5 February 2013


The debate about the 3rd tier of Rugby has been enlivened lately, as a result of the suggestion for using the Universities, as the providers. As usual, the Sydney boys only want to see teams from Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra. Hasnt' the penny dropped yet, after all these years?

In case some hadn't heard, Melbourne and Perth have Super Rugby teams etc. If you want Rugby to be truly strong, you need to have a state based competition and have one team per state, in every state.

Just like the Sheffield Shield - for the weak states, you allow exemptions to draft in as many players as needed. You let natural selection and attrition work for you. I am sure that the pool of available club players around Australia is sufficient to find good Tier 3 quality players, so that should not be a consideration.
You try to schedule it so that the best players are available, but if they aren't you pick your next best - that's how you develop people.

If you had one team from each of Qld, NSW, ACT, Vic, SA, Tas, WA and NT and they play a "home and away" situation, you have 16 weeks spread throughout the season. If you can get a fair bit of that out of the way before the Club season starts, so much the better, or you wait until the end of Super Rugby and play an 8 round comp. Out of say, 320 players in total, you will lose 30+ Wallabies. Personally, I would start with small steps and go for an 8 round comp spread over the season. Nothing wrong with playing mid-week games - Monday night and Friday night are great football nights and the TV networks like them. A bit of competition for NRL.

If the main universities then swing in behind this, and you base each franchise at one of them, we can start to use the horsepower of the University system, which I think is a great idea, and why didn't we think of it before? .. and then, logically, you can develop the academy system, through the university link. It doesn't necessarily mean that you have to run an Under 23 comp, but if you did, maybe you could grant each team overage exemptions, or something.  We just need to think outside the square.

Logistics will always be an issue, there will have to be salary caps, etc, but these are the factors that have always hindered us in the past and will continue to, unless we take bold steps.

The proposal will not find favour with the traditionalists in Sydney and Brisbane. So what. Time for bravery and logical thought.

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