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What are the chances of an all-Australian Super Rugby grand final?

The Waratahs reckon they can still make a fist of 2017. (AAP Image/Daniel Munoz)
Roar Rookie
1st July, 2015
20

The 2015 Super Rugby final in Wellington sold out in one minute. One minute.

Fans love a winner-takes-all match as the historical success of the Ranfurly Shield and Test matches show us.

Fans love a big club match especially when two teams from the same country compete. Interest has peaked in New Zealand but dwindled away to nothing in Australia and South Africa.

The Aussie franchises were salivating at the prospect of a Waratahs versus Brumbies final, but it wasn’t to be this year.

Maybe next year? Let’s look at the odds of that happening.

Super Rugby has 15 teams. All things being equal your team will play in a grand final twice every 15 years and host the final once. This is playing out in the 2014 grand final. After 20 years of Super Rugby both the Hurricanes (2006) and Highlanders (1999) play in their second grand final.

That’s a long time between drinks. And I know for sure that their supporters are more thirsty than that.

The odds of hosting a Super grand final get worse in 2016 when the tournament increases to 18 teams. You do the maths: your town will host the grand final once every 18 years.

Sanzar has never responded to the popular fan suggestion that each nation play its own national championship followed by the a shorter champions-of-champions final series. That’s disappointing because the benefits in terms of domestic finals are clear.

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If all Wallabies, All Blacks, and Springboks were required to play NRC, NPC and Currie Cup for their clubs we could see the domestic finals become something meaningful again.

Each country would host their own domestic finals series every year followed by a shorter more intense Super Series that would give us more finals. More big matches. More big TV audiences. More broadcast dollars.

The AFL get it. Melbourne hosts an AFL grand final every year. How long until Melbourne hosts a Super Rugby final? The A-League get it and the NRL get it too.

Sydney hosts a grand final every year (and two Australian teams will always play unless the Warriors make the cut).

The NRL has a two tiered system: NRL and State of Origin. This is what rugby fans are suggesting with real domestic tournaments and a compact Super champions tournament.

Super Rugby was originally touted as a ’12 team State of Origin’ but it has seriously slid down the ladder now. Round robin Super Rugby games mean little to anyone but the rusted on rugby fan. The big games – that’s what counts to fans and players alike.

Australian rugby can expect to host an all-Australian Super Rugby grand final once or twice a century on average. That’s simply not good enough in Australia’s crowded football market place.

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