SANZAAR is at a crossroads

Corne Van Vuuren Roar Guru

By Corne Van Vuuren, Corne Van Vuuren is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger


214 Have your say

    SANZAAR is at a crossroads that is far more complex than being down to money, travel, or that Australia is disillusioned with Super Rugby.

    South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina are all in danger, due to a player exodus that has no end in sight. We are foolish to believe we can compete financially with Europe via expansion into Chinese, Japanese or American markets.

    Meanwhile, the absolute dominance New Zealand currently has is not healthy for Super Rugby nor The Rugby Championship and is creating disillusionment among non-Kiwi supporters.

    I am not blaming New Zealand rugby for this, as, obviously, each country has its own issues in regarding development.

    In South Africa, Australia and Argentina, players develop mostly despite the systems in place, so each nation produces enough quality players to compete at the highest international level on a consistent basis. But if you take away enough of these players, you remove the nation’s ability to compete, because the next level of players is not good enough.

    Consider the current talent lost by South Africa in Europe. You might be able to put together three Super Rugby franchises, and they would likely end in the top-four positions in a conference containing the then-eight South African franchises.

    Add to that the intellectual property lost, the experience lost, and you see why the lack of development is at fault.

    New Zealand is much less affected by the talent drain simply because their development system is leaps and bounds ahead.

    The truth of the matter is there is no short-term solution to this problem. The challenge lies in firstly recognising where the frustrations and disillusions stem from, which comes down to a lack of domestic investment, lack of structures, poor administration, lack of development of coaches and players, and ultimately an amateur approach to a professional industry.

    If South Africa, Australia and Argentina were able to compete with New Zealand, we might not ever have come to the crossroads – we might have had higher television revenue, higher spectator numbers and be none the wiser.

    But we don’t, and thus we need to find solutions.

    South Africa seems to have found an alternative to SANZAAR, but is Europe seen as a permanent solution or an additional option for generating revenue and thus retaining players?

    The fact is the horse has bolted, there are two South African teams in Europe, we can therefore accept more will follow. What we don’t know is how many. Nor the level they plan to compete at.

    The European Champions Cup is the continent’s highest level, and so far there has been no discussion that we know of that South African teams can qualify for it. You do however have to think logic suggests if a South African team does win the Pro14 in the future, ECC qualification would follow.

    After the involvement of the Cheetahs and Kings in the Pro14 became public, Jurie Roux discussed the potential of four teams in Europe and four teams in Super Rugby. He also said that Super 12 was probably the best version of Super Rugby, as 12 teams had integrity, the best teams rose to the top, no finals berths were guaranteed, and luck had little to do with play-off positions.

    Perhaps Super 12 or Super 14 is the future once again, if SANZAAR forgets about their grandiose expansion plans.

    The concern though is if four South African teams play in Europe, there will be a short-term sacrifice on the quality of players, for SA rugby to recover from the exodus of the past number of years they will need time to generate enough talent for eight professional teams.

    The other concern is what happens to the Pro 14 once it adds two more South African teams? I am not a fan of conferences, pools or any other split group competitions, and will always prefer a one-pool, round-robin competition where everyone plays everyone else. That is the foundation of any competition with integrity.

    France has a Top 14 with double round-robin that fills their calendar to the brim, which suggests 14 teams is the maximum you can realistically have.

    The thinking that Italy might lose their two teams with the addition of South African teams is unrealistic, as Italy is a country with nearly 60 million people and even though rugby is not their most popular sport, their economy cannot be ignored.

    So while it is smart of SARU to consider Europe as an additional option, I do not see how it can be the only option, as their seasons and competitions are full as is.

    I do not see Australian rugby prospering on its own, simply since rugby union is not popular enough to generate the type of revenue AFL, league or cricket does. They need outside markets to generate revenue as well.

    And even though New Zealand is the envy of the rugby world, I do not see them prospering on their own either.

    South Africa, Australia and New Zealand might be reluctant partners, but they are partners nonetheless. Perhaps they need to fully embrace the fact that Argentina is part of the alliance, and together redirect their ambitions for Super Rugby into a more compact, shorter, higher-quality competition.

    This would leave all the nations enough time in the calendar to truly and successfully develop domestic, grassroots rugby.

    After all, if you cannot retain your top 150 players, try then to retain the top 90 at least.

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    The Crowd Says (214)

    • May 9th 2018 @ 9:47am
      Treetops said | May 9th 2018 @ 9:47am | ! Report

      For the sake of the game in Australia long term………..South Africa must not be part of it!
      How many times must we rant and rave about the reasons why!

      If SA are part of our professional competition going forward post 2020, Australian rugby is doomed.

      We must work with Twiggy Forest. He is our potential saviour for a national competition to be successful, as it must

      • May 9th 2018 @ 9:51am
        Fionn said | May 9th 2018 @ 9:51am | ! Report

        Super 12 was a great competition, and that had South Africa. Super 12 even coincided with Australia’s Golden Age.

        • May 9th 2018 @ 10:05am
          Treetops said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:05am | ! Report

          Local derbies, bitter rivalries,suburban grounds, local time-slots……..perfect for building the game from the ground up.

          SA provides none of that. NZ sort of do (but they don’t want us)

          We cannot continue this present ridiculous format

          • May 9th 2018 @ 10:07am
            Fionn said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:07am | ! Report

            But as we saw in S12 and S14 it is possible to have South Africa in the competition and a better format.

            We have lots of local derbies now. Do we honestly think that they’re great watches? I’ve found most of the matches against South African sides far more exciting this year.

            • May 9th 2018 @ 10:39am
              Gav said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:39am | ! Report

              It’s not necessarily about great matches, it’s about giving people something to care about.

              • May 9th 2018 @ 10:50am
                Fionn said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:50am | ! Report

                People did care about S12 and 14 though.

          • Roar Guru

            May 9th 2018 @ 10:40am
            PeterK said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:40am | ! Report

            local timeslots is a furfy, most people with fox have an IQ so can record the games and watch them at a time that suits them.

            • May 9th 2018 @ 10:46am
              Treetops said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:46am | ! Report

              Garbage. 3am game against the stormers (what hemisphere are they in again).

              The fans we need to attract to our game…..and we need heaps, want to watch live games at a time that they are routinely awake to

              • Roar Guru

                May 9th 2018 @ 10:54am
                PeterK said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:54am | ! Report

                no need to watch live , a lot watch recorded games

              • May 9th 2018 @ 11:00am
                Bakkies said | May 9th 2018 @ 11:00am | ! Report

                Agreed TT it’s also about knowing results when you are awake.

              • Roar Guru

                May 9th 2018 @ 11:46am
                John R said | May 9th 2018 @ 11:46am | ! Report

                The broadcasters want us watching games live as well.

                Guaranteed product in fan friendly times might be a way into FTA as well.

                Blue sky thinking of course.

              • May 9th 2018 @ 4:24pm
                Mapu said | May 9th 2018 @ 4:24pm | ! Report

                Yea I watch those games on 6x fast forward.just perfect,

          • Roar Guru

            May 9th 2018 @ 2:56pm
            Corne Van Vuuren said | May 9th 2018 @ 2:56pm | ! Report

            Treetops, if Super Rugby has a shorter season, there is enough time for ARU to have a local comp with their franchises and all the local derbies you want.

        • May 9th 2018 @ 4:06pm
          Markus said | May 9th 2018 @ 4:06pm | ! Report

          Was Super 12 really a great competition though? The South African teams were largely terrible for its entirety, only making the finals twice in its 10 years, and consistently having scores racked up that even the current Australian teams would consider humiliating. Not just the then Cats either, the Bulls and Stormers were often just as bad.

          I suspect I enjoyed it so much purely because it coincided with Australia’s Golden Age, in particular that of the Brumbies.

          • Roar Guru

            May 9th 2018 @ 9:05pm
            Corne Van Vuuren said | May 9th 2018 @ 9:05pm | ! Report

            The SA teams struggled heavily at the time, that doesn’t mean things can’t change. Besides I rather watch Super 12 with SA teams struggling than the convoluted nonsense now

            • May 10th 2018 @ 9:57am
              Markus said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:57am | ! Report

              Things can absolutely change. And for SA teams interestingly it was with the change to 14 then 15 teams in the competition. Adding another team (Lions and Cheetahs no longer a joint entity) actually coincided with the Bulls, Sharks and Stormers all becoming regular finalists. Playing against the Bulls (for example) was suddenly as tense an atmosphere and as satisfying as getting a win against the Crusaders.

              We also witnessed six different winners in that 10 year period compared to just the three in the 10 years of Super 12, so far more parity and competitiveness across the teams.

              Perhaps it is the conference system more than the number of teams that is causing the problems in viewer interest.

      • May 9th 2018 @ 10:46am
        Lion Brown said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:46am | ! Report

        But Forrest isn’t offering a national competition – just another multi national event but this time in non traditional rugby countries

        • May 9th 2018 @ 10:57am
          Treetops said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:57am | ! Report

          We don’t really know what he is offering correct. To be honest, I don’t think he knows just yet.

          He wants to start something that involves WA in the long term at a professional level. If that was a national comp. with the addition of 1-2 ‘Asian/ Islander’ teams, then I believe that would make him happy

          • May 9th 2018 @ 5:28pm
            Lion Brown said | May 9th 2018 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

            Well his plans have been well canvassed

            and anyway how is the addition of ‘1 or 2 Asian / island teams’ a national competition – seems your goalposts have shifted already

        • Roar Guru

          May 9th 2018 @ 4:46pm
          Corne Van Vuuren said | May 9th 2018 @ 4:46pm | ! Report

          Forrest has money to burn, an itch to scratch and is testing the waters.

      • May 9th 2018 @ 9:00pm
        Leftist leftie said | May 9th 2018 @ 9:00pm | ! Report

        If I had to design a competition again. It would be to have most teams in places where people would be interested. Northern Sydney, eastern Sydney, Brisbane etc.. Not sure if the top traditional clubs would be interested into going pro. But they should be asked if they would be keen on taking over if the unfortunate were to happen.

        We can take the best parts of the remains of this Super Rugby carcass and rebuild it here locally. There were five pro setups here up until last season so there is some structures there we can reuse. Maybe have a draft system amongst the new clubs to distribute the players from around the world who nominate to play in this Australian rugby union league. We could cherry pick top NZ talent to include in our own line ups. So we could use the NZ teams as farm teams for our pro league.

        We would still play the NZ and SA national teams, but that should be it. We need a lot of local derbies.

        If we don’t have a proper local competition that attracts interest then you can write union off. NRL will pick the bones and AFL as well as soccer will finish the job.

        • May 10th 2018 @ 12:05am
          Geoff said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:05am | ! Report

          So Leftist leftie, do you really think “players around the world’ would want to play in your aussie comp? like for sweet FA money and no exposure internationally . ” We could cherry pick top NZ talent to include in our own line ups. So we could use the NZ teams as farm teams for our pro league” Really your arrogance is one of the reasons that Australians grate on Kiwis, in what fantasy world do you see this happening, Oh then you woke up, dick.

        • May 10th 2018 @ 4:39am
          Lion Brown said | May 10th 2018 @ 4:39am | ! Report


      • May 9th 2018 @ 9:20pm
        Rugger said | May 9th 2018 @ 9:20pm | ! Report

        Give me a game against a South African team any day over a nose-bleeding bore against the Force or Sunwolves

        Plastic franchises are the problem and need to be surgically removed to save the game.

        Your fear of South Africa is misplaced – the South African administration is the problem (the idiots who insisted on implementing a sixth side) with a few radical farm burglars barking from their megaphones. Super 12 was fantastic and so are the core of South African teams.

        A purely domestic competition made up of another couple of joker sides would be the worst outcome for Australian Rugby.

        • May 11th 2018 @ 2:39pm
          Ex force fan said | May 11th 2018 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

          Watch the Bulls play prior to Mitchell and you people enough to watch that kind of rugby. Kick, tackle and pressure with no regard for the entertainment value of the sport. They had Habana on the wing in his prime years and he never saw the ball – just used to chase kicks. No even the fanatical Bulls supporters want to watch them play anymore, supporters that only watch when they win. This win at all cost mentality is changing, at last with Mitchell as coach. The same coach that got the Lions to play rugby that people want to watch

          The Cheetahs were always the one SA side that wanted to play attractive rugby, however they got axed for their efforts. The best superugby games I have seen were games played between the Force and the Crusaders at Subiaco oval…running running played in an entertaining way….then Rugby Australia gave us Richard Graham to coach us. Absolute travesty.

          Looking at how the Force played against Fiji, they are much better to watch than the Rebels, Tahs, Reds and Brumbies at the moment.

    • May 9th 2018 @ 10:06am
      Masher said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:06am | ! Report

      Nice article and well written. I personally think you nail it but I’m not sure SANZAAR will listen. I also agree the countries can’t do it on their own. All this talk about a Trans-Tasman or Australia only competition is just not facing reality. Both could lead as feeders into Super rugby but they’d never replace it.
      Australia will only move forward when the states relinquish their hold but I can’t see that happening until there’s a major crash. It took NZ to fail at a RWC 1/4 final to make the changes and I think Australia needs the same.

      • May 9th 2018 @ 10:14am
        Treetops said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:14am | ! Report

        Well its time ‘reality’ got a reality check.

        Ralene Castle and Co. go to work every day,(because they are very well paid to) to find long term solutions to this convoluted mess we are in.

        Fionn, local derbies can be good footy. Some of the NRC games have been very entertaining. Arguably more so than many games involving Aussie and SA super rugby teams

        • May 9th 2018 @ 10:21am
          Fionn said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:21am | ! Report

          But if we have all the local derbies in the NRC why do we just want more local derbies in Super Rugby? I would have thought that the NRC can be the primarily local comp, and then Super Rugby has both the local matches and the international ones.

          • May 9th 2018 @ 10:30am
            Treetops said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:30am | ! Report

            Fionn, there aren’t enough teams in Oz for people to get interested. Its like a country competition where 5 teams are in it, and they play each other 3-4 times. No, our guys play each other twice only, but there lacks a ‘tribal’ presence to that. We need 2 NSW and QLD teams, one ACT, Vic, and WA teams, plus 2-3 others.

            The NRC model is close to the money in my view. However there must be strict rules on the shute shield feeder clubs (and QLD too), playing only in their NRC team, andnowhere else.

            We have to make this work.

            • May 9th 2018 @ 10:32am
              Fionn said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:32am | ! Report

              What I don’t understand though is why we couldn’t do it like New Zealand with the ITM Cup and South Africa with the Currie Cup.

              You get that tribalism from the local clubs in the ITM/Currie/NRC.

              On top of that, however, you also have the international provincial type competition?

              • May 9th 2018 @ 10:36am
                Treetops said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:36am | ! Report

                Too much footy for fans to digest in my opinion Fionn.

                One national comp.

                One international comp

              • May 9th 2018 @ 10:37am
                Fionn said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:37am | ! Report

                Fair enough, that’s a fair argument.

              • May 9th 2018 @ 1:14pm
                Jacko said | May 9th 2018 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

                The issue is its not a fair arguement. SR generates the $$ that pay for the local clubs and also the internationals, so where does that money come from if SR …or another middle tier comp…stops existing?…..Dont need the $$????? thats fine but your top 50 are then OS getting that money anyway so your club comp is severely weakend and your International team is soon to be ranked 15 or lower without its best 50 players

              • May 9th 2018 @ 7:41pm
                sheek said | May 9th 2018 @ 7:41pm | ! Report


                Spot on! One national comp & international comp.


                My understanding is the RC pulls in most of the TV revenue, not super rugby.

                Maybe someone can confirm this.

              • Roar Guru

                May 9th 2018 @ 7:58pm
                Corne Van Vuuren said | May 9th 2018 @ 7:58pm | ! Report

                Haven’t seen recent figures but yes, RC pulls way more revenue than super rugby

              • Roar Guru

                May 9th 2018 @ 8:02pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 9th 2018 @ 8:02pm | ! Report

                It is the other way around Jacko. It is the Test matches that finances Super Rugby and the local comps.

                The difference in attendances and viewing figures when one compare Tests with SR are huge.

                Not exactly sure, but I think I saw a number that the 12 matches in TRC generate more money to the unions than the 130 matches in a SR season.

        • May 9th 2018 @ 1:35pm
          Masher said | May 9th 2018 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

          Yeah but there will never be enough money in local games to keep the best players. All that’ll happen is that you’ll see what you get in NPC only more often and while this happens the Wallabies will slide further and further down the world rankings.

      • May 9th 2018 @ 10:42am
        AndyS said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:42am | ! Report

        “Australia will only move forward when the states relinquish their hold…”

        Zero chance, and the last year (if not the twenty before it) has shown why. Left to the mercies of the ARU/RA alone, rugby would cease to exist outside a limited area in two cities. Perhaps only one.

    • May 9th 2018 @ 10:11am
      Fionn said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:11am | ! Report

      Absolutely agree. I loved S12 and S14, and would love to see a return to that format. I believe that it would actually be better for Australia too not to be protected by the conference system.

      In regards to this: ‘I do not see Australian rugby prospering on its own, simply since rugby union is not popular enough to generate the type of revenue AFL, league or cricket does’ you are smack on the money. I can hardy fathom it when I hear various Kiwis claim that rugby is not much more popular in New Zealand than here.

      • Roar Guru

        May 9th 2018 @ 10:21am
        John R said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:21am | ! Report

        I lived in NZ for 14 years, and can tell you first hand, that rugby is as big in NZ as AFL is in Victoria.

        That is to say, it is pretty much a religion.

        • May 9th 2018 @ 10:41am
          Pete Antick said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:41am | ! Report

          And to be an All Black is to be at the absolute pinnacle of that religion.

          Obituaries for former ABs will inevitably refer to that fact before any other achievement in life (Governor General, PM etc).

          It’s a “performance multiplier” that has given ABs a 78% success rate since 1903, and flows on to all below them in the pyramid.

        • May 9th 2018 @ 10:44am
          Gav said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:44am | ! Report

          True, but at a pro level I’d say it’s flatlining. Simply because so many are disillusioned with the competition. I have family in NZ and most of my nieces and nephews are All Black fans and not rugby fans. They live going to support their school, love the All Blacks, but week in and week out it’s Warriors for them, one of the main reasons in the NRL competition. They love the transfer talks, the ability for their club to recruit stars and the chance to suppprt something which seems like every day for 6 months

          • May 9th 2018 @ 10:49am
            Treetops said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:49am | ! Report

            Sounds like they enjoy following a competition that means something to them?

            Local comp. is like being part of a big family. They enjoy the small talk that comes with it.

            • May 9th 2018 @ 11:18am
              Gav said | May 9th 2018 @ 11:18am | ! Report

              Exactly, as most people do

        • Roar Guru

          May 9th 2018 @ 11:45am
          rebel said | May 9th 2018 @ 11:45am | ! Report

          Love the religeon analogy. Like a religeon, there are many to choose from like the various forms of christianity, islam, buddhism, hinduism, right through to scientology and jedi. There are also many non-practicing christians, let alone the many aethiests and agnostics.
          So yes, rugby is like a religeon in NZ, just as it is in many countries. The thing is to find out what religeon it is comparable to.

          • Roar Guru

            May 9th 2018 @ 12:15pm
            rebel said | May 9th 2018 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

            Help if I could actually spell religion correctly.

          • May 9th 2018 @ 1:18pm
            Jacko said | May 9th 2018 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

            Rebel its the same religion as AFL is in Victoria

        • May 9th 2018 @ 5:34pm
          Ex force fan said | May 9th 2018 @ 5:34pm | ! Report

          It used to be like that in South Africa as well. Not anymore.

          • May 9th 2018 @ 9:16pm
            Leftist leftie said | May 9th 2018 @ 9:16pm | ! Report

            South Africa since apartheid ended is becoming just like the rest of Africa. White people are leaving, and there goes the rugby demographic.

            I went to see Natal Sharks play in Durban in 2003 and the crowd was white, except for the concessions staff. The Boerwoers and lager sellers were blacks. I dont recall them watching the game at all.

            • May 11th 2018 @ 5:33pm
              Ex force fan said | May 11th 2018 @ 5:33pm | ! Report

              On the other hand….the Superugby final and rugby tests in Soweto and the 1995 RWC. The potential is there to unite the nation.

              There are a few elements that South Africa got wrong:
              (1) The struggle to blend the natural speed and agility of black and coloured players with their traditional strength aggressive and big white forwards (the Blitzbokke did it successfully)
              (2) SA picked teams with weaknesses just to meet racial quotas and in the process the prestige and brand value of the Springbok has been devalued. As a result few players are staying on and knock back more lucrative offers until they become a Bok
              (3) The ANC see rugby as a their favoured wipping boy, a way to get to whites and continue to interfere in a very destructive way. If the ANC saw rugby is a mechanism to unite like Nelson Mandela did, they would have worked with SARU to take rugby to townships. There is huge unrealised potential in South Africa that could have been unlocked.

      • May 9th 2018 @ 7:43pm
        sheek said | May 9th 2018 @ 7:43pm | ! Report


        F12/14 was great for its time. So was S15 actually.

        But we can’t go back there. SANZAAR has successfully poisoned super rugby’s future through their incompetence.

    • May 9th 2018 @ 10:47am
      Gav said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:47am | ! Report

      Super Rugby will never be immensely popular and engaging for fans because it essentially exists to serve the respective National teams. No engaging and commercially successful sports league in the world has the national team at its forefront (some argue the Bundesliga, but I disagree)

      • Roar Guru

        May 9th 2018 @ 12:30pm
        The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 9th 2018 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

        But what if SR got some more space to develop its own identity?

      • May 9th 2018 @ 1:21pm
        Jacko said | May 9th 2018 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

        Sorry Gav but that is a false comment. What club comp is not used to serve a higher rep honour? The only time this ever happens is when there is NO higher honour to achieve like AFL….Even NRL serves to deliver SOO and internationals and every Soccer team about to kick a ball at the WC has been selected from Club level.

      • Roar Guru

        May 9th 2018 @ 2:58pm
        Corne Van Vuuren said | May 9th 2018 @ 2:58pm | ! Report

        Gav, super 12 was very popular, it had integrity and didn’t dominate the calendar

        • May 9th 2018 @ 4:12pm
          Clyde said | May 9th 2018 @ 4:12pm | ! Report

          Super 12 and 14 rugby lost all of its integrity when Aus tried to turn it into its domestic competition with useless endless ‘derby’s’

          That was the death of the ITM cup and the Currie cup competitions. There is no going back to a Super 12. We know that SARU’s plan is to kill the 14 Currie cup professional teams by making them all semi professional teams and replacing them with 8 professional franchises. This is basically the NZ model.

          The question is where will these 8 franchises play, and where will the 5 NZ franchises play? To me NZ and Aus must play in the Trans Tasman Super 10 and SA in the expanded Top 20 and European champions league.

          • Roar Guru

            May 9th 2018 @ 4:15pm
            Corne Van Vuuren said | May 9th 2018 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

            SARU is never going to put eight teams in Europe, Jurie Roux specifically mentioned four teams in each tournament.

            • May 9th 2018 @ 5:17pm
              Clyde said | May 9th 2018 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

              Well the Champions league is the big prize that will be the deciding factor, and all 8 franchises will want a piece of it.

              • Roar Guru

                May 9th 2018 @ 8:35pm
                Derm McCrum said | May 9th 2018 @ 8:35pm | ! Report

                It’s the Champions Cup, Clyde. It runs for 6 pool rounds and 3 knockouts.

                The view from England and France is that it potentially is too big and they would like it condensed within the season. The PRO14 could be of a similar view, certainly with regard to its timing within the European season. Adding 8 more SA teams into that is not going to happen as the method of qualification is through the top 6/7 of each of the three leagues. That participation agreement for the current European Cup comps runs until 2022/23.

                SARU has run the tender for the two semi-professional teams to join the current 6 professional teams. They wanted to enter those two teams into the Anglo Welsh Cup initially as part of a development comp. The AW Cup is now going to fold. A new development comp involving U23 teams is now being planned with IRFU, WRU and SRU having announced their teams and plans.

                Adding in 4 more teams from SA into PRO14 does not make sense for the comp in my view. It needs balance amongst countries (max 4) and would potentially undermine current domestic attendances if it tilted too much towards SA.

              • May 9th 2018 @ 8:44pm
                Cuw said | May 9th 2018 @ 8:44pm | ! Report

                u cant just expand not Heineken cup .

                there are 20 teams in it 7 each fro pro 12 and aviva and 6 from top 14 .

                there are 5 groups of 4 – each playing round robbin ( 6 matches ) .

                then the top 5 and 3 best finishers come to the KO stage.

                if pro 12 becomes pro 18 AND they decide to let saffas play in not Heineken cup , the most plausible method will be to have 24 teams .

                BUT will the others agree to let pro 18 have 11 slots??

                dont forget how it is now. England get 7 from a pool of 12 , France get 6 from a pool of 14 and Pro 12 get 7 from a pool of 12 but that represents Ireland, Italy, Scotland & Wales.

                another alternative will be to stick to the present scenario and let the 7 teams come from all 5 countries.

                now how will that sit with the other 4 countries – considering the new saffa teams may be very good and capable of ending among the top 6.

              • May 9th 2018 @ 10:05pm
                Bakkies said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:05pm | ! Report

                ‘u cant just expand not Heineken cup .’

                Yeah you can. Go back to the 24 team format that was played over the same number of weekends.

              • Roar Guru

                May 9th 2018 @ 10:18pm
                Derm McCrum said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:18pm | ! Report

                CUW – the Champions Cup has top 7 from PRO14 and Top 6 from both English Premiership and French Top14. 20th Spot is awarded to either Champions Cup winner or loser, or Challenge Cup winner or loser, or the Challenge semi-finalists, or if they’re all qualified already, the highest ranked club from Champions Cup winning club’s league.

                PRO18 would not get 11 slots, it would dilute the quality. The better option is probably to reduce Champions Cup to 12 teams (top 4 from each league/comp) and beef up the quantity and quality of teams playing in the Challenge Cup – which needs better promotion, tv monies and performance prize monies to become more meaningful for participating teams. Teams such as Kings, Griquas, Natal Sharks, Zebre, Connacht, Cardiff, Worcester would be better suited to this competition, but could also include teams like Edinburgh, Ulster, Munster, Bath, Northampton, Pau, Toulon, Stormers, Cheetahs, etc. It needs some bigger club names, sufficient promotion and prize merits. With higher team numbers, it might work better as a straight knockout competition – e.g. 32 (two legs) to 16 (two legs) to quarters, semis and finals – 7 weekends in total. A 12 team Champions Cup could have four pools of 3 teams – home and away – and pool winners through to semis (poss home and away) and final – 7 weekends.

                But that’s only possible after 2022/23 season based on current agreements.

              • Roar Guru

                May 10th 2018 @ 6:35am
                Derm McCrum said | May 10th 2018 @ 6:35am | ! Report

                I should add to this that It’s reported again that English Premiership want to reduce number of teams qualifying for the Champions Cup from 20 teams currently to 16 and reduce the time taken to complete the Cup.

                It’s also reported that there is growing pressure (presumably from PRO14 unions) for SA teams to be included in European comps sooner rather than later. 2019/20 maybe?

                Apparently, the participation agreement for European Cup allows changes to be made if there is unanimous agreement before it expires at end of 2022 season.

            • May 9th 2018 @ 9:59pm
              Bakkies said | May 9th 2018 @ 9:59pm | ! Report

              BB that is not going to work as SARU are going to be stuck with overheads that occur in participating in Super Rugby than you have the issue of ensuring that the Kings, Griquas and Pumas field strong teams.

              • Roar Guru

                May 9th 2018 @ 10:07pm
                Corne Van Vuuren said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:07pm | ! Report

                I don’t know bakkies, that is what Jurie Roux suggested.

              • May 9th 2018 @ 11:45pm
                Bakkies said | May 9th 2018 @ 11:45pm | ! Report

                I know things have changed in that period of time. The B & I Cup and Anglo Welsh tournament have both gone since then. Super Rugby is no better either.

                They have also announced a significant loss.

            • May 11th 2018 @ 5:36pm
              Ex force fan said | May 11th 2018 @ 5:36pm | ! Report

              Never is a very long time….

    • Roar Guru

      May 9th 2018 @ 10:53am
      PeterK said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:53am | ! Report

      What is super rugby needed for?

      1) For all countries the broadcast revenue to pay for professional rugby below test level.
      2) For australia specifically to have a high level between premier club level and test level (before NRC), note the broadcast deal also underwrites the NRC for a fair amount
      3) retain players from going to european and japanese clubs

      This is a primary reason Sunwolves and Jagueres were added , to penetrate new markets.

      Whilst European clubs keep increasing the amounts they can spend on players super rugby needs to increase its markets to compete.

      To fall back to super 12 or super 14 won’t meet what super rugby is required for despite the quality of rugby being better.

      Personally they need to expand and add an AMERICAN conference of 1 Canadian , 1 usa and 2 argentiinan teams.

      SA will reduce to 3 teams with 1 going to europe, Aust will reduce to 3 teams.
      Sunwolves and Jagures will be retained.

      So 3 conferences of 4 teams.

      NZ will have a 5 team conference.

      SO 17 teams.

      • May 9th 2018 @ 11:02am
        Treetops said | May 9th 2018 @ 11:02am | ! Report

        With only 3 Australian teams, what chance do we have of receiving enough broadcasting money to supplement the programs you are talking about Peter?

        We are lap dogs again

        • Roar Guru

          May 9th 2018 @ 11:09am
          PeterK said | May 9th 2018 @ 11:09am | ! Report

          with the reduced interest and quality of rugby in aust they would only be able to field 3 teams, the reality is SA and NZ will force them to cull like they did to reduce them to 4 teams.

          • May 9th 2018 @ 11:14am
            Treetops said | May 9th 2018 @ 11:14am | ! Report

            Back to being receivers of nothing……which is why we are all here talking about this.

            Have a fat time telling twiggy his team is out again

          • May 9th 2018 @ 1:25pm
            Jacko said | May 9th 2018 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

            Rubbish Peter you keep repeating this falacy that SA and NZ demanded Aus give up a franchise….AUS PUSHED FOR IT SO THEY GOT THE SAME $$$ FOR 4 TEAMS…

            • May 9th 2018 @ 5:10pm
              rebel said | May 9th 2018 @ 5:10pm | ! Report

              Pulver stated publically it was RAs call.

          • May 11th 2018 @ 2:50pm
            Ex force fan said | May 11th 2018 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

            Peter you continue to report the factual mistake that SA and NZ forced RA to cut a team.

            Rugby Australia was not forced, they volunteered to cut a team. It is Rugby Australia’s mistake – 100% theirs, they even admit to it.

      • May 9th 2018 @ 4:58pm
        sheek said | May 9th 2018 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

        I don’t agree PeterK. Obviously!

        Southern hemisphere can’t compete with northern hemisphere.

        Expanding into Asia & North America is pointless without speed-of-light travel. The travel strains on players is enormous.

        Let’s stop pretending we’re WW1 generals pouring over our maps in our comfortable chateaux without visiting the front.

        Without some leadership from WR providing protection protocols to control an historic population/financial imbalance then there’s nothing for southern hemisphere to do other than become a feeder for Europe.

      • May 9th 2018 @ 9:27pm
        Leftist leftie said | May 9th 2018 @ 9:27pm | ! Report

        Under this arrangement, you should get used to RUGBY LEAGUE because union will be played alongside ice hockey in Australia.

        There should be 3 clubs in northern Sydney alone.

    • Roar Guru

      May 9th 2018 @ 11:08am
      The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 9th 2018 @ 11:08am | ! Report

      Hello, Corne (my real name is Hermann by the way).

      Good to see you writing articles again. When I first discovered the Roar you wrote a lot and you were by some distance, my favorite Roarer. Even remember that I requested a column about Bryan Habana from you back then (and you said you like the idea because “you love that man”). Maybe time for it now hence he is retiring?

      Kia Kia wrote a good line yesterday (he is top level delivering one-liners). It is time to be bold and smart. I truly believe there is a solution for Super Rugby to be the leading rugby competition outside Test rugby. But it would take a massive re-think from all three/four unions to achieve that. They need to decide if they really are into this together or if SANZAAR is just a frame.

      Unfortunately, I believe that the stakeholders in SANZAAR are not capable of doing this at the moment. There is simply too much wanting to both eat the cake and still have it. And that – together with the money situation – are the biggest reason why SA has opened the NH door and are pondering to move more assets up north (and maybe eventually “move” full stop).

      Up north I think they smell blood. They will never say it out loud, but if they can get SA fully onboard they would severely hurt NZR and RA. And that is something all partners up north (clubs and unions) would benefit from.

      • May 9th 2018 @ 11:46am
        Old Bugger said | May 9th 2018 @ 11:46am | ! Report


        That’s a massive assumption you make, when you suggest that SARU’s departure, will hurt NZRU?? I’m not going to speak about the other Unions but there’s one piece of history, that you seem to neglect…..when NZRU was going it alone, there was only one other rugby nation that had, a greater test win-loss ratio over NZ – that was SA.

        I certainly don’t hold that SARU should not go north – in fact, I’ll support whatever SARU decides to do but, if there is a belief amongst the SARU board that its SANZAAR partners, will do whatever is necessary to have them remain, then I for one hope, that the partners don’t. Nevertheless, I/we all know that SANZAAR, will do whatever it thinks necessary to do, to maintain a professional league.

        Notwithstanding that, SARU is not the only union whose players are going north but for this author to suggest that NZ is not affected as much because, its development programs are ahead in leaps and bounds, is the biggest bloody furfy, that I’ve ever read.

        SA as much as NZ, has its schools where rugby union is the only sport played. But, SA doesn’t have a pro-rugby league team within its boundaries, that also challenges those developing players. Heck, it doesn’t have 15-16 other pro-league clubs (whatever it is) just 3hrs flight travel away, that are continuously engaging this so-called player development in NZ. And the same arguments can be said, for Australian rugby union.

        So please, diss the excuses SARU and just say that you do or you do not, want to remain in SANZAAR. Because, it doesn’t matter where your clubs play – if your players, especially talented players, are attracted by a better offer, they will still leave their SA club, whether its based in the SH or NH.

        It’s happening to every SH union atm and in the absence of any other challenging format, SANZAAR is the last bastion for SH rugby, to continue as a playing participant of global rugby or each SH union relents, rolls over and becomes the nurseries, for global rugby that will be played, north of the equator.

        • Roar Guru

          May 9th 2018 @ 12:19pm
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 9th 2018 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

          Hello OB

          I don’t think that is a massive statement. NZR and RA need money to sustain their current setup. If SA leaves, it would take away a big piece of the pie, which means the exodus of players and coaches will just accelerate.

          It is that simple really. So the big question everyone has to ask themselves, how do we stop this? Any ideas which mean less money on the table is a no-go. Back in amateur days pretty much everyone did their own thing, but that will never work in the professional era, especially not for a small country like NZ.

          Personally, I believe the AB’s will always be a very strong team, but at the top, it is a game of inches, and if SR folds or becomes weaker financially, it will take some of the edges away from the AB’s. Right now there are probably ten Kiwis in Europe that should be selected in the AB’s WC squad. If that number goes up to 20 or 25 in the future, it is pretty easy to see why the AB’s would take a hit.

          And if NZR changes their selection policy and allows players in Europe to play for the AB’s, that will also take some edge away, hence they will have much less time with the team, their season structure is different et al.

          The only way to get out of the Moment 22 scenario is to look at real solutions how to make SR and TRC the premier competitions both on and off the pitch. There is no other way in my book.

          • May 9th 2018 @ 12:41pm
            Old Bugger said | May 9th 2018 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

            I really can’t understand how folks believe that because NZ is a small country, then that will be unfavourable to the survival efforts, of its national game – rugby union.

            For goodness sake, we are in the 21st century and there are shows that I see on TV at the same time as being broadcast, around the other side of the globe. There are opportunities, for a product being displayed in NZ, to be watched by people around the other side of the globe.

            The crucial factor that is required, is to make sure you have a product that folks around the other side of the globe, will want to watch. Being ever the optimist, I think NZ will have a sporting product that folks around the globe, would want to watch.

            The other crucial factor is what would be the cost, for that product to be viewed, on the other side of the globe?? I await with baited breath on how good the quality, the delivery and the quantity that TVNZ and its partner Spark (previously Telstra NZ) will provide of next year’s RWC, and at what cost.

            Because if this venture proves to be a success, then IMO, streaming of rugby games not just in NZ but globally, will be the next frontier for international sports coverage providers and sadly, enterprises like Sky Sport, possibly Foxtel (Aus) and other similar providers will struggle to challenge, this new viewing format.

            It will certainly take time but as I said, the practice run will occur next year. Yes, a great deal of patience will no doubt be required if by then, SARU departs and SANZAAR’s remaining partners, are unable to procure another broadcast deal.

            Certainly challenging times ahead but not IMO, insurmountable.

            • Roar Guru

              May 9th 2018 @ 1:00pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 9th 2018 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

              Thanks for a great discussion OB.

              I don’t think anyone suggests that rugby will not survive in NZ. I certainly don’t. I just point out that the AB’s will lose some edge if NZR has less money to work with.

              Have you read Geoff Parkes book? I realize that in many of my comments here I assume that everyone has (maybe my bad), Anyone who has read that very well-researched book knows without a shadow of a doubt there is no way forward for NZ by itself unless NZ is ready to accept that all your top talent will play in Europe and Japan.

              NZ need strong partners with big markets if they want to continue to rule the rugby world.

              • May 9th 2018 @ 2:08pm
                Old Bugger said | May 9th 2018 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

                Don’t get me wrong – I would like SANZAAR to continue but that continuance, will be severely impacted if one of its inaugural partners, departs.

                And no, I have not read GPs book but just out of curiosity, does the book offer an alternative, in the event that SANZAAR discontinues??

                It seems to me, the only course offered is that NZ cannot survive, without SANZAAR but I wonder if at the time of writing, was GP aware that TVNZ and Spark, had successfully displaced Skysport TV in NZ, as the exclusive broadcast provider, for RWC2019 in NZ? I mean, who would’ve thought that another enterprise, would have the audacity to bid against Skysport TV, for RWC broadcast in NZ?? Unheard of……!!

                This new broadcast provider, can be an alternative and NZRU going it alone, can also be an alternative. It is called “having a plan B” when the status quo ceases and NZRU certainly needs, to have such a plan, in case of such times because, it won’t be their doing, that causes this break-up – it will be the doing, caused by another.

                I mean, is it so unheard of, to have a back-up plan??

              • Roar Guru

                May 9th 2018 @ 2:34pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 9th 2018 @ 2:34pm | ! Report

                Totally agree about having a plan B (something it seems SANZAAR has never bothered about). IMHO is not SANZAAR the be all end all for NZ to continue to be top dog in the rugby world. There are ways without SA also. But it would probably take a very different approach to achieve this.

                I have written a lot about the possibilities in Japan before, that is the first stop. The Sunwolves project has shown us how to not do things when expanding into Japan. For success, it requires a hands-on approach with competent Kiwis both on and off the pitch to back up the Japanese. A massive project to up-skill the Japs.

                What is in it for NZR? Well, if rugby really kicks off in Japan and NZR is fully integrated (and maybe even part-time owners at some levels) with them, there is huge money to be made (bigger money than any French or English clubs could ever deliver). Money that can be used to keep them all the best players in a “JANZAR” competition and invest in the rugby infrastructure (grassroots) in NZ, the Pacific Islands and wherever NZR think it is a good idea to invest.

                And if NZ can help Japan to become a great rugby nation, they would have a track record to show if China and Korea one day also wants to become great rugby nations also. They certainly would not ask anyone else for help.

                About your questions regarding Geoff’s book, I wait for a while and see if he read this and want to answer himself. If not I will come back later.

            • May 9th 2018 @ 1:49pm
              Jacko said | May 9th 2018 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

              Hi Neutral…I find this a very interesting topic. I find it somewhat amusing that many outsiders believe NZ rugby will die if SR dies or if NZR is forced to be a domestic comp like it once was. I noted with great interest after Richie Ms movie was released in the USA that the main wonder was how a man could be so driven when earning so little….and they stated that around 20% of all NBA players could buy NZ rugby. I got from that…with the figures produced that it costs NZ around $30mil a year over and above what they self generate to be in their existing form. Now as we know…$30mil is peanuts in the big scheme of world wide sport and I see many many companies wanting to bring their names to a very successful and world wide sport. However if those figures are all out of wack and somehow NZR fails to exist in the manner they do now then NZR will still exist in some format. The buying of NZ talent is because of the success of the ABs, the talent on display in SR and the knowledge that if a player can make it in Sr then they can pretty much make it anywhere. If Sr stops then these OS buyers will still be hunting NZ for players and will continue to buy them but 1 failure to make it may change the buyers minds saying maybe the new NZ comp isnt worth buying from. If that happens then of course NZ retains all its players…..Also the EUs are starting to realsise that buying talent is reducing their own talent to the reserves bench and is harming their national teams. They are starting to reduce these purchases now and will further reduce in the future, meaning SH raids will be more targeted and less frequent. As Ive said before…I dont care if NZ goes it alone as there is enough rugby smarts to keep producing talent and there will be enough rich rugby guys willing to stump up $50 mil a year…easy…And if not then surely an NZ govt grant would bring mass tourisism in anyway wouldnt it? Anyway I dont see doom and gloom if there is no SR…Just a different way

              • Roar Guru

                May 9th 2018 @ 2:50pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 9th 2018 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

                Thanks for great comment Jacko.

                As said. rugby in NZ will never die. What we are talking about is the ability continue to be number one for long periods and never ever drop outside the top three.

                The problem with English and French clubs putting restrictions on the amount foreigners they can have – combined with increasing salary caps that both nations have flagged will coming soon – is that they will go for the very best players, the star players in the AB’s, the ones not even the greatest depth can cover for. Right now a lot of the star players stay in NZ because they are living the dream being an All Black and they make pretty good money also. Beauden Barrett could probably earn three times more in France. That might be tempting, but maybe not enough. But if he could make ten times more money in France, it is gonna be very hard to say no thank you, hence we are starting to talk about life-changing money not only for him but for his future family also.

                I am a great admirer of Richie McCaw and really enjoyed watching the documentary Chasing Great. What is important to know is that Richie’s salary at the time was not that far off from what was on offer in Europe. But things are changing fast in this regard, and even less money for NZR to spend on salaries would make it extremely hard for them to retain their players.

              • May 9th 2018 @ 3:47pm
                Jacko said | May 9th 2018 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

                To be honest one of the worst senario’s I have seen recently is that of the ERU wanting brad Shields….Are they really that desperate for depth that they are willing to pay massive overs for a NZ journeyman? Also recently an artile in the NZ herald by martin Johnson bemoaning the total lack of depth in ENgland rugby and another article by Sir Clive saying NZ will be laughing at the rush to get Shields in the England squad. These instances tell me that Club land in the UK is not doing much for International standards in the UK and its no coincidence that Ireland and Scotland are the teams from the UK on the rise and its those countries which are going away from the OS recruitment drive player wise. Most players…no matter where they are from….want to remain at home…The faminy guys in particular, and it is only when BIG $$ come calling that they go off shore. Yes some really do want the OS experience and that wont change, but the average SR wage in NZ is about $120K from what i can gather…its only around 30 players that earn over 250K with the top 15 earning over private sponsors.
                I also read where Roger davis (NSW BOSS) has said that they would rather play NZ and Japanese sides in a comp than all the travel to the SA they constantly endure , and have to cover the costs of. I also have no issue with a AUS/NZ comp of some description…..What annoys me tho is this constant call that NZ must help Aus rugby or NZ will die…Sorry but f Aus wants NZs help it needs to ask and it needs to pay its own way. Another call i have seen just yesterday in NZ herald is for the ABs to be allowed to play for Aus franchises and still be available for the ABs…to me thats a NO GO as NZRU would have no imput to their training, culture etc and it would harm the constant progression in philosophy from club to Mitre 10 to SR to ABs

              • Roar Guru

                May 9th 2018 @ 4:17pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 9th 2018 @ 4:17pm | ! Report

                Let us see how useful – or not – Brad Shields is for England before we pass any judgment, Jacko. I can see where EJ is coming from, the captain of probably the best NZ SR team (at least at the moment) is not to be sneezed at.

                Johson and Sir Clive’s – both of them are great rugby men – opinions should be taken with a grain of salt. They are both former England HC’s and they have egos. It usually the normal order that former HC’s for England stick knife in at any chance.

                As said before, I don’t think anyone predicts that rugby will die in NZ. What we are talking about is NZ ability to maintain their top dog status (or thereabouts). NZ just can’t go at it alone, they need strong partners. Australia and Japan are the ones that make the most sense to align with long-term from where I am standing.

                I say the bold and smart move right now is to say, bye bye SA, enjoy your European adventure. We are not gonna be hostages in some power struggle that we can’t win, we like to have more control our own destiny so we are gonna build a new kingdom together with Japan.

              • May 9th 2018 @ 6:12pm
                Jacko said | May 9th 2018 @ 6:12pm | ! Report

                the biggest issue i have with what you are saying is the drop in player payments you believe will happen…..You say a player will find it difficult to turn down 10x the amout they will earn in NZ instead of the current 1-3 times their pay.
                My whole point is that I do not see the NZRU needing to pay less and less…I see enough commercial interest in NZ rugby to maintain status quo as far as commercial earnings is concerned. As I said above, I see many commercial ventures gettingb something from being associated with the ABs and I see enough of these to at minimum maintain what is happening now and i see room for improvement rather than doom and gloom in NZ rugby. Yas the whole Shields saga is yet to play out but how weak is English rugby if they are not producing their own Brad Shields? Where is their own development , with the Millions and millions they receive? it seems a blight on their game that they would even try getting him and it proves beyond doubt that rugby culture and smarts in NZ is far more impressive than what is coming out of England…..meaning NZ rugby will be strong with or without massive $$ being injected….Hey maybe the NZRU should start targeting all those Kiwi elegible players in England…There are many

              • Roar Guru

                May 9th 2018 @ 8:20pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 9th 2018 @ 8:20pm | ! Report

                There are indeed options for other commercial enterprises to make some extra dollars, but the TV-dollar is the big dollar. ATM 50 percent of all NZR’s income comes from broadcasting rights. No matter how much we don’t like it, that is the way it is.

                If you have the time Jacko, read Geoff Parkes book. It will help you to get a better understanding how the “game behind the game” is played. NZR CEO Steve Tew and Geoff goes pretty deep into the realities (and opportunities) that NZR faces in a deep interview/conversation.

              • Roar Guru

                May 9th 2018 @ 10:27pm
                Derm McCrum said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:27pm | ! Report

                Also the EUs are starting to realsise that buying talent is reducing their own talent to the reserves bench and is harming their national teams. They are starting to reduce these purchases now and will further reduce in the future, meaning SH raids will be more targeted and less frequent.

                By EUs, do you mean all European teams, Jacko, or just some of them?

              • May 10th 2018 @ 9:23am
                Jacko said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:23am | ! Report

                Just some……The French seem to be starting to drive new rules as they sometimes have 1 or 2 French players in the Top 14 run on teams but also the people involved with the Aviva championship seem to be thinking along similar lines….Isnt their some restrictions coming in next season?
                Neutral…Yes TV $$ forms half of NZRUs income but this is where we differ in thought. I believe their will be those willing to buy NZ rugby’s matches and i believe the NZRU wont end up doing too bad out of it. You dont believe it could maintain somewhere near where it is…Thats where we differ….After all…NZ is the best rugby so many want to watch the best and what is peanuts to some is enough to others….And if you want to isolate NZ rugby then the ABs will have massive pulling power ( like they do now) so just lump it all ion together….Anyway I dont see SR dying so it will be around in some form or another

              • May 12th 2018 @ 2:33am
                Martin Santurtun said | May 12th 2018 @ 2:33am | ! Report

                Yes Jacko!! I am sorry if I am late joining the discussion but being an Argie I do understand the pains of NH professional leagues – when we did not have any annual competition we relied on the EU teams for player development and we are great-full for that: Now since we joined TRC and SR we are now suffering from their continued drain of our top players.
                Now, I do believe that one way for stopping this “bleeding” is far simple – establish a rule that National teams can only use players born and raised on the country!! In addition no player can dress up two different national jerseys in his life – meaning that if the player represented a country as a U18 or U20 team he is no longer eligible for a different nation. This is especially important when you find that there is only ONE country among all tier one that is formed by 100% B&R!! The Pumas!!
                With this simple changes the European countries will go back and look for development of local talent and therefore the indiscriminate hiring of foreign players will end!!

            • May 9th 2018 @ 4:08pm
              RUSerious said | May 9th 2018 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

              “I mean, who would’ve thought that another enterprise, would have the audacity to bid against Skysport TV, for RWC broadcast in NZ?? Unheard of……!!”

              This is far from unheard of in NZ, in fact the last world cup was the only world cup broadcast exclusively on Sky. 2011 was shared, 2007 was on TV3 and all the previous tournaments were on TVNZ.

              • May 9th 2018 @ 4:48pm
                Old Bugger said | May 9th 2018 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

                Quite right but the broadcast rights for SR and the corresponding international contests, were held exclusively by SkySport NZ, through its connection with Murdoch’s News Ltd. IMO, there was no need to be coveting a competition that happened every 4yrs but it now appears, that they got complacent and have lost those broadcast rights, to another provider.

                The audacity was that its happened at all and now gives an opportunity for TVNZ/Spark, to provide another viewing medium alternative, to the NZ public. Already, the ramifications of this action, is Sky TV are revisiting their channels, their content and their charges that they’ve been providing and charging, throughout NZ.

                Now, not only is there a concern about falling numbers of pay TV viewers in general but, their loss of the RWC broadcast may provide a stimulus, for the viewing sporting public, to also leave Sky TV.

                Hence, everyone waits to see what TVNZ/Spark will front up with, as a final package offer, to watch RWC2019.

        • Roar Guru

          May 9th 2018 @ 3:29pm
          Corne Van Vuuren said | May 9th 2018 @ 3:29pm | ! Report

          Morning old bugger, the proof is there for everyone to see, NZ is dominating the Rugby Championship and Super rugby, it therefor suggests my suggestion that NZ is least affected is correct,

          You mention the win loss ratio of yesteryear, when rugby was amateur.

          The professional era brings about a wholly new challenge for all of us, as you admitted SA is not the only country losing players, therefor if Super rugby disban, would you not agree with the challenge as big as it is now, NZ will struggle to retain more players without Super rugby?

          • May 9th 2018 @ 5:08pm
            Old Bugger said | May 9th 2018 @ 5:08pm | ! Report


            Yes I have my reservations about the future of NZ rugby, in the event SANZAAR, will no longer exist. But what else can we do, if such an event happened??

            Pro-rugby was a challenge in 1995, when WRC raised its head and tried to do a World Cricket Series trick with Mr Packer, as its sponsor. If I recall, it was players from SARU and ARU, who were seriously keen to join WRC and some of those players had already signed, while players from NZ, were cautiously discussing what the WRC offer involved.

            SH rugby survived that and now, there is another challenge. We down this neck of the woods, have to find alternative arrangements, if the worst scenario occurs. It is a matter of once again, being cautious in these new discussions, should SANZAAR cease.

            • Roar Guru

              May 9th 2018 @ 5:24pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 9th 2018 @ 5:24pm | ! Report

              The main thing is NZ has rugby intel and rugby people at a higher level than anyone else. It is all a matter how to best use that “capital”.
              The last ten year NZ have done brilliantly by finding ways to maximize the resources/capital. Now that model might not work much longer, but it is just a question of finding a new way to maximize the use of NZ resources/capital.

              As said before, there is a way, I 100 percent believe that. But it probably looks a bit different from the current way. The danger is that it takes an extremely brave and smart organization to change a model that has given so much success before it is clear and obvious to everyone it does not work anymore.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 7:27am
                Old Bugger said | May 10th 2018 @ 7:27am | ! Report

                I have to admit NV that back in 1995, it took a brave and smart organization to raise their hand and counter the challenge that was not just coming but, already on their doorstep, in the form of WRC. This challenge was launched immediately after the 1995 RWC GF – I mean, that was a massive challenge, to meet head-on.

                For the inaugural 3 unions to band together so quickly and, with very little time to have anything close to an agreement, was impressive but, we mustn’t forget that this was mainly due to those ABs who were approached to join WRC, being cautious and inquisitive about what, was on offer.

                Another key aspect for all these behind-the-door discussions was all players who had already signed to join WRC made their signings conditional, upon WRC being able to secure AB signatures, in particular, those of the senior brigade. That wasn’t happening as quickly as WRC expected because of the younger ABs, who refused to sign and stated, they would remain with NZRU.

                The players delays with signing any WRC contracts allowed the unions more time to get together and come up with a counter and as history now shows, SR/RC became the professional game in SH.

                The difference between then and now…….is nothing. There was a challenge then and there is a challenge now and the motivation remains the same – to ensure rugby down-under continues, to have a professional league.

            • May 9th 2018 @ 8:53pm
              Cuw said | May 9th 2018 @ 8:53pm | ! Report

              @ Old Bugger

              i think Miter 10 has the capacity to be big if there is no superr ugger.

              atm it has 2 problems .

              one – that most of the superstars make cameo appearances or never appear in miter 10.

              understandable given the long seasons and multitude of injuries.

              two – becoz of super rugger miter 10 is constricted , sometimes teams playing three matches over 10 days.

              both these will not happen if there is no super rugger.

              it will become a tournament on par with Aviva or Top 14 and have lot of interest from TV viewers.

              also if it becomes that – the only rugger competition in NZ , then there may be more interest among Notherners to come and play.

              • Roar Guru

                May 9th 2018 @ 10:11pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 9th 2018 @ 10:11pm | ! Report

                You really believe that Mitre 10 could get big viewership outside NZ?
                Who is gonna watch the games outside NZ apart from die-hard rugby fanatics?
                7.30 AM (kick-offs) in Europe is not exactly prime time for TV…

              • May 10th 2018 @ 7:38am
                Old Bugger said | May 10th 2018 @ 7:38am | ! Report


                I agree.

                It will take time but if the M10 becomes the only competition in NZ, then the players involved in the Premiership, Championship, Meads Cup and Lohore Cup competitions can be formed into a full pro and semi-pro league format.

                Again it will take some time before NZRU can get any returns but, something will need to happen if SANZAAR, collapses.

                Also, I think by having its own competition, it will allow NZRU to start looking at not only retaining its own players but retaining its own coaches because now, the pool has grown from 5 SR teams to 10 pro-teams and possibly 10 semi-pro sides.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 7:52am
                Old Bugger said | May 10th 2018 @ 7:52am | ! Report


                If by having its own competition means, to pursue audiences beyond their own boundaries, then NZRU will have to make sure that it does have a product, that is worthy of attracting those audiences.

                The answer to that question won’t be known unless it happens and neither you or I, will know otherwise, until then. We can assume all kinds of outcomes except, there was nothing to suggest but gloom and doom 20 odd years ago and yet, SH pro-rugby has survived albeit, along a very bumpy highway.

                Rest assured, if it is backed into a wall, I do feel comfortable knowing that NZRU, won’t stand around and twiddle their thumbs – they’ll come out scrapping boots-n-all and if all else fails, the least they can say to the NZ rugby fraternity is that, they gave it a go.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 9:27am
                Jacko said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:27am | ! Report

                neutral if SAANZAR falls apart then there is the ABs matches to sell as part of the Mitre 10 cup as well so I see no problems in selling the product

              • May 10th 2018 @ 9:38am
                AndyS said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:38am | ! Report

                Sounds good OB, and all NZRU would have to do is continue to pay the five teams worth of players the same money they are on now for SR, find similar money for five additional teams worth of players expected to step up and be similarly professional, plus some extra for the semi-pro players as the number of games increases, all off a population of 4 million and whatever they can capitalise from elsewhere.

                Because any less, or even if the transition is less than seamless, and all the best players will be out the door. Then the value is less, so the money is less, so more players leave, reducing everything further, round and round.

                If there were sources for the extra money, they would be tapping them now. They stick with the status quo because they know what is likely to happen when they are on their tod, whether by choice or circumstance. If it happens, plans or not, they will be scrambling to save their professional presence. They went into Sanzar for an audience and the money because it couldn’t be generated internally…that paradigm hasn’t changed in 22 years.

                Australia has a different problem, in that while it has always had scope to expand audience, systems and player base, it has singularly failed to do so. The result is the same however, come the day it falls apart.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 12:29pm
                Old Bugger said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:29pm | ! Report


                Rome wasn’t built in a day so yes, I’ll admit it will take some time before NZRU may see, the end of this tunnel.

                But you are wrong, to suggest NZRU went to SANZAAR for the audience and the money because, it couldn’t be generated internally. They went to a professional league venture solely, to retain control of NZ rugby, in the face of the WRC challenge.

                In fact, I don’t really think either of the 3 Unions had any idea, of where this professional journey was heading just as long as, what happened in Cricket was not, going to happen in rugby. So yes – the SH unions of 1995 were for better or worse, pushed into deciding on a professional league simply because, of what they witnessed had happened to global cricket, after Mr Packer’s interjection.

                I’m not against SANZAAR – I’d like it to continue because you are right….commercially, it is the only option for SH pro-rugby to continue but, the concerns I’ve been raising are to determine what happens if SANZAAR, ceases to exist.

                But I will say this…..Australia is more than a different problem. It will become the yolk on the current environment and so SANZAAR faces not only the potential departure of an inaugural member but an implosion within, of another inaugural member.

                Now tell me, where and what, does that leave the 3rd inaugural member, to do???

                PS If there were other sources for money they would be tapping them now?? They are tapping with AIG and Adidas. However, tapping other avenues are restricted until, the SANZAAR contract agreement terminates and no longer exists. We can only hope and assume more business enterprises, may want to share their fortunes, with NZ rugby.

        • May 9th 2018 @ 4:39pm
          Clyde said | May 9th 2018 @ 4:39pm | ! Report

          I think it’s time that NZ ditches that pro rugby league threat as an excuse, no one will fall for that same trick twice. It was used originally to secure 5 franchise teams in the Super 12 when realistically it should have been 4 NZ teams, and 5 SA teams in that competition.

          NZ and Aus rugby are tied to the same belt and should not even consider any teams outside of their time zones. If that means a 10 team Super competition with less revenue then so be it because, as you say the top players will follow the money. NZ rugby will have to change their selection policy and select players from the money leagues in Europe. So losing central control will weaken NZ rugby no matter how anyone tries to spin it.

          • May 9th 2018 @ 4:57pm
            Old Bugger said | May 9th 2018 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

            What a load of crock Clyde. It was never used as an excuse for NZRU to have 5 teams – if that was the case, then ARU should’ve had just a single side since all RL clubs, were in Walla-land, at the time.

            Go and give your helpful hints to where it is deserved… Walla-land.

      • Roar Guru

        May 9th 2018 @ 3:02pm
        Corne Van Vuuren said | May 9th 2018 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

        Hi nv, I actually tried to get an interview with Habana at the time via his website but didn’t even get a response.

        • Roar Guru

          May 9th 2018 @ 3:10pm
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 9th 2018 @ 3:10pm | ! Report

          That warms my heart to hear that you tried. You are a fine man.

          I think there has been way too little “noise” around his retirement. Am I wrong if say he is the greatest Springbok winger ever? I have never seen anyone score so many tries against the AB’s as Habana did. And many of them were brilliant individual tries (or at least tries where he had to do a lot of work to pass the chalk).

          Kiwis usually hate when some foreigner claims this or that player would make the All Blacks, but I think very few would have an argument about Habana in peak form was proper All Black quality. I can’t help to wonder how many tries he might have scored if he had played on the wing for the AB’s.

          • Roar Guru

            May 9th 2018 @ 3:31pm
            Corne Van Vuuren said | May 9th 2018 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

            Yes he is indeed one of the greatest Springboks, his try scoring ratio under Meyer and Jake White sat at close to 75% by memory, under PDV it was meagre, which sadly impacted his overall record.

          • Roar Guru

            May 9th 2018 @ 5:01pm
            Ralph said | May 9th 2018 @ 5:01pm | ! Report

            Climbing the sports mountain to the top is very hard, to stay at the top for a very long time is much harder.

            Mr Habana would have been in my AB’s team. Cheers and thanks for the memories, wish him nothing but the best.