Club rugby season is almost upon us, which means the rumour mill is in overdrive at the moment.
Who's going where? Why are they shifting? How much are they being paid?
As someone who has been out of club rugby for close to 10 years now, except as a casual observer and occasional reporter, it seems utterly ridiculous that ANY player in Southland is being paid to play club rugby.
This is not the NRL, this is not Super Rugby, this is not even the NPC.
I can accept that some clubs have to provide an enticement to attract the sort of players required to play premier rugby. Petrol money, a job (that's an actual job, not a 'no-show' job a la The Sopranos), the odd leg of mutton, maybe.
I caught up with Southern Steel coach Janine Southby after a thrilling one-goal win over the West Coast Fever in Dunedin on Saturday. Here are her thoughts on the game.
Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph was celebrating his second win of the season on Saturday, a gutsy effort against the Hurricanes at Dunedin Stadium.
Here's what he had to say after the game.
@Nathan Burdon Decisions on where stories are placed in the newspaper and how they are treated are influenced by all sorts of factors.
Arguably the biggest factor comes down to public interest.
In the sports pages this is not usually the journalistic standard of ''public interest'', but more what is of interest to the public.
For this reason rugby gets a large share (much more of a share than it deserves, some woud argue) of attention.
It's a numbers game.If 5000 people show up to watch the Stags play at Rugby Park, then it follows that we will give them a decent splash in the paper during the week.
Super Rugby helped to destroy provincial loyalty and it is now reaping what it's sown.
When rugby first went professional following the 1995 World Cup, a southern hemisphere competition was thrown together with a necessary, but almost indecent, haste.
The New Zealand system was based around five dominant NPC teams of the time - Auckland, Waikato, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago.
These franchise bases were aligned to a combination of provincial unions on a largely geographic basis.
The theory was that anyone from within those franchise regions would be able to play for the franchise team and then return to their province to play in the NPC.
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