Field Theory by Hadyn Green

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Field Theory: The NPC Manifesto

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  • Steve Curtis,

    Answer is easy .
    Have a reverse pyramid for funding by the NZRU.
    Those like Auckland & Canterbury get nothing , those at the bottom get the most.
    Problem solved.
    But it does seem like Steve Tew couldnt run a barbeque at the local rugby club

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 212 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    But it does seem like Steve Tew couldnt run a barbeque at the local rugby club

    I don't subscribe to the "NZRU are idiots" meme ( not that I think they are geniuses either ). But the democratic system means they can get stuck with some unions causing trouble. And of course trying to please everybody all the time.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    For once, I feel a bit sorry for Tew - he had a clear agreement and now (some) unions have welshed on the deal.

    However, it is also clear the NZRU lacked the guts to simply say "the four lowest teams at the end of the 2009 season will be relegated". To have done that would have drawn the fangs from most of the opponents. Instead, they put in place a whole pile of conditions that were clearly designed as a jackup to make sure none of the main centres lost teams. No wonder there was outcry, it fed directly into every anti-city (and specifically anti-Auckland) bias the provinces ever had. It was a dumb idea.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1776 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I see only one way out of this: make Dan Vettori the head of the NZRU. The boy is a born multi-tasker.

    That's good, because I've already promoted him to halfback for world cup 2011.

    And Dunedin needs him down here to be double sure that our stadium gets finished on time.

    And then he's doing helm duty on Team NZ.

    Bring on Guptill to knock out two weekends? Legend.

    (Drunk people once told me I looked like him).

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Announce the format now. If it's to be 10-6-10, so be it.

    But play the next season under the old rules. Lowest finishing teams get relegated. Everyone knows what they're playing for and you should get a hell of a season of NPC, where even the final weeks of games has several make-or-break match-ups.

    And if Auckland, Waikato, or Canterbury has a bad year and falls into the second division then too damn bad.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2996 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    Tew made the right decision at the start of the year, and then got all cute and put a nonsensical format around applying it. Even 10 in the 1st Div is probably a bit on the high side; South Africa has 8.

    But right from the start he wanted to ensure it was Northland, CM, Manawatu and Tasman (not a proper union) to go down.

    And above all, he wanted the 5 SHuuper Bases to remain.

    If he had applied the criteria applied in all other competitions; bottom teams on that table getting relegated, he’d have got away with it, and good would have been achieved. But instead some litigious lawyers from Blenheim, Feilding and Dargaville have scared then into paralysis.

    Rugby in NZ is the ultimate camel.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    This is the environment we're in. Everything is about the dollar and the only competition that's seen as bringing in that money to the unions is the NPC (in whatever form it takes).

    But they all have pretty uniforms that you can buy so it's all good.

    It was of course obvious that they would have more teams because that means more uniforms to sell.

    I'm so glad that in the middle of a cricket test match that NZ are actually doing well in the top sports news item is ... not Rugby ... but it is a meeting about Rugby sigh.

    I used to like watching the game now I can barely stand to read about it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3266 posts Report Reply

  • Gordon Paynter,

    I think relegating four teams at a time was too much change. I suggest relegating one or two teams this year (from the bottom of the table, no messing around), and then playing two-down-one-up for a few years until there are the "correct" number of unions in each division.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2007 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Jimmy Southgate,

    I've always had the feeling that a large part of the argument about the AirNZ Cup / NPC was Super rugby and its abandonment of the provincial centres.

    After all, for most of the unions if they don't have NPC they have pretty much nothing. Remember back in the 90s when Napier, Palmerston North & New Plymouth would all get a Hurricanes game - now they're lucky to get a pre-season game.

    I'm sure that's purely due to the financial reality of Super rugby, but the uproar around the proposed changes this year, probably indicates there's a fair few people who couldn't give a damn about the 5 franchises and are more interested in their local teams.

    Wellingtown • Since Nov 2006 • 100 posts Report Reply

  • Naly D,

    After all, for most of the unions if they don't have NPC they have pretty much nothing. Remember back in the 90s when Napier, Palmerston North & New Plymouth would all get a Hurricanes game - now they're lucky to get a pre-season game.

    Actually, the only time the Hurricanes have played all their home matches in Wellington was 2008. But I see your point, and agree with it.

    1996
    New Plymouth
    Wellington [2 games]
    Napier
    Palmerston North
    97
    Wellington [3 games]
    Napier
    New Plymouth
    Palmerston North
    98
    Wellington [2 games]
    Napier
    New Plymouth
    Palmerston North
    99
    Wellington [3 games]
    Napier
    New Plymouth
    Palmerston North
    00
    Wellington [3 games]
    Palmerston North
    New Plymouth
    01
    Wellington [4 games]
    New Plymouth
    Napier
    02
    Wellington [4 games]
    Palmerston North
    03
    Wellington [5 games]
    New Plymouth
    04
    Wellington [4 games]
    New Plymouth
    05
    Wellington [5 games]
    Palmerston North
    06
    Wellington [6 games]
    New Plymouth
    07
    Wellington [6 games]
    Palmerston North
    08
    Wellington [6 games]
    09
    Wellington [5 games]
    New Plymouth

    Wellington • Since Sep 2008 • 307 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    I'm so glad that in the middle of a cricket test match that NZ are actually doing well in the top sports news item is...

    Someone asked me yesterday "What's happening in the cricket?" to which I responded "It's a test match so probably nothing".

    But they all have pretty uniforms that you can buy so it's all good.

    Were you watching the same games I was? Some of those were godawful! I suppose I should've done a rundown of them at some point.

    Remember back in the 90s when Napier, Palmerston North & New Plymouth would all get a Hurricanes game - now they're lucky to get a pre-season game.

    I'm going to be in the minority here but I think the provinces should only get preseason matches. During the season the teams should have a home base and bloody well stay there! It's hard to get homefield advantage if you're roaming about the country

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    I suggest relegating one or two teams this year

    And this highlights the complete F'up that is Rugby in NZ at the moment. If they just booted the worst team each year (even if it was Canterbury) then they could pretend to be a sport. But instead because they can't possibly risk losing a profitable team from the premier competition (snort) they get some F'wit accountant to design the relegation rules.

    The only word appropriate is contemptible.

    As for what happened in the cricket, my word 6 hours of absorbing play with the pakistanis showing they can actually bat and the kiwi bowlers trying everything to figure out a way to remove them. The previous day's highlight was the pakistani left armer literally bowling his guts out. Some glorious batting on a perhaps too friendly pitch some really gutsy bowling from an attack that lacks any real brilliance. Pretty much a great days cricket.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3266 posts Report Reply

  • Rogan Polkinghorne,

    Forget Vettori for head of NZRFU, Vettori for President of The Universe FTW!

    A-town • Since Nov 2006 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    Vettori as head of NZRU...

    Good player, who through over-diversification of duties over time has lost touch with his core competency.


    Perfect fit.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Naly D,

    And this highlights the complete F'up that is Rugby in NZ at the moment. If they just booted the worst team each year (even if it was Canterbury) then they could pretend to be a sport. But instead because they can't possibly risk losing a profitable team from the premier competition (snort) they get some F'wit accountant to design the relegation rules.

    And as I've said in the past, if they'd said 'we'll relegate the bottom four teams' the following would have happened:
    If the minnows were in the relegation, they would have accused the union of being shortsighted, failing to acknowledge their importance to rugby, and failing to recognise the way they were building for the future.
    On top of that, unions would bitch that since they can't have their best players, because they're with the All Blacks, they aren't able to field a full-strength team and that jeopardises their season, as do injuries. The TMO decision would have been blasted, because a try could have been the difference between the bottom 4 and middle 4, big unions would be accused of buying up all the talent, etc etc.
    Like I posted in the 'get rid of Otago in the S14' thread, rugby is a fluctuating sport. Waikato were top of the ANZC four years ago, and Auckland were three. This season they were crap. Counties Manukau and Northland have been consistent in their shitness.

    There's no fair way to relegate teams, because people only care about their team when a. It wins or b. They think it's being given a raw deal.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2008 • 307 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    the following would have happened:

    Yup I agree entirely.

    The tough men that play teh Rugby in NZ would have devolved into whiny babies.

    The only reasonable response would have been
    QQ moar

    followed by

    Working as intended

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3266 posts Report Reply

  • Jimmy Southgate,

    Actually, the only time the Hurricanes have played all their home matches in Wellington was 2008. But I see your point, and agree with it.

    Yeah, I did exaggerate a little bit there :-) From your list though it is pretty obvious that in the 90s the Hurricanes were a regional franchise, and now they're not.

    I'm going to be in the minority here but I think the provinces should only get preseason matches. During the season the teams should have a home base and bloody well stay there! It's hard to get homefield advantage if you're roaming about the country

    I actually agree with you, i'm not interested in watching the Hurricanes play at McLean park at all.

    There's no fair way to relegate teams, because people only care about their team when a. It wins or b. They think it's being given a raw deal.

    In the end, I think this is why the Player's Association's 7-7 proposal would probably come closest to appeasing everyone - perhaps excepting those worried about the finances.

    Splitting the premier division into two pools immediately shortens the season & presumably that helps to save money, so that's the two big aims of the revamp sorted isn't it?

    Wellingtown • Since Nov 2006 • 100 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Vettori as head of NZRU...

    Good player, who through over-diversification of duties over time has lost touch with his core competency.


    Perfect fit.

    Meh. He'd make the team on his batting. In fact he'd make the team twice over on his batting given some of the batsmen who make the team.

    And Guptill seems to be our new wicket taking slow bowler. It might be arse-backwards, but it works for me.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Splitting the premier division into two pools immediately shortens the season & presumably that helps to save money, so that's the two big aims of the revamp sorted isn't it?

    I'm not sure if it would. There's presumably a base contract rate which players get whether the season is 10 or 14 games long. What costs more, 14 teams at 10 games, or 10 teams at 12?

    I do despair the lack of long term vision in the (non) changes. NZ just isn't big enough to support 14 professional rugby teams, particularly in a competition that basically has no all blacks.

    However it happened, and whoever went down, cutting it down to 10 makes sense, this competition is going to continue to lose money as long as it stays this size.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

  • Edward Siddle,

    Since the idea at the top of the post was that no-one agrees with anybody else's idea, I guess it doesn't matter if people put out their wacky ideas. So here's mine. I'd like to see the NPC abolished and things go back to the pre-1976 situation where provinces played a number of games against other opponents that they had arranged. some of these games would be for shields like the Hanan and Seddon Shields, the Ranfurly Shield (obviously) and so on. Rugby for the glory of it. No doubt the big unions would probably try and organise something for themselves, but why not let them and see how it goes, rather than try than the NZRFU try and impose something artificial on a rugby public that seems to have contradictory desires. It'll be chaos, but whatever. the alternative would perhaps be to abandon the super competition, or at least the franchise system within it and play it more like football's european cup with the top 5 sides from an NPC going into it.

    as for the hurricanes point being made above, I would wager that one big reason (not the only) for the change in the emphasis of the Canes was the abandonment of Athletic Park in favour of Westpac Stadium. The latter is a great facility in many ways and well situated for transport and town, but considering there are 23-25 games a year at it requiring a rectangular shaped field, and 1-3 that ideally are played on an oval, it is an utterly not fit for its purpose in my view.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2008 • 54 posts Report Reply

  • Jimmy Southgate,

    NZ just isn't big enough to support 14 professional rugby teams, particularly in a competition that basically has no all blacks.

    New Zealand probably isn't supporting 14 professional rugby teams anyway, or at least not 14 teams where all members of the squad are paid a full wage. The teams like Hawke's Bay are semi-professional; Michael Johnston is a builder when he's not playing - he only took a year off from that when he got a Hurricanes contract in 2008.

    There's a partial counter to that argument as well in that if we don't at least try then we'll lose ever more players overseas - take Tasman's Goodman going to Japan for an example of a "lesser" player still getting paid better elsewhere.

    I would wager that one big reason (not the only) for the change in the emphasis of the Canes was the abandonment of Athletic Park in favour of Westpac Stadium.

    No doubt true, and particularly so given the (apart from the last two years) good average crowd sizes achieved there. Having had the pleasure of visiting McLean Park earlier this year though, while Westpac is very convenient and is great when its a full house - I think I liked the smaller & more rectangular ground.

    Wellingtown • Since Nov 2006 • 100 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    New Zealand probably isn't supporting 14 professional rugby teams anyway, or at least not 14 teams where all members of the squad are paid a full wage. The teams like Hawke's Bay are semi-professional; Michael Johnston is a builder when he's not playing - he only took a year off from that when he got a Hurricanes contract in 2008.

    Yes precisely. Ten teams would be more viable (actually 12, as there's two whole teams of All Blacks who can't play NPC.

    If the number of NPC players was to get closer to the number of super 14 players that would also help. Currently you might get a contract for 5 months for the NPC. Then you have to go do something else for the rest of the year. Super 14 players get a full year of work and don't have to have another half of a career.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

  • Daniel Wilton,

    I don't subscribe to the "NZRU are idiots" meme ( not that I think they are geniuses either ). But the democratic system means they can get stuck with some unions causing trouble. And of course trying to please everybody all the time

    I know, the ops manager used to be my boss and he is a very smart man.

    The subject of rugby causes me to rant, and I now realise I am becoming my dad. The problem with rugby is that it is captured by politics and personality. Even in the smaller unions. Everyone wants an all black to come out of their province and when they are washed up people want those all blacks to come back and transform their home unions.
    Therefore you end up with a mess of people who know how to play rugby but know feck all about how to run a business/union/club.

    Then they pop up being quoted "I think we should keep ...... in the competition" without considering the impact of the whole scenario.

    So here is what I propose, Salary caps, transfer fees, a cap on the number of all blacks in a team, a competition where every team plays each other at least once and auto relegation for the bottom x number of teams.

    Make it transparent make it fair, and if a union can't put a competitive team/ draw a crowd bigger than the roller derby, boom they suffer the consequence.

    hmmmm, I am turning into my dad. Go Richter city

    Wellington • Since Jan 2009 • 40 posts Report Reply

  • Naly D,

    I would wager that one big reason (not the only) for the change in the emphasis of the Canes was the abandonment of Athletic Park in favour of Westpac Stadium.

    You're right. The Canes were getting capacity crowds in a 32,500 [though I've worked there on days when it's been 37,000 officially] stadium, so it was financially smart to stay there. Now that crowds have dropped off, maybe they should go to the Naki and Napier [PN's sewn up by Otago now] for a year to gauge interest. Remember when the Chiefs played in Rotorua [and got capacity crowds] during the refurbishment of Rugby Park? Now they don't get a look in

    Wellington • Since Sep 2008 • 307 posts Report Reply

  • Edward Siddle,

    I recall some pretty big crowds at Athletic Park as well for super 12 games, particularly in the 1997 season when the Canes made the semis. They probably have been consistently bigger at Westpac, but my point was more that I suspect there may have been some agreement as well that the Canes would play a minimum number of games at the Westpac in order to justify the investment in building it. Whether or not such an agreement existed I don't know, someone else might, but certainly I recall there being such an agreement with cricket, with even tests to be played there, until people came to their senses and realised that the Basin was pretty much the jewel in the crown of NZ test grounds and you couldn't abandon it (i'd argue, particularly now, that they could have continued to play one dayers at the Basin too, and built a rectangular ground at Westpac instead, given that they hardly ever get a crowd for a one dayer at the Westpac that exceeds the Basin's old ODI capacity which was up round 12,000).

    Wellington • Since Sep 2008 • 54 posts Report Reply

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