More issues affecting rugby than Silver Lake deal

The All Blacks will undertake an ambitious schedule which includes a European tour next year....
The Silver Lake deal depends on who and what you believe. Photo: Getty Images
The Silver Lake deal — or non-deal — depending seemingly on what day of the week it is, continues to bubble away.

Like any deal it depends on what to believe and who to believe.

But the whole thing is littered with half truths and talk which is well wide of the mark.

Silver Lake with its expertise believes it can make more money out of the All Blacks brand and therefore make more money for the New Zealand Rugby and its stakeholders. And of course, more money for itself.

But how is it going to do that? There is already an official All Blacks buzzy bee and All Blacks duffle bag. Is there anything left at the bottom of the All Blacks well to suck dry?

One solution is to play more tests. A test in one of those new stadiums in Qatar against the Australians? One in Hong Kong on Chinese New Year?

Of course, the NZ Rugby Players’ Association does not want that and fair enough, too. It wants to stick to the status quo or get even more from the deal. It has gone on about cultural values which does appear to be a red herring.

Apparently, part of the deal is to have no more tests than are played at the moment. Not sure how binding that clause will be.

The good days are probably behind us in terms of constant cash flow.

The European Super League in football was swiftly kicked into touch but it was reality staring us in the face. The old audience of season ticket holders and mass crowds is dying off and those replacing it, well, there are not enough of them.

So new ways have to be found to make money. A massive audience waiting in Asia and North America is tempting for the marketing men.

So, if it goes ahead, there will be more money for the provincial unions and the grassroots.

Here is where more half-truths and questionable statements arise.

There are constant alarms about players dropping out of the game at a young age and NZR needs investment to fix it.

But ask anyone who has coached a junior team over the past 10 years and money has nothing to do with the drop-off.

Rugby is one of the cheapest sports in New Zealand to play.

Kids are giving up the game because the rules and style of the game have changed markedly in the past 10 years. Big guys rule. Everyone else doesn’t.

Unhinged coaches run up cricket scores and cannot see the harm it does to the opposition and other players.

Clubs are said to be struggling but they always have. It always was hard to run a club and always will be. And if you give clubs money, what will happen?

They will give more money to average players. More team kit for the premier team. Jackets for every coach. It will go down a long hole never to return.

The NPC needs to be fixed. But how can it? It is preceded by a four-month competition — Super Rugby — which is far superior and people are tired of the game come September when the NPC gets into full swing.

Now, someone has come up with the bright idea of getting fans to invest in the union instead of Silver Lake.

Sorry, it has been tried in sport before. Chris Dickson tried to mine New Zealanders for an America’s Cup campaign once. It failed miserably.

As Dickson said, ‘‘Those who have money are not patriotic and those who are patriotic have no money.’’

 

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