As another chapter in Superrugby closes and the next one begins it might be pertinent to ask the question … Is the Super 15 in a South African context going to be the death of the Currie Cup?
Well lets look at the format of next years tournament. There will be three conferences each containing five teams – Kiwi, Saffa and Convict. It will include all current teams and the new team from Aus – the Melbourne Rebels.
The tourney will kick off in February with all teams playing within their conference – ie no international travel to contend with. At the end of this stage of the tournament each team will have played four matches.
The teams then play four of the five teams in each of the other two conferences. The missed team in each cross conference stage will change on a five year rotation. (Assuming the format lasts that long.) These eight games will be a mix of two home and two away games from each conference. At the end of this stage all teams will have played 12 matches.
The next stage is a return to local conferences as per the first stage except that teams will now switch venues, so a combination of stage one and three equals a home and away scenario against all teams in your the local conference. At the end of this stage all teams will have played 16 matches.
At this point the tourney will pause to allow for the usual incoming tours from the Northern Hemisphere. Once completed the competition moves into the finals stage.
The finals have been expanded to included 6 teams. The winner of each countries conference and the next three teams from all conferences with the most points will make up the six finalists.
The top team in each conference will automatically qualify for the post season. The top two ranked conference winners get a first round bye to home semi-finals. The remaining four are ranked to determine the quarter-final draw. The third conference winner is automatically the third qualifier (and therefore top quarterfinalist) regardless of table points.
Quarter Final Draw
QF1 3rd at home v 6th
QF2 4th at home v 5th
SF1 2nd at home v QF1 winner
SF2 1st at home v QF2 winner
Higher Ranked SF winner at home v Lower ranked SF winner
Confusing stuff isn’t it … that and if you make it through to the finals stage – potentially you could play 19 games in a full season of Super 15. It still beneficial to finish at the top of the table – it allows you to bypass the quarters and move to a home-semi.
While you try and get your head around that one, back to my original question – is the Super 15 going to kill the Currie Cup?
With each conference essentially playing a home and away fixture – the Currie Cup essentially has been duplicated with a minor annoyance of having to travel in the middle of it to play the convicts and kiwis. And given the Currie Cup’s watered down nature when the Boks are engaged in the June tests, the players who usually return to the domestic tourney will, subject to there seasons result return to Superrugby to play quarters, semi’s and finals.
It may be a little pre-emptive to be shooting the tourney down before its even kicked off but the more i look at this format the more i think too much emphasis is placed on Superrugby to the detriment of our local game.Tweet