Planet Rugby

Examining the 2015 legacy plans

03rd November 2012 14:32

Share:

Ian Ritchie the RFU chief executive Jason Leonard and Steve Grainger

2015: Great hopes for the World Cup and beyond

In 2003, the Sales Director of a UK DVD production business who'd secured the rights to the RWC Final, walked into the Telstra Stadium. He rang his boss and asked: "Do you want the good news or the bad news?"

"The good news is if England win, we have sales of over 4 million units. The bad news is that if we lose, we don't have any."

In short, the fate of this business lay totally in the hands of the National rugby team.

This is an extract from Planet Rugby's FREE weekly newsletter, the Crooked Feed, which featuring opinions, news and competitions. All you have to do is click here and sign up to receive our weekly email.

On the other side of the coin, Clive Woodward, the eccentric perfectionist, a man that wanted to confront predominantly from the left field, planned his war campaign impeccably. Even to the day he won. However, he thought not a moment past that fleeting November day, and nor did Francis Baron, the RFU CEO, who admitted in later years to be astonished by the reaction (and also, frustrated by the gamete of missed legacy and growth opportunities).

On Wednesday, the RFU confirmed their 2015 RWC Legacy Plan, a five-year programme of substantial growth in all areas of the game, but with particular emphasis at the grass roots level.

CEO Ian Ritchie, rugby's favourite tennis Uncle, was at pains to point out that at no time had a deeper consultative process and plan been put together; that he wanted it to include provision for continuing delivered growth for a full four years past 2015 and that, especially with the landmark appointment of RWC 2015 CEO Debbie Jeavons from LOCOG, the RFU would learn and deliver for rugby upon what the London Olympics achieved for the nation.

Steve Grainger, RFU's Rugby Development Director, has also been refreshingly forthright in his foci, citing growth and retention at the 14-24 age group pinch point as being essential, promising to bring 750 new schools online with an active rugby offering, and using low impact versions of the game as feeders into the 15-a-side format. He also emphasised the need for growth in all administrative aspects - from volunteers, to the crucial referees and coaches.

Even the IRB are impressed. They commented to The Crooked Feed that, "No nation had engaged so effectively and early in the legacy process", and that they were "thrilled with the vision."

In short, in the terms of the layman, the RFU said they would look to grow the game by 10% across the board by the end of 2015.

It was refreshing to hear both a plausible and passionate RFU rhetoric. Clearly, this time, targets for game growth have been set at ambitious levels. As too has the recruitment drive for players, coaches and volunteers alike. Nor do the RFU claim to be anything other than commercial (for the right reasons) in their view of growing the sport, but in doing so they are embracing the fact that the game needs to be more financially stable, indeed sustainable, within England.

In fact, even their ethos of bringing a set of ethical and sporting values to its participants are sending out resoundingly pleasing messages to the listener, but - and it's a rather big but - the rather annoying fact is that the single biggest shot in the arm the English game could get is winning the tournament in England.

Yes, the RFU have been strategically superb in both articulating a vision and an ambition. They have been clear on the targets on which they wish to be measured and rightly should be congratulated.

But the danger is that they've now set themselves so many different yardsticks that they and others will lose sight of (or, cynically, have attention deflected from) their single most effective marketing strategy: be the best team in the world.

Do this, and the legacy plan will far exceed even the RFU's ambitious promises and the IRB's wildest dreams.

Do not lose sight of what really makes a difference in sport: winning.

By James While

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
International Match
Saturday , November 1
Barbarians vs AustraliaBarbarians vs Australia Preview
USA vs New ZealandUSA vs New Zealand Preview
More International Match fixtures
LV= Cup
Saturday , November 1
Sale Sharks vs Wasps14:00
Exeter vs Gloucester15:00
Bath vs London Welsh15:00
London Irish vs Leicester15:00
Northampton vs Newcastle16:00
Sunday , November 2
Saracens vs Harlequins13:00
More LV= Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Leinster vs EdinburghLeinster vs Edinburgh Preview
Glasgow vs Benetton TrevisoGlasgow vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Ospreys vs ConnachtOspreys vs Connacht Preview
Saturday , November 1
Cardiff Blues vs Munster17:15
Scarlets vs ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Preview
Ulster vs Newport Gwent D'gonsUlster vs Newport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 1
Lyon vs Toulouse13:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
La Rochelle vs Montpellier18:30
Brive vs Castres18:30
Bayonne vs Clermont Auvergne20:45
Sunday , November 2
Toulon vs Grenoble13:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 26
Castres 16 - 21 LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Report
Clermont Auvergne 35 - 3 Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Report
Benetton Treviso 10 - 26 Racing Metro 92
Wasps 16 - 23 HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Report
Saturday , October 25
Ulster 13 - 23 ToulonUlster vs Toulon Report
Bath 19 - 21 ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Report
Montpellier 13 - 15 GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Report
Northampton 34 - 6 OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Report
Scarlets 15 - 3 LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Rovigo 18 - 33 Cardiff Blues
Exeter 33 - 13 Connacht
Bucuresti 9 - 13 Stade Francais
Oyonnax 15 - 25 Gloucester
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Western Province 19 - 16 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 36 - 32 TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615