SANZAAR is systematically killing southern hemisphere elite rugby

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    Sheer greed could be the only reason why SANZAAR changed the Tri-Nations – which had comprised of the All Blacks, Wallabies, and Boks – to add the Pumas as the Rugby Championship in 2012.

    The Pumas have been as underwhelming as the Italians in the Six Nations – a waste of space.

    The cold hard stats prove the point.

    The Italians have played 90 games since 2000, for 77 losses, 12 wins, and a draw.

    They have scored 1289 points and given up 2993 for a deficit of 1704.

    Win ratio 13.33 per cent.

    The Pumas have been worse with three wins from 27 starts, 23 losses, and a draw.

    They have scored 480 points, and given up 861, for a 395-point deficit.

    Win ratio 11.11 per cent.

    A waste of space alright.

    (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

    But it’s Super Rugby that’s the dogs breakfast; a diabolical format that’s meaningless.

    How did SANZAAR talk New Zealand and Australia into adding the Sunwolves from Japan, and Argentina’s Jaguares?

    Not only did the unwanted addition add thousands of debilitating air travel hours to an unwieldy tournament, but to magnify the problems, what rocket scientist at SANZAAR managed to get the board to add an extra South African side? This took the Republic’s participation to six teams as against five for New Zealand, and five for Australia?

    Rubbish.

    SANZAAR split the six South African sides in half, and added Sunwolves to one, and the Jaguares to the other.

    Unbelievable.

    So far removed from a level playing field, SANZAAR must have found the format in the phone book.

    Even under the current format, the New Zealanders are the most dominant Conference by the length of the straight.

    If the top eight on points alone qualified for the quarter finals, all five Kiwi sides would romp with all five in credit with points difference, the only Conference to achieve the feat.

    The other three on current points would be the Lions, Sharks, and Stormers making up the numbers.

    But because the top sides in each of the four Conferences will be automatic qualifiers, the Blues will miss out to the Brumbies as current top of the Australian Conference, even though the Blues have 31 points, the Brumbies just 19, which includes seven bonus points.

    While that makes no sense, neither does the draw.

    When the scheduled rounds are completed, so-far unbeaten Crusaders will have played the Hurricanes and Highlanders twice each, with the Chiefs and Blues once each.

    The Chiefs will have played the Hurricanes and Blues twice each, with the Crusaders and Highlanders once each.

    The Highlanders will have met the Crusaders and Blues twice each, with the Chiefs and Hurricanes once each.

    The Blues will have played the Chiefs and Highlanders twice, the Crusaders and Hurricanes once each.

    The Hurricanes will have met the Chiefs and Crusaders twice each, with the Highlanders and Blues once each.

    Malakai Fekitoa Highlanders Super Rugby Union 2017

    (AAP Image/SNPA, Adam Binns)

    That’s six games apiece, and to reach the scheduled 15, all Kiwi sides will meet the five Australian, and four South Africa 1 sides.

    The Australians will play six games each within their group, the five Kiwi sides, and four South Africa 2 sides for their 15.

    In the breakdown, the Brumbies meet the Reds and Rebels twice each, with the Waratahs and Force once each.

    The Waratahs will met the Force and Rebels twice each, with the Brumbies an Reds once each.

    The Reds will have had two each against the Brumbies and Force, but one each against Waratahs and Rebels.

    The Rebels two each against the Waratahs and Brumbies, with one each against the Reds and Force.

    And to complete the dog’s breakfast, the Force’s two games will be against the Waratahs and Reds, with the one each against the Brumbies and Rebels.

    It proves that the ‘phone book’ format doesn’t cut the mustard trying to find a genuine champion.

    But like anything SANZAAR does, it’s mighty hard to explain away.

    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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    The Crowd Says (162)

    • Roar Guru

      May 16th 2017 @ 3:37am
      biltongbek said | May 16th 2017 @ 3:37am | ! Report

      We know all this David. It has been rehashed a hundred times.

      The conspiracy theorists all suggest SARU is to blame, how the ARU and NZRU have simply bowed down to the almighty SARU is simply unacceptable.

      It is time to kick them out.

      • May 16th 2017 @ 4:31am
        Bman said | May 16th 2017 @ 4:31am | ! Report

        Spot on… kick em out.

      • Columnist

        May 16th 2017 @ 8:13am
        David Lord said | May 16th 2017 @ 8:13am | ! Report

        biltonbek, it hasn’t been rehashed enough with SANZAAR continuing to make boneheaded decisions that drastically affect players, support staff, and fans with no redress.

        Lifting Super Rugby to 18 teams defies description, and it will be over 100 players and support staff who will pay the penalty to correct the wrong – the very people SANZAAR is charged with protecting.

        The criminal part is SANZAAR doesn’t appear to give a stuff who they hurt, they just keep making howlers..

        • May 16th 2017 @ 8:38am
          Johnny J-Dog said | May 16th 2017 @ 8:38am | ! Report

          The biggest problem is travel. So they keep the Jaguares and Sunwolves. Stupid.

          NZ teams are no doubt superior but they don’t have the same travel demands as the others. Compare local derbies of Reds v Force and Blues v Chiefs who could do the trip by bus.

          • May 16th 2017 @ 10:00am
            Kane said | May 16th 2017 @ 10:00am | ! Report

            What about Sydney to Canberra?

            Or Canberra to Melbourne.

            Are you telling me that the Brumbies lost to the Rebels because they had to travel too far?

            Aside from the Force all your teams are as accessible as the NZ teams.

            Heck the Brumbies don’t have to travel to Perth. Is that why they’re on top?

            • May 16th 2017 @ 11:02am
              Bakkies said | May 16th 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

              ‘Are you telling me that the Brumbies lost to the Rebels because they had to travel too far?’

              You don’t travel down to Melbourne on a bus to prepare for a match unless 7 hours of boredom on a bus is a part of the schedule for the week.

              • May 16th 2017 @ 1:27pm
                Kane said | May 16th 2017 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

                Yet its a similar distance between Wellington and Christchurch or Wellington to Hamilton/Auckland

                In fact the time it takes to get from the Tahs home ground to the Brumbies home ground is 90min quicker than the time it takes to get from the Highlanders home ground to the Crusaders home ground.

                Travel is no more a factor for the Aussie teams than it is for the NZ teams.

              • May 16th 2017 @ 4:38pm
                Bakkies said | May 16th 2017 @ 4:38pm | ! Report

                It takes the Kiwis an extra 3 and a half hours to travel to SA with a stop over in Australia on top of that

          • Roar Guru

            May 16th 2017 @ 1:32pm
            Wal said | May 16th 2017 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

            @ 1060 Km Auckland to Dunedin in only 300kms less than Brisbane to Melbourne, or an extra 22 minutes flight time, hardly the stuff of chronic fatigue.

            • May 17th 2017 @ 8:37am
              Johnny J-Dog said | May 17th 2017 @ 8:37am | ! Report

              Yeah, you’re right. The travel distances within NZ are the same as Australia.

          • May 16th 2017 @ 4:21pm
            Jock Cornet said | May 16th 2017 @ 4:21pm | ! Report

            David it’s the ARU. Stop blaming everyone else. We come last at the championship will you blame sanzaar

          • Roar Guru

            May 16th 2017 @ 6:15pm
            Jokerman said | May 16th 2017 @ 6:15pm | ! Report

            Must be so hard for them, Jonny. I didn’t realise. Sydney to Melbourne and I’m sure they do it by bus. And the players probably have to take turns driving the bus. Probably an ex-school bus in need of some repairs. Maybe Lordy could help out with the driving?

        • May 16th 2017 @ 9:35am
          BBA said | May 16th 2017 @ 9:35am | ! Report

          While I agree that SANZAAR has made wrong decisions I don’t think necessarily it has been all about greed.

          Argentina deserved to be playing more international rugby, however there was no one stepping up for them to play in their tournament (6 Nations or Tri Nations), international rugby especially in that period after RWC07 did not look out for nations outside those two groups.

          In my opinion the right decision was made to include Argentina in the Tri Nations, the problem came afterwards when trying to assist Argentinian rugby to go professional. Including the Jaguares is problematic. They for one have a more grueling travel schedule than any of the other rugby championship teams, it was always going to be a struggle and it lead to the very poorly implemented super 18.

          If they had to go to 18 it should always have been 3 conferences of 6 with 3 conference winners to go through and 5 play off spots for the best of the rest. Then the next best team outside the conference winner would get a home semi.

          The Sunwolves play was greed, but then I can see that if they were under pressure to add the Jaguares then it made sense to consider other teams.

          It always made sense that you should allow sufficient time to see if the experiment was working for everyone and that there be a proper review period (which should be done in the off season) to see whether licenses would be renewed for newer entrants.

          I cant help but think the fairest thing is to commit to continuing as they are until the current TV deal ends, do a review with an established weighting system for evaluating franchise involvement. If this may expose the ARU to financial risk SANZAAR should bail them out in the short term (after all it is partially their mess).

          However I remain an optimist, I would like to see all the teams remain (even Sunwolves although they should play all their games in Japan).

          • May 16th 2017 @ 10:04am
            Bakkies said | May 16th 2017 @ 10:04am | ! Report

            ‘David, you do realise that they’ve admitted that they were wrong and will be reverting to 15 teams next season right? ‘

            How’s that working for them?

            ‘Argentina deserved to be playing more international rugby, however there was no one stepping up for them to play in their tournament (6 Nations or Tri Nations), international rugby especially in that period after RWC07 did not look out for nations outside those two groups.’

            Argentina had a preference for entering the then Tri Nations.

          • May 17th 2017 @ 9:35am
            KCR said | May 17th 2017 @ 9:35am | ! Report

            I agree that the Argentinians should be playing Super Rugby but it probably would have been better to have them play for Australian teams and not counted as foreign players. This would: cut travel, improve the quality of the Australian conference and the puma players would become known to Australian fans so Wallaby VS Puma games would have added interest. However now that they have been included the should stay and have the opportunity to create a strong team.

            • May 17th 2017 @ 11:14am
              Bakkies said | May 17th 2017 @ 11:14am | ! Report

              ‘I agree that the Argentinians should be playing Super Rugby but it probably would have been better to have them play for Australian teams and not counted as foreign players. ‘

              There was a gentlemen’s agreement not to do that and they wouldn’t been under the UAR’s programs for the 4 Nations

              • May 17th 2017 @ 11:38am
                KCR said | May 17th 2017 @ 11:38am | ! Report

                Cheers, I never knew that. It makes sense now.

        • May 16th 2017 @ 9:39am
          sean said | May 16th 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

          David, you do realise that they’ve admitted that they were wrong and will be reverting to 15 teams next season right? I assume you haven’t missed that. What’s the point of continuing to complain then? Are you hoping for something more? A quick format change before the playoffs.

          • May 16th 2017 @ 2:13pm
            Joe B said | May 16th 2017 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

            They haven’t reduced the travel… it will probably increase as a result. David complained of the introduction of jaguars and sunwolves, so what teams did SANZAAR cull? 2 from SA, and 1 from Aus (still to be finalised).

        • Roar Guru

          May 16th 2017 @ 11:13am
          Jokerman said | May 16th 2017 @ 11:13am | ! Report

          Well said, Lordy! The comp is just mayhem gone amok! Yesterday when I found out that the SA Lions play no NZ teams, I went into a rage! How could this be? Even worse though is some people think it’s fair and normal??!

          • Roar Guru

            May 16th 2017 @ 2:03pm
            biltongbek said | May 16th 2017 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

            Nobody thinks it is fair, the skewed conferences had been u der discussion ever since the new format has been revealed.

            That is the reason why I watched no Super Tugby last season, in protest against the conference system.

            The fact that viewer numbers have been dwindling, spectator numbers have been dropping are all proof of the protest people have against the format.

            If David thinks there has not been enough complaints about the format then where has he been the last 24 months?

            Just about every week there has been at least one article about how the firmat is a laugh.

            However, having the South African rugby union and recently the Lions copping all the criticism is simply just pathetic.

            That is why I have been advocating NZRU and ARU kick SARU out , yet it seems they have no cahonies to do the necessary.

            The Lions don’t play the NZ teams? Well they did last season and still made the final.

            • May 16th 2017 @ 5:46pm
              BBA said | May 16th 2017 @ 5:46pm | ! Report

              Sorry BB the Kiwi’s are out to get you. They won’t kick the Boks out, they want to play them. Your Aussie mates want the Boks gone though.

              • May 16th 2017 @ 5:59pm
                Fionn said | May 16th 2017 @ 5:59pm | ! Report

                No, a small minority of Australia want the Saffas gone.

    • May 16th 2017 @ 3:59am
      Darwin Stubbie said | May 16th 2017 @ 3:59am | ! Report

      You’ll be pleased to learn then that they’re changing the SR format from next year

    • May 16th 2017 @ 4:04am
      DavSA said | May 16th 2017 @ 4:04am | ! Report

      Yaaaaawwwwnnn. No new insight here .

    • May 16th 2017 @ 4:20am
      Phill L said | May 16th 2017 @ 4:20am | ! Report

      SANZAAR-3 monkeys

      See No Evil , Hear No Evil , Speak No Evil.

      Job well done.

      • May 16th 2017 @ 1:15pm
        Akari said | May 16th 2017 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

        The ARU, NZRU and SARU are most certainly the 3 monkeys involved.

    • Roar Guru

      May 16th 2017 @ 5:14am
      Nobrain said | May 16th 2017 @ 5:14am | ! Report

      Welll, I am not sure. If we did not have the conference system only people in Nz will be watching SR since round 6. Because there is no relegation in this tournment the only thing that matters is to make it to the play off and which team from each conference will make it. Just think that almost all teams in the Australian conference can make it to the finals regardless of their poor performances, but because of the system the interest stills up.

      • May 16th 2017 @ 8:17am
        Unanimous said | May 16th 2017 @ 8:17am | ! Report

        How can you say that the lowest attendances and TV ratings in history is interest? Sure, some of whatever conversation is taking place is about who will make the finals, but that’s hardly relevant when the uncompetitiveness and unfairness has turned off most of the interest in the first place.

        • Roar Guru

          May 16th 2017 @ 8:59am
          Nobrain said | May 16th 2017 @ 8:59am | ! Report

          If this was a round robin competition the “lowest” you mention would be none. The competition among the Australian teams to see who gets to the play off sparks a bit the ratings. Can you imagine how those ratings would be with the teams from Autralia in the bottom seven of the table playing for nothing?

          • May 16th 2017 @ 10:06am
            Bakkies said | May 16th 2017 @ 10:06am | ! Report

            ‘Can you imagine how those ratings would be with the teams from Autralia in the bottom seven of the table playing for nothing?’

            Super Rugby isn’t a reward for participation. That was another major mistake that O’Neill made in his disastrous second stint as ARU CEO.

            In the Super 12/14 era to get a home semi and Final you had to be in the top 2 teams in the competition. In the deluded mind of SARU and the ARU they decided that each country should have a team in the Finals through a hatchet job conference system.

            The ARU pushed duplicate derbies in Australia was mostly awful Rugby.

            Talk about pushing for mediocrity.

            • Roar Guru

              May 16th 2017 @ 10:11am
              Fionn said | May 16th 2017 @ 10:11am | ! Report

              100% right, Bakkies. The current system rewards Aussie (and to a lesser extent, South African) mediocrity, and provides little incentive for us to improve. We don’t deserve a home final on form, and yet we will get one.

              • May 16th 2017 @ 11:13am
                Bakkies said | May 16th 2017 @ 11:13am | ! Report

                It’s not as daft as pushing for an expansion team while at the time slashing the professional pathways down to the likes of Sydney Uni.

          • May 16th 2017 @ 2:49pm
            Matt said | May 16th 2017 @ 2:49pm | ! Report

            There is more interest in australia for the nz clashes than the Australian clashes. Really australia should b dropping 2 teams & hopfully it can take it back to when aussie was strong. Argentina definitely deserve to be here but japan r a joke.they should b dropped or if we keep them we should bring more teams in & have a 2 tear system

            • May 16th 2017 @ 5:50pm
              Wozza said | May 16th 2017 @ 5:50pm | ! Report

              “There is more interest in australia for the nz clashes than the Australian clashes.”

              Really, call me a bad spectator but I have no interest in watching games where I don’t have a team to support and I’d hazard a guess people like me are the majority but I’m happy to welcome your statistical evidence to the contrary.

              “Really australia should b dropping 2 teams & hopfully it can take it back to when aussie was strong.”

              You can’t turn the clock back. The rugby landscape now is nothing like it was in 2003/4 and if you think you can, your deluded. I agree that Australia doesn’t have the depth for 5 teams but the great success having the 5 teams achieved is establishing a solid rugby footprint in non-traditional rugby areas which are now growing the game while it is in decline in the heartland. Axing 2 teams would be a death knell for the game here and only seems o be an agenda held by some kiwi rugby fans who’s main interest seems to be having better matches to watch.

            • May 16th 2017 @ 8:41pm
              markie362 said | May 16th 2017 @ 8:41pm | ! Report

              Wot if nz added 4 more teams to dilute their talent and thn we had 2 concetences with promotion /relegation

    • May 16th 2017 @ 5:18am
      Carlos the Argie said | May 16th 2017 @ 5:18am | ! Report

      Following your logic, Mr. Lord, the Australians have no purpose in playing SR or the rugby championship either.

      When was the last time that the Wallabies beat the All Blacks?

      When was the last time the Wallabies held the Bledisloe Cup?

      And how are you doing in SR against other countries? May the Force be with you…

      Sometimes you write interesting stuff. But then, a watch that doesn’t work has the correct time twice a day.

      • May 16th 2017 @ 6:29am
        RedandBlack said | May 16th 2017 @ 6:29am | ! Report

        Not if its digital Carlos – then its just a knob on a strap with a blank face. Personally I disagree with the digital Mr Lord, I am pleased with the addition of both Argentina and Japan – Rugby has to be bigger than Stats.

      • May 16th 2017 @ 7:16am
        Bamboo said | May 16th 2017 @ 7:16am | ! Report

        This is brash, table thumping nonsense of yesteryear. Get with the times David.

        Is Australian rugby poor because SR is poor, or is SR poor because Australian rugby is poor? Although the comp isn’t perfect, the average punter sees Australian Rugby as a bigger issue than the structure.

        When was the last time a SR or international game of rugby sold out in Australia? When was the last time an international game of rugby sold out a stadium in Australia which wasn’t against NZ or England – in other words when was there last a full stadium of Australian rugby supporters?

        • May 16th 2017 @ 9:42am
          Bakkies said | May 16th 2017 @ 9:42am | ! Report

          ‘which wasn’t against NZ or England ‘

          and isn’t played in a shoe box.

        • May 16th 2017 @ 1:24pm
          Akari said | May 16th 2017 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

          Inclusion of Argentina and the Jaguares are a definite yes but the Sunwolves clearly shouldn’t have been. Any way, not while Japan is undertaking their farcical hunting and killing of whales for commercial purposes.

          • May 16th 2017 @ 2:35pm
            Bamboo said | May 16th 2017 @ 2:35pm | ! Report

            Two things:

            a) How would you react if the Indian cricket team boycotted touring Australia because we kill cows for commercial reasons? The whale argument in regards to rugby is irrelevant.
            b) Without the extra broadcast money from Japans inclusion where would the ARU be? Have a look at their balance sheet. Cash in king in sport, and the ARUs liquidity is poor. The language filter on this site stops me from using more accurate words.

          • May 16th 2017 @ 6:18pm
            timber said | May 16th 2017 @ 6:18pm | ! Report

            Isn’t that hypocritical when you consider the vast majority of the rest of the world eats meat?
            Why’s it ok to kill cows and not whales? Whales are no longer endangered.

      • May 16th 2017 @ 7:29am
        Fionn said | May 16th 2017 @ 7:29am | ! Report

        Carlos, I think it’s possible to admit Australian rugby is poor because Aussie rugby is poor (and, actually, it was only in 2015 we last beat the All Blacks) and also admit that this SR format sucks.

        I am actually nostalgic for the tri-Nations and S12/14, but I think that might be because I grew up during that period and so it’s ingrained in my memory, and Australian rugby was good then too.

        The fact is that this SR format sucks horrendously, but I don’t think it is the fault of the new teams (although I don’t see that the Sunwolves add much, despite being fun to watch), it’s the stupid 4 conference system and all of the travel and the number of meaningless games. If they kept all the current teams and swapped to a round robin format with a top 8 a lot of the current complaints (especially those by Kiwis) would instantly end.

        The RC means there are two games every week, rather than one. I love it.

        • Roar Guru

          May 16th 2017 @ 7:53am
          Train Without A Station said | May 16th 2017 @ 7:53am | ! Report

          Fionn I’m absolutely shocked to learn you are nostalgic for the time when the Brumbies were at the peak of their powers!

          Sarcasm aside, I think if we went back to what it was, it wouldn’t be the same as the world around us has changed and there’s nothing we can do about that. A huge difference is at that time players left Australia when they couldn’t get opportunity, where now in demand Super Rugby players are leaving in droves.

          • Roar Guru

            May 16th 2017 @ 8:10am
            Fionn said | May 16th 2017 @ 8:10am | ! Report

            I know, unbelievable, isn’t it :P?

            Wayne Smith was writing in the Australian that Sean McMahon is about to sign with Japan and likely miss the next World Cup…

            • May 16th 2017 @ 8:45am
              Carlos the Argie said | May 16th 2017 @ 8:45am | ! Report

              I remember traveling to Sydney to a World Congress of Epilepsy and buying a Super 12 Brumbies shirt at Sydney airport. They had won it that year… I still have it. It is a nice shirt. Long sleeves and still made of cotton.

              Of course I want Aussie rugby to get better. My Sydney living brother reminds me all the time what a mess Aussie rugby is in.

              And to think that I believed that only Argies could mess up everything with incredible talent.

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