Super Rugby crossroads: Can’t see the trees for the Forrest

Brett McKay Columnist

By Brett McKay, Brett McKay is a Roar Expert

 , ,

350 Have your say

Popular article! 6,024 reads

    Another weekend, another juncture it seems. And while the common denominator in most cases this season has been the Australian Rugby Union, now we can add SANZAAR as a body, and Super Rugby as a competition into the mix as well.

    Suddenly, all three entities have some serious thinking to do, both collectively and individually, and it’s all interlinked and with direct flow-on effects to each other.

    As far single moments go, there haven’t been many more powerful in Australian rugby this year than of proud Western Australian Andrew Forrest, the billionaire head of Fortescue Metals Group, addressing the Western Force team on Saturday night.

    Standing in the middle of nib Stadium, after a wonderful win to farewell a favourite son and with the entire playing and coaching group encircling him, Forrest’s message was simple: “It’s alright guys, I’ve got this.”

    Questions as to the timing of this are all very valid. As I understand, Forrest is a foundation Western Force member and has been a regular at home games since day dot. He was part of the group of benefactors in the west who set up the Force 15 Foundation, from which the already highly successful Future Force development program has been established.

    “Where was he back in March?” I saw posed rhetorically over the weekend, referring to the point where the Force’s head was officially lowered onto the ARU chopping block. It is a valid question. If he was around back then, the Force might not have had to sit nervously for 48-72 hours and the near 100 days that have followed since.

    If he was around last year, the ARU wouldn’t have had to hurriedly buy out the Western Force intellectual property and take control of the chequebook.

    They’re valid questions. A man of such immense wealth, particularly a man who personally and via FMG as a sponsor has been involved with the club for many years, could easily have stepped in at any point in the franchise’s 12-year history and told them, “I’ve got this.”

    Why he chose to do it so publicly, and after what had already been a special night, perhaps only he will know the real reasons.

    But, as valid as the questions are and the reasons might be, they’re also now irrelevant.

    From a Western Force point of view, all that matters now is that Andrew Forrest is on board. The look on Dave Wessels’ face post-match, and the length of the hug he and Forrest shared, tells you how important the FMG boss now being involved is to the organisation.

    As an Australian rugby fan, this was exactly the sort of fight I was asking for back in early March.

    Forrest’s grand gesture puts the ARU and the process they’re going through in a very difficult place, now, too.

    Though we don’t know the specifics yet, and Forrest himself hasn’t elaborated on what exactly “standing completely with, and behind, Western Australia to keep this team thriving” means, it’s a reasonable and already common conclusion that the Force’s ongoing financial viability is no longer a concern.

    So too, in theory, does the news late last week that Imperium Group boss Andrew Cox is on the verge of transferring ownership of the Melbourne Rebels back to the Victorian Rugby Union and a syndicate of owners, and with the (non-financial) support of the Victorian Government.

    Details remain similarly sketchy about the Rebels deal, which you would also presume would require ARU approval, and on whispers and ‘what ifs’ alone, it perhaps doesn’t have the same ‘sniff test’ of solidity at this early stage.

    But the fact that the whispers are doing the rounds at all suggests that Cox is looking at sale options, for one, and secondly that interest in Melbourne remains strong enough to launch a late rescue deal.

    Amanaki Mafi of the Rebels

    AAP Image/Julian Smith

    Meanwhile, in South Africa, the same sort of whispers that a fortnight ago suggested the Kings and Cheetahs were eyeing off a Super Rugby exit plan to the north are now suggesting the Sharks might join them.

    Again, the obvious and already common conclusion is that the SARU’s long-threatened northern exit play is well and truly underway; how can you conclude otherwise? And the obvious flow-on is that if the Sharks do want to head north, then the need for Australia to shed a team no longer exists.

    This is where SANZAAR and the Super Rugby competition find themselves at the same crossroads the ARU have been standing at for most of 2017.

    As an organisation, SANZAAR needs to give serious consideration as to how Super Rugby looks going forward. That was always going to happen heading into negotiations for the broadcast deals from 2021 and beyond, but the Super Rugby landscape is changing so rapidly right now, that those discussions can’t wait that long. If two South African teams are already leaving and a third is giving it serious consideration, how confident can we be that the competition will still have a South African presence come the 2020 season playoffs?

    A fortnight ago, I concluded that a 16-team single-conference round robin competition is starting to make the most sense for 2018, and it was notable that Australian Rugby Union Players Association CEO Ross Xenos similarly ran with this idea over the weekend.

    The conversations have to happen. Does South Africa want to remain in the competition? What do the broadcasters want to see for the remaining three season of this current TV deal? How do they want the competition to look from 2021? Will ten teams either side of the Tasman become the foundation for a stream-lined Pacific Rim Super Rugby competition, with more teams from Japan, Argentina, and the Islands?

    With the Force situation looking a whole lot more solid than it did last week, and with the Rebels showing some signs of solidification, now is also the time for the ARU to state that five Australian teams will be vital for the competition in future guises. It would make no sense to drop a team that would quite likely been needed again in a few years’ time.

    Furthermore, there is a very workable solution for a 2018 competition sitting right in front, which doesn’t require any further erosion of teams.

    It all needs to happen now.

    Super Rugby as a competition can’t lurch from its worst season on record in terms of public perception into a three-year holding period of yet more uncertainty.

    Brett McKay
    Brett McKay

    Brett McKay is one of The Roar's good news stories and has been a rugby and cricket expert for the site since July 2009. Brett is an international and Super Rugby commentator for ABC Grandstand radio, has commentated on the Australian Under-20s Championships and National Rugby Championship live stream coverage, and has written for magazines and websites in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK. He tweets from @BMcSport.

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (350)

    • Roar Guru

      July 18th 2017 @ 8:26am
      Will Sinclair said | July 18th 2017 @ 8:26am | ! Report

      We live in interesting times!

      In this time of uncertainty, only one thing is completely certain – the ARU needs to act quickly to help resolve this situation and provide clarity for the future. Super Rugby in Australia simply will not survive another two or three (or one?) season like the one we’ve just had.

      There is also a chance for Australian rugby to emerge from this mess stronger than ever – the threat of extinction has solidified support for the game in Victoria and WA, and I am seeing a resurgence in interest in grass roots (club) rugby in conversations with people in both Brisbane and Sydney, and that can only be good for the game.

      However, it is not yet clear that the ARU will welcome either the investment of Twiggy Forrest, or the ongoing support for the game in new markets, or the growth in interest in club rugby. Does any of this form part of their own “master plan” for the game?

      Very, very interesting times.

      • July 18th 2017 @ 10:22am
        Noodles said | July 18th 2017 @ 10:22am | ! Report

        Twiggyis only effective if he underwrites the Force for an extended period. The way he handled this leaves serious doubt as a rescue was obviously required months ago.
        As for the rest it really is a question of resources. I think the ARU needs to work from the ground up and develop a quality focus as NZ did after failing at two world cups. I really can’t imagine that the rebels can survive.

        • Roar Guru

          July 18th 2017 @ 10:25am
          Will Sinclair said | July 18th 2017 @ 10:25am | ! Report

          Maybe the Twiggy rescue plan has been months in the making, and is only just being made public now?

          People tend not to invest millions of dollars without doing their due diligence first…

          • Roar Rookie

            July 18th 2017 @ 10:33am
            piru said | July 18th 2017 @ 10:33am | ! Report

            The Force are travelling relatively ok sponsor and money wise at the moment, the own the Force campaign and the addition of the Road Safety Council as major sponsor mostly shored us up financially.

            I don’t think Forrest was thinking he’d be throwing money at the Force, for the very simple reason that they don’t need it (or at least it’s not what they need most).

            I suspect he has something grander in mind – he said something along the lines of ‘my continued support of the ARU is contingent on it maintaining a national footprint, including WA’.

            • Roar Guru

              July 18th 2017 @ 11:07am
              John R said | July 18th 2017 @ 11:07am | ! Report

              ASIC asked for additional time to approve the prospectus didn’t they?

              So if they’d received any cash to date, it would still be in a trust?

              • Roar Rookie

                July 18th 2017 @ 11:32am
                piru said | July 18th 2017 @ 11:32am | ! Report

                Dunno about that stuff mate, it’s a bit above my paygrade.

                Is that why it’s been extended maybe?

              • July 18th 2017 @ 2:02pm
                scottd said | July 18th 2017 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

                ASIC held back approving the prospectus because it was unique and they hadn’t seen a concept quite like it in Australia before so wanted more time to review it before they approved it.
                Quite separately to the above, the funds received to date are held in trust until the date at which the “Own the Force” actually purchases the license off the ARU. Obviously that is contingent upon the ARU agreeing to sell the license back. If after a period of time the deal isn’t or can’t be struck then the funds will be returned to the subscribers and shares will not be issued. in that circumstance the whole thing will lapse.

            • July 18th 2017 @ 12:18pm
              Jibba Jabba said | July 18th 2017 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

              Perhaps he was letting the ARU, you know, the people paid to manage rugby do their stuff.. we know how well thats gone to date…

          • July 18th 2017 @ 10:41am
            Fin said | July 18th 2017 @ 10:41am | ! Report

            Maybe Twiggy had a few too many shandys in the corporate box and just got caught up in the moment. Might have started negotiations on Monday morning.

            • July 18th 2017 @ 10:46am
              JeffR said | July 18th 2017 @ 10:46am | ! Report

              Exactly what I was thinking.

            • Roar Rookie

              July 18th 2017 @ 10:59am
              piru said | July 18th 2017 @ 10:59am | ! Report

              A definite possibility!

              Imagine waking up with a hangover to find that you pledged to save a rugby team.

              • Roar Rookie

                July 18th 2017 @ 3:02pm
                Dave_S said | July 18th 2017 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

                I agreed to drum in a band once under similar circumstances …

            • Roar Guru

              July 18th 2017 @ 11:01am
              Will Sinclair said | July 18th 2017 @ 11:01am | ! Report

              I genuinely hope this is what actually happened!

            • July 18th 2017 @ 11:14am
              Fin said | July 18th 2017 @ 11:14am | ! Report

              All jokes aside. If Twiggy is truly passionate about Rugby I would much rather see him as CEO or maybe Chairman of the ARU (or at least on the Board) rather than taking them on in the High Court.

              • July 18th 2017 @ 12:13pm
                Perthstayer said | July 18th 2017 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

                Fin, and all

                Twiggy is the consummate salesman. It is how he built FMG. I believe his intentions are good. I understand from a “man that can” over here that he has been in the background for a month or more.

                But he’s not arrived with his cheque book open. He has thrown his support behind the cause which at this key juncture he knows will help. The Force has a bright’ish future, added to which there could be games in the new state of the art stadium. This has the potential to provide a great platform for Twiggy’s interest/s.

                He may have looked at the Force when the ARU first lowered the axe and just felt it wasn’t a good bet. He too may have been impressed by the remarkable show of public support and on field guts and glory success and realised there is some commercial leverage to be made off this, which there is. That is not to say he doesn’t also have an emotional attachment, he just isn’t a charity.

                Force were in ok shape heading into arbitration. Now they are in better shape, at no $ cost to Twiggy. Yet he has put himself in prime position to take advantage if the WF remain.

                I saw him from 10 or 15 feet away on Saturday, he looked sober to me!

              • Roar Rookie

                July 18th 2017 @ 3:05pm
                Dave_S said | July 18th 2017 @ 3:05pm | ! Report

                Perthstayer, your para starting “He may have looked …” was my guess, too. He’s a philanthropist no doubt but I don’t think he thinks of the Force as a charity, because clearly it isn’t. But it does serve a public interest and maybe he has latched into that.

              • July 18th 2017 @ 6:27pm
                Dan in Devon said | July 18th 2017 @ 6:27pm | ! Report

                That makes a lot of sense. Rugby needs to stop squabbling over minor details and embrace Forrest’s gesture as an opportunity to turn the sport around.

            • July 18th 2017 @ 11:14am
              AndyS said | July 18th 2017 @ 11:14am | ! Report

              It is a funny thought, isn’t it? You can see him waking up with a mouth like a litter box, stumbling through the morning routine, racking his head trying to work out what’s scratching for attention from the previous night. Then walking into a kitchen like an icebox, some palpable “not talking” and a newspaper next to his eggs folded to a particular page…

              • Roar Rookie

                July 18th 2017 @ 11:33am
                piru said | July 18th 2017 @ 11:33am | ! Report

                Now THAT is a WA Billionaire way of doing business

          • July 18th 2017 @ 10:58am
            bigbaz said | July 18th 2017 @ 10:58am | ! Report

            Or it could be , a great game of footy from the Force, a few beers , the excitement of the occasion and Twiggy got caught up in the moment, has happened to me and cost me , not to twiggy’s level but you get the general idea.

            • July 18th 2017 @ 10:59am
              bigbaz said | July 18th 2017 @ 10:59am | ! Report

              sorry Fin, didn’t see your post

              • Roar Rookie

                July 18th 2017 @ 11:04am
                piru said | July 18th 2017 @ 11:04am | ! Report

                How good would it have been to have been in the box while it unfolded.

                “Great game, hey where’s Twiggy gone?”

                “Dunno, he just put his drink down and said “right, that’s it” and walked out”

                “Is that him out on the pitch?”

          • July 18th 2017 @ 12:12pm
            Tock said | July 18th 2017 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

            Unless of course your name is Nathan Tinkler!

          • July 20th 2017 @ 9:38pm
            Col in paradise said | July 20th 2017 @ 9:38pm | ! Report

            True – but love Brett’s idea if a pacific ring competition – especially if the saffass are not keen.

        • July 18th 2017 @ 10:30am
          Ruckin Oaf said | July 18th 2017 @ 10:30am | ! Report

          “…….rescue was obviously required months ago. ”

          Discussions may well have started between Forrest and the Force months ago.

      • Columnist

        July 18th 2017 @ 11:26am
        Brett McKay said | July 18th 2017 @ 11:26am | ! Report

        “There is also a chance for Australian rugby to emerge from this mess stronger than ever…”

        I reckon you’re right about this Will, and I suppose I was thinking along these lines last week wondering if rugby actually wants to change. But I agree, if the desire I there, and even self-interest has been stymied by this genuine threat to the game, then Australian rugby could absolutely come out the other side a lot stronger..

        • Roar Guru

          July 18th 2017 @ 12:26pm
          Machooka said | July 18th 2017 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

          Ditto this… in every catastrophe, if one looks hard enough, there are positives to found.

          Well spotted Will 😉

          • Roar Guru

            July 18th 2017 @ 1:22pm
            Will Sinclair said | July 18th 2017 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

            Yep – in fact in many instances true change and growth only happens when there is a catastrophic event, or a time of genuine crisis.

      • Roar Guru

        July 18th 2017 @ 12:41pm
        sheek said | July 18th 2017 @ 12:41pm | ! Report


        I wouldn’t call it interesting times.

        I would call it blinkered, ignorant, arrogant, impractical, inconsiderate, money-obsessed, greedy times.

        • Roar Guru

          July 18th 2017 @ 1:20pm
          Will Sinclair said | July 18th 2017 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

          Hi mate!

          I certainly take your point, but it’s easy to forget that rugby has only been professional for 20 years and so is still going through all the growing pains that come with such a seismic change. The game is still a toddler in terms of professional sport.

          And I can’t say too much (due to my real life work and the fact I post under my real name) but there are genuinely interesting things happening behind the scenes in Australian rugby (not to mention in South Africa!).

          Definitely interesting times mate.

          • Roar Guru

            July 18th 2017 @ 1:25pm
            sheek said | July 18th 2017 @ 1:25pm | ! Report


            Back in 1995/96 rugby had the opportunity to see the good & the bad other sports had made in their professional path, & improve on that.

            Rugby had the opportunity to build something special. Instead, they seem to have become hellbent, especially in recent times, to break all records for bad, ill-considered, ill-informed decisions.

            Being professional for only 20 years is no excuse. The southern hemisphere unions & their bus driver SANZAAR have stuffed super rugby up massively.

            • Roar Guru

              July 18th 2017 @ 1:27pm
              Train Without A Station said | July 18th 2017 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

              They also had the threat of a breakaway competition undermining them before they started…

              • Roar Guru

                July 18th 2017 @ 3:54pm
                sheek said | July 18th 2017 @ 3:54pm | ! Report


                Yeah, that’s true.

                But it does give credence to the old saying – marry in haste, repent at leisure.

                The passion has gone, & now the parties are seeing each other for what they really are…..

              • July 18th 2017 @ 4:42pm
                Bakkies said | July 18th 2017 @ 4:42pm | ! Report

                All three unions had financial issues and there were two separate break away comps threatening the game not one.

                Look up John Smit’s excellent interview with Francois Pienaar on YouTube. Transvaal players were threatening to strike over player conditions and the way that injured players were treated. Bok players signed with WRC after that and others went to the AP or Superloig

    • July 18th 2017 @ 8:28am
      Boban Fett said | July 18th 2017 @ 8:28am | ! Report

      Nice to see Twiggy prepared to help out, but I think he would be better off at the ARU, a la Frank Lowy at the FFA.

      • July 18th 2017 @ 9:41am
        Worlds Biggest said | July 18th 2017 @ 9:41am | ! Report

        Why not indeed, or why couldn’t he wear two hats like Lowy does where he effectively runs Football in this country and is a part owner in Sydney FC as I understand. The ARU should welcome Twiggy with open arms.

        • Roar Rookie

          July 18th 2017 @ 10:33am
          piru said | July 18th 2017 @ 10:33am | ! Report

          Who says that’s not his plan?

          • July 18th 2017 @ 2:13pm
            Worlds Biggest said | July 18th 2017 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

            We can only hope mate.

    • Roar Guru

      July 18th 2017 @ 8:28am
      biltongbek said | July 18th 2017 @ 8:28am | ! Report

      Brett according to an article in Sport24, the international participation of SA teams is going global.

      Apparantly SARU announced that the possible future of SA rugby might look like this.

      2 Teams in the Pro 12
      2 Teams in USA
      4 teams in Super rugby
      4 teams in the Anglo Welsh knock out cup.

      This from The Rapport a leading Afrikaans newspaper.

      If this is true then you would have to assume , yes we will remain in Super Rugby, and most likely the Currie Cup will be gone.

      • July 18th 2017 @ 8:41am
        Blue Horned Mike said | July 18th 2017 @ 8:41am | ! Report

        Here’s how the teams will be split:

        Pro12 – Kings, Cheetahs
        USA – Unknown
        SR – Bulls, Sharks, Stormers, Lions
        AW – Griquas, Pumas (This could only be 2 teams or possibly 4. SARU didn’t specify.)

        • July 18th 2017 @ 11:51am
          Country boy said | July 18th 2017 @ 11:51am | ! Report

          The Pumas and Griquas are feeder teams for the Lions/Bulls and Cheetahs respectively.
          Methinks its wishful thinking by the Rapport; after all the Currie Cup is the supporting level for the Super teams.

          • July 18th 2017 @ 5:10pm
            Bakkies said | July 18th 2017 @ 5:10pm | ! Report

            Griquas no longer feed in to the Cheetahs they’re with the Lions. The Cheetahs are a stand alone region

          • July 18th 2017 @ 5:18pm
            dru said | July 18th 2017 @ 5:18pm | ! Report

            This is very simplistic. The relationship between the non franchise Currie Cup provinces and the Super franchises has been fraught and tenuous at best. No doubt the larger provinces would jump at the chance for international exposure.

            The Griquas for instance have as much history as any union and more than many. They’ve also been doing well at CC Div 1.

            African rugby should be working these opportunities. Though it is unlikely to pan out fully in accordance with the dreams.

            What it means for Soup and SANZAAR is the real question and Brett is right to demand action now.


      • Roar Guru

        July 18th 2017 @ 8:44am
        Carlos the Argie said | July 18th 2017 @ 8:44am | ! Report


        The travel from the east coast of the US to SA is already logistically very hard. I have no idea how they plan to have a conference with the USA. Sounds bizarre to me. And this not even considering how weak USA rugby actually is.

        • Roar Guru

          July 18th 2017 @ 8:47am
          biltongbek said | July 18th 2017 @ 8:47am | ! Report

          It is all news to me mate, what SARU’s end game is, is anyone’s guess.

          • Roar Guru

            July 18th 2017 @ 8:56am
            Carlos the Argie said | July 18th 2017 @ 8:56am | ! Report

            Rolling an empty bottle on the ground to see where it ends up pointing….

          • Roar Guru

            July 18th 2017 @ 8:59am
            sheek said | July 18th 2017 @ 8:59am | ! Report

            Sounds like a bunch of WW1 generals around a table top map.

            “Look, it’s only 6 inches from point A to point B. Our boys ought to be able to cover that distance without any trouble at all”.

            Oh, hang on, war isn’t fought on a small scale map.

            Neither is sport played on a small scale map.

            Unless you’re SANZAAR, or ARU, or SARU…..

            • Roar Guru

              July 18th 2017 @ 9:19am
              Carlos the Argie said | July 18th 2017 @ 9:19am | ! Report

              Or UAR….

              • July 18th 2017 @ 4:32pm
                So Cal Ray said | July 18th 2017 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

                It always baffles me when the USA is mentioned as a destination for the various pro leagues around the world. Super Rugby, Pro 12, even the Aviva has mooted the thought. Carlos is spot on – rugby is not very strong here, even with the advent of regular broadcasting on multiple platforms over the last decade.
                One off “events” work here – aka All Blacks v Ireland, but as a week in/out endeavor, it is a non-starter. The focus should be the top flight of collegiate rugby. Pro rugby still seems a long ways away.
                Over-expansion got SANZAAR/ARU into this mess; they should be looking at other options/solutions much closer to home. The SARU would be wise to tread carefully…..

              • July 18th 2017 @ 6:02pm
                Bob said | July 18th 2017 @ 6:02pm | ! Report

                I agree the USA would mad to take on a super rugby style team, sanzaar only wants the money not to develop the USA , and we have all seem that super rugby is a terrible way to build a professional competition. They should stick to a home grown league either professional or college and let it grow naturally

              • July 18th 2017 @ 7:42pm
                ads2600 said | July 18th 2017 @ 7:42pm | ! Report

                Nonsense, just because Australia didn’t use the 20 years of SuperRugby money, & use it to build another tier, doesn’t mean it’s a terrible way to build a professional comp. SuperRugby has provided thousands of people with work & opportunities. South Africa has their issues, but it’s not okey related to the Super comp. New Zealand has done as well as can be expected. But just caus Aussie is currently struggling, doesn’t mean super rugby hasn’t worked in the past.

          • July 18th 2017 @ 5:35pm
            DavSA said | July 18th 2017 @ 5:35pm | ! Report

            Including SARU.

      • July 18th 2017 @ 9:10am
        Hannes said | July 18th 2017 @ 9:10am | ! Report

        SARU is expanding their revenue options by joining different competitions and reducing their dependence on SANZAAR. It is not clear to me how the axing of the Kings and Cheetahs helped to improve the quality of the SA franchises or concentrating the talent at the four remaining franchises.

      • July 18th 2017 @ 10:14am
        mania said | July 18th 2017 @ 10:14am | ! Report

        biltongbek – if true that is a major mistake getting rid of currie cup

        • Roar Guru

          July 18th 2017 @ 5:18pm
          biltongbek said | July 18th 2017 @ 5:18pm | ! Report

          I agree mania, just don’t see how it can survive though

          • July 19th 2017 @ 7:31am
            mania said | July 19th 2017 @ 7:31am | ! Report

            SARU’s gotta take a sanity check. lose currieCup and all of SA rugby will suffer. I hope someone is putting up a fight to counter this.
            NZ could never survive without the ITM cup and AllBlacks cannot survive without a strong Boks presence.

      • July 18th 2017 @ 10:45am
        Mike said | July 18th 2017 @ 10:45am | ! Report

        The USA?


        They are awful at rugby and 99% of the population couldn’t care

        • July 18th 2017 @ 2:07pm
          rugby7 said | July 18th 2017 @ 2:07pm | ! Report

          Wonderful news, on both Perth and Melbourne fronts! The ARU should grab both plans with both hands in order to keep all our five franchises going.
          BUT: Bill Pulver, et al, where the hell are you??? Why aren’t you jumping at these positive signs of progress from outside your ineffectual management group?
          I would personally like three things:-
          (a) Retention of our five Super Rugby teams (with more effort and some funds found to keep our Wallaby-worth players here in Australia !)
          (b) possibly some Pacific Island inclusion – we love ’em!, and
          (c) Please, please Bill, fight for some free-to-air television! Far too many people in Australia don’t even know proper 15-a-side Rugby is played in this country, let alone what a terrific and exciting spectacle it can be. Aussie Rugby teamshave been multiple World champions, and Olympic Gold Medallists – and the public should be constantly informed of this. THEN we would get our crowds building up!

      • Columnist

        July 18th 2017 @ 11:28am
        Brett McKay said | July 18th 2017 @ 11:28am | ! Report

        That’s really interesting, I have to say, Biltong.

        I mean, the obvious first response is “where are the extra teams coming from”, but then when you actually consider the wider implications and development possibilities, the SARU is playing a really smart game in looking seriously at their future..

        • Roar Guru

          July 18th 2017 @ 11:44am
          Fox said | July 18th 2017 @ 11:44am | ! Report

          Possibly Brett but I think the Japanese market is the goldmine that has not been properly mined yet and with the 2019 WC being held there – that market could explode. The numbers going to Sunwolves games despite their shortcomings is impressive

          I have huge hopes for Australian and New Zealand rugby financially though maybe not in the short term.

          As I said on another blog – 21 million Japanese – pretty much the entire population of Australia watched a single game a the WC – it as a world record for a single nation rating – this is the potential we have in that market and it will leave European dollars for dust with all the major corporate sponsors that are available in Japanese businesses

          I think this is the real liquid gold for Super rugby…The beauty of the Japanese market is it predominantly Baseball – Sumo Wrestling and Soccer – but the physical contest of Rugby appeals to the Japanese psyche according to market research done there by local Japanese marketing companies who apparently presented this in their pitch for the 2019 World Cup

          Numbers at Sunwolves games for a side that loses more tan it win would seem to back this up

          • Columnist

            July 18th 2017 @ 12:14pm
            Brett McKay said | July 18th 2017 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

            Yeah, I saw that post Fox. It’s all part of the bigger picture that needs to be identified, like you say, and then solidified..

            • Roar Guru

              July 19th 2017 @ 2:42am
              Fox said | July 19th 2017 @ 2:42am | ! Report

              Mostly definitely Brett – I do see a light at the end of a very long tunnel though – if it is managed right of course.

          • July 18th 2017 @ 2:07pm
            scottd said | July 18th 2017 @ 2:07pm | ! Report

            Fox, I went to a Sunwolves game last year in Tokyo. The crowd wasn’t impressive at all. My rough as guts estimate was about 5000. Have they improved this year?

            • Roar Guru

              July 19th 2017 @ 2:39am
              Fox said | July 19th 2017 @ 2:39am | ! Report

              I believe so overall the game is gaining momentum and beating Blues the way they did last game of the season would have done them no harm either

          • July 18th 2017 @ 2:30pm
            Mal said | July 18th 2017 @ 2:30pm | ! Report

            I read some time back Alibaba was going to put a billion dollars into rugby in China, this could be a bigger gold mine. Buy some players to help develop teams and have a Pacific Comp.
            5 Aus
            5 NZ
            1 Japan
            1 China
            1 PI
            1 Jaguares
            Easily expandable.

            • July 18th 2017 @ 4:18pm
              Rugby Tragic said | July 18th 2017 @ 4:18pm | ! Report

              Alibaba is investing $100 million into rugby in China … $1 billion? I bet they wish!

            • July 18th 2017 @ 6:05pm
              Bob said | July 18th 2017 @ 6:05pm | ! Report

              Alibaba has spent that money for Chinese rugby and sports business , they are going to make a Chinese league, I don’t see why they would want to join the super rugby , when there is no brand presence In China, they are not going to give this money away either. More likely to make a private Chinese league and sell it to Chinese consumers. Then set up a super team that is gonna leak 10 mil a year and get flogged every week

        • Roar Guru

          July 18th 2017 @ 11:54am
          Charging Rhino said | July 18th 2017 @ 11:54am | ! Report

          Hi Brett, player numbers or teams isn’t an issue really. There are plenty of teams and players in the Currie Cup and Rugby Challange (previously Vodacom Cup and I’d say more comparable to Australia’s NRC in terms of interest and player depth rather than Currie Cup) who would’ve the opportunity to play international rugby and be “discovered”. Players like Cortnal Skorsan were recently playing in these other teams & tournaments and now he’s a springbok! Really hard to get noticed and make it to the top.
          You’ve got the Griffons, Leopards, Falcons, Pumas, Eagles and of course Griquas who will all get heaps of local support if they played international teams. Plus “2nd teams of Sharks, Bulls, Lions, Stormers, Cheetahs etc.
          Player numbers and depth or quality isn’t the problem in SA, it’s the coaching, training and exposure to bring them up to standard that is the issue that Kiwis have managed to perfect, yet SA is still a bit behind on.

          • Columnist

            July 18th 2017 @ 12:18pm
            Brett McKay said | July 18th 2017 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

            But playing numbers is an issue Rhino, because SARU said that was a reason for them cutting back to four teams in the first place: the number of quality players available.

            What’s changed evidently is that they’ve realised they can actually have all those European-based RSA players they’ve lost playing back in the Republic, on South African TV and in front of South African crowds. They’ll just be wearing Munster, or Cardiff, or Glasgow jerseys…

            • Roar Guru

              July 18th 2017 @ 3:08pm
              Charging Rhino said | July 18th 2017 @ 3:08pm | ! Report

              Hi Brett,
              I think there’s truth in what both of us are saying. But there are the teams!

              By the way I left out the Varsity Cup.

              Player numbers, depth and teams isn’t the problem. There’s a big difference in culture and interest in rugby in SA compared to Australia and you kinda need to go there and see for yourself just how many teams, players, clubs, feeder schools etc there are in SA.
              To put it in perspective, Australia has 87k registered rugby players, SA has 651k. That’s 7.5 times more, plus take into account the general interest in the game and there’s plenty of incredible talent there! Of whom many just quite at university level or school to focus on other things. Most of these registered players won’t go on to higher honours but there’s potential for many (or the few depending on how you view it?).
              You only have to look at the school boy system and how competitive these teams are to see the potential, that if unlocked properly would lead to incredible teams at the top.

              Near the top semi-pro level, i.e. Leopards, Falcons, Pumas etc; if there was better coaching, skills development and better feeding and raising up (like New Zealand coaches ensure the bar is set and help players to get other up to that level), then SA could have plenty of competitive rugby teams internationally. To think that some of the current Lions players could’ve missed out and been no name Vodacom Cup players had Johan Ackerman not looked to rebuild his stocks a couple years ago. And there are hundreds of Courtnall Skosan’s and the like in SA. All they need is just better training, conditioning, coaching and skills development (coaching).

              To be honest, it never ceases to amaze me as to how well the Wallabies and Australian Super Rugby teams perform in general, when comparing them to the general public interest in the game and the amount of players to South Africa or the NH countries. It’s truly impressive. It’s actually a bit embarrassing from South Africa’s perspective that their teams don’t perform better than they have in recent years.

              • Roar Guru

                July 18th 2017 @ 6:15pm
                biltongbek said | July 18th 2017 @ 6:15pm | ! Report

                Rhino most things in South African society is chugging along in spite of structures, governance, administration etc.

                You need to start at the suggested number of rugby players in SA. That is everyone and his dog that has touched a rugby ball be it in a social league, farm club, actual amteur club etc.

                Clubs will provide numbers that are totally far fetched, from school boys who are already counted as playing schools rugby to inactive players long gone.

                I would suggest you can halve that number to actual active participation.

                Yes there is no doubt we do have player resources, but when you have a system as poorly managed as ours talent go by every day that is never spotted, never given a chance.

                Add nepotism to our systems and look at school sport, many talented kids get no opportunity because dad is not painting the posts or coaching the choir or whatever.

                I have first hand experience with my son at a cricket club where the coach couldn’t bowl him out in the practice game and yet he never batted in the top 6.

                Coaching resources are scant, our intellectual property has left to coach overseas, all that is remaining is conservative coaches struggling to embrace new methodologies.

                Political interference dictates who plays.

                There are a few issues needing sorting before our “vast” resources can actually be sustainably competitive.

                Remove old school administrators.
                Remove politics from the game
                Get administrators who act on decision making that benefits our game , not themselves
                Begin a coaching school and set up a system that allows for continuity of knowledge and experience to be transferred from one coach to the next.
                Get administrators and coaches to look after our players.
                Central Contracting of players.

                There are probably another host of issues that need fixing, but lets just start with how many of those can be addressed?


                That’s ball park correct, eh?

              • Roar Guru

                July 18th 2017 @ 7:52pm
                Charging Rhino said | July 18th 2017 @ 7:52pm | ! Report

                Hey Biltong, agree with a lot of what you said.
                And agree, so much talent gets wasted and never given the opportunity: either by not recognised, not invested in or just thrown by the wayside due to a combination of bias, overlooking individuals, racial policies (quotas) or just the fact that there’s “someone else” who can fill the position so why bother investing in an individual? Our biggest example was Kevin Peterson (albeit cricket), and numerous others.

                Number of players- all countries count it a similar way. For example England lists 2 million registered players! I think SA’s 651k is pretty accurate when you include all of the couple hundred thousand school kids from 6 to 18 who would play some sort of rugby, plus touch rugby and then all the clubs etc.

                Agree that SA needs a coaching school. I for one would love to coach rugby; but how do you do it? I need to ask Aussies that question these days though as I now live in Queensland.

                But Biltong, despite a lot of the problems, the unique thing about SA is it had all of the talent, players, rugby structure (in terms of established unions and teams), the best school rugby setup in the world, and basically all round resources to it only be competitive but to dominate world rugby. If they could just get their house in order. If the average rugby following Australian just only knew what setup SA rugby has, and how strong the school rugby system it, they would kill to have it. I know because I’ve seen first hand from living here in Aus. NZ would kill to have the numbers or quantity and the large market that SA has. Where NZ has been superior is bringing their talent to all perform at a high level, whether it’s their age group sides, Super Rugby or ABs, and a lot of that is skills development and coaching and a genuine “buy in” of going forward in one unified direction.
                England is actually similar to SA, if they get their house in order they could also rule, but they have football to contend with too.

                Anyway it sounds as though SARU are finally seeing the potential and doing something about it.

              • Roar Guru

                July 18th 2017 @ 8:10pm
                biltongbek said | July 18th 2017 @ 8:10pm | ! Report

                Yes unfortunately for as long as they don’t get their house in order the status quo will remain, and everything will just keep chugging along and the potential will remain unfulfulled

        • Roar Guru

          July 18th 2017 @ 5:21pm
          biltongbek said | July 18th 2017 @ 5:21pm | ! Report

          Remember there are 14 provincial teams, so teams structures isn’t an issue, money to improve and retain quality players might be a challenge though.

          It might be smart, byt we have a saying in Afrikaans “Slim het sy baas gevang” in other words, don’t outsmart yourself

      • July 18th 2017 @ 12:07pm
        AndyS said | July 18th 2017 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

        You’d certainly have to think something was behind it, as the more I think about what they are doing with the Pro12 the less apparent sense it makes.

        As it stands, they are essentially offering the Pro12 big bucks to let them in, rather than receiving them. And in return for paying loads, they get to play out of season, give up CC, and make it difficult for any of their players to participate in the ‘Boks. Then, if it all goes well, the comp achieves the success in Europe that it hasn’t been able to achieve by itself and marginalises the SA contribution. What is the end game – the other four teams also join, they play in an enclosed conference of six, during summer, sending two thirds of the money to Europe for the honour of being associated with their comp?

        If they were going you pony up all the dough and not play SR, surely it would have been better to use the money to attract European teams to a closed conference playing in SA? Reckon there might have been a number of takers for that, marginalised by the structure and inequities of their own competitions or region. Or perhaps they are playing the long game…get the Pro teams used to the money, hope the comp is a success (but not too much), then threaten to pull all the money out if they don’t completely restructure to achieve much the same thing?

        • Roar Guru

          July 18th 2017 @ 5:22pm
          biltongbek said | July 18th 2017 @ 5:22pm | ! Report

          Andy there are rumours that the BT broadcast deal is going to increase significantly in 2020

          • July 18th 2017 @ 8:48pm
            AndyS said | July 18th 2017 @ 8:48pm | ! Report

            My point exactly – they turn Pro X into a success and SA has to accept rugby as a summer sport? They are holding the financial whip hand now…ten years from now they may no longer be the masters of their own fate.

        • July 18th 2017 @ 5:28pm
          dru said | July 18th 2017 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

          This is very simplistic. The relationship between the non franchise Currie Cup provinces and the Super franchises has been fraught and tenuous at best. No doubt the larger provinces would jump at the chance for international exposure.

          The Griquas for instance have as much history as any union and more than many. They’ve also been doing well at CC Div 1.

          African rugby should be working these opportunities. Though it is unlikely to pan out fully in accordance with the dreams.

          What it means for Soup and SANZAAR is the real question and Brett is right to demand action now.

      • Roar Guru

        July 18th 2017 @ 5:35pm
        Poth Ale said | July 18th 2017 @ 5:35pm | ! Report

        BB – I’d read about the 4 teams into AngloWelsh cup in a Welsh online outlet. However, the AW Cup has been living on life support for the last few years with no sponsor and the English teams fielding low quality reserves/academy players.

        As part of the revised global season re-structure, there had been talk of dropping it and bringing in a new British & Irish Cup with teams from both countries that would play games during the international windows and feature development/academy players alongside some senior squad members.

        • Roar Guru

          July 18th 2017 @ 6:18pm
          biltongbek said | July 18th 2017 @ 6:18pm | ! Report

          Cheers poth, thanks for the info

        • July 18th 2017 @ 8:47pm
          Bakkies said | July 18th 2017 @ 8:47pm | ! Report

          Pot that will please the Division 1A and 1B AIL clubs

    • July 18th 2017 @ 8:28am
      Luke Ringland said | July 18th 2017 @ 8:28am | ! Report

      I think the Pacific competition idea has a lot of merit. With the timezones, and also the number of them already playing in Europe, South Africa has a natural gravitas North.

      Australia and New Zealand clearly need each other. And Japan, sure, fine, but what makes even more sense is having a Pacific Island presence.

      As for Argentina, or going forward, North American teams, I’m less sure about. As they develop, there would seemingly be more sense in Argentinian teams playing against North American teams.

      All of this can add impetus to a long over due world club championship as part of a global season. Shorter, more local and streamlined local comps will help this.

      But finally, none of this really changes the immediate calculas for Australian rugby as far as I’m concerned. We can’t survive in the top tier without two things:

      Firstly, the Wallabies winning games and bringing in the money. Secondly, at least one of the Reds and Waratahs need to be playing decently well at any given time to bring in money also. Decently well meaning being at least in with a shot at finals footy. The “expansion” areas and Twiggy Forrest be damned without answers to the question of what will satisfy this equation.

      • Roar Guru

        July 18th 2017 @ 8:46am
        Carlos the Argie said | July 18th 2017 @ 8:46am | ! Report


        The one thing that every Argentine rugby fan wants is competition with the other SH countries. They couldn’t care less about USA, Canada or Mexico for that matter.

        It would be financially unviable for the Argentine teams to only compete in the Americas.

        They use their second (or is it third?) team for the Americas cup.

        Interestingly, Argentina rugby is so poor right now that they even lost this tournament for the first time (ever).

        • July 18th 2017 @ 8:59am
          Luke Ringland said | July 18th 2017 @ 8:59am | ! Report

          I’m a believer in USA Rugby’s future. I’ve lived in the US for four years and have had a decent amount of contact with the rugby community, and it is certainly a hunch, but I see them as fielding globally competitive teams at the top level within the decade. Even a fraction of their sporting market will dwarf the money that SA, NZ and Australia can bring to the table. There are just too many high quality athletes here, and too much interest, for it not to eventually translate into something substantive. I’m not sure if this would change the equation for you or not…it’s a big if of course.

          • Roar Guru

            July 18th 2017 @ 9:20am
            Carlos the Argie said | July 18th 2017 @ 9:20am | ! Report

            Luke, if wishes became reality, we would all be tall, handsome and rich. And nice people.

            The USA has been close to greatness in rugby since I have lived here.

            And every once in a while some optimist comes along and gives the rah rah speech one more time.

            You can be an optimist, a pessimist or a realist. The two latter are the same.

          • July 20th 2017 @ 9:51pm
            Col in paradise said | July 20th 2017 @ 9:51pm | ! Report

            Yep the US lawyers will love it !!! From contracts to injury litigation !!!

    • July 18th 2017 @ 8:43am
      Curl said | July 18th 2017 @ 8:43am | ! Report

      Interesting article Brett. It shows that there are many moving parts. Re. SA, its hard to see how they could place 6 teams up in the northern hemisphere, so if they can’t then they still seriously need the south, but I could be wrong about that.

      NZ, while they are having an incredible run, through good management and great players, need Aust rugby to be strong, otherwise it will ultimately undermine their performance as revenue drops. NZ rugby needs a strong platform to perform on to stay strong.

      Australia also needs a strong platform to rebuild its game, so as far as I can see Aust and NZ need to work together to ensure the mutual benefits of a strong platform are maintained. SA may play a part in this, but they are not as critical to the situation as the alliance between Aus and NZ. If SA go north, then so be it.

      Aust and NZ need to ensure Argentina continues to grow as they will also be an important contributor to the strength of Aus and NZ. We should also look to the US and Canada as well into the future, where strong revenue can be tapped and we should continue to build into Japan and Asia which also offer strong revenues down the track.

      Ultimately Aust and NZ need to take the lead on the development of the game in our part of the world. They need to work closely together and have a transparent long term plan. Personally I beleive the present leadership of the ARU has lost the respect of almost all stakeholders and have to be replaced.

      We will see what happens.

      • Roar Guru

        July 18th 2017 @ 8:48am
        Carlos the Argie said | July 18th 2017 @ 8:48am | ! Report


        Again, I totally agree, the other countries need Argentina to get better. I wonder why the NZRU, for example, hasn’t offered coache’s clinics to Argentina. Maybe they have, I am not aware of them.

        I do know that there is a local business of clinics but I have no idea who are the teachers….

      • July 18th 2017 @ 9:38am
        Republican said | July 18th 2017 @ 9:38am | ! Report

        ……..NZ ‘need Australian Rugby’.
        Australian Rugby is an oxymoron surely?

        • Roar Rookie

          July 18th 2017 @ 10:35am
          piru said | July 18th 2017 @ 10:35am | ! Report

          Steel sharpens steel – if Australian rugby is cheese, how long will the All Blacks remain sharp?

          Particularly while England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France are all competing

          • July 18th 2017 @ 11:12am
            Curl said | July 18th 2017 @ 11:12am | ! Report

            Very true.

          • July 18th 2017 @ 12:27pm
            Gonzo said | July 18th 2017 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

            The ABs will just turn their attention to the North if Australia don’t pull their finger out. NZ don’t play Samoa, Tonga or Fiji very often and still don’t lose much of their competitiveness as a result of that. I think the notion that The ABs need Australia is partially true. They need them to be strong for the region, but not for their own good now that the North have become very competitive.

            • July 18th 2017 @ 4:17pm
              Curl said | July 18th 2017 @ 4:17pm | ! Report

              That may be the case in the short term Gonzo, but the reality is that there isn’t enough cash in the island nations to fund the NZ machine without Aust. NZ does not generate enough cash in its own right to sustain itself as it presently is, into the future, particularly if their performances start to drop off, as they inevitably will do. NZ rugby wasn’t exactly flush befor the Lions tour, but you don’t hear about that because of their on field performances. NZ need Aust for their long term financial stability, just as we need them.

      • July 18th 2017 @ 10:13am
        Thorney said | July 18th 2017 @ 10:13am | ! Report

        Yes NZ needs Aust rugby to be strong and the NZRFU has bent over backwards since 1946 unlike the Australian Cricket Boatd who cold shouldered NZ cricket from 1946 to 1961 and only sending a B team then. A bit like the Australian Govt who have kicked Kiwis as well.

        • July 18th 2017 @ 10:44pm
          Come on said | July 18th 2017 @ 10:44pm | ! Report

          It seems like a one way street to me. We take in the oodles of Kiwis looking for better opportunities in life and the little ingrates hold it against us.

          Get the chip off your shoulders Kiwis.

          And we won’t mention the Kiwis throwing the 1992 final qualifying match at the cricket World Cup to ensure Oz did not qualify for the finals.

          Don’t thank us for supplying the skipper that won you the America’s Cup either.

          Pack of bludgers the lot of ya.

      • Columnist

        July 18th 2017 @ 11:45am
        Brett McKay said | July 18th 2017 @ 11:45am | ! Report

        Good post Curl. This is essentially the point we’re reaching, where surely it’s becoming obvious to all the stakeholders that the current course is in urgent need of re-direction ahead of the next broadcast deal which will quite likely look very different again..

        • July 18th 2017 @ 4:21pm
          Curl said | July 18th 2017 @ 4:21pm | ! Report

          True. My fear is that the present leadership will struggle to deliver this.

    • July 18th 2017 @ 8:57am
      Darwin Stubbie said | July 18th 2017 @ 8:57am | ! Report

      It all seems so logical until you try and factor in what it all means to SA rugby …. Putting aside the concept of whether the NH actually want all 6 SA franchises of dubious quality …. 1. will the money be that much greater – the Pro 12 isn’t that big a competition at present – is the shift going to bridge gap across the hole that SARU find themselves in currently – or is this just a case of shifting the Supersport TV revenue and splitting it with more partners …. 2. the SA teams shifting north basically means they’ll have to turn their whole sport on its head and embrace summer rugby – what is the impact not only on all of their domestic competitions but then also on their international fixture arrangements as I can’t see SA being invited into the 6N and to try and stay in the RC won’t that mean they’ll need to use players during NH club season … 3. then there’s the question of the SA fanbase – this shift doesn’t really answer any of their concerns that are raised here – all this idea seems to do is move them to a different sphere … 4. do the NH teams actually want this – are they prepared for the possibility of SA teams taking up the more lucrative cup competition spots if they start to be competitive 5. Importing all SA franchises may also mean that the NH could actually be importing all the logistical nightmares that SR have been grappling with

      • Roar Guru

        July 18th 2017 @ 9:02am
        sheek said | July 18th 2017 @ 9:02am | ! Report


        And you’re one of the ones who’s been supporting the status quo.

        Do these guys running SH rugby really have any idea of what they’re doing?

        Apart from chasing mythical pots of gold at end of rainbows, it appears not.

        • July 18th 2017 @ 9:16am
          Darwin Stubbie said | July 18th 2017 @ 9:16am | ! Report

          Yip I believe SR has within itself a workable concept and I see SA and a strong Aust as being part of that – and yes also Arg and Japan – but they need to be managed properly and given more support … I’m dubious on the Forrest involvement at present the timing is strange and I hope for Aust rugbys sake this isn’t going to turn into another blind alley where self interest trumps the national need for root and branch reform

          • Roar Guru

            July 18th 2017 @ 12:46pm
            sheek said | July 18th 2017 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

            Well, I guess we’ll just have to wait & see how the Andrew Forrest story unfolds.

            Just because he’s made a big splash now doesn’t been he hasn’t been tipping his toe into the water the past year or so.

            He’s certainly under no obligation to inform us geniuses (tongue in cheek) here at The Roar of his thinking or motivation.

            Or inform any other media for that matter.

            • Roar Guru

              July 18th 2017 @ 12:53pm
              Train Without A Station said | July 18th 2017 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

              He’s under no obligation to any of us.

              But surely if he wanted to save the Force, helping to ensure that no team in Australia would be cut would be the best way!

              • Roar Guru

                July 18th 2017 @ 1:27pm
                sheek said | July 18th 2017 @ 1:27pm | ! Report


                There may be a logical explanation why he didn’t play his hand earlier.

                Or there might be no logical reason.

                Sometimes, we just have to wait & see…..

        • July 18th 2017 @ 9:40am
          Republican said | July 18th 2017 @ 9:40am | ! Report

          ……these mob are also likely to be ‘Climate Change’ denialist’s…….

          • Roar Guru

            July 18th 2017 @ 12:28pm
            Train Without A Station said | July 18th 2017 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

            Yes because ignoring overwhelming scientific consensus is exactly the same as thinking blind change won’t necessarily be for the better.

        • July 18th 2017 @ 10:18am
          Thorney said | July 18th 2017 @ 10:18am | ! Report

          So true Sheek. You watch these incompetent idiots sitting on their hands – ARU are a leaderless rabblevabd it is filtering thru to the players who are just so disappointed. But then again the complete shambles has made the Tebels and the Force stronger which in turn has embarrassed the ARU. You wonder if the death spiral is able to be halted especially when you see four posts instead of two sprouting up all over Sydney and even on the Private Schools

        • Roar Guru

          July 18th 2017 @ 12:27pm
          Train Without A Station said | July 18th 2017 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

          Change isn’t necessarily for the better.

          Just because things are bad, it doesn’t mean they couldn’t get even worse.

          • Roar Guru

            July 18th 2017 @ 12:50pm
            sheek said | July 18th 2017 @ 12:50pm | ! Report


            Now you’re sounding like me.

            Just to show how fair-minded I am, I love the new new indigenous style Wallaby jumper. So much so I would recommend it become permanent.

            The way our indigenous aboriginals have been treated in sport & society is abominable.

            We ingratiate ourselves with people from other parts of the world, but ignore those in our own backyard.

            I think it’s called political expediency, not genuine multi-cultural integration.

      • Columnist

        July 18th 2017 @ 11:46am
        Brett McKay said | July 18th 2017 @ 11:46am | ! Report

        And they’re equally valid questions, Darwin.

        South Africa need to answer their own questions and much as they need to look at what Super Rugby means to them. It’s all, as I suggested, interrelated and intertwined..

        • Roar Guru

          July 18th 2017 @ 12:58pm
          sheek said | July 18th 2017 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

          I’ve always listened to Saffies like Biltongbek, who lament the duplication of matches between Currie Cup & super rugby, whereby the leading teams might play each other 4-5 times in a season.

          Very unsatisfactory.

          Therefore, I’ve always thought the answer to be before our very eyes.

          Four enclosed comps, with top two going into Champion’s Cup (the truncated SR version).

          As for the revenue, we won’t know until we try it. The fans might actually love the conceptual structure so much, it will generate revenue through enthusiasm.

          That’s a novel idea – give people what they want! Not what they impose onto us.

          • July 18th 2017 @ 2:32pm
            Ed said | July 18th 2017 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

            The issue with a champions cup is you could have teams not worthy of being in the finals while superior teams miss out. Isn’t finals about seeing the best sides play?

            There is something wrong with the finals now – it is the third straight year a NZ side has had to play a final in Australia despite finishing higher than their opponent on the table. However, all member unions agreed to it so our friends across the ditch can’t complain too much.

            • Roar Guru

              July 18th 2017 @ 3:57pm
              sheek said | July 18th 2017 @ 3:57pm | ! Report


              The qualifying criteria is pretty clear-cut.

              Top two teams from each country.

              If you finished 3rd in your domestic comp, tough cheese, no cigar for you. No invitation to the big table.

              The Champion’s Cup wouldn’t be like super rugby where the teams are guaranteed their place for 5 years, or whatever period it might be.

              Qualification for CC is via national domestic comps. So the makeup of provinces could & probably will, change annually.

              Someone could win the CC one year but miss an invite the following year because they didn’t finish in the top two in their domestic comp.

              • July 18th 2017 @ 4:47pm
                Ed said | July 18th 2017 @ 4:47pm | ! Report

                Going from that criteria Sheek, I would not want to watch a local side – Australian – in a CC final over the past two years as they have not been deserving of such a place, or you watch with the expectation they won’t win.

                Time is short, and I have a limited amount to watch the game.

                Your solution gives us more derbies – have you watched them in the past three years after a kiwi derby. The contrast in speed and quality is vast.

                Also, how do players in the inferior teams in the weaker leagues get exposure against higher quality players? Or will it be when they are picked for their national teams and they are found to be out of their depth?

              • Roar Guru

                July 18th 2017 @ 5:18pm
                sheek said | July 18th 2017 @ 5:18pm | ! Report


                It’s true I’m talking about something i can’t bare to watch myself at present – Australian local derbies.

                But I keep telling myself we must be close to the bottom of the pit & the only way is up.

                Back in the early days of super rugby, I couldn’t wait for NSW-Qld-ACT to tear into each other. Not anymore.

                But if we provide the players with a better structure, then the improvement in players, quality & depth will follow.


              • July 18th 2017 @ 6:27pm
                Ed said | July 18th 2017 @ 6:27pm | ! Report


                I agree. I remember the early years of Super Rugby where our sides would rip into each other – Campo in 1996 zipping around the Brums at the SFS.

                At some stage, all parties will hopefully get together and realise they need to pulling in the same direction for the game to survive in Australia. BUT who will be prepared to concede a bit of power for the whole.

                Besides looking at aspects at what NZ has done re best practices, the powers that be should look at what Germany did to rebuild its football (soccer) system after some poor years (for them) in the late 1990s/early 2000s to where they are now world champions and regularly playing in the semi/finals of European and world competitions at both age and senior levels.
                The Germans did this while transforming their football from the efficient method of previous eras to a more attractive style.

      • July 18th 2017 @ 11:55am
        Hannes said | July 18th 2017 @ 11:55am | ! Report

        I try to put a contrarian view forward trying to think like an South African. The key is to realise that South African worry about their future, the economy is in recession, the politics are messy, state failure and state capture is the news daily and South Africa is losing players that are using rugby as a means to find a better future elsewhere. SARU realises that they need to diversify their “business”:
        1. will the money be that much greater: The “average” South African Pro 12 rugby player’s is paid little and in ZAR, a depreciating currency. The cost of running an Pro 12 team is \much lower than a SR team and travelling costs are also declining. SARU can earn hard currency (USD, euros) that will help them to compete to retain their best players.
        2. the SA teams shifting north basically means they’ll have to turn their whole sport on its head and embrace summer rugby: Games played after 4 pm and in the evenings will not be an issue (Durban maybe). The Pro 12 teams and 2 US teams are unlikely to form the core of the Springbok side. Domestic competitions (and there are too many of them) including the Currie Cup already lost a lot of its commercial value and as a local competition is tied to the South African economy.
        3. then there’s the question of the SA fanbase: South African fans have the same appetite for rugby that AFL supporters have. They follow Top 14 and Pro 12 on Supersport already especially when ex-South African players are playing. The SR competition became one dimensional and supporters appreciate variety of different game plans and styles.
        4. do the NH teams actually want this:. The fact that they opened up the door for South African sides (some say even at the cost of Italy’s teams) should answer this.
        5. Importing all SA franchises may also mean that the NH could actually be importing all the logistical nightmares that SR have been grappling with: The plan is to diversify the business. They want to place 4 teams in SR, 6 in Pro 14 and 2 in the US competition.

        • Roar Guru

          July 18th 2017 @ 12:30pm
          Train Without A Station said | July 18th 2017 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

          Outside travelling costs, how is the costs of running a Pro12 much lower than a Super Rugby team?

          With a longer season you likely need larger squads. If anything that will cost more money.

          And are the costs that much less?

          Looking at flights for example, for the Cheetahs to travel to play in Dublin it’s a minimum flight time of 17 hours with 2 stopovers starting at $609 AUD.

          To travel to play in Perth its a 12 hour flight with 1 stopover starting at $941 AUD.

          If you are playing an Italian team it appears that you are going to have 3 stopovers to get there. Europe certainly is closer as the crow flies, but getting to where the teams are located doesn’t seem that easy.

          • July 18th 2017 @ 9:16pm
            Hannes said | July 18th 2017 @ 9:16pm | ! Report

            Plane tickets between Jhb-Perth is double that of Jhb-London. Most Boks and established SA players that could attract international offers will play SR. Young upcoming players and tier 2 players that still try to make name for themselves and are on Rand based salaries will play for Pro12 teams. Average salaries for a South Africa rugby player is R100k-R200k per year while SR players can earn between R700k-R800k per year. source: BusinessDay. There is about 10 ZAR/AUD.

          • July 18th 2017 @ 9:33pm
            Hannes said | July 18th 2017 @ 9:33pm | ! Report

            At that price your stopover to Perth is in Qatar! No team will fly 22 hours to Perth. SAA has a monopoly on the JHB-PER route. A return flight cost at least $2,000 if you are lucky and book early.

      • July 18th 2017 @ 12:05pm
        ajg said | July 18th 2017 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

        I agree about questioning whether the Europeans want this. My mates up north are baffled as to why they should want to play rugby against SA club sides

        Also, given how poorly expansion has worked out for super rugby, if i was in admin for any of the european leagues i’d be turned off the idea

        • July 18th 2017 @ 5:20pm
          Bakkies said | July 18th 2017 @ 5:20pm | ! Report

          Talking to people in pubs in Ireland they seem keen to see how it goes and better idea than bringing in US teams.

          Take no notice of comments from apathetic Welsh supporters.

    , ,