Wednesday’s column by my good friend and sparring partner Paul Cully titled “The Reds and their fight for legitimacy” certainly got the crowd roaring!
The Reds’ Super Rugby title is illegitimate they cried! No more muttering it over a cold glass of Tooheys, Steinlager or Castle. No, it now appears to be the accepted and orthodox view of southern hemisphere rugby fans.
As a Reds supporter I was obviously peeved by these claims when I first heard them sometime near the tenth round of last year’s competition.
The theory being espoused essentially lumped us with title winners such as Ben Johnson and Lance Armstrong (just joking cyclists!) I was outraged! However I’ve since started to think a little more about this.
And the question I keep coming back to is this: If the Reds title is in fact illegitimate, what conditions must be met for future titles to be considered legitimate?
Apparently it centres on the draw. I have been able to identify three facets to the theory according to those conferring ‘legitimacy’ status.
The first is that the Reds didn’t play every team. More precisely, they didn’t play every team that mattered. So which teams need to be beaten for a title to be legitimate?
Secondly, they played the Bulls and Crusaders at Suncorp. So to ensure a title is legitimate, the competition winner must beat these two teams away from home. Are there any other teams that are in this rarefied air?
Thirdly, the Australian conference is the weakest. This one is easy. A legitimate title can only be won by a South African or New Zealand team.
Are there any other conditions that must be met for a Super Rugby title to be considered legitimate? Roar away!