Commentators and administrators are too emotionally invested at a time when left-field thinking is required to unlock opportunities for the Super Rugby competition.
My solution is based on two undisputed facts: New Zealand or South Africa have won two-thirds of all the Rugby World Cup tournaments, and have produced more than 80 per cent of the last eight Super Rugby playoff teams.
Therefore, we should use these classy nations to grow the game’s global footprint and viewership – after all, this is World Rugby’s brief and mission.
The way to expand the game is to continue with all the new domestic, replacement Super Rugby arrangements but withdraw the top three teams from these two most successful nations and launch a new comp: the Premier Southern Hemisphere (PSH).
The top-two finishers from the domestic Super competitions would be determined by a top-eight finals league from the Kiwi, South African, Australian, Japanese, Pacific and Argentinean pool of participants, and they qualify for a mandatory play-off against the bottom two teams from the new PSH league.
This keeps the door open for all possible pretenders from all regions to this new top tier and makes the PSH a truly premier, global competition that is constantly refreshed and rejuvenated.
If the first year is wildly successful, the PSH can easily be expanded to eight by automatically including the top-two qualifiers with promotion-relegation playoffs starting in 2022.
The PSH will immediately become the premier club tournament, with every game having huge global interest and viewership, with assured bums on seats at the venues as well. This will be music to the broadcasters’ and administrators’ ears and can unlock a previously unimagined and lucrative income stream that will also spread the rugby union gospel far and wide.
The top teams in competition with a huge final bonanza is a recipe for global interest and viewership.
It could even unlock an annual north-south hemisphere club series to determine the Rugby World Club Champions – a title that hasn’t previously been contested but would be prestigious.
The top 72 players from South Africa and New Zealand going hammer and tongs at each other would become an unmissable spectacle that will be a shot in the arm for rugby globally.