The Sharks’ Dick Muir has joined other coaches in calling for the play-offs in the Super 14 to be expanded beyond four teams.
John Bishop writes in The Witness that Muir was reacting to the logjam at the top of the Super 14 log which saw six teams vying for three places in the semi-finals and the Stormers finally losing out by just one try. Had the Stormers scored a fourth try at Ellis Park, they would have advanced with the Hurricanes dropping out.
Five teams – Waratahs (43), Sharks (42), Hurricanes (41), Stormers (41) and Blues (40) – finished within three points of each other. “I think this competition is crying out for a quarter-final round,” said Muir. “After 13 rounds of competition it is tough to cut it back to four teams. I would love to see the play-offs expanded to involve more teams.”
Muir said that the last two games played by the Sharks (against the Cheetahs and the Chiefs) were like sudden-death knock-out games.
“We had to pick up five points in each or else we were gone.” Sanzar officials have reportedly been considering revamping the finals while frustrated Blues coach David Nucifora also joined the call for an extended play-off round.
“It certainly needs to be looked at,” said Nucifora “Four teams out of a 14-team competition is tough. It comes down to this every year, and probably a six-team finals play-off would be a better scenario.
“I think people would see some great rugby in a six-team finals race. This competition is too tough. It is one of the toughest in the world because of all the extraordinary factors that make it up.”
Nucifora said Friday’s nail-biting, two-point victory over the Hurricanes was “probably as good an advertisement for an expanded finals format as you could see.”Tweet