Time for a trans-Tasman rugby championship



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122 Have your say

    In recent weeks, reports have emerged that the Super Rugby franchises in South Africa have threatened to abandon the Super Rugby championship next season if the proposed inclusion of the Southern Kings fail to materialise.

    The Southern Kings are based in the the province of the Eastern Cape and have the most largest number of black players registered in the playing squad.

    It seems the talks of Super Rugby expansion is driven mainly by politics, and it is sad to see the game in South Africa still continually plagued by such issues.

    But do we really need South Africa in the Super Rugby championship?

    Surely Australian and New Zealand rugby can survive without South Africa? Australia and New Zealand will forever be eternal rivals, but what do we share with South Africa?

    I believe the time has come for the ARU and NZRU to form a trans-Tasman league consisting of sixteen to eighteen clubs.

    New Zealand has the advantage of already having an established domestic championship (ITM Cup) with fourteen teams, whilst Australia currently only boasts state rugby championships outside of the five Super Rugby franchises. At best Australia could possibly support seven clubs (two from Quensland and NSW, and one each from Victoria, ACT, WA).

    Shortage of Australian talent should not be a huge obstacle, as previously discussed in another article, there are dozens of Australians plying their trade in Europe and Japan. Many of them left Australian shores at a young age simply because they couldn’t break into one of the five Super Rugby teams – Brock James at Clermont-Auvergne in France is a famous example.

    Increasing the number of teams in the country will ensure youngsters will be given more opportunities to pursue a career in professional rugby, rather than be swayed to other sporting codes with more contracts up for grabs in the AFL or NRL.

    One that comes to mind is Jared Waerea-Hargreaves of the Manly Sea Eagles, who was recruited to rugby league after he never got a shot at the Waratahs.

    Also to ensure sufficient depth in the playing roster, each club could be allowed to sign up to seven foreign players: three from the Pacific Island nations and Asia (Japan, Korea) and another three from the Americas (Argentina, USA, Canada) and one free slot (Europe or Africa). Last week I was watching the Wellington Sevens and was amazed by the sheer amount of talented players from the tier-two nations.

    Increased inclusion of foreign players will undoubtedly benefit both the competition and their respective national teams. Both the players and fans in Australia will be exposed to the distinct playing styles of players hailing from around the world. At the same time these foreign players will benefit from being involved in a professional environment and also rubbing shoulders with some of the best players in the Southern Hemisphere.

    In particular, the Pacific Island nations could reap the most rewards, these countries have failed to live up to expectations on many occasions due to their lack of training time as players have been tied in with their European employers. Having a trans-Tasman competition will encourage this group to remain close to their homes and increase their prospects for the national teams come the test season.

    Not only do the majority of Australian and New Zealand rugby fans relish derby clashes in Super Rugby, but they also enjoy watching trans-Tasman matches as well.

    I believe there are many positives for Australian rugby if such a championship is formed in the future.

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    The Crowd Says (122)

    • February 15th 2012 @ 3:23am
      Saikyo Shayne said | February 15th 2012 @ 3:23am | ! Report

      Nope – ARU would just screw it up and NSWRU wouldnt let it get off the ground.

      I doubt Perth would get a team even if it were to happen.

    • February 15th 2012 @ 7:53am
      Darwin Stubby said | February 15th 2012 @ 7:53am | ! Report

      And what of the NPC … Or does that fold and if so what of those provinces deemed not worthy of a place in this competition.

      I do love these arguments when the std lines of these plenty of Aust talent lost overseas or to league … If that’s the case why aren’t these returning to play in the Rebels or replacing the numerous kiwis and SA players in the existing squads now

      A competition like this wont generate the same money and certainly won’t provide the quality of rugby on display now – SR is far from perfect with it warped conferences and skewed finals system – but it provides the best compromise at present and a framework which continues to allow the important competitions to NZ and SA the NPC and CC … It’s not going anywhere

      • February 15th 2012 @ 8:24am
        Rugbug said | February 15th 2012 @ 8:24am | ! Report

        I agree Darwin SR does provide the best competition and generates the most revenue at present.
        I for one am also strongly against the ITM cup being abolished as it is imperative to the success of New Zealand rugby.
        Like you say what would happen to the provinces such as Counties Manukau, Tasman, Manawatu, Buller, Horowhenua-Kapiti, North and Mid Canterbury for example?
        Do we really want to disenfranchise these fans further and therefore reduce the fan base for NZ rugby in general?

        On the flip side to this, I am absolutely sick and tired of the SARU trying to hold the SANZAR partners to ransom like a spoilt little brat.
        The NZRU and ARU need to come down with a firm hand on the farcical institute that is currently running SA rugby.
        South Africa does not warrant a 6th team not now nor did it in the last expansions. yes it has the viewing population but reality is it does not have the player numbers to support 5 teams let alone 6.
        No team should be entered into any competition let alone Super Rugby based on race and politics.

        A Trans Tasman competition could possibly work but there would need to be some serious thought put into it.
        I don’t think the idea is as stupid as it sounds, but I also can see a few issues that it would create.

        My preference is to remain in the current SANZAR partnership however South Africa seriously needs to be reigned in and given a reality check.

      • February 15th 2012 @ 9:41am
        kingplaymaker said | February 15th 2012 @ 9:41am | ! Report

        Why would the NPC need to fold? No reason whatsoever.

        • February 15th 2012 @ 4:36pm
          simon said | February 15th 2012 @ 4:36pm | ! Report

          Last time the SARU threatened to pull out of SR, the ‘word’ was that the ARU and NZRU would continue with 5 teams each, combined with a couple of JAP teams possibly. There was no talk of expanding the number of teams within AUS or NZ.

          People may also remember when the so called ‘G9’ (the 9 provinces who play in the ITM Cup, but without a SR franchise within their boarders) proposed to the NZRU the scrapping of SR and the current NPC format, and including the 4 AUS SR teams (4 at the time, with the proposal of a 5th team) in a combined comp – precisely for their own survival.

          However, the NZRU quickly hosed down that idea. And I think it’s safe to say that the combination of Super Rugby and the current format of the ITM Cup is probably the way the NZRU will look to keep it for a bit. Although, I think they will look to expand the SR comp in 2016, but maybe not with any new NZ teams, or only 1 at the very most, but even that will depend on a few things.

          I know people will criticise this, and I’m not saying I completely agree with it, but I’m just saying…

        • February 15th 2012 @ 8:14pm
          Darwin Stubbie said | February 15th 2012 @ 8:14pm | ! Report

          Because the article mentions 10 or so sides from NZ … NZ couldnt do both

          what you’re promoting, with your extra multiple teams for Aust, is SR to become a development league …. SR is meant to to be the pinnacle of rugby in SH …. By growing teams in SA, GC, west Sydney etc you’re diluting the quality and basically providing Shute Shield quality teams … Ie average … And that won’t attract TV companies or audiences – because the SS has been on free to air on the ABC and hasn’t rated the house down …. It like me going on endlessly that the HC should expand and include sides from all over Europe – just to potentially benefit rugby in outpost areas … As Sam alludes to below by pronouncing all these sides will be developing mountains of local talent in 10 years is basically saying the Force have 4 years left to be about 70% local talent …. What the likelihood of that ? … The only sides that are and continue to be like that are NSW and Qld …

    • February 15th 2012 @ 8:16am
      Johnno said | February 15th 2012 @ 8:16am | ! Report

      Please I hope it happens, a blessing in disguise if South Africa leave in protest. Then we can get a NRL style or netball stlye trans-tasman series going.
      ITM cup ratings this year have been great and many AB’s have not even been playing. Lets get a full time , star player trans tasman series going.
      South Africa belong in Africa , not the Asia-Pacific.

    • February 15th 2012 @ 8:26am
      Emric said | February 15th 2012 @ 8:26am | ! Report

      Ironically I had almost completed a similar article to this one – Where I’ve argued that SANZAR are better together then SA being booted out, or going it alone but if it were to go it alone then NZ and Aus might be forced to look at a transtasman competition. I envisioned a couple of senarios – the first that we keep the 10 teams we have between us and just continue the competition as a round robin competition – the second that we have an expanded competition of between 12 to 16 teams where each nation can add a single team to match the other – my third suggestion was that NZ open up the ITM cup and Ranfurly shield to an equal number of Australian teams, meaning an additional 28 teams from Australia would be invited into the ITM Premiership, Championship, and Heartland competition.

      The additional information I’ve argued in the article I’ve written but not presented to the roar staff, the Ranfurly Shield must be opened up to the New Australian franchises and New Zealand, and adding Australia to the All Black list, meaning New Zealand RU players plying their trade in Australia can still be eligible for the All Blacks this will allow New Zealands considerable rugby knowledge and talent to be available to strengthen Weaker Australian teams.

      The third part of the article I’ve written focused on money how would any of these ideas or competitions be paid for currently SANZAR are locked into a deal with Sky-Sport, Fox-Sport, and SuperSport-SA for a total sum of 437 Million USD. I argue that a lesser deal would be negotiated for the smaller competition perhaps up to 1/3rd less because of the loss of revenue coming from Super-Sport which would leave Aus / NZ only the competition could fall as short as 300 million to fund the entire competition, the expanded ITM cup would offer more content involve all the teams from New Zealand and encourage the adding of Australian teams into the competition – this would double the amount of teams available across all 3 divisions of the competition – I’m of the opinion that sky-sport requires rugby in New Zealand it brings in significantly high ratings and the All Blacks are the highest rating brand in the country by a long shot they will pay the cash if they have too to make sure that rugby remains strong, Fox on the other hand might not be able to justify massive increases for an expanded ITM cup but I suspect they would stand to lose money from Sky if they allowed Rugby to fall over they could cough up the cash simply to keep the rugby brand strong.

      I did not discuss what teams in Australia would be part of an expanded Super Rugby, nor which would join the ITM cup but with 26 teams required to be placed in 3 divisions with promotion and regulation on the line it would make for a interesting 14 (division 1) 14 (division 2) and and 24 team heartland competition.

      Well all in my opinion

      • February 15th 2012 @ 8:30am
        Johnno said | February 15th 2012 @ 8:30am | ! Report

        Emric great idea you should send your business model suggestion to Sky in NZ and fox, great business model suggestion Emric.

      • February 15th 2012 @ 8:35am
        Rugbug said | February 15th 2012 @ 8:35am | ! Report

        The Ranfurly sheild is sacred in the Shakey Isles and I could guarantee most NZ rugby fans would vehemently oppose it been offered up to Australian teams.
        I would be in favour of a round robin, possibly home and away series with the current SR franchise teams but to include Australian teams into the ITM cup is a huge ask and one again I do believe would be opposed by fans both in NZ and Aus.
        Australia really must focus on starting it’s own domestic competiton that it desperately needs and Australian fans seem to be crying out for if the roar is anything to go by.

        • February 15th 2012 @ 10:55am
          Working Class Rugger said | February 15th 2012 @ 10:55am | ! Report

          If a TT emerged, keep the Ranfurly Shield strictly among the NZ teams. If the Aus franchjises want to play for somethingsimilar they could create their own and yes, I’m an Aussie.

          • February 15th 2012 @ 11:10am
            Rugbug said | February 15th 2012 @ 11:10am | ! Report

            Absolutely agree with you WCR.
            The Ranfurly Sheild should not and I doubt would ever be put into a TT comp or SR format the trophy will and and should be kept soley for the NZ domestic competion.
            i personally am not in favour of Australian teams entering the NPC itself but am not against drafting in a few players to each team to help build the stocks of Australian rugby whilst it sorts out and looks to implement a domestic competition.
            If we were to split from SA which I hope does not occur we really need to maintain that level above ITM cup.
            The 10 ANZAC teams could now easily indulge in a home and away format with the top four teams contesting the finals.
            This also leaves plenty of room for both countries top maintain their domestic competitions of course Australia needs to step up here.
            NZ has a clear pathway for rugby and every single level is vital to its success and continued success. Currently Australia is missing the level between club and Super level. the ITM and heartland competitions are that all important stepping stone.

      • February 15th 2012 @ 8:50am
        Darwin Stubbie said | February 15th 2012 @ 8:50am | ! Report

        A TT would probably keep the franchise model in NZ with 6 teams in each country and the NPC kept separate … The major money component is for the tests schedule … A diluted TT won’t generate the dollars for a massive competition as you’re proposing esp given rugby in Aust isn’t big enough for such a beast … Such a competition would be dominated year in year out by the kiwis and would become boring very quickly

        If the ARU were keen on development of their player base they should sit down with the NZRFU and formalise a draft of talent into the NPC and also look at getting coaching talent into the system involving Henry …. Throw in some cash and see if that boosts the interest in the NPC on Foxsports and then look at a second revenue share arrangement

        • February 15th 2012 @ 9:10am
          Rugbug said | February 15th 2012 @ 9:10am | ! Report

          Darwin I do believe Taranaki has a strong history of recruiting Australian players into its provinicial side and Waikato had Leilifano on its books last season,
          James Hilgendorf, Brock James and Ed Jenkins have all had stints with the Amber and Blacks and I am surprised more provinces aren’t utilising the playing stocks on offer in Australia for the ITM cup.
          I would be open to more players being drafted in however this could then cause issues with NZ players missing spots to Australian players etc.
          For Australia to realisticly be given a revenue share it would need to have actual teams in the competion not just a few players in each team, the chances of Australian teams being permitted entry to the ITM cup at the possible expense of the current teams or those in the lower tier who think they could come up if given the resources (Wanganui, Wairarapa Bush) is next to non existent. Hell would freeze over before Otago would drop out to accomodate West Sydney for example.

      • February 15th 2012 @ 9:09am
        kingplaymaker said | February 15th 2012 @ 9:09am | ! Report

        Emric sorry I was in fact going to write an article today or tomorrow but will wait a few days as this one has pre-empted it. You should bang off your article though as it looks good and covers many other subjects too, including much different ground from this article (not that that would matter as it’s good to have different articles on the same subject from different angles).

        You put your finger on the one problem with booting out South Africa, the TV money that would be lost.

        On the other hand, South Africa are an obstacle to any innovation in Super rugby, which means teams in Asia and America, which would doubtless be part of any trans-tasman project, as both Australia and New Zealand need money wherever they can find it.

        Also, having more teams would increase the market value of the TV element in Australia and New Zealand.

        What’s more, with the Currie Cup gone, the season could be much longer, meaning more revenue.

        Crucially though, the game would suddenly cover every major market, suddenly give every player possible an opportunity and revolutionise the amount of talent available, any length of season would be possible, any expansion would meet no obstacle, and in the end if that meant sacrificing the money from SA’s TV deal it might be worth it.

        A single team in South Auckland would probably finish off league in New Zealand, let alone another five teams to raid their junior ranks, while in Australia the NRL would suddenly face competition not only in every major heartland (3 Sydney teams, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Newcastle, Canberra, maybe Sunshine Coast, Central Coast, Northern Queensland, Ilarawara), but areas in which it either has limited or no teams (Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide).

        I think the standard would quickly return to Super rugby level such is the huge number of players lost to other codes, overseas, undeveloped, the limitations on foreign imports, the undeveloped areas.

        A Tokyo team could join the Australian conference and an L.A. team the New Zealand one, with maybe Buenos Aires and Vancouver under consideration.

        Would any of this be possible with the current model where SANZAR needs to go to arbitration simply to add a single team to one country?

        Also one should remember that Australia and New Zealand are very much on the same page in most of their ideas about the game and both operate in challenging financial circumstances, hence the novelty of a Hong Kong test was a Bledisloe Cup affair. They are ideal partners.

        • February 15th 2012 @ 9:14am
          Rugbug said | February 15th 2012 @ 9:14am | ! Report

          I’m sorry KPM but your dreams of world domination and NZ killing off its domestic competiton to accomodate Australian rugby is pure fantasy.
          It never ceases to amaze me how Australians of all people seem to think they know what Kiwis want.

          • February 15th 2012 @ 9:16am
            kingplaymaker said | February 15th 2012 @ 9:16am | ! Report

            Rugbug where did I say New Zealand would have to kill off its domestic competition for the trans-tasman competition to happen? If anything it might strengthen it as the teams in each competition would correspond more closely to each other.

            Besides much of the impetus for expansion comes from New Zealand:


            • February 15th 2012 @ 9:51am
              Rugbug said | February 15th 2012 @ 9:51am | ! Report

              I may have read into it bit much however you have a well known history for peddling the likes of creating a TT or global competition where the ITM cup teams are amalgamated into a comp to benefit Australia.
              The simple fact that you believe a single rugby team in South Auckland would kill off league simply shows how far from reality and out of touch with the NZ sporting landscape that you really are.

              You say much of the impetus is coming from NZ, I’m sorry KPM but that is an out right lie I have never ever heard of any of this talk nor had I seen anything written along these lines until you put up this link.
              Don’t forget rugby is No1 in NZ and if there was any impetus for radical change and expansion like you suggest you could guarantee 99% of NZ would have heard about it by now and there would also have been articles here at the roar. One persons opinion hardly translates to a big impetus like you are trying to infer. As is the article you reference is dated may 15th 2011 and yet nothing this article obviously did very little for the impetus as you insist is happening in NZ.

              P.s heres a link to a piece written by another dubious Rugby contributor Chris Rattue that helps put paid to your killing of rugby league theory in South Auckland, I rarely agree with anything Chris hass to say but he is bang on the money here with league.
              Do note this article is posted right now 15.02.2012


              • February 15th 2012 @ 10:25am
                kingplaymaker said | February 15th 2012 @ 10:25am | ! Report

                Rugbug if you want downright lies show me one instance where I have advocated amalgamating the ITM cup into anything or altering it at all. I have nothing against the ITM Cup at all.

                That article is amusing as one of the big arguments he rolls out is that league is essentially better that rugby:
                ‘The NRL has two insurmountable advantages over rugby’s Super 15. First, the game is action packed, out in the open and with rules that are easy to understand.’
                Well if league’s better then rugby might as well give up.

                More relevant to my point is that he says rugby is not succeeding in the crucial Auckland market while the Warriors produce their own players: isn’t that because rugby only has one team for this massive area, essentially gifting much of it to the NRL? Wouldn’t therefore another team in South Auckland, let alone North Harbour, suddenly hit at the heart of the NRL’s strength, as the majority of New Zealand born league players come from there?

              • February 15th 2012 @ 10:41am
                Rugbug said | February 15th 2012 @ 10:41am | ! Report

                KPM it is pointless ever debating anything with you.
                You actually forget that there already is a semi professional rugby team in South Auckland – Counties Manukau which basically takes in everything south of Otahuhu down to Pukekohe and this team struggles in the Heartland competition. Are you suggesting that we enter a Southern King style team into a SR format based on polynesians only and with little to no skill. These kids have plenty of opportunity to show there wares however League is much more popular than you think and simply adding another SR team in a city that barely can support the team it has now is absurd. There will be a 2nd NRL team in NZ before there is a2nd SR team in Auckland
                As it currently stands South Aucklanders aren’t supporting the Blues what makes you think they will automatically turn around and start supporting a 2nd team.

                You claim NZ is providing much of the impetu,. then you supply the link to an an opinion piece posted back in May 2011, this again is the first I had ever heard or seen it of anything of the like. One persons opinion is hardly impetus therefore making your claim an outright lie!
                His OPINION KPM holds no more weight than yours or mine.
                Surely if there had been the impetus that you infer a lot more noise would have been made about it by now including here at the roar. Sadly however you are the only one holding this torch it seems

              • February 15th 2012 @ 10:51am
                kingplaymaker said | February 15th 2012 @ 10:51am | ! Report

                As you doubtless know, counties Manukau is not a Super team and therefore won’t compete with the Warriors in the professional salaries it offers. A Super team would compete with the Warriors in the salaries it offers.

                Fans would come as they would identify with the area of Auckland, rather than the whole of Auckland.

              • February 15th 2012 @ 11:05am
                Rugbug said | February 15th 2012 @ 11:05am | ! Report

                As you obviously can not read I will refrain from debating anything with you. Not once anywhere did I imply Counties was a SR team?
                Honestly I could get more sense from a brick wall

              • February 15th 2012 @ 1:42pm
                Matt said | February 15th 2012 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

                While KPM does get a little tunnel vision with plans for grand design, I actually have to agree with him that a South Auckland based Super Rugby team would have a huge impact on both Union and League in NZ.

                The VAST majority of Rugby League talent comes out of South Auckland, and the fact that Chris Rattue deliberately ignores in his article is that a lot (probably even the majority) of the top League athletes in the Junior/Senior Warriors have played rugby Union as school boys.

                When these kids finish high school there are obvious and genuine career opporunities in Rugby League, mostly because the Warriors are a well funded privately owned Rugby Club who actively search for potential talent. These youngsters can sign a 2-3 year academy contract and be earning money and moving up the NRL development ladder straight away.

                Contrast this to Auckland Rugby, which is a member union of the NZRU, who are not privately owned and who rely on ancient development pathways for natural talent identification. They can’t go out and offer kids academy contracts as there are simply too many kids and not enough opportunities to sign. Why would a talented South Auckland teenager want to go and play Colts grade (U21) club rugby for no money and with no TV exposure? Especially when you can be playing on TV in the Toyota Cup within a season or two and be on the road to a full NRL contract with one of 16 clubs?

                If South Auckland had a dedicated Pro team, which the locals felt was a true representation of themselves, I believe it would go along way to signing and retaining a lot of the talent that is lost to NRL academies out of High School.

                Auckland Region is massive even now (1.4M people), but it is set to just get bigger and bigger. By 2050 there are projected to be 2.3M people! So one pro team will not be enough to offer decent market coverage.

                Counties Manukau are centred in Pukekohe and represent the Franklin and Papakura districts, as opposed to Manukau City and it’s surrounding suburbs. Its most northern clubs are Manukau, with the talent rich areas of South Auckkland (think schools like De La Salle, Kings, Otahuhu etc) falling within the ARU boundaries.

                The ARU is looking to revamp their development structures (http://www.aucklandrugby.co.nz/club/news/article.html?newsid=156266719), but if there aren’t enough pro contracts then talented kids will go to where there are contracts.

                If Melbourne can create a viable pro sport model involving multiple AFL clubs within the one city then Auckland can surely do the same with Rugby. North Harbour are still a Union (and city) in the early/mid stages of development. The stadium is in Albany, which is rather isolated from main population base and it will take time for the area to expand and fill in to give it a density and identity for which people will get behind.

                South Auckland already has a clear identity, as well as the obvious playing talent and supporter base from which to structure a team. It also has a stadium (Mt Smart Stadium) and plenty of potential business support to back it financially.

                Ironically the NZRU have been looking for private equity partners of late, to help fund the Super Rugby teams. Yet 8 years ago the NZRU turned their back on a potential private ownership opportunity to have a Pacific Island based Super and Test team playing out of Mt Smart:


                This idea still has a heck of a lot of merit though. A privately owned Rugby Union side based out of South Auckland with strong Pacific Island ties would appease:

                The IRB – For Tier 2 development purposes
                The NZRU – For introducing private money to Super Rugby
                The Blues/Chiefs provincial Unions – For offering more spot to their ITM Cup players

                It would also offer an attractive professional option for South Auckland (and greater auckland) junior rugby players, as well as providng a great local derby fixture in the playing caledar.

              • February 15th 2012 @ 2:29pm
                kingplaymaker said | February 15th 2012 @ 2:29pm | ! Report

                Matt you really should simply paste that into an article as it may just get lost in the middle of this thread and so long into the discussion, and you’ve argued and written it very well. Also there are hardly any articles at all at this dead time of year so the more the better, especially at a moment like this when South Africa are proposing adding their own team.

                What’s more, this is really the big issue in New Zealand rugby, along with the struggling attraction of Super rugby and lack of funds in general.

                The only rugby talent the NZRU doesn’t have access to currently is South Auckland league players. While there are many possibilities in Australia and South Africa for totally new frontiers, South Auckland is the only one left for New Zealand (and what a productive one of playing talent too. If Jonah Lomu appeared now, would he be playing for the Warriors?).

                Teams in other areas although a good idea would only further develop what playing talent is already in existence, rather than adding completely new talent. They should only come after all new talent has been accessed, that is after South Auckland and North Harbour.

                I think it is extremely important for New Zealand to have a monopoly of every talented player available because unlike other countries they can’t simply move into a new market should a big challenger appear.

                For the moment, New Zealand has more good rugby players than anyone else in the world, but what if this were to change and say the game exploded in 60 million populations such as France or Italy. At that point it would be critical that the SBWs and Benji Marshalls were available for the team to be as competitive as possible.

                Then there is the threat of the NRL. League only grows in New Zealand because it is allowed to, and basically because of the lack of teams in Auckland. A simple problem with a simple solution. Instead of waiting for league to move into Wellington or Canterbury the NZRU should simply nip the invading force in the bud by taking its heartland away.

                New Zealand easily has enough players for teams in South Auckland and North Harbour, without the expansion tools of foreign players, repatriated players or league converts that the Rebels needed.

                What’s more I think so big and complex is Auckland that fans will identify more strongly with areas of it than the whole thing. Rivalries within cities are perhaps the strongest in sport.

                Again, in population the city can handle three teams: 500,000 per team. If the Highlanders can support a team with 209,000, then 500,000 should be plenty.

                The problem with the NZRU is that because rugby is on top, it does not perceive league as a threat nor realise that further players would further increase the strength of the ABs, whose strength isn’t thought in need of increasing because they are the best in the world. This is true until a strong challenger appears.

                I would go as far as saying that this is the single most important task left for the NZRU and by far the most effective thing they can do to improve the game in New Zealand. What’s more it’s hardly difficult: it could be done tomorrow! Just tell South Africa that they can add another team to their conference too.

              • February 15th 2012 @ 2:40pm
                kingplaymaker said | February 15th 2012 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

                Matt just looked at that article on the proposed Mt Smart team. The NZRU have recently been changing their tune on private ownership.

                Interesting to see Paramatta league proposing a Super team! And that this Mt.Smart team wouldn’t have needed money from the SANZAR broadcast deal. What could rugby in the Southern hemisphere have lost all these years by not having private ownership?

    • February 15th 2012 @ 9:03am
      sheek said | February 15th 2012 @ 9:03am | ! Report

      I agree with Darwin Stubby,

      A Trans-Tasman comp is a pie-in-the-sky wish list. It won’t generate the same money as the current super rugby. And since money is God, forget anything that doesn’t top super rugby.

      I regret to inform Aussies & Kiwis we need the Saffies more than you realise, in order to generate more revenue. And forget the islands, there’s no money there. The future for islanders is playing as expats in all the major national teams in the future.

      I don’t like much of what I’ve written above either, but it’s the brutal reality…..

      • February 15th 2012 @ 9:31am
        Rugbug said | February 15th 2012 @ 9:31am | ! Report

        Sheek we do need the Saffas but they also need us. Don’t for a second think they would generate anywhere near as much revenue without regular competition against the top two countries in the world.
        The over whelming majority of the money that broadcasters pay is for the Tri-Nations now to be the Rugby Championship.
        Yes Sr still provides a big financial boost however the credibility of the tournament can be put down to involving two of the best rugby nations on the planet NZ and Australia also it pays to note that the biggest name in the rugby universe the “All Blacks” also gives both the championship and SR a massive boost and again something the broadcasters are paying for.
        Look at the first 10 years of Super rugby South African teams didn’t feature on the radar not one title at all.
        it is only in recent years that their talent has come to the fore and this can be largely be put down to the constant meetings with the best players in the world, NZ and Australia have like it or not helped to bring SA up to a consistently good level, yes the same can be said for SA in reverse, however in 17 years of SR 13 titles have been shared betweeno NZ and Australia.

        The Currie Cup on its own is a great competion however it is not at the level of SR and it on its own can not sustain SA rugby, South Africans too would be heading elsewhere in droves to chase the almighty dollar, the rand on its own simply will not be enough.
        The SARU has shot itself in the foot here, after all the spoilt brat sheninagans that we have seen over the last few years they would be risking a hell of a lot to go out on their own. Does anyone really think that Europe is going to want to accomodate such a demanding upstart?
        It would be a huge risk for Europe to consider and the smart money says they would not even contemplate the idea, last time I checked Europe didn’t have a place for SA last time they threatened to leave and I certainly don’t see them putting out the welcome mat right now nor can I see them doing it anytime soon for the above reasons.

        I would like to see SANZAR stay together but how long can we put up with the SARU acting like childish twats

        • February 15th 2012 @ 9:35am
          kingplaymaker said | February 15th 2012 @ 9:35am | ! Report

          Rugbug the real problem with SA is not just the tantrums, but their active blocking of any new idea the other partners think up. Look at the last Super team having to go to arbitration.

          • February 15th 2012 @ 9:56am
            Rugbug said | February 15th 2012 @ 9:56am | ! Report

            I personally don’t believe Australia warranted another team either KPM but thats just my personally opinion and it was justified with three Aust teams finishing in the bottom four last year.

            • Roar Guru

              February 15th 2012 @ 3:41pm
              Bay35Pablo said | February 15th 2012 @ 3:41pm | ! Report


              Rebels were a start up.
              Brumbies team collapsed.
              Force lost that many cloase games their score didn’t reflect their competitiveness.

              Both SAF and NZ usually have 2 poor teams each yer.

              • February 16th 2012 @ 6:14am
                mania said | February 16th 2012 @ 6:14am | ! Report

                @ Bay35Pablo
                final standing for super 2011. so whose teams are in the bottom 5?
                and considering all the sht that hurricanes went through last season they still finished 9th

                1 Reds
                2 Stormers
                3 Crusaders
                4 Blues

                5 Waratahs
                6 Sharks
                7 Bulls
                8 Highlanders
                9 Hurricanes
                10 Chiefs

                11 Cheetahs
                12 W.Force
                13 Brumbies
                14 Lions
                15 Rebels

              • February 16th 2012 @ 3:13pm
                Rugbug said | February 16th 2012 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

                Its been a very long time since NZ has taken the wooden sppon Bay and I do believe 12th is the lowest any NZ team has finished since 2006. Do not that Australia and South Africa have had 10 bottom four placings a piece since 2006 and NZ has had four in the same period.
                Its abundantly clear that SA & Australia are struggling with the teams they have let alone needing any more.

        • February 15th 2012 @ 9:18pm
          sheek said | February 15th 2012 @ 9:18pm | ! Report


          They say a genius is someone who thinks up an idea who’s time has come. in other words, timing is everything.

          The flip side is when an idea’s time has passed it by. Read Trans-Tasman rugby comp.

          This would have been a great concept pre-super rugby. But to venture into it now is really a backward step. A second best option. Of course, we can go there, but only when the Saffies pull the plug on us. Until then, we should try to persevere with super rugby, & SANZAR. It’s mutually beneficial to all parties at the present time.

          Naturally, if the Saffies are too uncooperative, we can always cut them loose. But for the moment, the SR arrangement more or less works to everyone’s satisfaction.

    • February 15th 2012 @ 9:24am
      katzilla said | February 15th 2012 @ 9:24am | ! Report

      The loss of revenue from losing South Africa would be alot more then 1/3, financially they’re the major player of the 3.
      Im also not keen to lose a third of the teams we get to see play against our own, the South Africans provide the greatest challenge in the world in certain game mechanics.
      No, they’re just having their yearly rant, it will pass.

      Also a Trans-Tasman rugby comp would never compete financially with the NRL for players, especially with their imminent increase in player salaries. Did you see the Salaries some of the those Reds were on last year? 20k-50k about 6 of them. The guy that picks up my rubbish makes more.

      As much as I dislike the artificial nature of the Super Rugby teams they’re a necessary evil in today’s money driven sports world.

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