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Pro 16 Discussion

  • 30-04-2021 11:34am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 5,236 ✭✭✭ Red Silurian


    How do you see it playing out and how would you like to see it play out?

    What we know
    16 Teams
    4 Irish
    4 Welsh
    2 Scottish
    2 Italian
    4 South African

    Obviously the most fair situation would be 1 table of 16 teams and each team playing 15 Home and Away games but I don't think that's logical

    The best option I think is an East/West or North/South conferences
    That is to say

    North Conference
    Ulster and Connacht (The 2 northern most Irish provinces)
    Edinburgh (slightly more north than Glasgow)
    Scarlets + Ospreys (The 2 northern most Welsh teams)
    Benetton (more north than Zebre)
    Lions and Bulls (The 2 northern most South African teams)

    South conference
    All the rest

    Dividing it equally among the countries so 8 teams per conference, home+away in each conference home or away for the rest + 2 further inter-country games

    That's 24 games, 25 if you have a final


«13456

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,431 ✭✭✭✭ Cookiemunster


    That's way too many games. Especially when there's definitely going to be plays offs that are larger than just a final. Most likely each team will play each other once and then there'll be return derbys for the Irish, Welsh and South Africans with the Italian/Scots doing the same amongst themselves. Gives you 18 regular season games plus play offs.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,236 ✭✭✭ Red Silurian


    That's way too many games. Especially when there's definitely going to be plays offs that are larger than just a final. Most likely each team will play each other once and then there'll be return derbys for the Irish, Welsh and South Africans with the Italian/Scots doing the same amongst themselves. Gives you 18 regular season games plus play offs.

    Before we brought the Cheetahs and Kings in we had 22 games (11 home + 11 away) Semis and a final so up to 24 Pro12 games per season. While I agree that 30 is probably too much I don't think 24-25 (or 26 if you want an extra round of playoffs) is much of a stretch


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,431 ✭✭✭✭ Cookiemunster


    Before we brought the Cheetahs and Kings in we had 22 games (11 home + 11 away) Semis and a final so up to 24 Pro12 games per season. While I agree that 30 is probably too much I don't think 24-25 (or 26 if you want an extra round of playoffs) is much of a stretch
    We won't be going back to 22 regular season games. The Pro14 CEO has already stated that they want to avoid playing games during the internationals windows with B teams. That means fewer regular season games.


  • Registered Users Posts: 45,433 ✭✭✭✭ thomond2006


    24/25 games would be a disaster. The internationals would barely make a mark on the regular season and broadcasters/casuals would hate it.

    Us on boards might enjoy young players getting so many league appearances but you can't sell it.

    By all accounts, 18 regular season games is the suggestion and I'm all for it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,236 ✭✭✭ Red Silurian


    24/25 games would be a disaster. The internationals would barely make a mark on the regular season and broadcasters/casuals would hate it.

    Us on boards might enjoy young players getting so many league appearances but you can't sell it.

    By all accounts, 18 regular season games is the suggestion and I'm all for it.

    The internationals haven't been making a mark on the regular season for quite some time now and that's down to the IRFU player welfare program along with the Scottish and Welsh internationals not playing in the tournament

    The idea that the Irish provinces play each other on a home and away basis while the Scottish face the Italians home and away also suggests an easier ride is being had by some teams


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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,431 ✭✭✭✭ Cookiemunster


    The internationals haven't been making a mark on the regular season for quite some time now and that's down to the IRFU player welfare program along with the Scottish and Welsh internationals not playing in the tournament

    The idea that the Irish provinces play each other on a home and away basis while the Scottish face the Italians home and away also suggests an easier ride is being had by some teams

    That was already happening. Over the years generally the Irish beat the crap out of each other, while Glasgow trashed Edinburgh 3 times, Benetton trashed Zebre 3 times and the Cheetahs would trash the Kings 3 times.

    The internationals not being available is the problem with the league and why it has little relevance outside the diehards. It's something that's been recognised by the powers that be and it's why they are changing it. Fewer games avoiding the international breaks meaning more appearances from the internationals and more interest in the league.


  • Registered Users Posts: 934 ✭✭✭ Kevski


    One idea:

    4 pools of 4 teams:

    - each team playing the teams in their own pool both home and away (6 games)

    - each team plays the teams outside of their pool once, either home or away (12 games)

    - additional 3 rounds of derby games (3 games)

    That would leave 21 regular season games which would be the same as the PRO14.

    The additional round of derby games could be scrapped to make it an 18 game regular season but probably unlikely to happen as derby games traditionally have the highest attendances (in Ireland anyway).


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,470 ✭✭✭ Jump_In_Jack


    Kevski wrote: »
    One idea:

    4 pools of 4 teams:

    - each team playing the teams in their own pool both home and away (6 games)

    - each team plays the teams outside of their pool once, either home or away (12 games)

    - additional 3 rounds of derby games (3 games)

    That would leave 21 regular season games which would be the same as the PRO14.

    The additional round of derby games could be scrapped to make it an 18 game regular season but probably unlikely to happen as derby games traditionally have the highest attendances (in Ireland anyway).

    The way you've phrased it, I assume you mean the pools of 4 are to be made up of teams from different countries, 1 each from Ireland, South Africa, Wales and 1 from either Italy or Scotland?
    Then your proposal would look good at least in theory.

    Or could phrase it in other words,
    Group 4 pools together, IRL, SA, WAL, SCO&ITA,
    Play your own teams twice, play everyone else once, and then play three more matches so one more match against one team from each of the other pools.
    How would you propose to split up the pool to seed them evenly?
    And what is your proposal for playoffs if using that format for the regular season?


  • Registered Users Posts: 934 ✭✭✭ Kevski


    Assume you mean the pools of 4 are to be made up of teams from different countries, 1 each from Ireland, South Africa, Wales and 1 from either Italy or Scotland?
    Then your proposal would look good at least in theory.
    How would you propose to split up the pool to seed them evenly?
    And what is your proposal for playoffs if using that format for the regular season?

    I had thought of splitting teams as you have mentioned above but to be honest, I just scribbled down an idea on a piece of paper so haven’t put too much more thought into it.

    Playoffs could be based on the desired number of games. Top two from each pool going into QF would add 3 more games whereas top team from each group going into SF would add 2.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,470 ✭✭✭ Jump_In_Jack


    Kevski wrote: »
    I had thought of splitting teams as you have mentioned above but to be honest, I just scribbled down an idea on a piece of paper so haven’t put too much more thought into it.

    Playoffs could be based on the desired number of games. Top two from each pool going into QF would add 3 more games whereas top team from each group going into SF would add 2.

    For example:

    Pool 1: South Africa 1, Ireland 4, Wales 2, Scotland/Italy 3
    Pool 2: South Africa 2, Ireland 3, Wales 1, Scotland/Italy 4
    Pool 3: South Africa 3, Ireland 2, Wales 4, Scotland/Italy 1
    Pool 4: South Africa 4, Ireland 1, Wales 3, Scotland/Italy 2

    E.g. from latest rankings in Pro14 and Super Rugby,
    Pool 1: Sharks, Connacht, Ospreys, Zebre
    Pool 2: Stormers, Ulster, Scarlets, Benetton
    Pool 3: Bulls, Munster, Dragons, Glasgow
    Pool 4: Lions, Leinster, Cardiff, Edinburgh


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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,263 ✭✭✭ Dubinusa


    The problem with shutting the league down during the international window is how do up and coming young players get minutes?
    The format will be interesting but I think the easiest would be each team plays each other once, followed by derby games. This format obviously gives the Scottish teams a leg up as they have the weakest schedule.
    Another way would be 2 groups of 8, home and away and then play once v the other group. That is 21 matches.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,431 ✭✭✭✭ Cookiemunster


    Dubinusa wrote: »
    The problem with shutting the league down during the international window is how do up and coming young players get minutes?
    You don't shut it down, you reduce the amount of games played during those windows. You still won't see the internationals playing every game, but the idea is to have them available for more games than they currently are. There'll still be plenty of game time for up ad coming players.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,470 ✭✭✭ Jump_In_Jack


    Dubinusa wrote: »
    The problem with shutting the league down during the international window is how do up and coming young players get minutes?
    The format will be interesting but I think the easiest would be each team plays each other once, followed by derby games. This format obviously gives the Scottish teams a leg up as they have the weakest schedule.
    Another way would be 2 groups of 8, home and away and then play once v the other group. That is 21 matches.

    22 matches (7+7+8)


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,263 ✭✭✭ Dubinusa


    Oops! Can't believe I can't count!


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,213 ✭✭✭✭ bilston


    I'd just have a 16 team league, play each other once...15 regular season matches, and then play offs between the top 4, or maybe even top 5 or 6.

    15-17 games a season and teams are more likely to be close to full strength

    I'd than run a separate Inter Pro home and away championship which would give 6 games, throw in a max of 8 or 9 European games and that is about 32 games max over the course of the season

    Less is more IMO, but then again the provinces need the money more than ever so they will probably take the opposite view.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,087 ✭✭✭ Lost Ormond


    bilston wrote: »
    I'd just have a 16 team league, play each other once...15 regular season matches, and then play offs between the top 4, or maybe even top 5 or 6.

    15-17 games a season and teams are more likely to be close to full strength

    I'd than run a separate Inter Pro home and away championship which would give 6 games, throw in a max of 8 or 9 European games and that is about 32 games max over the course of the season

    Less is more IMO, but then again the provinces need the money more than ever so they will probably take the opposite view.

    Less isnt better. Less games means less income. What would you do about squads as much fewer games means smaller number of contracts.
    Interpros are great but i dont see how playing them as a stand alone tournament will be better for games.
    A stand alone interpro series only works if you have full strength sides for all of them and will that happen? I dont see Nucifora etc agreeing to that for all games


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,213 ✭✭✭✭ bilston


    Less isnt better. Less games means less income. What would you do about squads as much fewer games means smaller number of contracts.
    Interpros are great but i dont see how playing them as a stand alone tournament will be better for games.
    A stand alone interpro series only works if you have full strength sides for all of them and will that happen? I dont see Nucifora etc agreeing to that for all games

    Why does there have to be full strength sides for Inter Pros? There hardly are as it is. Why would this be any different?

    Less makes the league better as teams will be stronger. The slack is picked up by the Inter Pros, so there would be fewer Pro 16 games but over the season the lrovinces would play just as many games as they do now.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,470 ✭✭✭ Jump_In_Jack


    Sometimes simplicity is best.
    A round robin playing every team once with playoffs would be a very straightforward format.
    Spectators would easily grasp that format which might make it a better product to sell, conferences seem to annoy certain people, and the extra round of interpros are not fair as each country has different levels of opponent.
    I'd say top 6 would be about the right number of teams for playoffs, for three rounds, two quarters, two semis and a final.
    I would assume there'd be a few Irish and South African teams vying for the playoffs every year and always a chance of a Welsh or Scottish team having a good run in any given season.
    That should keep the league stage competitive to the end.
    Hopefully they stick with the Heineken cup format of 24 teams, 8 from each league, so there'd be competition even for the 2 spots outside the top 6 each year.

    I would like a round robin interpro separate to the league each year if it could be fitted in.
    The challenge with that would be to make it financially attractive by getting full teams out.
    I'd like to see that on free-to-air TV.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,087 ✭✭✭ Lost Ormond


    bilston wrote: »
    Why does there have to be full strength sides for Inter Pros? There hardly are as it is. Why would this be any different?

    Less makes the league better as teams will be stronger. The slack is picked up by the Inter Pros, so there would be fewer Pro 16 games but over the season the lrovinces would play just as many games as they do now.

    Because they are the games with highest profile within the league in Ireland. Same with Welsh games. Theyre derbies etc and we should have our best players playing each other in these games as much as possible.

    Less games wont see other games have stronger players.
    Sometimes simplicity is best.
    A round robin playing every team once with playoffs would be a very straightforward format.
    Spectators would easily grasp that format which might make it a better product to sell, conferences seem to annoy certain people, and the extra round of interpros are not fair as each country has different levels of opponent.
    I'd say top 6 would be about the right number of teams for playoffs, for three rounds, two quarters, two semis and a final.
    I would assume there'd be a few Irish and South African teams vying for the playoffs every year and always a chance of a Welsh or Scottish team having a good run in any given season.
    That should keep the league stage competitive to the end.
    Hopefully they stick with the Heineken cup format of 24 teams, 8 from each league, so there'd be competition even for the 2 spots outside the top 6 each year.

    I would like a round robin interpro separate to the league each year if it could be fitted in.
    The challenge with that would be to make it financially attractive by getting full teams out.
    I'd like to see that on free-to-air TV.
    A separate round robin for interpros just wont happen and would essentially be an A competition. You already have A interpros. Getting full teams to make it financially viable isnt going to happen. If you are not getting full teams for provinces in League games then there is zero chance of getting full teams for this separate competition that wont have money incentive in terms of prize money etc.
    A full round robin just reduces for so many teams their biggest crowds by reducing derby games


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,368 ✭✭✭✭ molloyjh


    The one thing people talk about when talking about less games is the impact on development. Unlike England and France, the rest of us don't have close to the same scope for talent development for the national team. If every season up until now had been as short, where would players like Gavin Coombes or Harry Byrne be in their development? What about Keenan or Connors or Craig Casey? People often talk about the weakened teams as a bad thing, but in terms of the bigger picture it enables us to maximise development potential given the reduced capacity for that compared to the big 2 6Ns countries.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 45,433 ✭✭✭✭ thomond2006


    molloyjh wrote: »
    The one thing people talk about when talking about less games is the impact on development. Unlike England and France, the rest of us don't have close to the same scope for talent development for the national team. If every season up until now had been as short, where would players like Gavin Coombes or Harry Byrne be in their development? What about Keenan or Connors or Craig Casey? People often talk about the weakened teams as a bad thing, but in terms of the bigger picture it enables us to maximise development potential given the reduced capacity for that compared to the big 2 6Ns countries.

    I don't think reducing to 18 from 21 games will have a marked impact on development.


  • Registered Users Posts: 391 ✭✭ Blackheath


    Jack Regan is signing for the Ospreys


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,236 ✭✭✭ Red Silurian


    One thing I would like to see changed is either a draft style system for new player signings being introduced. Or instead of paying our winners the most money we should actually pay the teams at the bottom of the table the most money (and the winners should be paid the least, if anything)

    Then sit back and watch the Italians win the league :D:D:D


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,213 ✭✭✭✭ bilston


    One thing I would like to see changed is either a draft style system for new player signings being introduced. Or instead of paying our winners the most money we should actually pay the teams at the bottom of the table the most money (and the winners should be paid the least, if anything)

    Then sit back and watch the Italians win the league :D:D:D

    You could maybe do a draft for Academy players each year. Let the provinces promote from within their academies first and then come 1st June all the remaining Academy players are pooled together to allow the other provinces to cherry pick certain players for full professional contracts. So for example say all 4 provinces have 15 full Academy players, they could promote who they like to senior contracts from their own Academy. Say everyone promotes 5 players, that leaves 10 players per province or 40 across Ireland. Connacht get first pick, they could offer a Leinster academy player a two year senior contract and then it is up to that player to decide. Do they stick or twist? GIve the Leinster academy another go for a year or secure professional rugby for the next two years, or maybe they wait and see if Munster or Ulster pick them up, a big risk obviously.

    It would allow provinces to fill areas of weakness with young IQ players and might stop some players stalling in their respective Academy for 3 years before moving to the Championship or Pro D2 or packing it in altogether.

    This way the best young players get to stay with their "indigenous" province, but guys who are borderline can decide to stick at it knowing their home province aren't sure about them, or there isn't a space, or they can go somewhere else.

    It's not perfect, it might hinder player development in some cases, it would mean more movement of players between provinces and it would mean provinces potentially losing players they have invested a lot in.

    It will never happen, and we're probably only talking about it because the NFL draft was last weekend! But it would be interesting as well.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,236 ✭✭✭ Red Silurian


    bilston wrote: »
    I'd just have a 16 team league, play each other once...15 regular season matches, and then play offs between the top 4, or maybe even top 5 or 6.

    15-17 games a season and teams are more likely to be close to full strength

    I'd than run a separate Inter Pro home and away championship which would give 6 games, throw in a max of 8 or 9 European games and that is about 32 games max over the course of the season

    Less is more IMO, but then again the provinces need the money more than ever so they will probably take the opposite view.

    I like this idea and with 16 teams the top 6 would give a very fair playoff series but I think the separate inter-pro championship should be just 3 games and tied into the regular Pro16 League ie you would play the other 3 provinces once in the regular season and once more in this post-season championship where the points earned against the other provinces carry over. Have a separate trophy and a catchy name and even a final potentially

    Most importantly, you could do the same for the Welsh and SA teams and adapt it for the Scots or Italians
    bilston wrote: »
    You could maybe do a draft for Academy players each year. Let the provinces promote from within their academies first and then come 1st June all the remaining Academy players are pooled together to allow the other provinces to cherry pick certain players for full professional contracts. So for example say all 4 provinces have 15 full Academy players, they could promote who they like to senior contracts from their own Academy. Say everyone promotes 5 players, that leaves 10 players per province or 40 across Ireland. Connacht get first pick, they could offer a Leinster academy player a two year senior contract and then it is up to that player to decide. Do they stick or twist? GIve the Leinster academy another go for a year or secure professional rugby for the next two years, or maybe they wait and see if Munster or Ulster pick them up, a big risk obviously.

    It would allow provinces to fill areas of weakness with young IQ players and might stop some players stalling in their respective Academy for 3 years before moving to the Championship or Pro D2 or packing it in altogether.

    This way the best young players get to stay with their "indigenous" province, but guys who are borderline can decide to stick at it knowing their home province aren't sure about them, or there isn't a space, or they can go somewhere else.

    It's not perfect, it might hinder player development in some cases, it would mean more movement of players between provinces and it would mean provinces potentially losing players they have invested a lot in.

    It will never happen, and we're probably only talking about it because the NFL draft was last weekend! But it would be interesting as well.

    Personally I've been thinking about it since the ESL was being discussed. The prospect of no promotion/relegation is a good one but only if the teams in the league are at a similar level

    I don't like the idea of the clubs getting the first few picks from their own academies... If it's to be done it should be done right, yes that means that this years wooden spoon winners Benetton and Zebre would potentially get the first pick of Leinster and Munster academy player contracts but that's the whole point in a way


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,213 ✭✭✭✭ bilston


    I like this idea and with 16 teams the top 6 would give a very fair playoff series but I think the separate inter-pro championship should be just 3 games and tied into the regular Pro16 League ie you would play the other 3 provinces once in the regular season and once more in this post-season championship where the points earned against the other provinces carry over. Have a separate trophy and a catchy name and even a final potentially

    Most importantly, you could do the same for the Welsh and SA teams and adapt it for the Scots or Italians



    Personally I've been thinking about it since the ESL was being discussed. The prospect of no promotion/relegation is a good one but only if the teams in the league are at a similar level

    I don't like the idea of the clubs getting the first few picks from their own academies... If it's to be done it should be done right, yes that means that this years wooden spoon winners Benetton and Zebre would potentially get the first pick of Leinster and Munster academy player contracts but that's the whole point in a way

    If it were ever to happen it would be within countries. There is no way in a million years that the IRFU would let the best young Irish players going to Zebre to play rugby.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,087 ✭✭✭ Lost Ormond


    I like this idea and with 16 teams the top 6 would give a very fair playoff series but I think the separate inter-pro championship should be just 3 games and tied into the regular Pro16 League ie you would play the other 3 provinces once in the regular season and once more in this post-season championship where the points earned against the other provinces carry over. Have a separate trophy and a catchy name and even a final potentially

    Most importantly, you could do the same for the Welsh and SA teams and adapt it for the Scots or Italians

    Dont see that happening. While not completely even or fair. keeping all the derbies within the league isnt going anywhere

    Personally I've been thinking about it since the ESL was being discussed. The prospect of no promotion/relegation is a good one but only if the teams in the league are at a similar level

    I don't like the idea of the clubs getting the first few picks from their own academies... If it's to be done it should be done right, yes that means that this years wooden spoon winners Benetton and Zebre would potentially get the first pick of Leinster and Munster academy player contracts but that's the whole point in a way
    No union or province/team would ever agree to that system and with a cross country league it would never work with players and colleges as well. Its double within your own country but across 5. Impossible.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,236 ✭✭✭ Red Silurian


    bilston wrote: »
    If it were ever to happen it would be within countries. There is no way in a million years that the IRFU would let the best young Irish players going to Zebre to play rugby.

    Only for the length of the contract they are signed for though, after 2 or 3 years they can be bought back by any interested club, including the Irish provinces
    Dont see that happening. While not completely even or fair. keeping all the derbies within the league isnt going anywhere



    No union or province/team would ever agree to that system and with a cross country league it would never work with players and colleges as well. Its double within your own country but across 5. Impossible.

    If you gave the unions more control over the league, a new way to make money they might get on board... Stranger things have happened


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,087 ✭✭✭ Lost Ormond


    Only for the length of the contract they are signed for though, after 2 or 3 years they can be bought back by any interested club, including the Irish provinces
    Why would provinces develop own players then if theyre going to lose so many of them especially players they really need.
    If you gave the unions more control over the league, a new way to make money they might get on board... Stranger things have happened

    IRFU already have the control over the proxx with welsh, scottish, italian and now south african unions.
    Its not going to happen and how would it be a new way to make money?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,470 ✭✭✭ Jump_In_Jack


    According to Thornley,

    "Plans for the inaugural cross-hemisphere competition are at an advanced stage and the likelihood is that next season’s Pro16 will feature two pools of eight, wherein each team plays the other seven teams at home and away, with additional return derbies worked into the schedule."

    So I guess that means 14 pool matches, plus 4 return derby matches against the provinces in the other pool, so 18 matches before playoffs, and I'd assume the playoffs will be top 6, 2 quarters, semis, and the final.


This discussion has been closed.
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