Rugby Australia And The State Unions Have A Lot Of Work To Do
We all know that Rugby Australia and the state unions have a lot of work to do to pull Australian Rugby out of the funk it has been in for the last 20 years. We also know that the Wallabies need to win the Bledisloe back and start winning more. The Super Rugby teams need to improve and be beating the Kiwi teams and there needs to be better pathways. The disagreement comes with how to do it, and who pays for it. Clearly, there is no quick fix that will get the Wallabies or the SR sides back to winning, and the status quo is not acceptable. There are, therefore, only two choices. Sit back and throw stones at the RA administrators or engage in a meaningful way and put forward ideas that are going to help bring about meaningful change. I believe it all needs to start and end with sorting the pathways out. However, as RA aren’t exactly flush with cash, it needs to be done on a shoestring budget. I believe it can be done and like a lot of ideas, the answer may be sitting right in front of us.
From the NRL, it is evident that there are a number of pathways that lead up to the top-level of competition. For simplicity, I will use NSW as the example. Harold Matthews feeds into SG Ball which feeds into Jersey Flegg, which in turn feeds into NSW cup, and ultimately into the NRL. Replicating this model may not be feasible for Rugby Australia due to financial constraints. However, it is important to improve the existing pathways in the sport. In my simple plan, I propose that each Super Rugby team fields a reserve grade team in the first division of their state’s premier competition. Additionally, each team fields a team made up of their academy players in the second division of the premier comp in their state. The Super Rugby Australia (SRAU) could be held from the end of August onwards.
This plan would minimize costs and offer numerous benefits. It would provide more opportunities for coaches, improve player development, and create a clear pathway for up and coming players. While it may take time to see the benefits, I believe that it is a cost-effective way to improve the state of Australian rugby. These ideas have been inspired by other Roarers and I am open to feedback on this proposal.