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Helping or Hindering? – French Teams in the ‘English’ Pyramid


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Mainly English pyramid

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There’s certainly no point Toulouse being in Elite 1 as they’d win by 100+ every week.

But should that mean they leapfrog the Championship and be ringfenced in Super League? It’s an interesting proposal. Quite progressive. 

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Typical English piece questioning the benefits of foreign teams. You don't have to look to hard to see why the game hasn't spread far from the m62. It's not the game but the overall mindset.

 Ask yourself the question that if the Nrl were in control of Super League, would Toulouse be in Super League? I think yes.

  Btw, I agree with ringfencing the French teams for the benefit of the game. 

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32 minutes ago, Omott91 said:

Typical English piece questioning the benefits of foreign teams. You don't have to look to hard to see why the game hasn't spread far from the m62. It's not the game but the overall mindset.

 Ask yourself the question that if the Nrl were in control of Super League, would Toulouse be in Super League? I think yes.

  Btw, I agree with ringfencing the French teams for the benefit of the game. 

The major thing with ringfencing although I agree with you it's the P&R issue again, you will always get someone complaining who finishes potentially 10th and relegated as both French teams can't go down. Although I know discussed too much previously I seriously think either Franchising or ringfence off a 14/16 Pro Super League with no relegation and a semi-pro/amateur feeder league underneath is the only way this will work. 

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I'm a bit of a purist, so I think the long-term aspiration should be to have Catalans and Toulouse eventually returned to a French pyramid that can support a professional structure in France. Obviously that's not what we have at the moment - I'm not suggesting we plonk them back into Elite 1 right now, but that's got to be the long-term aim.

When they get to that stage, a Champions League style competition between the best clubs would also be good - to me that's the sort of thing that will create more interest in the sport than another set of loop fixtures!

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Helping, otherwise there would be no professional clubs for French lads to aspire to play in. Eventually though, as unlikely as it is, as Zylya said I’d like to see them back in a professional Elite 1. 

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EXCELLENT article and spot on.

14 team SL I would have French teams under licence for 10 years with a minimum of 10 French players in the match day 17 after 5 years (Starting with 6 for 3 rising to 8 to 5)

If this was implemented it would be a whole new ball game.

P and R stands as before.

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1 hour ago, Harrogate Fire Ants said:

The major thing with ringfencing although I agree with you it's the P&R issue again, you will always get someone complaining who finishes potentially 10th and relegated as both French teams can't go down. Although I know discussed too much previously I seriously think either Franchising or ringfence off a 14/16 Pro Super League with no relegation and a semi-pro/amateur feeder league underneath is the only way this will work. 

The easy retort to that is that, for the English teams, nothing changes. The worst English team still gets relegated, regardless of where the French teams finish.

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17 minutes ago, Eddie said:

Helping, otherwise there would be no professional clubs for French lads to aspire to play in. Eventually though, as unlikely as it is, as Zylya said I’d like to see them back in a professional Elite 1. 

Would you like to see the New Zealand Warriors leave the NRL too?

It’s a terrible idea, for Catalans and Toulouse to go back to Elite 1 (they do actually each field a side in Elite 1 so it’d actually just be scrapping their Super League/Championship side)

Super League needs to expand to 14 teams with more French clubs, ideally with a Welsh, Irish and Scottish side but that’s not going to happen with a David Argyle type backer.

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The article carries two fairly common critiques of the concept of overseas teams in English (sic) pyramid. Both of which kind of show how this argument comes at it from the wrong approach. 

Quote

Today Casty is at Toulouse, Gigot was lining out for the Elite 1 team versus Catalan and the Dragons are no further forward in having French players in their first team than they were in 2006. Even under licensing, the number of French players that were promoted to the first team was negligible, as Catalan prioritised temporary success over longer term growth for French players.

OK, so the question here is to why it is bad for Catalans to "prioritise temporary success over long term growth of local players" when this is precisely what the vast majority of English clubs do. 

As is oft discussed here, there is a disporportionate volume of players in SL and the Championship coming from just three UK clubs academies, so holding the Catalans to a standard that a huge proportion of UK clubs aren't meeting is grossly unfair. 

Catalans, Toulouse or any other club from France or elsewhere are there to be successful clubs in their own right. They exist to be successful on and off the field. They can't be held responsible for the state of French RL in its entirety nor are they responsible for the performance of the French National Team. If you want to make the argument that Catalans in SL is a waste of time because the French national team is poor, you may as well argue that Huddersfield should be relegated because they haven't produced a world-class stand-off half for England. 

Quote

Even Catalans incredible win versus Warrington came at the cost to the RFL, of about half a million pounds in lost revenue, from the 12,000 fewer fans in attendance, compared to the 2019 final with all English teams. If Catalan aren’t blooding French players and the English game is footing the bill, then you may question whether the success of Catalans comes at everyone else’s expense.

OK, so the question here is who is reponsible for marketing and selling-out the Challenge Cup final; the clubs or the event promoter? 

The RFL is responsible for selling tickets to the Challenge Cup final. It's responsible for turning that event into a must-have ticket that people clamour to get their hands on, irrespective of who is involved. It can't just sit back and hope that Leeds, Wigan, St Helens, Warrington or Hull get there every year. 

Again, using "them foreigners" as a lightning rod for the fact that the RFL mis-markets the Challenge Cup final is passing the blame. 

Edited by whatmichaelsays
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22 minutes ago, ATLANTISMAN said:

EXCELLENT article and spot on.

14 team SL I would have French teams under licence for 10 years with a minimum of 10 French players in the match day 17 after 5 years (Starting with 6 for 3 rising to 8 to 5)

If this was implemented it would be a whole new ball game.

P and R stands as before.

Catalans have 14 French players in their 26 man squad. We shouldn’t introduce rules that solely apply to Catalans, that will only penalise them, any rule needs to apply across Super League. Does it matter if a French player plays at Catalans/Toulouse or another Super League/Championship club? Catalans produce more players for Super League and the Championship than several other Super League clubs.

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5 minutes ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

Would you like to see the New Zealand Warriors leave the NRL too?

It’s a terrible idea, for Catalans and Toulouse to go back to Elite 1 (they do actually each field a side in Elite 1 so it’d actually just be scrapping their Super League/Championship side)

Super League needs to expand to 14 teams with more French clubs, ideally with a Welsh, Irish and Scottish side but that’s not going to happen with a David Argyle type backer.

No because there isn’t a professional league for them to go back to, and never will be. 
 

I’d love to see 14 teams in SL, or even 16. Not sure about the merits of a Scottish or Irish side are currently though, there is almost zero interest in the game in either country. 

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13 minutes ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

Would you like to see the New Zealand Warriors leave the NRL too?

It’s a terrible idea, for Catalans and Toulouse to go back to Elite 1 (they do actually each field a side in Elite 1 so it’d actually just be scrapping their Super League/Championship side)

Super League needs to expand to 14 teams with more French clubs, ideally with a Welsh, Irish and Scottish side but that’s not going to happen with a David Argyle type backer.

There's a difference between saying "I don't want French/NZ teams in Super League/NRL" which is what you're suggesting has been said and saying "I would love to see professional leagues in France and New Zealand AS WELL AS Super League/NRL" which is what I'm saying. I think it's less likely that NZ could form a fully pro league like France could, but were it possible then I absolutely would love to see that.

I understand that not everyone feels the same way, but I would love to see a world of RL where the top countries have their own professional leagues. Obviously it's not a realistic prospect right now, but to me, building Elite 1 to the level where it could support Catalans and Toulouse would be far more beneficial for the game in France than having a 10 French-qualified player minimum in Super League. I also don't like the idea of some teams exempt from promotion/relegation and others not.

No one is saying "stick them back in Elite 1" just that the LONG TERM goal should be a professional structure in France.

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47 minutes ago, zylya said:

I'm a bit of a purist, so I think the long-term aspiration should be to have Catalans and Toulouse eventually returned to a French pyramid that can support a professional structure in France. Obviously that's not what we have at the moment - I'm not suggesting we plonk them back into Elite 1 right now, but that's got to be the long-term aim.

When they get to that stage, a Champions League style competition between the best clubs would also be good - to me that's the sort of thing that will create more interest in the sport than another set of loop fixtures!

And if Catalan and Toulouse were to be decamped into Elite 1 how many French Nationals would they be taking along to play in that division? They would struggle to make up one squad between them, such his their dependance on imports.

The author of the 'love rugby league' piece says ring fence them but they must play 10 French Nationals each week in their teams coupled with also providing them with less funding, off course ring fencing them is the only way under his suggestion to ensure they would not be relegated, a completely and utterly stupid suggestion, it has been tried previously protecting teams from jeapordy whilst others in the same competition could be subject to relegation for performing better, there is a very good reason it was dropped as it caused so much consternation it should never again see the light of day.

 

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44 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

The easy retort to that is that, for the English teams, nothing changes. The worst English team still gets relegated, regardless of where the French teams finish.

They are still competing for the same points in each game played Tommy, it is totally ludicrous for games for some teams were the result means sod all in winning points, no matter where they are based. 

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5 minutes ago, Harry Stottle said:

And if Catalan and Toulouse were to be decamped into Elite 1 how many French Nationals would they be taking along to play in that division? They would struggle to make up one squad between them, such his their dependance on imports.

You understand what "long-term aspiration" means, right?

The number of French players in their current squad would be irrelevant in 10/20/30 years, if the FFR built up Elite 1 to be a fully professional league that Catalans/Toulouse would want to join. Having a 8/10/12 team professional league in France would produce more French players than having 1 or 2 teams in Super League/Championship and a semi pro comp domestically.

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45 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

As is oft discussed here, there is a disporportionate volume of players in SL and the Championship coming from just three UK clubs academies

Are you aware that applications are to be heard by the end of this month for clubs to be included in the Academy structure, the resulting selection will be for 6 years membership, it is no wonder that a small number of clubs produce the majority of player's.

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7 minutes ago, Harry Stottle said:

They are still competing for the same points in each game played Tommy, it is totally ludicrous for games for some teams were the result means sod all in winning points, no matter where they are based. 

If there are 2 French teams in the 12 team league, the 10th best English team will be relegated to be replaced by an English Championship winner regardless of wherever the French teams finish, top 2 bottom 2, 2nd and 9th. Nothing changes for that English team.

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It is important that people start from the correct place. 

The pyramid we are talking about is the RFL's pyramid (ignore the SLE marketing nonsense for now) which is the UK structure. 

There needs to be a single-minded focus from the RFL about what is best for UK RL. They are not responsible for development of RL in France or Canada, or Serbia. 

However...

that does then pose the question of what is good for UK RL. And that is when this becomes far more complicated. It needs to be decided is having a strong RL nation on its doorstep a good thing? - I think it is hard to say no to that answer. It technically should allow for development of players, sponsors, media deals, internationals etc. 

But we should never, ever, be criticised (or critical of ourselves) for looking after the interests of UK RL - that is the RFL's role.

Onto SL itself - the only way this will become a truly international league like some want is if it structures itself like Pro14, or what Super Rugby was. It needs to be a comp where the different federations all have a stake - as it is, it is a splinter of the RFL, the UK governing body.

So, absolutely consider the UK interests first and foremost, but its important to be open minded enough to understand that investing in French RL can absolutely be a good thing for UK RL, even if that means a bit of short term pain.

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12 minutes ago, Harry Stottle said:

Are you aware that applications are to be heard by the end of this month for clubs to be included in the Academy structure, the resulting selection will be for 6 years membership, it is no wonder that a small number of clubs produce the majority of player's.

I wasn't aware, but happy to learn more about the process if you've got any links. 

Ultimately, we've had more than two decades of the Super League era and, for all the "hotbeds of talent" that are oft discussed, the level of investment in youth talent identification, facilities and development at the majority of clubs in the UK has fallen short of the very standard that many like to hold Catalans (a much younger club in a professional sense) to. I think that's an unfair and unreasonable way to frame the debate. 

If "putting short term success ahead of long term development" is bad for the Catalans, you can't then say it's good for the M62 clubs. 

Edited by whatmichaelsays
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Just now, Tommygilf said:

If there are 2 French teams in the 12 team league, the 10th best English team will be relegated to be replaced by an English Championship winner regardless of wherever the French teams finish, top 2 bottom 2, 2nd and 9th. Nothing changes for that English team.

Off course it changes, the goal posts have been moved with the mere suggestion of exempting teams from relegation in a league ladder, this season there are to be 25 fixtures for each team (covid allowing) that is 50 points up for grabs for all 12 teams to strive for so they don't finish in a relegation spot, if as you suggest 2 teams are not to be included in the fight to stave of relegation then the win percentage increases to avoid the drop.

Basically you are suggesting that two French teams play a full season of friendlies, if winning points in league fixtures means nothing at bottom end of the table it should mean nothing at the top end. 

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6 minutes ago, Dave T said:

It is important that people start from the correct place. 

The pyramid we are talking about is the RFL's pyramid (ignore the SLE marketing nonsense for now) which is the UK structure. 

There needs to be a single-minded focus from the RFL about what is best for UK RL. They are not responsible for development of RL in France or Canada, or Serbia. 

However...

that does then pose the question of what is good for UK RL. And that is when this becomes far more complicated. It needs to be decided is having a strong RL nation on its doorstep a good thing? - I think it is hard to say no to that answer. It technically should allow for development of players, sponsors, media deals, internationals etc. 

But we should never, ever, be criticised (or critical of ourselves) for looking after the interests of UK RL - that is the RFL's role.

Onto SL itself - the only way this will become a truly international league like some want is if it structures itself like Pro14, or what Super Rugby was. It needs to be a comp where the different federations all have a stake - as it is, it is a splinter of the RFL, the UK governing body.

So, absolutely consider the UK interests first and foremost, but its important to be open minded enough to understand that investing in French RL can absolutely be a good thing for UK RL, even if that means a bit of short term pain.

I generally agree with that, however I think you touch on a reductive point with the "UK". The RFL aren't responsible for the UK, they're responsible for England, even then they restrict themselves to only parts of England and then only certain preferred clubs/areas and suddenly you can see why having the attitude of "UKRL first" very quickly descends into a farce.

The RFL should be the locus and bold leader for the sport in the Northern Hemisphere by virtue of the fact it is the centre of RL in the region.

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