Super Rugby is junk status

David Lord Columnist

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    South Africa has been financially rated ‘junk’ status by two of the leading world financial agencies, Standard and Poor’s and Fitch, with Moody’s likely to follow suit sooner rather than later.

    If the Big Three financial agencies were to rate Super Rugby, it would have been junk status from the moment SANZAAR admitted a sixth franchise in South Africa, plus the Sunwolves from Japan, and Argentina’s Jaguares.

    This week SANZAAR will remove two teams – the Cheetahs and Kings will cut South Africa’s involvement to four, and either the Force or Rebels to go, cutting Australia’s involvement to four, with New Zealand to remain on five.

    That will cut the Super Rugby tournament to 15 teams – from 18 – but leave the Sunwolves and Jaguares.

    Still junk status.

    Nobody will admit to suggesting that the Sunwolves and Jaguares be admitted, but it had to be South Africa.

    What’s even more disturbing is that either Australia or New Zealand went along with the stupid suggestion.

    The Sunwolves can’t beat an egg, and would have great difficulty beating Sydney Subbies teams like Drummoyne, Colleagues, and Mosman.

    Yet Roar Guru Fox Saker went to pains yesterday to support the Sunwolves claiming 25 million watched a World Cup game, obviously with Japan on duty.

    But the Fox was thinking like the ARU, putting cold hard cash ahead of standards.

    The moment Japan defeated the Springboks

    I don’t give a rats if 50 million, or 75 million, watch rugby on Japanese television, the Sunwolves simply can’t play,

    So far they’ve played 19 Super Rugby games for a win and a draw.

    Miracles can happen, even Don Bradman made a duck in his last Test innings when he needed just four runs to have a 100-run Test career average.

    Admittedly the Jaguares are better with eight wins from 21 games, but they shouldn’t be there.

    There are many ways of making Super Rugby better, and fairer.

    First cab off the rank must be a revamping of the law book that for decades has supported the defending side.

    Open up the field to give the attacking side more space and support, and rugby will come alive.

    But the format is still a major problem

    Retain the 15 teams of 2015, with five each from New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa.

    Anything is better than the current format, and certainly better than the proposed format for next season.

    Rugby, the fans, and the sponsors deserve better.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn’t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world’s great sporting spectacles

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