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Adult Competition Review Summary of findings to date.

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1 Adult Competition Review Summary of findings to date

2 RFU Adult Competition Review Commissioned in autumn 2011 Steering Group comprising: – RFU representatives – Council & executive – DoRs from Levels 3 and 7 – Independents from other sports / organisations Terms of reference: To establish the most appropriate competition model at each level of the game, such as meets the needs of both players and clubs To incorporate sufficient flexibility within the overall competition model to allow it to be adjusted in the event of variances within the playing population (e.g., in the aftermath of the Rugby World Cup 2015) Reporting lines: RFU Competitions Sub-Committee Rugby Growth Sub-Committee Community Game Board Board of Directors RFU Council Methodology: Desk research Comparator review: o Other Unions o Other team sports Consultation

3 Scope of the Review Pyramid league structure Promotion & relegation Home / away league format Size of leagues Cup rugby: – National – Divisional – County County Championship Seasonality: – Length of season – Position of season Travel and cost Club finances 2 nd XV and other lower teams Student rugby / university teams Sevens and Touch Registration & regulation

4 Competition review DOCs: Initial consultations, Jan – Mar 2012 Players & Coaches: Market research project via Fresh Minds, May – Oct 2012 CBs: CB league organisers, etc., in conference on w/e of 26-27 May CB visits / quaire, July – October 2012 Clubs: Pilot survey through RDOs in NW in Mar – May 2012 Roll-out to other regions, Jul – Oct 2012 Sample club interviews, Jul – Aug 2012 NCA: Executive meeting, Mon 2 April NCA club quaire, Sept – Nov 2012 RFUW: Discrete internal review project shaped in line with RFU review SRFU: Discrete internal review project shaped in line with RFU review Referees: Questionnaire to referee societies, Apr – May 2012 National moderation of outputs, June 2012 Regional staff: Questionnaire to RDOs and CRCs, Jul – Aug 2012

5 Data set now assembled Consultation input: Over 1800 current and lapsed players, through independent market research 246 rugby clubs from Levels 3 to 12, and all areas of England – 42 x NCA clubs in bespoke exercise 4 x Divisional Organising Committees Nineteen Constituent Bodies Over 60 league competition organisers from regional, county and local levels Eighteen Referee Societies 268 students and 65 university staff 136 regional and local rugby development personnel Other evidence: Desk research: – Rugby Landscape – RFU player surveys – Sport England surveys Comparator review: – 4 x northern hemisphere unions – 4 x English team sports Sample club interviews: – Experiences of promotion and relegation

6 Picture of a changing landscape The intensity and physicality of the game has increased considerably since (and largely because of) the introduction of league rugby, and this has impacted on the competitive profile of the game Higher up the leagues there is a need for larger squads and more substitutes on match-day due to rates of attrition, and this reduces the number of players available for lower leagues and lower XVs Professionalism / the payment of players also takes players up the pyramid and away from lower leagues, and has created a more itinerant, less stable playing population The higher physical demands of the game can be a deterrent to recreational players, on the grounds that: – Family and work commitments prevent them from training up to the required standard; and – The fear of injury is enhanced The perception is that the combined effect of the above is a reduction of the number of teams and players overall, and within clubs

7 What does the consultation tell us? Winter playing season 35-week duration, with space for rescheduling, and no winter break Pyramid league structure Promotion & relegation is important: – But mechanisms around this, e.g., option to decline promotion Leagues should be smaller, 10-12 teams, and evenly matched Cup rugby is desirable, for variety: – But with guaranteed fixtures / second chances (e.g., Plate) There is a desire for county rugby: – Valued by 67% of players The cost of playing rugby is problematic to a relatively high number of clubs (see next slide) Travel is not a huge barrier to players: – But flexible boundaries would help reduce travel times / distances Flexible regulations at lower levels: – Get the match played – Rolling substitutions (Findings re: university and womens rugby, Sevens and Touch to be processed separately by relevant bodies within RFU)

8 Where do we go with this? One option is no change: – 70% of players and 87% of clubs are happy with current league rugby – Based on the consultation, it is arguable that there is no compelling reason to change A second option is no fundamental change, but a few tweaks, e.g.: – Qualifications around promotion / relegation (65% of players believe clubs should be able to decline promotion) – Reformatting cup rugby to guarantee more fixtures – Some regulatory changes around substitutions and registration, etc. However, NB the worrying statistic that 44 per cent of clubs stated that the cost of playing rugby is currently a problem for them: At Levels 3-6, this was increased to 59 per cent Regionally, 63% in NE, 56% in Yorkshire, 51% in East Midlands Assume that the cost of playing rugby is twofold: – Payment of players – Fixture costs, including travel Action therefore required to restrict player payments, and reduce travel costs: – Players (69%), CBs and RFU regional staff (75%) believe RFU should legislate around player payment at lower levels Former to be addressed by an RFU Working Party to examine all related issues Latter requires a third option which seeks to reduce travel times and distances, and therefore also costs: – Flatten the pyramid

9 Option 3: Straw Man

10 Option 3: Straw Man ctd

11 Straw Man fixture format PhaseNo. of weeksNo. of home matches Ten-team league, each team plays the others home and away 189 League breaks into quartiles based on league table to date: play-offs within top and middle fours, each team playing the others home and away 63 OR Top / middle four play-offs feature crossover matches against the parallel quartile from an adjacent league 6/73/4 Quartile play-offs culminate in knock-out finals based on mini-leagues at end of round-robin matches Max 3, Min 1Max 3, Min 0 Bottom two play crossover matches against the bottom two from an adjacent league Max 6, Min 3Max 3, Min 1 Play-off matches between bottom two in each league and Level 4 league winners to determine promotion and relegation Max 2 NB the RFUs Structured Season is 35 weeks – need to allow for cup rugby, postponements, public holidays, etc.

12 LEVEL 3 Conference AConference B EsherDoncaster Rosslyn ParkBlaydon O. AlbaniansFylde RichmondLoughboro' St. CoventryTynedale BlackheathWharfedale CinderfordMacclesfield CambridgeSedgley Park HenleyHull Ionians WorthingStourbridge 10 LEVEL 4 National 2 SWNational 2 L & SENational 2 MidlandsNational 2 North Hartpury College Shelford Sheffield Tigers Darlington MP RedruthChinnorLuctoniansPreston G LauncestonCanterburyLeicester LionsOtley Dings CrusadersSouthendBromsgroveHull Taunton Barking Birmingbam & S. Caldy CliftonBishop's St.Dudley K.Westoe BournemouthL. Irish WGChesterStockport LydneyDorkingAmpthillHuddersfield Exmouth Westcombe Pk Sutton Coldfield Harrogate Weston- Super-MareBarnesS. LeicesterSandal 10 LEVEL 5 South West 1 W.South West 1 E.London 1 S.London 1 N.Midlands 1 W.Midlands 1 E.North 1 W.North 1 E. Brixham RedingensiansTonbridge J. ThurrockSandbachNuneaton Waterloo Penrith BarnstapleChippenhamCS Rugby 1863HertfordLymmHinckleyRossendaleBillingham Newton AbbottAmersham & C.O. ElthamiansWestcliffNewport (Salop)ScunthorpeBurnageBradford & B. Old PatesiansOxford HarlequinsGuernseyBedford Ath.BournvilleSystonBirkenhead PkPercy Park Avonmouth OBMaidenheadGravesendBury St. EdmundsLongtonMansfieldWheatley HillsW. Hartlepook N. PethertonBracknellE. GrinsteadEton ManorBroadstreetBurtonSaleBeverley O. RedcliffiansO. CentraliansChichesterLetchworth GCO. HalesoniansDerbyLiverpool St. H.Morley CamborneReadingBasingstokeColchesterWorcester Wand.Peterboro' LionsSheffieldKendal Wadebridge C.SwindonWimbledonBrentwoodLichfieldO. N'hamptoniansO. CrossleyansCarlisle MalvernTringDoverLutonStratford-on-AvonMatlockWidnesVale of Lune ChardSalisburyHoveO. Hab'dashersStoke-on-TrentIlkestonWirralCleckheaton CullomptonWindsorStainesTowcestriansHerefordPaviorsWilmslowPocklington 12

13 Current vs Straw Man: travel

14 Straw Man impact on teams – by region Current leagueStraw Man Ave distance to away match Ave time per single journey Journeys @ 3-4hrs Journeys @ 4hrs + Ave distance to away match Ave time per single journey Journeys @ 3-4hrs Journeys @ 4hrs + North-East 1923hrs 11mins6161222hrs 6mins31 North-West1011hr 54mins62941hr 49mins20 Yorkshire1242hrs 18mins148841hr 40mins00 West Midlands 1051hr 58mins103831hr 38mins11 East Midlands1262hrs 20mins89771hr 29mins10 London & SE1352hrs 24mins2325581hr 14mins00 South1522hrs 48mins261012hrs 9min00 South-West1542hrs 38mins2219951hr 42mins40

15 Straw Man impact on teams – sample Current leagueStraw Man Ave distance to away match Ave time per single journey Journeys @ 3-4hrs Journeys @ 4hrs + Ave distance to away match Ave time per single journey Journeys @ 3-4hrs Journeys @ 4hrs + Blaydon 2133.28171352.1610 Tynedale2263.43281452.2921 Bournemouth 1242.21101062.2100 Worthing1793.1516951.5700 Launceston1873.02261051.4500 Redruth2353.53281522.3230 Hull Ionians1622.41611071.5200 Wharfedale1733.1426901.5500 Stourbridge941.47101422.311

16 Summary of options

17 Adult Competition Review

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