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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2016 11:41 pm 
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Bang on and with him on supporting Racing over Sarries

Neil Francis: An irreversible slow death is on the cards for the Champions Cup

Neil Francis
PUBLISHED
08/05/2016 | 17:000 COMMENTSSHARE
Saracens' Alex Goode is tackled by Worcester Warriors' Sam Betty during the Aviva Premiership match at Sixways Stadium. Photo: PA1
Saracens' Alex Goode is tackled by Worcester Warriors' Sam Betty during the Aviva Premiership match at Sixways Stadium. Photo: PA
It is part of the human condition that you can see something from a different perspective than your neighbour. How often do eyewitness accounts of a motor accident from two different people tally? How diverse would a synopsis of a national budget be between a socialist and a capitalist? How can an assistant referee/touch judge with 20/20 vision miss something that 20,000 people behind him can see.

Our friends across the water will tell you that the EPCR Champions Cup is the best club competition in the world. Us lot? Well we think the competition is diminished and a lot of us, me especially, are daring to say so openly. We don't think it is the same anymore and not because we are not in it this year. It has lost its soul and an irreversible slow death is on the cards.

History is littered with events that took a change in course; time is not the sole arbiter of whether it was a good thing or a bad thing. Imagine if, instead of crucifixion, Jesus got 15 years, out in 10 for good behaviour? Christianity would have a major problem; we couldn't say that Jesus, by doing a stretch in the clink, had saved our souls. Instead of the symbol of Jesus on the cross we would have Jesus in an orange jump suit. Small arbitrary or random changes can alter history irrevocably.

Two years ago the course of the Heineken Cup changed and it has had a detrimental effect on the competition. It just seems to have lost a lot of its appeal and vigour. I spoke last week about the fall off in attendance, the drop in television audiences and the failure to attract sponsorship. We forget that Mark McCafferty was in charge of the marketing and sponsorship department in the ERC. He did not do a great job and left after a brief period to go elsewhere. Why did anyone think that he could improve things like attracting sponsorship on the second go?

I am just wondering could we unravel the whole thing before it's too late, you know, move the EPCR offices out of the bumbling irrelevancy of Neuchatel. We know why it is based in Switzerland but you would never move GAA HQ to Reykjavik for tax reasons. Even take the P out of the EPCR - call it the Heineken Cup again. I have never stopped calling it the Heineken Cup.

Remove meritocracy from the Pro 12. Connacht have a good season and gain European Cup status for the first time on their own endeavours and suddenly we are all jumping around the place like southern Evangelists, "It's a murkle, it's a murkle." With the exception of Connacht the same teams have qualified for next season. The joke is that the charges levelled at the Pro 12 is that the top sides put their best players in cotton wool and only bring them out for the big European games, so that they are fresh.

But Johnny Sexton has played two games for Leinster since the turn of the year and Jamie Heaslip, before last Saturday's embarrassment in Belfast, had played six Pro 12 games all season. Whether it is relevant or not our better players play in less than half of the Pro 12 regular season games. A team like Leinster can still rest most of its stars, play shite rugby for most of the season, end up comfortably in the play-offs and still garner a less difficult pool draw.

Take a team like Saracens who have a pretty strong roster. They seem to be able to rotate their squad pretty much as and when they like. Put out a weaker side against Newcastle, London Irish, and Worcester and still win with plenty to spare. They still get to the play-offs in their sleep and not a chance of relegation. For a team that is fighting a war on two fronts they look pretty fresh to me.

In terms of attendance figures we are told that the Grand Stade de Lyon is heading for a 59,000 sell-out. That's lotto language, the lotto jackpot is always 'heading for' but never quite gets there. I went online to see if I could buy some tickets and was amazed to find I could buy from Category 7 tickets at €25 to Category 1 tickets at a very pricy €125. I would bet €125 to anyone that the stadium will not be full. One of the reasons why it will be fuller than you might normally expect it to be is that the organisers have decided in recent years to play the Challenge Cup final in the same city the night before. More than ever they will be praying for a spill over from the Harlequins and Montpelier fans from the previous night. There is an expected crowd of 25,000 for the Challenge Cup - the hope is that they get a least half of those for the main event. Fill the gaps lads . . .

In terms of the complexion of both finalists the trend is going only one way. Racing's starting XV had eight non-Europeans in the semi-final at the hotbed of European rugby, Nottingham. Saracens have a very strong South African lilt in their squad and yet again had quite a number of foreigners, or foreigners who had qualified by residency, in their ranks. Where does that point to? If you want to get to the finals you have got to buy more foreign imports, nearly all from the southern hemisphere. I don't care what happens in football's Champions League but the growing disconnect between a rugby fan base who identify with homegrown talent, not fly by night imports who jump at the highest bid after their two-year contract is up. Soon that disconnect turns to discontent and then, "I'm not going to watch dis."

Do you know what one of the best leagues in the world is? It is the Pro Division 2 in France. It is packed full of really skilful French players who can't get into the Top 14 but are good enough to play there.

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I prefer to see Europeans play in European competitions, maybe with just a smattering of southern hemisphere blood, but only a smattering. When I watch Super rugby, the vast majority of the players are from the southern hemisphere.

As for the match itself, the O'Gara - McCall match-up will have a crucial bearing. We will talk about the two in a greater context later on. I think O'Gara's influence can't be underestimated. The BT Sport commentators almost sniggered when they commented on Racing's superior defensive performance. There was a ripple of mendacity in their musings. How could Racing defend so well? You know, tee hee, because O'Gara, ho ho, wasn't exactly known as the greatest tackler in the world.

What they missed in all of this is O'Gara's rugby mind. He is a deep thinker on the game and his ability to imagine and engineer a defensive system is what is at issue here, not whether he was or was not the best tackler in the world. It is without question why Racing are in the final and I believe their defence will win them the game. I also think Maxime Machenaud and Dan Carter will exert superior intellect and skill base which will out-play Richard Wigglesworth and the truculent Owen Farrell who now needs to rein himself back in as his disciplinary record is heading to Hartley-esque levels.

Racing to win so, simply because I could not bear the thought of Nigel Wray getting his hands on the trophy. Wray and Jackie Lorenzetti have bought their way to the final. Lorenzetti is just the lesser of two evils.

Sunday Indo Sport


Last edited by Brumby_in_Vic on Sat May 14, 2016 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2016 11:50 pm 
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x( C'mon Sarries.


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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2016 11:57 pm 
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He's such a clumsy writer.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 12:00 am 
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As a side note, Lyon is not about rugby... at all.
Nobody cares about rugby here. OK, we have strong rugby towns/cities around, but nobody cares about that fudge Paris Racing sthg... seriously, parisians ?? And for the other clubs... from some obscurde islands ?? erk.

Yeap, i guess the fudge stadium will be like it deserves to be : far from full.

And yeap again, pro rugby is turning into a total shit, just like the whole world. Money first, money always, 1-sided money, money money money... what a surprise it is turning everything to soulless shit.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 12:01 am 
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w0rdtothe3rd wrote:
He's such a clumsy writer.

When he gets to the point of the article (which is usually bang on).

He probably was told to tone it down as he really unleashed on McCúntery in an article in late April and called him a fúcking disgrace.


Last edited by Brumby_in_Vic on Mon May 09, 2016 12:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 12:02 am 
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Brumby_in_Vic wrote:
Bang on and with him on supporting Racing over Sarries
I'm shocked me old plastic I tells ya. Shocked


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 12:02 am 
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Brumby_in_Vic wrote:
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Our friends across the water will tell you that the EPCR Champions Cup is the best club competition in the world. Us lot? Well we think the competition is diminished and a lot of us, me especially, are daring to say so openly. We don't think it is the same anymore and not because we are not in it this year.


Sure mate


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 12:04 am 
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European rugby would be better served, at all levels, if there was a five foreign player limit. Market forces dictate otherwise however.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 12:19 am 
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The problem France has is the Kolpak agreements which allows Pacific Islanders and Saffies be employed as local workers. They've never worked around them like Wales and Ireland have with foreign player limits until recently where they brought in the JIFF system.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 12:27 am 
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The other thing is I suspect 5 player limits and JIFF would run up against free movement of workers if challenged. That would only apply to member state and kolpak citizens though.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 12:35 am 
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w0rdtothe3rd wrote:
The other thing is I suspect 5 player limits and JIFF would run up against free movement of workers if challenged. That would only apply to member state and kolpak citizens though.

Who knows the IRFU and WRU haven't been challenged in regards to foreign player restrictions. JIFF has become a lot more stringent even Toulon have signed more French players over the past two season compared to when they signed Bakkies, Juan Smith, Ali Williams, Halfpenny, etc.

Kolpak should be addressed. Even though the country is run by a bunch of gombeen morons SA shouldn't be a part of the Kolpak agreement. That's for countries like Tonga who don't have a big population and opportunities for professionals making a living.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 1:16 am 
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Us lot? Well we think the competition is diminished and a lot of us, me especially, are daring to say so openly. We don't think it is the same anymore and not because we are not in it this year. It has lost its soul and an irreversible slow death is on the cards.


Whether he has a point or not, he writes like an utter plum.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 1:18 am 
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He would still raise the standard of Aussie and Kiwi Rugby journalism.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 1:21 am 
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Brumby_in_Vic wrote:
He would still raise the standard of Aussie and Kiwi Rugby journalism.


.... well, probably. :lol:

But still, is he always this much of a pompous shite?


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 1:24 am 
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naki wrote:
Brumby_in_Vic wrote:
He would still raise the standard of Aussie and Kiwi Rugby journalism.


.... well, probably. :lol:

But still, is he always this much of a pompous shite?

Not really he just can't stand the English club body and the cúnt running it.

In the April article he tells it as it is. Pretty much what we've all been trying to explain to the pigdogs with expletives included

Neil Francis: Even Dan Carter can't draw in Champions Cup crowds
Without the enthusiasm of Celtic nations, Europe's main competition is on the wane just two years after being hijacked


Neil Francis
PUBLISHED
28/04/2016 | 02:30SHARE
Dan Carter in action for Racing Metro during their victory over Leicester. Photo: Reuters1
Dan Carter in action for Racing Metro during their victory over Leicester. Photo: Reuters
Tomorrow night Munster fight for their lives in Cork. Edinburgh, canny side that they are, may have the skill-set but not the gumption to deprive Munster of what they crave - European qualification.


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Normally the next couple of words go along the lines of "The Heineken Cup is special. . ." Certainly there is a sense of emptiness about the way that there is no Celtic representation - is it only special when we are in it? For me, it died a little bit more this weekend - the two semi-finals were half-decent matches, but you felt that both encounters were hooked up to a dialysis machine. Even the hype was apathetic. Two seasons after its hijacking, this competition is on the wane.

The attendances last weekend were pathetic and the venues were ill-chosen soccer grounds far from the heartlands. Sometimes 30 miles is too far for people to travel. The City Ground had 22,148 in a ground that can hold 30,500 and the Madejski had 16,820 when it can hold 24,500. A shameful underselling of such a premium resource.

Mark McCafferty, who couldn't stay away from a microphone or a camera when the hijack was taking place, is now nowhere to be seen. Lousy attendance figures, TV numbers that have fallen off a cliff and a multi-sponsor programme that hasn't and isn't going to happen.

Runaway

Three or four years ago when the competition was a runaway train of a success, you simply could not get tickets for the big matches. Let's take Leinster for an example in 2011 and 2012. Leinster played Leicester in Dublin in 2011 at the quarter-final stage. It was a full house (50,000). A few weeks later they played Toulouse in the semi-finals - again a full house and for the final another full house that year against Northampton in the Millennium.

In the quarter-finals that year Perpignan hosted Toulon in the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona - a full house of 55,000. An innovative and exciting choice of venue! They were kidnapping people to get the tickets from them.

In 2012, Leinster played Cardiff in the quarter-finals in the Aviva to a 50,000 full house and then played Clermont in the Stade Chaban Delmas, which was another 32,500 sell-out. Ulster, their opponents in the final, played a sell-out Thomond Park (25,600) in the quarters and got 45,000 down to Dublin on the way to dispatching Edinburgh. 81,774 watched the final in Twickenham.

The semi-final in Croke Park had 82,208 in 2009. I don't think I have ever witnessed an occasion like it in my life. The Heineken back then was a monster they couldn't control. A soccer stadium in Reading with 16,000 huddled together - McCafferty you are a f**king disgrace!

What the Celtic teams brought was vibrancy, pageantry, noise, and a sense of occasion, authentic followers, tribal passions, and an atmosphere where there was real bite and we filled stadiums and travelled in numbers all across Europe.

Did the Sheriff of Nottingham steal your crowds Mark?

Revenue generation from selling out stadiums is good for your bottom line but a big crowd watching a good game needs no further promotion or marketing. Television pictures of vast swathes of empty seats in Nottingham and Reading - you wince at the emptiness of it all.

Dan Carter is a genius and he was the difference between Racing and Leicester last Sunday. Even from the mouths of legends doth piffle emanate - "a big part of the reason I wanted to come and play in France was the European Champions Cup", and winning the final would be "a dream come true".

Carter as a Crusader won the Super Rugby Championship in 2002, '05, '06 and '08, playing in finals where the standard of rugby was just awesome. The Americans are to blame for the diluting the real sense of that word, but with Carter in charge the Crusaders were truly awesome.

Leicester are a gritty bunch and they went at Racing but they couldn't hold a pass and quite often the ball would go to the floor well before the skill pass required from the outside men.

In the second half Carter was content to kick the ball and he did so with a polished competence which made him look like the best out-half in Europe - he would look like the best out-half in Europe in a straitjacket - but if we are honest he was bored mentally, and for a player of the highest rank he could have been utilised to a far greater and more profitable degree! A dream?

He was snoozing. Tina Turner's Private Dancer springs to mind. "I'm your private dancer, a dancer for money, I'll do what you want me to do. I'm your private dancer, a dancer for money and any old music will do."

Carter did have to make 16 tackles in the game. Again the quality of his tackles said enough about his star quality - great technique and a sure wrap around the ankles.

The 16 tackles stat tells you that he is the complete performer and that there is integrity in his effort before he collects his pay cheque. It is, though, like asking the maestro to play Cotton Eye Joe on a Stradivarius. Carter may reassess when he gets home - playing in Nottingham on a chilly Sunday in a grubby half-filled ground is not a dream.

The match was only remarkable for one thing: the best referee in the world Nigel Owens, well he could have cost Racing the game.

Buried

Johan Goosen scored a fabulous try midway through the second half - this would have effectively buried Leicester but it was called back to the start of the action at a scrum where Chris Masoe and Maxime Machenaud got ahead of each other on a simple 8, 9 working to the blind. Everyone saw the pass as forward but play went on until Goosen scored. The try was disallowed by the TMO and everyone went back for the scrum.

In the final 10 minutes Leicester went chasing the game and attacked going down the right; as was the case throughout the match, once Racing brought their press to bear and played in the faces of Leicester's outfield players they were unable to handle the pressure.

Juan Imhoff - one of our tormentors in the Cardiff quarter-final in 2015 RWC - tried to cut out a pass by reaching out to intercept. The ball went to ground and the electric Imhoff picked it up and there was no one within 10 metres of him as he had a clear run to the line for the coup de grace.

Nigel whistled him early, erroneously thinking that he had knocked on. I would surmise that the Masoe-Machenaud forward pass was spotted by all the refereeing team and let go to its final conclusion, whereas nobody really saw what happened with any degree of certainty on the Imhoff 'knock-on' and the crowd made the decision for Owens when he did not see a definite knock-on.

Imhoff had not in fact touched the ball and amazingly did not remonstrate with Owens about the early and wrong call. To compound his error, Owens awarded the re-start scrum to Leicester as they were the 'last team in possession'.

You would have forgiven the Parisians for walking off in disgust. Owens gave his 'sincere apologies' but a mistake like that could have been costly all round.

I did fancy Saracens all the way but I think Machenaud and Carter might just give Racing the edge in the final - thought I'd throw that in just in case you're bothered. The final is on in two weeks' time. . . You are not bothered, you say.

Irish Independent


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 1:26 am 
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A soccer stadium in Reading with 16,000 huddled together - McCafferty you are a f**king disgrace!


:uhoh:


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 1:58 am 
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jolindien wrote:
As a side note, Lyon is not about rugby... at all.
Nobody cares about rugby here. OK, we have strong rugby towns/cities around, but nobody cares about that f**k Paris Racing sthg... seriously, parisians ?? And for the other clubs... from some obscurde islands ?? erk.

Yeap, i guess the f**k stadium will be like it deserves to be : far from full.

And yeap again, pro rugby is turning into a total shit, just like the whole world. Money first, money always, 1-sided money, money money money... what a surprise it is turning everything to soulless shit.


The sad thing is that it's mostly not real money like in football. Yes there's been some big swinging dicks in football who totally changed the game i.e. Chelsea/City but football still gets high attendances and big tv money.

Saracens play out of a 10k athletics stadium. :uhoh:


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 6:32 am 
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Nowhere near enough thinly veiled racism or bitterness to be fully "balanced" in the usual way.

Quite disappointing overall.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 6:36 am 
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:yawn:


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 6:55 am 
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He's a backward bigot. Most decent Irish chaps think he's a bellend.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 8:18 am 
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It's an interesting article that harks back to the old days of youth players coming through the ranks at their clubs. However it comes across as all bitter though. A shame 'cos I agree and would like to see a rule for home grown players - ain't gonna happen though


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 8:24 am 
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w0rdtothe3rd wrote:
The other thing is I suspect 5 player limits and JIFF would run up against free movement of workers if challenged. That would only apply to member state and kolpak citizens though.

Sports Law has seen a bit of a shift post-Bosman. There remains a sense in legal circles that Bosman was too far-reaching for sports, albeit it probably had to be given how football was exploiting workers.

You'd potentially have far more scope to limit foreigners under the current regime.

Of course, as a basic point, most SHers are Kolpak agreement players, not EU citizens.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 9:24 am 
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DragsterDriver wrote:
He's a backward bigot.

I've met him a few times and he really, really isn't. A tad belligerent certainly but also smart and funny.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 9:28 am 
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DragsterDriver wrote:
He's a backward bigot. Most decent Irish chaps think he's a bellend.


Agreed, a total knob


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 9:28 am 
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This is a classic case of "export him to Aus/NZ and in one move it'd instantly improve the average quality of journalism on both sides of the planet"...


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 9:34 am 
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ZappaMan wrote:
DragsterDriver wrote:
He's a backward bigot.

I've met him a few times and he really, really isn't. A tad belligerent certainly but also smart and funny.


Hairdressers, or the ballet?


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 9:37 am 
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Will you Irish stop whinging about it when your teams are back to their best? You've got four teams in it next year.

It's getting very tiresome.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 9:44 am 
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I was weighing up whether this was better or worse than the Manatee's moan about nobody supporting Sarries yesterday, but this gem pretty much seals it in Franno's favour.

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He was snoozing. Tina Turner's Private Dancer springs to mind. "I'm your private dancer, a dancer for money, I'll do what you want me to do. I'm your private dancer, a dancer for money and any old music will do."


You couldn't train to write that badly, it's innate talent.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 9:47 am 
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theo wrote:
Will you Irish stop whinging about it when your teams are back to their best? You've got four teams in it next year.

It's getting very tiresome.


If Leinster were on a good run in HEC rather than winning an embarassing 1 from 6 he'd be singing a different tune


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 9:49 am 
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theo wrote:
Will you Irish stop whinging about it when your teams are back to their best? You've got four teams in it next year.

It's getting very tiresome.


The HEC was great. I agree with qualification from the Pro12 but starting a whole new competition and being petty about everything just ruined things. It'll take years for this current cup to reach the prestige that had been built up around the HEC


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 9:53 am 
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ID2 wrote:
theo wrote:
Will you Irish stop whinging about it when your teams are back to their best? You've got four teams in it next year.

It's getting very tiresome.


The HEC was great. I agree with qualification from the Pro12 but starting a whole new competition and being petty about everything just ruined things. It'll take years for this current cup to reach the prestige that had been built up around the HEC


Drivel. Being European Champions is prestigious. The competition set up is virtually the same.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 9:56 am 
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theo wrote:
ID2 wrote:
theo wrote:
Will you Irish stop whinging about it when your teams are back to their best? You've got four teams in it next year.

It's getting very tiresome.


The HEC was great. I agree with qualification from the Pro12 but starting a whole new competition and being petty about everything just ruined things. It'll take years for this current cup to reach the prestige that had been built up around the HEC


Drivel. Being European Champions is prestigious. The competition set up is virtually the same.

The whole episode was too acidic, too caustic. Without apportioning blame, I have no interest in the new competition, nor would I have had in the HEC had it held sway.

I have a decreasing interest in pro rugby with each passing year, to be honest, and prefer watching my club play these days.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 9:58 am 
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ZappaMan wrote:
theo wrote:
ID2 wrote:
theo wrote:
Will you Irish stop whinging about it when your teams are back to their best? You've got four teams in it next year.

It's getting very tiresome.


The HEC was great. I agree with qualification from the Pro12 but starting a whole new competition and being petty about everything just ruined things. It'll take years for this current cup to reach the prestige that had been built up around the HEC


Drivel. Being European Champions is prestigious. The competition set up is virtually the same.

The whole episode was too acidic, too caustic. Without apportioning blame, I have no interest in the new competition, nor would I have had in the HEC had it held sway.

I have a decreasing interest in pro rugby with each passing year, to be honest, and prefer watching my club play these days.


I agree. Apart from the 6 Nations it's all a bit shit.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 9:59 am 
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theo wrote:
I agree. Apart from the 6 Nations it's all a bit shit.

Yep, the one remaining rose in the field of crapweeds.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 10:00 am 
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Clontarf v Cork Con was a fantastic game yesterday. One of the most enjoyable in a long time.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 10:04 am 
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I'm used to Ulster being shit in Europe (though tbf we weren't shit this year just unfortunate to get Sarries) after 10 years without making it out of the group. So the "oh you're only annoyed because you aren't winning" spiel doesn't wash with me.

The cup has lost its luster for me though, the split broadcasters is massively hindering it's reach in the UK and Ireland and the whole "commercial" aspect has been a complete clusterfück.

It just seems a bit dull for lack of a better word, artificial teams who stock themselves full of suffers and kiwis on the money of a sugar daddy are coming to the fore. The rugby, while efficient, is hardly the free-flowing stuff of Toulouse, Leinster, etc of old and doesnt draw in the neutral.

Would I be happier if Ulster were doing better? probably but I don't think that would mask over the flaws that the tournament has in its current guise, a number of these problems were already starting before the restructuring of the competition to favour the bigger nations.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 10:09 am 
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theo wrote:
ID2 wrote:
theo wrote:
Will you Irish stop whinging about it when your teams are back to their best? You've got four teams in it next year.

It's getting very tiresome.


The HEC was great. I agree with qualification from the Pro12 but starting a whole new competition and being petty about everything just ruined things. It'll take years for this current cup to reach the prestige that had been built up around the HEC


Drivel. Being European Champions is prestigious. The competition set up is virtually the same.


The competition used to be about a group of local enough players fighting it out to be the best in any given year. The great English sides of yore that won the HEC had a very strong English core with an identifiable English star. Ditto the French sides (well, mostly Toulouse!). That's not what I'm seeing now. There's nothing to get your teeth into, no identifiable local players to admire. It's just a case of who can build the best squad with cash. And that's been defended with 'well it's a business and our right' but as predicted the overall business has suffered because ultimately rugby fans are not soccer fans, in general, although it's easy to spot the ones who are both on here when it comes to the defence of the new comp.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 10:16 am 
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Its still a fine competition. Peoples interest will pick up once their team is successful and it was always so


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 10:22 am 
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I've read more coherent articles from Richard Keys.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 10:24 am 
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CM11 wrote:
theo wrote:
ID2 wrote:
theo wrote:
Will you Irish stop whinging about it when your teams are back to their best? You've got four teams in it next year.

It's getting very tiresome.


The HEC was great. I agree with qualification from the Pro12 but starting a whole new competition and being petty about everything just ruined things. It'll take years for this current cup to reach the prestige that had been built up around the HEC


Drivel. Being European Champions is prestigious. The competition set up is virtually the same.


The competition used to be about a group of local enough players fighting it out to be the best in any given year. The great English sides of yore that won the HEC had a very strong English core with an identifiable English star. Ditto the French sides (well, mostly Toulouse!). That's not what I'm seeing now. There's nothing to get your teeth into, no identifiable local players to admire. It's just a case of who can build the best squad with cash. And that's been defended with 'well it's a business and our right' but as predicted the overall business has suffered because ultimately rugby fans are not soccer fans, in general, although it's easy to spot the ones who are both on here when it comes to the defence of the new comp.


Like Saracens then?


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