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My blueprint for English rugby is drafted below, and is sure to be hugely unpopular, but I think in the long run it would take England into a position of strength.
My genuine belief is that England should form a franchise system, with contracts controlled by the RFU.
- 10 teams regionally divided throughout the country giving geographical coverage.
- These teams to have a cap of 2 non-EU players playing for them.
This would allow the franchises to condense the coaching and playing talent available. It would allow the traditional clubs to carry on operating providing a tier below. I accept this would be hugely controversial, however this has taken place in Wales and Ireland, both countries with significantly lesser resources than the RFU, and has been hugely beneficial to the respective national sides, and top sides in Europe.
- The RFU to develop rugby talent academies, which scout from clubs and schools, in which youth rugby is development. From the academies the franchises/clubs would get the opportunity to pick from the available talent.
The idea behind this is that I feel there are too many players that have failed to meet their potential. How many young guys have we had that have burst onto the scene at club level, then failed to make the grade. The reality is that Australia, Wales, Ireland and NZ are more efficient than us at developing their potential. This I would suggest is down to coaching quality being spread to thin in England, and huge variation in coaching philosophies. Coaching academies would help to unite thinking, make accessible the best coaching to the best talent and ultimately allow the English rugby to develop.
Posted 15:18 02nd November 2011
@ IslandPower - excellent point. Thank you.
I was tempted to list many more sports in which we excel and compete at the highest level (regardless of whether we win everything or not), such as F1 and Field Hockey, but had to stop somewhere.
I know England's not the best at everything and that there's a lot of work to be done. Not least with our Rugby Union! But I do find it tiresome when trolls like FISH make rediculous comments, based on bias and nonsence, rather then fact. Rivalry is one thing - healthy, good fun and necessary - but it just annoys me. Perhaps it shouldn't. But I'm proud of being English and British and it gets my blood up.
Posted 11:13 02nd November 2011
Haven't read this article yet, looking forward to it though, should be really funny!
Posted 12:49 01st November 2011
Expand relegation to three teams and allow players to be loaned throughout the season. This should have three effects that England need:
1. Teams from 7th down in the Premiership to 6th in the Championship would have to plan beyond April of each season, so could spend the last three games of a doomed season cashing in on quality or recruiting young players on loan for a promotion push and improving young players in combination, rather than the mix and match LV= Cup sides.
2. The general standard of the Championship should improve, bringing a greater variety of styles to the Premiership and hopefully putting those learning the game against experienced players who have passed their peak.
3. Sides like the Pirates and Doncaster would have a real chance of moving up a tier, hopefully enough of a chance to get continuity between their best age group sides and their first team.
Then England just need a management restructure to Strategy and Development posts, both executive and both responsible to the board (drop the executive overseer roles and Rob Andrew) and a new coach.
Posted 09:44 01st November 2011
@ FISH - no we don't suck, nor are we "over-rated". You're obviously a troll, but I'll bite...
Soccer - FIFA Ranked 7th. Could be better, but 7th in the world doesn't mean we "suck".
Cricket - ICC Ranked #1 for Tests and T20 and #5 in ODIs. I wouldn't suggest we "suck" when we're #1 in 2 out of the 3 forms.
IRB Ranked #5 (of which there is much debate on this forum, at least). Again, we don't "suck".
Whilst I agree there are improvements we could make (even in our Cricket test and T20 arenas), we are consistently up there, competing with the other top nations. There aren't many other countries which can boast being this good at this many sports.
Then add in our neighbours for the Olympics and we came 4th in the 2008 Medal Table for the Summer Olympics and 2nd in the medal table for the 2008 ParaOlympics. We don't "suck", but we have room for improvement. Even NZ have room for improvement in the Rugby. If they thought they didn't, they'd never train again. I'm a little confused as to your allegiances, but does your "home nation" compete at this level in so many sports and is it consistently in the top 10?
@ chinstan - I, for one, would be happy to "sacrifice" the next 6N and, indeed, all 2012 Tests, in order to develop the Team. We should use the 2015 RWC as a target and start getting everything in place for then. The results will come in time, but we need the structures, the players and the management in place first.
@ Trinats ¿ is Quade Cooper available..? ;-)
@ quietbrit ¿ I wholeheartedly agree. However, I would ask that you keep your grubby mitts off Geech, as I¿m a Bath fan and am hoping for great things..!
@ Rayz - I think we just want to win and have a set up with longevity. If one of the people to affect that change happens to be from NZ (or anywhere else, for that matter!), then so be it. As long as they're effective, let's get 'em in!
Posted 10:23 31st October 2011
The answer is simple. No holds barred, specifically targeted areas of our game need sorting out. These are the areas and how we solve them: 7-Wood, a better 'ball snaffler' than moody and a prescence all over the field. 8- Narraway...why he hasn't been included yet is beyond me. 10- Flood, he's not the best in the world but he's good and he'll do until we get farrel or ford in. 1- Marler (blood new players), 2- hartley, how can you expect him to perform at this level with scraps of game time? 12- Twelvetrees, talented, a good kicker and used to playing between manu and toby. 11- wade is on fire and him and ashton would attatch alot of finishing skill we previously lacked. Keep this team together for 4 years and we could have a winning side...
Posted 11:49 30th October 2011
After reading @KiwiJoe's comments I do find myself agreeing with him about foreign imports. As we are stil part of the EU by law anyone from another member state can work here, so no issue with European players. SH imports another issue, I think English clubs should be limited to only two non EU signings for every new season.
This would wipe out the number of SH old lags looking for a payday. Given the reduced places available it would mean that the better SH players would have to be realistic about what they are worth or stay in their own SH goldfish bowl.
We could then concentrate on trying to develop the younger players. Trouble is we all like going to Aviva games and get the chance to see the stars from the SH up close.
Anyone got thoughts on this?
Posted 22:08 29th October 2011
A big problem with England is the constant over hype of team and players and too many foreign imports, not to mention constant denigration and sniping of the Southern Hemisphere game, the intensity of which will never be attained in the North, not just occasionally but over a long period of time.
One hit wonders soon get exposed for what they are in such an environment and the rivalry and history entwined in these games give them a special edge with the inclusion of Argentina in 2012 bringing further benefits, although this may take some time.
It,s no accident only one Northern Hemisphere RWC win has occurred since 1987 which will be 28 years by 2015, not a patch on the 45 year gap of the football team but unpleasant just the same.
The poor standard of recent 6N games have reduced this tournament to a feelgood carnival between the Eurozone and a Grand Slam is umm, not that impressive anymore... not to Southern eyes at least.
Ask yourself, honestly, "Could any 6N team pull off Gram Slam of the 3N Southern Hemisphere sides at home down under?"
When that becomes a "Yes, maybe," you,re on track, and why shouldn,t it, England has plenty of very good young players and these should be encouraged and brought to the party instead of endless foreign imports along with decent coaches and administrators who will prepare for the long term..
This is what,s needed to swim with the serious sharks.
Posted 12:59 29th October 2011
I think it's worth noting the absence of people posting worthless comments just to stick the boot in to a country who didn't do as well as they should have during ths campagne. (Fish aside, but he's just lonely and needs the attention)..
So,.. says what I wonder.?
Posted 12:35 29th October 2011
A last minute reflection after reading through. Could it be time for England to stop pandering to this cry for playing 15 man rugby? Contrary to wider perception, England of the last 2 years have been quite loose and have chucked the ball around. Could it be that actually we need to play to our traditional strength of forward dominance and field position? I know the rules have changed as has the game, but let's face it were never going to be popular, so why not play to traditional strenghs and sod the rest
Posted 10:02 29th October 2011
I didn't want to say anything on this thread but felt compelled to after noting how many here are urging the appointment of foreign coaches. Good grief! England is one of the two biggest rugby playing nations, both in player numbers and wealth -- and that by some distance. Can't you sort out your own problems? Maybe acknowledging that you can is a first step.
Posted 08:09 29th October 2011
@ rayz... splendid idea old boy! Jolly good coaches those colonials, what!
While you're at it, why not find another 15 or 20 blokes from the former Empire willing to play for Queen, country & cash... don't expect too much from them, though, 'cos in the end if you're only in it for the money then you're not really in it.
Posted 06:06 29th October 2011
With the largest player base of any nation England ought to do better and should certainly have the right players for every position, in every position, without having to play people out of position.
I don't understand the blockage/s.
Is the England team selected and played on merit or is there some rugby equivalent to the class system and old school tie going on here?
Is the call for "fresh thinking" some sort of code for getting people that can read the game and players as it is, not as they think it should be?
Posted 01:28 29th October 2011
I strongly believe that it comes down to a lack of vision and ambition; which inevitably stems from the top. What do England want to be in rugby terms - NOT what have we traditionally always been. There's absolutely nothing wrong with attempting new approaches and taking calculated risks, it's just doing it in the right way and at the right time that is crucial.
It's blindingly obvious that the present upper and middle management team have been worrying more about keeping their jobs and less about trying to be innovative and enterprising which, mixed with a healthy dose of pragmatism, is the foundation of winning.
There's no reason why we cannot become a team that perenially challenges the best nations in the world. All it takes is someone smart and organised at the top deciding that we are going to do it and putting a realistic plan in place. That and the press and RFU top dogs giving him the time and space to do it!!!
Posted 00:42 29th October 2011
i honestly think that another reason we played badly was because of how passionate the players were, for example haskell, ashton and tuilagi were the only ones that looked inspired to play, and they were our best players
Posted 21:37 28th October 2011
it's an easy thing to knock england. the off field stuff without wishing to endorse it was blown out of all proportion because we have gutter press and had "royalty" playing + a long standing disaffection from other rugby nations, particularly the celts (bbc anyone)
the biggest problems for me were Ben youngs shouldnt have played - not fit - the backline didnt function and i think it starts with poor service
flood should have started
players like wood / hape should have been given more opportunity
poor kicking at goal and out of hand
quality in the final phases (fitness possibly?)
and dare i say it feels like england are referreed to a different standard at times (we are all one eyed when it comes to sport i know) but we are also are our own worst enemies. I think we could take a leaf out of the french book - the french didnt even bother competing for the ball in 95% defensive rucks, they just let the opposition have it. we could cut our penalty count in half by adopting that approach. defensively we are a good side, we just lack a bit of awareness at the breakdown
despite the negative, i dont think any england fan thought we would win the competition beofre it started, we have a young side and 2015 could be more promising
Posted 18:15 28th October 2011
I think the problem with english rugby is the english supporters -- nobody writes longer and more analytical blogs than they do -a reflection of the whole english old farts brigade --the shorter and more weird the bloggs the better the rugby team -- act, dont think ,` a bad plan executed now is better than a brilliant plan executed tomorrow --`Paton`-- so shorter bizzare bloggs will make your team better -paradoxical , but it works --
Posted 15:56 28th October 2011
Lets not plaster over the cracks: England just weren't very good.
The real question is why - how can you fix it if you don't understand it?
The first and (only) obvious thing is that the RFU needs to be sorted out. You have to make the changes at the top and work down with a clear vision. the RFU needs to support development and pick some good coaches - give them a series of goals and step back. Fire them if they miss their goals and leave them to get on with it.
Step 2: Coaches and players:
Coaches - something needs to change. Personally I would hire Richard Hill as breakdown coach and make sure that whoever the head coach is they were on board with the personnel needs...
Personnel: England needs to develop world class Internationals at 1,4,5,7,8,10,11,12,13
They also need to develop Hartley, Lawes, Wood, Youngs, Care, Ashton, Foden, Armitage, Cole, Stevens, Corbisiero, Tuilangi, Haskell so they all reach their potential.
The raw material is there and the question is how to develop it, win some tournaments on the way and make a good showing as hosts of the RWC in 2015.
The coaches who might do this:
Graham Henry, Clive Woodward, Ian McGeechan, Nick Mallet. Martin Johnson might but he is a huge gamble (at least from the outside) as he could easily be the source of most of the problems to date...
The man I would hire - Richard Hill as breakdown coach.
Posted 15:53 28th October 2011
Hindsight is a great levaller isnt it lol while we all knew taking Tindal was a mistake who would have predicted Mr consistancy J.Wilkinson would be so out of form come the RWC.In fact the only old guard players who should have gone where Thompson and Shriedan really and JW (his loss of form wasnt really apparant till it started ) all the rest where just passengers.But MJ was pragmatic and they went to give direction and leadership in that they failed big time on and off the pitch.Espically when we had better in form youngsters left at home but thats life isnt it lol.Im not in despair though the RFU finally seems to be getting its act togather and hopfully will secure G.Henry for the EPD to give vision and direction to the coaches long term(club and national) also finally the young talant are availaible from the last 2 JRWC where we came 2nd and at age group leval we are winning G/Slams at every age.I still think MJ can /will be a great coach espically under GHs guidance but his coaching team needs a shake up and to be more adventurous in selection.So it looks like S.Edwards finally might be the defence coach and most importantly we need a new attack coach B.Ashton is renowned as an attack coach so he might fit every other coach mentioned is contracted to a AP club so not available.As to foriegn coaches for our attack well the only one who stands out is Howley lol and i cant see him leaving Wales for England can you lol.Perhaps we can poach the leinster coach (Chelka i think??)as he seems to have married NH style forward play with exciting SH style backs play but that will upset the irish nodought lol.I t would be expensive to buyout his contract ec tbut maybe nows the time to use the RFUs financle muscle to secure the best coaches to advise MJ and get the team really playing
Posted 13:28 28th October 2011
A shambles! Good players become bad, and they don't pick the right players or play the right tactics! As a Welshman I am not overly upset by this, but the first step has to be to pick managers, coaches and selectors who actually have a rough idea of what they are doing.
What on earth is a player like Tindall doing playing rugby at the RWC. What happened to Youngs, Ashton and Lawes at the RWC? Why not pick the best props? Why not stick with a plan? Why not try to stick with your best players - even if you got these wrong? As I said, a shambles!
Posted 13:15 28th October 2011