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Author Topic: Legacy.  (Read 4491 times)

Offline Teessidewire

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Legacy.
« on: November 23, 2016, 04:00:04 PM »
Haven't really posted on here for a while, but when I looked on the Site the other day, i found it was full of anger and vitriol, with use of the 'F' word on at least 1 occasion. This site was designed for us all to discuss local rugby and we don't really seem to be doing too much at the moment. So in an attempt to get back to some kind of sanity, I thought I would try to throw in a few subjects to discuss and here's the first one.
The RFU have asked Clubs their opinion on what the World Cup Legacy means to them, how it has affected them. My own personal view is that, looking at posts on here about Clubs travelling short of players, teams crying off, lower sides not being able to get fixtures etc, that there hasn't really been any sort of effect. Speaking to officials from a rival club a few weeks ago, the biggest effect of the WC on them was players crying off games to watch World Cup matches and having to travel with severely weakened teams.
What about junior level. Well my own Club has had a big influx of junior players since the start of last season, but personally I put that down to the fact that we (Stockton) have moved from premises that were a pain in the proverbial to get to and weren't made particularly welcome, to an area where most of our players live, is easily accessed (at least it will be when the demolition and building are finished after Christmas), are made to feel welcome at the Club, and the hard work of a small group of people. Views on your own respective Clubs please. Note that this is a personal view and not necessarily the view of my Club.

Offline TheGuv

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Re: Legacy.
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2016, 06:00:23 PM »
I think the fact that England underperformed hasn't helped the legacy we would have hoped for. I went to county meetings for 3 years to discuss  the RWC and how our clubs could capitalise on the event. Everything from bar takings to prospective new members took a nosedive as soon as we lost to Australia.

We're told we've got the highest number of people ever playing  the game. What I see is clubs struggling to raise 2nd/3rd teams, 1st XVs being hammered, games regularly being called off and some clubs on the brink of folding. This is only a year after a once in a generation event...I worry to see where we may be the next time a home country gets the RWC...

Sorry to be glass half empty but it is a worry...!

Offline Teessidewire

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Re: Legacy.
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2016, 09:29:19 PM »
I think the fact that England underperformed hasn't helped the legacy we would have hoped for. I went to county meetings for 3 years to discuss  the RWC and how our clubs could capitalise on the event. Everything from bar takings to prospective new members took a nosedive as soon as we lost to Australia.

We're told we've got the highest number of people ever playing  the game. What I see is clubs struggling to raise 2nd/3rd teams, 1st XVs being hammered, games regularly being called off and some clubs on the brink of folding. This is only a year after a once in a generation event...I worry to see where we may be the next time a home country gets the RWC...

Sorry to be glass half empty but it is a worry...!
Don't think you're half empty, i would say you're realistic. Quite a few small Clubs have gone from all over the North in recent years and there have been some spectacular falls from grace. Also some horrendous scores recently which can't be doing anyone any good whatsoever.

Offline local player

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Re: Legacy.
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2016, 09:58:08 PM »
Agree with both of you guys, the top level may be of a higher quality (internationals outside of the top tier) but at a local level, well to me less people are playing.

When i first started playing in the early 90's Ash used to run 4/5, Blyth 4, Novos many, North Shields 3/4 Seghill 3.  Now no team gets near that figure & even the top teams sometimes struggle to run 3!

Cant state for a fact why this is, but the ever increasing amount of leagues games & the ever increasing size of the subs bench can help.

That said the only area (well a belt more than area!) i see getting better is Barnie/Newton/Bish/Seggefield.

Offline TheGuv

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Re: Legacy.
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2016, 08:50:00 AM »
Cant state for a fact why this is, but the ever increasing amount of leagues games & the ever increasing size of the subs bench can help.


Nail hit squarely on the head, for me. 26 league games is a lot of pressure for players to be available nearly every week of a season. Even Premiership clubs don't play that many league games!

If leagues were reduced to 10 teams, it allows 9 games home and away, to give you 18. This then allows your club and its players around 10-12 weekends a season to organise whatever you want. Be it friendlies against a club in the league above/below, a strong 2nd XV, perhaps a Yorkshire/Cumbria club for a day out, or hey you might just want the weekend off.

It would also allow room for a new league created: DN4. Smaller leagues would prove to be more competitive. Just look at the mismatches that can occur in a 14 team league...

I'll always bang the drum to reduce league games but I think I'm in the minority unfortunately. However, it's funny that there's a correlation with increased league games and a reduction in playing numbers over the last 20 years...
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Offline rugby1234

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Re: Legacy.
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2016, 11:09:09 AM »
I really agree with you TheGuv, some of my teams players struggle to play week in, week out due to the high amount of games and never being able to have a week off. My club are struggling massively due to injuries and unavailability's at the moment and this has meant those who have been playing every week are being expected to continue to do so, despite their need to work on weekends.

Offline Mugsy

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Re: Legacy.
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2016, 12:53:43 PM »
It's pleasing to see the forum being returned to a local clubs discussion platform rather than a vehicle for persistent venting of frustration at one club due to events in the past. It's not that I don't empathise - many years ago I left a fantastic club I loved, full of people I loved, due to a small group of committee members with their own agenda finding a very underhand and squalid way to relieve me of the Club Captaincy I had been voted into by the players a season earlier. I was heartbroken at the time, having channelled all my energies into a job I was hugely proud to do. But hey, that's in the past; and anyway, as a result of joining another club, my most successful and enjoyable time as a player followed in the next 3 seasons. I just don't think this is the correct medium for such personal matters. I hope BadgerBear realises life's too short and drops the angst.
To return to the subject, there are a number of factors leading to the decline in player numbers and general apathy all clubs are seeing, which the WC cannot affect. Here are a few in my opinion:
1. School - The number of teachers prepared to give their time to running teams and coaching has plummeted. This affects all sports, and RU is down the pecking order from Football, Athletics and Cricket.
2. Society - Kids don't play outdoors in large numbers any more. A ball was all we needed as kids to get a 20-a-side game going every night and all weekend. We didn't have computer games, mobiles and ipods or tellies in our bedrooms. We got fit. We didn't get fat. We picked up co-ordination skills and got used to being hurt, muddy, wet, cold.
3. Employment/Education - Teenagers get jobs working at weekends and evenings. More go off to Uni than ever before. Fewer kids work hard in manual jobs, getting strong, fit and resilient in the process. They're all sitting on their backsides in offices.
4. Press apathy - You could pick up the local paper and read about all the local club fixtures and selection news a generation ago. Not now, no interest. Unless you play for Falcons, Blaydon, Mowden or Tynedale, forget it.
5. League Rugby - i) Clubs used to play without the pressures of league status. It was much more like a happy social gathering followed by a few relaxing beers on a Saturday and less like an agonising afternoon of stress followed (at some clubs) by 1st XV players in shorts and flip-flops leaving straight after the game clutching Lucozade and protein shake, rather than mix with the social players.
ii) Senior clubs often have a large number of fringe players who provide a back-up layer to the 1st XV, and have direct recruitment links to Uni's. This takes a lot of player recruitment away from clubs down the pecking order.
6. The British weather - this may seem a strange inclusion, given that we had it the same - but I'm linking this back to point 2. Kids don't get cold and wet any more. They spend much more time in their warm bedrooms than ever before. They look out of their window on a training night at the sleet blowing sideways across the street lights on a pitch black evening and go back to Facebook.
The Aussies, South Africans, Kiwis and French tend to have much greater attendance numbers at youth events. Is this an argument for RU becoming a summer sport like RL? You bet!
7. Parenting - 'Tis the age of 'Elf and Safety. Past parents wanted their boys toughened up a bit. Todays parents are risk-averse, having read about head injuries and the like.

I'm sure people will add other points of their own and will disagree with some of mine; these are just the ones that concern me most. Please note that when I say 'kids don't do this or that' I'm obviously observing a general trend. I know there are still, thankfully, many young'uns who love being outdoors, wet and muddy, with a ball under their arm and lungs filled with fresh air!
But unfortunately the bottom line is, just as the Olympics don't leave the promised legacy in terms of sporting take-up by inspired children, the RWC will only have an affect in the winning country - and even then it will be limited and short-lived.
 

Offline Renegade

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Re: Legacy.
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2016, 05:32:40 PM »
I like this thread so will contribute with a few opinions of my own.

A few things could be changed to improve things I reckon.

Firstly, University players. As Mugsy correctly said, a lot more kids go to Uni now than ever before, apart from the very best players who attend and can boast club affiliations for Championship or Premiership clubs, the vast majority stop playing club rugby when they join Uni as its not allowed to do both. When they leave Uni they then stop playing, our most successful University locally is the "biggest rugby club" in England, Durham, they run 5 Uni sides plus many more college teams and that's over 100 players in my estimation. I stand to be proved wrong but to my knowledge very few if any play club rugby locally (DN area).

Secondly, Dual registration. The pinnacle of local rugby is the Falcons, in the main 3 clubs, Blaydon, DMP & Tynedale provide the nursery ground for them. They have arrangements in place to allow Falcons players play at all 3 clubs for development/competition purposes, then the system breaks. All 3 clubs have problems getting competitive 2nd team fixtures, too strong for Candy 1, a few different "trial leagues" have been attempted but don't seem to work. Cancelled fixtures and mismatchedgames are whats left and if the game isn't careful then these players will wander off never to return. If dual registration was allowed/encouraged the players could spend time with junior clubs playing competitive league rugby, strengthening teams where they are weak and providing a good stream of capable players for the higher ranked clubs. This used to be performed by the county sides but that is all but redundant really. It would retain players and reduce playing costs for the clubs and raise standards at all levels locally.

Thirdly, reduce league sizes, like the Guv said, too much league rugby is played putting too many demands on players who cant commit to weekly rugby like some of the older guys could. Jobs, family and other interests/pressures mean they can only be available on certain weekends.

Offline local player

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Re: Legacy.
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2016, 05:57:21 PM »
Yet more very good points.........but one of main things holding back a lot of clubs is-volulteers/committee men/alicls.

Most rugby clubs want a youth section/tie in with school/uni etc but dont have the people to organize it.

Take a look a Barnie-top of DN1 (knocking my pre season prediction to hell!), no one handed them to it on a plate they worked for it, with lots of people in the background making sure things were put into place.

Offline TheGuv

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Re: Legacy.
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2016, 06:12:03 PM »

Most rugby clubs want a youth section/tie in with school/uni etc but dont have the people to organize it

I think schools is a big problem. For clubs that want to set up a junior section, you're going to be hard pushed in areas where kids don't know much about rugby. Schools can help with that, but as previously mentioned the onus is on the teachers.

I'm led to believe that years ago, most schools would play Union. I think Novos (for example) would pick many up ex students from Heaton, Longbenton, Killy High etc as well as RGS to play for the club Allowing a steady stream of new players to the senior set up.

Now you can moreorless rule out the first three schools, as well as many others like it in the state sector.

Churchill in Wallsend, would be a perfect fit for Wallsend RFC, but  they and many schools in the area only play League. Even then, many of the lads stop playing by 14/15/16.

I know the RFU are trying and it's no easy nut to crack. But schools has to be the place to start!

Offline heirtothethrone

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Re: Legacy.
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2016, 06:15:48 PM »
To be fair on the schools point. I believe I have read not so long ago that as part of the legacy program rugby is now played in a lot more schools (800 possibly but dont quote me on that).

Think it will take time for the local clubs to see the benefits of that, but if I were an administrator I would concentrate on getting new schools involved as it opens up the game to new areas better.

Offline TheGuv

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Re: Legacy.
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2016, 06:26:03 PM »
I really like Renegade's view on dual registration. Or as some others have called 'guesting' when required.

The uni point is also valid. There's 14 colleges in Durham, some have two sides, and they play every Wednesday. I'm not sure how close they'd be to clubs other than Durham City, but it would be interesting to know how many play locally.

The elitist view that Universities now hold for sport doesn't help. 4 years ago there was 4 teams at Northumbria; there's now 2. They don't want social rugby players anymore. It's all about BUCs points.

Yet, there was over 150 lads at the fresher's trials this year at Northumbria. Surely they could help many clubs in the area to pick up the lads they don't want...but no, nothing is mentioned and many lads will stop playing rugby for their 3 years at uni and may well find it had to start playing again at 21. I think 18-23 is the biggest fall off age for people playing union? ???

There's a lot of variables coming through here as to why there's less people playing these days isn't there....!

Offline Teessidewire

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Re: Legacy.
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2016, 09:05:59 PM »
Good to see a bit of debate returning. Let's keep it going. Some really good comments.

Offline TheGuv

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Re: Legacy.
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2016, 09:31:18 PM »
Albeit there's not been too many replies in this thread, I think it's interesting (so far) that all that have posted agree that leagues are too big and too many league games are having an adverse effect.

Unfortunately, the RFU backtracked on their proposal to reduce league fixtures - Yorkshire being particularly uncomplimentary. However, it would be interesting, if the Durham and Northumberland Rugby Unions decided to trial it themselves for a season or two. After all, we only feed into North One East (Level 6) anyway. Does it really matter how it's done as long as 1 or 2 clubs go up? If the CBs and their clubs wanted to give it a go, surely they could try it?

Below is one way the leagues could be set up, 10 teams per league (40 clubs across the 4 divisions - perfect eh?!), 18 league games per season. We've already played 11 in DN1, so that gives you an idea as to how many weekends you could use for free weekends/cup games/friendlies etc so long as you play at least 9 league games (half of the league season) before Xmas.

The reduced league size would presumably make the leagues more competitive and clubs from DN1 would have no issue playing the stronger clubs from DN2 in friendlies as they're currently already in the same league (e.g.  Gatesehad v Stockton) and DN2 clubs against higher DN3 etc.

Anyway, at current standings this would be the league structure:

Durham/Northumberland Division One
Barnard Castle   
South Shields Westoe      
Northern   
Middlesbrough   
Consett      
Horden and Peterlee   
Hartlepool Rovers      
Hartlepool   
Gateshead   
Gosforth   
   
Durham/Northumberland Division Two
Stockton      
Novocastrians      
Medicals      
Ryton      
Redcar   
Ponteland   
Whitley Bay Rockcliff      
Bishop Auckland      
Sunderland   
North Shields   

Durham/Northumberland Division Three:
Darlington   
Whitby      
Winlaton Vulcans   
Ashington   
South Shields   
Sedgefield   
Blyth      
Seaton Carew   
Richmondshire   
Newton Aycliffe


Durham/Northumberland Division Four   
Wallsend   
Yarm
Houghton      
Seghill      
Hartlepool B.B.O.B.      
Jarrovians      
Chester-Le-Street   
West Hartlepool TDSOB   
Seaham   
Prudhoe & Stocksfield   

It would be interesting to read people's thoughts on this and a debate to ensue; rather than us going through our usual weekly motions of picking a home or away team to win  ;)

Offline old man

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Re: Legacy.
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2016, 10:11:22 PM »
think it good idea having 4 leagues as teams will prob be playin   teams of equal standing and that maybe get more people playin again and therefore strengthin there teams, also a few less games to play and players carryin knocks dont have to keep playin through the pain barrier week in week out, Also teams that play away might take a stronger squad away to matches just a thought that. i agree with everybodies comments and ideas on this thread crackin stuff.