England has “no excuse” not to be a perennial rugby betting favorite, says, according to the BBC, new RFU (Rugby Football Union, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing) boss Steve Brown – not to be confused with British Wheelchair Rugby athlete and former Captain of the Great Britain National Wheelchair Rugby Team Steve Brown (or at least we think they are not the same person). “We want to win and we want to win everything we’re involved in – not just the men’s team but the women too and with every team we have,” Brown said. “It’s my job to make sure we deliver on that promise.” The English team ranked, as coached by Eddie Jones, second in the world.
Brown was the RFU CFO for six years, and assumes his new post as the union is, as Ginger Rogers would sing, “in the money”. The 2015-16 accounts showed the highest profits in the history of England rugby’s governing body, with revenue increasing from £199m to £407m, thanks to the £228m generated by the World Cup. “We want to be the strongest country for rugby across the globe,” Brown added. “I don’t think there’s an excuse not to be that. We may have been a bit modest in the past, but we are very clear and very open that we want to win. We potentially have the best rugby opportunity in the world and we need to make the most of that.” Cindy Lauper was, in other words, right; money does change everything.
If like attracts like, then rugby betting fans should be rewarded at sportsbooks. Especially come the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, which Brown says “everything is geared up around winning” it. A lofty endeavour but one which could be hindered by local concerns over player safety. Well, if NFL players, who actually wear helmets, suffer concussions, just imagine how these lads must feel after a game. Eightman Billy Vunipola told BBC Radio 5 live’s Rugby Union Weekly podcast that he thinks being a plumber or electrician is “the closest environment to a rugby environment,” which should alone tell you all you need to know about the living conditions of rugby players.
Premiership Rugby plans to extend the season in 2019-2020, which the Rugby Players’ Association has not ruled out strike action to prevent.
Vunipola, meanwhile, said he would take a pay cut and play less rugby to avoid “burning out.” Brown told BBC Sport that “player welfare piece that is in the public domain at the moment is important, and it’s important we listen to the players. Clearly they want to be heard – and now is the time for us to listen. I want to get the facts and really understand what the challenges might be. Let’s find a solution that works for everybody.” Another challenge for Brown is finding a replacement for Jones, who is expected to vacate the post after the 2019 World Cup. Jones is, as a Japanese-Australian, England’s first foreign coach, and his successor must be, in Brown’s words, the “best” regardless of his ethnicity, which would also ensure the side’s rugby betting dominance.