Did we actually say we WANT more local derbies?

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Super Rugby on 14 Sep 2010 at 09:51
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One of the supposed selling points of the latest incarnation of Super Rugby (or SupeR ugby, if you take the hideous new logo at face value) is a dramatic increase in the number of local derbies on offer. Forgive me if I’m not exactly jumping up and down at the prospect.

To my mind, one of the coolest things about Super Rugby, in its previous incarnations, was specifically that you got to see a bit more variety on the local landscape. Brought up on a diet of local teams laying into each other in the Currie Cup – not that it’s not fun to watch that – it really was a breath of fresh air to see our teams match themselves against the best provincial or regional outfits that the Aussies or Kiwis could muster. We still had the Currie Cup, after all and we would be guaranteed a good number of local derbies during Super Rugby anyway, since each team had to play every other team anyway.

I have found, though, that the standard of rugby dished up by the local derbies in Super Rugby has always been disappointing – vastly inferior to games featuring teams from different countries. The “grudge match” mentality is all too prevalent, leading to the shackles coming on and teams playing out to a dull 6-3 arm wrestle – teams are so afraid to lose against their “traditional rivals” that they don’t actually try to win. It’s dull and predictable and reminds me of the 6 Nations at its worst. This is not just a Saffa phenomenon either, though. Anyone who has been forced to sit through a Reds v Tahs game will know exactly what I mean. Compare this to the high-paced, exciting game you’re likely to get when the Sharks play the Blues, the Brumbies take on the Crusaders or the Bulls face the Hurricanes. THOSE are the exciting games that define the Super Rugby mystique – and those are exactly the sort of contests I feel we should have more of.

Once again, though, the muppets in charge of the game in South Africa have seen to throw away our interests altogether in the name of appeasement of the biggest bully of all, Jon O’Neill. Where we actually had a pretty phenomenal domestic competition guaranteed to provide local fans with their fill of derby action, we have now sacrificed that on the Super Rugby altar and ended up with something that does us no favours at all, while giving the bloody Aussies the domestic competition they have thus far been unable to establish on their own.

Anybody having a detailed look at the fixtures list will notice another concession. No New Zealand or Australian team now has to tour South Africa for more than 2 weeks. Whereas Saffa teams are now all tied into a 4-week tour every season (which is, admittedly, a slight advantage over the 5-week tour we had to endure in alternate years in the Super 14) the seniors partners in the SANZAR alliance have arranged things in such a way that their teams are never away from home for longer than a fortnight. Guess Oregan Hoskins was sleeping or playing solitaire on his phone while the fixtures list was being drawn up…


  • South African teams bring the most money to the table, yet we always get the short end? This is not right.

  • Comment 1, posted at 14.09.10 09:55:36 by war1 Reply
  • Super 14 was OK as an expansion, but Super 15 should NEVER have happened!

  • Comment 2, posted at 14.09.10 09:56:10 by war1 Reply
  • Are there any odds available on how long it will be before the convicts announce the name of the trophy and competition that will serve as their prize for winning the Aussie domestic conference?

  • Comment 3, posted at 14.09.10 09:58:35 by KSA Pink Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • the Aussies had their own provincial tournament a few years back, it was canned for financial reasons, so the next question is, do the AUSSIE public want more local derbies? seems like not

  • Comment 4, posted at 14.09.10 10:04:20 by war1 Reply
  • @war1 (Comment 2) : Completely agree War. I don’t know if it’s just me, but when competitions get expanded, I tend to lose interest. What have the Cheetahs and Force added to Super Rugby anyway? Now the Rebels are thrown into the mix and it’s supposed to make things better. For me, Super 12 was where the action was at. 👿

  • Comment 5, posted at 14.09.10 10:05:19 by blueski palooski Reply

    blueski palooski
  • @blueski palooski (Comment 5) : agree with you. Super 12 was the sweet spot and it was better in the years when the top 4 teams from last year’s Currie Cup got the slots. That kept everything nice and competitive and got rid of the complacency of having a guaranteed franchise slot in Super Rugby

  • Comment 6, posted at 14.09.10 10:09:28 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • I’m not sure I agree with you there Rob. The CC is going to take a serious back seat to the S15 and I would have liked to have seen more local derby’s. It might not be the prettiest rugby but there are few things as nice to watch as a hard fought Sharks/Bulls game where no team wants to give the other team an inch. Isn’t it more satisfying (and depressing) when you win (or lose) a game against the Bulls as opposed to beating the Blues for example?

  • Comment 7, posted at 14.09.10 10:32:22 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @robdylan (Comment 6) : spot on !!

  • Comment 8, posted at 14.09.10 10:32:27 by ruggabugga Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 6) : i think its got something to do with the fact that Derbies tend to attract the bigger crowds, as you can just imagine a sharks vs Lions game will attract more spectators to ellis park than a crusaders vs lions game. the same with overseas games. the guys on reunion had a chat about it in this years super 14 that the SA games in NZ attract the least amount of spectators. so, in the end, its all about the money… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 9, posted at 14.09.10 10:34:44 by VanWilder Reply

  • I don’t like the idea of S15 one bit..t used to be an exclusive , but now its overdone IMO..

  • Comment 10, posted at 14.09.10 10:38:54 by Pink Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • Do you think they actually consulted any fans in concocting this awful, deformed beast of a competition?

    As everyone’s said, one of the biggest drawcards was seeing your team playing all the teams from all the countries involved – who wants a tournament where we miss out on the Crusaders the one year and the Brumbies the next? It’s like winning a World Cup without beating the All Blacks. Oh wait 😳

    Reducing the tournament back to 12 teams would mean better quality rugby and better depth, less player burnout, no interference in the international window and the fans would attend more matches because they aren’t being overloaded with poor quality rugby. Especially with the increase in the number of players going overseas to make a buck, wouldn’t it make more sense to consolidate your core group of players than to spread them too thinly?

  • Comment 11, posted at 14.09.10 11:46:19 by MerckZ Reply

  • Where is Louis Luyt when you need him? He would not have put up with O’Neil running the show.

  • Comment 12, posted at 14.09.10 12:11:07 by MysticShark Reply
    Competition Winner
  • Bitching and moaning is not going to help as deals has been made and contracts signed. We just have to accept it and if we don’t…. Nobody can force you to watch or even attend the games.

  • Comment 13, posted at 14.09.10 13:06:43 by Jarson Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner
  • Actually, I think the dullest ever Super rugby game wasn’t a local derby, but when we lost 6-5 to the Reds.

  • Comment 14, posted at 14.09.10 14:23:33 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Spirit of Rugby
  • @rhineshark (Comment 14) : dont even mention that game… 😈 it is stored far away in the memory bank along with the 2007 super 14 final…. 👿

  • Comment 15, posted at 14.09.10 16:13:52 by VanWilder Reply

  • I’m definitely not looking forward to this superugby, super ugby, supe rugby whatever. 🙁 where’s the common sense in not being able to play two overseas based teams? That was the whole point of the Super 12.

    I think this is just a farce so that Australia can have a domestic competition. Didn’t the last time they tried this, it failed?

  • Comment 16, posted at 14.09.10 17:02:19 by bo0m Reply

  • @bo0m (Comment 16) : yup… we have been sold down the river here and no mistake.

    Welcome to the site, BTW. How did you find us?

  • Comment 17, posted at 14.09.10 17:07:13 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 17) : Ive been following you guys on twitter and reading the site for quite a while, so I decided to finally register.
    Keep up the good work! 🙂

  • Comment 18, posted at 14.09.10 17:35:35 by bo0m Reply

  • @bo0m (Comment 18) : great stuff, great stuff… just followed you back!

  • Comment 19, posted at 14.09.10 17:42:54 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • never saw that, completely unfair but we’ll just show them next year that even tho south african teams r at a disadvantage, we’ll still whip thier sorry asses!

  • Comment 20, posted at 14.09.10 19:17:46 by The Sharks Sharkie Reply
    The Sharks Sharkie
  • Just like to bitch without really thinking about it, don’t we?

    For those who longs for the “good old days” of the S12.

    SA teams won exactly zero of those.
    Out of 30 semi and final games, only 2 were played in SA.

    Contrast that with 3 out 5 S14 titles and 8 out 15 play-off games in SA.
    For South Africa, S14 has been a massive improvement over S12 and S15 will be even better. Just watch.

    And for those who like to bitch about the travel situation, I’m really looking forward to your plan about equalizing it. Moving Australia about 30-degrees to the west, perhaps?

  • Comment 21, posted at 15.09.10 02:33:37 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @fyndraai (Comment 21) : The S12/14 results has nothing to do with the number of teams in the comp. Our teams were just not good enough. In the Super10 we had a finalist every year and a winner once (out of 3).

  • Comment 22, posted at 15.09.10 03:27:43 by MysticShark Reply
    Competition Winner
  • @fyndraai (Comment 21) : Regarding the travel – forcing the Aus/NZ teams to do their 4 weeks overseas consecutively would go a long way to level the playing field. That can be done without moving Australia.

  • Comment 23, posted at 15.09.10 03:29:41 by MysticShark Reply
    Competition Winner
  • Have the Bulls really won tge flipping thing 3 times? Cripes, it’s time to find a new sport… This one is tainted forever! 🙂

  • Comment 24, posted at 15.09.10 07:51:50 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 24) : there are still BIG question marks on their first one, in my mind at least

  • Comment 25, posted at 15.09.10 07:58:34 by war1 Reply
  • There is one reason for this new arrangement. O’Neill failed to get the Aus state comp up and running since his boss obviously said this is not working we running at a loss. So O’Neill was forced to think of a new plan… He then decided lets use someone elses money which lead to super rugby being structured the way it is. No one else is gaining anything from it only the aussies because they dont have a domestic comp. And they obviously got broadcasting deals for showing their derbies in SA tv. Its very clever but hell its wrong!

  • Comment 26, posted at 15.09.10 08:52:31 by Ozbok789 Reply

  • @MysticShark (Comment 23) :

    So you’ll force the Blues to stay the week in Australia between their games in Sydney and Melbourne?

    That’s just stupid.

    How are you going simulate jet-lag?

  • Comment 27, posted at 15.09.10 13:10:57 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @MysticShark (Comment 22) :

    It does.
    Australia dominated S10 and did very well in S12.
    Why not S14?
    Evenly splitting their limited amount of talent over 2, 3, 4 and in future 5 teams.

    Adding teams in Bloem and Perth, increased travel for NZ teams and ever so slightly tilted the balance towards South Africa.

  • Comment 28, posted at 15.09.10 13:20:13 by fyndraai Reply
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