Money talks on the Calendar just as it does with Everything else

As the start of the Six nations looms, there is the regular reminder from those in charge of the tournament that it is the jewel in rugby’s crown that does not need rearranging. The Six Nations chief executive,John Feelan,harrumphed at the prospect of the tournament starting earlier or later as part of an attempt to rationalize the global calendar and reduce the strain on leading players. “You mess with it at your peril,”he said.

This year talks over  a global season resume ,opening the prospect of the Six Nations being moved in the calendar, although that would probably amount to nothing more radical than starting a few weeks earlier in January – as the Five Nations used to do.

So why is the tournament starting this year on a Friday night in Cardiff to the complete inconvenience of most of those who buy tickets. With public transport an option for only a few of the spectators traveling from England,roads will be the only practical route to Wales’s capital city on the busiest day of the week. Better set off now.

The Six Nations might like to bang on about tradition but it can be bought ,as the Friday night kick off shows. It is a time decided by the broadcasters, not those running the game, and designed to suit the television audience.

It leads to only one conclusion. The Six Nations will be moved from February/March if the price is right. The game is run by those who pay…..not those who are paid to do so

Mike Miles

Cut out the “Entertainment”

In a few weeks time the 2015 Six Nations will kick off,so here is my “six nations wish list”. Its not that every game not be analyzed within a World Cup context. No, It is simply that they stop all the pre-match “entertainment”.

This is you…..miming bands…dance troups…and while we’re about it…no be-jeanned drunks in kicking competitions..and how about doing away with those on pitch interviews..”We may have lost 45-0, but we will learn the lessons..”

And  no television people wandering up and down the field pre-match as players try to warm up (but how about a kicking competition aimed at the head of such people), And no interviews with coaches during the match and a one-way trip to Channel 5 for anyone bothering some poor battered soul on his way to the dressing room at half-time with a microphone.

When this silence is achieved we can contemplate life and sport without a blitz of noise and someone telling us when to clap.Has any fan ever wanted more of this?

Perhaps we could try this as an experiment….one lasting about 20 years.

Mike Miles

Is it a case of Plastic Fantastic?

Newcastle’s transformation under Dean Richards has earned them many plaudits but could their decision to install an artificial pitch at their Kingston Park home be just as pivotal in their resurgence?

Statistics can of course be a little misleading but the Falcons’ 18-try tally after seven Premiership home games this season compares very favorably with the six they had scored at the same point last season.

There is nothing artificial about Falcons’ form but is  there a lesson for their Premiership rivals and the game as a whole? Spare a thought for the Falcons, Saracens and Cardiff Blues as grass pitches in the northern hemisphere start to show the effects of winter in the next few months.

Mike Miles

Thank Goodness for London Welsh?

it was massively refreshing to see Newcastle push Northampton Saints all the way at Franklin’s Gardens last Friday.They looked a different team to the one that was so dogged but dull last season;the one that survived by the skin of their teeth at Worcester’s expense.Then the Falcons never looked like they thought they belonged in the Premiership, but they certainly do now,playing with a freedom and abandon on Friday night that allowed them to really test Northampton’s defence.

Newcastle’s performance poses a couple of interesting questions;

is their keeping in touch with Saints proof that the salary cap must stay,so as not to eradicate such encounters?

Or, is their willingness to throw the ball around, safe in the knowledge that London Welsh are all but relegated below them,an argument for a ring-fenced Premiership without relegation?

Talking of salary caps, probably the most commercially successful sport in the world is America’s National Football League.Its broadcast rights alone were worth £13 billion in 2013. But in the heartland of capitalism it has a salary cap that is directly related to revenue.

And the NFL goes even further, and with its draft processes tries to ensure that at some point every team is capable of having its day. And there is no relegation/promotion.

Here are some ideas worthy of debate, I wonder what Edward Griffiths of Saracens would say…..?

Mike Miles