The Super Rugby solution – flick SANZAAR for Oceania Rugby

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    Ever since the passing of statesman Danie Craven and Nelson Mandela, South African rugby has become a shambles.

    Through his passion, Craven kept rugby alive during isolation over apartheid. There was no justice that he died in 1993, aged 82, not living to see his country win their first Rugby World Cup in 1995 at their first attempt.

    That honour fell to Mandela, and who will ever forget the President on the Ellis Park podium wearing Springbok jersey No 6, presenting the William Webb Ellis Trophy to the Springbok captain Francois Pienaar.

    South African rugby was on top of the world winning a second World Cup in 2007 with a lot of help from Aussie Eddie Jones as assistant coach. Nelson Mandela lived to see it, passing away in 2013, aged 95.

    South Africa last won the Rugby Championship in 2009, and only the Bulls have won a Super Rugby title – their third and last in 2010 when it was Super 14.

    That was the last time there was a level playing field with the 14 teams playing each other home and away.

    Today Super Rugby is in complete chaos with 18 teams that include the Sunwolves from Japan, the Jaguares from Argentina and a sixth team from South Africa when Australia and New Zealand only have five each.

    How the hell did that happen?

    To compound the stupidity, there are moves afoot to drop a South African and an Australian side, and make four groups of four, or two of eight, retaining the Sunwolves and Jaguares.

    From one disaster to another, and all the trouble seems to surround South Africa.

    That’s very easily fixed by leaving South Africa, Sunwolves, and Jaguares out altogether, ending the SANZAAR position as Super Rugby’s governing body, and launching Oceania Rugby of the same five Australian and New Zealand teams, plus the national teams of Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga.

    Nemani Nadolo Crusaders Super Rugby 2015

    That will limit SANZAAR to the Rugby Championship to ensure the southern hemisphere has an annual world class international tournament.

    But Oceania Rugby will have far less debilitating air travel, and a shorter tournament that will be welcomed by the elite footballers.

    The five Australian teams to play home and away within their group for eight games, play the five New Zealand sides once each, and the three Islander sides once for a total of 16 games before the finals series of eight teams.

    The New Zealanders to do the same, home and away within their group, play the five Australia sides once each, and the Islander sides once for 16 games all up, as well.

    While the Islanders play each other home and away for four games each, and play the Australian and New Zealand sides once each for a total of 14 games, plus two byes.

    It’s not perfect, but it’s fairer than the current chaos that offends everyone, fans included.

    The inclusion of Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga is long overdue for the benefit of world rugby.

    All three national sides have been treated as backwater countries, shown scant respect by World Rugby as the governing body by the odd grant from the bottomless pit of money derived by every World Cup.

    World Rugby to subsidise the Islanders to the tune of $150,000 per player in 30-man squads, making the bottomless pit meaningful.

    Franchise clubs around the world must release their Fijian, Samoan, and Tongan reps for Oceania Rugby. Those who have already made their allegiance to Wallaby and All Black rugby remain the same.

    Failure to release the others would have drastic ramifications by losing accreditation to play in their local tournaments.

    Any injured or “injured” players will be ineligible to play for their franchise for three months.

    It’s time for the usually toothless World Rugby to show some bite as the governing body.

    Oceania Rugby will be doing world rugby a big favour, with Foxtel worldwide and free-to-air in Australia supportive.

    So bring it on.

    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 (221)

    • Roar Guru

      March 16th 2017 @ 6:11am
      Harry Jones said | March 16th 2017 @ 6:11am | ! Report

      If that happened, I would really miss the Roar and its jolly people.

      • Roar Rookie

        March 16th 2017 @ 8:58am
        Dave_S said | March 16th 2017 @ 8:58am | ! Report

        And you would be greatly missed Harry.

        • Roar Guru

          March 16th 2017 @ 10:07am
          Harry Jones said | March 16th 2017 @ 10:07am | ! Report

          Seems like the tight SA-OZ rugby relationship is worth saving.

      • Roar Guru

        March 16th 2017 @ 9:12am
        Nobrain said | March 16th 2017 @ 9:12am | ! Report

        Harsh, I will get to the roar only for RCH

        • Roar Rookie

          March 16th 2017 @ 9:44am
          Dave_S said | March 16th 2017 @ 9:44am | ! Report

          Then you would be greatly missed some of the time Nobrain.

          • Roar Guru

            March 16th 2017 @ 10:46am
            Nobrain said | March 16th 2017 @ 10:46am | ! Report

            Just when I got my Guru badge.

      • Columnist

        March 16th 2017 @ 10:14am
        David Lord said | March 16th 2017 @ 10:14am | ! Report

        It’s a pity Harry your South African players haven’t the same dedication and commitment to Super Rugby as you have.

        At last count there were 28 quality South Africans who preferred to accept the big money in Europe than represent their provinces in Super Rugby.

        Even before the mass exit, only the Bulls in 21 years of Super Rugby have won three titles, no other South African side has raised the trophy.

        So South Africa had no right to have six teams, and no right to have an input into the future and the format of Super Rugby..

        A tragic fact of life.

        • Roar Guru

          March 16th 2017 @ 10:38am
          Nobrain said | March 16th 2017 @ 10:38am | ! Report

          That is unfair. How many patriotic players from Australia have preferred to play in Europe for the money as well? , may be if you were able to keep them in confort playing SR we would not have this problem. You cannot blame other SANZAAR members from your own faults. Do you think for a moment that the inclusion of the Kings and Jaguares is the root of the problem?

        • Roar Guru

          March 16th 2017 @ 10:43am
          Rob na Champassak said | March 16th 2017 @ 10:43am | ! Report

          If they have no right to have an input into the future and the format of Super Rugby, then what does the SA in SANZAAR stand for?

          Having said that, Australia should be getting a say as well.

        • Roar Guru

          March 16th 2017 @ 11:34am
          Fionn said | March 16th 2017 @ 11:34am | ! Report

          Yeah, David, I don’t get it, how many Australians are playing abroad too? This is a problem plaguing us as well. And I bet that following this year (with the Lions series) a lot of All Blacks will say goodbye to Europe or Japan as well.

        • Roar Guru

          March 16th 2017 @ 11:45am
          Harry Jones said | March 16th 2017 @ 11:45am | ! Report

          I think it’s more like 250, David.

          Most of them can earn 4-5 times more.

          Most of us would take that.

        • March 16th 2017 @ 11:53am
          Darwin Stubbie said | March 16th 2017 @ 11:53am | ! Report

          Dont you just love the good old aussie arrogance of thinking everything revolves around them and everything needs to change because they’re in the mire. ..

          • March 16th 2017 @ 9:03pm
            soapit said | March 16th 2017 @ 9:03pm | ! Report

            do you realise you really have a serious habit of attributing individuals issues to their nationality.

          • March 16th 2017 @ 9:43pm
            Zero Gain said | March 16th 2017 @ 9:43pm | ! Report

            ‘Typical Australian arrogance’. So doing what is best for Australian rugby is arrogance is it? You are right. We should just watch the code go down the tubes for the sake of NZ and SA rugby. After all, our teams are just around to provide viewing fun for those markets. Talk about ‘arrogance’.

            • March 22nd 2017 @ 8:22pm
              Jacko said | March 22nd 2017 @ 8:22pm | ! Report

              No Zero the Arrogance is the expectation that NZ will just go along with whatever Aus want. NZ is a very successful rugby nation and dont need fixing. Im not anti the idea completely but Aus rugby is in the toilet…not NZ rugby

        • March 16th 2017 @ 1:16pm
          El Capitan said | March 16th 2017 @ 1:16pm | ! Report

          So by that count David, Australia has won 4 titles (Ponies x 2, Reds and Tahs 1 each), we should have no right for teams in Perth and Victoria?
          The fact is SANZAARR gets good television money from South Africa, thats why they are at the table each time.
          To improve this, wages need to drop due to less television money, which will require players heading OS to make more.
          My vision will see that the Ponies will leave Canberra and merge with Rebels. More Corporate $$ and leaves the Force TV zone as easy pickings.

        • Roar Guru

          March 16th 2017 @ 2:23pm
          Charging Rhino said | March 16th 2017 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

          Very poor post David.
          Please go back and calculate the combined Head to Head win/ loss stats between South African and Australian teams. You will be horribly surprised and at how much it favours South African teams. Even over the past 2-3 Super seasons…. with the Kings and Cheetahs….

          Bulls winning 3 titles…. Yes sure SA teams have not stepped up when it comes to the actual final day. But what if the Sharks had gotten a better bounce of the ball and scored an extra try or two in the 5 finals they have played in? Or if the Lions didn’t send a B team to Argentina last year and ended up hosting the final at Ellis Park instead of travelling to Wellington?
          Suddenly to doesn’t look all that bad…..
          Or the Stormers and Cats in their finals/playoffs? But yes, the big matches have eluded SA teams as they’ve failed to convert on the day, except for the Bulls.

          And Australia… 4 titles?

          But that’s fine. SA can take the millions of viewers from Southern Africa, and the UK/ Europe, plus the big chunk of the money and leave Australia with much less income to fend for themselves. If that’s what Australia really wants?
          Young school boys in South Africa know more about the Australian Super rugby players and teams than the average rugby watching Australian. They’re super stars in SA, in Australia hardly anybody knows who they are. This generates massive media interest, TV viewership and therefore money in SA, even the UK…. which Australian rugby benefits from.

          The only “tragic fact” I see is this …. South Africa and Australia have completely opposite and different needs when it comes to super rugby. NZ is somewhere in the middle but more on the SA outlook of things. To try and find the compromise between all 3 is the conundrum…. and it’s very tricky.

          • Roar Guru

            March 16th 2017 @ 5:05pm
            Cadfael said | March 16th 2017 @ 5:05pm | ! Report

            Sorry Rhino, but the Lions coach has already said that he will do the same as last year as regards leaving his top players at home while touring overseas. No point then in saying maybe the Lions could pick up more points.

            You are right,. though. The decision will have nothing to do with rugby. It will be about dollars.

        • March 16th 2017 @ 4:25pm
          Larry said | March 16th 2017 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

          Jesus Lordy ease up on the red wine champ!

        • March 17th 2017 @ 4:03pm
          DaveSA said | March 17th 2017 @ 4:03pm | ! Report

          David – disappointed in your post.

          Where we agree.
          – administratively we are a mess right now.
          – the 6th side was stupid.
          – by the way Aus is a different mess

          But the Super mess isn’t just because of the Kings.

          For me is awful conference system is to blame.
          SA didn’t want it this way but that was the price of 6 sides.
          Who wanted the extended Super season?
          Who didn’t have their own local structures so they needed a regional tournament in a tournament to fill that gap?
          Who wanted the focus on regional conferences and focus on local derbies?

          No right to 6th side – agreed.
          No right to say in the tournament they raise the most money for ? That’s crackers.

          There is a short term solution and a long term strategic one.
          If the long term one is Oceania … then Aus / NZ should tell SA now – that is good manners.
          We will finish our contract and negotiate North.

          One thing – as much as I love he 4Ns it may have to go or shift to another date ..
          We would need to fit around the Northern schedule..

    • March 16th 2017 @ 6:11am
      Daveski said | March 16th 2017 @ 6:11am | ! Report

      There’s abit to like about this EXCEPT really not in favour of having national teams in a provincial comp. I think it devalues those national jerseys. Maybe call them the Suva Warriors or just one combined Pacific Island team and then leave the Sunwolves in there who are at least in our time zone. Plus the crowds are good and players like travelling to Tokyo and Singapore more so than say Bloemfontein.

      This seemed to be the Andrew Mehrtens suggestion the other night on Foxtel also.

      Alas whilst this proposal makes a fair amount of sense, certainly for Aus rugby, it or something akin to it just ain’t gonna happen.

      • Roar Rookie

        March 16th 2017 @ 10:20am
        Dwards said | March 16th 2017 @ 10:20am | ! Report

        Interesting that Mehrtens seemed willing to jettison SA.
        I thought the NZ-SA bond was unbreakable according to many here.

        • Roar Guru

          March 16th 2017 @ 10:34am
          Machooka said | March 16th 2017 @ 10:34am | ! Report

          Yep, I also picked up on that Dwards… and further he seemed to imply something along the lines of ‘don’t get me started about all of this’. And he’s employed by Foxtel. Rupert. Ruler of the known universe.

        • March 16th 2017 @ 11:41am
          Muzzo said | March 16th 2017 @ 11:41am | ! Report

          Yep Dwards, Mehrtens might be willing, but he doesn’t speak for all Kiwi’s, who I’m sure, wouldn’t take his opinion seriously.
          Even now, Kiwi’s still love the challenge that South African teams have to offer…….. including me, as I also respect the history, that is between these two nations, internationally..

          • Roar Rookie

            March 16th 2017 @ 1:07pm
            Dwards said | March 16th 2017 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

            Fair enough.
            I was surprised he so readily promoted it. Perhaps he felt compelled given it’s an aussie show hey?

            The diversity of opinion and solution to this issue is staggering. If only this passion was more widely spread – say to grass roots rugby clubs in Oz then it might not even be necessary.

            • March 16th 2017 @ 2:27pm
              Muzzo said | March 16th 2017 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

              I wouldn’t say that Foxsports, is an Aussie show, as it is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who as most know, turned down his Australian citizenship, to become a Yank citizen. So therefore it’s really a Yank program, with our lot here being part of Uncle Rupert’s glorified team. I am a strong believer of grass roots, as you mentioned, as that is where the foundations are put in place. Cheers.

        • Roar Guru

          March 16th 2017 @ 5:06pm
          Cadfael said | March 16th 2017 @ 5:06pm | ! Report

          Grant Fox has also said something similar.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 3:52pm
          DaveSA said | March 17th 2017 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

          Isn’t mehrtens the Aus kicking coach?
          Australia’s interests are different to NZs

    • March 16th 2017 @ 6:17am
      Blue Horned Mike said | March 16th 2017 @ 6:17am | ! Report

      New Zealand teams really want to play the SA teams and would fight really hard to keep that status quo. So I don’t see an Oceanic competition ever happening.

      • March 16th 2017 @ 6:30am
        mania said | March 16th 2017 @ 6:30am | ! Report

        agree mike. kiwi’s prefer to play the next hardest teams on the planet and that’s SA. NZ would get rid of aus before it cuts ties with SA

        its ironic David, that you say the problems centre around SA . are you not taking any responsibility for the equally problematic aus teams?
        sure SA has its problems but they know what they are and they have the player resources and quality to fix the problem, imo by getting rid of the quota and not allowing overseas players to represent.
        the cause of aus’ problems is obscure but the result is obvious.
        never has aus rugby been so bad. in the 40 years that I’ve watched rugby I’ve never seen such a sad collection of under quality aus players. aussies were known for being fast, smart and never giving up. that’s far different from what we’ve been seeing the last 2-3 seasons.

        this idea is so pie in the sky that it doesn’t really deserve to be considered unless its a bit more steeped in reality.
        NZ is never going to break away from SA
        Tonga, Samoa and Fiji will never be a super power because they don’t have a TV audience to bring to the table.

        • Roar Guru

          March 16th 2017 @ 9:47am
          Cadfael said | March 16th 2017 @ 9:47am | ! Report

          On your comment that “SA has its problems”, they do and this is one of the reasons why the SR programme is like it is. The SARU wouldn’t make a decision on which team to go because they promised the Kings they would come up regardlesss. With 18 teams, there should have been three conferences of 6 teams each not the aberration we ended up with.

          I would have preferred to see each team play each other once then the top 4 play off for the semis. If four Kiwi sides make up the top four, fair enough.

        • March 16th 2017 @ 10:46am
          richard said | March 16th 2017 @ 10:46am | ! Report

          “NZ is never going to break away from SA.” This.Why do people persist in this belief that we will desert SA.

          Not going to happen.EVER!!

        • March 16th 2017 @ 11:33am
          Paul said | March 16th 2017 @ 11:33am | ! Report

          Mania, harder teams??? hahahahaha Kings and Cheetahs Hardest teams ??? hahahaha

          Try again..hahaha

        • March 16th 2017 @ 11:44am
          Paul said | March 16th 2017 @ 11:44am | ! Report

          NZ is insignificant in world rugby because of their lack of $$$$$$$$$ ..They have a good national team.. But their economy is miniscule…I`d be happy to drop the Kiwis in a heartbeat… NZ need Aus more than we need them.. I`d enjoy with pleasure watching all their top players go to Europe or Japan if AUS and Fox dropped them..

          They even begged England for 3 million pounds to play them . .England said go jump…New Zealand need the cash from the big countires or they will fall over …NZ you aren’t that special . ..You have a population the size of Victoria so reel your neck in, sit in the corner and shoosh..

          • March 16th 2017 @ 12:00pm
            R2D2 said | March 16th 2017 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

            Ouch ,brutal……..and true to a point, but they are No 1 . Their top players tend to stay , their retired ones are securing their pension overseas and the second / third tier players know if they not good enough or not willing to do the hard yards , they won’t get to the top..so give me the money. True ,they are not special , but they do have a say .

            • March 16th 2017 @ 12:24pm
              Sydneysider said | March 16th 2017 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

              “NZ is insignificant in world rugby because of their lack of $$$$$$$$$ ..They have a good national team.. But their economy is miniscule…”

              Like I have said previously, I would love to see what sort of TV money a NZ only rugby competition would generate from overseas markets.

              Maybe we might get the chance in the future… especially if both SA and NZ stick together and Australia drops to the point where they can’t compete at that level.

              • March 16th 2017 @ 12:43pm
                Joe King said | March 16th 2017 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

                I’m not sure if your comment was a serious consideration or a deliberate backhander against Australia. In which case, it would be as shameful as the way many Ozzies also comment on here.

                However, I’m prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt.

                In my opinion, I think a NZ/SA comp could survive without Oz, but it wouldn’t be desirable at all from a NZRU perspective.

                It wouldn’t gain as much revenue because of the time zone difference between SA and NZ. And it wouldn’t make up for the revenue lost without Oz.

                Like it or not, NZ and Oz need each other, so we’d probably better get along 🙂

              • March 16th 2017 @ 1:24pm
                Paul said | March 16th 2017 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

                No one would care Sydneysider ,( You a New Zealander living in Sydney ?? ) as the overseas markets would have no attachment or affinity with those teams .. Who would want it ?? Expats ?? Who ?? …No one, that’s why, You think an overseas bidder would pay multi millions to watch irrelevant tiny towns battle it out on a rugby paddock near antarctica..??

                As I said earlier, Reel ya necks in, sit down you little south pacific minnows and let the big nations deal with the big $$$$$$$ …

              • March 16th 2017 @ 1:47pm
                Kane said | March 16th 2017 @ 1:47pm | ! Report

                Some good points there Paul but can you explain why the NZRU have over $60m in cash reserves and over $100m in equity and the ARU are broke?

                Also I don’t think the NZRU begged England for $3m, they already have a match scheduled for that week commemorating 125 years of Barbarians rugby.

                England asked if they would like to play them and they said yeah, if we split the profits.

              • March 22nd 2017 @ 8:37pm
                Jacko said | March 22nd 2017 @ 8:37pm | ! Report

                Paul your bitterness is sad but not as sad as your lack of facts. Foxtel is Aussie only.NZ has Sky which is all UK tied with rugby. They pay the most $$$$ to Super rugby not Fox. Its all those English wanting to see the ABs play. The NZ economy is doing well thanks for asking but you should check the Aussie one out. The population is the size of Victoria and yet they still Kick your Aussie Butt.
                Your jealousy is a bit scarry.

                Also researsh your history and you will find NZ has saved Aussies a.se with rugby so many times its embarrassing for you…Poor dear

          • March 16th 2017 @ 12:21pm
            Darwin Stubbie said | March 16th 2017 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

            The funny part of that is you actually believe Aust and foxsports provide a lionshare of the revenue … go on pull out of SR and then watch from the sidelines as NZ and SA continue on with a revamped competition. .. I’d give it about 2 years before NSW and Qld are begging to be let back in

            • March 16th 2017 @ 12:26pm
              Sydneysider said | March 16th 2017 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

              “believe Aust and foxsports provide a lionshare of the revenue”

              True, so of the current 5 year deal, does anyone know what the overseas rights are in terms of $$$ ??(I am referring to the rights from markets outside of SA, NZ and Aust)

              How much are they worth?

            • March 16th 2017 @ 1:39pm
              Paul said | March 16th 2017 @ 1:39pm | ! Report

              You think a broadcaster would stump up multi millions of $$$ for SA/NZ comp ? Time zones man and a really small pay per viewer subscription number in NZ ( tiny country) couldn’t and wouldn’t fund it..The Rand is also worthless..

              Good on ya Stubbie holder, as if you`d stay up til 330am every weekend to watch a game from SA.

              • Roar Guru

                March 16th 2017 @ 10:16pm
                biltongbek said | March 16th 2017 @ 10:16pm | ! Report

                Broadcasting deals are made in the almighty dollar mate, we use our measly Rands to buy bread and biltong

              • March 16th 2017 @ 11:24pm
                woodart said | March 16th 2017 @ 11:24pm | ! Report

                so our npc is broadcast live in aus for you to watch, any many in aus pay to do so. that kind of makes almost all your comments stupid and pointless.

              • March 22nd 2017 @ 8:39pm
                Jacko said | March 22nd 2017 @ 8:39pm | ! Report

                NPC also broadcast in europe and America.

                Paul is jealous. Paul is jealous

            • March 16th 2017 @ 1:59pm
              Darwin Stubbie said | March 16th 2017 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

              For starters I’d imagine both NZ and SA subscription channels plus lets not forget Japan and Arg – because theyd still be in it – then of course there is the NH providers who are part of the current deal – why would they leave just because Aust arent in it … and then finally foxsports would likely tip in as well for content – you know the one that already bungs on the NZ second tier NPC live .. as its all to do qith content they’ll look to provide it live …. you’re living in a fantasy world where you’re equating the size of the Aust national economy as being equitable with Aust rugby footprint

              • March 16th 2017 @ 3:30pm
                Paul said | March 16th 2017 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

                How convenient..Oh you want the Argies and Japanese to help you little kiwis out ??? and Foxtel too?? NH as well ?? Why would NH want a bar of you blokes, they have their own massive comps…Anybody else you need to help you little Tasman sea minnows out?..

                You want Argentinas money and Japanese money, and in return you will love thumping them on the scoreboard..?? Is that what it is ?? To thump your chest and thump on them on scoreboard??

                Pathetic argument Stubbie Holder….

                P.S Foxtel has over 4 million individual household subscribers in Australia…
                More than the population of New Zulland , and that is not including clubs, pubs RSL Casinos etc etc etc..

                The big $$$$ are here bro… Not NZ .It`s safe to say Oz have the all the $$$$$ ….

              • March 22nd 2017 @ 8:44pm
                Jacko said | March 22nd 2017 @ 8:44pm | ! Report

                Paul your jealousy is really making you bitter and twisted there. You cant even see facts but continue on blindly embarrassing yourself with your lack of knowledge and total lack of any understanding of world rugby. If all the $$$$ are in Aus why is it nearly bankrupt? Why cant they afford the local comp? why did they lose money last year? lots of stuff so inacurate about your post that the only consistancy is that you are JEALOUS.Even the most financially secure SR franchise in Aus is owned by a kiwi. Jealousy is a worry…hope you can get thru it

          • March 16th 2017 @ 12:29pm
            Joe King said | March 16th 2017 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

            A bit harsh there, Paul!

            (Though it is true that NZ and Oz need each other rugby wise).

            While Andrew Mehrten’s suggestion might mean that not all kiwi’s feel the bond with SA is worth keeping them in SR, the kiwi’s on this website should be free to express their opinions.

            While comments on social media unfortunately paint a terrible picture of the relationship between Kiwis and Ozzies, there is actually a rich historical bond in relation to rugby between Oz and NZ too. It may not be as historically rich as between NZ and SA, or for some, Oz and England, but it doesn’t need to be an either/or.

            For me personally, my favourite games are between the Wallabies and Springboks. Since their readmission to international rugby, the for and against between the two teams is only a couple of games, I believe. It’s a wonderful arm wrestle!

            But at a 2nd tier level, I still wouldn’t mind them just focusing on the Currie Cup, allowing that traditional competition to return to its prominence, while the rest of the SR teams play our own SR comp, and then the top four from each play each other in a champions league (as someone else has recently suggested)

            But I respect the desire of most kiwis it seems, including the NZRU, to keep SA in SR.

            • March 16th 2017 @ 1:54pm
              Old Bugger said | March 16th 2017 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

              Nah, Paul is just venting his frustrations when he sees his beloved Union getting a pounding on the playing field and in the board-room. But, it’s just not fair…..is it??

              He’ll put the toys back, when he’s finished.

              • March 16th 2017 @ 2:34pm
                Muzzo said | March 16th 2017 @ 2:34pm | ! Report

                Lol OB, but where will he throw his dummy next Bro???????

        • March 16th 2017 @ 9:57pm
          Zero Gain said | March 16th 2017 @ 9:57pm | ! Report

          Nice idea David. Long distance rugby just does not work. Take the emotion out of it. It makes a lot of sense to focus locally. If NZ won’t play ball let them travel to SA and back for eternity and let’s just have a domestic competition. Sometimes you just have to let something go to move forward.
          All the Australian super teams plus develop a few more. That is what the market wants. That would really take off. Women’s AFL will soon take over super rugby for support in this country. Probably more interesting at the moment too. Go the Lions!

      • March 16th 2017 @ 7:26am
        John said | March 16th 2017 @ 7:26am | ! Report

        Agreed – NZ would prefer to keep the South Africans in the mix.
        The root cause of Australia’s problem is the poor performances of their Super Rugby franchises. Poor performances lead to drop in revenue from supporters and sponsors. This is not a sustainable business model.
        This idea of an Oceania tournament is just another way of Australians trying to lower the competition bar so their non performing Super Rugby franchises can jump over it and maybe win something.
        The ARU should fix the problem in it’s own backyard and that is to re-structure the game from schoolboy rugby all the way upwards to the Wallabies. If they don’t fix the mess they created then in 2020 when the TV rights are renegotiated the SARU and NZRU might tell the ARU to leave and start their own Oceania competition because they aren’t good enough to play with the professionals anymore.

        • March 16th 2017 @ 9:32am
          mania said | March 16th 2017 @ 9:32am | ! Report

          john – well said. most important is your last paragraph. bottom line is if aus carry on this decline then I can see them being kicked out of super. then that’ll be the death of international rugby for aus
          sure NZ would suffer but super rugby would go on
          ARU have a lot to answer for and fix

          • March 16th 2017 @ 11:22am
            Sydneysider said | March 16th 2017 @ 11:22am | ! Report

            “NZ is never going to break away from SA”

            “The ARU should fix the problem in it’s own backyard and that is to re-structure the game from schoolboy rugby all the way upwards to the Wallabies. If they don’t fix the mess they created then in 2020 when the TV rights are renegotiated the SARU and NZRU might tell the ARU to leave and start their own Oceania competition because they aren’t good enough to play with the professionals anymore.”

            Fair enough, New Zealand can do what they like. Don’t expect the same amount of revenue from the next SANZAAR tv deal then.

            I wonder what sort of TV deal a NZ/SA only Super Rugby comp would generate?

            • March 16th 2017 @ 12:56pm
              Old Bugger said | March 16th 2017 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

              I’d hope it would be a helluva lot more than what the ARU could generate, without SA, ARG and NZ. It is just pointless going down this road of Oceania vs SANZAAR simply because, SANZAAR is, the only deal in town, folks.

              And unless some other hombre, with a bigger bucket than Murdoch comes along, then he’s stuck with SANZAAR and SANZAAR, is stuck with him.

              His advantage, after this latest episode, is lesser teams, means a smaller bucket. So, does anyone know of some other hombre, who might be interested…..??

          • March 16th 2017 @ 11:26am
            puff said | March 16th 2017 @ 11:26am | ! Report

            David, enjoyed your contribution but not the science. The variables in any professional endeavour are complex and will never please all parties. Whichever way you would like to candy coat the next reincarnation of SR we all need to understand, NZ are the catalyst. Therefore NZ will not sanction a change that depletes receipts, bums on seat, lowers standards or compromises NZ’s position in the world of rugby. Regardless, what folk like David may think, NZ have a much closer alliance to SA rugby than OZ, unfortunately. In my opinion I think they believe we have not invested in the game sufficiently and continue to play a brand of rugby called Cheika’s Australian way. Instead of paying for useless ARU staffer’s who achieve little, they believe we need to invest funds in acquiring world class coaches who have the ability to change the mind set. Heaven forbid, we require skills coaches and dear me, a kicking guru who can explain and show players, when and how to kick. For NZ to improve, they need a strong OZ conference and it is not forthcoming. These basics appear to be in short supply and until we actively address them, they will remain so.

          • Roar Guru

            March 17th 2017 @ 1:57pm
            jeznez said | March 17th 2017 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

            Mania – we’d have a fair way to decline to drop to Sunwolves/Kings standards. Or do we get booted just for being middle of the road?

        • March 16th 2017 @ 11:02am
          me said | March 16th 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

          Agree john. Aru pumps hundreds of thousands into paying matt giteau and drew mitchell to come back and play for a total of 12 minutes, instead of hundreds of thousands of dollars into grass roots level. Build the game from the bottom up not try draw crowds from washed up has beens.

          • March 16th 2017 @ 11:44am
            Maroon Kev said | March 16th 2017 @ 11:44am | ! Report

            They just get match payments you poon

          • Roar Guru

            March 16th 2017 @ 4:21pm
            John R said | March 16th 2017 @ 4:21pm | ! Report

            Giteau and Mitchell took paycuts to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars to come back and play for Aus.

            They’d have only received the 10k odd match payment fees for the games they played in in return.

        • March 16th 2017 @ 1:52pm
          Paul said | March 16th 2017 @ 1:52pm | ! Report

          John, NZ don`t have a say in this, they are minnows .No $$$$$$$$$$$.. Tiny economy..Has it sunk in yet ??..

          Yeah I`m sure all the kiwis living in Australia would love NZ SA going it alone ..

          ” Yeah let`s do it who needs ozzie anyway blah bla.. ..oh wait ,um err umm err arr hang on !! derrrrr

          SANZ announcement ” No new Zealand teams to play in Australia in the new super 11 from 2018 “..

          Might be a great way to get rid of the 400k + New Zealanders who live here.. Go HOME BROS !!

          HAHAHAHAHA

          • March 16th 2017 @ 2:39pm
            Muzzo said | March 16th 2017 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

            Along with the thousands of Aussie’s living in New Zealand John!!!!
            Have you thought of that, & at least they can draw on the dole, as well, Skippy!!!!

            • March 16th 2017 @ 3:37pm
              Paul said | March 16th 2017 @ 3:37pm | ! Report

              Come on Muzzo, Aussies don’t live in New Zealand. ..They only visit for a week or so ..

              New Zealand is a beautiful place, crisp clean air, wonderful scenery, flora and fauna, hot springs, awesome food wine , only one things spoils it ..

              New Zealanders live there ..haha

              • March 17th 2017 @ 11:22am
                Muzzo said | March 17th 2017 @ 11:22am | ! Report

                Oh Dear me Paul, delusion really is a curse, in your case, isn’t it?

              • March 22nd 2017 @ 8:47pm
                Jacko said | March 22nd 2017 @ 8:47pm | ! Report

                Muzzo he is really jealous of what NZ rugby has.

            • March 17th 2017 @ 8:35am
              Zero Gain said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:35am | ! Report

              Wow, NZ really winning there. Getting the Australians who want to go on the dole. Way to go!

          • March 16th 2017 @ 5:06pm
            Jake said | March 16th 2017 @ 5:06pm | ! Report

            SA provides the lions share of revenue. Aus is nowehere close. Rugby would end for you without SA

          • March 16th 2017 @ 11:27pm
            woodart said | March 16th 2017 @ 11:27pm | ! Report

            do you want sauce on your chip

          • Roar Guru

            March 17th 2017 @ 9:15am
            biltongbek said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:15am | ! Report

            You’re not one for showing much respect are you Paul?

            • March 17th 2017 @ 12:23pm
              Paul said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

              Respect is earnt and is not a given in oz mate, it`s in our convict history ..Like it or lump it..

              • Roar Guru

                March 17th 2017 @ 1:37pm
                biltongbek said | March 17th 2017 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

                So according to you it is better to disrespect everyone right off the bat until they earn respect?

                Hmmm… that clears up a lot about “your” society, doesn’t it?

              • March 22nd 2017 @ 8:48pm
                Jacko said | March 22nd 2017 @ 8:48pm | ! Report

                And you are earning no respect

    • March 16th 2017 @ 6:18am
      soapit said | March 16th 2017 @ 6:18am | ! Report

      im assuming youve already called nz rugby and told them they wont be playing SA teams anymore?

      i think something like this has always been what would suit oz best and only the practical realities existing in the world has stopped it being pushed more by aussies as the solution.

      despite this fundamental issue one of your better writings imo David

    • March 16th 2017 @ 6:28am
      Jimmy said | March 16th 2017 @ 6:28am | ! Report

      Australia can’t sustain 5 teams, maybe not even 4. I think a better mix would be

      5 NZ teams
      3 Aus teams
      1 Japan
      1 Pacific Island

      All teams play each other home & away.

      bing bang bong.

      • March 16th 2017 @ 8:45am
        The Battered Slav said | March 16th 2017 @ 8:45am | ! Report

        So you want a Super 10?

        I don’t think that is enough.

        Also, how will Aus rugby build depth if we revert to three teams? I’m willing to take poor performance from two or maybe even three Aus teams if it exposes young talent to top flight rugby who otherwise would not have gotten the chance.

        No Reece Hodge, no DHP, no Adam Coleman etc etc

        Aus can’t afford to miss out on talent like that, and reverting to three teams would hamper the ability to identify such talent.

        • March 16th 2017 @ 9:34am
          Browny said | March 16th 2017 @ 9:34am | ! Report

          Amen.

        • March 16th 2017 @ 9:38am
          mania said | March 16th 2017 @ 9:38am | ! Report

          The Battered Slav – no. the world doesn’t want to see you guys developing your below par players. that’s what a domestic comp is for.
          in answer to “how will Aus rugby build depth if we revert to three teams?”. sorry but who cares outside of aus? this is ARU’s problem from never investing in grassroots after over 100 years of rugby. after 25+ years of super rugby where have all the profits been spent?
          NZ, SA, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, England…etc have no power to fix aus’ problems. its about time the ARU got off its collective a55e5 and started investing in the game instead of pocketing the profits or wasting it on buying league players. this is your problem to solve.

          please don’t put the rest of us through the pain of you guys addressing.

          • Roar Guru

            March 16th 2017 @ 10:43am
            Nobrain said | March 16th 2017 @ 10:43am | ! Report

            ????

          • March 16th 2017 @ 10:47am
            The Battered Slav said | March 16th 2017 @ 10:47am | ! Report

            Of course mania, it’s not up to the rest of the world to do what’s best for Aus, though it is up to Aus administrators to do what’s best for Aus, and if that means negotiating in Aus’ interests and ensuring the means of developing and identifying talent are there, then that’s what they should be doing.

            Sure you can develop players and identify talent to a degree in lower tier domestic comps (I think your NZ perspective clouds your ability to understand how difficult this is in Aus due to the lack of professional domestic rugby), but their potential to make the higher honours won’t really be known until they are tested in the upper tiers. So yes of course the world has no obligation to facilitate this, that wasn’t my suggestion at all, but Aus administrators do have an obligation to make sure this can happen, and if that means pushing for five teams in whatever provincial comp there is, so be it.

          • March 17th 2017 @ 8:38am
            Zero Gain said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:38am | ! Report

            Can any Kiwi post a comment that does not have a derogatory put down of Australians in it? This is what many of us are sick and tired of. This influence is negative and destructive. We need to purge it and go it alone.

            • March 22nd 2017 @ 8:50pm
              Jacko said | March 22nd 2017 @ 8:50pm | ! Report

              What do you think of Paul’s comments? Just defending ourselves Zero

        • Roar Rookie

          March 16th 2017 @ 10:57am
          Die hard said | March 16th 2017 @ 10:57am | ! Report

          Depth comes from the NRC batteredslav. Super rugby is the level that overarch that. And recognition of that fact by Aussie is the real issue here. Players here can literally go from school to Academy to super rugby which is why the Wallabies often always carry a few rotating weaknesses. Always either passing or kicking or scrums again etc.

          Imagine if for example Taniela Toupo stayed in NZ and had a few seasons with the Steamers say. Then to a wider super squad. Maybe debuts in his early twenties and then goes on.

          As it stands now he is already playing super with eyes on a Wallaby jersey. And he might get one soon for his field game alone but will be learning to scrum at test level.

          The fact that the Aussie clubs are ever scouring kiwi and island league players et al. for the last several seasons is proof the talent is not there.

          • March 16th 2017 @ 11:45am
            The Battered Slav said | March 16th 2017 @ 11:45am | ! Report

            Those are all fair points DH.

            I too wish we had solid domestic structures in place to identify talent but sadly, those pathways are too short as you say and not particularly effective (though the NRC is a positive step for sure).

            So I completely agree there is a problem there, but so long as that problem exists, it will be compounded by not facilitating the development of talent through other means (super rugby academies, then onto super rugby etc). Losing two of five of those academy structures is not good for Aus rugby, particularly in light of the amateurish domestic structures that run in Shute, Hospitals, John I Dent and even the NRC.

            …and yes, I appreciate that this is not what’s best for the other partners in a provincial comp, but I’m not thinking of their benefit, just as they clearly wouldn’t be thinking of ours.

            • Roar Rookie

              March 16th 2017 @ 12:14pm
              Die hard said | March 16th 2017 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

              I think the NRC and a greater focus on school through club rugby is the way forward. The NRC must grow to a professional and self supporting structure independent of super rugby.

              Then three or four teams at Super level would be easily enough cream to develop further the international game.

          • March 17th 2017 @ 8:40am
            Zero Gain said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:40am | ! Report

            ‘Proof the talent is not here’. Yeah, right, it isn’t like there are a lot of other codes all buying the available talent. No, it is just that Australians are totally devoid of rugby talent.
            What would we call this if it was in a personal relationship?

          • March 17th 2017 @ 12:24pm
            Paul said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

            Who`s Taniela Toupo ??

            • March 22nd 2017 @ 8:50pm
              Jacko said | March 22nd 2017 @ 8:50pm | ! Report

              Dont follow rugby Paul?

      • Roar Guru

        March 16th 2017 @ 10:36am
        Machooka said | March 16th 2017 @ 10:36am | ! Report

        … bong!

    • Roar Guru

      March 16th 2017 @ 6:45am
      Fionn said | March 16th 2017 @ 6:45am | ! Report

      You know what was a really exciting format? Super 12 and Super 14! Mandela died in 2013, by the way.

      • March 16th 2017 @ 3:04pm
        AndyS said | March 16th 2017 @ 3:04pm | ! Report

        Really? ‘Cos what I mostly remember is lots of people complaining about weak teams like the Lions and Highlanders, endless whimpering about the travel and assertions that it should be changed to correct these fatal flaws.

        • Roar Guru

          March 16th 2017 @ 8:25pm
          Fionn said | March 16th 2017 @ 8:25pm | ! Report

          You don’t know what you have until it’s gone, Andy. If people went back to that now no one would complain about the schedule and the weak teams (Sunwolves, Kings, Rebels, Force, Cheetahs).

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