KSA Shark ©

Future of Super Rugby on a knife edge


Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Super 14 on 1 May 2009 at 19:25
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

The future of Super Rugby is clearly on a knife edge as New Zealand and Australia explained the stumbling blocks to the tournament continuing with South African involvement.

The NZPA reports that in a rare showing of public tit-for-tat Australia and New Zealand were moved on Friday to reply to South Africa’s version of the impasses that had been aired earlier in the day by the media.

It does not look good no matter what side of the fence you sit on.

It will take some major bridge-building over the next two months to save Super Rugby beyond 2010.

But the tone of the week and the utmost urgency of the matter tend to count against that.

The guts of the problem is that New Zealand and Australia don’t want to start an expanded Super 15 in February when South Africa do.

South Africa don’t want to play Super Rugby in conjunction with tests matches in June while New Zealand and Australia do.

“They believe we need to give and Australia and New Zealand believe they (South Africa) need to give,” said NZRU chief executive Steve Tew.

“We are acknowledging that the impasse is still there and … the clock is ticking.”

Earlier South African Rugby Union acting managing director Andy Marinos suggested arbitration or mediation might be needed to sort things out.

As a united front of all three countries Sanzar must present their competition proposal for a new broadcasting deal to News Ltd and SuperSport by June 30.

As the divide appears to widen New Zealand and Australia are now well into planning an Asia-Pacific alternative that might start as a trans-Tasman affair while South Africa explore options in time zone-friendly Europe.

New Zealand and Australia have sounded out TV interest and begun talks with Japan.

Tew said the Japanese talks were “a lot more positive” than earlier discussions. He felt that while a 2011 start might be too soon for them they could possibly come up with two teams towards the end of any new five-year deal.

The Pacific Islands and North America also had to be considered but so did economic realities. He doubted North American involvement in the opening stage of a new championship.

New Zealand and Australian officials met in Sydney for two days this week. They said “talks will continue on an alternative plan, an Asia-Pacific competition, to ensure a valuable and viable tournament is ready for implementation should resolution not be reached with South Africa on Super Rugby expansion plans.”

But Tew said the preferred option for everyone was for Super Rugby to continue as a three-way championship with Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

He emphasised that the Tri-Nations – and possible expansion with Argentina – would not be affected by the Super Rugby impasse.

While Tew was insistent on the degree of hope for South Africa’s involvement in Super Rugby his frustration was evident.

The next opportunity the three countries have to get together looks like being around an IRB council meeting in Dublin in a fortnight.

While South Africa’s economic attraction was massive, Tew said looking at replacing those dollars elsewhere was “possibly not as scary as initially first thought”.

In a joint statement the NZRU and ARU said they acknowledge that the June window presents a challenge, but believe a viable solution exists which would treat all teams in the competition in the same way.

They say they are determined to deliver a competition of the highest integrity to supporters and broadcasters and believe South African calls for further compromise will impact on that commitment.

New Zealand and Australia feel that Super Rugby can continue through June but with less matches each weekend through the scheduling of additional byes. In this way all teams in the competition would play two matches over the four weeks that the test players were unavailable.

They say that it is consistent with the approach in Europe – where the key rugby competitions continue during the November test window and during the Six Nations Championship – and with competition structures in other codes including rugby league and football.

SA Rugby’s revised solution involves a mid-February start to Super Rugby – to avoid encroaching on the Currie Cup at the back end of the season – as opposed to the preference of Australia and New Zealand for a March kick off.

South Africa has also suggested their teams could open the Super Rugby season with local derbies, at least two weeks before New Zealand and Australian provinces begin their season campaigns.

NZRU and ARU say a staggered start would not appeal to fans and broadcasters.

Tew said New Zealand provincial unions had not yet been involved in discussions on the latest alternative plans.

He wondered if New Zealand could sustain any more than the current five franchises, particularly given the economic climate.

Tew said shifting the June tests wasn’t an option. It had been rejected by the northern hemisphere unions and despite concerns about the touring teams there were massive economic benefiots, mainly through the attraction of the All Blacks.

At the same time that Tew was addressing a laarge contingent of New Zealand media via a phone conference Australian boss John O’Neill told Australian media that a two-round trans-Tasman competition could start without complications and may include two Japanese teams in the future.

“We didn’t start all this with a trans-Tasman option but it’s a functional option and (broadcasters) find it quite attractive,” he said.

The ARU are committed to a fifth Australian team with Melbourne the favourite ahead of Gold Coast to win a potential licence.

“You could add one more team or three more teams and make it a Super 10 or Super 12. Down the track you could have two teams based in Japan,” O’Neill said.

“It’s time zone friendly. If you played two rounds which you would have to (to make 22 weeks) you would have an avalanche of local derbies.”



20 Comments

  • Tew said the Japanese talks were “a lot more positive” than earlier discussions. He felt that while a 2011 start might be too soon for them they could possibly come up with two teams towards the end of any new five-year deal.

    So do I understand this correctly?

    All this talk about japan wanting to put Money into the comp is true, but it only becomes possible after 2016????????????

  • Comment 1, posted at 01.05.09 19:40:52 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • He emphasised that the Tri-Nations – and possible expansion with Argentina – would not be affected by the Super Rugby impasse.

    So we aren’t as valuable as we think we are?????????????

    But we are still valuable / needede enough to be included in the 3N???????

    Tell them to F^^&* OFF!!!!!

  • Comment 2, posted at 01.05.09 19:45:01 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • South Africa has also suggested their teams could open the Super Rugby season with local derbies, at least two weeks before New Zealand and Australian provinces begin their season campaigns.

    NZRU and ARU say a staggered start would not appeal to fans and broadcasters.

    Well that’s a just plain stupid option IMO.

    So when do we make up the “at least two weeks” that NZ and AUS have been sitting around doing nothing?

    At the end of the competition? And then we are out of form when the Play-offs come around becasue we have been sitting on our arses for two weeks?

  • Comment 3, posted at 01.05.09 19:49:56 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • just screw them all, lets go north and rule the world :lol: while were at it we can include all the Saffa sides into the currie cup, imo it will improve the smaller unions performances

  • Comment 4, posted at 02.05.09 09:27:27 by JarsonX Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner
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  • @JarsonX (Comment 4) : ur only as good as your opponent, to be the best uve got to beat the best

  • Comment 5, posted at 02.05.09 09:29:09 by JarsonX Reply
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  • New Zealand and Australia feel that Super Rugby can continue through June but with less matches each weekend through the scheduling of additional byes. In this way all teams in the competition would play two matches over the four weeks that the test players were unavailable.

    Taine Randell’s view on this.

    I see Steve Tew has talked about extending Super rugby into June and having games coincide with internationals. He’s also said this is something that works in Europe.

    Well, I think Steve should check his sources because one of the frustrations about playing in Europe is that club rugby coincides with the Six Nations and November tests.

    The players don’t like it and the spectators don’t like it. It’s just a frustration and it’s something that is really wrong with the game over there.

    A number of teams have a lot of test stars and every year they complain about how they are severely weakened and penalised over the international weekends.

    As a player over there, I remember it as something that didn’t work. To suggest it does work is wrong. In fact, it’s something we should avoid.

    It would happen here near the business end of the competition and all of a sudden a team would lose five or six of their best players. It would make a real mockery of Super rugby.

  • Comment 6, posted at 03.05.09 06:49:37 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 6) : talk about stating the bleeding obvious! I think the Super 14 has shown that the more you try to expand super rugby, the more the quality suffers. As the quality suffers, the spectators lose interest. More can sometimes be less.

    Go back to Super 12, I say

  • Comment 7, posted at 03.05.09 08:13:30 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
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  • Going back to Super 12 may actually be the best solution… not only does it create the “quality” that is starting to lack in the expanded competition (by dropping the 2 worst performing teams), but it may also provide the opportunity time-wise to put the competion on hold for a few weeks during the Tri-nations

  • Comment 8, posted at 03.05.09 10:36:15 by CS Reply

    CSCurrie Cup player
     
  • @CS (Comment 8) :

    Good idea but who will be dropped,

    Cheetahs and Reds,
    Cheetahs and Stormers
    Cheetahs and Lions.

    Then on top of that who will make way for the Kings?

    I would propose they make it a S12 and then in SA the top 3 CC sides plus the Kings qualify. For x amount of years.

    The PROBLEM with going S12 again is that the Unions will get less money from less games and THAT will not be accepted. There are two reasons why an expansion is required.
    1)Aus need to fill the void left by not having a domestic competition
    2) The unions want more money.

    A reversion back to S12 won’t address either of those problems.

  • Comment 9, posted at 03.05.09 11:06:46 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • Here’s an interesting surprise I just got.

    Log positions since SA had 5 sides. (2009 given the highest possible finish)

    Sharks
    2006 – 5
    2007 – 1
    2008 – 3
    2009 – 2 (probable finish)
    Avg – 2,75

    Bulls
    2006 – 4
    2007 – 2
    2008 – 10
    2009 – 2 (probable finish)
    Avg – 4,5

    Stormers
    2006 – 11
    2007 – 10
    2008 – 5
    2009 – 10
    Avg – 9

    Reds
    2006 – 12
    2007 – 14
    2008 – 12
    2009 – 10
    Avg – 12

    Cheetahs
    2006 – 10
    2007 – 11
    2008 – 13
    2009 – 14
    Avg – 12

    Lions
    2006 – 13
    2007 – 12
    2008 – 14
    2009 – 10
    Avg – 12,25

    So the Lions have actually been worse than the Cheetahs since the Cats broke up. The Lions are showing improvement though, where the Cheetahs are showing a steady decline.

  • Comment 10, posted at 03.05.09 11:29:47 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • The CuRRieCup is important enough to go to war with – with the NZARS.

    Since 2008 its “important” again in some quarters as weLL.

    If its so important- why caNNot the priviledge to play Super Rugby- be determined by the order of finishing in the previous year’s CC?

    Why must some teams have a “right” to play?

    If the ChEEtahs are so “steadily declining” it would also show in the CC- and then they would have no hope to play Super Rugby!

    Likewise for the BIG teams with craPPy buDDy BuDDy coaches.

  • Comment 11, posted at 03.05.09 14:40:15 by Oranje Orakel Reply

    wiLLemVodacom Cup player
     
  • @Oranje Orakel (Comment 11) :

    The BIG Problem with using the CC as a “qualifier” is that some teams have no springboks. So when the other teams lose their Springboks these teams think they can play Rugby. But when push comes to shove, they get pushed over and get their heads shoved up their arses.

  • Comment 12, posted at 03.05.09 14:47:55 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 12) :

    So the teams with Springboks will suFFer?

    But what happens when those BoKKe go play in the NH anyway, and is not available to play?

    The Stormers are anyway a gOOde example of a team with a lot of boKKe, and their heads is but anything- shoved as well!

    This so caLLed excellent rugby playing teams- that is cyclical as weLL- with or without their boKKe

    Which is just a lameduck excuse anyway!

    You lot are just woRRied about another PuTT episode!

    therefore you want the right

    rather earn it!

  • Comment 13, posted at 03.05.09 14:54:09 by Oranje Orakel Reply

    wiLLemVodacom Cup player
     
  • The only way to detemine the S14 teams would be as follows:

    Let’s presume we will have 4 sides, that the Kings are an automatic entry and that it will be S12 in 2011.

    Take the finishing order in 2010 for the SA S14 sides and let the bottom two fall out.

    That will leave you with 4 SA sides in the tournament for 2011. (Top 3 plus the Kings)

    After the 2011 S14 the bottom team then has to play a small triangular tournament against the two sides who wish to play in the S12. The winner get’s to play S12 the following year.

  • Comment 14, posted at 03.05.09 14:54:46 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • @Oranje Orakel (Comment 13) :

    Where has anyone in any media or anywhere on this site said we want / have or need the right to play S14 :?: :?:

    We are one of the best two teams in SA in the S14 at the moment and becasue of that have earned S14 entry, it wasn’t given to us in a lottery.

  • Comment 15, posted at 03.05.09 14:58:10 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 14) :

    The principle stays the same KSA

    relegation will be gOOde.

    The Sharks and the BuLLS- which are – without any doubt- the form SA Teams “THIS YEAR” have had their moments of being last of the SA Super sides.

    The discussion should be about what will be creditable to all in the long run- nut just what is convenient to fit an agenda this year.

    On merit- the $harks are for sure one of the top three SA sides in Super rugby- I have no issue with that.

    Relegation should not be a risk to the $harks

  • Comment 16, posted at 03.05.09 15:04:46 by Oranje Orakel Reply

    wiLLemVodacom Cup player
     
  • I think that the relegation threat would lift the standards and who knows maybe some injection of fresh talent and sth new. At least the guys at the bottom would have something to fight for – not that as professionals they should need such motivation.

    It does not work bad in CC context – so why not. Though mind you looks like the relegation completely messed Valke.

  • Comment 17, posted at 03.05.09 15:16:59 by rekinek Reply
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    rekinekTeam captain
     
  • @rekinek (Comment 17) :

    Relegation is not a silver buLLet Rekinek

    BUT it wiLL kEEp the players players a bit more “honest” and coMMiTTed!

  • Comment 18, posted at 03.05.09 15:19:40 by Oranje Orakel Reply

    wiLLemVodacom Cup player
     
  • get rid of the competition. it has never benefitted sa teams.

  • Comment 19, posted at 03.05.09 15:45:39 by try time Reply

    Super Rugby player
     
  • The Cheetahs and Lions should be sent packaging along with the Reds. They’ve been useless for many a year now…

  • Comment 20, posted at 03.05.09 16:04:00 by wpw Reply
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