If Australian rugby can be broken, it can be fixed (Part 3): Super Rugby’s future

Tahriffic Roar Rookie

By , Tahriffic is a Roar Rookie


7 Have your say

    I have concerns with the conference system that SANZAAR has decided to persevere with. We as humans have this great complexity where we must turn the simplest things into complex beasts – simplicity works. Start with a blank sheet of paper and keep the competition structure simple.

    SANZAAR has an obligation to work together on this systemic issue – it is the greatest turn off on the game as we know it.

    In the end, all we are doing is cannibalising our systems, which need each other one way or the other.

    South Africa needs New Zealand because it sells. New Zealand can’t go it alone – let’s face it, at the moment a trans-Tasman competition wouldn’t really be competitive and to the long-term detriment of developing Kiwi players. As for Australia, they need the TV rights – in the end, each business partner shoots themselves in the foot going alone. Not to mention Japan and Argentina have a long-term role to play throughout Asia-Pacific and the Americas.

    We have to look at Super Rugby with a vastly different lens. The convoluted nature of a conference system is that it actually rewards mediocrity. This system works in America where you have 30-odd teams in a domestic competition, playing a game that is salient to the rest of the world, and all of its viewers share similar values.

    Yes, I want to see my team win and play quality rugby, but I don’t want to see the Tahs get through to the final at the expense of a better team. Quality rugby is an important factor, however I don’t get why SANZAAR hasn’t caught on to this? This is the most obvious reasons why fans are becoming so disenfranchised.

    The problem is self-induced and blatantly obvious: you can have as many teams as you want, it is pivotal to understand why we play first (values of passion and loyalty), that’s your selling point, and then allowing a model where the best team wins.

    The feature that separates rugby from most sports in Australia is that it is a truly global sport. There is room for an international-provincial competition that is Super Rugby – but with a different lens and how teams are filtered.

    You can have say 24 teams throughout the existing nations, teams in the Asia and Indo-Pacific (Fiji, Samoa, Tonga can have their own franchises) and have a promotion and relegation system between the two. It would go some way to obscuring polarising results, it would go some way in addressing that the cream rises, and more importantly you can still have domestic competitions (i.e. rugby’s State of Origin) run separately, so that local derbies are maintained.

    This may be a bridge too far, however it should have really been clued on to long ago by all joint venture partners.

    You’ve also got to give a reason for all professionals to be repatriated back into a premier completion. This can be designed to enhance the performance of your national team and maintain the integrity of Super Rugby.

    Instead of cannibalising one another, how about to introduce more teams and act as a cartel where every national union hoards all of the talent? Don’t let the Northern Unions benefit from your hard work or natural resources when there are viable alternatives within reach.

    We have the best talent in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Pacific. Have teams in Singapore and Hong Kong – tax rates are 15 per cent there. The trade off being you’re only allowed to represent your country if you play Super Rugby.

    Also, if you don’t make the national side, have a flexible contracting system that allows players to have the off season in Japan. Good money and not taxing on the body. Everyone’s a winner. As it stands now, European competitions are making out like bandits with their TV rights off our talent.

    In the long term, it’s the consumers who adjust and are held responsible, because we have a choice as fans of the game who can exercise what we want to see.

    The reason why I grew up loving rugby was an excuse to hang out with my mates, and for my old man to blow off some steam by having a few cheeky beers as interest rates were at 18 per cent. Profit is an outcome, as the Wallabies win:loss ratio – they’re only a measure, not an attribution to why we play and follow the game.

    All I really want to see is a bunch of boofheads running around a park and for everyone else to have a good time.