The Promotion / Relegation matches have come and gone, with the Lions snatching last place on the 2014 Super Rugby log in a set of matches that were closer than many anticipated. Many might see it as poetic justice, while I seem to be less inclined to be happy about the result, whichever way it went.
The way the Lions celebrated after losing in front of their supposed sell-out crowd made me realise that something is woefully wrong within our rugby structure if that is what our rugby has come to. Losing, in front of your home crowd, should not result in wild celebrations and fist pumping amongst the players. I understand that the players all feel that they achieved something, but ‘winning’ a spot in the premier rugby competition by losing by less points than your opposition is a disgrace.
The rugby that was played in both these matches does not inspire a lot of confidence, the Kings played for only 40 minutes in the match while the Lions got away with fumbling and stumbling their way to a few tries in their 20 minute burst of energy, only ensuring they do not lose by more than 7 points. On the basis of that, neither team deserves to take part in Super Rugby and explains why these teams have been finishing last for the past few years.
Looking forward to next year, what can we expect? Well, the Lions are going to buy all their players back from the Kings and Johan Ackermann and co are going to play in front of an empty stadium every weekend and in a year’s time we will have these same matches again. That may sound pessimistic, but the reality is that neither team will make any success of a Super Rugby campaign in these conditions, no matter who won the promotion matches.
No team that has only a year in which to gain players, with no promise of a future, will be able to build a championship winning team, so why bother taking part at all. You have to be in it to win it, so why waste everybody’s time if you are only there to make up the numbers.
What it comes down to is that the Super Rugby competition has grown beyond its limitations, with players and fans not enjoying the format as it stands. There are plenty of suggestions doing the rounds, all with merit, but the decision, and the responsibility, lies with the administrators in South African Rugby. It is those administrators that have gotten rugby in the state in which it currently is in, it has caused hatred amongst fans, which is ruining the face of what should be called the beautiful game. At this stage, it is a muddy old game which I can barely get myself excited about.Tweet