Get your gloves on… it’s “Super 16” time again

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Super Rugby on 1 Feb 2012 at 07:53
Tagged with : , , ,

So this is kind of predictable, right? Having announced last week that the Southern Kings will definitely play Super Rugby in 2013, sort of added as a throwaway statement at the end of the Bok coach announcement with no details as to how it would be accomplished, SARU now look to have their hopes set on further expansion of the tournament, rather than having to drop one of the existing teams.

Deputy President Mark Alexander, according to reports, is feeling somewhat bullish about the chances of convincing their SANZAR partners (i.e. New Zealand and Australia) to completely overhaul the competition structure, notwithstanding the fact that the broadcast deal tied to the current format runs until 2016, in time for next year’s competition. He claims that he’s worked out a schedule that will allow 16 teams to participate in a far simpler structure, thus keeping everyone happy.

Problem is, it’s not going to keep Jon O’Neill happy, since the two things that he fought for hardest will fall by the wayside under Alexander’s proposal. For starters, this crazy “conference system” that sees 98% of Super Rugby matches take the form of boring derbies between Australian sides nobody cares about will go, with each of the 16 teams only playing each of the others once in a single round of 15 games. Secondly, Alexander seems to be mooting a return to a more traditional “1 plays 4 and 2 plays 3” single round knock-out format, completely at odds with the overcomplicated “finals series” devised by O’Neill to ensure that he’ll always have at least one knock-out game in “‘Stralia fair”.

Don’t get me wrong, though – I would celebrate the death of both the conference system and the finals series, but if the way to achieve that is to introduce yet more crap teams into the mix, then I may have to think again. Whatever the case, though, I feel Alexander’s optimism is woefully misplaced. Prepare yourselves, in other words, for a massive bun fight between the five existing Super Rugby franchises, because one of them is going to get the chop ahead of 2013. Super 16, in other words, is a complete non- starter.


  • Each union will be putting a compelling case forward or why THEY should not be the ones dropped from the SA conference.

    I would love for those to be public.

  • Comment 1, posted at 01.02.12 07:58:47 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • My John O’neill voodoo doll will take pride of place on my mantel next to Victoria Matfield, Pook Watson and the faceless player agent.

  • Comment 2, posted at 01.02.12 08:01:06 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Headaches all around.

  • Comment 3, posted at 01.02.12 08:23:35 by King Shark Reply
    King Shark
  • one thing is for sure . Lions will need to sort themselves out and this needs to happen yesterday .

    And please have a good SR season . maybe ending above the Cheetahs is not too much to ask ?

  • Comment 4, posted at 01.02.12 08:35:36 by Zibbie Reply
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  • It’s all a farking joke…..I hate politics in rugby. 🙄

  • Comment 5, posted at 01.02.12 08:38:52 by Pokkel Reply
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  • I would also rather have 16 teams instead of this stupid conference system. And a 4 team playoff is better as well.

  • Comment 6, posted at 01.02.12 08:55:37 by JarsonX Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner
  • With 16 teams you could even have a 1/4 final.

  • Comment 7, posted at 01.02.12 09:03:34 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Yes top 8 team playoff games. 1vs8 2vs7 3vs6 4vs5.

  • Comment 8, posted at 01.02.12 09:16:07 by Mutley Reply
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 7) :

    interesting idea

  • Comment 9, posted at 01.02.12 09:26:33 by Zibbie Reply
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  • @JarsonX (Comment 6) : Seconded.

  • Comment 10, posted at 01.02.12 10:18:54 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 7) : Like! Just one game extra per team, and Aus should still get one team in there every other year, so the should be (better be!) happy

  • Comment 11, posted at 01.02.12 10:43:43 by Die Kriek Reply

  • I think we should cut the conference system. Nobody enjoys it, possibly only Aus, we now have the local teams playing each other 4 times (if you include the CC teams) which is untenable. What I would like to see happen is the Kings being included to extend the competition to the Super 16 and that is where it should stay.

    The benefits of this would be the following:
    * Less rugby, currently we have 18 pool rounds whereas we could go to 15 rounds with a 16 team format playing each other once.
    * More opportunity for international coaches to prepare their teams as it could be started in Mid Feb and run till May and then allow opportunities for incoming tour preparation.
    * It would ensure that the playing field is levelled slightly in terms of travel as Auz and NZ teams would then need to spend at least 3 weeks in SA.

    Once that is finished and incoming tours and Tri Nations have been and gone, then the CC and NZ domestic competition start. Once that has started id like to see the Auzzie teams (either Superrugby franchises or club teams) playing in a league including Japanese, Samoan, Tongan or Argentinian teams. That would ensure the Auzzie’s get a domestic league, which is what they desperately need, and also the other developing rugby countries get opportunities for exposure, crucially at their level.

  • Comment 12, posted at 01.02.12 11:17:27 by Pat Reply

  • @Pat (Comment 12) : or how about 20 teams in 4 pools of 5?
    Or 18 teams but no derbies?6 teams from each conference and you only play against the 12 from the other 2 conferences in the round robin stage. Not that I think there is a chance the aussies will agree to that..

  • Comment 13, posted at 01.02.12 11:23:41 by bergshark Reply

  • @bergshark (Comment 13) :

    It could work, but there would have to be seedings based on location. If one goes to a Pool Format then they would need to ensure that it is not unfair on SA teams as regards to travel.
    But yep it could be made into a Heineken cup type format, which would be possible and reduce the amount of rugby that is played.

  • Comment 14, posted at 01.02.12 11:30:34 by Pat Reply

  • does not matter how many teams they put into the competition IMO they should play it the format as is played in the WC, or even the CWC, groups the super 8, then semi, and a final.

  • Comment 15, posted at 01.02.12 12:25:27 by Franshark Reply
  • If it got up to 16 teams they’d have to consider a two tier competition i think. Top 8, bottom 8 or A and B section… With a promotion relegation thing going on. The competition is already too long… Or maybe an American football style competition with two conferences, each with it’s own final and then a SUPER SUPERugby final between the conference winners…

  • Comment 16, posted at 01.02.12 14:08:36 by The Quirk Reply
    The Quirk
  • This is a pipe dream at best. SARU just ran ahead and anounced something that they do not even know how they will make it work. They have not been able to drop any of the SA sides thus far. Why would they do that now. I also cannot see them changing the format of the game again and start a S16. Keep dreaming Kings. It aint gonna happen soon…

  • Comment 17, posted at 01.02.12 15:08:13 by Viking Reply
  • @The Quirk (Comment 16) : This could be very beneficial to all involved – especially in regards to travel.

  • Comment 18, posted at 01.02.12 15:08:19 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @Viking (Comment 17) :

    like i said .. waiting for the Lions to be declared Bankrupt …

  • Comment 19, posted at 01.02.12 15:23:28 by Zibbie Reply
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