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    Originally posted by fitzy73 View Post
    Great post.

    I was listening to Moore this morning on the wireless and his concerns, like yours, revolved around structure.

    One thing he also mentioned was governance, placing a big emphasis on getting this in place prior to any revamp of the Council.

    From what he was saying, it would appear that they have little or no policy or procedures in place, which, given their size and the complexity of the organisation, is extraordinary.
    Thanks, Fitzy.

    The problem with any attempted restructuring is that the horse has long bolted. The Premiership has a very good deal with Sky, and there is no way that its very disparate owners [essentially a load of Richie Richs, some of whom are very decent chaps, others of whom are more or less pillocks] will agree to break their clubs up and reorganize under regional auspices ... why would they? Rationally speaking, why would anyone?

    The difference between England and France is that there were structures in English rugby to support teams representing wider conglomerations. The County Championship has a long and distinguished past that goes back to 1889 [source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/County_..._(rugby_union) ].

    It seems unlikely now that we're all familiar with Leicester, Wasps, Saracens, Bath, Sale etc., but it's plausible that a strong initiative from the RFU could have established county sides as the prime force in English rugby ... just as they are in cricket. There's your example. Instead, it's the soccer approach of individual clubs that has emerged. Those clubs mentioned above aren't any more important or have more illustrious histories than the likes of Lansdowne, Garryowen, Cork Constitution, Ballymena etc. [i.e. any of the long-established Irish clubs], clubs who have obviously suffered from a fading of their grandeur but critically not at the expense of the sport in Ireland. Rugby in Ireland is more popular and more successful than it has ever been.

    At another level, a prepared RFU could have trumped the venture capitalists and established regional teams along the lines of Divisional Championship, which was comprised of The North, London Metropolitan, South & Southwest and the Midlands. Here are two interesting takes on the Divisional Championship from 1993:

    "To go from club straight into international rugby is just too big a step. Divisional rugby has proved itself to be very important to us. Clearly the evidence is that when we've had a good divisional system England have also prospered. That's fact.

    It helps to replicate what international rugby is all about in terms of preparing a side and bringing players together in a different environment. The Divisional Championship gives players the chance to play games and sort out tactics before they play the All Blacks."
    Geoff Cooke, then-England Manager

    "Players can't take this sort of pounding week in and week out. We've now got 18 league games and surely that's enough to select an England team."
    John Hall, the captain of Bath and the South-West

    [source: http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/r...h-1511616.html ]

    That would have marked the English rugby structure as different from either football [club-based] or cricket [county-based] and given it a very clear identity, much as the Irish provinces have.

    I'm looking at a Rothmans handbook from 1991-92, and it's very interesting to see make-up of the teams:

    The London 1991 team was comprised of players from Wasps, Harlequins, Saracens, Rosslyn Park [so no representation from any of the Exiles clubs, Richmond, Bedford or the London Metropolitan Police teams who provided players to the 1979 side that played against the touring New Zealanders];
    the South & South-West team had players from Bath, Gloucester, Bristol and Plymouth Albion;
    the Midlands drew players from Leicester, Northampton, Nottingham, Coventry and Rugby;
    the North's players came from Liverpool St Helens, Wakefield, West Hartlepool, Orrell, Sale, Newcastle Gosforth and Waterloo ... look at how few of those clubs are professional these days. Rugby in the north of England has crumbled.


    The North beat the All Blacks in 1979 [source: http://observer.guardian.co.uk/osm/s...391067,00.html ]. There are obviously huge comparisons to be made between themselves and Munster in that regard ... and look at the state of rugby in the North of England now compared to Munster.

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      Originally posted by Hugonaut View Post


      The London 1991 team was comprised of players from Wasps, Harlequins, Saracens, Rosslyn Park [so no representation from any of the Exiles clubs, Richmond, Bedford or the London Metropolitan Police teams who provided players to the 1979 side that played against the touring New Zealanders];

      the South & South-West team had players from Bath, Gloucester, Bristol and Plymouth Albion;

      the Midlands drew players from Leicester, Northampton, Nottingham, Coventry and Rugby;

      the North's players came from Liverpool St Helens, Wakefield, West Hartlepool, Orrell, Sale, Newcastle Gosforth and Waterloo ... look at how few of those clubs are professional these days. Rugby in the north of England has crumbled.


      The North beat the All Blacks in 1979 [source: http://observer.guardian.co.uk/osm/s...391067,00.html ]. There are obviously huge comparisons to be made between themselves and Munster in that regard ... and look at the state of rugby in the North of England now compared to Munster.
      Thanks for the memories - that's my era! But surprised to see no Blackheath players with London counties (albeit in Kent!)? No Moseley or Nuneaton players for the Midlands? No Birkenhead Park, Roundhay or Headingley players with the North? O tempora o mores. :(
      New infraction avoidance policy: a post may be described as imbecilic, but its author should never be described as an imbecile.

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