Rugby Thoughts – The Welsh Regions and Leaches

Been a while since I have managed to get sat down and put my thoughts “on paper”. Here are some of my thoughts on the Welsh Regions, Leaches and knackered players.

Six Nations

The big northern hemisphere tournament is kicking off soon, join my SuperBru prediction league. I’ll be posting my tournament preview the week before kickoff and doing my normal prediction and review pieces for each round.

The Welsh Regions

The Welsh regions have been around for 11 years now and still haven’t really established themselves. This was shown in a Wales Online article where a lack of affinity for the teams/franchises/regions was the top reason that came out for poor attendance. When you also realise that Scarlets avoided a winding up order recently clearly things aren’t all roses. Clearly the fighting between the regions and WRU has been very damaging both in public perception but also the regions ability to plan long-term, hopefully that has come to an end. I want to propose a solution that I originally thought of for increasing attendance at Aviva Premiership clubs. It would help solve the affinity and attendance but is a long-term solution. It will need commitment and a long-term business plan that has been missing in the past, so here it is:

I suggest that clubs partner up with schools and offer to provide PE teachers. The deal would be that they would teach a rugby themed, not exclusive, program for free. The kids would be offered a free season ticket with an adult purchased season ticket.

The idea is that:

  • Families get used to the weekend quality time at the rugby which they keep on doing throughout life.
  • Clubs become more integrated in their communities
  • It could provide careers for academy players who don’t make it as professional players.

Clearly there is a cost to hiring 5 or so PE teachers by each club. I’d have thought that companies would be interested in sponsoring a project like this. Also if recently graduated PE teachers were recruited then it shouldn’t cost too much.

Leaches and cauliflower ears

Cauliflower ears are one of the pains of being a forward in rugby. Here is a personal account on the normal treatment, that involves going to a hospital and having them syringed.

Attwood has revealed that he is taking an alternative approach and using leaches to drain the blood from his ears to try and fix them!

Knackered Players

The only team to beat the All Blacks this year was South Africa. Which team under performed and looked the most knackered during the November Internationals? Yup the same team, South Africa. I saw an interesting piece that talked about the Boks being flogged for Cash. South Africa played 14 games this season, but so did the All Blacks.

So how come the All Blacks didn’t also look knackered? The answer is the ability for the All Blacks to rotate players in and out of the team with little apparent impact. When NZ change players, whilst they aren’t exact replicas, they are similar in size and skill set. This means that the team don’t have to change patterns or tactics. If you look at a team like England, Twelvetrees and Eastmond are different sizes and play different ways, so the whole team needs to adapt.

To be honest this is a theory and it would be interesting to see how many players the All Blacks and Boks used in these 14 games. Obviously it’s not only that but also the Super Rugby and  Curry Cup or ITM Cup games that the players play as well. In NZ the All Blacks rarely play in the ITM Cup nowadays, my understanding is that’s not the case in South Africa. So the other things to look at are total minutes of rugby and weeks off. By weeks off I mean away from training as well as injuries and wear-out aren’t only from playing but also training.

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