Rugby Championship hosted on a rotational basis?
Many have been looking forward to the start of the newly formed Rugby Championship. It will be contested by New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina.
The Rugby Championship will be the showpiece of the southern hemisphere calendar on an annual basis, because of the addition of Argentina it promises more variety, a bigger audience and hopefully an increase in revenue.
One of the most important factors for the tournament is how coaches will manage their players against injury and travel fatigue.
Considering that some Super Rugby players will only have two weeks for rest and recuperation and the coaches a mere two weeks for preparation before the start of the toughest tournament on their calendar, it will be vital to consider management of players, rotation policies, intelligent use of impact players and protection of their match winners.
What SANZAR has done very well (surprise) is to provide each team a bye week after every two match mini tour, enabling teams to recover and reassess their playing stock.
However is there a case for hosting the Rugby Championship in one country every year, rotating in a four year cycle from one to the other?
Consider this. If the tournament is hosted in one country, travel fatigue is grossly reduced, acclimatisation no longer becomes an issue, teams can settle into an environment and therefor benefit from better preparation and better resting periods.
The Rugby Championship will provide each country the opportunity to host a flagship tournament every four years, after all an opportunity to host any high profile tournament doesn’t come around all that often.
It will provide fans from across four countries the opportunity to follow their teams and experience new cultures, new stadiums and have new adventures.
The British and Irish Lions provide such an environment for supporters from the UK to tour with their team every four years, the Lions have a loyal following and touring with the Lions have become somewhat of an institution with the UK public.
Granted it will be a costly affair to join these tours on an annual basis, but New Zealand and Australia are only a short flight from each other, South African and Argentinian Supporters will most likely have to plan these tours more carefully.
The other benefit is of course the two bye weeks can fall away and therefore allow the tournament to start two weeks later.
The benefit of that is immeasurable, Super Rugby players will have additional time to rest and recover, international coaches will have more time to prepare and overall it should provide a better quality tournament.
Just a thought. What do you think, Roarers?
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