I don’t think it’s news to anyone that there’s a pandemic going on right now.
The spread of the previously unheard-of and now well-known coronavirus has shaken the way things were done across the globe. Rugby and sport more widely has seen its immediate plans wiped off the table.
The good news is that we seem to have found ourselves with a unique opportunity to still have a reasonably full Super Rugby tournament this year. Both Australia and New Zealand have managed to get in eight-week competitions. We don’t have to think too far back to remember that this was the way it was done under the old system in Super Rugby, with two rounds of local derbies.
This leads us down a fairly obvious path. Complete the home-and-away season and then get the bubbles inflated to play the five rounds of trans-Tasman matches. Scrap the semi-finals and have just one final. Having only two countries lets you do that.
Naming rights for the trophy are still to be decided, but I would accept the honour if asked.
At the very least it will give the Brumbies something to play for and will also keep teams finishing down from first more reason to play in the latter stages of the season. I’d love to see how Crusaders would handle the style of the Reds or Rebels and whether their refusal to catch the ball would force the New Zealanders out of their comfort zone, for example.
Whether we realise it or not, when all the balls and bubbles have been deflated, we may find ourselves having a trans-Tasman champion for 2020. Given there’s likely to be very little other rugby for a while anywhere, you’d imagine a fair bit of interest could be generated for a six-week series to find a champion. An extra broadcast deal can be arranged. Australia will probably win it.
This is a format that could serve both countries well for seasons. I’m not sure if there’s anyone in charge at Rugby Australia at the moment, but if there is, it seems like this would be a simple content and financial winner. We can only hope that the people in charge can see the possibilities.