RU in Australia on “life support”

Discussion in 'Rugby Union' started by DC80, Apr 28, 2018.

  1. DC80

    DC80 Juniors

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    Amazing. In the UK we definitely get the wrong idea of RU in Australia. We see a very competitive Australia play in stadiums here and view Australia as a RU heavyweight, not realising that the team is punching way above their weight given the tiny numbers that play it there...plus barely anyone is watching them back in Australia.

    Has RU merely just returned to it’s pre 1980s status in Australia and its heyday is over, or can there be a comeback?
     
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  2. RoosTah

    RoosTah Juniors

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    Do people in the UK really think that? Wow... you have no idea how bad Rugby is doing in Australia then. Put it this way, in comparison to Union in Australia, Rugby League in the UK is a powerhouse sport that is run by geniuses.

    This article sums it up well - but the short version is that AFL in particular has eaten Rugby's lunch in Australia and it's probably not going to exist in another decade at any recognisable level:
    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/is-sydney-finally-an-afl-town-20180427-p4zbzl.html
     
  3. Foreign Legion

    Foreign Legion First Grade

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    I've been listening too it... funny shit
     
  4. DC80

    DC80 Juniors

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    Incredible the contrast between the two sports in the link.

    Yes. We are fooled by Australia being so competitive.

    It was only recently that I found out RU wasn’t that big in Australia pre 1980s. I lived through part of the golden period, from Campese to the end of John Eales - the Bledisloe Cup was one RU game that I would wake up for on a Saturday morning, one of those must see games even though i wasn’t an avid follower of the code - so I have always seen Australia as a RU juggernaut. The 2001 Lions series was a mammoth contest, O’Driscoll, Robinson, Wilkinson and co. vs the world champion Wallabies (accompanied with the old fella playing waltzing matilda on the banjo to packed stadiums before the three tests). Then the 2003 RUWC final. I had known nothing but RU being a big deal in Australia.

    I was really shocked in the 2013 Lions series to see the decline in the sport there...whereas stadiums were packed out in 2001 with gold jerseys, now they would have been more than half empty but for red Lion jerseys...plus each Lions midweek game against NSW, Brumbies etc. an Aussie player would speak over the public address system thanking fans for coming and to “please come again”. I haven’t watched Bledisloe games in over a decade, but did see some YouTube highlights recently and games in Australia have loads of empty seats, and a huge number of seats that are taken up are filled with black jerseys. No way could NZ feel as great about winning that game as they did when it was a big time game in Australia.
     
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  5. Timbo

    Timbo Moderator Staff Member

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    I grew up in a union house (dad played first grade for Easts in the 70s), played union as a kid, went to a million club rugby games as a kid, went to more Waratahs games than I can count in the 90s and 00s, went to a union school and all of my mates were union blokes.

    I reckon it's been about three years since I watched 80 minutes of a Waratahs game. I still watch the Bledisloe, but really don't care that much if I miss it. And amongst my circle of friends, whilst there are still a few die hards, it's broadly accurate too.

    This sport has been the most poorly managed code in the history of sports. The way the ARU operates, well, it makes David Gallop look like sports exec of the year.

    I remember in the mid 00's just after we hosted a wildly successful world cup. Tickets to the Waratahs, Reds and Brumbies were the hottest in town. The Waratahs would regularly draw 30k for derbys, and even break 20-25 for the South African teams nobody cared about.

    That was Unions moment, when they had the popular support of non-union fans and an absolute bucket of cash from the WC, to re-invent itself. Instead, it went 'nah, we're cool getting all of our players from Riverview and Nudgee like we have for the last hundred years' and quietly slid backwards. Again.

    It's as bad now as it was in the late 80s. Unlike the late 80s, I don't see anything on the horizon that will kick it back up.
     
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  6. Parra

    Parra Coach

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    The only comparison between codes that matters is World Cups. To a lesser extent national team tours.

    No-one gives a f**k about domestic comps in other parts of the world. Despite efforts to make them seem relevant.

    Rugby world cup is a big deal and we are strong in them.
    RL world cup is not a big deal - we are strong. Poms have not won since 1972 and it was 12 years between their last two finals appearances.

    AFL - who cares, don't even have internationals or a world cup.
     
  7. Twizzle

    Twizzle The Alpha Male Staff Member

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    they actually did have 1 but Australia was not represented, be pretty one sided if we were

    as I said in another thread Rugby survives due to a few private schools in Sydney and Brisbane and a bit of park footy, I'm surprised at just how well we do with such a small amount of the population being represented

    imagine how strong we would be if it were played in the southern and western states instead of AFL
     
  8. Timbo

    Timbo Moderator Staff Member

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    It’s grassroots are actually quite strong as well.

    Club rugby is still reasonably well attended (I’d hazard it’s the best attended amateur sport in Australia) and the GPS/CAS production line isn’t going anywhere.

    It’s just grown very stagnant, and the best players now up sticks to Europe or Japan in their early 20s, as opposed to using it as a retirement plan like they used to.
     
  9. RoosTah

    RoosTah Juniors

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    I'd argue it's actually been undermined somewhat. I read a while ago that the AFL had headily infiltrated the GPS system and is now competing head to head with Rugby teams in the big Sydney private schools for sporting talent.
     
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  10. King hit

    King hit Bench

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    Cousin off mine went to BBC and none of the boys liked AFL. Union is still the major sport in private schools in Brisbane
     
  11. RoosTah

    RoosTah Juniors

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    Well that's something I guess. But Fitzsimmons was on Channel 9 lamenting how his old posh school Kings was now an AFL breeding ground.
     
  12. Timbo

    Timbo Moderator Staff Member

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    I know it’s now in the school I went to, but I understand it’s still very much a minority sport.
     
  13. Parra

    Parra Coach

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    He didn't go to Kings.

    It is a shitload of tradition to challenge the rugby ties at these schools.

    It is not AFL that is the threat - it is good old academics and the make up of the student body. Look at Sydney Grammar.

    It is not one sport replacing another. It is "sport goes out the window"

    It's not GPS - but James Ruse High in Sydney is another example.
     
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  14. axl rose

    axl rose Bench

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    Interesting point. During my prac teaching at a lower school level one of the teachers would not let a rugby ball be used for any games (simple passing/tunnel ball type of game). Her reasoning was "they fight on tv". A number of the older female teachers did not like taking kids outside for physical activity in general.
     
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  15. Timbo

    Timbo Moderator Staff Member

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    I know there was a huge shakeup to the school I went to not long after I graduated along those lines, because a lot of parents were starting to ask what they were paying for given that the school's HSC results weren't that much better than the local public schools. My folks have said they kind of regret sending me there, it was a rugby club that had a bit of study attached.

    A few years after I graduated they really changed the focus, the footy team is nowhere near as good but the academics are much better. Really should be the priority in any case.
     
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  16. axl rose

    axl rose Bench

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    My old High School (former Commonwealth Bank Cup finalists) becoming co-educational was more to blame for them putting a match to the sports/Rugby League programme. Now sadly I don't believe they even field a team.
     
  17. Timbo

    Timbo Moderator Staff Member

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    Look, I think there's definitely a balance and I know a lot of parents choose non-government schools for the extra curricular stuff. My parents never had to worry about signing me up for cricket, or rugby or swimming or whatever because it was all done by the school and included in the fees.

    The problems begin when the school starts to prioritise its sporting spending over its academics. You have these ridiculous situations like you had at Scots a few years ago where the highest paid staff member was the first XV coach and they had a more complex sports science team than most Sydney club rugby teams. This is not what school is for, it's to prepare kids for their lives ahead. Social sport is great for helping do that, but not at the expense of learning.
     
  18. Coparugby

    Coparugby Juniors

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    If you remember basketball in Australia it also had its time in the sun, big crowds, free to air TV, kids wearing basketball gear everywhere and then it just faded away to a corner of pay tv.

    It was amazing at how high profile it was in the late 80s and early 90s. It’s hard to imagine if you didn’t see it for yourself.

    It appears that RU is following a similar path.
     
  19. taipan

    taipan Coach

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    FitzSimons went to Knox Grammar.I attended Trinity Grammar another Associated school,and getting rugby league into these schools, is akin to running across molten lava ,and coming out unscathed.
    Trinity still prioritises rugby union, despite the number of union teams there ,less in numbers.
     
  20. Timbo

    Timbo Moderator Staff Member

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    I was at Waverley - same thing. The headmaster once yelled at my coach because we were playing a game of league at training.
     

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