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Discussion in 'Rugby & Aussie Rules' started by olckicker, Nov 26, 2003.
Will it mean more long term support for the Rugby Union Premiership?
Hopefully it will do what winning the 91 & 99 cups did for Australian rugby - bring it more into the media mainstream, although it is starting from a higher base.
Rugby here was basically a small sport played by private schools and ex-private schoolboys pretty much ignored by the media and only understood in 2 states.
While it is still the number 3 football code after Aussie Rules and Rugby League, it is now a lot more recognised nationally and there are a lot more kids from a wider range of backgrounds playing.
If you guys are able to pick up the current edition of THE ECONOMIST, there is a good article about rugby in England and what they face.
Hopefully, it'll be promoted in schools as much as football now.
most schools down here play far more rugby than football. Not a class thing or anything like that, it's just that rugby seems to be the game of choice for PE teachers. The kids all play football though. Some schools down here, often the richer schools, sometimes even ban the kids from playing football, even in the playground.
It can't be just a southern thing though. My Dad told me he went to an ordinary school in Yorkshire and the school only allowed rugby. It really stuffed him up when he moved to Bristol at about 17 and his school there virtually played only football - and the PE teachers just weren't able to comprehend that an English lad just didn't have a clue about how to play football at all.
I think it shows quite a lot that while the papers were falling over themselves to write reports on the England rugby team, they really had to introduce most of the players to the public as that were that unknown.
I think there'll be a boost to crowds for a few weeks, but the club game is rather low-key and a world away from a large event like the world cup, or even the 6 nations. The fact that small towns like Gloucester, Bath and Northampton are major players in English rugby show that it's still a niche market.
It's posts like yours that make me think English rugby has two identities, perhaps similar to ice hockey in the states -- on one hand rugby (at least based on Sky Sports coverage) is the number 2 sport in England; on the other hand the popularity of English rugby may be closer to the popularity of U.S. soccer.
*insert mandatory Joe Six-Pack question of the difference between Union and League here*
if rugby has any kind of schitzophrenia it's the difference between the club game and the national game. The five nations has always been a big event and international rugby has gone up a gear or two with the introduction of the world cup. The club game, although now covered by sky (and heavily promoted in murdoch's papers) just doesn't have the same status. You just can't sell 6000 in Bath as a main event in the same way that you can for 78,000 at Twickenham for an England international. The 10000 at Newcastle to witness Johnny Wilkinson's homecoming was a record crowd for the club. Even with the world cup win, not enough of the players are famous enough to draw the uncommitted fans in (not that they'd even know which clubs the players play for anyway).
Oddly, although rugby league is a better supported league, its internationals are much lower key.
The comparison with MLS is interesting as there have been calls to scrap relegation/promotion as the clubs outside the top division aren't strong enough to survive, and relegating a fully professional club to division one could well kill them off. A championship play-off was also introduced last season and its inauguration was not particularly helped by the runaway leaders of the league losing in the final - it was roundly regarded as a farce and even the eventual winners seemed slightly embarrassed to be calling themselves the national champions.
I would say the game is bigger than soccer in the US, mainly because of the internationals, but also because there are no other sports challenging it for that second spot. Cricket is waaaaay back with the county championship being played against a backdrop of general apathy - although again, the internationals generate a lot of interest.
Re: Re: what does england's world cup win mean for english rugby union?
Interesting stuff so far. Not to threadjack or anything, though, but I've been wondering... what kind of revenue does county cricket generate? Every time I've seen highlights on Sky, the grounds look very, very empty (even by MLS standards). It looks like it would be tough to keep the leagues afloat given that ticket revenue would appear to be rather low. Then again, I'd imagine there would be lots of opportunities to sell advertising during telecasts.
Or am I wrong in my assumptions?
Not sure about England, but in Australia the interstate cricket basically plays to empty stadia (although lots of people care about the results and listen on the radio etc) - although there have been increased gates at the domestic limited over games recently.
However, when the internationals come around it's almost impossible to get a ticket.
Rugby here is similar - noone goes to the club games, but Super12 and internationals sell out.
Rugby League (and especially Aussie Rules) are the big "club" games.
Funny, I had always assumed that Rugby Union was the more popular one worldwide, as it's what I played in college in the states, and it's what I saw in the WC. I'd never even heard of Rugby League until I got FSW a few years ago.
Is it a geographic thing, with League popular in Australia and England...elsewhere? And the rest of the world focusing on Union? Saw Russell Crowe talking about being converted to Union...I think when he moved to New Zealand from Australia (or vice versa?).
Is there even a League style World Cup?
League is only played seriously in:
Australia: Only in New South Wales & Queensland (although Melbourne, Victoria has a team in the national league) where it is the number one sport
England: Really only in Yorkshire & Lancashire - places like Wigan, Leeds, Huddesfield, St Helens etc
New Zealand: way way behind Union
Papua New Guinea: The number one sport, for what it matters
France: Played in pockets in the south - it was actually banned there for many years due to politics, but way behind Union
Small competitions exist in places like Russia, Lebanon etc, but internationally it is nowhere near Union.
There is an infrequent "World Cup" played.
It developed as a breakaway from Union in the early 1900's, starting in Huddersfield, England - basically due to professionalism. Players wanted to be paid, not so much to play but to be compensated for time away from work, and to cover them for time lost due to injury. It was originally called "Northern Union", and explains why it's heartland is the working class and coal mining areas.
It gained strength in Australia around World War I, when Union suspended play.
Russell Crowe has a big interest in League. He supports South Sydney, a real working class club which Rupert Murdoch had kicked out of the national competition a few years ago, only to get readmitted after a legal challenge. He also runs his own club in one of the amateur country leagues in northern New South Wales, where he has his country home.
Re: Re: Re: what does england's world cup win mean for english rugby union?
I have no idea how county cricket survives to be honest. Probably on takings from sunday league (limited overs) games, which draw better crowds, and from the share out of the money from the international matches. Clubs also make some money from memberships, with membership of a cricket club often seen as a high profile thing, like being a member of a top golf club.
I've really got no idea if league cricket is even shown on TV. Sunday games, yes, but the championship games themselves? Perhaps buried away somewhere on one of the sky channels. Any revenue would be very low.
I think the average crowd for a championship cricket match is about 2,500, but I also think that is the total attendance for the 3-4 days the match takes place, not each day.
They do play every day though, so the money must accumulate enough for pro-cricketers to make a living. They are for the most part not exactly in the Beckham league of earnings though.
The odds are that although it's heavily disliked by the purists (especially the new 20 over a side competition started this year) it's likely that the one day game is what keeps the 'real' 3-4 day game going at all.
Well, from up north.
An almost pathological hatred of the spherical commoners ball game.
Ok joe six pack here. What's the difference?
Other than the old amateur/professional divide, there are major rule differences:
- Union has 15 men a side (8 forwards/7 backs), League has 13 a side (7/6).
- In Union, when a player is tackled, that player must release the ball, resulting in a ruck or a maul. In League, the tackled player restarts the action and the next "tackle" by standing upright and rolling the ball through his legs to a team-mate stood directly behind him. The opposing team must stand at least 10 metres in front of the player.
The team with the ball gets six tackles before they give up the ball (think downs in football).
- If a penalty is committed in League, the other team either gets the ball with six more tackles or can kick for points.
Many League innovations such as kicking tees, sin bin, blood bin and tactical subsitutions have made their way into Union, and with professionalism in Union, and as a result, there are fewer real differences between the two codes than ever before.
Re: Re: what does england's world cup win mean for english rugby union?
I wonder if the fact that Union held on to amatuer status for so long has much to do with the fact that only international gain much support. League being pro has more fan loyalty towards the domestic game than the international. Just a theory.
Just to expand on skipshady’s post …
Refer my previous post in this thread for history & geography.
• Number of Players: Union 15, League 13 (2 less forwards). League also has interchange, so a replaced player can come back on (with some restrictions)
* Union: Try 5 points, Conversion 2 points, Penalty & Drop Goals 3 points
* League: Try 4 points, Conversion & Penalty Goals 2 points, Drop Goal 1 point, so generally less shots for penalty & drop goals
• Field dimensions and markings: Basically League ‘end zones’ are shallower, and there is a 20 metre line rather than a 22.
• Scrums: Vital in Union – a way of asserting dominance. In League just a way of restarting play
• Lineouts: Union has them, League doesn’t, so there is less kicking for touch in League
• Play: Union is theoretically non-stop. So long as you don’t drop the ball or get penalised you can keep the ball all day until you score. When a player is tackled a ruck or maul forms and the players fight for the ball.
In League, when a player is tackled, the defenders must release him and retreat 10 metres. He then stands and rolls the ball back between his legs to a teammate, and a new ‘play’ starts. After 6 plays, if the team hasn’t scored they must hand the ball over to the defence. Most teams punt after 5. In this area it is similar to gridiron.
• Body Types: Because of scrums and lineouts, there is more variation in body types in Union, especially in the forwards. You will see 6 foot, 18 stone Prop forwards built like rectangles alongside hulking 6 foot 8 Lock forwards. League forwards are more uniform athletic 6 foot 4 or 5’ers.
League is generally a faster more explosive and body impact sport. Union is more technical and subtle.
Bump (to move to the new forum)