If Australian rugby can be broken, it can be fixed (Part 3): Super Rugby’s future

El Cao Putrido Roar Rookie

By El Cao Putrido, El Cao Putrido is a Roar Rookie


7 Have your say

    I have concerns with the conference system that SANZAAR has decided to persevere with. We as humans have this great complexity where we must turn the simplest things into complex beasts – simplicity works. Start with a blank sheet of paper and keep the competition structure simple.

    SANZAAR has an obligation to work together on this systemic issue – it is the greatest turn off on the game as we know it.

    In the end, all we are doing is cannibalising our systems, which need each other one way or the other.

    South Africa needs New Zealand because it sells. New Zealand can’t go it alone – let’s face it, at the moment a trans-Tasman competition wouldn’t really be competitive and to the long-term detriment of developing Kiwi players. As for Australia, they need the TV rights – in the end, each business partner shoots themselves in the foot going alone. Not to mention Japan and Argentina have a long-term role to play throughout Asia-Pacific and the Americas.

    We have to look at Super Rugby with a vastly different lens. The convoluted nature of a conference system is that it actually rewards mediocrity. This system works in America where you have 30-odd teams in a domestic competition, playing a game that is salient to the rest of the world, and all of its viewers share similar values.

    Yes, I want to see my team win and play quality rugby, but I don’t want to see the Tahs get through to the final at the expense of a better team. Quality rugby is an important factor, however I don’t get why SANZAAR hasn’t caught on to this? This is the most obvious reasons why fans are becoming so disenfranchised.

    The problem is self-induced and blatantly obvious: you can have as many teams as you want, it is pivotal to understand why we play first (values of passion and loyalty), that’s your selling point, and then allowing a model where the best team wins.

    The feature that separates rugby from most sports in Australia is that it is a truly global sport. There is room for an international-provincial competition that is Super Rugby – but with a different lens and how teams are filtered.

    You can have say 24 teams throughout the existing nations, teams in the Asia and Indo-Pacific (Fiji, Samoa, Tonga can have their own franchises) and have a promotion and relegation system between the two. It would go some way to obscuring polarising results, it would go some way in addressing that the cream rises, and more importantly you can still have domestic competitions (i.e. rugby’s State of Origin) run separately, so that local derbies are maintained.

    This may be a bridge too far, however it should have really been clued on to long ago by all joint venture partners.

    You’ve also got to give a reason for all professionals to be repatriated back into a premier completion. This can be designed to enhance the performance of your national team and maintain the integrity of Super Rugby.

    Instead of cannibalising one another, how about to introduce more teams and act as a cartel where every national union hoards all of the talent? Don’t let the Northern Unions benefit from your hard work or natural resources when there are viable alternatives within reach.

    We have the best talent in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Pacific. Have teams in Singapore and Hong Kong – tax rates are 15 per cent there. The trade off being you’re only allowed to represent your country if you play Super Rugby.

    Also, if you don’t make the national side, have a flexible contracting system that allows players to have the off season in Japan. Good money and not taxing on the body. Everyone’s a winner. As it stands now, European competitions are making out like bandits with their TV rights off our talent.

    In the long term, it’s the consumers who adjust and are held responsible, because we have a choice as fans of the game who can exercise what we want to see.

    The reason why I grew up loving rugby was an excuse to hang out with my mates, and for my old man to blow off some steam by having a few cheeky beers as interest rates were at 18 per cent. Profit is an outcome, as the Wallabies win:loss ratio – they’re only a measure, not an attribution to why we play and follow the game.

    All I really want to see is a bunch of boofheads running around a park and for everyone else to have a good time.

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • October 7th 2017 @ 5:31am
      melbourneterrace said | October 7th 2017 @ 5:31am | ! Report

      If there is any continuing Super Rugby or any other trans-national quasi domestic mess of a competition post 2020, then i give up completely on watching any form of SANZAR Rugby and will just stick with Top 14 and other sports.

      Europe competitions have become blatantly more interesting as a fan because it isn’t set up to just be a glorified selection trial for International Rugby and they don’t have stupid multiple tiers where fans are expected to split support across multiple teams.

      Let South Africa leave if they want, call NZ’s bluff because they are too economically weak to do anything alone and demand an Australian domestic league with a separate concurrent international champions league.

      • October 7th 2017 @ 8:58am
        hog said | October 7th 2017 @ 8:58am | ! Report

        Agreed, The one thing the last 20 years has taught us is that the market here does not give a rats A___SS about a truly global sporting competition.

      • October 7th 2017 @ 9:28am
        Patrick said | October 7th 2017 @ 9:28am | ! Report

        Let’s see how that plays out, SA head off to the NH competitions & NZ & AUS fall back on their national provincial competitions. Both have a product to sell for TV rights, which one do you think the TV moguls get the chequebook out for? Pretty sure it won’t be the half baked Aus competition.

        • October 7th 2017 @ 10:46am
          hog said | October 7th 2017 @ 10:46am | ! Report

          You mean those same TV moguls that reduced the game to a half baked competition.

    • October 7th 2017 @ 10:26am
      Tooly said | October 7th 2017 @ 10:26am | ! Report

      Chekko is fond of his boys playing with themselves and each other as a guide to his selections but the only real gage
      of a players ability is against NZ sides .
      There are too many aims , encouraging Rugby in Asia , strengthening NSW and QLD , using the other franchises as feeder clubs , stealing talent from the Islands , TV rights , encouraging spectators and providing a strong Wallaby side .
      The old saying of ” Things won’t change if they stay as they are ” is true of Australian Rugby waiting two more years for a clean out won’t help .

    • Roar Pro

      October 7th 2017 @ 5:16pm
      Anthony said | October 7th 2017 @ 5:16pm | ! Report

      Ultimately it is about the end state of the Super Rugby Conference the Reds and other franchises will play in.

      You want an ANZAC conference, but there is a problem. NZ are awesome and fans want success.

      I like the idea which was written about last week on the roar. 6 conference around the world (Europe + Super Rugby).
      3 divisions within each conference. 6 teams per division.

      Australia has 6 teams. That is 10 home and away games.

      And that is about all you want. 10 games, then go straight to a top four division finals system. Semi’s then finals. Then Australian Division Champions.

      This would be done twice per year. Once with Super Rugby sized player, and a second identical series for everyman sized players.

      Every four years, in years between world cup years, teams would enter the Champions Cup. 18 teams showdown. This again would be done for the Super Rugby and Everyman groups.

      Outside of Champion Cup years, the top teams from each division would play off for the conference Champions. In our case we would play in the ANZAC conference.

    • Roar Rookie

      October 9th 2017 @ 12:53pm
      JPR said | October 9th 2017 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

      Both SANZAAR & ARU have fallen for the bait of a fistful of dollars from broadcasters & minor international countries.
      This may look great short term for the boards commercial bankers balance sheet, but has eaten away at the heart of the real reasons we enjoy rugby union.
      The real supporters turn out at home games is now at very low levels due to high ticket costs, grossly over expensive merchandising, Foxtel making it too easy for lazy fine weather followers to sit at home & above all unattractive games with non balanced teams at crazy time zones.
      Further-more the legal destruction of the Western Force by non-passionate, overpaid, individuals who as a group do not know the game they are representing, illustrates the lack of vision for the future of Australian wide representation.

      Rugby WA has shown this past season in particular the way forward in many ways, high passion from improving supporter attendance, better Australian conference results finishing equal first in 2017 with games won, and solid growth in all types of men’s & women’s competitions, plus official education from excellent grassroots structure.

      These fundamental equal aims and core value focus must be re-instated across the nation now, and stop hiding behind commercial confidential so called agreements, and out of date idealism that the Global international great game is only allowed to be played in the upper class eastern state heartlands of Australia.

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