Thursday’s Rugby News sees the launch of the 2020 Super W season, the broadcasting agreement that won over Shute Shield rugby, Tahs and Rebels ring the changes, and the Reds make a profit.
Super W 2020 Launched
The third season of the Super W competition was launched in Canberra yesterday with players to remain unpaid.
Raelene Castle praised the success of the Super W but challenged players to continue to lift the standard.
“The success of the competition has also led to the double-digit growth of female participation over the last two years as the competition grows, and we expect to see this number continue to rise,” she said.
“The challenge for the class of 2020 is to back it up and go one better and grow the standard of competition evermore.
“These athletes (play) an exciting, fierce brand of rugby which has captured the imagination of fans and we’re looking forward to seeing what’s in store in season three,” Castle said.
Six games will be played as double-headers with Super Rugby games in Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane and be broadcasted on Fox Sports. All other games in the season will be available on Rugby.com.au and Kayo.
The competition kicks off this weekend, with the Rebels hosting the Tahs in the first double-header at AAMI Park in Melbourne. The Brumbies then host Rugby WA Women at GIO Stadium on Saturday ahead of the Brumbies-Highlanders Super Rugby clash.
Reds report profit
The Queensland Reds will be able to report a $32,000 net profit at next month’s Annual General Meeting.
Although a modest profit, it comes with more than 95% of its operating profit spent on the depreciation of its Ballymore home.
The ageing facility has been a financial burden on the club for some time, but relief is on its way with the Federal Government pledging $15 million towards the development of the National Rugby Training Centre (NRTC) at Ballymore.
The QRU are still working with the State Government to see a $15 million contribution to the project which will rejuvenate Ballymore into a state-of-the-art facility.
QRU chief executive David Hanham said Ballymore will be a destination the rugby community could be proud of.
“We’ll begin this work by delivering the NRTC, which will have training space for more than 80 elite rugby players as well as our academy, game development and community staff and other programs,” Hanham said.
Last year, the Reds reported a $1.09 million loss after the failure of collapsed property group Majella to honour a seven-figure sponsorship. Furthermore, payments to James Slipper, Quade Cooper, and Karmichael Hunt numbered $366,000.
However, with the Reds resigning a number of homegrown talent and the support of the Federal Government to redevelop Ballymore the future is beginning to look bright.
The broadcasting deal that won over Shute Shield
Tom Decent of the Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that a $1.45 million deal over five years for club rugby rights has won over the Shute Shield administration.
The deal would see the competition receive $450,000 in the first year and $250,000 each year thereafter until 2024. This is an increase compared to the current deal worth $150,000 per year.
RA also said it would cover the production costs involved in broadcasting the competition and pledge $150,000 per year in marketing and advertising to promote the Shute Shield.
A RA spokesman said: “Rugby Australia has today made further progress on bringing Sydney’s Shute Shield competition into its ‘whole of rugby’ media rights package from 2021 after reaching an agreement with the competition’s broadcast partner, Seven. Positive discussions have also continued with Club RUgby TV.”
Castle has also remained optimistic that Fox Sports would come to the table over broadcasting negotiations.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t get to a place we were both comfortable with, so now we’re in tender and we would expect that as a market process, they would step into that process.
Tahs, Rebels ring changes
With the Tahs and Rebels both yet to win a game the coaches have ringed the changes to improve the side’s fortunes.
Halfback Ryan Louwrens replaces Fiji international Frank Lomani to partner Matt To’ouma in the halves.
Richard Hardwick has been named at openside flanker, while Campbell Magnay will start at No.13 shifting Hodge to the wing.
Meanwhile, Tahs coach Rob Penney has elevated Junior Wallabies prop Angus Bell and Wallaby Jack Maddocks to the starting side for the first time.
Penney spoke glowingly about the young prop.
“Angus is an outstanding prospect. When you’re considering putting a young guy into a starting position, and the front row in particular, it is about their physical and mental ability to cope and Angus has proved over the last couple of weeks that he is more than capable.”
Cameron Clark has also been brought into the side for his first game of the season with Mark Nawaqanitawase dropped to the bench, while Alex Newsome replaces Foketi at outside centre.