Laidlaw says go amateur

February 28th, 2012 at 3:38 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

All Black great believes the crisis in Otago highlights the need for provincial to return to its amateur roots. …

That would be about as successful as King Canute was (and he was making a point on purpose).

Tags: ,

44 Responses to “Laidlaw says go amateur”

  1. aitkenmike (94 comments) says:

    He’s right – We cannot sustain 1 + 5 + 14 professional rugby teams. The NPC should be amateur. It also shows the folly of building the (admittedly magnificent) new stadium in Dunedin. I’m fairly certain the ORFU was supposedly one of the anchor tenants, and Dunedin ratepayers are going to be paying greatly for this for a long time to come.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. MT_Tinman (3,188 comments) says:

    Laidlaw is, of course, a former quasi-communist politician and a former Race Relations fellow.

    Mr Garrett will know for sure but this seems to be the third strike to me.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Manolo (13,783 comments) says:

    Comrade Laidlaw should stick to broadcasting on public radio. Rugby has left him behind.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    MT_Tinman and Manolo… ok, for extra points can either of you actually explain why this is a bad suggestion, using actual words and stuff to elaborate your points?

    Otago have tried going down the professional pay oafs huge money for playing rugby route, look how well that’s worked out for them.

    Apparently Otago are not the only union that’s struggling….

    It would appear there’s not as much money in stupid pointless games as there used to be.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. decanker (184 comments) says:

    Sounds right to me, NZ rugby has over-reached and over-estimated the public’s interest in ever more rugby, and hence it’s ability to pay the bills. It’s stretched too thin. The debt burden of ORFU highlights how unsustainable it is. I’m sure they’re not the only club living well beyond their means, pushing out their burdens a few more years.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Pongo (372 comments) says:

    Maybe Red Radio have suggested his show is amateur so they are going to reflect that in his wages and he is sharing the love.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. big bruv (13,904 comments) says:

    The blame for the demise of the ORU lays fairly at the feet of the NZRU.

    The NZRU are the ones who have killed domestic rugby, they are the ones who have forced the horrible super 15 on us (to the detriment of the national provincial competition).

    The Greedy players union also has blood on it’s hands when it comes to this issue.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. tom hunter (4,859 comments) says:

    Presumably he can then go back to bitching about the amateur administrators as he did in Mud In Your Eye! Perhaps he can volunteer for the new positions.

    Snark aside, the fact is that this was always going to happen in the professional era. The writing was on the wall from the start for the likes of South Canterbury, King Country and the rest. The terrible truth is that the nation simply does not generate the money to support so many teams. Even the USA, with almost 80 times the population, and 100 times the wealth, only supports 30 NFL teams, although one should also count the 30 teams of the NBA and NHL, which overlap the middle of the NFL season.

    In the case of the NFL there are actually “amateur” teams that feed players into it; those are the so-called college football teams, but they’re amateur only in the sense that their players are not paid – officially. The universities themselves make hundreds of millions off the TV rights.

    What’s likely to happen is that the provincial sides will seamlessly meld into the existing Super 15 teams, with perhaps some exceptions like Taranaki, Southland and BOP where they can point to team strength and reasonable population centres.

    But if we really want to get the angst going I’d think about what will happen as the wealth gap between ourselves and other nations widens and players are increasingly drawn overseas at younger ages. In another decade we could be looking at an All Black side that consists mostly of players rarely seen inside the country. The America’s Cup writ large.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. MT_Tinman (3,188 comments) says:

    RRM, the only way NZ rugby can keep it’s top players is to pay them.

    Should NZ fail to do this (i.e. do a Laidlaw and return to amateur days) the players will simply hop on an aeroplane and travel to whatever country will pay them.

    This, of course, happens now with players who do not get SXV contracts but not to the extent it would should most of the season become amateur i.e. players are not allowed to be paid to play.

    NZ rugby would soon become a joke (as in Brazilian domestic soccer etc.) with clubs developing players for SA, Oz, Pomland, Wales, Scotland, the Frogs and the Micks.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. KH (695 comments) says:

    DPF protrays Laidlaw as trying to push Rugby in some direction. But it seems to me that Laidlaw was simply predicting where it might end up. And that seems a reasonable prediction to me. If it is wrong, and the amateur game does not reappear at high levels, then it might be because there is no Rugby at all. More than possible in my view.
    Where Rugby screwed up mightily was in it’s confused branding. We are expected to front up extortionate prices, and are told that “after all it’s commercial”. And when they needed us to support them they appealed to our patriotism and love of the game, and wanted the money as well. Well they can’t have it both ways.
    The public have voted with their feet.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. decanker (184 comments) says:

    “RRM, the only way NZ rugby can keep it’s top players is to pay them.”

    And when NZ Rugby can’t afford to pay them all? Just borrow some more?

    Any business that can no longer afford its salary bill will usually restructure, perhaps narrow its focus, specialise. Might be time for NZRU to do the same.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Scott Chris (6,139 comments) says:

    RRM says:- “explain why this is a bad suggestion”

    1) The decent players will bugger off elsewhere where they will be paid, be it Auckland, League or the Northern Hemisphere. Then:
    2) The standard of rugby will decline. Then:
    3) The dwindling fan base will further decline. Then:
    4) Sponsorship money will disappear. Then:
    5) Less revenue. Then:
    6) The White Elephant sucks more money from disinterested Dunedin ratepayers.

    Game over.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Colville (2,269 comments) says:

    Is a massive transfer fee the answer for when NZ players piss off overseas?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Prince (105 comments) says:

    This isn’t Rugby’s, or the NZRU’s fault – it lies squarely with the Otago RU. They overspent, attracting players from other Unions, especially Wellington. Now they (and the players) face the consequences. If I run a legal company and attract staff at over-market rates, then declare bankruptcy, it is my fault, not the legal profession. Cut them loose, and let the players find other unions if they can. It’s the market in action, God bless it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. MT_Tinman (3,188 comments) says:

    Colville (8) Says:
    February 28th, 2012 at 4:27 pm
    Is a massive transfer fee the answer for when NZ players piss off overseas?

    I doubt it but private team ownership might be.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Hair Removal Specialist (80 comments) says:

    An alternative to Scott Chris’ logic would be:
    1) The decent players try and get a super 15 contract. If they can’t, they are not in the best players in the country and can bugger off elsewhere. Then:
    2) Decent (Super 15) players will not having to chop and change between their Super 15 franchise team and their NPC team. Then:
    3) The dwindling fan base will be able to focus on just one competition and will be re-invigorated – fans will give greater support to Super 15 teams. Then:
    4) Sponsorship will increase for Super 15 teams (not to mention gate takings and share of TV revenue). Then:
    5) More revenue. Then:
    6) Highlanders games in Dunedin will be played in front of capacity crowds, paying a dividend to Dunedin ratepayers.

    Game on.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. lastmanstanding (1,297 comments) says:

    The governance of Rugby along with a number of sports in NZ leave a lot to be desired. The problem is the lack of people who actually understand governance and more importantly the differenec between good and bad governance. Its not management and its aint operations.

    Turning now to ORU problems. Seems to me the fundemental is one of governance an organisation over reaching its capacity and capability.

    May be Laidlaw has a point. Maybe paying the sums of money these guys get to play has run out of steam. Its like any form of entertainment. If the costs exceed the income from bums on seats( in whatever form) then failure will follow as night follows day.

    Maybe the fact is provincal NZ cant afford the professional game and will have to settle for a semi professional feeder system bringing on young talent.
    Happens in other places ie UK with semi professional soccer league and rugby.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Sonny Blount (1,782 comments) says:

    Well they need to increase revenue then Scott. Suggestions?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. projectman (224 comments) says:

    Many of the anti-Laidlaw comments above appear to be initial knee-jerk responses – as was DPF’s comment leading the article! The reality is that provincial rugby in NZ is hurting, and the responsibility for that must lie to some extent with the introduction of professionalism.

    Laidlaw’s comments (and he is not the only prominent rugby person to say it – Otago Chairman Wayne Graham said something similar a couple of years ago) bear rational consideration. Otago is not the only provincial union in financial difficulty.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Michael (909 comments) says:

    We have an amateur rugby competition – the Heartland Championship. If we want NPC to decline to that level then we can make that amateur too. Does anyone here remember the low quality rugby played before professionalism? It was all about kicking for territory, so there were heaps of line outs. Line outs were a muddle of players jumping all over the place. Then one team would get the ball and kick it downfield. The other team would kick the ball out for another lineout. Now we have players with more skill, more pace, and a far more entertaining rugby.

    The only people who will gain out of an amateur competition are Australia, South Africa, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, …

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    Yes Michael but clearly we can’t afford to PAY for it to remain professional!

    Hair Removal Specialist and decanker are certainly sounding like the voice of reason on here.

    I think a big part of the problem is that there isn’t enough money to go around to support the NPC being a paid, professional competition with mega grandstands, and dancing girls, and the whole kit & caboodle.

    Super 15 should definitely continue to be an elite, level, paid, prime-time TV spectacle of Rugby, and the school that most (Professional) AB selections are going to come from.

    NPC (or insert current name of it here) should give up trying to be a Super15-lite.
    NPC should return to being what it used to be – the top tier of the domestic amateur game, the stage for those who want their chance at getting scouted for the pro levels.

    Or for those who just get a kick out of playing rugby at a fairly high standard, FFS!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. CharlieBrown (1,012 comments) says:

    Agree with Big Bruv – the blame lies with the NZRU. We have far too much rugby that the whole game has been diluted – FFS we have had Super 15 teams play in February – right in the heart of cricket season. In economic terms there is a complete glut ie, over-supply of Rugby that has made the provincial rugby relatively worthless.

    Either the Super 15 must go or the ITM cup goes amateur. We simply have too much rugby to watch now.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. nigel201065 (38 comments) says:

    I’m sorry but as far as I can see the reasons Rugby is losing so much in dollars and leaking fans is because the modern game is fucking boring, the law changes have been brought in supposedly to make it a safer game but as far as I can see there are more injuries now than there were 10yrs ago. The WRC was exciting not because the games were exciting but because the event were exciting. No one knows the fucking rules any more even the commentators sometimes are scratching their heads and don’t know what is happening. There are too many rules and they are far to complicated.
    This has nothing to do professionalism if rugby is to bring the money and the crowds back to the game it needs to go back to the rules from 10yrs ago simplify the game and make it more boring otherwise you might as well be watching a bunch of noddies kicking a round ball around a pitch

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    I’m not saying a thing I got 30 demerits last time this creatures name came up.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. 3-coil (1,220 comments) says:

    The chickens are coming home to roost – years of NZRFU arrogance, overpaid prima-donna players, and the “thugby” style of game has alienated the supporters (remember them?), and the game will suffer for it.

    My family members down in Wellywood have not bought season-tickets this year for the first time EVER. As one said to me, “they expect us to pay through the nose to show loyalty to a team that the players are not even loyal to” (with examples of Weepu, Cruden, Gear etc sulking and leaving, or chasing the almighty dollar).

    The rugby is crap, many of the players are obnoxious egotists, and NZRFU knobs like Steve Tew are more concerned with isolated cases of ticket scalping than giving good rugby to the supporters. Otago’s problems are replicated with other unions all over the country hemorrhaging funds and supporters – this is just the beginning.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    3 coil

    the players left because of the coach. just because he’s from Canterbury doesn’t mean he can coach.

    Then again Wellington has long had discipline problems, David Kirk’s book explains how he regularly had to bail players to get them to games.

    Any way Wellington cheated South Canterbury out of the Ranfurly Shield in 1974 so bugger them.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. RandySavage (222 comments) says:

    give the left wing a go! too much ball getting out to the right wing

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. RandySavage (222 comments) says:

    3 coil youre a dim bulb my friend

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. Hair Removal Specialist (80 comments) says:

    nigel201065: if I had my way with rugby, the rules would be changed to bring back rucking. For some weird reason there are less hands or bodies trying to kill the ball when you can get a 110 kg prop rucking you! Anyway, how many players actually got seriously injured just from rucking? My bet is it would be quite a small proportion of total serious rugby injuries. That said, I agree with what a lot of the others are saying here about oversaturtion – it simply isn’t good to have.

    RandySavage – the players stopped passing the ball to the left wing as the ball kept getting dropped over the try line. Better to pass it to the right wing which is able to run over the opposition’s left wing easily and score plenty of points.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. lilman (960 comments) says:

    Otago paid way to much for a number of player who just are club level.
    I dont give a shit about super 15,but I do care about ITM Cup.
    If the players want to go oversea I say go ,always plenty more around .
    Besides why should a player retire after 10 years in the game as a millionare,just dont know why that is the end game.
    I work 60 plus a week and wont retire untill im 65,not a millionare either so why should a respected rugby player who gets trips around the country all his expenses paid for and his medical needs catered for whist recovering from such a stunningly
    harsh and demanding job.
    Ps my brother plays for an ITM Cup team and its is absolutely wrong to see what he gets for what he does and the strip he gets to hand out.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. thepolecat (63 comments) says:

    OK then. All of you hardcore rugby fans should read this

    http://theglobalcircus.blogspot.co.nz/2012/02/new-zealand-rugby-cold-hard-facts-part.html

    I’m sure some of you will disagree whole-heartedly, but we have to consider the real issues.

    All of you give it a read and give me your thoughts in the comments section. I’ve had these ideas for a long time.

    Cheers

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. tvb (4,425 comments) says:

    All Black “great” Laidlaw – give me strength. If provincial rugby goes amateur then we will have school boy rugby because players with promise will head off overseas unless Laidlaw true to his leftist leanings will make it COMPULSORY for players to remain in NZ.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. RandySavage (222 comments) says:

    Hair removal specialist
    The right wing have been getting all the ball for about a decade now, sure theyve scored a few flashy tries but mostly its been a real exhibition in style over substance. Now we watch our national games on subscribed Tv tailored to the european audience thats if we watch it at all.
    We place our hands over the Steinlager Silver fern and belt out God defend New Zealand
    And inbetween each ad break and generic crowd hype song we drag our knuckles to the hire purchased fridge and down another can of tui. In 1987 we ran on to the ground to embrace our World cup winning heroes
    Now we make sure we give ourselves just enough time to get to our car and beat the traffic
    Good luck with your next boxing match sonny bill

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. gump (1,649 comments) says:

    Rugby is yesterday’s game.

    Sports fans have more varied and more satisfying choices these days.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. Longknives (4,753 comments) says:

    Perhaps rugby would do a little better if they didn’t over-saturate the market? I mean, do we really need to be watching Super 15 in bloody summertime?? Scrap the Super 15, get the top players playing NPC again. And while I’m at it- anyone else sick to death of the bloody Tri-Nations yawnfest? Oh for an old fashioned tour….

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    @Randy Savage – dim or not, 3-coil has a point. I gave up on season tickets some years ago in Wellington. I felt that I was treated more like a criminal than a fan going to games. Searches, being told I cannot bring my thermos of coffee into the ground, security guards watching you every moment. Sorry, the atmosphere became oppressive to me.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. tom hunter (4,859 comments) says:

    It’s always good to see progressives like Chris Laidlaw doing what they doing best; pushing forward into a gloriously bright future.

    Not like those reactionary conservatives always trying to restore some mythical past of golden weather and moaning about what the modern world has come to.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    Although its obvious that at some stage during his rugby career Laidlaw had some serious knocks to the head which have the result in some of his current thinking, in regard to the provincial competition he his absolutely right.

    Firstly – there is not the money to run a second professional competition (and there are even problems with the super 15 participants as well).
    Second – professional sport is just not the same as amateur. Professional sport is all about doing the least work for the longest time for the most money. It is all about the selfish interest of each participant ie: not just their players but all the hangers-on.
    Third – most of the stadiums are bankrupt – ie: the owners are owed money which the various rugby unions cant pay.
    Fourth – the occasion of attending a game isnt worth the cost. You are screwed by the sole catering supplier, there is a good possibility that youll get beer thrown all over you, and you will often be surrounded by the most fouled mouth people in town – and some females are just incredible with their swearing. You will possibly have a parking ticket on your car when you do get back to it. So why would you go when you can sit at home in comfort and not have to put up with the towns plebs.
    Fifth – when you got to see the local ITM provincial game who are you going to watch play? Allblacks – no way. Locals? – possibly.

    But the real nail in the coffin I think is the lack of brains in modern rugby.

    20 years ago rugby top rugby was played by people who had jobs and ran businesses. These people had to think through problems in their daily job, they had to work out the consequences, they had to do planning.
    From todays rugby players we will not see the likes of a Wineray or Hobbs or Lochore or Tremain or Allen or Kirk etc.
    Just look through the 1987 team list and see who youve forgotten. they were:
    Anderson · Brooke · Brooke-Cowden · Drake · Earl · Fitzpatrick · Jones · Loe · McDowell · Pierce · Shelford · Whetton, A · Whetton, G · Crowley · Fox · Gallagher · Green · Kirk (c) · Kirwan · McCahill · Stanley · Taylor · Wright · Coach Lochore

    Of this list of 24, (I think Drake is the only one who has died) I think at least 10 of them have gone onto be very succesful business people who we hear about regularly today 25 years later – and the rest are all probably leading very satisfactory lives in business or working for themselves.
    In 25 years you will not remember hardly any of the 2011 world cup team.
    Itsd the magic that those amateur players bought to the game because they could think and plan. Only this week we see the stupidity of current players – I think 6 or 8 players from NZ super 15 teams injured themselves so badly that they are out of the game for months. Most of you wont even know who they are.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. IHStewart (388 comments) says:

    Lots of great debate but,

    ” That would be about as successful as King Canute was (and he was making a point on purpose).”

    I guess I must be missing something rather obvious but King Canute was a rather successful Monarch of England not to mention a few other places.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. Pete George (23,570 comments) says:

    Marc Hinton adds his stuff along similar lines, tier three professionalism doesn’t pay.

    “For too long now provincial rugby has tried to operate as the third professional level of the game. It’s now exceedingly obvious that’s been a misguided quest.”

    One of the sad outcomes of the professional era is that the ‘Otago’ team has become a mob of mercenaries who come and go as the money makes them.

    Make Otago Rugby More Otago – the passion had drained before the money. We meed Otago pride back.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    When they first made changes to the NPC, they idea was to only have 8-10 div 1 teams??

    the smaller unions kicked up shit and because of the impending RWC, the nzru didnt want any grief so they expanded the comp to 14 teams.

    it was never going to work.

    hence they made changes last year but the damage was already done.

    Im glad the NZRU arent bailing them out. teams need to stand on their own two feet.

    I think the model of 7 div 1 sides and 7 championship sides can work. Teams just need to live within their means. Devlop as much talent as they can. dont go out and sign all blacks who play 3 times a year.

    Money from the expanded super 15 should start to filter down too. its a fuckin long season. There will be a big boost in TV money in a couple of years as well.

    Bruv – to suggest the Super Rugby comp shouldn’t exist is either blatant trolling or a scary lack of economic sense on your part.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  42. Sam Hill (42 comments) says:

    Somebody explain to me how the NRL is able to run an 8 month competition with 16 professional teams, yet many Kiwis seem to think we can only sustainably run 5 rugby teams professionally for half a season.

    Pathetic.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  43. Paulus (2,628 comments) says:

    I think it best for Laidlaw to keep his mouth shut. No more comment.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  44. grumpyoldhori (2,362 comments) says:

    For those of you who are arguing we have to keep on paying provincial players good money, a question, where does the money come from ?

    As for pro rugby the powers that were in the rugby union had been warned about the cost of going professional.

    They should have grown some balls in 95 and told the players, want to go to league fine, but you never come back to union.
    Oh, and legal types who say one cannot do that, yes a judge can say a ex league player has to be allowed to join but, he has no power to make the rest of the team turn up to a match.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote