What SANZAR did wrong to become SANZAAR

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

157 Have your say

    SANZAR was born in 1996 when rugby turned pro. It’s goal was to provide a provincial Super Rugby tournament with teams from South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia.

    SANZAAR was born in 2012 when the Jaguares from Argentina and the Sunwolves from Japan were added to Super Rugby.

    It is one of the many major blunders made by the governing body through sheer greed that has had serious rugby ramifications throughout the southern hemisphere.

    One of the banes of professional rugby is the excessive travel, and SANZAR added to the problem by expanding to countries that were far apart and removed from the axis.

    The Heineken Trophy, basically the northern hemisphere equivalent to Super Rugby, has minimal travel – one of the longest flights being Dublin to Rome taking three hours ten minutes.

    In Super Rugby, Auckland to Bloemfontein was a 21 hour 20 minute flight. To put that in perspective, Sydney to London is 21 hours 45 minutes.

    And there were many other long flying hours just between South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

    Adding Japan and Argentina dramatically increased the travel burden on players.

    Facundo Isa Jaguares Super Rugby 2016

    (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

    Cape Town to Tokyo is 19 hours 45 minutes, Cape Town to Buenos Aires 18 hours 35 – and those times are just one way.

    It’s too late to make any changes for 2018, the Jaguares and Sunwolves are locked in, and Australia has lost the Western Force thanks to an inept Rugby Australia.

    By all means expand Super Rugby, but in the acceptable regions to minimise air travel.

    Looking to 2019, the first thing Australia and New Zealand should do is flick South Africa, the country that keeps moving the Super Rugby goal posts, and bring in the three Pacific Islands countries as national teams.

    There would be enough time to resurrect the Western Force, taking the Australian contingent back to five where it should be to join the already well-entrenched Kiwi five.

    The third group will be Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga.

    Super Rugby 2019 would look like this.

    The Australian five play each other home and away – eight games.

    Then they play the eight teams in the other two groups – home one year, away the next – eight games.

    A totally fair 16 games.

    The New Zealand five to do exactly the same for 16 games.

    The Pacific Islanders play each other three times – two at home one year, two away the next – six games per team per season.

    Then they play the five Australian and five Kiwi sides – split home one year, away the next – 10 games each.

    That gives the Pacific Islanders 16 games in a season as well.

    And everyone has played everyone.

    At the completion off the round-robin, the top four on points overall qualify for the semis, with the senior team having the home ground advantage.

    The winners play off for the decider, at the senior team’s home ground.

    World Rugby to sponsor the Islanders in a tournament that will do more for them on the rugby stage than spasmodic end-of-year trips to the northern hemisphere.

    What will South Africa do?

    They keep threatening to play in the northern hemisphere, so here’s their chance.

    Cape Town to London is 11 hours 55, to Rome 13 hours 50 – less time than many of their Super Rugby travel responsibilities over the years.

    What about Japan and Argentina?

    They can play against the likes of USA and Canada, where they can compete on more of a level playing field.

    Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco Sunwolves Super Rugby Union 2017

    (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

    Which brings me to the Rugby Championship.

    By all means include South Africa, but flick Argentina.

    The Pumas are as big a blight on the Rugby Championship as Italy is to the Six Nations.

    The proof is in their track records.

    The Pumas have played 33 Rugby Championship games – won three, lost 29, drawn one.

    Points for – 576
    Against – 1096.
    Deficit – 520.

    Italy’s Six-Nations stats are a embarrassment since they were admitted in 2000.

    Played 90 – won 12, lost 77, drawn one.

    Points for – 1289.
    Against – 2993.
    Deficit – 1704.

    Italy has finished last in 12 of their 18 seasons, finished second last four times, and third last twice.

    So there must be a change in rugby governance.

    It’s high time Australia and New Zealand rugby combined to work on the KISS formula.

    Keep it simple stupid.

    And the code will prosper, not die on the vine.

    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 (157)

    • January 18th 2018 @ 7:02am
      Not so super said | January 18th 2018 @ 7:02am | ! Report

      Problem is that NZ don’t want to flick SA
      Didn’t think about that did you David ?

      • January 18th 2018 @ 7:16am
        Jeff said | January 18th 2018 @ 7:16am | ! Report

        The real problem is David is that NZ would rather flick us than South Africa.One of the turn offs for them in the last two years is that the Australian teams have not been competitive.Whether that will improve now we only have four teams remains to be seen.

        • January 18th 2018 @ 7:43am
          sheek said | January 18th 2018 @ 7:43am | ! Report


          NSS & Jeff are correct here. Right now, for historical reasons, NZ don’t want to lose SA participation. It means much more to them than Aussie participation.

          Perhaps eventually financial considerations will change NZ’s mind. But at present, they clearly prefer playing Saffies to Aussies.

          Another very clear reason why Australian rugby must get its house in order.

        • Columnist

          January 18th 2018 @ 7:52am
          David Lord said | January 18th 2018 @ 7:52am | ! Report

          Not so super and Jeff, there’s no way New Zealand would flick Australia – the Bledisloe Cup is second only in status to winning the Rugby World Cup.

          And despite the current disparity between the Wallabies and All Blacks, there’s a long standing and traditional respect the two countries share.

          The same priceless assets don’t apply to South Africa from either Australia, or New Zealand.

          If push turned to shove, New Zealand would flick South Africa.

          • January 18th 2018 @ 8:12am
            rebel said | January 18th 2018 @ 8:12am | ! Report

            Really? You don’t know the history between NZ and SA?
            That’s like saying the ashes mean nothing and India are Australia’s traditional rival in cricket.

            Also SANZAAR was born in 2016.

          • Roar Rookie

            January 18th 2018 @ 9:33am
            Don said | January 18th 2018 @ 9:33am | ! Report

            This goes against most opinion from Rugby fans, pundits and journalists I’ve read in the past 5 years.
            Much of what I was reading until the self inflicted decline in quality of the Bok side’s of the past 3 years was that NZedders have always considered the Boks the real challenge outside of a few years when the Wallabies had golden periods.

            Also, it is Saffa broadcasting cash that provides a major chunk of the income to run the comp, pay players and help support Rugby in Aus.

            The sports broadcast market has changed significantly in the past few years. Good luck trying to sell a trans Tasman / Pacific comp to a broadcaster and getting anything like the current deal we have without SA sides playing.

          • Roar Guru

            January 18th 2018 @ 11:08am
            Sam Taulelei said | January 18th 2018 @ 11:08am | ! Report


            Your opinion that NZ would sever their ties with SA Rugby is at odds with that of NZ Rugby’s high performance unit who advise the NZRU and value the points of difference that SA rugby offers to NZ.

            They believe the size, strength, abrasiveness and skills of SA forwards in mauling, carrying, and at setpiece plus learning to play at altitude is crucial for NZ player development.

            Australia is too similar to NZ but yes the two countries share history off and on the field with strong ties.

            Mistakes were made with expansion yet how convenient that you single out Argentina and Japan and not your own underperforming expansion teams.

            From a high performance perspective Australian expansion teams are equally at fault for the mess Super rugby has devolved to and they’ve been around a lot longer.

            Why would World Rugby subsidise or sponsor PI teams to participate? SANZAAR is a professional competition funded by its broadcasting deal. If PI Nations are involved then SANZAAR would have to bear the costs. Super rugby is not Test rugby.

            • January 18th 2018 @ 12:10pm
              Realist said | January 18th 2018 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

              Good post though I think most people would agree with me that the Jaguars and Sunwolves have to be the first to go.

              I think the Rebels deserve three seasons to show progress or suffer the same fate as the Farce.

              • Roar Guru

                January 18th 2018 @ 12:45pm
                Sam Taulelei said | January 18th 2018 @ 12:45pm | ! Report


                Why 3 years for the Rebels?

                I’m not arguing the point but asking a question as to how does anyone arrive at an expected point in time before identifying progress is made?

                What is defined as progress?

                When should an expansion team expect to challenge for a finals appearance or title?

                If a foundation NZ team like the Chiefs take 8 years before qualifying for their first semifinal, 13 years to play their first final and 16 years before winning their first title, are expectations for an expansion team too high?

          • January 18th 2018 @ 12:50pm
            Peter Kelly said | January 18th 2018 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

            The Bledisloe is not the prestige you believe, 15 years of winning doesn’t make a qreat rivalry
            Beating SA in SA preferably at altitude thats the pinnacle
            To me domination in SA is better than a WC – and a far bigger challenge that anything Aus has to offer at the moment
            Although NZ will always enjoy beating our cousins across the ditch.

            • January 18th 2018 @ 12:55pm
              Fionn said | January 18th 2018 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

              Maybe for the die hard fans, but I’d hazard a guess that casual fan isn’t getting up at 3am to watch the All Blacks play the South Africans in Bloemfontein, or even necessarily following it.

              Since 2010 the All Blacks have won 4 out of 5 against South Africa at altitude,

              • January 18th 2018 @ 1:13pm
                Etepeus said | January 18th 2018 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

                Agree but its us tragics that keep the game going through the bad years and NZ has had some.
                NZ rugby should nether want to be split from either
                The ABs get to play 2 of the best teams in the world with different styles of rugby – the best prep we can have before heading north.
                And just as an aside IF the ABs have to lose the odd game i would rather it be Aus or SA than any 6 nations team.

              • January 18th 2018 @ 9:29pm
                John said | January 18th 2018 @ 9:29pm | ! Report

                You dont have to get up at 1am or 3am to watch these games. We have My Star now. Record and watch in the morning.

            • Roar Rookie

              January 18th 2018 @ 1:10pm
              piru said | January 18th 2018 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

              Some perspective

              NZ beat SA by 50+ in SA last year

              Aussie at least managed a win over the All Blacks

              • January 18th 2018 @ 1:48pm
                Etepeus said | January 18th 2018 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

                Yep SA not the best at moment but they will be back stronger than ever.
                Hopefully more SA players will head home to make WC squad.
                Duane Vermeulen moving from France already.

              • Roar Rookie

                January 18th 2018 @ 1:52pm
                piru said | January 18th 2018 @ 1:52pm | ! Report

                I don’t doubt it at all, I just think we tend to over simplify the respective nations and their competitiveness.

              • January 18th 2018 @ 1:58pm
                Fionn said | January 18th 2018 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

                South Africa are apparently getting Erasmus and de Villiers back to coach the Boks.

                If that is the case then they could improve a lot very quickly, which would leave us as the only one of the big 3 SH nations languishing in mediocrity.

                Since 09 the Wallabies have been better than SA most years, however (2013 an exception).

              • January 18th 2018 @ 3:06pm
                Jacko said | January 18th 2018 @ 3:06pm | ! Report

                Wasnt the 50+ win in NZ and the 24-25 result in SA Piru?

              • Roar Rookie

                January 18th 2018 @ 3:20pm
                piru said | January 18th 2018 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

                my recollection was that it was in SA, but if I’m wrong apologies

              • January 18th 2018 @ 3:26pm
                Etepeus said | January 18th 2018 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

                I think we put 50 on Aus as well before having a rest in the 2nd half
                The long term stats still have SA as a harder target over time.

              • January 18th 2018 @ 4:49pm
                Fionn said | January 18th 2018 @ 4:49pm | ! Report

                The stats are very similar since 07.

                I wonder what the stats since professionalism will be, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Wallabies were slightly ahead since professionalism.

            • January 18th 2018 @ 5:21pm
              Bakkies said | January 18th 2018 @ 5:21pm | ! Report

              The way the game is going in South Africa that decision may be made for both Australia and NZ.

              • Roar Guru

                January 18th 2018 @ 11:24pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | January 18th 2018 @ 11:24pm | ! Report


                Neither NZR or RA are even contemplating the thought to break away from each other. And that should be pretty obvious for anyone to see who drops the colors and zoom out a little bit.

                The only potential changes long term is that SARU somehow goes north full stop.(and If that happens, it probably opens the door for Japan to “replace” SA (JANZAR). Money is gonna do the talking, so we shall see what kind of numbers the next couple of TV-deals reveals.

                And a future “league” with Japan, Australia, and NZ at the core, is a promising setup for a future expansion in Asia and maybe even the Pacific one day.Who knows, but maybe it is in that “league” the big money will be found in the future. Imagine SR with all the best homegrown player at the bone, and sprinkle with the best of the best from all other countries including the Home Nations and France. That would put bums on seats and sell PPV’s et al.

          • Roar Guru

            January 19th 2018 @ 9:35pm
            Corne Van Vuuren said | January 19th 2018 @ 9:35pm | ! Report

            I don’t think push comes to shove is the issue, if SA rugby continues to freefall, New Zealand might flick them purely because what SA rugby used to bring doesn’t exist anymore

            • January 22nd 2018 @ 6:08am
              richard said | January 22nd 2018 @ 6:08am | ! Report

              It won’t happen,for the reasons already mentioned.If SA were to leave SANZAAR,it would be disastrous for NZ

              A TransTasman comp with maybe Japan thrown in? No thanks.And I tell you now,the NZ public won’t wear it.And Tew understands this.

        • January 18th 2018 @ 7:54am
          Fionn said | January 18th 2018 @ 7:54am | ! Report

          I don’t think that New Zealand or South Africa can flick us, however, for purely geographical reasons.

          • January 18th 2018 @ 9:55am
            Council said | January 18th 2018 @ 9:55am | ! Report

            We wouldn’t flick anyone.

            All this talk keeps coming from Australian posters.

            We want to play your boys and the Saffas and the Argies and the Wolves. Understandably it’s not the best set up at the moment but variety I am the spice of life.

            And David…

            Please don’t comment again on what Kiwi fans want.

            • January 18th 2018 @ 10:14am
              Fionn said | January 18th 2018 @ 10:14am | ! Report

              Do you want to play the Argies and the Wolves? I personally don’t feel that the introduction of Argentina and Japan have been good for Super Rugby. That said, I also understand that Argentina wanted to part of it, so I understand both sides.

              • January 18th 2018 @ 10:26am
                Gurudoright said | January 18th 2018 @ 10:26am | ! Report

                Argentina should have been made to have two teams when they joined SR. I understand the financial constraints the Argentine Rugby Union had at the time but having one team, almost a national team does nothing for competitiveness for spots in the NT.

            • Roar Rookie

              January 18th 2018 @ 1:53pm
              piru said | January 18th 2018 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

              Unfortunately sometimes ‘discontinuing’ a team is the only option

              right Cameron?

        • January 20th 2018 @ 10:44pm
          double agent said | January 20th 2018 @ 10:44pm | ! Report

          SA and Oz fairly even since 93. Money and convenience I think would be bigger issues.

      • January 18th 2018 @ 10:35am
        AndyS said | January 18th 2018 @ 10:35am | ! Report

        And understandably so, which is why it is so baffling that Australia isn’t at least sticking other irons in the fire to give themselves alternatives. Because while it may not happen in the next contract (although not impossible), SA may give both the flick regardless of what NZ/Aus want. Then they would be scrambling, with no guarantee that a life jacket will be forthcoming.

        • Roar Guru

          January 18th 2018 @ 3:42pm
          sheek said | January 18th 2018 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

          Basically RA is stuffed, so it has to do the bidding of there.

          From my viewpoint, this is the ‘crime’ of Australian rugby for failing to develop the game nationally during the amateur era, when in fact it was actually easier to spread the game.

          The reason being, people transferred for work, but used their leisure time to impart their love of a sport. It was done from passion, not for money.

          Should I remind people that NSW first played Qld way back in 1882. Yep, 1882.

          Rugby quickly gained a toehold in WA around the mid-1880s but quickly converted to Aussie Rules in the early 1890s.

          Victoria had several attempts to get the game going – 1893, 1909 & then again around 1926. In the 1930s Victoria was a genuine third power in Australian rugby.

          SA established a domestic comp as far back as 1936 while ACT broke away from NSW country in 1974.

          A two division Wallaby Trophy existed 1968-77 but unfortunately this also co-existed with one of the weakest eras for the Wallabies.

          There have been many attempts to develop Australian rugby nationally. But unfortunately, too many of them were half-hearted efforts without enough resilience to see the process through.

          Come the professional era & Australia started way behind NZ, SA & even Argentina. And we’re still playing catch-up.

          • January 18th 2018 @ 11:47pm
            Stephen Creagh said | January 18th 2018 @ 11:47pm | ! Report

            Sheek, some would argue that Australia led the way when the professional game came into play in 1996. The Rod McQueen era was certainly seen as setting the standard in this period.
            New Zealand overtook us in the early 2000s and never looked back.

            • Roar Guru

              January 19th 2018 @ 8:30pm
              sheek said | January 19th 2018 @ 8:30pm | ! Report


              The first two years of super rugby were a struggle for Australia.

              Then MacQueen had an epiphany & decided to trial Larkham at no.10.

              That one decision had a positive knock-on effect to a lot of other things.

              Yes, the 90s firstly with Dwyer then MacQueen, Australia was considered at the forefront of rugby thinking. But somewhere in the mid-2000s we lost our way & have never recovered to date.

              • January 19th 2018 @ 8:39pm
                Fionn said | January 19th 2018 @ 8:39pm | ! Report


                The Reds topped the table in the 1996 Super 12 season, with the Brumbies coming 5th, and in 1997 the Brumbies came 2nd and made the final.

                Struggled? Really?

                You’re right about the fact that we lost our way in the mid-2000s.

                I actually think that Australia was on the way back to being perennially in the top 2 and playing really positive rugby from 2011-14, but that all changed when we lost Link and we have regressed hugely since.

    • January 18th 2018 @ 7:29am
      riddler said | January 18th 2018 @ 7:29am | ! Report

      i think.. the logic was a southern hemisphere idea to compete with the 5 nations, as it was then before italy joined..

      travel time i guess was assumed to be part of the deal..

      personally i don’t think there is an easy solution to the southern hemisphere concept..

    • January 18th 2018 @ 7:30am
      MH said | January 18th 2018 @ 7:30am | ! Report

      No thanks.
      Dumbing down the competition just to appease Australia isnt the answer – Australian rugby are where they are at present due to their own ineptitude. The force have been cut due to poor ongoing performance and that’s not just them but across the whole of Australian rugby – both on and off the paddock. Expansion wasn’t great but that includes the 5th Australian team – all that equals is that SANZAAR have had to think for once about restructuring as opposed to the default of adding teams.

      SR is what it is – certainly not perfect but it is up to Australia to either love it or leave it. What is becoming obvious is that the new Australian pass time is the death riding of the competition in the mystical hope that from the rumble will grow a TT type competition – if i was going to have a punt on what happens after the new broadcast deal my money would be on everyone staying in the same competition.

    • January 18th 2018 @ 7:38am
      sheek said | January 18th 2018 @ 7:38am | ! Report


      The massive travelling is one of the reasons I would truncate super rugby.

      It ought to be obvious here that the practical reasons of playing close to home outweigh the potential international TV broadcast revenues.

      Enclosed conferences is the way to go – South African national comp; Argentine national comp; New Zealand national comp & Australian national comp. Perhaps even a Pacific Islands national comp.

      A combined international broadcasting deal could be arranged for this.

      The top two from each conference would then play off in a Champion’s Cup. Since they would be playing just 3-5 games, there would be less travel involved outside their own countries.

      Again, a combined international broadcasting deal could be arranged for this.

      This (enclosed conferences) makes much more sense to me, which is why I can’t wait to see the back of super rugby in the way it is currently managed.

      A word on SANZAAR. It was created to be the servant of the ARU, NZRU & SARU. But it now seems to me SANZAAR is positioning itself evermore to become the master of SH rugby, & dictate to its member unions.

      This ought to be obvious to any rugby fan. SANZAAR needs to be reigned in before it’s too late.

      • January 18th 2018 @ 8:02am
        Fionn said | January 18th 2018 @ 8:02am | ! Report

        That’s all well and good, but it would mean accepting that Aussie rugby would become like the A League – just a talent factory for rich European leagues. Only the duds and older players would play here.

        • January 18th 2018 @ 8:54am
          sheek said | January 18th 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report


          And it isn’t now?

          Australia can protect its comp by placing severe restrictions on player movement.

          And please don’t give me this “restraint of trade” stuff. Restraint of trade exists everywhere. Suppressed national wages is restraint of trade.

          The leading rugby nations are already assessing the free movement of players between countries, & perhaps it’s not as rosy as it seems.

          It just depends on how much World Rugby & the leading nations value international rugby.

          Another thing, unlike football (soccer), which grows players on trees, rugby players are a more finite number. There’s not as many of them to spread around.

          And there’s never going to be some miraculous spike in numbers.

          WR needs to think carefully about this & protect the integrity of domestic comps.

          • January 18th 2018 @ 9:55am
            Fionn said | January 18th 2018 @ 9:55am | ! Report

            If we are talking the wider economy trade restrictions are at their lowest point since the 19th century, Sheek, meanwhile wage increases are at their lowest point (during periods of economic growth) since the Great Depression. So no, wage increases are not being held back by a lack of free trade. But let’s leave that conversation.

            At the moment we are actually keeping most—not all, but most—of our top players in Australia. We are certainly keeping more in Australia than we would if we moved to a competition with far less $$$.

            I happen to actually like Super Rugby. I like playing the best teams of South Africa and New Zealand. The issue, in my opinion, is how to get Super Rugby back to the great competition it once was.

            • January 18th 2018 @ 3:11pm
              Jacko said | January 18th 2018 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

              You are right Fionn.. I love watching the SR and record the games that I cant watch to watch later……
              Would we be having all these discussions if Aus SR sides were more successful over the last couple of years as to me it seems the lack of success has driven the removal of the Force and the cries for SR to go. Success is an amazing interest raiser

              • Roar Guru

                January 18th 2018 @ 3:32pm
                sheek said | January 18th 2018 @ 3:32pm | ! Report


                You’re probably right.

                If Australian rugby teams start winning super rugby matches left, right & centre, only a few hardened, jaundiced old-timers like myself will regret RA getting any reflected glory.

                Most people love a winner & damn the details!

              • Roar Rookie

                January 18th 2018 @ 3:40pm
                piru said | January 18th 2018 @ 3:40pm | ! Report

                If Australian rugby teams start winning super rugby matches left, right & centre, only a few hardened, jaundiced old-timers like myself will regret RA getting any reflected glory.

                WA also

              • January 18th 2018 @ 4:21pm
                AussieToxin said | January 18th 2018 @ 4:21pm | ! Report

                If it was about Australian teams being competitive with Australia homegrown talent then you would be looking at three teams only for Australia versus five for New Zealand. And for an Australian team to win the competition then most of the very best Australian talent would need to be concetrated in one team.

              • Roar Rookie

                January 18th 2018 @ 5:03pm
                piru said | January 18th 2018 @ 5:03pm | ! Report

                As when the Waratahs and Reds won the comp with 5 Aussie sides?

              • January 18th 2018 @ 5:22pm
                Fionn said | January 18th 2018 @ 5:22pm | ! Report

                And the Brumbies would have won it also but for a wonderful cover tackle from Cruden in the 2013 final in NZ.

              • January 18th 2018 @ 6:44pm
                Jacko said | January 18th 2018 @ 6:44pm | ! Report

                Go Cruden LOL…what a tackle.

              • January 19th 2018 @ 12:33pm
                Panopticon said | January 19th 2018 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

                You must have a very short memory- ‘several years ago’ the Waratahs won Super Rugby. ‘Several years’ before that QLD won. To suggest lack of success is the issue is delusional and a Rugby Australia lie.

            • Roar Guru

              January 18th 2018 @ 3:30pm
              sheek said | January 18th 2018 @ 3:30pm | ! Report


              The “restraint of trade” wasn’t meant to be directed at you personally, but as a general pre-empted response.

              Whenever I say we need to look at things like ‘transfer fee’ for developing home grown talent, restraint of trade is quickly thrown in.

              Sometimes unfortunately, protectionism is required to protect countries & sports from their own excesses.

              • January 18th 2018 @ 6:45pm
                Jacko said | January 18th 2018 @ 6:45pm | ! Report

                I LOVE the idea of a transfer fee Sheek…..It would at least give a fighting pool of $$$

            • January 18th 2018 @ 4:02pm
              PeterMc said | January 18th 2018 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

              Revert to SANZAR

            • January 18th 2018 @ 4:12pm
              AussieToxin said | January 18th 2018 @ 4:12pm | ! Report

              That is right. Australia’s top rugby union players are no longer as good as they used to be when compared to the best from other countries around the world.

              Australia needs to create its own sheltered competition for Australian players.

      • Columnist

        January 18th 2018 @ 8:16am
        David Lord said | January 18th 2018 @ 8:16am | ! Report

        Two points sheek in your interesting summary:

        (1) You didn’t suggest there be a Japan Conference, sticking entirely to the southern hemisphere. Every time I’ve written about the inept SANZAAR, and the doubly inept Rugby Australia, I’ve criticised having anything to do with Japan.

        But nobody, and I mean NOBODY, has taken me to task not supporting Japan’s involvement in southern hemisphere rugby. On the surface, that would suggest the majority of Roarers support Japan’s inclusion.

        Why is that sheek?

        (2) You say SANZAAR is dictating to members unions, and you’re quite right.

        But the real truth is South Africa is the dominant force in SANZAAR purely because New Zealand and Australia let them take over.

        Why is that sheek?

        • January 18th 2018 @ 9:39am
          Gurudoright said | January 18th 2018 @ 9:39am | ! Report

          I feel Japan is critical for SANZAAR’s long term financial stability. Japan offers opportunities to SANZAAR via the Rugby Championship. In two matches at the RWC 2015, Japan’s National side was watched by a viewing audience of 20 million people in Japan. Those viewing numbers alone and a spike of Japanese interest from next years RWC in Japan should be make SANZAAR sit up and take Japan a bit more seriously.

          • January 18th 2018 @ 3:13pm
            Jacko said | January 18th 2018 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

            Again it comes back to the commercial realities of pro rugby…..To me the way to grow SH rugby is in Asia and Japan are the strongest asian country at present and also have great commercial stability

            • Roar Guru

              January 18th 2018 @ 11:53pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | January 18th 2018 @ 11:53pm | ! Report

              Japans economy is bigger than UK and France combined. Offer the Japanese audience a world-class product, and I see potential dollar signs. Japan is the key to be able to sustain strong SH rugby in the future.

              If I was Tew or Castle, I would offer a couple of top AB’s and WB”s to play for the Sunwolves right away. Show the Japanese audience world class rugby every week and a strong Japanese team that could challenge for playoffs spots (and beyond).

        • January 18th 2018 @ 3:47pm
          Akari said | January 18th 2018 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

          I say, flick the Wolves and reinstate the Force.

          The Japanese should join or help create an Asian version of super rugby and play during their autumn/winter. I fail to see why our SH super rugby teams should be playing them during their hot summer.

    • January 18th 2018 @ 8:47am
      sheek said | January 18th 2018 @ 8:47am | ! Report


      I wouldn’t involve the Japanese in super rugby or Champion’s Cup for the combined reasons of travel & playing standards.

      But that’s not to say I would shun them, just not have them participate in any top tier. As for why Roarers don’t speak up for or against Japan involvement, I’m guessing apathy.

      it was the ANC, more than SARU or anyone else, who called the shots insisting on Kings participation. The SARU themselves didn’t have the balls to cull any other team, so they fell in line, demanding 6 Saffies teams.

      SANZAAR is run by a Saffie, which might partly explain why Oz & NZ has let SA dominate events. I can’t speak for NZ, but the ARU haven’t demonstrated much backbone under Pulver & Clyne.

      • Roar Guru

        January 18th 2018 @ 7:28pm
        Harry Jones said | January 18th 2018 @ 7:28pm | ! Report

        Cracking discussion thread, but a point of clarity: Andy Marinos is a Saffa, but it’s a big stretch to say he is advancing SA interests, as he helps to administer SANZAAR. Somebody from the three founding nations was going to be the “CEO” and I would hope we could let a Kiwi or Aussie take their turn, make hard decisions, and such, without too quickly deeming their calls purely “nationalistic.”

      • January 24th 2018 @ 5:47pm
        Sterling said | January 24th 2018 @ 5:47pm | ! Report


        Involving Japan in a champ cup does add to travel, but with the top 2 from each NRC, NPC, Currie, Top League and ARE equivalent it only comes to 10 teams. Which, in a single round robin would mean 4 or 5 away games overseas. So about the same as current SR but without the 2 or 3 away games in your own country.

        When it comes to competitiveness, then yes, one for one the Top League teams would struggle, as would the NRC teams. But the top 2 wouldn’t be exposed so easily.

    • Roar Guru

      January 18th 2018 @ 8:47am
      Carlos the Argie said | January 18th 2018 @ 8:47am | ! Report

      Time to ask Lord to retire. He is senile.

      If he thinks that Canada and the USA are comparable competition to Argentina then he is totally ignorant of either USA and Canada rugby, Argentina rugby or both.

      No doubt that the entry of Argentina to SANZAAR has been problematic in many ways, that6 is undeniable, but kicking Argentina away from the tournament will destine their rugby to constant mediocrity. Maybe Lord doesn’t care, maybe he is too parochial to think beyond his nose. maybe he wants to Make Australia Great Again.

      Hey, even Geoff Parkes in his book calls SANZAAR an organization of Australia, SA and NZ. He forgot Pichot and his tribe of sycophants as well.

      • Columnist

        January 18th 2018 @ 9:50am
        David Lord said | January 18th 2018 @ 9:50am | ! Report

        Carlos, Argentina is having big trouble beating time, let alone quality rugby opponents. Obviously Carlos you failed to read the above Puma stats in the Rugby Championship.

        Like Italy in the Six-Nations – Argentina doesn’t deserve elite billing.

        The only senile people in this conversation are those with rose-coloured glasses who reckoned Argentina was capable of competing on a level playing field with the All Blacks, Wallabies, and Boks.

        They are simply not good enough.

        • Roar Guru

          January 18th 2018 @ 10:21am
          Carlos the Argie said | January 18th 2018 @ 10:21am | ! Report

          I think you are purposely missing the point. But you do this to rattle cages, as you have done many times in the past.

          I NEVER stated that Argentina would have an easy time with SA-NZ-AU. If anything, the other Argie posters here tend to be nasty to me because I am so critical of the way that Argentina runs its rugby and plays it.

          If “local” Argies have rose colored glasses, it is something to be expected. Not by me

          But it is impossible to maintain interest in rugby in Argentina by playing the USA and Canada. Sorry, it doesn’t “compute”.

          And before you forget, Argentina made it to two RWC semi finals, so in “short” tournaments it tends to do rather well. You can’t say that of Italy.

          • January 18th 2018 @ 10:41am
            Gurudoright said | January 18th 2018 @ 10:41am | ! Report

            Using Argentina’s record in the TRC against Italy’s in the 6 Nation is a bit desperate. Argentina have played teams consistently in the top 4 in the world rankings in the Rugby Championship. Where as Italy rarely play ( 2 out of 5 games at the absolute most ) against top 4 rank teams in the 6 Nations. Not really an apples for apples comparison.

            • Roar Guru

              January 18th 2018 @ 10:48am
              Carlos the Argie said | January 18th 2018 @ 10:48am | ! Report

              I know, but it was Lord that compared them.

              Argentina usually makes it to the QF of the RWC, at least since 1999.

              Italy never made it out.

              • January 18th 2018 @ 11:27am
                Gurudoright said | January 18th 2018 @ 11:27am | ! Report

                I agree. Argentina has made 2 out of the last 3 RWC Semi-finals yet two thirds ( Ireland and Italy) have never made a RWC Semi-final let alone two. Scotland has not made one since 1991.

      • Columnist

        January 18th 2018 @ 10:42am
        Geoff Parkes said | January 18th 2018 @ 10:42am | ! Report

        Sharp work Carlos. There are actually two errors in that same sentence, the omission of the word “Argentina” and the repetition of the word “rugby”. Of course I blame the editor….

        David, here’s another point to consider. Steve Tew speaking…

        “We (SANZAAR) made some decisions that were made with a long-term view in mind. Even going back to the admission of Argentina, that was a massive issue for World Rugby, trying to figure where they sat in the rugby world, so there was a compromise reached where, with some assistance from World Rugby, they joined our competition. We’re richer for having them involved, but it adds another layer of complexity.”

        “We understand the criticism if it’s about Super Rugby in isolation, but don’t forget that super rugby is also part of the fabric of world rugby.”

        Problems and their solutions are rarely as black and white as what we’d all like them to be.

        • Roar Guru

          January 18th 2018 @ 10:52am
          Carlos the Argie said | January 18th 2018 @ 10:52am | ! Report


          Two issues. One, I am reading your book and trying to do carefully. You wrote very passionately, though I must say that when you start comparing with the AFL, cricket or the NRL, you lose me. They mean nothing to a non commonwealth person. I may write to you privately with a more thorough review but I won’t do it for the Roar. I asked you friendships in FB, I can send it by message there if you accept.

          Two, Argentina has, as I have stated many times to the aggravation of my compatriots, many issues with their rugby. But I still believe, very strongly, that being part of SR and the RCH will be (eventually) better for international rugby and Argentina too.

          And don’t worry about your editor, just a little punishment is enough. Not too much.

          • Columnist

            January 18th 2018 @ 11:18am
            Geoff Parkes said | January 18th 2018 @ 11:18am | ! Report

            He did a fantastic job Carlos. Wading through 110,000 words is no mans idea of fun.

            I never noticed a FB request sorry. Why don’t you contact me through my website geoffparkes.com and we can pick it up from there. Cheers.

            • Roar Guru

              January 18th 2018 @ 3:17pm
              Carlos the Argie said | January 18th 2018 @ 3:17pm | ! Report

              Still, as a matter of principle, you should always flog the editor. No matter what or why.