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PRO 14 gauged against Super Rugby

Forum » Rugby » PRO 14 gauged against Super Rugby

Apr 03, 2019, 18:52

I guess most of you have read the article on top right side of Rugby News on this site.

The Cheetahs boss says it is MUCH tougher than Super Rugby.

I guess he is qualified to know and this is a nail in the coffin of the ongoing debate about rugby standards in the north versus the south.

There have been conflicting takes on this on this forum.

I think Saffex is the best member to comment on this issue. Ol' Mike and probably most Southerners don't agree. But I'm inclined to believe the view of actual coaches and players that have tested's practical experience versus opinion and hearsay.

Apr 03, 2019, 21:15

What a load of shit. Of course the smarting Cheetahs coach would say the Pro 14 is harder he is pissed off they got axed from the competition.

The Pro 14 comprises clubs excluding England and France. The Welsh and Irish club sides mostly play their reserve sides in the competition. You don’t see Munster fielding all their Irish internationals when they take on the Cheetahs.

So Seb you believe the coaches if that makes you happy!!!

Apr 04, 2019, 09:12

Saffex, thanks for your reply... I referred to you because I respect your opinion especially because you are based in England and yes I too considered and thought the Cheetahs coach statement could or might  be "sour grapes" and therefore not valid. I'm satisfied that you are correct in this comparison. Both The Cheetahs and Kings have been a big disappointment though.

And yes the PRO 14 is not a good comparison on further analysis.

On the otherhand it does appear that Northern rugby is on par with Southern, but it is not really possible to accurately compare them because of different conditions, travel etc.

Be that as it may, franchise/club rugby is not one of my favourites...International Rugby is what turns me on and the flagship of rugby. The WC being the ultimate. I expect Ireland, Wales and England to really test the quality of Southern rugby.

Apr 04, 2019, 10:20

You have to understand what the purpose of the PRO14, previously PRO12, is.

England and France have the Premiership and the Top14, respectively, with 12 and 14 professional clubs taking part in each.

The rest of the Six Nations countries have the following:

Scotland - 2 Clubs, Ireland - 4 Provincial sides and Wales - 4 Regional clubs. Italy has a bit of a different set up and their clubs the only clubs who are in a financial position to compete are Benetton and Zebre.

Prior to the PRO12, Scotland, Ireland and Wales played in the Celtic League.

Remember that the PRO12 replaced the old Celtic league when Italy was invited to join the league and the old Five Nations.

The reason for the existence of the Celtic League/PRO12/PRO14 was that none of the countries have enough clubs for their top players to compete in a proper domestic competition on their own.

So, for that reason, I cannot agree with Saf that Ireland and Wales only play their reserve players in the the PRO14.

If, for argument sake, that has been the case, then they would be shooting themselves in the foot because the only other competitions where they can field their Top players are the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup.

In addition to the above, I strongly believe that there is no difference in level between the European competitions, on the one side, and the Premiership/Top14/PRO14, on the other side. I say that, as I have said many times, because of the way that the European season is structured.

In Europe they run the domestic competitions (including the PRO14), European competitions and the Six Nations alongside each other. They do not, like in the SH, break down the season by having certain players excluded from certain competitions. The only times when the top players, in the domestic and European competitions, are withdrawn is during the periods when the Six Nations rounds are played but in those times England and France are doing the same. Apart from those periods you have virtually the same players play in both the domestic competitions (and, once again, the PRO14) and the European competitions.

That is in stark contrast with the SH and SANZAAR where there is a huge difference between the level of the SR competition and the domestic competitions.

I have said it before and I will say it again. If SANZAAR could get themselves to adopt the European model, they would once again fill the stadiums and they would create an unstoppable dominance in rugby. At this stage the so-called strength of the SH rugby is an illusion due to the dominance of the ABs at the top of the rankings.

Apr 04, 2019, 10:42

Very good and informative post....thanks for your effort Ceradyne.

Apr 04, 2019, 11:37

With reference to your post Vlag you clearly don’t watch the Pro 14 games for if you did you would not stupidly indicate that the Welsh and Irish sides play their first choice players in the competition.

Maybe you should actually watch the competition before opening your big ignorant mouth.

But please feel free to prove me wrong - a simple team sheet look up of say Munster vs Cheetahs will do.


Apr 04, 2019, 12:01

Take all the Southern Hemisphere born players out of their tournaments, and they will fall apart. They do not have enough homegrown talent to fill half the teams. (This includes England and France). 

They are getting better - but they are reaping the benefits of the Southern Hemisphere feeder systems.

Apr 04, 2019, 12:16

Oh really? Then enlighten us as to which other opportunity those clubs have to play their top players?

Apr 04, 2019, 12:58

There is an easy way to work this out. Check how many games each of the top test players play (from IRE, Wales). Then subtract around 12 games to cover tests. 

Then subtract the number of EU club games.  (e.g 10) 
The remainder would how many Pro 14 games they play. 

One thing is certain that French and English teams to play more games, but they have also traditionally had more Southern Hemisphere players.

Apr 04, 2019, 13:19

Here is an easy one.

Saracens have, so far, played 20 Premiership games and 7 Champions Cup games.

Toulouse have played 20 Top 14 games and 7 Champions Cup games.

Munster has played 18 PRO14 games and 7 Champions Cup games.

Why would Munster play their “reserve” players in 18 games and give their top players 7 games in the season?

If there are any clubs who have more opportunity and reason to play reserve players more, it would be the French and English clubs.

Apr 04, 2019, 13:43

Vlag try not duck and dive just a simple google will give you the teamsheets of Munster vs Cheetahs and comeback and tell me it’s a Munster first choice side you arrogant and ignorant prick.

Obviously there are some first choice players that do play in the Pro 14 sides but the majority of their sides are made up of the fringe players like Taute, Arno Botha etc. You certainly don’t see CJ Stander starting every Pro 14 game.

Apr 04, 2019, 15:06

“Vlag try not duck and dive just a simple google will give you the teamsheets of Munster vs Cheetahs and comeback and tell me it’s a Munster first choice side you arrogant and ignorant prick.”

Have you run out of your Tourette’s meds’ again?

Apr 04, 2019, 15:22

Well, they probably don't NEED their first choice players when playing against the Cheetahs or the Kings...

Apr 04, 2019, 18:45

Saffex why can't you be reasonable to somebody who tried to's his input and his opinion and to me it was genuine but conflicting with your view and need to insult him.

I respected your opinion attack him with your opinions is unacceptable behaviour...he was kind and helpful and respectful...he did NOT tell me I'm an idiot...which I probably am as far as NH rugby is concerned.

I should never have raised the subject and yes I don't expect us all to hold hands and sing Kumbaya but at least control ourselves, make our points without insults.

I've always enjoyed your inputs until you fly off the handle and start swearing and insulting.

No wonder your side kick has cottoned on to such similar behaviour...lets build this forum, not destroy it.

Apr 04, 2019, 19:50

I don’t need to be reasonable to some prick who tries to undermine what I have said, it’s what useless Vlag gets off on but unfortunately for him he is poor at it.

Fact is the Irish and Welsh club sides play under strength sides in the Pro 14 because I know this as I actually watch the games. I don’t need some twat telling me otherwise based on some made up version of his own take on things having clearly not watched much Pro 14 if any at all.

Seb if you don’t like my tone you can fuck off - hope that helps?

Apr 04, 2019, 19:51

Vlag keep ducking and diving you worthless prick. So true to form

Apr 10, 2019, 14:44

There is an issue with the Pro 14 teams not fielding the strongest teams very often.
WalesOnline posted some stats backing this up recently. The Welsh tend to field their best players slightly more than the Irish teams do. As an example in the 2017-2018 season Johnny Sexton played just 5 times in the Pro 14 and never at an away game (only played in  1 away game in 2017-2017 season) , Robbie Henshaw played only 3 times in the 2017-2018 season. CJ Stander played 8 times in 2017-2018. They also point out at the end of the season when a media panel announces the dream team of the year players like Sexton are never nominated because they simple don't play in it enough. 

There is benefits to not playing the best players frequently that apply at a national level. Player welfare being one and it does help develop talent that goes on to the national teams. At club level it allows at least the Irish teams to focus and  compete with the larger finances and player bases of the English and French teams in the Champions Cup. But it does affect the quality and prestige of the league.

I still enjoy watching the Pro 14 and I've seen some cracking matches in it. But there is an ongoing issue with the full strength teams not being played often. I do think the Pro 14 organizers view the inclusion of more South African teams down the road as a way of addressing the issue.
What I've love to know is would this change if the other African teams from Super Rugby decided to join. How competitive would they be? If for example they joined and they became eligible for qualification to the champions cup would they force some of the stronger teams in the Pro 14 like Glasgow, Munster, Leinster to filed stronger teams more often or risk losing out on qualification into Europe.

Would the better South African teams easily make the top 4? Where do you think they would end up at the end of Pro 14 season with their current squads?

Apr 10, 2019, 15:32

Why would one want to watch a watered down side run onto the field?

I have a lot better things to do with my time ... and money.

Apr 10, 2019, 16:20

Several reasons.

The quality is still good enough. When I say they don't field their best teams, it doesn't mean the team they are fielding is a bad team. Leinster for example had James Lowe, Scott Fardy and Jack McGrath on their team last weekend. Munster unloaded all the big guns from the bench, like CJ Stander, Conor Murray, Tadhg Beirne, Peter O'Mahony was playing from the start as well. As I said in the previous post, I've seen some cracking matches in the league (along with a mix or okay and crap games).

Secondly for myself and a lot of other Irish people its our local league in the one sport that we can compete in and say we are among the best in the world. We can go to local games and see some of the worlds best players and often their home grown talent. Robbie Henshaw and Jack Carty are from the town I live in. When I go down to the Sportsground in Galway to see Connacht play your so close to the pitch you can always touch the players, the likes of Stuart Hogg and Joey Carberry playing about 5 feet away from you.

If your a travelling support, there is some fantastic cities to visit on City breaks, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Glaway, Belfast, Parma.

I also go to local lower league games as well, to watch my local town team the Buccaneers play in the All Ireland League 2nd division. Is it quality high?..... no not particularly but the games can still be entertaining. and you never know when you might see some good players that feed into the provinces,  that can lead to international level or in the case of one Buccaneers player Jordan Conroy be an extremely good 7's player scoring 10 try's on the way to winning the recent Hong Kong qualifier. I go and watch because I want to support my local team and players and watch the Pro 14 to support my Province (or in the case of the Champions cup all 4 provinces)

I'm not blind to the issues the league has, I would like to see its best players play more often (yet somehow maintain or improve player welfare). Its not a bad league, and currently their is no alternative to it. Playing in the current European competitions alone would not have enough rugby to sustain the teams and aside from which you need a way of deciding who qualifies for Europe anyway.

Apr 10, 2019, 16:28

Nice posts no attention to rude posters...we have a few here but generally the majority are decent guys.

Apr 10, 2019, 16:50

Cheers Sebastien, don't worry I've been round the internet long enough to know what some posters on discussion forums can be like. I simply don't engage with rude people.

Apr 10, 2019, 20:29

Case closed

Apr 11, 2019, 06:17

They are getting better - but they are reaping the benefits of the Southern Hemisphere feeder systems.

Nope. The SH feeder system takes advantage of the opportunities provided by the NH. Without them, SH rugby collapses, it has grown too big to be sustained by SH alone.

Apr 11, 2019, 06:24

Why would Munster play their “reserve” players in 18 games and give their top players 7 games in the season?

If there are any clubs who have more opportunity and reason to play reserve players more, it would be the French and English clubs.

It can be understood that shipping away a landgrabbed environment has warped perception, still, in other places, people rank profitable activities.

Irish rugby takes money from the six nations, tour, ECs and then pro 14. English and french rugby in particular, make money out of their leagues first.

Irish sides put their first class squads where the bread snd butter are.

Apr 11, 2019, 09:01

Stavanger ... watching the local high school play against their top competition is most certainly entertaining ... and it has nothing to do with what quality their players are. One cheers just as loudly as one would in a test match. Besides that ... they tend to field the best team they can.

However ... I certainly would not be charmed if the Super Rugby team that I support kept fielding their 2nd stringers. Why would I be happy with that? Why would I bother watching the match? I certainly won't pay good money to watch a water down team pretending rugby.

Yes ... I can see the fun in touring around and seeing the sights. That would most definitely be the highlight of following a watered down side around. In fact, I may just find myself enjoying my lunch with a few new faces and end up forgetting why I was there in the first place.



Apr 11, 2019, 09:01

Apr 11, 2019, 09:01


Apr 11, 2019, 09:01

Apr 11, 2019, 09:01

Apr 11, 2019, 09:16

Sebastien ... there is no need to apologies to him on my behalf.

He has no idea of your drunken binges ... and that one of your drunken episodes could quite easily see you turn on him ... using an assortment of very colourful language.

It is a side to your personality that we've all seen ... many times ... so please ... just hush up and mind your own business ... and let him and I engage in a chat in whatever manner we please.

Thanks a lot!!

Apr 11, 2019, 14:26

Cleancut, for me and for a lot of others who follow the Pro 14 it is an issue that sticks in the back of your mind. Of course you want to see the matches where the teams play their strongest possible side.

There is  multiple reasons for doing this. Many of the Irish provinces top players have duel contracts with both the provinces and the IRFU. This allows the provinces and IRFU to pool their resources to keep the top players in Ireland by offering wages more comparable to what English and French clubs can offer. The IRFU dictates to the provincess how many games these players can play in a season as part of their player welfare system. So even if the clubs wanted to play these players sometimes they can't. Then of course a lot of top players are missing over the 6 Nations period and of course injuries are sometimes the reasons players can't be played. Finally when you factor in the priority for the top Irish provinces is Europe, they will often rest players during a league game the week before a European match to ensure they are in good shape for that. So its not a huge surprise that the top players may only play in 25-50% of league games with some exceptions (like A-list players who not eligible to play for Ireland yet and foreign players who will never be eligible and thus will play in most of the league games)

Player welfare is extremely important. Irish players know they can go to France and command considerable higher wages than they would get at home but they know they will be flogged like a work horse. I've also read numerous articles in English media from English players complaining they are overplayed and struggling to cope with the demands of their league, European rugby and international duty. One even suggested taking a wage cut if it mean't he would be played less. Rugby is a tough old game and really if you look at it, its suffering a massive and constant injury crisis for the last number of years.

The system also benefits the national set up by forcing the provinces to develop players, instead of playing the same players over and over.

For the likes of Munster, Leinster and Glasgow even fielding mostly a B side with 2-3 A-listers per game throughout the season, they still will comfortable make the top 6 and get into Europe. That's why I've love to know how the Super Rugby South African teams would compare. Would they put enough pressure on these teams to force them to field stronger teams more consistently or risk missing out on European qualification.

I do not agree with your view that its pretend rugby. Even if its not the strongest possible team out on the field the matches can still be high quality and an entertaining affair. Of course you can get the odd dud matches, but I've seen dud matches when the full strength teams are out as well occasionally. If you want the very best all the time you would never bother going to anything. Watch my local rugby team...nah can't be bothered their a bunch of amateurs playing pretend rugby, call me when the All Blacks are playing!. Do I want to attend my childs school play.....nah its not  the Royal Albert Hall, production values are rubbish! No you can go to these events and still have a good time and be entertained.

Anyway the TLDR version of my post. I enjoy the Pro 14 but know it could be better, the way I think it could be better is if a few strong teams where to join (i.e South African SR teams) and make reaching the play offs and European qualifying spot more difficult to achieve.

Apr 11, 2019, 15:15

Stavanger ... I see your point.

We have a tendency in South Africa to “flog the work horse” without mercy, and this usually ends up with some long term injuries ... which as you know, hurts the team a lot more, than having a top player rested.

Many of our players are contracted elsewhere in the off season and when they return they're either tired, over played or injured. 

I have a few favourites on crutches as we speak ... and their absence is rather frustrating. Patience has never been a strength of mine.

We also seem to flog our coaches at the best of times by putting a lot of pressure on them. We’re a demanding and unreasonable lot and insist on having the best dished up all the time.

In the end squad depth would play an important role for a successful season to be had. I’m sure that the best possible team is always a priority and so it should be. Looking after your assets is key.  We can learn from this.

You are most fortunate to have so many beautiful cities a mere stone throw away. It’s not always possible for us to travel long distances in support of our team. Australasia is a long way away.

I envy you.

There has been a lot of talk regarding the possible inclusion of additional South African sides in the Pro 14. I’m not sure what will come of it.

I think this may be the very reason why so many changes have been tabled for the southern hemisphere competitions (Super Rugby & 4 Nations) ... clearly the north is been seen as a threat now.

I would love to see the Lions play in the Pro 14.

Who knows ... it may still happen.

Apr 11, 2019, 16:15

Drunken binges...what's your case...utter tripe I might have have a glass of wine with my wife now and then...but I stopped a long time ago and never been a slave to this stuff, it really is a waste of money and I'm exceptionally fit and healthy...that's very important to me as I climb in the Berg..

Apr 11, 2019, 16:21

Fit and healthy ... ??



Please accept my apology.

Apr 11, 2019, 16:21

Apr 11, 2019, 16:21

Apr 11, 2019, 18:50

CleanCut, player welfare is a delicate balancing act. We all want to see the best players but the human body can't cope with current rugby demands.

The Pro 14 is 19 rounds in the regular season and potentially 1-3 more rounds if you make the play offs. The Champions Cup or Challenge Cup adds at least 6 more games in the group stages and up to 3 more if you make the final. 

A typically international season for the Northern Hemisphere would add on 5 6 Nations games, a summer tour of 3 matches and a November series of 3-4 matches.

Something has to give. I'm sure players are rested at some point in all leagues, maybe they should do it more, and maybe when it comes to the Pro 14 too many players are rested but to be honest I think their is simply too many games which is at odds with me saying I want more teams in the league and I want to see the best players more often.  I don't know how you reconcile the two different thought processes.

That is unless some rule changes are introduced that make the game less physical. Seems a lot of modern rugby is car crash rugby where you don't try to run round your opponent but run through him.

I am lucky to live where I live. You can make nice weekend city breaks for games, most destinations are no more than a little over an hour flight away and at most a little over 3 hours. Prices aren't too expensive Your unfortunately geographically isolated from the rest of the rugby world but hey I'm sure you have got some stunningly beautiful countryside to console yourselves with.

When it comes to Super Rugby, I've nothing against it. Its not shown over here and its not followed. Given that it contains the 3 traditional superpowers of world rugby's club teams one would assume its a high quality product but I'm aware its been struggling for a few years keeping fans engaged.

Reading around a few websites, what I've picked up on is that their is some resentment among South African's who feel they are propping up the competition and New Zealand rugby financially and that the long haul travel affects them the most. Also a feeling that Super Rugby's expansion diluted the competition as well as the conference system being too convoluted. 

There is reservations about going North. Firstly it could be seen as turning tail and running from the too strong competition in Super Rugby. You will no doubt get abuse from Kiwis and Aussies about running away. There is also the general sentiment to be the best your must regularly play the best i.e. play against New Zealand clubs in Super Rugby and play against New Zealand in the Rugby Championship. But taken in isolation,  I think this has been sentiment has been disproved, you have been playing against them for years now and have fallen back and stayed behind, so there must be other factors at play, such as the player drain to the North, and without wanting to delve into politics I also hear there is issues with quota's affecting the quality of South African teams. 

Another concern is that if the rest of the Super Rugby teams go north, this would offer more exposure of South Africa's rugby talent to the the north and might make the player drain even worse as the richer northern hemisphere clubs start throwing head spinning figures at player after seeing them up close.

One other concern of going north is the quality of the opposition in the Pro 14. Well I'd admit Zebre and Dragons are quite weak and have been for a long time, but the midfield is quite decent and competitive, while the top 3 teams are very strong and would compete well with any club team in the world. I know the Cheetahs and Kings are not great teams at the moment, but at least South Africa's worst is comparable to the Pro 14's worst. :)

So whats in it for both sides if South African teams went north.

Well from the Pro 14 of view, straight up again it comes down to money. While the IRFU have said they are confident they can keep most players at home by offering decent wages and player welfare policy, they have admitted they can't afford everyone. There is a fear that the Pro 14 will get left behind by English and French clubs financially and that will eventually result in the loss of competitiveness. Hence the idea of pooling our financial resources with South Africa could offset that imbalance. I don't believe the Pro 14 is looking to match the English leagues in money, just close the gap somewhat and let our player welfare system do the rest. No one is deluded to think we can match the insane money in France, the English aren't even close. 

Now why would South Africa want to move from propping up one league to another. Well I don't think the Pro 14 is struggling financially, its doing okay, its just we need a bigger market to tap into because the Pro 14 nations are small countries. Italy is big of course but Rugby is a minor sport there so not much money there. If South African teams don't join, the Pro 14 won't collapse, which is what I hear might happen to New Zealand rugby if South Africa leaves Super Rugby.

The main sponsor of Pro 14 is Guinness and I believe they view South Africa as an important market.

Secondly South Africa is an established tier 1 nation with strong rugby teams. If they where to join it would improve the overall quality of the league and that might go someone to address the issue of too many top players being rested during the season. They won't be able to if the competition is tough. What I'd loved to know from the posters on here is how strong they would think the Pro 14 + the 4 SA Super Rugby teams would be and how it would compare to other leagues.

Whats in for South African teams?

Well easier travel arrangements, the flights would still be quite long for South African teams but there would be less time zone changes, this does help with player welfare.

More frequent exposure to Northern hemisphere playing conditions. 

More favorable viewing hours for TV audience. No getting up in the middle of the night to watch matches.

If it proves more popular than Super Rugby and your joining with a financially better off league already, there will be more money in it for South African teams which makes them better able to hold on to their players.

Its potentially a gateway into European cup competitions. I don't think South African teams should bother joining if they are not eligible for Champions Cup qualification spots. While I don't think the Pro 14 would have a problem with this, its not up to the Pro 14 alone, the French and English clubs would have to agree to let you in. 

Anyway, sorry for the long post. If you didn't fall asleep, well done.


Apr 11, 2019, 19:08

No problem.

A lot of us have misbehaved here at times...sometimes just to let off steam rather than  kicking the dog.

CC has your puppy taken you for a walk yet...hahaha

Apr 11, 2019, 19:25

Stavanger it is good that we have an Irishman on board, especially one from Galway...Connacht rugby has an interesting can clarify and correct our faults regarding HM rugby.

I see the ex Aussie 7's coach Andy Friend is now your coach.

I'm from Irish descent, grandad was from Cork and immigrated with brother to SA and his brother actually played for SA against the British International in 2 tests that the Springboks won...there were only 3 tests and the Br Isles won the other.

Apr 11, 2019, 20:18

Hi Sebastien

I don't actually live in Galway but was born in County Galway.

I from Athlone, which the river Shannon runs through, the east side of the town in county Westmeath is in Leinster and the west side of town is county Roscommon which is in Connacht. I'm from the east side but Athlone's local team the Buccaneers which is also east side has always been associated with Connacht rugby and been something of a feeder team to the province. I live week days in Dublin though where I work.

Connacht is an interesting case in Irish rugby. It was the poor relation of the 4 rugby provinces, it was considered the feeder province for the other 3. A good few years back there was talk of disbanding it. While its still the smallest of the 4 provinces , its now doing well. It all kicked up a gear a few years back when Pat Lambe came onboard.

He did two things.

1. Play an exciting brand of rugby. Connacht under Lam where legendary for never kicking the ball. They ran absolutely everything and from everywhere and would keep possession for like 65%+ of the match. It didn't matter if they where defensively weak the opponents didn't get the ball enough to win. They trusted their handling skills and eventually they would find a way through to score after god knows how many phases. It won them the league in 2016 which was quite a shock.

2. Pat had the team go around to all the local schools and local public events in Connacht and really promote the game and the team to the young. The players found it quite cringey at first, but they really got into the spirit of it and it payed it. This along with winning more and they started developing quite a following. More bums on seats.

At one stage, people where so enamored with them that Pat Lambe was being talked about in the media as the next Ireland coach and why didn't the national team copy the exciting brand of rugby Connacht play instead of boring old Joe Schimdts methodical way of playing, like they actually asked Schimdt this in press conferences.

Anyway after winning the league Lambe took a massive money to move to Bristol. He was replaced by Kieran Keane but the results dropped steeply and Keane turned out to be something of a misery guts and was let go after a season.

Andy Friend has proven very popular. His style of rugby is much more pragmatic than Lamb's but still quite attractive to watch. He's getting decent results. Connacht have a great chance of the play offs and getting into the Champions Cup next year. He seems like a really decent guy. Comes across very well in interviews. He was actually sitting two feet in front of me a few weeks back in the Bucaneers club bar in Athlone, The Bounty a day after flying back from the Glasgow match, seems like he enjoys the Guinness here.

Asides from that Connacht have just been granted permission to redevelop their home ground, the Sportsground. The Sportsground is actually a shared venue with the original owner a greyhound racing track. Capacity is just under 8,000 currently, a lot of it standing. But the redevelopment which is going cost €30 million will see it increase its capacity to 12,000, as well as some new stands going in, their also going get new training facilities, such as partially indoor all weather training pitch as well I believe. This should bring their training facilities up to the standards of the other provinces an area were they have lagged behind. Its a great little venue, you get right up close to players. I'll post up some photo's of it if you like.

Apr 11, 2019, 20:20

Indeed ... welcome to this site. Hope to see more of you.

No ... you didn't bore me at all.

Our biggest concern is exposing our talent to rich northern franchises, as you said, but in truth most of our talented boys are being overlooked here anyway.

It is more important to those in charge to get the colour mix right. Merit no longer plays a role here. Selections are based on race.

We are already expecting and enforced 50% black representation for the coming world cup. There is no choice in the matter, so in all fairness, I'm all for our white boys furthering their careers elsewhere, even if it means becoming citizens of other countries. 

The Springbok is a thing of the past. We will sadly never field our best players again.


Apr 11, 2019, 20:45

Stvanger1 welcome aboard To me its all about keeping our players. Super Rugby contracts can't compete and we have over 300 professional players, including these days younger guys 

Not mentioned is the bent down under refs we contend with year by year.

My own humble opinion is that our Super Rugby sides would do very well on the Pro 14.

Apr 11, 2019, 21:13

Cleancut, you never know how things can change.

For many many years the pysche of Irish rugby was the plucky underdog, destined to eternally lose but show some heart while doing so. While lacking skill we would put up a fight, then come the 60 minute mark we run out of steam and collapse to massive defeats, time after time. That was our place.

While we had a small amount of success on tours to Australia, when we went on tour to New Zealand or South Africa the thought process for the fans was please don't embarrass us lads and try and keep the score under 70. The players at the time thought so too.

5 Nations goal. Simple, try to avoid the wooden spoon.  England are coming to town, prepared to get smashed up front and walked all over. The French OMG we have to play the French, if its a sunny spring day in Paris they will run riot. French rugby was so sexy back then it was almost X-rated.

We were so bad at the end of the 90's that Italy beat us 3 times in a row.

The provinces at the time? Well I remember reading a Munster players (his name eludes me) comments on what things use to be like, he was trying to give a pep talk to the team a half time during a European Heineken Cup (now Champions Cup) game. He was telling the players they could go on to win the cup. The entire dressing burst out laughing at him. Munster an Irish province can win the Heineken Cup when the French and English teams are competing in it....don't be daft!

Then the professional era came along and the IRFU low and behold got their house in order and much more than the other nations in the north did. It took a while but everything was aligned to improving the national team. Now when we go Australia or South Africa we expect to win. Its not because Aus and SA have declined as a rugby powerhouses (they may have) but because we now believe we are good enough and can beat anyone including New Zealand.

Meanwhile France's national team is a complete shambles. The mega rich clubs have complete control of the players, won't regularly release them for the national team, play foreign players in all the key positions and won't develop French talent, flog all their players to death and won't hire a non French coach, and all the French coaches are nuts. France play a fantastic game, best game in years and win comfortable, whats the French coach do....he drops 11 of them for the next game and never picks them again....why? because they are one will ever know why.

I think Rassie Erasmus, having worked in the Pro 14 and having seen the Irish duel contract and player welfare systems might try something similar in South Africa. I see he also joined the board of directors for the Pro 14 and might potentially nudge the SR South African teams towards it. Basically trying to align everything to the benefit of the national team.

As for the quota's I personally have mixed feelings about it. On one hand I can understand its simply not fair for a better player to lose out on making the team because of the color of his skin. On the other hand some are of the view whether the player is the best or not doesn't matter as long as it encourages others to join in the long term and for short-medium term pain the skill gap will disappear as positions are more commonly filled by peoples who never had that opportunity before. Not to the same extent but I've seen something like happen in the work place here regarding gender equality. Over here I hear it being labelled as positive discrimination. That's what one of our pundits said when talking about Allister Coetzee when he was South African coaches. Only there because of positive discrimination.

You never know what the future brings. Nearly every team has there ups and down. Liverpool football club dominated the English football league for decades but haven't won it in 29 years, but may finally do so again this year. Change can take decades. The Springboks could very well rise again. But as an Irishman I'll just have you know the psyche has changed, we have no intention of going back to being the plucky underdogs and we will be there to challenge you :)

Apr 11, 2019, 21:25

In Westmeath County...Shannon River...amazing river rises in Cavan and ends east of Limerick.

Did a boat trip there a long time ago...I love Ireland and would immigrate there tomorrow, I have Irish passport but our currency makes us poor if we immigrate.

Tell me do you fish for salmon or trout or coarse fishing?

Most of us here are great fans of the present Irish International side, personally I would love Ireland to win the WC in Japan. If you have Irish blood it never disappears and goes on from generation to generation.

We desperately need posters like you.

Apr 12, 2019, 00:11

Ireland's a nice country to live in, its small, the people are generally quite friendly. Its got some beautiful scenery too. Its quite peaceful and politically stable, Not without its problems, such as issues with its health service (but that's hardly unique to Ireland), a housing shortage which is exasperating a homeless crisis, rural decline and a few other issues.

The weather is also fairly bad here. It never gets extremely cold or hot but we get a lot of rain, frequently even in summer and the constant gray sky many find some what depressing.

It was a inward looking poor country for many years from its independence in the early 20's up till the 80's but membership of the EU really turned things around here and now its a quite wealthy country, even if the wealth isn't evenly distributed (again not unique to Ireland).

As for fishing, I use to do it when I was a child but I ended being more of techie when I got older and haven't fished in a few years. I am on the Shannon fairly frequently though. My family have a small cruiser that we travel around the rivers and lakes in the summer. We can even go to our local pub Sean's Bar by boat which according to the Guinness book of records is the oldest pub in Europe dating back to 900AD. My brother on other hand is constantly out fishing, he loves it.

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