Talking Rugby: would an HEC win be better for Wales than another GS in 2013
EW posed the question in the forum. “What would be better for the future of Welsh rugby? A win in the HC in 2013 or another Grand slam in 2013?”
The question has arisen out of some of the discussion on the Experience thread. I’m not asking which you’d rather have but which you think would be better for Welsh rugby as a whole. I’m not offering other choices (I imagine a win over NZ would beat both). I’m just genuinely interested what your view is.
Here are some of the responses. What’s your view? You can join the debate here.
B: Grand slam, it’s inspirational. Don’t think an HC can fix the regional problem.
EW: Does the GS still have that inspirational quality after 3 in 9 years? Is there anyone left to be inspired? I’d obviously bite our hand off for one and am naturally a bit jealous you’ve had 3 in a decade to our 1, but do you not think that to get public buy in to the clubs and get the turnstiles (and cash tills) flowing an HC win might be better at this point.
SD: The Dragons aren’t in the HC.
CR: Rugby is very tribal in S Wales, lots of people only ever watch their local town or village team and would never dream of watching any one else, except of course when it comes to the Welsh team when almost everyone cones together watches them
EW: “The Dragons aren’t in the HC.” Again, the question isn’t which you’d rather see, but which would be better for Welsh rugby as a whole. Do you not think that an HC win for Scarlets would have a benefit to welsh rugby as a whole?
K: Another grand slam would mean that the team is still building and improving to 2015 – and doing well in THAT tournament would be amazing for welsh rugby, and wales in general.
On a personal level, I think that an Ospreys HC win would bring me more happiness – if only because I think Wales are easily capable of winning the GS. France away is the only match we’re not out-and-out favourites in. Whereas the Ospreys winning the HC in 2012/13 is supremely unlikely. Plus it’s the pinnacle – whereas for Wales, the 2015 World Cup is the real target.
EW: “Rugby is very tribal in S Wales, lots of people only ever watch their local town or village team and would never dream of watching any one else, except of course when it comes to the Welsh team when almost everyone cones together watches them”
Isn’t this a problem though? To keep players in Wales the pro clubs need money. To get money they need more people buying merchandise and tickets. Might an HC win not help win some of those village supporters away to their nearest/preferred pro team?
H: Both, I know that sounds greedy, but when Cardiff were doing very well in the HEC, the crowds were up, there were 40k there for the semi against Leicester, that bastard turkey necked cnut didn’t want to invest and build on it though, and then you can add in the money wasted on CCS fiasco. Thomas wants success, but he wants it on the cheap, and that ain’t going to happen.
TD: Grand Slam. Every time, ref. A H/C would be tidy beans but let’s not kid ourselves, a H/C win isn’t going to happen next season at least.
EW: Again, the question isn’t which do you want. Can i take it that you don’t think either is more important than the other for development purposes?
H: “Again, the question isn’t which do you want. Can i take it that you don’t think either is more important than the other for development purposes?”
The slam is more important in the long term, because it’s purely a Welsh thing and gets kids into playing the game, but the HEC would do wonders for the club game and that’s the foundations of the national team. ATM we’re in a purple patch and we have the best set of Welsh players we’ve had in the best part of 40 years, but it won’t always be like this, the club game needs to be strong but it’s being neglected by the WRU. It’s not an either/or, it’s all about balance, and it’s not balanced right now.
UK: Grand Slam every time. And I reckon Irish supporters would agree. For all their success in the HEC, the GS is the ultimate in the Northern Hemisphere and it is what we all strive for.
The same goes for what I think would be better for Wales and Welsh rugby. The HEC doesn’t even figure on the radar for most fans and while it might generate a short term boost in attendance figures, the national team is what really matters. Success there brings a spring in the step, and a feeling that our lads can beat anyone. Regional success gives a momentary pleasure for 20k fans at most. We’re the best team in the NH right now and everyone knows it, better still, everyone wants it to be them.
A major reason for going regional was to improve the international product. To restore a much needed edge to the national side, and make them (once again) respected and feared opponents. Two-thirds done, but not quite there yet. Essential that there’s a strong showing this Autumn, important that as much is done as possible to achieve a second consecutive GS. That’d prove that momentum is still being gathered, and the regional ‘experiment’ (while on the surface not really ‘delivering’) is, in fact, doing exactly what its advocates said it would.
TD: Question: Seriously what have the H/C wins done for the Irish game? I’m asking this as it really does not appear to have had any improvement to the Irish international side other than them winning the GS two seasons ago.
If winning the H/C cup were a sign of improvement then surely more success in the 6N, at least, would have come before and followed for Ireland?
As it is I would be very worried if I were an Irishman after the recent NZ tour.
So, the argument for ‘neglect’ at club level in Wales is not as strong as perhaps some might think? Perhaps it really is down to coaching.
I would argue that, to all intents and purposes, the Ospreys will be the foremost Welsh region this coming season simply because they are the ones who will have a proven coach, one who has shown his ability from club to regional level.
I bet you this … the Ospreys may not win the H/C this coming season, and certainly the other Welsh regions will not get as close, but the Ospreys will end up providing the most improved players over the next year and will get closer to the H/C final than any other region in Wales. Therefore it will be to the Ospreys, by and large, that the International selectors will look to.
EW: Er other than the Grand Slam? And the wins against the SH? And the improved 6N performances and results? Cash. Which I’m afraid is needed to run a pro rugby environment. Both Munster and Leinster had substantially built their crowds before the wins but I’m pretty sure the wins have helped maintain growth in attendance and merchandise sales. Rugby is now a habit for a group of people who may not otherwise have come to the sport. I have no doubt that that has helped pull in some of the youngsters who are now playing U20s rugby. You asked about the benefits and I’ve said. I don’t want this thread to be about Ireland – our path has been what it is by chance rather than design.
I think at the moment cash is the most pressing concern for welsh rugby. It might be that playing 4 AIs and securing more lucrative sponsorship on the back of another Grand Slam would do it. Maybe a grand slam is essential to improving the team and that’s the most important thing for the game in Wales in general. I’m not sure. Which is why I’m asking the question.
H: The clubs are not there for the sole purpose of making the national team better, it’s symbiotic relationship, and as for the Os, Tandy proven? He did well at the tail end of last season, but he’s hardly proven.
H: For all the HEC success, you’re completely facked once the old guard retire in the next year or two, it’s the wilderness for Ireland.
B: Winning anything is good for a sport in that locale so either is beneficial
Which would be better for Wales? Id have to say winning a HC. why?
Whilst a Slam for the national team is more inclusive across the whole of Wales rather than focused in one area, a major positive and boost to the game
Slams have already been won, Heineken Cups haven’t, it would boost rugby interest in that club but would also demonstrate to the remaining 3 regions what’s possible and inspire them to reach higher in later years. I think the legacy of a HEC win would last longer in Wales and would raise interest and standards in all 4 regions. I’m not convinced a Slam would do it to quite the same level
EW: Not really relevant to this thread. I’ll happily start another on this board to discuss it if you like.
DB: What would be better for the future of Welsh rugby?
A 6 nations wooden spoon I reckon.
P: “Isn’t this a problem though? To keep players in Wales the pro clubs need money. [B]To get money they need more people buying merchandise and tickets.[/B] Might an HC win not help win some of those village supporters away to their nearest/preferred pro team?”
Not necessarily true. A fairer distribution of the existing £6m could do that.
P: “Er other than the Grand Slam? And the wins against the SH? And the improved 6N performances and results? Cash. Which I’m afraid is needed to run a pro rugby environment. Both Munster and Leinster had substantially built their crowds before the wins but I’m pretty sure the wins have helped maintain growth in attendance and merchandise sales. Rugby is now a habit for a group of people who may not otherwise have come to the sport. I have no doubt that that has helped pull in some of the youngsters who are now playing U20s rugby. You asked about the benefits and I’ve said. I don’t want this thread to be about Ireland – our path has been what it is by chance rather than design.
I think at the moment cash is the most pressing concern for welsh rugby. It might be that playing 4 AIs and securing more lucrative sponsorship on the back of another Grand Slam would do it. Maybe a grand slam is essential to improving the team and that’s the most important thing for the game in Wales in general. I’m not sure. Which is why I’m asking the question.”
Munster’s first final was in 2000.
On November 12th, 1999, Munster beat Pontypridd in front of 6,500.
Substantially built their crowd?
EW: you’ll note I said wins.
SM: Given that we have 3 Grand Slams in recent years and 0 HCs then I have to say the HC would be better. It would mean that our regional game (or at least, one of our regions) has improved beyond recognition.
This is assuming that not getting the GS doesn’t mean a disastrous 6N. If the choice was
1) GS and rubbish HEC or
2) Wooden spoon and HC win, then I’d take the GS and rubbish HEC.
If we’d had 3 GSs and 3 HCs in the last 8 years then I’d say 100% another GS would be better.
E-W: How about 2 – 3 sides getting to the final stages?
It concerns me that the mental and physical commitment seems to be lacking at regional level in too many games. The more quality rugby these teams play then the better Wales will play.
I have said before that we need to see the regions producing flowing rugby before the Welsh side gets into full gear.
I will therefore opt for success in the HC but it doesn’t count if only one side does well.
RN: For me the GS is still the aim of the game. But for growth in Wales?
I’d still say the GS. Right now we need to develop a ‘winning culture’ for our players to not feel inferior to the SH big guns. Would a HEC win change that? Possibly for a few players, but it’s at the national stage that the most welsh players get the benefit. Put together 2 or 3 GS’s in a row and I think that the fans and players would start to get more belief, which would trickle down to the regions.
Right now there is interest developing at regional level, certainly at the Os thanks to a very generous season ticket package (and iirc the turks were doing well in sales, but could well be wrong on that). A decent HEC run (a couple of quarter finalists and a semi finalist) would be enough to develop interest atm.
There are issues at regional level that wont be papered over by a HEC win (and if it were papered over, could do more harm for welsh rugby), better sharing out of money, rejigging of finances, a better understanding of what fans want, Cardiff’s stadium issues, etc. Propping up these issues with a HEC win wouldn’t help at this stage imo.
I’ll take a GS win with incremental development of regional fan bases and ideally, regions coming to understand their fans, what they want etc. Progress is being made from what I have seen (for personal reasons I have barely paid any attention to rugby in this off season so not 100% sure on that) but there is still a way to go. Which means, for now, developing an international winning mentality that allows us to compete with the SH, as I am convinced that player wise we’re only a 10 (and a lineout) off having the skills to win well, at least at home, against the likes of Oz.
R: Either could mask problems.
I think ideally the answer would be that we have a setup than enables us to challenge for both equally every season, rather than one or the other.
C: I’ll answer this question without an answer.
Winning the 6N(with no GS) with a better and more cohesive game plan and more players showing their international credentials would be better(if less satisfying) for the development of Welsh rugby.
All regions reaching the knock-out stages in Europe and being competitive would be better for the overall development of Welsh rugby than one individual winner of the HC.
In the end you have to look at winning things.
So a GS is the culmination and achievement that puts Wales top in NH rugby
The HC gives an individual Region the title of best in Europe.
In world rugby regular success against SH teams will propel the team status or even winning a dodgy knock-out tournament that is held every 4 years would do the trick.
In the club/regional game Europe is the ceiling atm.
So in conclusion a GS and HC could be the best thing ever for Welsh Rugby or could just mask all failings and ruin the game for ever.
M: Winning the slam two years running means that you have beaten EVERY other competitor both home and away over two seasons, some achievement in my book, and involving all four regions as well as the smaller clubs that gave many of the players a start.
Also, all the players are Welsh.
The Heineken is a knockout competition, where money plays a huge part, and most teams are made up of various nationalities.
The slam for me every time, and nothing to do with the fact that Newport can’t even qualify for the HC, much less win the damned thing.
P: “you’ll note I said wins.”
I note that you wrote "before the wins".
26-27-28/11 Ospreys v Connacht
2-3-4/11 Ospreys vs. Leinster (no Wales players for his because of the 13 day rule)
10/11 Wales v Argentina
16/11 Wales v Samoa
24/11 Wales v New Zealand
1/12 Wales v Australia
So last day of training with the Ospreys for their Welsh players is 25 October.
6-7-8-9/12 HEC Round Three
13-14-15-16/12 HEC Round Four
Assuming that the Ospreys Team Wales players will be given at least the Monday and Tuesday off after the Australia game, this means that they will have just the Wednesday to train for HEC Round Three as the Thursday could well be the travel day for a game on the Friday. Otherwise, they might get two training sessions.
That’s two sessions in six weeks.
Now, hopefully somebody can tell me how that prepares our lot to be serious HEC teams.
EW: “I note that you wrote "before the wins"”
Indeed.I guess I should only be surprised you didn’t pick 1832.
P: I could have picked any year, remembering that your exposure to Irish rugby is minimum at best.
N: “Does the GS still have that inspirational quality after 3 in 9 years? Is there anyone left to be inspired? I’d obviously bite our hand off for one and am naturally a bit jealous you’ve had 3 in a decade to our 1, but do you not think that to get public buy in to the clubs and get the turnstiles (and cash tills) flowing an HC win might be better at this point.”
It certainly gives bragging rights on this message board.
EW: Whoop de doo…
H: I would have thought you’d think a GS was a big deal, It’s not as if Ireland have won many is it, two in your entire history, isn’t it, we’ve won more in 7 years.
TF: Come off it. Bragging rights and this board are central.
Its ruined the Lions for me.
Join the debate at http://www.nowrugby.com/mb/showthread.php?t=105140