Trans-Tasman Rugby Comp?

Discussion in 'General Rugby Union' started by guardian_of_the_stone_age, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. I have come up with my own idea of a replacement for the current club set-up in the southern hemisphere, but it is based mainly around New Zealand and Australia. I think it is unfeasible in the long-term to continually try and create competitions which include teams from countries which have a massive geographical separation. Incidentally, long-distance travel and time away from home are one of the key contributing factors in SH players going up north. Bearing this in mind, I think it is imperative that we in the SH create regional tournaments rather than the current trans-continental hotchpotch. I've come up with a tournament which would cater to the Australian and New Zealand market. The aim of this tournament is to shorten and simplify the domestic season, create room for a larger off-season, and to stem the tide of players leaving to the Northern Hemisphere.

    The tournament I propose is based on two successful models: the NRL in Australia and the NFL in America. With the NRL we can see that a trans-tasman sports competition can run effectively financially as well as in terms of popularity. The NRL has 16 teams and plays to a very high standard. The NFL is the most popular sports competition in the USA, with very large crowds and a massive off-season. It comprises of 32 teams in a 20 week competition.

    Based on these models, I suggest creating a 16 round, 20 team trans-tasman competition, comprising of 12 NZ teams and 8 Australian teams. This competition would run from March to July and would replace the Super 14 and also the Air New Zealand Cup. Each team would have a 2-3 million dollar salary cap. NZ, Australian and PI players are considered as 'domestic players' and are free to play for any team, while still being eligible for international selection. Also, each team is allowed a maximum of 5 'foreign' players in their squad.

    Based on the NFL model, the 20 teams would be divided into 5 divisions comprised of 4 teams each. Teams would play their divisional rivals twice, amounting to 6 games, and would then play a further 10 games against teams from other divisions. This system would help create divisional 'rivalry' games, as well as breaking up the monotony of playing the same teams over and over again, as in a season any one team would only ever play 13 of their 20 opponents (excluding playoffs). The top team from each division would automatically qualify for the quarter-finals, with the next 3 places decided by 6 teams playing a 'wild card' round.

    Divisions:

    Australia 1:
    Sydney team 1
    Sydney team 2
    Newcastle/Central Coast
    Canberra

    Australia 2:
    Brisbane
    Gold Coast
    Perth
    Melbourne

    NZ North:
    Northern (North Harbour, Northland)
    Auckland (Auckland)
    Counties (Counties Manukau, Thames Valley)
    Bay of Plenty (BOP)

    NZ Central:
    Taranaki (Taranaki, Wanganui)
    Waikato (Waikato, King Country)
    Hawkes Bay (Hawkes Bay, East Coast, Poverty Bay)
    Wellington (Wellington, Horewhenua-Kapiti)

    NZ South:
    Manawatu (Manawatu, Wairarapa-Bush)
    Tasman (Tasman, West Coast, Buller)
    Canterbury (Canterbury, Mid Canterbury, South Canterbury)
    Southern (Otago, Southland, North Otago)

    Obviously, such a tournament would necessitate the removal of the Air NZ Cup and any potential for an ARC. This might upset some people, what with amalgamation and removing an iconic tournament etc. However, as the NRL has shown, amalgamation has been necessary and has also been successful. The positives of replacing the current systems with the proposed one will, in my opinion, outweigh the negatives.

    Firstly, it will reduce the power of the "big five" unions in New Zealand (Auckland, Waikato, Wellington, Canterbury, Otago). By putting all the NZ unions on a level playing field with identical funding from the NZRU, the major unions will be unable to poach players from the provincial unions as they have done in the past, allowing for smaller unions to develop their homegrown players and compete at the same level as the bigger unions.

    Secondly, it will help improve the depth of Australian rugby. Having 8 teams will expose more players to top level rugby, while at the same time, provide better competition against the NRL, AFL and A-League, due to the higher level of Australian involvement in the competition. Also, if the competition is successful in Australia, there is always the possibility of expanding to create a third Australian division.

    Thirdly, it will help crowd numbers watching the game. By having only 1 provincial rugby competition instead of 2 will be better for the fans, and will provide each union with just 8 home regular season games. This will help crowd numbers and will avoid rugby 'overload'.

    Fourthly, it will help stem the tide of players leaving for the Northern Hemisphere. Money aside, players leave because of travel issues, monotonous competitions (eg Super 14), and having to play for both Super 14 and provincial teams. With this competition, travel will not be a factor, there will be a far more diverse competition structure, with some teams not playing each other for possible 1 or 2 years, and there will only be one set of players and coaches to play for. Furthermore, players from NZ would be able to play for an Australian team, and vice versa, without becoming ineligible for international selection.

    Fifthly, it has the potential to help promote development of the game internationally. By allowing PI players to play as domestic players, it will help develop them as rugby players, without the Pacific Island unions having to pay for it, as they simply do not have the resources to do so. Also, by allowing up to five foreign players into each squad, players from developing rugby nations (eg Japan, USA, Canada) could have exposure to top-level rugby, something that would be beneficial to their international teams.

    Lastly, It will solve the problem of the rugby off-season and international window. The tournament will last about four and a half months, nominally from March to July. This leaves room for an international window from August to October. This leaves a full four month off-season for players to recover, recondition and refresh themselves before the start of the next season. Its no coincidence that NFL players are so well conditioned when they have about 6 months of offseason/preseason.

    Your thoughts?
     
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  3. BLR

    BLR Guest

    I like it, considering my family background both Australian and New Zealand rugby interests me, South African rugby not so much....is this below Super rugby though? I am pretty sure South Africa are pretty big cash cows for SANZAR...they love thier rugby, have a huge population and aren't disillusioned like the Kiwis.....
     
  4. this will give the saffas a chance to opt out though, which theyve wanted to do for a while, so ive herd. they want to join the northen boys havent they?

    but as a replacement of the npc - no. the domestic scene is strong in nz. sure, at the moment, extremely flawed, but i wouldnt want to have trans-tasmain at that level. imagine the cost of flights for the poor bop boys and southlanders who are already just breaking even - if their lucky.
     
  5. BLR

    BLR Guest

    NPC is bleeding money at the moment and a Trans Tasman competition will re-invigorate the whole thing. Get some NRL advertised to hype the crap out of it and it'll work a charm, the broadcast rights alone if fished out to News Corp will be plenty to pay for getting around.....

    Hell, they could even go down the path of Japanese rugby and have major companies investing large amounts in the teams...there's your financial viability right there....although I think Adelaide should get a team as well, for geographic means, I mean, Melbourne to Perth is a long gap to travel, why not make the most of it by putting the hosts of the Australian sevens there as well....

    Get Air NZ on board and cheap flights, no worries....
     
  6. The way I was thinking was that this comp would basically be a rugby equivalent of the NRL. I think the reason why the NPC is struggling is because its seen as a second-tier competition now and most of the money from the NZRU is going to the super 14 franchises. I figured if you get rid of super 14 and NPC and replace it with this, it puts all the NZ teams on a level footing. That way the smaller unions will get more funding and might actually have a chance to be just as successful as Canterbury or Auckland or whoever.
     
  7. ChiefsFan

    ChiefsFan Guest

    Only problem is that doubling the ammount of Australien teams would have a massive effet on the quality. The Crusaders (which would be Cantabury) would still be basically the same team and thus would win games by over 50 points frequently :(
     
  8. BLR

    BLR Guest

    Force the Saders to release some of thier player to other teams, maybe big name players too, so the smaller unions can at least have one 'marquee' player, sort of like how the A-Leaugue has those kind of players.

    Luckily we unearthed alot of quality in the ARC so the sooner the better if we get this sorted...we have alot of club players who would never get a look in as it stands, I mean, the Force probably wouldn't have unearthed Tom Hockings if not for the ARC and he was great...and even if there is a lower quality over here we'll get over it, we have a pretty large population and if young players can see there is a viable avenue to play some high quality rugby the players coming through can only increase.....
     
  9. candybum

    candybum Guest

    Maybe the salary cap might even teams out ? as guardian_of_the_stone_age said
     
  10. ChiefsFan

    ChiefsFan Guest

    But is it fair to send NZ players to Australia? Especially on the players themselves. Drafting to the other side of NZ is one thing, but to another Country?
     
  11. InsaneAsylum

    InsaneAsylum Guest

    new zealand is just another state of australia anyway so it wont really matter :bleh!:


    *runs away from angry kiwis* :p
     
  12. Ripper

    Ripper Guest

    I'd personally just run a two tier competition.

    Run the NPC and the ARC before the Tri Nations, take the Top 5 from the NPC, the Top 4 from the Currie Cup and the Top 4 from the ARC and let them duke it out between Tri Nations and the End of Year Tour in the new Super 13.

    So Basically the calender would be as follows.

    ---------------
    March - June
    ---------------

    NPC Division One (Cut it back to 10 team's at first - bye bye Tasman, Counties, Manawatu and Northland) and NPC Division Two (The Heartland teams + The 4 Rejects) with automatic Promotion/Relegation between the two leagues based on certain criteria being met. Of course, the Shield will carry on as always.

    ARC

    Currie Cup

    ------------------
    June to August
    ------------------

    Southern Hemisphere Tour
    Tri Nation's - Cut it back to two test's between team each, but have a 3rd game to decide Bledisoe Cup if required - possibly have it in a nuetral venue like Hong Kong to rake in the moolah. Let the Argies in eventually.

    -----------------------
    August to November
    -----------------------

    Super 13 - Top 5 from NPC, Top 4 from ARC and Top 4 from the Currie Cup

    *Insert Competition Name Here* - Remaining team's from NPC Division 1, Currie Cup and the NPC. Possibly split into 3 divisions/conferences and only have them play international game's in the final stages to save costs.

    -------------
    Novemeber
    -------------

    Northern Tour

    If this was used last year the Super 13 would've consisted of :

    NZ : Auckland, Canterbury, Wellington, Hawkes Bay, Waikato.

    Aus : West Sydney, Central Coast, Perth, Melbourne

    RSA : Free State, Sharks, Golden Lions, Blue Bulls
     
  13. ChiefsFan

    ChiefsFan Guest

    Hey, you changed your sig!!!

    I still think that whatever competition is run, it should involve at least one Argentinian team and a Pacific Island team. Otherwise its just changing the format, technically same teams :(
     
  14. Ripper

    Ripper Guest

    Argie team is a no go - A team of player's who would get smoked in the Auckland Club Rugby competion is not a good idea.
     
  15. InsaneAsylum

    InsaneAsylum Guest

    not bad ripper but in my opinion, if you don't represent your areas that have a big rugby fan base then people will not be happy.

    ie. no queensland team will make queenslanders sook. it would be an outrage and also the fact that the rebels pulled an avg crowd of around 3000 last year in the arc. pretty pathetic.

    also with the kiwi teams, all the otago folk would be sooking about not being represented and complain that hawkes bay should have just merged with wellington being so close.
     
  16. I got the impression that crowds at the ARC full stop where shite. <_< ARU didnt really have there heart or there wallet into promoting the ARC.

    However the melbourne rebels despite everything was a success and should be revived for the next reincarnation of the ARC.
     
  17. Ripper

    Ripper Guest



    That's fair enough points, but as Redunderthebed said most ARC crowds weren't much better. And to Otago, I would say this - If you can't beat Southland or Manawatu, let alone keep Wellington from put 60 points up on you don't deserve to be playing the top level (Based on results last year).



    They will still get to see their team play against some preety decent competiton after all as well, I don't know the make up of the ARC and CC team's, but there's bound to be a decent chunk of Wallabies and Springboks in the non-Super team's, I mean, North Harbour for example last year had Tony Woodcock, Greg Rawlinson and Luke McAlister. It's hardly like they'll be lining up against South Canterbury and Poverty Bay.
     
  18. Steve-o

    Steve-o Guest

    I think if you wanted SA out of SANZAR you should have done it in the late 90's. Nowadays SARU is the big fish in SANZAR, and essentially the cash cow. Kicking SA out now will mean the end of Australian rugby.
    Mofflet proposed a trans tas man competition and kicking SA out when we sent a 2nd string side to Australia last year before the WC but bitched out and apologised to SARU a few days later after he realised what the consequences would be for Australian rugby.

    I also think targeting an already saturated in Australia even more is a major flaw in this proposed competition. It's simple economics, you HAVE to have a demand for a product before you start producing it. Any investment company would kick this idea to the curb.
     
  19. BLR

    BLR Guest

    Perth didn't have the problems in crowds, despite the fact most fans knew nothing at all about the competition.

    As for kicking out Otago, that's simply arrogant, having so many teams in the North Island yet only one in the South Island? You showed your bias right there....despite the lean times Otago has given alot to New Zealand rugby and deserves it's place as a prominent province.
     
  20. Ripper

    Ripper Guest

    What the hell are you talking about? Did you even read it?

    It's got nothing to do with my bias - it's just based on the Top 5 of the previous season's NPC - I was just using that as an example of what would have happened if my system was implemented this year and used the 2007 NPC results. If the Top 5 last year had been Otago, Canterbury, Southland, Tasman and Waikato than those team's would've been listed in my worked example.

    The team's each country send's every year change's based on the individual countries domestic competition end of season table. Think Champions League in Soccer - except they aren't run concurrently. Otago's getting booted out of nothing, it's just replacing the franchise's with the provinces and making sure that the domestic competitions will actually have the top player's playing full seasons of domestic competiton.
     
  21. ChiefsFan

    ChiefsFan Guest



    And now they just have Tony Woodcock :( Poor Harbour.
     
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