Rugby union's perfect storm is ominous for NRL. The NRL boss David Smith must be sweating bullets at his worst-case scenario: losing superstars Benji Marshall and Sonny Bill Williams to rugby union next season. It wouldn't be so bad should it just be Williams making for the exit, notwithstanding his heroics against Manly on Monday night.
Williams has always been upfront about the possibility of returning to the Chiefs once he'd seen out his one-year deal at the Roosters. But Williams and Marshall departing in tandem with rugby set to make its long-awaited Olympics return in Rio after a 92-year absence? And with rugby global sensation in waiting Israel Folau staying put at the Waratahs? That trinity ought to be the crown jewels in the NRL empire, and losing all three would be a huge blow. In the sports entertainment business – and Smith would no doubt agree that's exactly the line of work he's in – losing Williams, Marshall and Folau would be akin to Nadal, Federer and Djokovic quitting tennis to take up ping pong. Frankly, it's inconceivable that such a thing could happen, or indeed be allowed to happen by the sport's bosses. But it's a trend emerging in the NRL. Its most prized assets are in danger of walking across the street to the competition.
Of course, rugby league has a long and proud history of surviving player defections to the 15-man game. Wendell Sailor, Mat Rogers and Lote Tuqiri all left in the early naughties in time for the 2003 Rugby World Cup. But somebody just as good, if not better, inevitably came along to replace them in the NRL. The problem for the NRL, though, is that those somebodies – the second tier in the NRL supply chain – are leaving too. For every Jarryd Hayne who stays, there's a Joe Tomane and Cooper Vuna shooting through. Money has played a part.
There's no salary cap in union, with fat contracts for the taking in Australia, France and Japan. But it would be a mistake to think remuneration is the only driver behind player migration.
Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver delivered a more complete truth – and somewhat smugly, it has to be said – when commenting on the prospect of Folau extending his one-year deal at the Waratahs to have a crack at making the sevens team for the Olympics in 2016. "When you are playing rugby for Australia, your away games are places like Cape Town and London," he said. And then the barb: "If you play rugby league, your away game is Campbelltown. " Touché. Smith would have been livid at the putdown (and he would have been told).
NRL : Пантерз, Западная тигров, Мельбурн Сторм, Canteburry бульдоги, Рустерс, Георгиевская драконов, Южный Сидней Rabbitohs.
00:00 – 02:00 NRL : Roosters v Storm. 02:00 – 04:00 NRL : Bulldogs v Dragons. 04:00 – 06:00 NRL : Broncos v Cowboys. 06:00 – 08:00 08:00 – 10:00 NRL : Holden Cup Roosters v 10:00 Copyright © 2013 -15 Торрент-телевидение. Чему вы сможете выигрывать больше: Регбийная лига, Австралия, NRL. 02.40, Melbourne Storm, 2.050 For All NRL Matches, офлайн, офлайн Кюрасао лицензии 8048/ JAZ2013 -013 на предоставление услуг в сфере. Спутник принадлежит научно- исследовательской лаборатории ВМС США NRL (Naval Research Laboratory). Масса спутника 460 кг. 2. 21 мар 2013 · BETman♤ Прогнозы на спорт. Live Австралия. NRL Мельбурн Сторм - Кентербери Бульдогз п1. 4. 21 мар 2013 · BETman♤ Прогнозы.
To be fair, Smith's hands are tied to a large extent: he can't compete with exotic locations, and in most cases the NRL will come up short on the money side because of its restrictive salary cap. On top of those structural competitive disadvantages, Smith also has to deal with momentum, that irresistible combination of force and velocity crucial for victory in both oval ball codes – on and off the pitch.
And rugby union is a runaway freight train at the moment: a cracking Lions tour afoot, the World Cup in England in 2015, and the Rio Olympics the year after. Cue fewer sponsorship dollars in circulation as blue chip brands partner up with the national rugby sevens team for Rio. In the interim, Pulver gets to deal with Kurtley Beale and James O'Connor going out for burgers and fries in the wee hours. In comparison, Smith wakes up to a player arrested for driving without a licence after drinking alcohol; and leading players impersonating Kimbo Slice during State of Origin. It seems the gulf between the two rugby brands is widening with every beer and uppercut.
Smith's got his work cut out for him. But hold on, isn't Smith with his Lloyds International banking credentials the new kind of CEO the game's commissioners said the NRL badly needed? "The right person to build on the transformational momentum that has developed across the game," the Australian Rugby League Commission's John Grant said when announcing Smith's appointment last November. Momentum, there's that word again.
Grant was reportedly unhappy with Smith's predecessor, David Gallop. Too reactive, the ARLC supremo opined in background briefings to select journalists. He wanted someone "proactive", a savvy operator with commercial nous and a crystal ball.
In fact, if Grant had his own crystal ball he'd have seen Gallop grinning like a cheshire cat at Football Federation Australia. He's off to Rio too, with the Socceroos for the soccer World Cup no less. And so here we are post-Gallop, the NRL at a crossroads; its shining stars making moves for rugby and a CEO expressly hired to be proactive as opposed to reactive. This is Smith's moment then. So, what's the plan Mr Smith? How are you going to retain Benji and Wiliams, and entice Izzy back? And, more importantly, how are you going to make the NRL more attractive than union for the next generation of talent? Smith gave an insight into his thinking on the subject when responding to Roosters' coach Trent Robinson's impassioned plea on Monday night for the NRL to do all in its power to keep Williams in the code. "We want people in our game like Sonny Bill and of course we want him to stay," Smith told AAP. And on the message he'd give to Folau to tempt him back, Smith said: "It's the greatest game of all.
" He suggested the NRL's level of competition was its own reward for the insatiably competitive top-class athlete. "The game is as competitive as it's ever been. It's in as in as good shape as it's ever been and that's without the biff," he said. Smith is absolutely right: most NRL and State of Origin games are intensely competitive gladiatorial contests where only the best warrior-athletes rule. However, the game has been great for as long as anyone can remember, even during the height of the Super League war.
But that long-standing high quality hasn't stopped players from leaving. In fact, the 'greatest game of all' catch-cry has probably reached its use-by date. It used to be a call to arms, but now it's just a slogan. Hand on heart, does anyone really believe that message alone would sway Folau, or any other superstar player and his agent for that matter? Very few would be a fair guess. Is there a Plan B? The fans want to know. Talking Points.
Turning to that other major rugby competition called the Super 15. Alas, still no Aussie teams because of the Lions series.
Sadly, bad things happened while they were away. The Chiefs (v Hurricanes) and Bulls (v Kings) both won to punt the Brumbies from top spot down to No3 on the all conference ladder. The Chiefs will do well to hold on, though, with the Crusaders waiting for them in Christchurch on Friday.
The Bulls and Brumbies are both on 59 points, with the Pretoria side edging second spot with a seven-point margin advantage on points for and against. The equation for a Brumbies top two spot is simple: they have to beat the Western Force with a bonus point in the final round; wipe away the Bulls' points differential advantage, whatever that might be by then; and hope the Bulls drop one of their remaining two games, if not both. Those games are no gimmes for the Bulls – against the Sharks this weekend, and away to the Stormers on 13 July. The Reds, in fourth spot, will be wary of the Crusaders who moved up to fifth after belting the Highlanders. The Crusaders are only three points adrift of the Reds, but they'll need to beat the Chiefs to keep in touch. It'll be the match of the round.
Super 15, round 18 results: Chiefs 34 d Hurricanes 22; Crusaders 40 d Highlanders 12; Sharks 22 d Blues 20; Bulls 48 d Kings 18; Stormers 28 d Cheetahs 23. • The Crusaders and All Black maestro Dan Carter was back to his imperious best against the Highlanders last Friday.
So much class, and so effortless. Mr Majestic, he was; his form an ominous sign for the Wallabies come the Rugby Championships. Although, who's to say the Wallabies won't have a new coach by then? And maybe even a proper fly-half. Quade Cooper anyone? Ahh, but for the width of a crossbar in Melbourne, there go I. • Blues No10 Chris Noakes picked a bad time to put in a dud show.
He played a shocker against the Sharks. Blues coach Sir John Kirwan started talking up Benji Marshall's possible recruitment as a fly-half option almost immediately after the match ended. • And finally from the weekend, Russia's women's sevens team beat England 17-15 to reach the quarter-finals of the Women's Sevens Rugby World Cup in Moscow. What. Well, maybe we shouldn't be too surprised.
With rugby sevens greenlit for Rio 2016, the Russian government has made the game a part of the national school curriculum. The International Olympic Committee has also dropped some serious cash to promote the game. "We're going to see Russia and the USA coming on leaps and bounds," International Rugby Board CEO Brett Gosper said somewhat understatedly in Moscow.