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Top14 play offs and NZ Tour outlook 
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Post Top14 play offs and NZ Tour outlook
Last but one round :

Montpelier guaranteed home semi
Other home semi probably Racing, Toulouse or maybe Toulon
Toulouse have much improved over recent Seasons and have a more professional business set up and have concentrated on the Top14 this Season. Big clear out underway, 9 popular and long service Pros leave this Season.

Other play off places (2 available to get to playoffs to compete for semis Championship and Euro qualification) …L Roc/Pau/Lyon/Castres/ it’ll be a hectic !! All play at the same k off time

Agen have survived with a good run in, Brive are relegated and it’s between Oyonnax and Stade Francais for 13 th spot which will play off against ProDiv2 team for Top14 place. Last fixture suggests Stade Francais but Oyonnax have been playing well in the run in

Agen result v Clermont impacted by multiple cards including an early red for Clerm

Some BIG surprising scores this weekend, Toulon were particularly impressive!!

Image

Table shows positions :

Image


Looking to NZ Tour … initial team to play in first test will be heavily penalised with final fixtures lack of availability. Others, as usual, will opt out for various reasons (exhausting Season, close Season injuries etc) later tests will be very impacted by too short term arrival

There are about 8 Racing Players in the French usual squad and some from Toulouse and Toulon too.

Clermont lack of qualifying will provide some respite but the ‘Tour’ will be very one sided although the squad in general is becoming more competitive and less injury hits.

Machenaud, Dulin, Raka already out injured, Vakatawa forfeit by preference and only recently back from injury Lopez unlikely to tour. Clubs are complaining too because the compulsory 4 weeks without any activity after the Tour for the Elite 45 players will impinge heavily for them on the new Season;

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Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:34 pm
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Post Re: Top14 play offs and NZ Tour outlook
What explains the recent upsurge in Oyonnax's results/performances? From what I remember, they went through large parts of the season with only two wins. What's more, Brive are only the second ex-HC winners after Northampton to be relegated. How come they've done so badly?


Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:51 pm
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Post Re: Top14 play offs and NZ Tour outlook
najbritcol wrote:
What explains the recent upsurge in Oyonnax's results/performances? From what I remember, they went through large parts of the season with only two wins. What's more, Brive are only the second ex-HC winners after Northampton to be relegated. How come they've done so badly?


Oyonnax can be a difficult team to beat (Botica is top scorer in Top14) and a lot of the Top14 dont like and are not used to a synthetic pitch (although they have only won 5 at home and 2 away this Season). Oyonnax had the only synthetic pitch in Top 14 up to 1Q 2018 when Racing opened their new indoor Stadium.

Agen also showed a remarkable upturn in form in the 3/4Q of the Season.

Brive remained out of contention, they returned to Top14 for 2013/14 Season

Budgets inevitably have an effect but some do well and e.g Racing out perform and Clermont have had exceptional problems ...the bottom feeders are significantly apart :

Classement des budgets des clubs du Top 14 2017-18 although Castres/La Roc

ASM Clermont Auvergne : 31.55 M€
Stade Toulousain : 30.86 M€
budget top 14 16-17Stade Français : 30.16 M€
Lyon Rugby : 27.08 M€
Montpellier Hérault Rugby : 26.90 M€
RC Toulon : 26.39 M€
argent rugbyRacing 92 : 24.91 M€
budget bordeaux top 14Union Bordeaux-Bègles : 24.68M€
Section Paloise : 23.02 M€
Stade Rochelais: 22.81 M€
Castres Olympique : 21.73 M€
CA Brive Corrèze : 17.58 M€
US Oyonnax : 15.42 M€
SU Agen : 12.32 M€


--------------------------------------------------------

PS The final of the ProDiv 2 is between 2 old Top14 teams Perpignan and Grenoble (Perpignan would be a real welcome back!)

Winner gets promotion, Runner up gets a play off against 13th Top14 Oyonnax or Stade Francais for a potential promotion...

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Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:55 pm
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Post Re: Top14 play offs and NZ Tour outlook
^^^^^^^^^^^^

Picamoles out of Tour too ... close Season op

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Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:00 pm
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Post Re: Top14 play offs and NZ Tour outlook
Looks like the squad for NZ tour will be, again, much depleted!?

Current prime squad absences :

all injured or having close season medical treatment for ongoing problems

Dulin FB
Raka centre/wing
Machenaud 9 and kicker
Picamoles no 8
Vakatawa centre wing

Doubtful

Lopez 10 ( playing on return at the mo but still recovering from severe broken leg)
Guirado hooker / capt (if Toulon reaches semis he will withdraw ..strenuous Season)
Uturria 2nd row recently injured and temporary withdrawn from squad
Trin Duc 10 same as for Utturia
Vahaamahina 2nd row ..recent red card awaiting sentence...even a short sententence wll be an impact
Poirot prop same as for Vahaamahina both would inhibit squad presence and likely selection

+

If Racing and/or others make the final (Racing already in Euro final) there will be players that will, at least, miss the first test ...1 wk after the final. Racing for example have had 6 - 8 players in recent Fra squad

Also the recently enforced elite squad cumpulsory 8 week rest with no training or games will significantly eat into the next Season especially for top players who could/would have toured. One wonders cynically whether Club inference will inhibit the touring squad too ;)

This is ridiculous and sinful for NZ public and is just a revenue earning exercise that doesn't do Rugby any good!? :angry4:

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Tue May 08, 2018 10:10 am
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Post Re: Top14 play offs and NZ Tour outlook
Interestingly, New Zealand are currently on their longest-ever winning streak against France (11 matches). Yes I know about the Jiff restrictions etc. - there was even an article in The Rugby Paper about how Scott Spedding is now unemployable, because he only spent two years in a French academy rather than the required three - but still it looks like the strength and internationalism of the French club game has had some rather perverse side effects.


Tue May 08, 2018 8:01 pm
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Post Re: Top14 play offs and NZ Tour outlook
najbritcol wrote:
Interestingly, New Zealand are currently on their longest-ever winning streak against France (11 matches). Yes I know about the Jiff restrictions etc. - there was even an article in The Rugby Paper about how Scott Spedding is now unemployable, because he only spent two years in a French academy rather than the required three - but still it looks like the strength and internationalism of the French club game has had some rather perverse side effects.


Precedence is the problem with Spedding but it does seem very unjust given the circumstances.
It has now been referred to a higher level court and may well put the whole Jiff process in jeopardy...cue similar actions like the Bosman and other recent cases that went to European law.

Spedding is rumoured to be in discussion with Aviva Clubs and Sale and Northampton and Quins have been mentioned.

The Spedding case does have, however, a positive aspect ....Jiff players are at an increased premium for Top14 clubs to avoid the increased fence and potential points reduction and fines for failure to comply.

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Tue May 08, 2018 9:48 pm
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Post Re: Top14 play offs and NZ Tour outlook
Well we'll have to wait and see with his case. But either way, contemporary French club rugby has undoubtedly done rather more harm than good for the national team, and it is utterly naive and evasive to argue otherwise.


Tue May 08, 2018 10:24 pm
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Post Re: Top14 play offs and NZ Tour outlook
najbritcol wrote:
Well we'll have to wait and see with his case. But either way, contemporary French club rugby has undoubtedly done rather more harm than good for the national team, and it is utterly naive and evasive to argue otherwise.


I am not arguing otherwise!!

Read my derogatory comments on FFR and LNR relationships in this section ...these confirm that I am not defending the french rugby circumstance.

The fact that I contend with your opinion on items is a very differet matter ;)

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Tue May 08, 2018 10:45 pm
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Post Re: Top14 play offs and NZ Tour outlook
It’s sad to see the club game in France determining everything else. :( As much as I enjoy beating the frogs(and ribbing tel of course), I’d much rather them be like the old days, except in WCs. :)

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Wed May 09, 2018 12:02 am
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Post Re: Top14 play offs and NZ Tour outlook
loosechange wrote:
It’s sad to see the club game in France determining everything else. :( As much as I enjoy beating the frogs(and ribbing tel of course), I’d much rather them be like the old days, except in WCs. :)


Loosie there are many things wrong with the rugby set up in France and it is well published and understood.

The Club game is in some ways self destructive but one cannot fault its popularity and I admit to being a fan (I do watch the other leagues and some of the accusations concerning the dullness of the Top14 is, imo, very misjudged)

The more assertive Union, FFR, is having some success but there is an inherent internal political problem and is currently the subject of litigation.

The capability is there ... in abundance... it is slaughtered on the altar of survival and/or success at top level.

Big money is a negative AND POSITIVE influence though.... uniquely imo as there is an interesting aspect of mutual rugby and business advantage and not just a sugar daddy aspect that many believe is the sole driver by the rich clubs.

Increasingly too, less rich clubs are asserting themselves.

The biggest joint issue is over extension of the game ... the Club Season length is ridiculous and the additional International and European environment is crushing.

Ironically, the better care and preparation of International players, better health care issues and more insistence on promoting french player presence is INCREASING the load on the total and causing backers to form another important influence in addition to the Union and League bodies with the Wealthy backers expressing concerns about the impact on their investments (note the comment above of a trend towards more mutual rugby and business interests°
-------------------------------------------------------
An aside and connected with the last comment ..

Racing have made huge investments and have, in parallel, have produced more french players and success on the Club field and in business (the 350m investment in multi purpose stadium ).

Last round of the Top14 the Stadium was not available for the Rugby because of a huge revenue creating concert by the popular singer Byonce(sp?) which will be a 30-40k sell out ;)

-------------------------------------------------------

I hope that you'll forgive me this but accommodating S Hemp teams also adds to the problem.

The NZ Tour is a prime example ... it doesn't benefit french rugby...it impacts it! ...it doesn't do justice to the NZ public and it will inflate a level of difference and superiority that shouldn't exist. But is will fulfil revenue objectives.

Same applies to the other 2 leagues, NZ will have a huge bottom line advantage from the Lions tour but there is also an impact to the Leagues players and Clubs in terms of player welfare and fitness for league schedules.

The solution to french rugby as well as better overall harmony and concerted attention is a complete revision of the current schedule obligation. It is talked about but likelihood is doubtful.

This also applies to w/wide aspect and World Rugby pretence at solution is there for all to see.

I believe that a N Hemp revision to a more Euro oriented priority that would force a Conference like integrated superior hierarchy with a 'local' underlay and a better emphasis on Development countries potential emphasis is the ultimate solution.

This would imo level a N:S Hemp playing field.

I'm off now with my binoculars and shotgun to go shooting for pork.

Forgive me the rant please.

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Wed May 09, 2018 9:03 am
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Post Re: Top14 play offs and NZ Tour outlook
The last section, about the international game, can’t agree bro. It’s 3 tests, 10 years ago it was 2. The problem is the club game, by that I mean club schedule. The fact that France can’t put a decent team out just shows how bad their handling of the National side is. I can’t believe you put some blame onto the SH sides, it’s pretty short sighted imho. Most countries need the test games, it’s not some SH money grab. The frogs knew these games were going to happen, no point complaining about anything except the French rugby union and the clubs pretty much driving their national team into the dust.

I like the 3 Test tours, gives the teams a chance to get revenge. Shame you aren’t excited about it but again, blame your clubs and their schedule.

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Wed May 09, 2018 2:26 pm
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Post Re: Top14 play offs and NZ Tour outlook
loosechange wrote:
The last section, about the international game, can’t agree bro. It’s 3 tests, 10 years ago it was 2. The problem is the club game, by that I mean club schedule. The fact that France can’t put a decent team out just shows how bad their handling of the National side is. I can’t believe you put some blame onto the SH sides, it’s pretty short sighted imho. Most countries need the test games, it’s not some SH money grab. The frogs knew these games were going to happen, no point complaining about anything except the French rugby union and the clubs pretty much driving their national team into the dust.

I like the 3 Test tours, gives the teams a chance to get revenge. Shame you aren’t excited about it but again, blame your clubs and their schedule.


You reject a fairly comprehensive and fair assessment just to major on yet another defensive stance.

my final statement was :

I hope that you'll forgive me this but accommodating S Hemp teams also adds to the problem.

The NZ Tour is a prime example ... it doesn't benefit french rugby...it impacts it! ...it doesn't do justice to the NZ public and it will inflate a level of difference and superiority that shouldn't exist. But is will fulfil revenue objectives.

Same applies to the other 2 leagues, NZ will have a huge bottom line advantage from the Lions tour but there is also an impact to the Leagues players and Clubs in terms of player welfare and fitness for league schedules.

The solution to french rugby as well as better overall harmony and concerted attention is a complete revision of the current schedule obligation. It is talked about but likelihood is doubtful.

This also applies to w/wide aspect and World Rugby pretence at solution is there for all to see.

I believe that a N Hemp revision to a more Euro oriented priority that would force a Conference like integrated superior hierarchy with a 'local' underlay and a better emphasis on Development countries potential emphasis is the ultimate solution.

This would imo level a N:S Hemp playing field.

I'm off now with my binoculars and shotgun to go shooting for pork.



Is it truly unreasonable ?

Beware one eyed Gods and their offsprings as per Polyphemus (was outwitted but revenged)..

Ovid wrote that Polyphemus and Galatea married, from their offspring were born a number of “savage” races, including the Celts, the Gauls, and the Illyrians.



Best

Tel ;)

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Wed May 09, 2018 3:14 pm
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Post Re: Top14 play offs and NZ Tour outlook
Yep, unreasonable. SH teams have nothing to do with it. French rugby’s problem is entirely French rugby.

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But please don't whip it out in public and start waving it around,
And PLEASE don't try to shove it down my child's throat.


Wed May 09, 2018 10:34 pm
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Post Re: Top14 play offs and NZ Tour outlook
loosechange wrote:
Yep, unreasonable. SH teams have nothing to do with it. French rugby’s problem is entirely French rugby.


Think you are missing the point... there is a N Hemp malaise related to extent of timetable.
Cue Aviva players who are threatening strike action if the workload is not reviewed.

Lions Tours, off Season Tours especially those that are of significant level (others can be useful in terms of development ) Seasons where there's a W Cup on top of established timetable place excessive impact on players..

Players Unions are increasingly concerned with player welfare.

Injury levels in N Hemp seem higher although last NZ tour to UK suffered there too.

I have never denied that the french circumstnce is internally exacerbated!!

World Rugby recently came back to W:Wide timetable aspect ... Pichot, this time, promised it .... where is it??
Original study started in 2007!!

Like it or like it not S Hemp rugby need N Hemp revenue and are prepared to receive ragged teams and sledgehammered fixtures to achieve it.

I also mentioned a scenario where N Hemp including SA could provide a more streamlined environment if a more hierarchical Conference system could be negotiated.

Yes!! the N Hemp Unions have built rods for their own backs in this respect and it is difficult to rejig it and not suffer revenue downturn but the problem remains.

Excessive schedules are one thing, ... I did publicise 3 long articles comparing the admirable NZ development and overall pyramid organisation and process recently and nobody is denying the model and successful on the field bottom line of that organisation BUT .. that is not to ignore the need for a more streamlined N hemp timetable and better fit with the S Hemp.

A refined integrated timetable will also allow the international Club game to progress ... maybe that's the cause of World ;) Rugby lethargy

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Thu May 10, 2018 8:47 am
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