The new Super Rugby: 2016 and onwards

Written by Stephen Smith (StevieS)

Posted in :Original Content, Reader Submissions, Super Rugby on 27 Aug 2013 at 12:41
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

Reading the comments on Sharksworld and based on my own opinion Super Rugby is not so super anymore! It would seem that SANZAR missed the plot when they moved away from the Super 14, with some even arguing that they shouldn’t have moved away from Super 12!

Now there is talk that post-2015 we must add Argentinean teams, Japanese teams and even a Fijian and a Samoan team to the mix. The idea excites me and causes dread in equal measure.

I’m excited because we’ll get new blood into the competition with new styles of rugby, new venues and new players. The dread comes in in that we’ll have an even longer season with even weaker teams and more of those Aussie derbies!!!

My solution is simple; we adopt a Heineken Cup and European Championship format as follows;

· Add an Argentinean team, a Samoan team, a Fijian team and a Japanese team to the existing teams with the Kings/Lions being included permanently (not sure yet which one, if either, of those teams will be playing Super Rugby in 2015).
· The competition is split into two, with the top ten ranked teams in the Super Rugby Premiership and the bottom ten teams, including all the newcomers and the bottom 5 teams from Super Rugby 2015, all playing in the Super Rugby Challenge.
· Teams play each other once in their respective competitions as used to happen in Super Rugby.
· At the end of the season the top four teams contest the semifinals, top two move onto the final. This is the same as the old Super Rugby format.
· The top 2 teams i.e. the finalists of the Super Rugby Challenge, automatically qualify to compete in the Super Rugby Premiership and the bottom two teams in the Super Rugby Premiership move down to the Super Rugby Challenge.

Advantages of this system:

· Every week will be exciting as your team has to win to gain promotion/avoid relegation.
· Your team, if a weaker team, will compete against teams of equal strength, leading to more entertaining matches.
· Less games per season for each team, but more games on a weekend, will lead to a shorter season, longer playing careers and more entertainment for the fans.
· No more derbies every second weekend!!!
· Super Rugby taps into the rich Japanese market leading to increased sponsorships and the ability to retain top players.
· Argentina, Japan, Samoa and Fiji become more competitive on the international stage as their players compete at a higher level on a weekly basis.

Disadvantages of this system:

· Your team might never reach the Premiership!
· You may not face some teams for years due to the format.

For me this format would be exciting and would make me want to watch every game. What do you think?


  • Just go back to super 16 with 4 teams from SANZAR and 4 from argies.

    Each play each other once as with the old super 12 format.

  • Comment 1, posted at 27.08.13 12:48:27 by Uli Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
    Uli Boelie
  • I’ve always liked the two division format, my only concern is the travelling if you include all these other countries. There is already a lot with only SA NZ and AUS.

    It would be nice to have less teams and play each team home and away.

  • Comment 2, posted at 27.08.13 12:50:41 by SeanyJMc Reply

  • @SeanyJMc (Comment 2) : Then what about doing pools of 4 like in the Heineken Cup?

  • Comment 3, posted at 27.08.13 13:26:57 by StevieS Reply
  • @Uli (Comment 1) : Problem is that then we’d have to day away with teams and we’ve already got 6 from SA who want to play. It would make even more of a mess.

  • Comment 4, posted at 27.08.13 13:27:54 by StevieS Reply
  • @StevieS (Comment 4) : I know but the only way for this to work is to go back to the old super10 way, top 4 after each CC goes into Super rugby. the only problem with this though is that the springboks wont be playing CC 🙁

  • Comment 5, posted at 27.08.13 14:16:23 by Uli Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
    Uli Boelie
  • @Uli (Comment 5) : They don’t play in the CC anyway, but each union would fight tooth and nail to avoid that format. I agree with you it would see a very strong challenge from SA teams, but it will just never happen.

  • Comment 6, posted at 27.08.13 14:22:42 by StevieS Reply
  • Bring back the super 12… Or better yet, I wrote an IPL of rugby article a year or so ago. Sanzar have only mucked up a good thing so maybe a rebel league could be the way of the future… Funded by the french and japanese…

  • Comment 7, posted at 27.08.13 14:57:53 by The Quirk Reply
    The Quirk
  • We could have teams like the durban sharkbats and the gauteng smog… Etc…

  • Comment 8, posted at 27.08.13 14:59:34 by The Quirk Reply
    The Quirk
  • I like the idea, but another thing to consider is that while it would bring up the level of rugby in so many places, it could also end up bringing down the overall level of rugby in, say, Australia due to the fact that one would expect both the Force and the Rebels to remain in the Challenge and perhaps the bottom of the premiership. It would work better than keeping the conference system, though.

  • Comment 9, posted at 27.08.13 15:35:59 by David12246 Reply

  • This could work, but will the sponsors go for the two tiers i.e. will the bottom league attract meaningfull money from sponsors?

  • Comment 10, posted at 27.08.13 19:54:33 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
  • Richard

    Your proposal exactly matches my idea of the best way forward.

    The only issue I thought of is, with promotion/relegation, we could conceivably face a situation with, say, 4 NZ teams, 2 Aus teams, 1 Arg/PI team and 3 SA teams in the top 10. Away games are restricted to 4 or 5 (with 10 teams in the pool you play 9 games). We are potentially back in the game of 5 consecutive away games down under like we sometimes used to see in the s12/s14.

    And then cue all the travel excuses.

  • Comment 11, posted at 27.08.13 21:38:00 by Feather Reply

    Gold's Member
  • @Feather (Comment 11) : I thought of that, but it seems a bit unavoidable.

    @JD (Comment 10) : I think they would. You’d have high quality teams playing internationally and this would attract major sponsors.

  • Comment 12, posted at 28.08.13 08:38:18 by StevieS Reply

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