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8 months 3 weeks ago #67584

Bryan Byrne's loan to Bristol is finished. With Leinster already having Cronin, Kelleher, Tracy and Sheehan in their academy I wonder if he'd be available. At 26 this is a very important time in his career.

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8 months 3 weeks ago #67587

Its always good to see the young players get a chance. I think Masterson and Sullivan in particular could do well but I'll be honest I'm very worried about Connacht's future at the moment. Everyone knows that teams will need to tighten their belts but to me it looks like Connacht are being made shoulder a bigger burden than anyone.

No one knew what was coming down the tracks but what was clear as day before any of this happened, Connacht had a decent squad up to 20 or so players but after that we were incredibly thin. We needed proper backing. Pandemic or no pandemic its clear that the focus in the IRFU is Munster first and then Ulster with Connacht a very distant last priority now that Leinster have their house in order for years to come.

The backing we got after qualifying for the Heineken Cup last year was pathetic. We did fairly well to be as competitive as we were in that competition all things considered.

Im not privy to who earns what but of the 12 players we've lost id safely guess that 7 players were on good money. Regardless of the injury profiles of certain players we are losing huge experience. To date we have 2 players coming in with any real experience and the rest are project players.

The overall landscape of professional rugby is worrying for teams like Connacht. The Pro 14 wasn't making financial sense before this and I don't know is the CVC partnership going to be a good thing. Honestly I don't see the Pro 14 being around in 3/5 years time. I think we are coming to a critical juncture in the future of the club game and perhaps we'll have some kind of new British and Irish competition in the not too distant future. Long term I think a Euro/Global league might happen. The French attachment to their league is the main obstacle to that I think. I'm worried we have no one fighting our corner when the big decisions are to be made for the future as to who will make up these leagues.

The biggest problem is that we need to get our stadium up and running to be more self-sustaining and I'm worried that this could be shelved for a few years. We are in a stronger position in terms of a supporter base than we were 10 years ago but with a thin squad and this many young players in the squad it's inevitable we'll struggle for consistency and ultimately maintaining and building our support base when we can get back to watching our team.

I know people will see this as downbeat / overdramatic but I think we need to be awake to the reality that we may need to fight to hold onto our team in the not too distant future.

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8 months 3 weeks ago #67588

Downbeat? Maybe, but fair enough. We're 3 good signings short of last year's squad, which was on the thin side, and the wider world beyond rugby isn't exactly a pleasant distraction.

Overdramatic? Absolutely. Whatever temporary problems Irish rugby - which is in better shape financially than any union except the French - and the Pro14 may have are nothing compared with the Premiership, where they're looking at dropping the salary cap by 30%, eliminating marquee players and enforcing the cap properly, and at best 2 of the teams are profitable. That's an effective cut of 40-50% in player salaries in England. As to Connacht being cut, the IRFU may not like us but they need 4 teams to put out a competitive international team, so that's simply not happening.

Last edit: 8 months 3 weeks ago by salmson.

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8 months 3 weeks ago #67589

Overdramatic? Absolutely.

Maybe so but I'm not as convinced about the solidity of the finances as others are. First of all we don't know when matches will be safe to play, when supporters will be allowed back and even with that what form the game will take. Philip Browne admitted that the current model is unsustainable less than a week ago. 'Professional sport is a marginal business, we don't bank huge reserves. We spent the money we earn'.

The IRFU are already looking for government money in the form of a grant rather than a loan.

Long term the Premiership clubs are much more sustainable. Most of the clubs are long established historically successful clubs with the ability to generate their own revenue through long established solid supporter bases and they have a product that will always be able to get good TV deals.

Honestly I can't see how any Pro 14 teams standing on their own two feet would be profitable bar maybe Leinster. Think I read Scarlets may have been but not sure about that. Munster lost a million euro last year I remember reading in an article by Peter O'Reilly. Welsh RFU and Scottish RFU are losing money hand over fist, Zebre isn't sustainable and the South African experiment looks unlikely to get off the ground. Crowds are poor, tv deals are paltry and a large percentage of games the results are very predictable. I genuinely have a lot of regard for the Pro 14 competition but commercially I find it hard to make an argument that it has a future.

Irish teams are heavily reliant on Europe for revenue along with the national team being successful. People are still following the national team for now but its not a cheap day out and with consistent World Cup failures and less money in peoples pockets they might think twice about some of the November matches especially. Whether we will see crowds at all in November is still up in the air.

The European Cup is a major revenue stream and that is completely at the whim of the English and French clubs as we have seen many times. They will call the shots as suits their needs in that regard unfortunately.

The we need 4 clubs to have a competitive national team argument assumes that finances are solid. The IRFU have already shown that when finances are tight Connacht is the first place they'll start trimming.

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8 months 3 weeks ago #67597

Ah I think you're catastrophising a bit there. Things are hard for everyone everywhere at the moment but it's fairly useless trying to predict the future right now. I'd say it'd be worth just trying to put it to the back of your mind and review in a few months when we know more.

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8 months 2 weeks ago #67608

I wonder why all has gone so quiet on the issue of new signings. At an absolute minimum we need a big ball carrying No8 and one, if not two back three players. We also need another out half and a hooker to cover Ireland squad absences for Jack Carty and Dave Heffernan.
With neither of the Leinster or Connacht squads declared as complete for the new season, does that mean we're looking at Adam and Harry Byrne or David Hawkshaw coming in?
Surely to God our business has not being completed.

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8 months 2 weeks ago #67609

Betty Swallocks wrote: I wonder why all has gone so quiet on the issue of new signings. At an absolute minimum we need a big ball carrying No8 and one, if not two back three players. We also need another out half and a hooker to cover Ireland squad absences for Jack Carty and Dave Heffernan.
With neither of the Leinster or Connacht squads declared as complete for the new season, does that mean we're looking at Adam and Harry Byrne or David Hawkshaw coming in?
Surely to God our business has not being completed.


Andy Friend stated in last weeks update re academy players moving to full time contracts that he is hoping to sign two more players. I don't envisage either been a 10 or a hooker factoring in we have 3 senior players contracted in each position not factoring in experience.

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8 months 2 weeks ago #67610

Munster are cleaning house and getting rid of unwanted players. I personally think Adam Byrne talk is gone now,with McFadden gone. And Leinster starting back 3 more than likely in the Irish camp. He will arguably next in line.
I think we will sign Wotton and a ball carrier back row.

I also think you will see our current BR playing in different positions depending on injuries, competition and opposition.
Oliver plays 8as well as 7, as does JB
Boyle 6 and 8, same for Masterson. Etc

Our signings are good for the future, but how many will challenge for a starting 15 which is disappointing IMO. Hopefully we can sign at least 1 starter or we may start to loose our bigger players.


Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

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8 months 2 weeks ago #67612

Rodrigo Bruni is the perfect n°8 who declared he can think about a move in Europe if he can pursue studies/non sport thing, this week in an Argentian newspaper

Last edit: 8 months 2 weeks ago by connachta.

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8 months 3 days ago #67654

Looking quite possible now that we won't make any more signings, which leaves us pretty goosed for next season imho. We were paper thin last year and now will be even worse off this year. Trying to be positive but it's hard to see us not struggling with the lack of depth.

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8 months 3 days ago #67655

Can I ask why you think it's looking like we won't make any more signings? There's so much up in the air with leagues and restart, not knowing about next season or if we are in champions cup, it would seem to me that it's just been more complicated signing people the last while and that would probably be why we've not signed anyone.

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8 months 3 days ago #67656

With Munster and Leinster back in training camp, and no mention anywhere of any "injuries" or notable faces missing from those training camps, then it's pretty unlikely now that Adam Byrne, Connors, or Penny from Leinster or Wootton from Munster are on their way. Maybe some news will trickle out next week when we return to training.

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8 months 2 days ago #67657

Agreed. We need to get the old begging bowl out nod to our D4 masters.

The timing however sucks.

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8 months 1 day ago #67659

Linley Mackenzie in today’s Advertiser says ‘It is expected at least two more players will be signed’.

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8 months 1 day ago #67660

And Linley word is worthy

Super Rugby Australia finish mid September

The squad we have can easily finish the two games in August

Friendsy will make old network in Australia activated to make 1 or 2 guys come for new season in October

3 NIQ spots are there for the taking

Last edit: 8 months 21 hours ago by connachta.

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8 months 1 day ago #67661

Yes, it would seem the logical thing to delay signing anyone until closer to the start of the season proper (the August games being effectively dead rubbers given the qualification announcement). A lot of financial uncertainty going on with the salary cut negotiations, etc., and for once there may actually be more players to pick from in October with so many not knowing if they're coming or going right now.


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