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

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Comments

  • 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.
  • TukaiTukai Shipmate
    Super Rugby kicks off this weekend. For the first game in Canberra, the weather forecast is 41 degrees - pretty hot for rugby, eh?

    And no, I won't be going to to the game, even though the stadium is only a few km away from our house.
  • And the Six Nations kicks off here. Tomorrow Wales play Italy and Ireland take on Scotland; on Sunday France play England.

    I'll be in the stadium tomorrow...
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Goodness - it's that time of year already?
  • We thrashed the Italians 42-0. There are things that could do with a bit of tightening-up - our scrum looked rocky, for one - but on the whole an encouraging start.

    And now this afternoon an over-confident England have been beaten by France. Same old problem (over and above Eddy Jones shooting his mouth off before the match) of no one able to formulate a decent and coherent Plan B if Plan A isn't working.
  • I didn't watch the match. What's important is that Wales got the bonus point but France didn't.
  • We thrashed the Italians 42-0. There are things that could do with a bit of tightening-up - our scrum looked rocky, for one - but on the whole an encouraging start.

    And now this afternoon an over-confident England have been beaten by France. Same old problem (over and above Eddy Jones shooting his mouth off before the match) of no one able to formulate a decent and coherent Plan B if Plan A isn't working.

    I don't think England were over-confident. I do think they were complacent, rather like in the RWC Final, thinking that "if we go through the processes it will all be OK" whereas it turned out that only a couple of moments of brilliance gained England meaningful scores, plus some desperation right at the end. We are seeing more sides defend against Exeter Chiefs this season too. They don't necessarily win, but they are doing better.

    Whatever we do, EJ must select a genuine no 8. Simmonds is actually a better player now, as he has put on a bit of weight while still being quick enough to play at centre, and he has the footballing skills that a no 8 needs at the base of the scrum. Dombrandt would be a good finisher, as they are called nowadays.
  • As if Saracens couldn't get it more wrong, they play an ineligible player in the Champions Cup.. Not hugely so (his work permit had just run out) but dismissed as "due to an inadvertent administrative error on behalf of the club." Are they trying to kid someone? Are deliberate administrative errors any better or worse. One would think that it was more necessary than ever to keep things squeaky clean.
  • Not a great day for us in Dublin :grimace:
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Not a great day for us in Edinburgh either. :grimace:
  • Between the weather and the expected result, really couldn't be arsed to go to the pub to see France vs Italy, but it was actually a decent game, with the best Italian performance in the 6 Nations for some time.
  • Piglet wrote: »
    Not a great day for us in Edinburgh either. :grimace:

    It was a poor game in conditions that used to all-but guarantee a Scottish win. Many a Calcutta Cup, some championships and a couple of Grand Slams have been blown out of England's frozen hands. It was obvious that kicking would win it but England's kicking to touch was woeful, and as in Dublin the week before it hinged on an error by Stuart Hogg.

    The game of the weekend was the Scotland v England women's match, played behind closed doors at Murrayfield in conditions approaching a blizzard. England won by a distance but they played well and the Scots never lost their shape nor lost heart. Both sides showed the men how to adapt to the conditions.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Hurrah - we finally managed a win (and a fairly convincing one judging by the scoreline)! :smiley:
  • We were outplayed but there were some questionable decisions (and some inaction) by referee Matthew Carley. In particular not awarding a penalty try in the second half and also brushing aside assistant Wayne Barnes corroboration that Jake Ball had been punched in the first half.

    One curiosity on the officials front: this is the only match of this year's 6 Nations where referee, both linesmen and the fourth official all come from the same country.
  • Piglet wrote: »
    Hurrah - we finally managed a win (and a fairly convincing one judging by the scoreline)! :smiley:
    Piglet wrote: »
    Hurrah - we finally managed a win (and a fairly convincing one judging by the scoreline)! :smiley:

    Yes and yes, but it was a poor game.

    Wales v France was far better although the officials made way too many errors, some of which were game changers and the yellow cards given against France were the result of their deliberate and consistent approach to the whole game.
  • Perhaps ... but I also think they played the more imaginative rugby.
  • After yesterday, which had two thoroughly watchable games (though I did suggest that someone had clingfilmed the posts, given the standard of kicking for them), today's was distinctly one-way traffic. Based on their demolition job on Ireland, England must surely be favourites for a Grand Sl... hang on a mo.... Ooops! Don't mention the French, chaps, I did once, but I think I got away with it...

    AG
  • After yesterday, which had two thoroughly watchable games (though I did suggest that someone had clingfilmed the posts, given the standard of kicking for them), today's was distinctly one-way traffic. Based on their demolition job on Ireland, England must surely be favourites for a Grand Sl... hang on a mo.... Ooops! Don't mention the French, chaps, I did once, but I think I got away with it...

    AG

    It’ll be a rum Grand Slam if France pull it off, and may well do so. They haven’t really been convincing throughout, only beating England because England didn’t turn up until halftime, defended poorly against Italy and could have lost to Wales but for an interception try.

    They now have Scotland and Ireland to play: Scotland away and Ireland in Paris in the final game. England (and maybe Ireland) will be hoping!

    As for England’s win over Ireland, I was very underwhelmed. Bonus points will be vital and England sat back and conceded a late try when they should have made more effort to get a fourth try.
  • PendragonPendragon Shipmate
    Thank you Scotland.
  • Pendragon wrote: »
    Thank you Scotland.

    Hee hee...

    I think it's very likely that France won't be champions. To win, they need to hammer Ireland (get the bonus point) and have enough of a points difference to beat England (who will have the advantage of facing Italy with weeks-months of knowing exactly what they need to do). I say this because it's a very good bet that England will get a bonus-point win in Rome.

    Similarly, if Ireland beat France without a bonus point then England will probably win. OTOH if they managed to beat France and get the four tries I would assume that they would also get 5 points from their game against Italy and thus wind up as champions.

    Oh and there is no defence for the red-card - he should have known that it would have been spotted - never mind that it's a really stupid thing to do anyway.

    Of course, if Ireland/France draw next week, then England will be very confident! :wink:

    AFZ
  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    I'm not saying we played particularly well but... :angry:

    Joe Marler is likely to be cited (again) for dirty play and there is the possibility that Eddie Jones will also be cited for his post-match remarks about the referee.
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    I'm not saying we played particularly well but... :angry:

    Joe Marler is likely to be cited (again) for dirty play and there is the possibility that Eddie Jones will also be cited for his post-match remarks about the referee.

    Joe Marler was particularly stupid. For goodness sake, if you're going to get caught squeezing an opponent's genitals, make it worthwhile. What is it with players these days?

    I expect Eddie Jones will lose exactly no sleep whatsoever about any punishments that may be meted out.

    And yes, thank you Scotland. Good value for their win
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    What's going to happen in the wake of the postponed/cancelled matches? Is the plan that they'll be played sometime?
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    Piglet wrote: »
    What's going to happen in the wake of the postponed/cancelled matches? Is the plan that they'll be played sometime?

    It is intended that the postponed matches will be played, and England , France and Ireland all have a chance. If Ireland win both postponed matches with bonus points nothing can stop them, otherwise England and France are in the mix, but it's down to bonus points and margins of victory, so I won't bore you.
  • I presume it'll be like 2001 when because of the Foot and Mouth outbreak in the UK, several Ireland matches were played in the autumn.

  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    Welsh rugby players seem to appreciate the severity of the situation.
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