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Tough for the Welsh - the money "apparently" isn't there.
Looking long-term, if Gatland loses access to some of these players, it could impact their chance to get into the Wales team. Furthermore, that means they could impact their chances at getting on the Lions tour next summer.
A lot of what I say is hypothetical of course - if Gatland gets the access he needs, then Wales could end up being even better.
Posted 12:46 30th April 2012
Looks a great plan unfortunatly it wont ever happen as a side playing in the AP would come under RFU control and not WRU and would technically be an english club .Iam afraid that welsh rugby is locked into the Pro12 with all its faults .Thats where the major overhaul needs to be made imo,with the scraping of automatic HC qualification based on national lines and rather on merit for a start.
Posted 04:21 28th April 2012
@ GCP_JONES - absolutely no difference, as long as you chuck in a ball, with singlets and mullets all round.
Posted 16:36 27th April 2012
How about a solution. If it comes to it, re-professionalise the Welsh club game in its current format, but maintain one (maybe two) regional sides representing the whole country, playing in the Aviva and Heineken Cup, and one playing in the Pro12 and Amlin, with both of them playing their home games around the country. Then the Premiership clubs would have a sustainable product (the local derbies and some big names back), the academy and development structure (the real success of regionalisation) would be protected, the steps between club and international rugby would be far more suited to developing players than the current system, the three sides will hopefully be good enough to draw the crowds and revenue Hook et al. are chasing in France, and eventually earn that domestic success as well. It would also be perfect for the national team to have a squad of 32 players used to playing together at club level as the focal point of Welsh club rugby.
Posted 15:00 27th April 2012
It's not just the money the players are getting paid, it's also trophies and recognition.
The Ospreys stumble along in the HC with a clear gap between them and the cream of Europe, the Blues won the Amlin and nearly made a HC Final then get demolished by Leinster and the Scarlets and Dragons fight over the last HC qualification place, but look vulnerable in the tournament. The Anglo-Welsh Cup is now a second tier competition for Colts, and the Pro12 (where the Ospreys and Scarlets have had success) is generally reckoned to be a bit soft (the HC priorities of Leinster and Munster, the Irish squad players being rested at the start of the season, the Second XVs during the autumn and 6N and no relegation).
Most of the players forming this exodus are over 27. They know the clubs they're joining will have no problem getting 5 or 6 new players every season until they achieve what they want. They know the games are bigger, the stadia are bigger and the crowds are bigger, so the buzz is also bigger, and they know that "Aled Brew, Biarritz Olympique" gets far more respect than "Aled Brew, N-G Dragons" ever would. Let them go. They gave it enough time playing in Wales to realise that the regions would never be able to attract the sort of international talent that gravitates towards Leinster, Leicester and Toulouse, they earned the chance to spend three years in the sunshine at the highest level in Europe.
What is concerning are the ones under 27, Tom Smith, Craig Mitchell and potentially Alex Cuthbert. If those players start believing Welsh sides can't win "big" trophies, then the regions are in danger of becoming second class sides, led by two or three proud local players, surrounded by journeymen, kids and a few aging overseas marquee names, watching every promising player head to France or England as soon as the offers come.
Posted 14:43 27th April 2012
Fair Play To Ya Bro, I never looked at Aussie Rules with that perspective, I may yet be converted.
I can't afford to head to Australia, so I plan to stand outside a chipper after closing time and wait for a brawl to break out, its roughly the same thing right?.
Posted 13:53 27th April 2012
@ GCP_JONES - I actually quite like Aussie rules and went to see many "matches" when I lived in Oz:
Catch ball and punch it away;
Catch ball and stand still;
Opposition punches you.
Kick ball to team-mate;
Run with ball, bounce it a few times and punch ball to team-mate.
Get punched by opposition.
Kick ball at goal.
Still get points.
Continue until Four'N Twenty Meat Pies run out and there are no more opposition to punch.
Brilliant! What's not to like about watching grown men with mullets and singlets running around punching each other aimlessly, until it's too dark to see anymore and everyone's injured?
Posted 11:58 27th April 2012
As has been said the NZRFU,have a fantastic grassroots programe to develop players .England are trying to copy certain parts of it to develop our own talant .and it seems to be working given the amount of good talant comming though the age groups atm.I dont think the WRU has a programme and its more down to the regions acadamies ,and clubs atm .I also feel the lack of an A team hinders Welsh player development after all once a player is over 20,there is no represenative team in Wales .This means the likes of D.Bigger ,J.Tovey ,A,Beck and S.Shingler and alot of others miss out on playing high leval international rugby .and will most probily never wear the red of Wales as they fall off the radar so to speak or the new wonder kid comes along .Until the WRU invest in a proper development programme i can see the exodus of young welsh talant continuing ala S.Shingler to London Irish ,Also as the circumstances surronding S.Shinglers attempt to change national affiliation are very unlikly to be repeated i can see young welsh talant playing for other countries in the future through lack of prospects to wear the red of Wales .Aftrer all these players have dreams too to play at the highest leval and earn a good living .Which playing international games will give them as it enhances their profile ect.The WRU really need to act now imo
Posted 13:44 26th April 2012
@davodiablo - Clearly they have missed Hayman. Whilst Evans is world class, I'm not certain they've missed him.
Posted 13:11 26th April 2012
@JasonHarrison - if there's a problem, then I'd recommend trying to solve it. Obviously something NZ aren't the best at doing! Also, you know full well that NZ have a greater strenght in depth so the impact on a country such as Wales will be much greater - hence it is more of a problem!
Posted 13:09 26th April 2012
With Regards to Carl Hayman, anytime I have seen the all Blacks the Franks Brothers and Tialata (when he was picked) looked to be filling his boots quite well. I cannot argue with you about Nick Evans pure class altough he has gone down in my estimation by playing Aussie Rules quiet possibly the worst team sport ever to be played on the Planet, a bastardisation of Rugby, Gaelic Football played on a Cricket pitch(what were they smoking when they came up with that one)., but you have to admit C Henry's handling of cover for Dan C has been both unlucky and Amateurish.
I think Rugby Union should stop trying to tap into the Rugby League market in Australia and New Zealand, if people don't get Union so be it go watch League. Rugby league is like going to McDonalds for a meal its tasty enough but your hungry 20 minutes later.
Posted 12:36 26th April 2012
@GCP . There was no one seamlessly jumping into Carl Hayman's boots when he left. And we sure as hell missed Nick Evans the last couple of years .
Posted 19:05 25th April 2012
GCP Jones, that can't just be it.
NZ rugby faces the threat of a cashed up RL presence, from within and from Aust, while the Aussie Rules people also make noises about it. (Nick Evans is a former Aussie Rules player). If NZ Rugby had the cash to match, or even approach, its plans then the future would look safer.
What the NZRU is doing this year given its limited funding base is to develop its playing ranks. On the domestic front, games in its domestic comp (ITM Cup or former NPC) are being played on Tuesdays-Saturdays/Sundays with teams fielding a seven-man bench (extra prop allowed); this year there will be a women's ITM Cup competition while the schoolboys (school rugby is already televised) will also play in an ITM Cup-affiliated competition.
This all stems from building the game at the grassroots game and not signing up overhyped, overpaid foreigners (Haskell is an exception; he took a big pay cut to play in NZ this season).
NZ's biggest weapon in keeping its brightest stars at home is the black jersey.
Posted 15:34 25th April 2012
I don't think it has anything to do with the other 3 nations. It should be down to the Welsh RFU to sort out their own mess and not rely on the old enemy to bail them out. The run of success Wales have had recently would indicate they are not short of a bob or two. Maybe they shouldn't squander all the money on training camps to Poland etc.
Posted 14:24 25th April 2012
@JasonHarrison.. you make a valid point, but it seems to me when a player leaves the SH to join a european club, there seems to be a seemless transition onto the next player waiting in the the wings.
I have no explanation as to why that is(maybe there a simply more people playing the game in NZ), but that is not the case in say Wales
Posted 11:42 25th April 2012
Watch out the attendance in the Top 14 stadiums, compare it to the Pro12...
That tells all. The issue comes from the fans as well.
Posted 11:00 25th April 2012
It was always said that the Celtic/Magners/Pro12 was competative on the back of the Welsh and irish teams, when you look at the players leaving Wales it makes the league weaker and increasingly less attractive to fans wanting to see games that are a contest.
I think the 4 unions should sit down along with other stakeholders to see if there is anything that could be done to stop the exodus from Wales.
Posted 09:54 25th April 2012
So what are the players supposed to do? The Welsh RFU need to stump up an appealing package if they want the players to stay in Wales.
Posted 08:58 25th April 2012