Archive for Concept

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

We all love the new application of the laws


England 100 yard dash try !


Source: Rugby Runs Free

Not so long ago, international rugby was billed as a battle of the hemispheres: a trans-global power struggle between the three southern giants, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia, and the rugby nations above the equator.

For years, the two sides were poles apart on even the most basic elements of this sport—They played the same game; they used the same rules; but the results were undeniably different.

Southern sides embraced an eye-catching, running approach, while the Europeans played a risk-free version of the game that had more in keeping with the British weather—dreary and predictable.

But if there’s any lesson to be gleaned from the first two rounds of the Investec Internationals, the annual end-of-year jousts between the northern and southern hemisphere nations, it’s that this sport’s great global divide is becoming increasingly blurred.

England’s Mike Tindall, foreground, celebrates as Chris Ashton, second left, scores against Australia Saturday. It was a game of rugby few England fans are used to.
Thanks partly to recent tweaks to the laws of the game, a new era of open, attacking rugby has gripped the international game, with all countries now playing—or trying to play—a more expansive brand.

“I have never seen rugby change so much in a year,” said Marc Lièvremont, the France head coach. “It is a new trend… with more tries scored, [a] better balance between kicking and running. It is a new style.”

This trend has been especially pronounced during the opening weeks of the autumn tests. The six games of this series so far have produced 286 points and 27 tries at an absurd rate of 4.5 per game. A year ago, those same matches yielded just 181 points and a meagre total of 11 tries.

Perhaps the biggest evidence of the dramatic change came last Saturday, when England inexplicably dropped 35 points on Australia in a dynamic display of running rugby that featured one of the most memorable tries of recent times—a lung-busting 100-yard foot race from the shadow of its own posts.

Statistics show that this renewed emphasis on attack first emerged during the summer’s Tri-Nations tournament between the southern-hemisphere’s elite sides. After a dour 2009 tournament that featured just 27 tries in nine games, this year’s competition produced 52 tries, a record for the 14-year-old tournament and a 93% increase on last year’s tally.

In addition, the number of passes increased by 35%, the kicks out of hand dropped dramatically and the average time that the ball was in play increased by almost two and a half minutes per match.

In other words, as Wales prepare to play Fiji on Friday in the third round of Investec Internationals, the days of rugby as a glorified game of kick-chase are over and running rugby’s in again.

“There is no question the balance of the game has shifted for the better,” said Shaun Edwards, the London Wasps head coach and an assistant with the Welsh team. “Now all the top teams want to play rugby.”

It’s a far cry from the first meetings between rugby’s leading nations. When England first played South Africa in 1906, the match finished 3-3 and for much of the next century it appeared that the English preferred games to finish with football scorelines.

By contrast, rugby in the southern hemisphere was viewed as an opportunity for a country to showcase its attacking skill and keep the ball in hand, and when the two styles met, the results were predictable: the farther south you come from, the greater your chances of victory.

The advent of professionalism in the sport in 1995 helped bridge the gap by introducing full-time conditioning programs and raising overall standards of fitness and endurance, while recent agreements governing the availability of international players have also helped put the hemispheres on an equal footing.

But thanks partly to tweaks to the rules of rugby, the sport’s lawmakers have re-energized the game by encouraging all players to pass or retain the ball instead of kicking it.

Not so long ago, the way the sport was refereed had turned rugby into a game of defense and territory. Tacklers were able to steal possession at the breakdown, so rather than run with the ball and risk a turnover close to their own try-line, teams preferred to boot the ball away downfield.

As a result, a brand of kick-tennis came to dominate the game, epitomized by Argentina and eventual champion South Africa in the 2007 World Cup. But since rugby’s lawmakers issued new directives on tackle laws last year, giving attacking teams more latitude at the breakdown, the focus has been on a fast-paced and free-flowing rugby.

The revised interpretation of the tackle law has produced less kicking and more passing: In the 2009 Tri-Nations there were an average of 65 kicks per game; this year in the same tournament that figure was down to 35.

By making it easier to retain possession and build phases, international rugby has become a powerful chess game of attack and counter-attack. And every country is forced to try to get on board.

“It’s a different game of rugby now,” said Gregor Townsend, the former Scotland and British Lions fly-half. “Two years, even six months ago, it was different, [but] with these new laws, it’s a totally different game. If you use the ball well, the attack should get the advantage.”

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

USA Free Live RWC on NBC, a first in USA.

Looks like USA is getting it on with world rugby.

This is a watershed event for world rugby growth.

Rugby is popular in the USA, but not on mass.

This is going to change..

Source: Universal Sports, NBC to broadcast Rugby World Cup

Super 15 or 18 rugby in 4 weeks !


Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Allow players to change countries !

Source: Bring test discards in from the cold

If a player has once played for the ABs (whatever), then spends 3 years out of international rugby, they should be allow to play for whom they want to after this period based on residency qualifications.

Thus Doug Howlett and Nick Evans could play for England, both have being playing for the English clubs, and come RWC 2011 they will have completed 3 years standown.

I guess this would be good for England and Pacific Nations, not so good for Scotland, Wales or Ireland. As they dont have professional rugby competitions to attract ex ABs and the like.

Kinda see why the IRB motion failed !

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

National Sides and Immigrants


Courtney Lawes: Flanker for England, Jamaican Father, English Mother, 6ft 7in, 17 st

UPDATE: I define immigrants as those who parents or grand parents immigrated to the current country. Of course Mr Lawes is not an immigrant, yet his father was!

We have all heard the English refer the to All Blacks as a mix of caucasian and pacific islands descent, with a little touch on needle.

New Zealand saw an explosion of its Pacific Island population under the Labor Prime Minster Norman Kirk (1970s, I think) as he saw the need to bring in a work force to assist New Zealand manufacturing base.

England, as we all know has millions of different nationalities within its population. Yet their rugby team is mostly caucasian, and has been for years. One should note that the West Indies population in England are large people, they are big, strong and very athletic.  Add to this Africans, Jamaicans etc.

QUESTION: Why is there a difference between New Zealand and England percentage mix of race in their respective rugby teams?

In New Zealand the secondary school rugby competition is the most competitive rugby tournament in the under 21 world, and if you are a headmaster and rugby coach (Graham Henry) of say St Peters College  and you want to beat Kings College  and you here about a 16 year old Tongan lad who is 6 ft 2 in, 100 kilo and fast (Jona Lomu, Inga, Nonu, etc), you would offer him a scholarship to your school so he can join the rugby team. In other words much is done to bring the cream to the top, rugby talent is hunted and promoted no matter of the individuals heritage status. The love of winning rugby guides all.

So what does England do ?

I dont know, but I am sure if they had more talented athletic West Indian and African giants playing rugby union at secondary school then they would have their own Lomu’s, Nonu’s etc.

Time to role out more  rugby scholarships to pommy exclusive  rugby schools, old boy ! It would be great to see.

This is a reason why I would love to see USA accept rugby union as much as we do, those black American athletes running down the wing would be a great thing to see!

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

To the best Rugby League Players: Take Note !

Source: Toulon boss sets sights on SBW return

To get the highest pay packet, and not a bad lifestyle RUGBY UNION is your first choice !

The Aussie League NRL players can read, they will become the poor cousins to rugby after DECADES of stealing players from rugby union..

There will be more cases like SBW in the future…

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

SBW at 2nd Five, what does this mean for Rugby?

So Sonny Bill Williams seams to work well at 2nd five in the All Blacks.

What does this mean for rugby?

Has the new application of the current rugby laws meant that a kicking 2nd five is not longer needed (Remember when coaches would select two skilled 1st fives for the 1st and 2nd five role in the backs). It seams so. Well assuming you have a on field back up for the 1st five kicking game from some one else, then it is a yes!  I haven’t seen SBW kick yet, have you ?

Does this mean each international rugby team must now find a player that is 100kg plus, can distribute the ball, think smart, be quick and strong in the go forward.

In other words all those talented blind side flankers out there please apply for the 2nd five role.

If the application of the laws stay this way, I can see the Boks doing just that, funny thing is that Fiji, Tonga and Somoa have always had this type of player at 2nd five.  Are we all going pacific ??

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Well da…Fitzy

Source: We shouldn’t count too many chickens, but…

Fitzy Extract..

..”We saw that the All Blacks got tremendously quick ball; recycling it very fast. We saw in the Super 14 that the sides who recycle ball quickly can now get over the advantage line and behind the defensive line – and that’s what the All Blacks did last night.”..

COMMENTS: Remember the days when Aussie had the Bledisloe cup, well Aussie had one asset that we didnt George Gregan, and George was lightening fast with recycling the ball, a lot faster than our Justin Marshall.

The point is, when has slow ball been any good in rugby at the break down, when, I tell you when NEVER, most teams that lose suffer slow ball at the break down. Fitzy da !

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Welcome Home ‘Maul’


Watching the first three weeks of international rugby downunder it was great to see the French, Lions and Sth Africans use the mual. The ELVs by default had removed it from the game, now its back and good to see as an option of forward power. See blog villians for those that dont understand rugby and who got it wrong.

Danie Craven, the most important authority on the laws in the history of the game, once said that when one change was made it often affected other aspects of play. He used the analogy of pulling a thread from a jersey and seeing, say, the bottom half unravel. His argument was that coaches must have the insight to see the implications of changes.

The ELVs allowed the maul to be pulled down, it did not offer just a method to defend it, it allowed a method to remove it from the game completely, some how the blog villians didnt see that ! Cause there not good thinkers of the game, thats why ! Jes wayne, and some of them are in charge of this great game !

Friday, May 1st, 2009

BetterRugbyRules Wish List..

What this blog prefers to happen in the NZ rugby world.

  • ELVs watered down – DONE !
  • SANZAR becomes NZAR – work in progress.
  • Super rugby is limited within the Asia Pacific time zone ( AU, NZ, Asia, Pacific) – work in progress.
  • No night rugby in NZ in June and July – hard rock to move !
  • No Rugby in between Dec to Feb (NZ Time) – work in progress.
  • Super rugby has at least 8 teams from NZ and Aussie 5, Other 3.
  • The ABs away jersey ‘Silver’, be replaced by traditional ‘white’ – DONE !
  • The Super 14 NZ teams away jerseys get dumped – work in progress !

It seams that things are going this blog way..maybe !

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Rucking, why it risks a players income!

Ali Williams was suspended for 6 weeks after being found quilty of illegal rucking.

Rucking is deemed to risky for the attacking team due to the above consequence.

Extract: Law 16.3 Rucking

(a) Players in a ruck must endeavour to stay on their feet.
Penalty: Penalty Kick
(b) A player must not intentionally fall or kneel in a ruck. This is dangerous play.
Penalty: Penalty Kick
(c) A player must not intentionally collapse a ruck. This is dangerous play.
Penalty: Penalty Kick
(d) A player must not jump on top of a ruck.
Penalty: Penalty Kick
(e) Players must have their heads and shoulders no lower than their hips.
Penalty: Free Kick
(f) A player rucking for the ball must not ruck players on the ground. A player rucking for the ball tries to step over players on the ground and must not intentionally step on them. A player rucking must do so near the ball.
Penalty: Penalty Kick for dangerous play

COMMENTS: The (f) clause above basically removed rucking from the game, the window to allow rucking is too narrow, and the offending team knows it, and slow the ball down as the ‘will be rucked risk’ is low.

Paddy O’Brien has said the issue is ‘players stomping’ (vertical action of standing on players) rather the backward action of the foot/heel to retrieve the ball, and with TV watching oh so very closely the ‘instant replay of rucking gone wrong’ is to much too bear. This means the rules and execution of rucking has a bias with the team that is slowing the ball down, as the team that requires the rucking action is at huge risk of loosing one its players.  This must be reversed, so that the team with the momentum of ‘going forward’ has the rights and should have the ref’s margin of error on there side.

Paddy O’Brien 4 year watch as ‘IRB Head Ref’ has seen a lot of PC’ness come into the sport (dont even mention ELV mess), maybe he should go back to giving out parking tickets !

Rucking should allow:
1) Any player on the ground, and on the wrong side can be removed by backward action of the feet.
2) No matter if ball is there or not, as a player body is enough hindrance for a team going forward ((f) above is a major issue).
3) The rucking player must be: crunched over , one foot on ground, and the rucking foot action cant be by the players head or groin.

Simple as 1,2,3 !

This means that any player on the ground and on the wrong side of the ruck is in for a few signatures on his back. And for all those ‘non rugby types’, get a grip its our sport ! The IRB has stuffed up here and caved in to the PC demands !

Previous Posts: Rucking

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

ELVs: Mains is soo fooking correct !


Laurie Mains, along with Wynne Gray (NZ Herald Senior Rugby Writer) have said it out loud “BRING BACK TRADITIONAL RUGBY RUCKING”…

Source: Laurie Mains in laws plea – Richard Knowler


A frustrated Laurie Mains has slammed rugby’s lawmakers and pleaded with them to stop changing the rules.

He also despaired that “PC crap” was having an impact on the code.

Former Kiwis coach Graham Lowe got former All Blacks coach Mains’ hackles up when he claimed rugby fans were switching to league because it was more exciting and less predictable, and that rugby officials had their “heads in the sand”.

And what irked Mains most is that he agreed with a few of Lowe’s sentiments.

“If the lawmakers would get their act together and go back and look at rugby when it was a great game and use that as a starting point and get rid of this debacle that we have around the tackle area, and get forwards involved instead of having them as defenders out in the backline, then we could get back to the great game that we used to know,” Mains said.

I think our current administrators have a heck of a lot to answer for.”

Mains, who coached the All Blacks from 1992 to 1995, slated the Experimental Law Variations that were introduced last year.

“The ELVs are not working. The idea is fine but under the current law and with a lack of rucking and a lack of driving in our forwards and the debacle that is the tackle, the ELVs are not a band aid on it really.”

Rulemakers and referees have a lack of empathy for what happens at the breakdown and need to understand it is near impossible for players in the heat of battle to make accurate judgments and do everything right: “To issue yellow cards for that is absolute nonsense.”

Mains said players would still be able to play good rugby if the administration brought back the rules of 15 years ago, when rucking was allowed in an attempt to generate quick ball.

“I would still hold out hopes that we put the PC crap aside and preserve the game because some of what Graham Lowe says is correct. Rugby league is gaining popularity because it is simpler and if you look at its laws they have not changed dramatically over the years, unlike rugby.

“If they don’t do that, then rugby is in serious trouble.”

Mains is also worried that the technical skills of forwards coaches from yesteryear are being lost.

“There is no forward coaching as we know it. That is also a major tragedy binding, driving and looking after the ball were an integral part of coaching, Mains said.

He also believed the game in New Zealand had suffered since former chairman of the laws Tim Gresson was tossed aside six years ago. Gresson, Mains said, had a firm grasp of what laws the game required and would not amend them unless he believed it benefited the code.

“Let’s hope rugby does not decline too much further before they see the errors of the last 10 years or so and go back to the basics of what rugby was and fix it up.”

COMMENTS: How did rugby get where it is today, lost. It got there because the leaders (CEOs) allowed it to get there, the CEOs listened to NON RUGBY LOVERS, thats sponsors like ADIDAS who dont know sh*t about the sport, plus they listen to market surveys taken with mums that are too scared to see little Johny get into a bit of scrap and a little bloody. Also the birth of professional rugby provided the impetus for PC administrator idiots to tweak this and that that took the game away from what the ‘founding fathers’ of rugby had been built up over a 100 years.

Mr Tew (CEO NZRU) this has happened under your 15 year watch. Fix it, or you will go down as a admin bumpkin who assisted in ruining this once great game.

Read the foundation posts ( top right hand corner of this page) for more !

Prev Post on the subject: I want 1990s rugby back, and I am not alone !

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Q:For the money or the game (Tew and ONeill must decide)?

Source: Big calls needed over Super 14 impasse  – Marc Hinton


New Zealand and Australia could split from South Africa, form a new alliance for franchise rugby, bring in Japan, possibly a presence in the Pacific Islands and start again with a blank canvas. Design the perfect season, with a heck of a lot less travel in it. In an ideal world the Tri-Nations would stay intact, but that would require significant goodwill from a  suddenly disaffected South Africa.

So, why wouldn’t they just go ahead and do it?

Money, that’s why.

At present South Africa bring in the lion’s share of the broadcasting revenue in Sanzar’s existing deal with News Corporation. That’s a tidy sum, and if the trans-Tasman alliance were to cut them loose they’d be sacrificing some pretty serious wedge.

Which brings us to the crux of the matter. Do Steve Tew and John O’Neill have the stones to make the big call?

Or will they fall meekly into line with the South Africans?

The next few weeks will tell that story.

COMMENTS: A: Of course they don’t, if it does happen (a split) it will because O’Neill says so, Tew is follow the leader. For the money or the good of the game, we shall see if professional rugby forces more stupid administration decisions.

Super rugby MUST:
1) Start latter !
2) Less travel demands.
3) 1 more Aussie Team.

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Wynne Gray: He has spoken !


Wynne Gray – Senior NZ Herald Rugby scribe.

Source: Time to ditch SA from Super rugby – Wynne Gray

The words in this article are sourced from heaven.  They should be placed on a stone tablet.


The tyranny of travel and time difference in this Super rugby series is one of its greatest downfalls while the seasonal familiarity of the accompanying Tri-series has eroded much of the sport’s intrigue.

New Zealand and South Africa have a rich rugby history but it is in danger of being watered down the longer Super rugby and the Tri-Nations continues. Tests every second year would do much to recapture some of that spark while it would also free up more time in the congested annual schedule.

This is a chance for New Zealand to get into a Pacific series where they can drive the tournament, they can make the deals, they can regather some lost followers.

Perhaps they could also reintroduce RUCKS instead of those disgraceful pile-ups, eliminate tap kick penalties for scrum infringements and get players on side; however, that is another story.

COMMENTS: I concur 100%, the bearded one has spoken, long live the bearded one ! NZ/AU should try his Australasian Cup idea as well ( see previous posts for more information).

Monday, March 16th, 2009

What does SANZAR and a banasplit have in common ?


Source: Republic threatens to split SANZAR– Greg Growden

SARFU says hands off Currie Cup!    So will SANZAR split ?

Good on ya SARFU stick to your guns. NZRU and ARU may just find out how small and isolated they really are, this was a stark reality after I read this statement.

South Africa has retaliated by saying it would form its own competition with Argentina, the US and teams from Scotland and Ireland.

Geographically the SA are better placed in the world to cater to the travel demands with other rugby playing nations. NZ and AU have the Pacific and Indian oceans to cross, we are 4 more hours on a plane from anywhere (… that has decent rugby opposition).

Of course SARFU may be doing all this squealing for a bigger cut of the SANZAR revenue pie.

PREDICTION: There is a 15th super rugby team to be allocated, SARFU and ARU both want it. ARU believe its there’s by right. If they don’t get you can bet that SANZAR is over. John O’Neill will see red and say to NZ lets go it alone, and form an Australasian Cup tournament ( note: which I favor, no matter the reduction in revenue for NZ/ARU).

Also dont you get the feeling SARFU union are getting a little pissed off with John ONeill brash and loud manipulative style of getting what he wants. He is not subtle.

UDPATE1: Source: Impasse over Super 14 expansion  – Marc Hinton

Money, as always, lies at the heart of the issue, even if the travel factor involving South Africa also creates major problems.

With South Africa’s SuperSport contributing 65 percent of the TV rights money for the tournament, any withdrawal by the republic would be felt hard in the pocket by Australia and New Zealand.

Whether the trans-Tasman unions are prepared to sacrifice that sort of money to forge ahead with a new competition without South Africa has to be highly doubtful.

COMMENTS: Little old NZRU and ARU better say sorry real quick, otherwise there are pay cuts coming and not only for the players !!

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Some interesting Quotes: SANZAR and ELVs

Source: Two-pool idea looms as plan B  Tony Robson

Mr Tew on SANZAR future

“We’ve made it clear we respect their desires around the Currie Cup, but you are either in a joint venture or you’re not and you are prepared to make some compromises or you’re not.”

Source: ELVs make Super 14 a big turn-off: O’Sullivan – Greg – Growden

 Eddie O’Sullivan on the ELVs in Super 14.

Eddie O’Sullivan, one of international rugby’s leading coaches, has described the Super 14 as a dud and, due to the glut of free kicks, he can’t be bothered watching it.

O’Sullivan, Ireland’s most successful coach of the modern era and who recently took over as the United States head coach, admitted on an Australian rugby podcast last night that he had lost all interest in the Super 14.

“I’m not that taken by the whole thing,” he said. “I don’t agree with the law changes. The dynamics of the game I don’t like. It just doesn’t do anything for me.”

He said the experimental law variations had led to the decline in standard. “The law variations with the use of all the free kicks, I just don’t agree with. It makes the game different. It’s a hybrid game that is being played.” [Please read foundation posts: Chess vs Checkers]

My Comments: Looks like to me changes are a foot on all fronts.

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

End Sunscreen Rugby, well what about scuba rugby..

Source: O’Neill calls for end of ‘sunscreen rugby’

O’Neill set off on Monday for a Sanzar board meeting in Dubai where he will bring up the heat issue and also move for an expanded competition.

“Personally, I think we start Super rugby too early and that’s one of the things on the agenda for the Sanzar board meeting,” he said at a news conference in Sydney.

“Late February, early March in Brisbane is a very humid, hot place and an afternoon game to boot.

NO problems here mate! If this is SANZARs attitude then what about Rugby in NZ between June and July at night, that is ‘scuba rugby’, and a waste of time for the viewing public.

NO half measures please…yeah right ! (Tui)

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

Australasian Cup – Wynne Gray idea revisited

*****I refer you to a post by Wynne in May 03, 2008.*****

Source NZHerald : Wynne Gray: Forget the world, let’s make it more interesting at home


Let’s consider a few alternatives and start with the World Cup, which is not going to disappear. That event is scheduled quadrennially for September and October.

So in the other three years of the cycle let’s make that the time for both inbound and outbound tours or tests. Forget the sort of unbecoming drive-by internationals we are getting from Ireland and England in June.

The Super series should begin in April and run for about 20 weeks of round robin and finals competition. New Zealand rugby would be better served if the competition had the same number of teams but no South African content.

Time zones and an absence of provincial tribalism are sporting enemies in the Super series. Transtasman combat is an answer; eight NZ sides and six from Oz playing in front of capacity crowds at smaller stadiums would also be more financially sustainable, logical, interesting and easier to follow.

Players would have the progressive build-up of club and country, while an amateur club and amateur NPC competitions could run underneath the professional series.

A gap between the round robin and finals could be put aside for the Bledisloe Cup, while tests against the Springboks would become far more appealing if they went into the September-October international window. The distinctive honour of tests would return if players were involved in six or eight a year rather than double that as they are now.

The All Blacks could then take leave before Christmas. All professionals could have January and February to condition and March to prepare with their team before an April start.

More on this subject : Super rugby – It’s in safe hands (not) ! 

MY COMMENTS: Why the hell NOT !!!

Monday, February 16th, 2009

SARU – May quit the Super 14. The birth of the Australasian Cup

Source : South Africa ‘threatens’ to quit Super 14 – Neil Reid

I know for a fact the late and great John Drake would be pleased with this outcome, he would promote a true Australasian Cup. That would be 12 teams from NZ and 6 from Aussie going through 18 rounds of games with a 4 team play off, thats 22 weeks of professional or semi professional rugby. This would give the Aussies (and NZ)  a solid media program against there league mates, and give TV 22 weeks of competitive rugby over a very large market, any sponsor would love that !!

This is good for all, as all regional teams get exposure to top rugby. This would also dilute the power from old super 14 power regions (Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin).  Just imagine Taranaki  or Hawkes Bay winning the ‘Australasian Cup’.  Yeah man, I would watch that !!

So whats the down side…I will miss the 3.30 am starts to watch SARU games, yeah right !

Of course the NZRU would have to stop the big money deals from pulling ‘Dan Carter’ types out of the NZ scene to the Aussie scene, we cant have Dan playing for Perth for a $1 mil a year can we !! But they (Aussie) will cry we must allow players to get larger financial rewards to ward off the Nortern clubs stealing our NZ/AU players. Well then no internationals for them then ! If the NZRU ever break the tribe vs tribe rule that would lessen the apeal of regional match ups in an Australasian Cup. I guess nothing is going to be easy.

Go SARU go !!

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

ARU ONeill: I want this, I want that, I want.

Source: Super-sized comp is at broadcasters’ mercy: O’Neill– Greg Growden

The ARU has no, zip, zero domestic competition that can get a TV audience. Therefore it must create one, that will compete with rugby league for advertising revenues and sponsorship, and all round media time.

NZRU and SFRU don’t have this problem, NZRU problem is however a small market, and SFRU has an issue with time zone. So who needs who. SFRU don’t anyone, NZRU needs ARU for commercial reasons, ARU needs NZRU desperately to make up decent teams within a solid competition.

So should we say bye bye to SFRU, and have a nice season of professional rugby with a mix of ARU and NZRU teams. There is a lot of upside to that thought.

But remember this, John O’Neill does not care about local NZRU competitions, and you may say nor does the NZRU as the money just isn’t in the local market.

Keep an eye of future developmemnts,  I shall !!

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

Denver, the ABs second home…for the bucks

The ‘Mile High’ Stadium : Capacity 80,000, home to the AFL Denver Broncos.

Is this where the ABs will stave off recession concerns, [Note: the fact that the NZUSD is now $0.51 @ 20090205 so that the Adidas payments are twice as large]. But we must also consider the ARFU and they are in deep financial poo, player wage cuts, losses from domestic failed season programs. So expect at least a 3 year deal for the Bledisloe cup clash.

Mind you, what a rugby trip, snow skiing oustide Denver is great, rugby on the weekend. That’s a plus.

Can you imagine ABs on Hollywood duties in a couple of years, photos of Paris Hilton and Dan Carter seen at local night club in LA…oh god that’s not a plus.

UPDATE: The arictle below suggest that the return for the NZRU alone would be around $6,000,000 NZD, so it’s gonna happen…

Source: Bledisloe Cup’s American debut nears – Neil Reid

Monday, December 15th, 2008

The good and bad for 2008


         The guy with his head in the sand is the NZ rugby loving public.

The good of 2008 for the ABs and NZRU.

  1. The winning percentage
  2. Andrew Hore, Conrad Smith, R McCaw
  3. Jimmy Cowan showed us hes a stroppy little sh*t and wont back down, not ever !
  4. NZRU will make a profit with out forex hedging tricks. Even though they have to sell the ABs to Honk Kong punters, and next year to USA punters. Oh well credit crunch and all that.
  5. Adidas re signs, neat more German designed soccer/rugby style gear !
  6. RWC awarded to NZRU

The not so good

  1. Munster showed how fragile some of the second tier players are, well there not All Blacks full stop.
  2. Wayne Smith, nice guy, but the ABs back line has never fired to the same level the Aussies did when they beat us with guys like Larkam, Latham, Mortlock, etc ( remember 5 losses in a row).
  3. The brains in the back line with out Conrad Smith just are not there, the fiji boys can not have passed to many of the rugby exams, because under pressure they flake (one exception Joe’s try against Munster, maybe he got lucky..will watch 2009 and see).
  4. Having forwards in the back line has destroyed more attacks than it has created, many a try has gone missing due to the fatties standing in as first receiver. Maybe a tactic from ELVs, whatever it should be avoided. Rugby is a game of structure, like it or not !
  5. The theatre that the haka has become, jes wayne, the ABs should playing on the West End if they carry on with the haka in its current show poney form. Keep it simple !
  6. The Water front stadium died, this is one thing Trevor Mallad should have just DONE (dont mention the ACC blowout).

The ABs win all the games in between RWC, and get spanked in the CUP semis if we are lucky, why, cause we believe our own press, performance at RWC must be 50% higher than non RWC years. The boys get fooled by the sub par performance of the international competitions, and when the real show is on it’s a surprise when we loooooose !

See ya in the new year 2009…go the ABs !!

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

All Blacks(29) vs Wales(9): It was a FM!

Q: One painting is by the famous artist Jackson Pollock, the other is by an elephant, one is claimed as a master piece, the other is not. Which is the master peice? 

A: Here.

The divergence of spin with the view points of these painting is amazing, ranging from the fantastic art performance of Pollock to absolute ridicule for the elephant. To me they both represent what I got sent home for in disgrace as a 6 year old by my art teacher, a FM (Note: FM is defined as f**king mess!). This to me mirrors the same viewpoints of how well rugby union is representing itself as a physical contest game. Cheerleaders out there, mainly TV paid idiots say how great the game is, while those fans that have been watching the game for over 20 years see a deterioration of what was once a great contest of tactics and strategy to a dumbed down ‘run up and bash’ slash ‘force back’ style of oval ball game.

[ Just in case you missed my point: The art world (ie TV paid commentators) look at a Jackson Pollock (ie rugby union) with praise, yet those that know better (ie 20 plus years rugby fan) just see it or what it is, a FM! ]

As a game, I am just not a fan of league, but I could not leave the TV screen as the Kiwis fought to win the world crown (or 3 nations crown). Then some 8 hours latter I watched the ABs vs Wales game, and there are some striking similarities:

  • -For a large minute count of the 80 minute game both teams line up againts each other in two horizontal lines.
  • -Neither game has real lineouts: a quick pass in by league from one player to another; in union a quick pass in by one player to a small group of players. Both are pretty much the same as a contest, or no contest.
  • -Both teams run and bash hoping for the other team to miss a tackle, that usually results in points being scored.
  • -Scrums are having less and less importance: either as to there failure of execution or they are less frequent.

However league showed it has a few advantages over union in game structure:

  1. The league attacking team seam to form up better for attack, the forwards group together, and the backs spread out wide. In union the backs become forwards at the first ruck, and forwards become backs. Nearly always in union the attacking backline has several tight five member standing in the mix. In defense there is no recognise split between forwards and backs, it just a field wide trench defence.
  2. League has less foolish kicking. Union is plagued with the force back game of up and unders to break the field wide trench defense. Or should I say kick and hope.
  3. League mainly due to (1) above, have more occurrence of formatted attacking backline moves (loops, dummy runners, overlaps, etc). Remember the great days of back play by the of the Aussie Brumbies, this style of play no longer exists at such frequency in union as backs and forwards are mixed in attack far too often.
  4. The backs in league tend to attack from depth with pace (ak Brumbies play), in union as the forwards and backs are mixed, and the slow prop forward just cant make this skill grade.
  5. Less wasted time in scrummaging.

This blog is about what rugby used to be like, rugby’s best years from 1985 to 2003 seam to be forgotten, the advent of these ELVs have seen the game morphed into school yard bull rush slash force back style of rugby union. YOU MUST read my foundation posts to understand my argument.

Dont believe me, then ask your self this question: How often do you see pure back vs back contest. Answer: Very infrequently. Classical back play seen in the most recent 20 years has been removed from the game by pure stupid rugby rule setting.

Well done ABs, well done Kiwis. However the best form of the oval ball game was won by league this weekend. Rugby union continues down it’s ‘Jackson Pollock’ phase, a FM !

They may say the game was an ‘tight contest’, and hence the lack of rugby beauty, well bullsh*t comes in many forms, all ABs games this year can be grouped in the above comments.

Dam IRB rule making idiots.

UPDATE1: Having the quick lineout is acceptable, but having short lineouts is getting to be ridiculous, why, it just allows the tight forwards to stand in the back line as possible first receiver for a run and bash. Calling a short lineout hard on attack in the opposition 22 is a great for the defence not the attack as it allows defenders to spread out wide. How does a short lineout make more space out wide, or allow an even one on one contest with the backs (thats center vs center and wing vs wing just in case your have forgotten the good old days), this is a place where the AB backs have consistently beaten there opposite over the years. I don’t think the game would miss short lineouts if we went back to full lineouts only, but if IRB want them, then I insist that the forwards stand within the 15 meters from the touchline and 15 meters from the touchline restart. Otherwise how else can the backs find more space at set piece.

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

Rugby in NZ is doomed !

Why so gloomy.

Imagine a NZ economy where unemployment is over 8%, the housing market has fallen 30% and peoples disposal income as dried up. If you dont think the current credit crunch will get us there, then you havent read the latest RBNZ economic report.

With other rugby markets wanting our players, by paying good money and not the NZD pesos. This saying will rule, “Those that have the gold make the rules !”. Therefore Aussie, Japan, France, and England (maybe USA) clubs will pluck our under 21 talent from our shores the same way the young Brazilian soccer players are pulled from south america to northen hemisphere soccer clubs.

Aussie has already started down this track : Anzac rugby unions shape up for player war

Rugby agents will pluck under kiwi under 21 players from schools and colts, and leave the cubbord dry. The poor agents got to make a dollar, and as they work on a percentage. The biggest deal will only do.

That’s why every agent is insisting the All Blacks must be selected from overseas “for the good of the mana of the All Black jersey”, and better and more frequent agent commissions. Business will boom !

One agents comments reak of self Interest  [a former All Black and now an player agent/blood sucker] – Graig Innes…

[From the same Article linked above.]

Leading player agent Craig Innes, who helped broker Braid’s deal, warned it might be the tip of the iceberg. “The whole landscape is changing. Australia is targeting players at under-20 level even. When the [New Zealand and Australian] school boys played [in New Plymouth on Friday] generally a few league scouts turn up but apparently there were agents everywhere. The player market at all levels is heating up and if Australia gets a fifth super rugby franchise they going to target players from everywhere. There’s major pressure coming on from all sides, including Japan.”

Japanese clubs have expanded their international player quota from two to three although the third import must be eligible to play for Japan. This means emerging players, who have not yet played for the All Blacks, will come under demand.

Innes said: “It’s going to be awfully tempting for them isn’t it. The black jersey still holds sway for most of them but things are changing. It’s going to change the way we think about everything including All Blacks eligibility.

“The [NZRU] is already taking baby steps towards [allowing overseas players to be selected] but things are evolving so fast.

“I don’t think we’re far away from a big change.”

My Comments: P*ss off ! More spin to promote the agent business model.

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

Spiro Zarvos – Claim and Counter Claim, with no formula.

zavos.jpg  Source: The British don’t understand rugby, and don’t understand the ELVs – Spiro Zavos

My Comments: I am not going to post the article here, but its typical of the claim and counter claim with no formula to target an end result, I mean the desired format for rugby union, a blueprint. This blog is about the balance between structured and non structured play in rugby union, to much of either is not the best for rugby union. You cant have endless running rugby because it becomes mindless, you cant remove the variety of structure from the game as it reduces specialised skills that took years to develop (mauls, full lineouts, etc), if you take time to read the foundation posts of the blog you will find a well thought out approach how rugby union should look like.

Spiro confirms that the only structure in the new ELV game that keeps the need for players to be all shapes and sizes is the scrum, pre ELVs, mauls, driving, full lineouts required more of the short fat stocky guy than post ELVs. Spiro will say, “Hey, those structures are still there!”, yes thats true but in a much reduced frequency.

The best running rugby is born after a rugby union structured platform, NOT from the horizontal lines of offence and defence, where one player just misses a tackle! Gee Spiro get that thru your head !

Monday, April 21st, 2008

Checkers vs Chess (Rugby League vs Rugby Union)


Rugby union is like chess and rugby league is like checkers.  

Checkers is a game where the checker piece does the same thing.

Rugby league is a game where all the players do the same thing, they take the ball up, on the tackle they put the ball thru there legs and start again. Rugby league scrums are golden oldie scrums so that doesn’t count, there are no lineouts or mauls. Sure, running the ball up has a different degree on demand between the forward and backs but not much. To disallow one team having all the possession there is a six tackle count, as the game does not allow more contests to see possession changes hands. The rugby league player, if lined up in a police lineout would all look the same physical design.   

Chess is a game where the chess piece does very different things.

The array of very different abilities of each chess piece allows the chess player to be very creative when it comes down to playing tactics. Chess has more structure than checkers, I submit that union has more structure than league, and it should remain so. 

Rugby union can be broken down into combinations: Front row, back row, loose forwards, back of scrum, centre field, back three. These combinations perform as units within the structured game of rugby, performing specialised roles, with specific skills and body shape. Fracturing the demand for a player with these specialised skills is a move away from the structured (chess) game and a move towards a more generic player (checkers). The generic player will be selected on his ability to multi task rather than perform a specialised role (ie15 loose forwards).

Please note that rugby has been able to live within a fine balance of structured (scrums, malls, kick offs, 22 drop outs, full lineouts) and non structured play (phase play, quick taps, quick lineouts). The operative word is ‘balance’, and all rule changes should be measured on how they keep this very fine balance (see my comments on ELVs) .  Balance is critical, as it allows a fair chance for the rugby player (prop, half back, 2nd 5/8, etc) specialised skill to be exercised within the games many contests (Front row contests, mid field contests, tall timber lineout contests, speedster wing contests, back of the scrum contests). Non structured play reduces the fair chance of these type of contests occurring within a game as the player one on one contest is random and not structured. Just as chess is divided between non structured pieces (the pawn) and other more structured chess pieces (Queen, King, Rook, Castle, Bishop), so in a way is rugby union by way of the nature of mix between structured and non structured play.

If rugby administrators break the rule ‘rugby is like chess’, they will have a hybrid game that is some where between checkers (union) and chess (league). A hybrid game will see rugby lose its hard won identity and the marketing boys will tell you that to have a good brand your need a distinctive point of difference from the competition.

The honest intention to attract TV revenues from the temporary fan (those that watch rugby league, Australian rules, American football, and soccer) is commendable, but not at the expense of the ‘true rugby fan’. Rule changes and playing times suitable for TV viewing are not always in the best interest of the rugby fan, administrators must protect the base that got the game to from 1901 to 2008. 

Note: Sorry rugby league fans if you don’t see it my way.

The above philosophy is my light house when I discuss all matters playing the game, and it supports this blog title : Forwards should be forwards, and backs should be backs. A game for fatties, skinnies, tall and short players!

Any thing else is not the rugby game that I fell for when I was a young fella watching the All Blacks win and lose. If I my views are in the minority, then I will be another number in the statistic titled: “Declining attendance”.

A quote before you leave:

..”They say that death kills you, but death doesn’t kill you. Boredom and indifference kill you.”.. By Iggy Pop 

This quote highlights that rugby union greatest sin is to be boring and indifferent.