four or five years, but it'll happen.

    A good competition is an even one, and the way it stands it's like trying to fight thirty men with machine guns using a pop-gun with a BANG flag and a suction-cup bow and arrow set.

    We need the Air New Zealand Cup to be strong in the regions and the main centres for the future of New Zealand Rugby.
  5. I doubt that will happen the clubs you mentioned canterbury,waikato,welly and auckland are in a priveliged position and wont want to jeopardise that even though i believe its a good idea. :)
  6. Ripper

    Ripper Guest

    We'll take Jimmy Cowan up here in Auckland.
  7. Brodizzle

    Brodizzle Guest

    How kind of you :p
  8. scuubasteve

    scuubasteve Guest

    Yeah guys. Something has seriously gotta change if NZ is to have more than 4 professional provincial teams.

    There are numerous articles floating round at the moment which suggest that the AirNZ Cup is just waiting for something to give out.

    Interesting that Southland is supposedly the sixth biggest spender on players! Someones gotta be cooking some books elsewhere you would think.

    But, Southland's not the only one struggling unfortunately.

    Bay of Plenty are also considering a drop to the Heartland championship, and Northland is also struggling, especially to afford to retain its talent.

    Even Manawatu, who had a massive fanbase are hand to mouth to keep above even.

    Basically, if a non super based team want to compete and try to make the semi's one year, then they will have to sacrifice the next couple of years because they can't consistantly support the player payments.

    Take a look at Bay of Plenty in 04 and Harbour in 06. BOP has struggled ever since and Harbour were a shade of their former selves this year. But if one of these lower teams (like Hawkes Bay this year) continue to have a one-off good season then it paints a distorted rosey picture. People are led to believe that the comp can be won by the little guys, but this is in reality, far from the truth.

    The most damning situation is Counties-Manukau. This is the only union who is trying to compete without taking on crippling debt. They are more than $1.2million below the salary cap and look at how well their season went. Dead last!

    The only way NZ can sustain the smaller 10 teams (and yes, I include Otago in this group) is to get rid of the Super14 as the global club comp and have the AirNZ Cup teams take part in a southern Heineken Cup equivalent.

    I've tried to explain some of my theories on other threads on this site, but for fear of repeating myself, or sending people on a wild goose chase to find it, I might just start a new thread. Coz I'm keen to get some feedback/constructive criticism on this issue.
  9. Obviously, I'm not a New Zealander, so can't offer concise analysis. However, I'd like to offer my thoughts nonetheless.

    I believe much of the problem lies in central contracts. I'm not a fan of them in any sport, as I believe they are to the detriment of the club game. I can really imagine domestic sides struggling to attract big crowds if the star names are missing for much of the season.

    Due to who I support, I am perfectly aware that the enjoyment of watching club rugby is not simply down to sitting in awe, watching international players strut their stuff.

    However, what is there to really grab the attention of the casual rugby supporter if the famous faces are not readily available at the lowest level? I wasn't impressed by the removal of most of the All Blacks from the Super 14 competition, as I think it completely devalued the competition and was a real slap in the face to those fans who paid good money for their tickets. Similarly, having international players missing for much of this season's NPC can't have done a great deal for attendence figues.

    I'm terrified of central contracting being introduced in England, because without domestic rugby, I don't believe the international scene can function.
  10. scuubasteve

    scuubasteve Guest

    Webby, that's another very good point you make regarding the central contracts. It was actually mentioned in a previous article I read somewhere as being detremental to the club game, and drastically reducing the amount of money teams can receive (obviously as everything is coming from the one source).

    Here's that article (see point No.2):

    But, in saying that, the NZRU does do a good job at managing the rugby in NZ for the greater good. Possibly a 50/50 partnership between the NZRU and private backers for each club could be one way to go.

    I'd really hate to see private guys pushing local players away though, or to see a NH style standoff between the clubs and the union. But it may be a risk that must be taken.

    Regarding my post earlier. I've started a new topic in the Southern Hemisphere section titled "The New Southern Super Cup". As Howard Hughes so aptly put it in 'The Aviator', "It's the way of the future...".
  11. esoj

    esoj Guest

    there was this thing called the world cup on this year which meant the top players were always going to miss out on the air nz cup this year. The internationals do play basically all of the air nz cup in non-world cup years. also people knew months in advance that a lot of the international guys would be out of the first half of the super what the abs did to South africa who pulled 30 odd player from internationals just weeks away from the game. now that is true devaluing.

    I believe central contracting is key for nz and is one of the big reasons the abs have been so succesful in recent years. Central contracting is what keeps a lot of the top nz talent in nz and in nz teams. I would hate to see the mess of european rugby where often the team is choc full of foregin talent and players cannot always be released to play international rugby. quite simply most teams in nz cannot afford to pay the players and without the nzrfu stepping in overseas clubs would be taking a lot more players from nz.

    Without central contracting I think the situation would be even worse in the air nz cup because only the likes of auckland etc would be able to pay the money the good players want and ask for. also there is a 2 mil salary cap in the air nz cup which has helped a team like hawke's bay have a good year. without the salary cap or nz cup hawke's bay would proabbly still be in division 2. there is also a lot more movement of players in the air nz cup than there ever was in the npc which is another effect of the salary cup which again enables a team like hawke's bay to get some good players. the smaller unions do find it tough without a question but I think they would be even worse off without central contracting to ease some of the finanical burden they face.

    I don't see central contracting ever taking off in europe because the clubs usually have more money than the National Unions. The club v country situation will last for many more years I think and seeing foregin players/internationals in a lot of teams will defintely be alive in the next few years too and perhaps maybe even increase.

  12. I'm perfectly aware of the overlap with the RWC. However, look at the impact over here - players are missing one or two months of the season. They will plenty of rugby for their club once they return.

    As far as I'm aware, the NPC season is much shorter than competitions such as the Guinness Premeriship and Top 14. Surely the solution would have been to push the dates of the competition slightly? That way everyone would have been able to watch New Zealand during the RWC, but then also see the international stars play a role in the domestic season.

    This isn't me having a go at New Zealand for central contracting, it's just my opinion that it isn't the best my to operate.
  13. esoj

    esoj Guest

    I don't think the dates could be changed too much really. Bringing it forward wasn't an option because of the tri-nations and making it later means it would clash with the all blacks end of year tour.
  14. scuubasteve

    scuubasteve Guest

    With the 3N now going for 9 weeks it only finished on the 9th of September last year. If there was no world cup this year then the AirNZ cup would only see the AB's for 3 round robin games, providing they didn't take a weeks break (which they always do). So esoj, the internationals definitely don't play most of the AirNZ Cup in non-wc year, they don't even play 20% of the games.

    On the issue of central contracting, if you brought in private investors and subsequently more money, wouldn't it be easier to pay players more and retain them?

    Finally, the $2million salary cap can only be reached by 4 teams. Hawkes Bay's salary is closer to $1.5million. the salary cap is yet to make a big difference, because the big 4 still have 25% more money to play with. The AirNZ Cup has allowed Hawkes Bay in, but it has also been responsible for them needing to double their team expenses from one season to the next.

    If NZ retained the laws which state that players need to be eligible for the AB's to play in NZ, then I don't see there being a problem with private investment.

    At the moment the Big 4 hold the purse strings of the NZRU money anyway. They subsidise their AirNZ Cup teams with Super money and skim the top talent around the country to build their teams. If yo take a look at all the talent moving around the country you have all the upcoming players heading to the big unions and the average players moving to the lower unions. The only big names moving to smaller provinces are doing so to gain Super14 spots, and then play and handful of games for their province. See Rico Gear.

    All the current system in doing is pushing the G9 unions into bankruptcy.
    Where in the current system of 100% central contracting is the incentive for the owners of the clubs (NZRU) to make sure they survive?
  15. woosaah

    woosaah Guest

    Do the other franchises help out each other like Canterbury help out with Tasman. I am sure they help by using the loan system and paying transfer money to help the provinces grow. But also i think the way the crusaders use their money in their wider catchment is very good.

    I am not sure if the other provinces are getting enough support from their big brother. Which is what should be happening to help grow the competition.
  16. C A Iversen

    C A Iversen Guest

    It's not that simple either Woosaah.

    The biggest money around is sponsorship money and sponsors only want to back winners in NZ. With only four million people they want to put their money into the highest probability of return. Even if its a Otago company of origin like Speights, they'll sponsor the whole Super 14 instead of Otago as they did this year. Big namers like Ford etc won't sponsor Southland or Manawatu, they want Canterbury or Auckland. That's the way it's progressively gonna go. Money is poured into Canterbury from outside of Canterbury, believe it or not.

    That money has bought players like Justin Marshall, Corey Flynn and many others from around the country. Wellington had the money to take Ben Herring, when we got him as a rookie and developed him. That's really helping.

    By the way, helping Tasman has ONLY been for the benefit of the Crusaders as the Canterbury NPC side has a salary cap. Absolute baloney that they are helping anyone aside from themselves and development of Mid and South Canterbury is only in their own interests.

    As another passing note, Tasman have a several hundred thousand dollar sponsorship from a traitorous company SBS. Whats that stand for Southland Building Society. The ironies go on.

    Canterbury are the richest. The are the best for that reason......mainly.

    They are a fine side and a great business, but benevolent? NO WAY.
  17. woosaah

    woosaah Guest

    i did say they were helping out their own in their catchment area. isnt that what they are meant to be doing? with the extra money they are getting.

    The crusaders (most) probably buy these players for Tasman so tasman can have some talent, and makes it better for the crusaders franchise i am not doubting that.

    All i was wondering is are the other bigger franchises, auckland and waikato mainly are they doing it? I dont really follow any of the other provinces, as i really dont care but would be interested in knowing how much they help out.
  18. esoj

    esoj Guest

    auckland helped their entire region by selling off lavea.
  19. scuubasteve

    scuubasteve Guest

    I think the unions do help out their catchment areas, but only as a consequence of helping themselves first. Their primary aim is certainly not to help out their little brothers.

    I think Auckland does its bit, like loaning player such as Justin Collins and Anthony Koonwaiyou to Northland, and the Hooker Tom McCartney to Harbour. But then when Derren Witcome gets injured they took McCartney straight back.

    The Big 5 only help out because it helps them. They loan players to get them game time. Then when they become good they take them back. Or instead they just buy the ready made quality player for big money after a small union has persisted with training them up (Corey Flynn, Kevin Senio, Nick Evans, Craig Newby etc)

    Players like Chris Jack, Rico Gear, Ali Williams and Brad Thorne all go to Tasman without the intention of playing rugby for Tasman. Its not fair to blame Canterbury, or the players for this dodgy system, because everyone will push the rules if you let them.

    Although there was a big difference in how Chris Jack handled himself compared to Rico Gear! But the point is that Tasman has massive player expenses because they have big name guys who don't play for the Makos. Tasman posted a loss of over $500K last year!!

    For a prime example of a system not working, take a look at the Bench players for this weekends final. Guys like Kevin Mealamu, Angus McDonald, Troy Flavell, Lochie Munro, Isiah Toeava, Dane Coles, Rodney So'oialo, Alby Mathewson and Conrad Smith. these players would walk into a starting spot for most teams around the country. If we had all the best guys in the starting 15's every week wouldn't the level of competition be higher?

    Why don't the Crusaders decide to offload Kieran Read and Issac Ross to Tasman instead of Williams and Thorne? Because they want to have their cake and eat it! They want the big name players on the Crusaders books, but want the best players for their NPC team (even if they have to be on the bench). And what do you know, they get it!

    It looks suspiciously like the Crusaders are just the puppet, with the Canterbury Rugby Union pulling the strings.

    If the Big 5 continue to have a Super Team subsidising them then they will continue to have the best players and the biggest sponsorship deals. The small unions will continue to have the unneeded excess players and small sponsorship deals, so they may as well not even try to compete. The big unions are good enough without the S14 franchises giving them a helping hand.

    Last year Auckland had an annual revenue of $15M. BOP had $3M

    When you have 5 times the money to spend how could you not win?

    I'd be alot happier if you had to play a certain number of NPC games the previous season before you were eligible for the Super team. And if they dropped the cap by at least $150,000K. $300,000 would be ideal.

    I think that's what all this huffing and puffing from the G9 unions is all about. They know that they're never gonna compete with the current setup. and realise that, if they could force the salary cap lower, then they could pick up some of the better players that the big guys could no longer afford. If this did happen then player payments overall would drop significantly because there would be more quality product (players) on the market, its all supply and demand. The G9 unions would also become more competitive and could get more money from sponsorship and bigger crowds through the turnstiles.

    It could happen, but I doubt it.
  20. C A Iversen

    C A Iversen Guest

    Absolutely inarguably T.R.U.E !!! That was put 100% right.

    The S14 unions in our country are choking the living daylights out of the Air New Zealand Cup.

    They'd hate it if it ended up that they had to form a 'Premier Grade' in which the played only each other in a 3-4 round robin then had a final, whilst the other unions played in a serious Div 1 comp below them. I know what most New Zealanders would watch.

    I know thats ridiculously hypothetical but hey, it's ridiculous what's happening. Whats insanely humorous though, is that the people in those unions don't know what we're all bleating about!

    Surely scraps from the head table are our lot. Don't we know our place?

    My next point I've been saying for ages. If a province like Taranaki trains a player, brings him up through the grades and makes him who he is, he should not be allowed to move anywhere, AT ALL, until his home union are paid a damn good transfer fee. Thats part of the answer.

    At the end of the day, if all teams had access to the same money and funding, I'd guarantee that the competition would flourish into the most competitive, exciting domestic competition in the world again.

    Whats more, it'd be better than it ever was and more attractive to TV advertisers and sponsors than ever.

    The irony is a cure would grow the Air New Zealand Cup to massive success, but it would be equal opportunity success, and some unions couldn't handle that.
  21. esoj

    esoj Guest

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