Editorial #1 / #2 by Dave


Steve Tew - Radio Sport "QUOTE" - 1st October with Brendan Telfer


" We have a unanimous support from the 14 unions , yet If we get them all in one room we would have 14 different opinions" ????

- Kevin Hare 'Save Our Teams'




The Issue of Appropriate Governance - Newsletter


The issue of criteria has raised it's ugly head again, the same criteria that was issued in 2005 has been changed and updated. Let's get it right, the 2005 criteria involved upgrades of stadiums, training facilities and investment in administration and coaching structures. The 14 unions duly abided (or already had this in place) this. But with such investment comes cost.

In a smaller unions case a large cost. Make no mistake, the NZRFU went into this with eyes wide open; it's taken 4 painstaking years but it's now here. A great competition Good coaches, good facilities and most importantly for the next world cup, good players.

The System of having 308 players playing at the highest regional level is working (14 teams x 22 players) . I know, I keep re-emphasizing the point, but good school players now go into good academies and come out good players, locally. The academies and coaching structures are so even across the 14 teams, that we now, after a long wait, we have can excellent product or in NZRFU speak -"a great brand".

And it is. Ratings, registered playing numbers and most importantly money are coming into the unions. Now, they can pay back the investment that the NZRFU has given them. Give them the chance. By continually moving the goalposts, it says nothing about the NZRFU ability to govern this competition. But it does say a lot how easily they are manipulated by a select few. Are they not listening?

How can they not listen? I don't think the "Culled 4" are the issue at all. I look at certain unions and I realize how badly they have cocked it up. Low numbers, empty stadiums, horrible rugby, sorry...... I just don't get it, how it this Tasman, Northland, Manawatu and Counties fault?

Why are you blaming them for the fact that their "brand" is poor? NZRFU you are the most powerful Rugby Union in New Zealand. Do not listen to the select few, listen to the voices of many. We are telling you, you have it right. Take the hand off our throat. Govern us properly.

Dave Kirk-Jones

Save our Teams



With the proposed culling of 4 Rugby unions, Steve Tew seems to be attracting a fair amount of criticism, which I believe isn't justified. Steve is just a figurehead for a NZRFU board that pays his wages, and this is a unpopular topic. And I don't believe that's fair.

Let's backdate this story, it was the NZRFU that chose 14 teams in the first place. For that, they should be congratulated. What they saw from the 2006, 2007 and 2008 was rugby dross. Small crowds, inept tactics and even worse rugby skill sets. Worse still, two big unions Canterbury and Wellington dominating the smaller unions. Same old, same old. But, behind the scenes the smaller unions were making huge advances off the field and recently on the field.

One of the key areas was offering a competitive remuneration package to keep players playing in their home provinces. Also the building of academies to offer long term growth and depth in the squads and a good stadiums so fans can enjoy watching their footy, also added value. All key ingredients in long term growth and sustainability.

Although I believe the best is yet to come, some interesting points should be noted. We have already seen the shift of power move away from two traditional Super 14 host unions. Waikato although a major player in the history of New Zealand Rugby has been usurped by their underfunded (read: broke) cousin in Bay of Plenty. BOP play in 2009 to sizable crowds both in Tauranga and Rotorua and bloody good rugby to boot.

The 32- 16 BOP win over Waikato appears to underline the decline of Waikato and the emergence of a new Head Chief, the Bay of Plenty. A similar story emerges at the bottom of the South Island as long term strugglers Southland have not only come out of Otago's shadow but have created a bit of a shadow themselves. Well coached and with a gifted 1st Five/ Fullback to lead them around the pack in the form of Robbie Robinson, they have set themselves up, as a potential legacy team. One not easily broken in Invercargill. (Side Note: Watch the 2nd half of the Stags vs Turbo's game, if that's not the game rugby you have seen all year I'll eat my hat).

The Rumblings from Hawkes Bay, Taranaki and the Turbos mean Wellington's grip isn't that secure either. So why the change? Let's get it straight, the lure of Dunedin, Hamilton. Wellington and Auckland isn't doing it anymore. A very good rugby player's profile can now be larger in a small province than a large one. Don't believe me? Look at Aaron Cruden, Robbie Robinson, Andy Goodman,Renee Ranger & Mark Bright. Chances are you have heard the name, and that's because in New Zealand they carry a profile, they are on your TV they are in papers.

So, why change? Well, don't. Unless you aren't getting a regular start there really isn't any need. Your All Black chances aren't damaged look at Brin Evans, Latimer, Masaga and Franks. More will follow as the provincial academies gear up. And that's the issue. The big unions are running scared. Forget the baloney about meaningful competition. Look at Auckland and North Harbour, what a painful game to watch. Without the injection from the provinces of good players their rugby isn't up to much.

How would North Harbour love a Robinson, Cruden or a Mike Delaney to steer them around the park. Think about it. Why was Otago good in the early nineties , where did the players come from? Even now, look at the Whitelock boys, their Dad coaches at a Turbo level, but Canterbury snaffled them at an early age. That's a harsh one... but you get the point.

So the big unions have been whispering sweet nothings to the NZRFU and rightly or wrongly the NZRFU looked at the package of rugby offered by Pre-2009 rugby teams and made a call to streamline the Air New Zealand Cup. Quite right. It was bloody hopeless. Our stand is,now finally in 2009 the NZRFU has got it right. reasonable skill sets, good crowds generating reasonable revenue and the KEY is TRIBALISM. I have sat through enough EPL (and Championship) (my team isn't that flash) to know what it is. It's here, it's arrived. It might come in the shape of a Bucket - but I know it's right.

Embrace it NZRFU, it's not 2008 it's 2009. The rugby landscape has changed. Time for you to catch up.



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