KSA Shark ©

Coaches’ calls for extended playoffs ring hollow

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Super 14 on 19 May 2008 at 10:00

Now ain’t that a surprise. As the Super 14 hurtled towards the congested final-qualifying round there were renewed calls from New Zealand coaches to expand the playoff series.

Eventually the Blues, Chiefs and Highlanders missed the cut while the Hurricanes squeezed into fourth place and a Saturday semifinal derby against the Crusaders, because they had a better points differential than the Stormers.

Wynne Gray writes for the NZ Herald that instead of going into a protracted finals series, it was Super season over for the New Zealand trio who will be joined by the Crusaders or Hurricanes after this weekend.

This will be a week when reviews begin and farewell sessions are held for those who have already revealed their exits. It will also be a time when players and coaches organise possible career moves as they wait for the announcement of the All Black squad and the results of their squad debriefs.

The Super 14 coaches are not enamoured with the brief finals format, claiming as David Nucifora and Colin Cooper have, that such an arduous series deserves a better playing and commercial conclusion. Six teams, they argued, out of the 14 teams should be involved in the playoffs.

Had the Blues not stumbled through the middle of their schedule, Nucifora’s assertion might not have been as strong while Cooper’s offering sounded a little like insurance after the Hurricanes battled for bonus points through the last month.

“It’s such a tough competition and we sell ourselves short, really,” Cooper said. “We’ve been saying that for a couple of years now.”

He said his idea of expanded playoffs was “definitely” backed by the other coaches, with Nucifora offering similar sentiments after his side’s 19-17 last-round win against the Hurricanes.

That victory always looked as though it would leave the Blues at least a bonus point short of qualifying for the semifinals and it was surprising they played conservatively throughout the Eden Park match.

They were reluctant to attack from inside their own half and while they were denied twice by the TMO, they scored just one try in the match, a result and approach which eliminated them from any mathematical points-ratio qualifying decision.

The Blues had the second-highest try tally (41) among the top six sides but they conceded the most tries (33) with the Sharks (23) the next among the leading group.

While the New Zealand trio’s exit robbed the All Black selectors of more pressure-cooker player comparisons, it will allow them next week to assemble more players they intend picking for the opening June 7 test against Ireland and twin tests against England.


  • SOUR GRAPES china!!!! Nothing more than Sour grapes.

    Why would you want a competition where almost half the teams taking part make the play-offs.

    Half the excitement of the last 3 weeks has been who can get the needed BP’s and PD’s to make it.

  • Comment 1, posted at 19.05.08 10:12:57 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • Why not have quater finals then? Or knock out from round 1? :roll: :wink:

  • Comment 2, posted at 19.05.08 10:17:11 by racheltjiedebeer Reply
    McLovinAssistant coach
  • Unfortunately amongst the very best, the margin between winning & losing is very small. That’s what makes it so lekker to watch.

  • Comment 3, posted at 19.05.08 10:19:34 by racheltjiedebeer Reply
    McLovinAssistant coach
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 1) :

    I agree, it’s a bit stupid…nothing wrong with the current setup where the top 4 teams go through. I don’t want to see a situation where a team that ends up 6th on the log win in the final…LOL!

  • Comment 4, posted at 19.05.08 10:20:42 by walter van transvaal.co.za Reply
    walter van Lions WorldCurrie Cup player
  • @racheltjiedebeer (Comment 2) :
    The system i have heard them bandy about virtually equates to 1/4′s.

    1st Play-offs

    3 plays 6
    4 plays 5
    1 and 2 progress straight to rnd 2

    2nd play offs

    winner of 3 v 6 plays 2
    winner of 4 v 5 plays 1

    winner plays winner.

    Either way i don’t give a rats ass. expanding the play-offs will revome the excitement and water the comp down.

  • Comment 5, posted at 19.05.08 10:20:44 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • So after all that, we would need to host the Blues in Durban, only to go on to play the Tahs in Sydney anyway? Fork that. There would be an incentive to hold yourself back, finish 6th with plenty of gas left in the tank for the extended play-offs.

    All it would really mean, though is additional advantage to the teams finishing first and second. They already have significant advantage since they’ll be playing at home.

  • Comment 6, posted at 19.05.08 10:33:55 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 5) : I think that’s how they do it in ARL. But I agree, keep it as it is. If you can’t finish higher than 5th/6th, then tough. Try again next year.

  • Comment 7, posted at 19.05.08 10:34:13 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

    McLovinAssistant coach
  • Leave it as is… why prolong it… test rugga is just round the corner… giddy-up!

  • Comment 8, posted at 19.05.08 16:18:37 by bryce_in_oz Reply

    bryce_in_ozCurrie Cup player
  • Dick Muir also wants more.


  • Comment 9, posted at 19.05.08 22:54:19 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

    McLovinAssistant coach
  • I actually think they should scrub the play off and award the trophy to the log winner :lol:

  • Comment 10, posted at 20.05.08 00:17:50 by Me2 Reply

    Me2 aka Mama SharkCurrie Cup player
  • @Me2 (Comment 10) :

    I knew you had that intelligent look about you.

    Must be from being a school teacher.

  • Comment 11, posted at 20.05.08 07:31:11 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach

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