The Game for Those with Odd-Shaped Balls (the Rugby thread)



  • Am I the only one who isn't happy with the "jackpot". Actually, I'm not unhappy with the "Jackpot" per se but when it is more than ten times the prize money (and there are the player's contracts too) it looks excessive. Maybe the Tier 1 unions should make a bigger contribution, eg equivalent to the Jackpot, for rugby development in the less well-off tier 2 nations. England's £220,000 per head, for a squad plus support of about 50, would make a big difference in the South Pacific, Africa or Eastern & Central Europe, although more fixtures would benefit them more.
  • No, you're not the only one, yes there is something that feels basically not right about the disparity between Tier 1 unions and the rest, and particularly between England and France and the rest. The problem is that the smaller unions seem scared of upsetting England (particularly) and so won't push it: anyone else remember the "agreement" between the home nations for all 6 Nations matches to be free-to-air only for England to do a back-door deal with Sky?
  • Wow!

    Saracens probably won't be relegated as a consequence, but this "administrative error" claim doesn't wash. They have acquired Elliot Daly, Jack Singleton and Rhys Carre over the summer, which won't bring their wage bill down.
  • Nigel Wray is going to appeal, according to this statement on the Saracens website.
  • They do however admit to "administrative errors". The nature of those errors will determine the outcome, but who is to know what's going to happen? I'd better not comment further.
  • Further to the Saracens saga, it appears that the "Administrative errors" were investments made on behalf of selected players which Saracens management consider not to be part of pay, at least as far as the salary cap is concerned. Link to BBC website.

    Unsurprisingly, Exeter Chiefs, who have been runners-up in two of the last three seasons are calling for Saracens to be relegated. It's getting very nasty IMHO, with shades of the scandals that affected Rangers football club a few years ago and led to that club being expelled from Scottish professional football entirely.
  • Well done to the 'Boks who've proved, apart from anything else, that money alone won't get you a trophy.

    Can you explain what you mean by this? I'm not taking the piss, I'm sincerely interested.

    The national rugby unions with the most registered senior male players are England (131,399), France (124,079) and South Africa (113,174). The richest clubs in the RU world are the French top 14, the top 5 of whom have more money than all of New Zealand rugby - useful article here. French rugby has so much money that even its Second Division has more money at its disposal than Super Rugby.

    Like France, England has more than one division of fully professional rugby teams; in contrast Wales, Ireland and Scotland combined have 10 in the Pro-14 league.

    South Africa has professional rugby teams in its 10 provincial unions: lots of registered players sure but not much money.

    The amount of money available to national RUs controls what those countries can do for their international players in terms of coaching (who they get to coach, facilities, etc) and other backroom staff, travel (so much better if you can give your team 1st class all the way rather than budget options). In addition, smaller and poorer unions are more likely to have players spread around the globe so they don't get so much chance to play together.

    Compared to the Spring Boks the England team have had years to play together, the money and facilities to be together for extended periods, etc. And their salaries are such that although a win bonus is nice, it isn't going to make the difference between getting a holiday or not...

    The prize money given to the world cup winning rugby union is £325,000 to be shared among players and staff. English and other unions put together their own jackpot fund to pay out for wins - so if England had won each player and member of the coaching staff would have got £220,000; to put that in context, if New Zealand had won they would have got £119,000 each. South Africa haven't released details of their bonus pot but their players are unlikely to have got much more than their share of the £325,000 prize money with a top-up of perhaps another £10-15,000.

    Does that answer your question?

    It does, thanks. I think there are a number of premises here that don't logically follow. The richest leagues in football (Association, I'm talking about now) don't necessarily produce World Cup winning squads. Brazil's success can't be explained this way, nor does the fact that nearly everyone in the Brazilian national team plays outside Brazil, and hence the players rarely get to play together.

    I'm more interested in the effect of neoliberalism on sport. For example, in the lead up to the 2012 Olympics, the UK decided to direct energies into winning as many medals as possible. This meant stripping resources from sports that Britain tended to perform poorly in, and pouring money and support into sports that were already areas of strength or on the cusp of being. The results speak for themselves in the medals tables.

    This is an example of a fiscal approach to sport that actually does produce winning, even if the goal seems rather dubious - why should winning lots of medals be an end in itself? What about getting more people involved and participating in sport, rather than merely spectating? And many other unanswered questions.
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