Rugby has been hit hard in its public perception and reputation, some deserved, some not.
Rugby has been hit hard in its public perception and reputation, some deserved, some not. Mark Nolan - Getty Images

This looks the way to go

GREAT news that the ARU has appointed former Major General Peter Cosgrove and former federal sports minister Mark Arbib to conduct a review into the governance structure of the game at the top level.

With the evolution of sport in this country from amateur pastimes to embracing the business dollar, corporate governance structures are all the rage.

AFL and rugby league, to name a couple, have embraced a more market-orientated, efficient and "all of sport/code" approach to running their codes.

The general objective is to minimise parochial interests by engaging independent board members with successful backgrounds in the corporate world and an understanding of the business of sport - and let's not forget, with friends in positions of power, to position the code to confront the business of sport in the 21st century.

The assumption is that this structure best suits the environment within which sport operates, and will encourage a focus on issues and solutions that are in the best interest of the code across the country and at the various levels of the game.

I can honestly feel the parochial political machinations in process already. With Queensland and New South Wales supplying the lion's share of the playing cattle, and voting positions reflecting this power, they have the most to lose.

I'm guessing Pete and Mark have a big challenge in front of them.

Rugby has been hit hard in its public perception and reputation, some deserved, some not.

I think we would all agree, rugby needs some serious rejuvenation. A revamp of its governance structure would be a good start.


Afternoon rugby

MAYBE it's nostalgia, but afternoon footy has that special feel about it, and to some degree, commercial and promotional relevance.

Take last Sunday's Tahs v Crusaders fixture.

Having watched a few less-than inspiring Tahs games at night on telly, I feel that 30,000 plus fans and a spanking match is a convincing argument for playing all games during sunlight.

A drier footy, and warmer playing and viewing conditions, on most occasions increases the quality of the footy.

As well, us punters flock to be entertained, improving the financial performance of our clubs.

It's no wonder that Jason Allen, the Waratahs chief executive officer, is lobbying Sanzar for all their games to be in the afternoon.

The players like it, the punters like it, and the individual clubs like it, but of course all games can't be played at the same time.

Pay-TV dollars drive the profile and growth of rugby and pay the bills, and afternoon footy is only of value to them as it fits into their program scheduling.

Can't complain there, I suppose.

But there's no denying us punters' love of watching footy in the afternoon sun.

But the TV broadcasters are in the position of power here, so the era of blanket afternoon footy is a thing of the past.

My advice to you is that the next time the opportunity presents itself to soak up some sunny afternoon rugby, don't miss it.

And in the process, you'll be sending a message and assisting your club's bottom line.

Or maybe rugby's new independent commission can weave some magic?

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