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CRYS 16 MEETING

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reesytheexile View Drop Down
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    Posted: 26 February 2023 at 8:50pm


Meet the Management Q & A – 31st January 2022, 7pm

Simon – Please could you start us off this evening and give us your thoughts on where you think we currently are as a club on and off the pitch, an update on PRB negotiations and what impact the changes with the WRU will have on us in the coming weeks and months?

·        On codeine tablets mixing with Moretti!

·        I Can’t promise to deliver the moon on a stick but will try to get as close as I can.

·        I have a huge responsibility to move the club forward.

·        If I was to grade my time in charge so far, Effort would be A+, progress C- moving to C+

·        April 2020, I met Nigel Short:

o   Nigel’s handover: You don’t need to touch the squad or coaches for a couple of years.

o   A plan to cover the forecast £1m deficit was in place.

o   Nothing to worry about as Covid would be over by September 2020.

 

·        Simon’s first year was about survival. Hand to mouth. After that, he managed to look at issues and looked at the club –he realised that the club couldn’t do much on its own to change the rugby landscape.

·        Realised they needed a longer-term funding plan. 1st year of Simon’s tenure, they got September’s funding in place by 26th June!

·        It’s impossible to plan or build when you have no idea what your budget is from one year to the next. Simon’s goal was to move to multiyear funding.

·        Structure of the entire game needs to be reviewed and improved, from Premiership to relationships with URC, PRL, EPCR, CVC.

·        We can’t do much unless eco-system is prosperous and growing. Very tough job at the moment.

·        SM Loves working here, biggest brand in West Wales, great opportunities to local boys and hopefully girls in future. Build on the rich heritage, hopes that the future will lead to successful Men’s and Ladies

PRB Negotiations/ WRU/ Competitions

·        Simon - With the heads of terms signed are you confident the deal we are signing up to gives us the scope to be successful on and off the pitch, or is it a deal that just keeps our head above water?

o   HOT were signed in Quinnell lounge on evening of Cheetahs game. The change of WRU personnel has helped tremendously to move towards finalising the long form contract.

o   Been in details negotiations since Dec 2020. Process started in April 2021 so 22 months. Started with a circa £80m 5-year deal on the table from WRU, now that’s up to circa £135m over 6 years.

o   Next 2 years of the deal looking much better than they did 2 years ago.

o   Deal does allow us to be successful but requires a lot more effort on growing commercial and other revenues.

·        Jon & Phil - What is the impact on the deal for us in terms of business planning and squad planning both for next season and in the more medium to long term over the course of the 6 years.

o   JD: Uncertainty is the most difficult thing, one year funding has been the bane of rugby planning.

o   In general performance environments want a no excuse culture so going through a negotiation / fight every year is a problem, but we have got used to it. 6 yr. deal helps.

o   The current season’s funding still not finalised!

o   Scarlets have been working on a squad rebuilding project for a couple of years, with plans discussed with Dwayne during his recruitment.

o   Realised some time ago that we needed work on the new generation.

o   Delighted at the way coaches and the whole group have responded to the poor start, and some of the youngsters coming thru.

o   PM: nice to be back face to face, time to move from survival into planning and building, has been too much management time sucked into endless negotiations and budgeting in-year.

o   20 months, planning for current deal.

o   We have been starved of funding for 6-7 months this season. Phil is working on cashflow on a daily basis and keeping a very lean non-rugby staff as a result.

o   Hoping now to move to growth planning, rather than day to day budgeting.

o   Energy bill increased £120k pa, so did food bill. Pre covid, cost of a trip to Italy was £35k for 40 people, now £55k. Can’t pass that on to ticket and retail prices in current economic situation.

o   Conscious decision to keep ticket, food and beverage prices low.

·        Given the reported salary cap in the new deal, in a league where other sides outside of Wales won’t have one, how do we gain a competitive advantage within Wales and ensure we are competitive in the URC and European Comps.

o   JD – working with other regions to look at collaboration in rugby costs but also model of operations like player contracting. Cost cutting will inevitably affect the players most – in the pocket – and we must respect that. Lots of communication to players and agents currently on that topic.

o   Is there still hope for future? Yes. It will take time, but at least we will now have long term financial plan. Costs will be lowered generally but academy costs increased and all 4 sides signing up to minimum spend/ activity in this area.

o   The market in England helps as it is deflationary, with downward pressure on salaries.

o   None of us just want to exist, we are in this to be competitive and longer-term investment in youth will pay off.

o   JD is able to make offers, but the offers are STILL conditional, started making conditional offers from last week.

o   1/3 squad out of contract. Explained situation to squad in December, they were all told “Yes, no or maybe (for contract offers)”. That is not the norm, normally done thru agents in the early stages and then players at a later date.

o   Some of the maybes are now yes.

·        In view of the cultural issues within the WRU and with the regions often working closely with WRU staff what are we doing to both help the WRU and also proactively ensure our culture, diversity and equality is where we want it to be?

o   SM Constantly lobbying the WRU about this. We are a private business that is guaranteed by around 10 individuals on the board, so by definition we can’t make wholesale changes to the board as those individuals ensure that the wages get paid.

o   SM knows we need to build and accelerate the development of women’s game.

o   Staff Training in EDI ongoing.

·        I think I speak for most fans in saying this new European format is dreadful. Any idea what the future of this competition looks like next season and beyond? Also, are there any planned changes for the URC given rumours of expansion and teams frustrated with travel.

o   EPCR recognise current format is not good enough. Fans don’t get it, it’s too easy to get to KO stages.

o   Maybe some changes as an interim measure for next year, but broadcast deal is up 24/25 so they realise they need a much better offer for broadcasters.

Rugby questions – Jon Daniels

·        Great to see more players being released to the RFC this year, which can only support our development pathways. How else are we supporting them to be more competitive going forward? Clear they need more senior players to support youngsters to develop.

o   We supply coaches, S&C, match day staff, pitch costs all covered by Scarlets. This is because it is the vehicle for the transition group to develop together. “Gainline analytics plc” have proven that combination development is effective.

o   However, the RFC cost the Scarlets a lot of money, but that investment still isn’t enough to make it work. We don’t have enough quality semi pros to aid the development of the transition players. This needs a 6-figure increase in revenues.

o   So far, no one has succeeded in growing the revenues of the RFC, so we don’t currently have a solution. It is a real problem without an income stream to address it.

Matchday Experience – Phil Morgan

  • The same issues keep on cropping up with regards to matchday experience. Despite the challenges of casual staff how are we addressing the problems

·        The matchday experience continues to be very hit and miss, the north concourse regularly has issues with speed of service, unavailable items, cleanliness, and there have also been occasions where the east stand bar has run out of some drink options.

o   Keeping prices low, so have taken low risk approach to stock levels. Also, ticket sales are much later than previous seasons, so it’s difficult to plan how much stock to order. Games are infrequent, so nothing can be kept for next week!

·        What changes have been made to the matchday experience this season and are there any more plans to enhance the experience for the European KO games – ideas such as Flags, choir before the game, tag festival if we have any earlier KO times.

o   PM: Very difficult to recruit and retain staff. Constantly in recruitment mode. Almost impossible to man everything they want. 11 non-rugby off field staff rises to 200 on match day. Many of those are in their 1st day at the stadium. Bused in students from Cardiff for one game.

o   Stop-start fixtures don’t help. Go weeks and weeks between games, so lose staff in those periods as they find other jobs.

o   Last home game, 16 out of 68 retail staff did not turn up!

·        Please can you explain why the barn has been closed post game recently? Understand this commercially for late games but for earlier games/ bigger crowds is it not worthwhile commercially and for supporter experience to keep it open?

o   PM Simple economics. Sales after game much lower than pre-game. Sometimes 20 customers in the barn post-match, hence the investment in Tanner Bank bar.

Commercial Questions – Phil Morgan

·       How are we managing the CCC loan and with the CBILS loan on top how big a risk is this for us?

·        SM: Wales is only country in UK where rugby is repaying a Covid loan. Competition and commercial probably not going to raise in next few years. Need to look at divesting assets, such as the hotel. Need to go back to WG about Covid loan.

·        CBILS repayment takes £8m out of the 6-year deal (in total for all 4 teams)

·        PM has been negotiating with CCC for a long time. CCC not expecting repayment this season as per original agreement.

·        Debentures some due for repayment this season, some holders have mentioned they never expected their money back, so can donate it “charitable community foundation fund” which will give them some tax back. PM has cleared with HMRC. I

·        Initial plan was rushed due to 31st Jan tax return. Remaining holders being invited to a meeting at next home game to discuss options.

·       Could you explain why we have invested in an amazing new screen for the stadium and a) large parts of the new screen are being used for sponsors logos and b) the whole other screen is being used for sponsors logos?

·        Old screen was “on borrowed time” so invested in new screen and score boards at a cost £240k.

·        Can’t get spares for the old screen anymore.

·        Advertising has been thrown in to repay sponsors who stuck by us in Covid. We only get 1 broadcast feed so put it on big screen.

·        Old screen is too unreliable for TMO. Can only have one screen for TMO.

·       What is the current situation with Castore? Stock has been due in since early October which still hasn’t arrived, is it going to come in or are we done for the season? Would be better to be upfront with people?

·        PM very frustrated. Got fed up with Macron’s service and butted heads with them regularly. Castore were really good early doors with quality and design and attention. Plans for extensive range, 3rd shirt, which Macron repeatedly failed to deliver.

·        Global supply issues post Covid hit the first tranche of supplies, so PM was sympathetic. However, by Xmas Castore were still failing to hit promises. PM met with Castore, and they said they have grown too quickly. Canterbury, Under Armor and Adidas pulling back from rugby. Only had options of Macron, Castore, and other less commercially favourable deals

·        Our staff ended up putting the logos on Castore products in PYS!!  Castore have invested in their distribution network and strengthened their capability with some senior appointments from JD Sports.

 

Questions from the floor

Why have we stopped programme sales?

·        PM – it was costing more than it made. Actual printing costs increased to £5.62 per programme against a £3 sales price.  We’re also focussing on moving the club to a more sustainable / lower carbon footprint.  Digital programmes have increased usage, which is good for sponsors.

·        Club is considering a pre-order service for printed programmes for those who want it. We are trying to source a supplier able to provide this.

What are our links with HE institutions or other over 18 age group establishment?

·        JD: we have links with Swansea Uni and their BUCs league. Some players like Corey Baldwin missed recent games due to exams.

·        UWTSD now developing academy of sport. Ken Owens will be a coach there.

·        We are also negotiating with UWTSD about ladies’ development centre.

How do we monitor other youngsters who are filtered out of the RAG system “funnelling”?

·        JD: Aspiration is to go broader and keep players longer, so fewer “harsh” decisions need to be made with youngsters. Planning to do this with the 5 Dewar Shield areas.

·        We haven’t had resources to offer as many contracts as we like. We now have an “attached group” of non-core players we support and monitor.

·        Key “Safety net” is still the Prem for players who don’t make RAG system.

·        We do what we can, but will always miss people, it’s inevitable.

Is there flexibility to get more funding from the 6-year deal if revenues grow.

·        SM: New deal is good foundation, but all of us will be in trouble in 3/4 years’ time on current deal. Need better WRU Exec to help grow revenues.

·        Under the banding system, 67% of our player budget was set by union. This grossly over inflated certain wages as it wasn’t the WRU’s money, and they tried to please certain individuals.

·        Currently, SM never gets to the good parts of “to do” list.

·        But SM is excited about prospects for growth in rugby.

Is there a financial gain to having SA teams on board?

·        SM: SA teams can’t become equity holders in league until they drive up value of league to certain level. Good teams and PRL are watching them closely.

·        Still expecting convergence in CVC leagues in future.

·        SA teams get £3m each in shirt sponsorship. We get £750k. SM says these are European brands, which bode well for potential involvement in other URC NH teams.

·        Short answer from SM was really “Not yet but they will”.

Is the 60-cap rule of benefit, is relaxing it a threat to Scarlets?

·        SM – We won’t give it up without a massive cheque (lol)

·        JD – it is and has been critical, we will not support its removal. Maybe reasonable to review the 60 number not looking for significant change or removal.

Closing Comments:

·        SM – I am optimistic. WRU changes offer glimmer of hope. Fantastic club here with incredible history etc. Looking forward to a lot more joy in the Scarlets. Grounds for optimism with RFC despite JD’s comments(!) Looking forward to European KO rugby.

·        Happy for the coaches that we have had some more success in last 8 games.

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Oracle View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Oracle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 February 2023 at 9:15pm
A very difficult situation to try and run a business, I don't envy them 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote reesytheexile Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 February 2023 at 10:17pm
Originally posted by Oracle Oracle wrote:

A very difficult situation to try and run a business, I don't envy them 
Ir certainly isn’t. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scarletpimp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 February 2023 at 3:05pm
It made a very interesting read.
Scarlets just need to survive ATM, then move on.
These are bleak times indeed
I stood yer on tanner bank
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tannerbankboy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 February 2023 at 3:47pm
They won't be happy the 60 cap rule has gone then.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Wasp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 February 2023 at 5:52pm
The aim is to survive the next few years until the inevitable re-alignment of club rugby that is coming soon.

We're still still here, but I wish we were in an Anglo-Welsh
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote philtheturk56 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 February 2023 at 7:31pm
I read, if true, 12 C blues players have been offered £30k, a pay drop from £250k!!!

All in the same boat i think
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wasp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 February 2023 at 9:23pm
Originally posted by philtheturk56 philtheturk56 wrote:

I read, if true, 12 C blues players have been offered £30k, a pay drop from £250k!!!

All in the same boat i think
Not true. We are in a slightly better position than the other 2. Why do you think our boys played so well against Edinburgh? We've done a better job reassuring our re-signings. 
We're still still here, but I wish we were in an Anglo-Welsh
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote reesytheexile Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 February 2023 at 10:34pm
Originally posted by Wasp Wasp wrote:

Originally posted by philtheturk56 philtheturk56 wrote:

I read, if true, 12 C blues players have been offered £30k, a pay drop from £250k!!!

All in the same boat i think
Not true. We are in a slightly better position than the other 2. Why do you think our boys played so well against Edinburgh? We've done a better job reassuring our re-signings. 
We have less of the top 38 elite Welsh signings don’t we? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scarletsbeno1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 February 2023 at 10:47pm
it's a worrying time, feel for the regional players, coaches, staff and their partners.
At the end of the day mortgages and futures are being affected. 

The comparison to England being made on budget, rugby in general is struggling in terms of finances and marketability. Tigers getting a 13 million benefactor injection mind different ball park.

WRU seem to be dragging the regions over the coals, till a wasps/ Worcester scenario happens. Going against their own values commitment. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Oracle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 February 2023 at 11:36pm
There are many people asking what exactly are the Wru trying to achieve with their behaviour , are they trying to take control of all rugby players under one contract but after the regions have done the dirty work by lowering contract offers , or are they looking to get one region to fold so 3 are left excluding the dragons or do they want our top players playing at a far higher level week in week out and then just bringing them back for Internationals ....I've heard many variations on the above themes
But 
Are we giving the wru board to much credit , are they able to plan something as complex as the points above or variations of the above ....


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lofty evans Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 February 2023 at 8:04am
Originally posted by Oracle Oracle wrote:

There are many people asking what exactly are the Wru trying to achieve with their behaviour , are they trying to take control of all rugby players under one contract but after the regions have done the dirty work by lowering contract offers , or are they looking to get one region to fold so 3 are left excluding the dragons or do they want our top players playing at a far higher level week in week out and then just bringing them back for Internationals ....I've heard many variations on the above themes
But 
Are we giving the wru board to much credit , are they able to plan something as complex as the points above or variations of the above ....



The WRU know what they are doing Oracle.  We need a Welsh Churchillian figure to take on these dim-witted self vested scum at the porn shop WRU.


In 1972, Roy Bergiers scored that try and said "that was for you lofty"

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote insidehalf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 February 2023 at 10:51am
If the WRU shut a region down they will probably be in breach of contract with URC, ERC and TV companies for not providing the 4 Welsh teams as per agreement thus incurring financial penalties. But by starving them financially they probably hope to slowly kill one region off and then blame their demise  on market forces.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wil Chips Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 February 2023 at 10:55am
Originally posted by insidehalf insidehalf wrote:

If the WRU shut a region down they will probably be in breach of contract with URC, ERC and TV companies for not providing the 4 Welsh teams as per agreement thus incurring financial penalties. But by starving them financially they probably hope to slowly kill one region off and then blame their demise  on market forces.


Very good point(s).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wil Chips Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 February 2023 at 10:57am
Originally posted by Wasp Wasp wrote:

Originally posted by philtheturk56 philtheturk56 wrote:

I read, if true, 12 C blues players have been offered £30k, a pay drop from £250k!!!

All in the same boat i think

Not true. We are in a slightly better position than the other 2. Why do you think our boys played so well against Edinburgh? We've done a better job reassuring our re-signings. 


Yes i think that's a valid point. Our players ( whether it be good news/bad news or otherwise) pre Xmas of their future contract position.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wil Chips Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 February 2023 at 11:00am
Great work in pulling that together Reesy--appreciated.
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