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    Celtic League 2011/12 - too predictable?






    As I see it, barring (a) a miracle or (b) a massive injury crisis post-RWC 2011, Munster, Leinster and Los Todgeros Sucios will make up 3 of the 4 semi-finalists in next year's CL (FL?) play-offs. [Sowho will the fourth team be? I fancy the Scarlets, with Cardiff a possibility.]


    And it's odds-on that for the third year in succession, the Final will be in Ireland - either in Turnip Park or the Aviva (assuming that Ravenhill/RDS aren't big enough for an all-Irish final)


    This may be good for Irish rugby -indeed it is!- but is it good for the CL, going forward?


    Discuss.


    New infraction avoidance policy: a post may be described as imbecilic, but its author should never be described as an imbecile.

    #2


    In winning the last 4 out of 6 Heinekenn cups...we have shown that our approach to squad management, and indeed, the historical luck that the Irish are a bunch of provincial lovers, works, and all we can do is hope that the Welsh and Scots can grow in such a way..


    I think the Italians will improve quicker than we think....


    Good for the CL...... prediciting next years semfinals.... not so good...
    He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

    Comment


      #3
      A standard has to be set, to which all teams in the league must aspire if they want to be involved at the business end of the season. It happens that for now, the Irish teams are the ones setting that standard and much as Leinster have raised the bar for us in a European context, we (Irish sides) pose that challenge to the other nations' teams. Others have said before now that the ML is in danger of turning into rugby's equivalent of the SPL, with two teams dominant at the top of the table and the remaining participants fighting among themselves for the crumbs. I don't think it's quite as bad as that, seeing as Ospreys (in offloading several of the players causing disharmony and damaging team spirit) and at least one of the other Welsh sides should be able to mount a serious challenge, while Treviso at least should also start to become a more serious contender over the coming years. But I do think the overall standard of this year's competition was noticeably poorer than in previous years, and I hope it'll bounce back again next year.

      Tis but a scratch.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Old Dog


        As I see it, barring (a) a miracle or (b) a massive injury crisis post-RWC 2011, Munster, Leinster and Los Todgeros Sucios will make up 3 of the 4 semi-finalists in next year's CL (FL?) play-offs. [Sowho will the fourth team be? I fancy the Scarlets, with Cardiff a possibility.]


        And it's odds-on that for the third year in succession, the Final will be in Ireland - either in Turnip Park or the Aviva (assuming that Ravenhill/RDS aren't big enough for an all-Irish final)


        This may be good for Irish rugby -indeed it is!- but is it good for the CL, going forward?


        Discuss.


        El Perro Vieja !


        I would think that all the Irish provinces can do is maintain the highest standards they can. Let's be realistic, Irish provinces have won 4 of the last 6 HECs from being in such a poor league. It's not their fault that the other countries have not organised themselves properly in this professional era. And let's not forget the base that everyone started from i.e. the traditional powerhouses of Cardiff and Llanelli in particular vs Leinster, Ulster and Munster. We were all concerned back in the 90s at how we could possibly compete against these clubs.


        No doubt the Welsh are poor at the moment, though as you say the Scarlets seem to be the best placed of all the 4 regions, with a promising young team. I would expect the Italians to improve next year, while it'll be interesting to see what Bradley can do with Edinburgh if he is given the resources to bring in better players.

        Comment


          #5
          it may not be a case of the league is any poorer than any
          other league. The big difference might well just be that Irish
          sides are on a high that none of the others can match. Don't
          forget those sides are performing in Europe or not to a level
          that matches (generally) the ML performances. I don't think
          the league is any worse than in England or France across the
          whole teams.

          Comment


            #6
            no diffrent to any other league
            leicester wasps
            toulouse clermont
            treviso aironi
            munster ospreys [img]smileys/lol.gif[/img]
            madra you need to try harder

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Point
              Originally posted by Old Dog


              As I see it, barring (a) a miracle or (b) a massive injury
              crisis post-RWC 2011, Munster, Leinster and Los Todgeros
              Sucios will make up 3 of the 4 semi-finalists in next year's
              CL (FL?) play-offs.   [So who will the fourth team be?  I
              fancy the Scarlets, with Cardiff a possibility.]


              And it's odds-on that for the third year in succession, the
              Final will be in Ireland - either in Turnip Park or the Aviva
              (assuming that Ravenhill/RDS aren't big enough for an all-
              Irish final)


              This may be good for Irish rugby - indeed it is! - but is it
              good for the CL, going forward?


              Discuss.


              El Perro Vieja !


              I would think that all the Irish provinces can do is
              maintain the highest standards they can. Let's be realistic,
              Irish provinces have won 4 of the last 6 HECs from being in
              such a poor league. It's not their fault that the other
              countries have not organised themselves properly in this
              professional era. And let's not forget the base that
              everyone started from i.e. the traditional powerhouses of
              Cardiff and Llanelli in particular vs Leinster, Ulster and
              Munster. We were all concerned back in the 90s at how we
              could possibly compete against these clubs.


              No doubt the Welsh are poor at the moment, though as
              you say the Scarlets seem to be the best placed of all the 4
              regions, with a promising young team. I would expect the
              Italians to improve next year, while it'll be interesting to
              see what Bradley can do with Edinburgh if he is given the
              resources to bring in better players.
              The Munster surge in the early 2000s and now the massive
              rivalry between Leinster and Munster seems to have
              propelled Irish rugby into the professional era. Ironically,
              the one thing that Irish rugby was worried about, being a
              small island on the edge of Europe, has worked in our
              favour because there is now a real tribal ferocity between
              the teams.

              When Munster kept on reaching HEC finals, semis and
              finally reached their first Heineken Cup title, Leinster were
              under pressure to up their game. So they did. They created
              youth structures and a strong under age academy. As a
              result, they have now caught up with Munster's record and
              seem like a very formidable team.

              Similarly the past 3 years Munster have been on a slide
              with the age of players, lack of youth players and a general
              drop in form plaguing us. Leinster surged ahead and won
              their first and second Heineken cups in the meanwhile, but
              thankfully, Munster felt the same pressure Leinster felt in
              2006 and 2007 and have started to up their game. While I
              criticise Tony McGahan's game tactics, I have to praise him
              on bringing through young players and from what I
              understand, enforcing a better Munster academy.

              The rivalry between the two teams has also brought
              Connacht along who have been benefiting from talented
              players joining for a few seasons from either provinces as
              well as experiencing their own relative success. Now, they
              are even going to get a chance at Heineken rugby the
              coming season.

              Ulster have also brought through a batch of talented young
              players and are putting together a strong team with a
              mixture of South African grit. With the right management
              and coaching, they will no doubt continue to play a large
              roll in European rugby.

              All in all, despite the fact that we haven't the same flash
              and grandeur as French rugby does, the Island factor
              seems to have benefited us in its own manner and
              hopefully will in the future as well.

              Comment


                #8


                Originally posted by Old Dog




                As I see it, barring (a) a miracle or (b) a massive injury crisis post-RWC 2011, Munster, Leinster and Los Todgeros Sucios will make up 3 of the 4 semi-finalists in next year's CL (FL?) play-offs. [Sowho will the fourth team be? I fancy the Scarlets, with Cardiff a possibility.]


                And it's odds-on that for the third year in succession, the Final will be in Ireland - either in Turnip Park or the Aviva (assuming that Ravenhill/RDS aren't big enough for an all-Irish final)


                This may be good for Irish rugby -indeed it is!- but is it good for the CL, going forward?



                Discuss.
                Most of the big teams will struggle given RWC and 6N commitments. Best placed to take advantage IMHO are Connacht, Dragons , Cardiff and Ulster and possibly the O's -once the chaff has been cleared out.

                Munster did OK this year but I think Mcgahan will be under pressure to bring through a few more players at centre and front and back row and we may struggle because of that.

                Cardiff, Ulster and Scarlets and Ospreys can realistically challenge for a place in the final.

                Munster – Champions of Europe 2006, 2008, 2020.

                Comment


                  #9

                  Originally posted by rathbaner

                  Originally posted by Old Dog




                  As I see it, barring (a) a miracle or (b) a massive injury crisis post-RWC 2011, Munster, Leinster and Los Todgeros Sucios will make up 3 of the 4 semi-finalists in next year's CL (FL?) play-offs. [Sowho will the fourth team be? I fancy the Scarlets, with Cardiff a possibility.]


                  And it's odds-on that for the third year in succession, the Final will be in Ireland - either in Turnip Park or the Aviva (assuming that Ravenhill/RDS aren't big enough for an all-Irish final)


                  This may be good for Irish rugby -indeed it is!- but is it good for the CL, going forward?



                  Discuss.
                  Most of the big teams will struggle given RWC and 6N commitments. Best placed to take advantage IMHO are Connacht, Dragons , Cardiff and Ulster and possibly the O's -once the chaff has been cleared out.

                  Munster did OK this year but I think Mcgahan will be under pressure to bring through a few more players at centre and front and back row and we may struggle because of that.

                  Cardiff, Ulster and Scarlets and Ospreys can realistically challenge for a place in the final.
                  Munster and Leinster will be there because of the size of their squads. The Scottish and Italian will be hardest hit so you'd expect Connacht to be out of the bottom 4 at least. Ospreys will be strong too I'd say but Llanelli and Cardiff might not have the squads to cope with missing their Welsh internationals.

                  Comment


                    #10


                    My thanks to those who were able to tip back their green lenses and look at the ML from a 4 nations perspective. I particularly liked Senor Chips's Old Firm analogy, which, I fear, may be where the ML is heading - albeit with 3 rather than 2 Irish provinces being the "Glasgow" element.

                    It's noteworthy that average ML attendances were DOWN this season for every ML club apart from Leinster (probably mainly due to the Aviva game V Munster) and Scarlets. Munster's average attendance was down by 3,400 (17%) which some thinkers may consider significant. Even the average number of brash fools who Stood Up for the Afrikaners</span> fell by some 400 this season, despite the Todgers' improvement.

                    I accept that the 2 Italian teams were probably a factor in this decline, but I'm concerned that the predictability of the ML at the semi-final stage, plus the live televising of so many games will make it less attractive for many supporters, particularly those from outside the "Shamrock" big three.

                    I haven't any solutions to put forward, but I'd be concerned that if the Irish big three maintain their dominance of the CL (and yes, I know that the O's won it last season) then the Scottish and Welsh Unions might re-evaluate the value of the CL to their constituent clubs - especially if spectators in their countries continue to vote with their feet.

                    [img]smileys/c&#111;nfused.gif[/img]



                    New infraction avoidance policy: a post may be described as imbecilic, but its author should never be described as an imbecile.

                    Comment


                      #11


                      Originally posted by Old Dog
                      My thanks to those who were able to tip back their green lenses and look at the ML from a 4 nations perspective. I particularly liked Senor Chips's Old Firm analogy, which, I fear, may be where the ML is heading - albeit with 3 rather than 2 Irish provinces being the "Glasgow" element.

                      It's noteworthy that average ML attendances were DOWN this season for every ML club apart from Leinster (probably mainly due to the Aviva game V Munster) and Scarlets. Munster's average attendance was down by 3,400 (17%) which some thinkers may consider significant. Even the average number of brash fools who Stood Up for the Afrikaners fell by some 400 this season, despite the Todgers' improvement.

                      I accept that the 2 Italian teams were probably a factor in this decline, but I'm concerned that the predictability of the ML at the semi-final stage, plus the live televising of so many games will make it less attractive for many supporters, particularly those from outside the "Shamrock" big three.

                      I haven't any solutions to put forward, but I'd be concerned that if the Irish big three maintain their dominance of the CL (and yes, I know that the O's won it last season) then the Scottish and Welsh Unions might re-evaluate the value of the CL to their constituent clubs - especially if spectators in their countries continue to vote with their feet.

                      [img]smileys/c&#111;nfused.gif[/img]


                      Think that the Welsh and Scots are having problems attracting crowds fullstop and not just to ML. The attendances have been similar in the Heineken Cup, most notably for Ospreys who had a very good chance of qualifying top of our group and still struggled to get an half/third full stadium for their home HCup matches. Scarlets are the team to watch.

                      Comment


                        #12


                        Originally posted by Old Dog
                        My thanks to those who were able to tip back their green lenses and look at the ML from a 4 nations perspective. I particularly liked Senor Chips's Old Firm analogy, which, I fear, may be where the ML is heading - albeit with 3 rather than 2 Irish provinces being the "Glasgow" element.

                        It's noteworthy that average ML attendances were DOWN this season for every ML club apart from Leinster (probably mainly due to the Aviva game V Munster) and Scarlets. Munster's average attendance was down by 3,400 (17%) which some thinkers may consider significant. Even the average number of brash fools who Stood Up for the Afrikaners fell by some 400 this season, despite the Todgers' improvement.

                        I accept that the 2 Italian teams were probably a factor in this decline, but I'm concerned that the predictability of the ML at the semi-final stage, plus the live televising of so many games will make it less attractive for many supporters, particularly those from outside the "Shamrock" big three.

                        I haven't any solutions to put forward, but I'd be concerned that if the Irish big three maintain their dominance of the CL (and yes, I know that the O's won it last season) then the Scottish and Welsh Unions might re-evaluate the value of the CL to their constituent clubs - especially if spectators in their countries continue to vote with their feet.

                        [img]smileys/c&#111;nfused.gif[/img]


                        1) Did the Scots ever have many CL/ML supporters in the first place ? Right from the start, did they ever have big gates ?


                        2) Could the Welsh problems be down to Cardiff, Scarletsand/or Ospreys failing to make the breakthrough as they both had threatened at various points ? If say, Scarlets had actually beaten Leicester in that Stimpson semi final,and gone on to win the Final, would that have envigorated the other Welsh sides into wanting to outdo their neighbours ? That's sort of how it happened here from Ulster to Munster to Leinster.


                        3) There's another factor that should be discussed, and that is the National Stadium debt in Wales and Scotland versus the fortunate situation the IRFU found itself in. Both Wales and Scotland were crippled with debt at a crucial stage of the development of the HC and ML, allowing the IRFU to adequately fund (most of) their provinces.

                        Comment


                          #13


                          Originally posted by Point





                          1) Did the Scots ever have many CL/ML supporters in the first place ? Right from the start, did they ever have big gates ?


                          Not really, but it's stil noteworthy that Edinburgh's fell by 25% this season. On the positive side Glasgow's average has doubled from a few years ago - I wonder if they are picking up some of the Borders supporters?
                          Average attendances for each season can be seen here:http://www.magnersleague.com/statzone/attendance.php





                          2) Could the Welsh problems be down to Cardiff, Scarletsand/or Ospreys failing to make the breakthrough as they both had threatened at various points ? If say, Scarlets had actually beaten Leicester in that Stimpson semi final,and gone on to win the Final, would that have envigorated the other Welsh sides into wanting to outdo their neighbours ? That's sort of how it happened here from Ulster to Munster to Leinster.

                          Quite possibly. </span>






                          3) There's another factor that should be discussed, and that is the National Stadium debt in Wales and Scotland versus the fortunate situation the IRFU found itself in. Both Wales and Scotland were crippled with debt at a crucial stage of the development of the HC and ML, allowing the IRFU to adequately fund (most of) their provinces.




                          Absolutely - the IRFU holds all of the aces in the CL - another reason why the Irish provinces are likely to continue their hegemony.</span>
                          New infraction avoidance policy: a post may be described as imbecilic, but its author should never be described as an imbecile.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            The soccer stadium is costing the Blues the sun moon and stars to rent. They cant afford to buy very
                            much this summer due to the financial constraints its hindering them with.

                            The reasoning behind the lower ML attendances are pretty simple to me. The welsh teams are doing s**te,
                            in their s**te new stadia. Scarlets, Osprey Globetrotters & Blues all moved into shiny, but empty,
                            stadiums, they've turned their backs on the core of their support and moved their matches into dreaded
                            surburbia. The scots have fallen apart beyond all recognition too.

                            I think the strength and size of 3 of the four Irish provincial squads will continue to ensure this will remain
                            an Irish led league. We're seeing the dividends of prudent planning and frameworks of our professional
                            transition all those years ago. Until Scotland and Wales straighten out the relationship between the clubs
                            and their unions they'll continue to struggle (although the sweaties are trying in fairness)

                            The Italians could become a real force, but it'll take a few more of their home bred superstars to come
                            back from France to bolster the progression. That'll require increased wages but its feasible.

                            When you try to line up a Munster or Leinster 15 that'll be played during the world cup next season, either
                            team would have enough to beat a lot of the current ML teams [img]smileys/sad.gif[/img]
                            I am the million man.

                            Comment


                              #15

                              Originally posted by Old Dog


                              Munster's average attendance was down by 3,400 (17%) which some thinkers may consider significant.

                              is that with the ML SF vs Ospreys included or excluded?

                              that said certainly a drop off in attendances overall.

                              Comment

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