Pro 14 - General Thread

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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby johng » February 19th, 2019, 1:03 am

I've heard the Ospreys one several elsewheres. Doesn't make it true. But something could well happen next week
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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby Ruckedtobits » February 19th, 2019, 7:02 am

paddyor wrote:Gwlad is rife with rumours that have never happen so unless you've heard the Ospreys one elsewhere I'd take it with a pinch of salt.. That being said I don't think they can fully support 4 teams in 80km stretch along the M4 corridor with a polulation the size of the GDA.



The Welsh Regions have never totally accepted the development of the big Four and consistently support semi-professional Clubs who hate their professional "Brother" , e.g. Pontypridd and Cardiff. When Scarlets moved location, they lost a lot of support and despite success, they have never regained it.

The Welsh Premiership is still akin to our AIL in the mid-90's with those Clubs and their rugby still attracting good fan-base and resisting full support for Cardiff, Dragons, Scarlets and Ospreys. Although Gatland and his team have proved you can unite the Nation behind the National team, Welsh Rugby has never consolidated their pathways to Professional Clubs like Ireland has.

Ultimately, it comes down to money and Wales are squandering too much on their second-tier Clubs to focus the overall player depth through their professional Clubs. Geography is a large part of the problem but it probably needs a different solution than the Irish recipe.
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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby neill_m » February 20th, 2019, 4:22 pm

Nico Lee of Toyota Cheetahs faced a Disciplinary Hearing today in Cardiff, Wales and has been banned for 13 weeks.

A Disciplinary Committee met to consider the citing against Lee (No 12) of Toyota Cheetahs which occurred against Connacht Rugby on Saturday, February 16, 2019.

The player was reported by the Citing Commissioner in charge for alleged infringement of Law 9.27 – A Player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship.

With regard to the offence, the Player accepted that he had cleared the contents of his nose onto the face of an opposing player thereby committing an act of foul play.

The Disciplinary Committee comprising of Owain Rhys James (Chair), Richard Cole and Nigel Williams (all Wales) concluded that the Player had committed an intentional act of foul play.

The Panel found that: “The Player’s actions are an act of foul play. They have no place in the game. This is not a case of over-exuberance, or an act which is within the rules of the game going awry. It follows that by its nature this act is one that is deserving of punishment. It is contrary to the spirit of sport.”

It was accepted that: “The effect on the victim player was understandably serious. There is no expectation, and there ought never be an expectation, that an opposing player would clear the contents of their nose onto an opponent.”

In upholding the Citing Complaint the Disciplinary Committee deemed that the offence merited a red card with a top-end offence with an entry point of 26 weeks.

In reaching that conclusion the Panel found that: “It is difficult to imagine how an act of foul play of this sort could be worse, save for repeated acts or where actual injury is caused.”

The panel did not find any aggravating factors and applied mitigation of 50% in respect of the Player’s admission of facts, and his clean disciplinary record. The Panel found that the Player’s approach to the hearing and his conduct throughout was mature, sensible and considered. They found that there was demonstrable “regret and an element of embarrassment about the situation.”

The committee took into account the rugby calendar for the rest of the season and for domestic fixtures in South Africa, and as a result, the player is banned for a period of 13 games and is free to play from midnight on Sunday, July 21, 2019.

The player was reminded of his right to appeal.
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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby Oldschool » February 20th, 2019, 5:38 pm

neill_m wrote:
The player was reminded of his right to appeal.

Presumably, in response, he sniffed and then thought better of it.
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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby Hornet » February 20th, 2019, 7:16 pm

Oldschool wrote:
neill_m wrote:
The player was reminded of his right to appeal.

Presumably, in response, he sniffed and then thought better of it.


It' snot a very nice thing to do.
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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby Peg Leg » February 20th, 2019, 9:41 pm

I'm pretty sure Nico Lee is of Phlegmish descent.

Edit: Ugh, spelling
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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby FLIP » February 20th, 2019, 9:53 pm

Peg Leg wrote:I'm pretty sure Nico Lee is of Phlegmish decent.


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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby hugonaut » February 20th, 2019, 10:40 pm

Ruckedtobits wrote:
paddyor wrote:Gwlad is rife with rumours that have never happen so unless you've heard the Ospreys one elsewhere I'd take it with a pinch of salt.. That being said I don't think they can fully support 4 teams in 80km stretch along the M4 corridor with a polulation the size of the GDA.



The Welsh Regions have never totally accepted the development of the big Four and consistently support semi-professional Clubs who hate their professional "Brother" , e.g. Pontypridd and Cardiff. When Scarlets moved location, they lost a lot of support and despite success, they have never regained it.

The Welsh Premiership is still akin to our AIL in the mid-90's with those Clubs and their rugby still attracting good fan-base and resisting full support for Cardiff, Dragons, Scarlets and Ospreys. Although Gatland and his team have proved you can unite the Nation behind the National team, Welsh Rugby has never consolidated their pathways to Professional Clubs like Ireland has.

Ultimately, it comes down to money and Wales are squandering too much on their second-tier Clubs to focus the overall player depth through their professional Clubs. Geography is a large part of the problem but it probably needs a different solution than the Irish recipe.


I never really knew those Welsh clubs as a force. The Welsh international team was as bad as the Irish side in the late 80s/early 90s when I was a lad. Obviously there was no European Cup until 1995, so what I knew about the Welsh clubs sides was what I read in Rugby World [Rugby World & Post at that stage] and saw on Rugby Special on Sundays on the BeeBeeCee if they were hosting a touring team.

It wasn't like the Welsh national side was full of deadly players, so their clubs didn't really catch my imagination. I remember Neath having a reputation for being a real rough-house but very successful team back in the late days of amateurism in the late 80s, early 90s. There's a very good interview with Kevin Phillips [Neath's captain in the 80s] here: https://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rug ... e-15343021 and what strikes me is that Welsh club rugby probably didn't change an awful lot for about half a century, from the end of WWII until the start of professionalism.

There's a line in the article about "a front row made up of farmers, and others in the team working as miners". That was about a team from the late 80s/early 90s, but it could have been from any time in the previous fifty years.

I don't really understand why so many Welsh rugby people have such an animus towards the regional teams. I would have thought that it would have died down at this stage, because you're talking about teams which were founded 15-16 years ago ... it's a hell of a long time to waste holding an ineffectual grudge, b*tching an moaning about everything.
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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby dropkick » February 21st, 2019, 12:08 am

blockhead wrote:Gwladrugby
B&Q-ification
We’re now deep into the second half of the season. Some of our professional clubs have only two or three home matches left.

Yet the four still don’t know where they will be when the 2019-20 season kicks off in six months. They don’t know who will play for them, because they haven’t been able to recruit or retain players. They don’t even know for sure – if rumours emerging over the weekend have any substance – that they will still exist.

When the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) kind-of-half-announced Project Reset in January, details were scarce. Amid talk of scrapping central contracts and introducing salary bands, players have justifiably spoken of their deep concern about their livelihoods. These are people who don’t know if they will still have an income in a few months.

Another major element to the new structure was that serious consideration was being given to differentiating between the four clubs. The four would not – as had been broadly the case since 2003 – be treated the same and provided with the same level of payments by the WRU.

As ever, the absence of detail fuelled the rumour mill. It’s broadly accepted by those who have been paying attention that Welsh clubs are operating on budgets which are smaller than any other Six Nations country, with the possible exception of Italy. So we clearly cannot continue as we are and expect any of our clubs to compete at the business end of the season. Last year provided a rare moment in the sun – as the Scarlets reached the final of the Pro14 and the semi-finals of the Champions Cup, while Cardiff Blues won the Challenge Cup – but this season has seen a return to the struggles of much of this decade.

The dilemma for the Professional Rugby Board (PRB) – the body, consisting of the WRU and the four professional clubs, which is intended to run the professional game – is that the payments to which the four are entitled are dependent on the amount broadcasters, sponsors and tournament organisers are willing to pay.

Wales needs to field four clubs to have even a hope of retaining the same level of payments from broadcasters and others. But there is no certainty that a country which offers one or two semi-skimmed teams will receive the same payments as it would if it was fielding four full-fat teams.

There is a reasonable consensus that the national team requires at least three, if not four, professional clubs in order to fully furnish the national team with players. This weekend – with Dan Biggar having to play for his English employers at Northampton and leaving the field injured – emphasises the importance of having as many Test players as possible plying their club trade within Wales.

But how to make it work? Would we have three “properly” funded teams, with one development region? Which would it be? Could we even afford three? Why not 2+2, rather than 3+1? And which of the four would be downgraded? How could the Union even do that, when much of the WRU’s payments is in fact the clubs’ own income, generated by their participation in the Pro14 and European competitions?

For this reason, the rumoured favoured model of the WRU – for just two professional clubs – is unlikely to be adopted.

So the 3+1 or 2+2 models make some sense, in that they would provide four clubs playing at the elite level while allowing some of those to compete properly at the top end of the game.


As matters drag on, more rumours emerge.

Last week, it was suggested that an announcement is imminent, but would be delayed until after the England game this Saturday to avoid destabilising the players. As if this whole mess isn’t destabilising as it is.

This weekend, new rumours started to put some meat on the bones. We hear that serious consideration is now being given to fielding four professional clubs next season. But they would not be equally funded and, more surprisingly, one of the teams might be relocated to north Wales.

When the WRU took over the Newport Gwent Dragons a year ago and dropped the geographical branding, the great swathes of the disenfranchised cheered. Not enough to actually get off their entitled arses to attend a game, but they cheered. Of course, the Dragons have been an utter disaster, having failed to attract any outside investment, blown 10% of their entire playing budget on a player who has barely appeared for them, sacked their coach and are currently bouncing along on the bottom of the Pro14.

But it seems that the WRU think this is the way to go. Now that it subsidises professional rugby in the south-east, it has no answer to Peredur y Pwyllgor from Penmaenmawr when he asks why the south-east and not the north? The justification for the four clubs we had until last summer was that they – and by extension domestic professional rugby – could not survive without additional private funding. Now that one of the teams is entirely centrally funded, there is no rational justification not to provide a centrally-run team somewhere else too.

And so the latest seems to suggest that it will be 2+2. The Scarlets are likely to be one of the full-fat teams. The Dragons and a beefed-up RGC in Colwyn Bay may be the two semi-skimmed versions. The second fully-loaded team – in this version of the rumour, in any case – depends on which of the Ospreys or Cardiff Blues cave in first. One could completely disappear, with the other covering the whole of the old Glamorgan.

This would be insanity squared.

If you’re running a retail business – let’s, to pluck one from mid-air for no apparent reason, say B&Q – you can consolidate. You can make a case that you can close a store in Penllergaer, extend the one in Trostre and people from Swansea are likely to go along to the new superstore in Llanelli. It isn’t far, after all.

But this isn’t retail. We have seen over the past 15 years that rugby supporters – like all sport fans – are emotional beings. We have been told, over and over, that people from the Gwent valleys and the central Glamorgan valleys will not travel to Cardiff and Newport to watch teams to which they have been assigned by some central committee. These are people who haven’t been invested in a professional rugby team for over 15 years. And yet the WRU genuinely seem to be considering establishing a structure which will alienate half the supporters of existing professional rugby in the hope that they will be replaced by greater numbers of people who currently don’t watch any regular professional rugby.

These are rumours, and – as we’ve suggested – the absence of any detail allows all sorts of stories to be given legs. There may not be anything in them.

But, whatever is going on, WRU really needs to get its act together. This uncertainty cannot continue, for the sake of the existing clubs, their employees, players and supporters.



Interesting article. The bolded bit is their real dilemma.


From a national team point of view, 4 teams is ideal. Even when they lose their best players they've plenty of opportunities for youngsters to play pro14 rugby. As long as the players get good coaching it's irrelevant where their teams are in the table. This seems to be the WRU attitude.


From a regional perspective 4 teams is too much. They don't have the population for it when all things are considered. 4 teams within 80km is ridiculous. Cork to Limerick is more than that.
It's hard to believe that they'd just drop the Ospreys though.


Last thing the pro14 needs is Wales having 2 development teams in it. That would be taking the p*ss. Even 1 development team looks bad for the league. At the moment the league is very competitive but a lot of focus is on the 3 weakest links (Zebre, Kings and Dragons).


So the WRU are in a tricky situation. If they decide to go with development teams then I hope there'll be some financial penalties from the pro14 TV money.
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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby ronk » February 21st, 2019, 10:08 pm

hugonaut wrote:. That was about a team from the late 80s/early 90s, but it could have been from any time in the previous fifty years.

I don't really understand why so many Welsh rugby people have such an animus towards the regional teams. I would have thought that it would have died down at this stage, because you're talking about teams which were founded 15-16 years ago ... it's a hell of a long time to waste holding an ineffectual grudge, b*tching an moaning about everything.


Kinda answering your own question in consequtive paragraphs.

Nothing has happened to bring fans to the region's. Irish provinces had success (just) before the national team and they happily took credit for it.

Regions feel more like they are feeding off the Welsh team rather than feeding it. It seems harsh saying that about Scarlets right now.

Scarlets have/had the model for how to fix (any) problems in regional rugby. Hire technically strong coaches who can improve young players and then mandate them to do that. The turnaround in Irish provincial rugby has been driven by that. The coaches all understand that they work for the IRFU.
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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby Ruckedtobits » February 21st, 2019, 11:33 pm

ronk wrote:
hugonaut wrote:. That was about a team from the late 80s/early 90s, but it could have been from any time in the previous fifty years.

I don't really understand why so many Welsh rugby people have such an animus towards the regional teams. I would have thought that it would have died down at this stage, because you're talking about teams which were founded 15-16 years ago ... it's a hell of a long time to waste holding an ineffectual grudge, b*tching an moaning about everything.


Kinda answering your own question in consequtive paragraphs.

Nothing has happened to bring fans to the region's. Irish provinces had success (just) before the national team and they happily took credit for it.

Regions feel more like they are feeding off the Welsh team rather than feeding it. It seems harsh saying that about Scarlets right now.

Scarlets have/had the model for how to fix (any) problems in regional rugby. Hire technically strong coaches who can improve young players and then mandate them to do that. The turnaround in Irish provincial rugby has been driven by that. The coaches all understand that they work for the IRFU.


That is the solution, but feck it lads don't tell them or there'll be hell to pay. Let them employ Birch, Clarke and others and we can continue to have four successful Provinces.
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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby Ruckedtobits » February 23rd, 2019, 11:21 am

If, as I suspect, SARFU are merely using the Kings and Cheetahs to make up their overall "transformation" quotas, Pro 14 should jettison them immediately. At least Treviso are showing signs of progress, even if Zebre are still an apology of a team. Dragons are a disgrace to Welsh rugby and there are better players and teams in the Welsh Premiership.

CVC Partners clearly see a masterplan for European Rugby but it's hard to see where teams like these can fit in.
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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby blockhead » February 23rd, 2019, 12:28 pm

Ruckedtobits wrote:If, as I suspect, SARFU are merely using the Kings and Cheetahs to make up their overall "transformation" quotas, Pro 14 should jettison them immediately. At least Treviso are showing signs of progress, even if Zebre are still an apology of a team. Dragons are a disgrace to Welsh rugby and there are better players and teams in the Welsh Premiership.

CVC Partners clearly see a masterplan for European Rugby but it's hard to see where teams like these can fit in.


Cheetahs finished 3rd in conf A last season, and could do so again this year so steady on now RTBs.
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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby blockhead » February 23rd, 2019, 2:45 pm

Treviso 26-0 Dragons 34 mins gone BP in the bag.
Er.. make that 31-0
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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby neill_m » February 23rd, 2019, 3:10 pm

Dragons making Benetton look like the All Blacks.
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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby blockhead » February 23rd, 2019, 3:32 pm

Treviso hit 50. Treviso with 14 players in tomorrow's matchday 23!
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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby neill_m » February 23rd, 2019, 3:47 pm

The Dragons might be in danger of being axed instead of the Ospreys after this.....
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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby blockhead » February 23rd, 2019, 3:57 pm

FT: 57-7 to Treviso 9 tries
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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby nc6000 » February 24th, 2019, 2:22 pm

Twenty minutes into the Scarlets v Cheetahs game and Scarlets have a bonus point already.
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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby johng » February 24th, 2019, 2:25 pm

Puts them back in the mix on 41 points just behind Embra and 3 off 3rd place
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