Happy Thursday, comrades. Well, the 12 month rugby cycle continues this week. For those who need a fix the English Premiership is worth a watch on Stan as well as the Sevens coming up. Thanks to AllyOz for also finding this gem https://www.rugbyeurope.eu/rugby-europe-tv/
As always this is a fan run site and any contribution is welcome, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org be it with an article an idea or an opinion piece. There’s also a ‘Submit a Story’ option. So have a crack as the more the merrier.
Alun Wyn Jones gets ideal send-off:
The great Welshman played his final game of professional rugby over the weekend for Toulon, whom he captained on the day. He left the field in the second half to a standing ovation and will always be remembered as one of the best to play the game.
Jones is the most capped Test player in history, with 170 appearances between Wales and the British & Irish Lions. The second-row’s incredible longevity is as impressive as his endearing nature off the field. Enjoy retirement, Alun Wyn, it is truly deserved.
Days between Alun Wyn Jones’ birth and senior debut: 6792.
Days between his senior debut and (current) last game: 7146.
BBC says it may not be able to afford to keep Six Nations rugby
From the Irish Times
The BBC may no longer be able to afford to keep its share of the Six Nations due to the spiralling costs of broadcast rights and a fall in its income, its outgoing director of sport has warned MPs.
Barbara Slater told the Digital, Media and Sport select committee that “incredibly difficult” decisions would have to be taken due to sports rights having more than doubled in the past decade, while the BBC’s income had gone down 30 per cent in real terms. The tournament has traditionally been available free to air in the UK, but it is not among the protected listed events in the same way that the men’s and women’s World Cup, the Olympics and Wimbledon are.
Recent reports have also suggested that the creation of a new world league could see rugby’s television rights sold as a bundle – taking it further out of reach of the BBC. This is big news as this is the way that many people in the UK get their first opportunity to watch rugby; however, the new private equity partners won’t care about that.
Tom Curry: England flanker ruled out of Six Nations and possibly rest of the season
From the BBC
This is a real shame as these types of injuries have stopped many a career.
England and Sale Sharks’ Tom Curry has been ruled out of the Six Nations and is likely to miss the rest of the season after having hip surgery. Curry, 25, has been troubled with the injury since playing a full part for England at the Rugby World Cup. Sale director of rugby Alex Sanderson said surgery was the best option for the flanker “in the short term”.
Police make contact with man in Ugo Monye racist abuse case
Also from the BBC
This is an interesting case with quite a few layers to it. To be clear racism has no place in rugby or society in general. I am personally against any form of exclusion that labels another as less than or other,
From the minor research that I’ve done it looks Ugo Monye was racially abused by a man after the Exeter v Gloucester game. It further appears that the culprit was a mixed race South African who was on holiday at the time and is neither an Exeter or Gloucester fan. The Eggchasers did an excellent pod on this subject yesterday and I think more may come of it. I’d recommend a listen.
Police investigating an allegation of racist abuse at an Exeter Chiefs match have “made contact” with a man in connection to the incident, the force said. Devon and Cornwall Police were also “in the process of speaking to the victim”, they added.
Former England international Ugo Monye accused a supporter of racist abuse on Sunday. Mr Monye reported the alleged incident after Exeter’s victory over Gloucester. The 40-year-old was working at the Premiership match as part of the punditry team on TNT Sport.
A police spokesman said: “We have identified and made contact with a man in connection to the incident and we are in the process of speaking to the victim. Our inquiries are currently ongoing.”
Exeter and Gloucester, as well as governing body the Rugby Football Union, also gave their backing to the former Harlequins and British and Irish Lions back, who won 14 caps for England. Exeter said they would be “launching a full investigation” and offered “sincerest apologies” to Mr Monye, adding: “This behaviour will not be tolerated at our rugby club.” Gloucester said they would “encourage a thorough investigation and will co-operate fully to ensure the culprit is identified”.
The Messy Blood Sport that is Australian Rugby Administration
The plot thickens! From the Australian.
The ringleader of the Rugby Australia boardroom coup was deep in talks with the code’s new boss Dan Herbert just days before he successfully moved to oust Hamish McLennan, shock new text messages reveal.
Texts and call records obtained by The Australian between Herbert and his predecessor show a damning timeline in which the ex-Wallaby met with Queensland Rugby Union chairman Brett Clark – the man behind the incendiary state unions’ letter that triggered McLennan’s demise. They also reveal that Herbert stopped responding to McLennan after the then-RA chairman asked what Clark and the agitators wanted.
A text exchange began at 7.44am last Friday, when McLennan wrote to Herbert asking how his meeting went with the QRU chairman Clark – a vocal opponent of RA’s policy to centralise the administration and high performance programs of the game in Australia.
“Herbie, in an all day meeting. How’d you go with Brett Clarke (sic)? Can you pls text? Hamish.”
Herbert wrote back a short message.
“Not good, very icy.”
McLennan wrote back.
“What does he want?”
Herbert did not respond to that message nor did he call McLennan. What transpired next was a phone call from Clark to McLennan to tell him of a letter undersigned by six states and territories calling for his removal.
Clark had also not answered McLennan’s call when the then RA chairman heard the numbers were being counted against his leadership.
On Tuesday Herbert in his statement to The Australian did not directly answer questions of when he was made aware of the Clark-led state union letter and why Herbert did not write back to McLennan last Friday when he inquired about what Clark wanted.
But Herbert did say he would “never breach confidentiality with stakeholders” and the new RA chairman maintained these discussions should be kept private.
“My role as a director requires me to have frequent confidential conversations and meeting with various stakeholders,” Herbert told The Australian. “I would never breach this confidentiality. I am surprised to see private communications between board members now in the public realm. Rugby faces many challenges and I am focused tackling this head on.”
Six days before the letter’s release, on November 11, McLennan rang Clark and he did not return his call. Two days later Clark, who is also chairman of Queensland Ballet, wrote that he would be meeting up with Herbert later in the week and was sorry he missed his call.
“Hi Hamish – sorry I missed your call – crazy weekend. Caught up today as we are down to final interviews for a new AD (artistic director) at QB (Queensland Ballet) – big transition for us so all focusing”, he texted. “Tomorrow I am caught up with ASF (Australian Sports Foundation) as QRU agreed to do a joining presentation on Philathrophy [sic] and Donors to our rugby clubs to start them on their own journeys – now we have the green and gold coming as well to help athletes find money for LA28 and Brisbane 2032 – teach them to fish i say! Having coffee with Herbie this week so might touch base after that. Cheers BC”.
On Friday November 17, Clark called McLennan telling him he was releasing a letter that was scathing of McLennan’s leadership and his decisions and called for him to resign from RA. They dubbed McLennan “arrogant”.
“We do not believe Mr McLennan has been acting in the best interests of our game,” said the unions, who represented every Australian state and territory, except New South Wales and Victoria.
“We no longer have any trust or faith in his leadership, or the direction in which he is taking rugby in Australia.”
After receiving the letter on Friday night McLennan tried calling Herbert. He didn’t call back. He then texted Herbert at 10.45pm; “Herbie, Tried you. Q’ld get me then it will blow up I reckon. Their character assassination is obscene. Hamish.”
Herbert did not write back.
It took 48 hours, five meetings but finally the RA board late on Sunday night unanimously voted – bar McLennan – to install Herbert as the new chair.
Following his ousting, McLennan said the current federated model of governance for rugby was broken and gave power to minor states with very few rugby players and disabled the major players in Australian rugby such as New South Wales and Victoria (who run Melbourne Rebels).
“I wouldn’t give NT, SA and Tasmania a vote at all. It’s ludicrous to say these minnows have a say in the future of NSW, Victoria and The Force,“ McLennan said. “They wouldn’t have 5 per cent of the players of NSW. Punt them out.”
On Monday Herbert, following McLennan’s exit, called for unity.
Herbert said he is focused on the high-performance aspect of the game.
“I know that different people have a different view of what it (centralisation) looks like – but everyone acknowledges that we have to align, we have to integrate, we have to unite,” Herbert said.
I write this open letter on behalf of Australian rugby fans. You are merely the custodians of the game so put on your big boy pants, settle your differences and start pulling in the same direction for a change. You have behaved like a bunch of spoiled children, and you make it difficult for people like me to champion this great game.
The game in Australia has many great people involved and an amazing community game that does more with less than any other code in Australia. Just last week there was a club sevens tourney run in Brisbane and the annual Remembrance Day games in Townsville as well as many other events in the rest of the country. So, get out of the way and give those who are doing good things the support it to make it easier.
You have one job to get the Super teams (men’s and women’s) aligned with the national teams. So, bend your back, take care of that and we’ll take care of the rest.