Rugby Australia chief govt Andy Marinos has voiced his concern over the dire performances of the NSW Waratahs as a as soon as proud rugby state hurtles in the direction of its worst season within the skilled period.
But whereas the 0-4 Waratahs are attracting some undesirable headlines, Marinos tempered that by showering reward on Australia’s different 4 Super Rugby groups and the general product and viewers development since partnering with Nine and Stan Sport.
“I’ve been really impressed in general around how the competition has gone,” Marinos informed reporters at Wednesday’s launch of the 2021 Aon University Sevens Series in Sydney.
“We’re in an interesting phase in Australian rugby, a lot of new, young talent coming through and we’ve seen that displayed through the competition. There have been some unfortunate performances and that’s been well documented, the Waratahs have been struggling this year and that’s obviously a concern for everyone.
“But on the identical time, the Brumbies, Force, Rebels, Reds have all put in some actually good shows and the video games have been actually compelling. So that is been actually optimistic from a Super Rugby AU perspective.”
It is an interesting, and delicate situation for Marinos, RA and those close to the NSW predicament.
Queensland thriving again is a massive shot in the arm for the game while Melbourne is finally delivering home grown talent that looks bound for the international arena.
A vibrant Waratahs would be the icing on the cake but Marinos played down fears that Super Rugby AU was Sydney or bust.
New Zealand used to think it needed strong Auckland and Blues teams to prop it up but largely thanks to the Crusaders that outdated theory has well and truly been put to bed.
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“It is clearly an enormous marketplace for everybody however if you happen to take a look at all of our metrics, from the beginning of the season, Stan and Nine have finished a incredible job of selling it,” the former SANZAAR boss said.
“We’ve nearly trebled all of our broadcast numbers because the begin of the season so there’s been exponential development, week on week, when it comes to the viewership and audiences we have been getting. So that has been optimistic.
“Yes, a big market like this when they’ve not been performing, it will have an impact, but at the same time there is a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes, at all the clubs – but probably more so here at the Waratahs – for them to get their season and their games back on track.”
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The two Daves – Wallabies coach Rennie and ‘thoughts coach’ Diggle – have been providing their experience at NSW’s Daceyville base this week and Marinos emphasised the spirit of collaboration that had been fostered by his predecessor Raelene Castle.
“We continually engage with them and our coaches are – as they are to every franchise – going around and lending a hand and just giving some input.
“I do know Dave (Rennie) was up on the Rebels final week, spent a while on the Brumbies a few weeks earlier than that and on the Waratahs this week.
“So we’ll continue to share and help where we can, to make sure that they get back to where they need to get back to.”
Marinos additionally weighed in on another meaty points on Wednesday.
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The chance of Super Rugby trans-Tasman going forward as deliberate in a COVID-19 panorama…
“We remain positive on that. If those borders open then it’s all systems go and full steam ahead. We’re in continual dialogue with both New Zealand and our government around what those restrictions may look like going forward. We’ve got to keep flexible and see what happens in the next couple of weeks.”
The plan B if that trans-Tasman bubble would not eventuate…
“We’d certainly be very keen to see if we can hub a team in either of the countries. The big challenge around that is if there are going to be quarantine restrictions, how does that impact on our July preparations because we’re coming up pretty hard against that window. There’s a couple of different points you’ve got to address – if we’re going to hub it, what does that mean for the July internationals, when are they going to start, are we going to stick to the traditional window or are we going to have to look at moving that around. Again, with the French coming over, what are the impacts going to be around that. At this point in time, we’re keeping all options on the table and being pretty fluid about it.”
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His confidence ranges on France coming Down Under for a scheduled three-Test tour…
“Absolutely. I’ve been engaging on a regular basis with the French. They certainly have a huge desire to come over and play against us. Unless there is a major event that restricts us from a national health and safety perspective, we absolutely plan that we’ll be playing against the French.”
On how sturdy that French crew may be given star gamers’ membership commitments…
“We’re looking at that with them. They’ve got a semifinal on the 19th (June) and the final on the 26th and whether we’re going to have the teams come over in two batches or one, that becomes part of a bigger conversation as to when do we actually start that window. The French final is on the 26th, we may have to have the first round (of Tests) either the 10th or the 17th of July. That’s part of the ongoing discussions with them and also trying to understand what is the impact of how many players in the current French team will be playing in those teams that get to the finals. We’re monitoring all of those dynamics.”
On what the Rugby Championship may appear to be this 12 months…
“From a SANZAAR perspective we have started having those conversations around what does it mean this year. I think we’ve all resigned ourselves to the fact that we’re probably going to be in a bubble, in some way, shape of form. So we’re going to go through a process in determining where that needs to be. Obviously from an Australian point of view we successfully hosted the Tri Nations last year on a very short turnaround.
“Our request to SANZAAR is let’s get forward of the sport so much earlier and be capable of construct a correct mannequin. I feel there is a truthful urge for food that we are able to see whether or not basically internet hosting it right here in Australia once more is an possibility and one thing that we’ll put a whole lot of effort into.”
Is playing games in South Africa an option following the Lions series developments?
“We must have these sturdy conversations with South Africa, what does it imply There’s extra of a priority from our guys having to go over, doubtlessly quarantining over there then coming again and quarantining right here. Which I do know the South Africans are going to should do if they arrive right here.
“This announcement this morning, to be honest, caught me a little bit by surprise, that they’re going to host the Lions tour. I don’t know what the structure around that is looking like. Like anything in this day and age, we’ve just got to keep an open mind and if that model evolves into something that looks like it could be a viable option, I’m sure we’ll have a look from a SANZAAR perspective.
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How does a COVID-19 vaccine change the game?
“My understanding, and rightfully so, is the federal government goes to proceed its rollout plan, ensuring that the appropriate demographic of the inhabitants will get vaccinated first. I do not assume athletes are essentially going to get pushed to the entrance of the queue, and nor ought to they actually.
“So will vaccinations change? Well, we’ve heard Mr (Greg) Hunt (Minister for Health) say that there is a possibility that with a vaccinated population, quarantine may not be as onerous. But then again there are absolutely no guarantees. Everything we are doing right now, it’s all on assumptions. Until we actually get to that point will we know if it’s going to have a big impact or not.”
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