Southland Rugby



  • Bit of chat about Southland this morning on RS and while I only heard a little of it, I did hear the inevitable promotion/relegation chat.

    My opinion is that there's little point in bringing back this game.

    There is still a gulf between the worst 'Div 1' side and the top Heartland side which would be insurmountable short-term. Even if they somehow won, I could'nt see likes of Thames Valley collating the playing resources over an off-season to be competitive in Div 1, and then they'd be back in the promotion/relegation game again. Meanwhile the better-resourced Southland union rampages through the Heartland comp into the promotion game with the single-minded intent of getting back to Div 1.

    They're going through a particularly bad patch - with no end in sight - but 'bad patch' is the pertinent phrase. This'll come to an end sooner or later and it'll be Northland or Manawatu or BOP at the bottom for an extended period and the cycle will continue.

    Remember, Tasman have the smallest base in the comp and they'll probably win the whole thing this year.

    Thoughts?



  • @shark yeah I dont think we have the depth/width of talent still in NZ for any of the Heartland teams to be truly competitive, thats without taking into consideration the issues around the facilities at the grounds for players and broadcasting, that I expect owuld be a bit of a problem at many of the Heartland teams.

    As a Northland fan, I feel for Southland, they are in a hole, and seems no way out, we have been there too 😞

    The other thing they were saying on RS is there are still good kids coming through thier schoolboy systems, SRU obviously need to look at how to retain them and/or attract some of them back.



  • @shark said in Southland Rugby:

    Bit of chat about Southland this morning on RS and while I only heard a little of it, I did hear the inevitable promotion/relegation chat.

    My opinion is that there's little point in bringing back this game.

    There is still a gulf between the worst 'Div 1' side and the top Heartland side which would be insurmountable short-term. Even if they somehow won, I could'nt see likes of Thames Valley collating the playing resources over an off-season to be competitive in Div 1, and then they'd be back in the promotion/relegation game again. Meanwhile the better-resourced Southland union rampages through the Heartland comp into the promotion game with the single-minded intent of getting back to Div 1.

    They're going through a particularly bad patch - with no end in sight - but 'bad patch' is the pertinent phrase. This'll come to an end sooner or later and it'll be Northland or Manawatu or BOP at the bottom for an extended period and the cycle will continue.

    Remember, Tasman have the smallest base in the comp and they'll probably win the whole thing this year.

    Thoughts?

    Imagine Thames Valley or East Coast away to Tasman or Canterbury?? I think people would get hurt due to the gulf in class.

    We don't need to "fix' a competition because one team is utterly hopeless



  • Yeah when I refrered to Southland being better resourced, part of that is definitely the output from SBHS and other schools.



  • @Hooroo said in Southland Rugby:

    @shark said in Southland Rugby:

    Bit of chat about Southland this morning on RS and while I only heard a little of it, I did hear the inevitable promotion/relegation chat.

    My opinion is that there's little point in bringing back this game.

    There is still a gulf between the worst 'Div 1' side and the top Heartland side which would be insurmountable short-term. Even if they somehow won, I could'nt see likes of Thames Valley collating the playing resources over an off-season to be competitive in Div 1, and then they'd be back in the promotion/relegation game again. Meanwhile the better-resourced Southland union rampages through the Heartland comp into the promotion game with the single-minded intent of getting back to Div 1.

    They're going through a particularly bad patch - with no end in sight - but 'bad patch' is the pertinent phrase. This'll come to an end sooner or later and it'll be Northland or Manawatu or BOP at the bottom for an extended period and the cycle will continue.

    Remember, Tasman have the smallest base in the comp and they'll probably win the whole thing this year.

    Thoughts?

    Imagine Thames Valley or East Coast away to Tasman or Canterbury?? I think people would get hurt due to the gulf in class.

    We don't need to "fix' a competition because one team is utterly hopeless

    Agree.



  • I know there has been comments about the poor quality of club rugby in the province but it is as simple as not having the player resources and finances to field a competitive team? Maybe the Highlanders are also partially to blame as they don't have many home-grown players in their squad, so there isn't a pathway for the local players from Southland. Southland BHS should provide a good talent pool of players if they can retain them, and develop them.



  • Thinking about that Southland RS reign and the players involved, they'd cobbled together a useful side of local guys and a few drafted in which is no different to anybody else. So it can happen.



  • It's not an issue that Promotion/Relegation will solve. I agree that it will just cause an ongoing merry-go-round.

    However, I'm also not convinced that this is a temporary issue at Southland. They have been having big struggles with Club Rugby for some time with clubs getting weaker and weaker before dropping out.
    At one stage it looked like the excellent sports studies and zero fees at the SIT would bolster the club comp by attracting young players but that didn't work as the numbers weren't large enough and only succeeded in strengthening one club above others who then felt hard done by.
    The televising f schools rugby also didn't help as promising players were easily scouted by other more attractive provinces instead of just finding their own pathway.
    NZRU need to help find the solution here with a bit of lateral thinking. Maybe come to a deal with other unions to use Southland as a finishing school? Maybe help the club comp with some new thoughts to make a strong local comp?



  • Chop the NPC down to 11 teams - 10 round robin games, less squad weakness.



  • Would merging the Southland club comp with the Otago Country Sub Union help? I know Mid Canterbury and Ellesmere Sub Union play together.



  • @Tim said in Southland Rugby:

    Chop the NPC down to 11 teams - 10 round robin games, less squad weakness.

    Sad for Southland but I think that may really be the best solution. I don't think Southland would be massively stronger than other Heartland sides



  • @Wurzel said in Southland Rugby:

    Would merging the Southland club comp with the Otago Country Sub Union help? I know Mid Canterbury and Ellesmere Sub Union play together.

    That would cover an even larger geographic area and one of the biggest problems Southland have had to deal with is club numbers from low population density over a large area. As rugby player numbers in general dropped and rugby became not the only sporting pastime, getting players to commit to hours of travel to reach another team didn't help.



  • @Tim said in Southland Rugby:

    Chop the NPC down to 11 teams - 10 round robin games, less squad weakness.

    11? So drop Southland and 2 more teams? Who? Why 2 more? To accommodate a one-division competition?

    Sorry, but I think that would be terrible as the pathway to SR would become more difficult. All teams, except maybe Southland, currently contribute to the development of future SR players. If you want to kill off club rugby, esp in the smaller provinces (because, of course, you wouldn't chop a bigger province from the M10 Cup, would you?) and decrease depth in NZ rugby, then your idea might be okay, but I don't think that's what anybody wants?



  • Would a talent restriction work out? Like the old days where you play for province and super rugby team in the area. Not saying I'd be in favour but look at Tasman who could be a Super Rugby team and look at Southland who are a club side with Marty McKenzie added to it.



  • @Yeetyaah Not sure what you mean with talent restriction? How would that work?



  • @Stargazer Strict NZRFU level salary cap for all teams set maybe?



  • @Stargazer Like you play for the Highlanders but have to be signed with Southland or Otago (or North Otago but whatever). So you HAVE to play for a province from your Super Rugby area.



  • @Higgins So punish provincial teams for developing into SR level players? Doesn't sound right.



  • @Crucial said in Southland Rugby:

    @Wurzel said in Southland Rugby:

    Would merging the Southland club comp with the Otago Country Sub Union help? I know Mid Canterbury and Ellesmere Sub Union play together.

    That would cover an even larger geographic area and one of the biggest problems Southland have had to deal with is club numbers from low population density over a large area. As rugby player numbers in general dropped and rugby became not the only sporting pastime, getting players to commit to hours of travel to reach another team didn't help.

    When I visited the Southland museum there was a display showing all of the Southland rugby clubs. From Bluff in the south to Te Anau in the north.



  • @Stargazer Not at all. Having an equal salary cap for all competing teams to abide by will see players having to move if they wish to play professionally in New Zealand as you can only fit so many players under the limit in each province. It does have its cheat side (a la NRL) however with brown envelopes and employment (for want of a better word), "endorsements" etc being arranged for players by sponsors etc whereby the employee is an employee in name only.



  • @Yeetyaah Righto. That's a 'no' from me. Look at this situation.

    Province A is in SR catchment X.
    SR franchise X has a bias towards signing players from province B.
    Some very good players from province A - overlooked by SR franchise X - sign a contract with SR franchise Z.
    They would be forced to move from province A to a province in the catchment of franchise Z.
    Province A loses some very good players.

    Some players signed by franchise X from other provinces than Province A (including from outside its catchment) have to be allocated to provinces inside catchment X.
    Province A has to contract non-local players from other provinces, who'd prefer to play for their home province but have to play in catchment X instead.

    Great motivation for both province and player.
    The province loses its own players and get players forced on them from other catchements.
    Players from other catchments are forced to player for another province than their own.



  • @Stargazer said in Southland Rugby:

    @Yeetyaah Righto. That's a 'no' from me. Look at this situation.

    Province A is in SR catchment X.
    SR franchise X has a bias towards signing players from province B.
    Some very good players from province A - overlooked by SR franchise X - sign a contract with SR franchise Z.
    They would be forced to move from province A to a province in the catchment of franchise Z.
    Province A loses some very good players.

    Some players signed by franchise X from other provinces than Province A (including from outside its catchment) have to be allocated to provinces inside catchment X.
    Province A has to contract non-local players from other provinces, who'd prefer to play for their home province but have to play in catchment X instead.

    Great motivation for both province and player.
    The province loses its own players and get players forced on them from other catchements.
    Players from other catchments are forced to player for another province than their own.

    I'm interested in what you think the answer is?



  • @Bovidae Southland is quite a bit bigger in area than Northland, but the trip from Bluff to Te Anau is shorter driving time than Wellsford to Kaitaia.

    This conversation comes up every half dozen years or so, I think there has been sufficient investment by local bodies and NZR that the 14 teams currently playing, will continue unless something significant happens which requires a major re-shaping of NZR, which may be on the cards down the track, but can't see it in the next few years at least.



  • @Hooroo Why would I have the answer, if even NZRU doesn't seem to have one?



  • @Stargazer Fair, I don't think it would work either but just a suggestion.



  • @Stargazer said in Southland Rugby:

    @Hooroo Why would I have the answer, if even NZRU doesn't seem to have one?

    I don't think the NZRU is looking for an answer to this. I'm just interested in your thoughts as you seem to know why it won't work



  • @taniwharugby said in Southland Rugby:

    @Bovidae Southland is quite a bit bigger in area than Northland, but the trip from Bluff to Te Anau is shorter driving time than Wellsford to Kaitaia.

    Yes, but having driven a lot around both Southland and Northland on recent holidays I know which road trip I'd prefer in the winter. Not as many vehicles on the road down south, of course.



  • @Higgins said in Southland Rugby:

    @Stargazer Not at all. Having an equal salary cap for all competing teams to abide by will see players having to move if they wish to play professionally in New Zealand as you can only fit so many players under the limit in each province. It does have its cheat side (a la NRL) however with brown envelopes and employment (for want of a better word), "endorsements" etc being arranged for players by sponsors etc whereby the employee is an employee in name only.

    I see it as punishing provinces for their success in developing players up to the level of SR. After all, if they develop a lot of club players into SR players, the salaries of these players will go up. The next season, they can't sign all of them anymore, because they'd go over the salary cap. So players are forced to move provinces (which I'm pertinently against) and provinces, who provide good development programmes and are successful in creating a good SR pathway, lose the players they have successfully developed. And then they have to develop new players, or have to sign less talented players from other provinces.



  • @Yeetyaah said in Southland Rugby:

    @Stargazer Like you play for the Highlanders but have to be signed with Southland or Otago (or North Otago but whatever). So you HAVE to play for a province from your Super Rugby area.

    That's pretty much how it was before central contracting and when 24 players had to come from within the catchment area. The Highlanders regularly struggled to find 24 players good enough and thrashed the draft year on year like no other, BUT what it did was ensure Otago and Southland between them were an attractive place to be for guys who wanted SR exposure.



  • @shark said in Southland Rugby:

    @Yeetyaah said in Southland Rugby:

    @Stargazer Like you play for the Highlanders but have to be signed with Southland or Otago (or North Otago but whatever). So you HAVE to play for a province from your Super Rugby area.

    That's pretty much how it was before central contracting and when 24 players had to come from within the catchment area. The Highlanders regularly struggled to find 24 players good enough and thrashed the draft year on year like no other, BUT what it did was ensure Otago and Southland between them were an attractive place to be for guys who wanted SR exposure.

    Bring back the Harbourlanders!



  • The SR contracting model has gone from one extreme to the other but the current system doesn't restrict player movement either. Hammington might be one of the few Highlanders who stayed down south.



  • Rather than a salary cap what about a draft? Each year all eligible players (uncapped and 18 plus) can enter and the teams pick in reverse finishing order. Give each pick a 2 year deal with a two year team option then let them hit 'free agency'. Some of the details probably need tinkering but seems a more reliable way to spread talent.



  • @Cyclops said in Southland Rugby:

    Rather than a salary cap what about a draft? Each year all eligible players (uncapped and 18 plus) can enter and the teams pick in reverse finishing order. Give each pick a 2 year deal with a two year team option then let them hit 'free agency'. Some of the details probably need tinkering but seems a more reliable way to spread talent.

    I think that would work for the NPC and solve a number of issues.

    But it would likely adversely impact club rugby as we know it.



  • @ACT-Crusader I would think it is even less likely to work for NPC given the low salaries of players needing to move for a 10 week NPC contract.



  • NZR would have to abolish their current rugby contracting system if a draft was to work. Nowadays players are signed/committed to provincial and SR academies while still at school.



  • A draft, again, could result in players not being given the choice to play for their own province or another province of their choice. I just don't believe in forcing a player to play for a team he doesn't want to play for, if the only other option is not playing at all.



  • @Stargazer The real problem is (or was when I was checking things out about five or six years back) is that players are not able to play as amatuers in the Premiership or Championship. The players agreement specifically makes payment mandatory thus players cannot hope to stay in their home province and play NPC for free if they are unable to be accomodated under the salary cap.



  • @Hooroo said in Southland Rugby:

    @Stargazer said in Southland Rugby:

    @Hooroo Why would I have the answer, if even NZRU doesn't seem to have one?

    I don't think the NZRU is looking for an answer to this. I'm just interested in your thoughts as you seem to know why it won't work

    It is a monumentally shit idea. Would artificially benefit low population areas. You would have the chiefs with 4 unions at a massive artificial disadvantage to unions in the Saders and and Landers.
    It is up to Southland to pull themselves out of the shit not force players to live Southland if they want a central contract.
    Would also prob hurt the Highlanders, as they would quickly become a least favourite destination for 'free agents' want a contract there.. gotta love in Invercargill or Dunedin nearly year round...fuck that. Almost as bad as being stuck in Chch.



  • @Baron-Silas-Greenback said in Southland Rugby:

    @Hooroo said in Southland Rugby:

    @Stargazer said in Southland Rugby:

    @Hooroo Why would I have the answer, if even NZRU doesn't seem to have one?

    I don't think the NZRU is looking for an answer to this. I'm just interested in your thoughts as you seem to know why it won't work

    It is a monumentally shit idea. Would artificially benefit low population areas. You would have the chiefs with 4 unions at a massive artificial disadvantage to unions in the Saders and and Landers.
    It is up to Southland to pull themselves out of the shit not force players to live Southland if they want a central contract.
    Would also prob hurt the Highlanders, as they would quickly become a least favourite destination for 'free agents' want a contract there.. gotta love in Invercargill or Dunedin nearly year round...fuck that. Almost as bad as being stuck in Chch.

    Boom! I'll take the bait from someone who's province proudly boasts dumps like Rotorua (the absolute king of dumps), Tauranga and Whakatane.



  • I think the Southland netball team shows you can be successful down there. They're in a slump, there's a good chance they come out of it - although on a personal level I have no sympathy, those b'stards consigned us to the wasteland of 2nd division rugby for years. 😉

    As a Hawkes Bay fan I definitely don't want to go back to the old system of within franchise border contracting - we'll lose a bunch of our players - and it just makes the franchise bases stronger.


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