Super Rugby needs to be saved – here’s how

wre01 Roar Guru

By wre01, wre01 is a Roar Guru


61 Have your say

    Super Rugby suffers from ridiculous travel requirements, maddening scheduling and mystifying fixture lists. How does scrapping a side in Australia or in South Africa fix any of those fundamental problems?

    There continues to be a total lack of vision and common sense.

    Firstly, can the will of SANZAAR really prevail over the ANC in South Africa? The sport is highly politicised and the idea of relegating the Southern Kings to the dust bin seems wishful thinking.

    Even if that happens, how long until the sport and competition are held to ransom again?

    Secondly, it makes no sense to chuck the Jaguares and Sunwolves out. Agustín Pichot now sits on the World Rugby board and would fight that tooth and nail, while Japan are hosting the 2019 World Cup – why withdraw from that market just as it promises free advertising and growth?

    Much has been written about the failure of Australian Super Rugby sides in the recent past. Yet the Reds won the comp in 2011 and the Waratahs in 2014. No South African side has won it since 2010.

    If you asked the Chiefs or Blues whether they’d rather play Melbourne or the Kings, they’d take the Kings every time. The Force are better than both Melbourne and the Kings combined this year.

    I don’t see that scrapping the Rebels or Force is a must, however it seems a foregone conclusion.

    With all that in mind, how to fix Super Rugby?

    The competition should be divided into the following four pools:

    Pool A: Five South African franchises
    Pool B: Five New Zealand franchises
    Pool C: Four Australian franchises and the Sunwolves
    Pool D: Jaguares, Uruguay XV, Canada XV, USA XV

    Each side would play home-and-away fixtures within its own pool. This would immediately lead to guaranteed local derbies and far less travel.

    At the end of the home-and-away rounds, the top two sides from each pool would go into a cup competition, where quarter and semi-finals are played before a grand final.

    The remaining sides would play in shield and plate competitions.

    Not only does this guarantee less travel and more local derbies, it mirrors the format used in the Rugby World Sevens, one of the bigger rugby success stories over the past decade.

    Pool D could also be expanded to five teams after initially being restricted to four. Candidates for the fifth place could be a Pacific Islands XV or a second side from the United States.

    Of course, there will be push back from New Zealand.

    The Kiwis will argue that all five of their sides should be eligible to qualify for the top eight – and there is merit to that argument. However, there is a big picture that needs to be considered.

    We owe it to the game to grow it. Excluding Japan or Argentina or ignoring the United States and the Pacific Islands is wrong.

    It is not out of the question for South Africa to pull the plug and head to Europe if the completion deteriorates further, and Australian rugby really is at a crossroads. Things either change or it dies a slow and agonising death over the next five to ten years.

    If either of those scenarios play out, how is New Zealand rugby a winner? It will be left without local competition.

    Super Rugby is dysfunctional and not fit for purpose. It is falling apart and SANZAAR needs to stop the rot, quickly and decisively.

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    The Crowd Says (61)

    • March 20th 2017 @ 4:57pm
      Oracle74 said | March 20th 2017 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

      Shoot me if one more person touts a Pacific Island side. They can’t even fund their national squads. How would they fund a super rugby franchise? They would also be slaughtered on the pitch. The quality of rugby in the islands is secind rate. The best island players learnt their craft in NZ Oz or Europe and are playing there already.

    • Roar Guru

      March 20th 2017 @ 7:03pm
      sheek said | March 20th 2017 @ 7:03pm | ! Report


      You cull one Aussie province & one Saffie province, even though you say you don’t want to, but then add an uneven group (4 instead of 5) including other South American & North American teams.

      I appreciate you having ago here but respectfully, you have only added to the confusion.

      • March 21st 2017 @ 5:52am
        wre01 said | March 21st 2017 @ 5:52am | ! Report

        Hey Sheek.
        I have culled an Aussie team because I believe that is a full gone conclusion (unfortunately).
        I have allowed 5 SA teams because i can’t see any way to accommodate 6 feasibly and I believe the Cheetahs will be pushed out.
        The new conference would be 4 to start but i think the US would easily raise sponsorship for two rugby sides, perhaps East and West Coast franchises.
        There is allot of guess work in there but guess work is necessary while Sanzar dither and mess about.

    • March 20th 2017 @ 7:25pm
      Gilbert said | March 20th 2017 @ 7:25pm | ! Report

      I just hope the conference system is scrapped under the new format. Each team play each other once, the top 8 on the points table progress to the playoffs. Easy!

      • March 21st 2017 @ 5:55am
        wre01 said | March 21st 2017 @ 5:55am | ! Report

        Hi Gilbert. There is simply too much travel to have each team play another home and away (or even once). Just no chance unless the Jaguars and Sunwolves are kicked out which would be a bad move I think given the RWC happening in Japan.

    • March 21st 2017 @ 2:53am
      NaBUru38 said | March 21st 2017 @ 2:53am | ! Report

      Adding three new Americas teams would be a step too far.

      I’d add a second South American team based in Sao Paulo to the African-American conference, to make 8 teams.

      • March 21st 2017 @ 5:59am
        wre01 said | March 21st 2017 @ 5:59am | ! Report

        Hi mate
        There is rampant growth of Rugby in the US. Arguably stronger growth than even in Japan or Argentina.
        I think Chicago, Boston, Houston and San Diego would all compete for two franchise spots very quickly. That’s before Vancouver and Toronto in Canada.
        Then Montevideo and Buenos Aires have a ready made and competitive local derby just separated by a river. Brazil would be a step too far.

        • Roar Guru

          March 21st 2017 @ 6:17am
          Carlos the Argie said | March 21st 2017 @ 6:17am | ! Report

          Oh my goodness!

          Here we go again with the rampant growth of rugby in the US.

          It is not happening.

          This is beyond a pipe dream.

          • March 21st 2017 @ 7:55am
            wre01 said | March 21st 2017 @ 7:55am | ! Report

            Carlos- I was in Texas 5 years ago and it was incredible the interest in the game.
            Chicago drew a crowd of 60-70,000 for Ireland v The All Blacks.
            There is easily enough interest, participation and resources for one, if not two, super Rugby sides.

            • Roar Guru

              March 21st 2017 @ 10:34am
              Carlos the Argie said | March 21st 2017 @ 10:34am | ! Report

              I went to the AB-USA game. I even covered the AB-Ireland game for the Roar PLUS the NZ Maori game with the USA. By the way, there were not many people at the Maori-USA game.

              To extrapolate from the AB matches is not appropriate or relevant.

              I have been in the USA for a long time, as player, referee and fan. I am aware of the situation….

    • March 21st 2017 @ 1:09pm
      Garryown said | March 21st 2017 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

      Australia should not suffer from the present political situation in South Africa i.e the New government against the old timers and the ARU and New Zealand should tell them to sort out their mess.

      The ARU haven’t helped by deliberately over the years keeping the 2 new teams -the Force and the Rebels hamstrung in limiting the number of players they could bring in from overseas. If they want rugby to grow here in the West they should help not obstruct

      Given the right encouragement some of the South Africans would come here because of the difficulty they will have finding openings in there own super teams and becoming Springboks.Imports would have to qualify by being here for a number of years but in the meantime their participation would helping more Australians become better players

      Stop and have a look at how many “foreigners” are playing for Six Nations teams now!