Away with Super Rugby Franchises?

Written by Len Labuschagne (catfish)

Posted in :Original Content, Reader Submissions, Super Rugby on 3 Dec 2013 at 10:40
Tagged with : , , , , , , , ,

SANZAR are in the midst of developing the next ridiculous Super Rugby format. This has to be in line with the current Einstein “4 points for a bye” scenario, thus keeping everyone in the dark, bar those who actually feel like analyzing and predicting the 3+1 logs on Excel over the weekend.

SANZAR has approved a 6th SA team for Super Rugby and now there is serious scrambling to come with a format for 2016. So, how do we round this off into a pool size? Bring an Argentinian team in which won our Vodacom Cup –Yeah?, another Aussie side – LOL!, Another NZ team – Why not? or a Japanese team full of old wannabe’s who went there for the money and to get away from Super Rugby.
Yes people, we all know, bigger is not always better and thus the concern with the expanded 2016 edition. The Lions and Kings will be whipping boys and fight it out with The Rebels and Force and maybe a NZ team which has Nono and Wheepu in it. Already we are just watching because it’s our team playing. The competition is sort of interesting. Stadiums aren’t being filled and all is just one big yawn out which only the Aussies are benefiting from. And herein lies the potential solution.

The Aussies do not have a domestic competition and their rugby is solely dependent on Super Rugby while NZ and SA have the ITM Cup and Currie Cup. SANZAR then created a system with more local derbies, the Conference system in order please the Aussies and it was also good for the bank balance due to the local derbies generating the most revenue.
So let’s get back to the conundrum. How do we get to what we want and include the Kings and the Lions?

Should we not think out-of-the-box about something that is already in the box?

How about making the Currie Cup and ITM part of Super Rugby by making it a conference/qualifying competition? The top 4 will qualify for the SupeRugby Group phase. The bottom 3 also gets a Cup, The SANZAR Cup, and will play in the same format, including 1 each from Argentina, Samoa and Tonga. And in the end, the Aussies have a domestic competition without killing the best rugby competition ever!

Did we not complicate matters by creating “franchises”? How do you explain to an alien from Mars that The Bulls and The Blue Bulls are not the same team, but actually are? A lot of re-aligning and consolidation will be required to bring everything back to 1 team, but nothing is impossible. Serious discussions on how to accommodate both Super Rugby and Currie Cup sponsors and retain most of the income will be required, but there is enough rugby to played to accommodate everyone.

Suddenly the door opens for a Mpumalanga Pumas (keep an eye on Neslpruit, things are happening there), Southland or any other smaller union to play against international teams and also the opportunity to generate revenue from this very lucrative market.


  • “Bring an Argentinian team in which won our Vodacom Cup –Yeah?”

    the Kings BTW can also only manage to win to Vodacom cup yet they will and have been playing Super Rugby. So I don’t see any difference in that.

  • Comment 1, posted at 03.12.13 10:48:57 by Uli Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
    Uli Boelie
  • As long as my Kings play it doesn’t matter what they do…

  • Comment 2, posted at 03.12.13 11:00:55 by KingsArmy Reply

  • Go North.

    The English are looking for somebody to play against!

  • Comment 3, posted at 03.12.13 12:00:27 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • The current franchise format was caused by NZ teams as Natal, Transvaal and Queensland set the pace in the begining of super rugby, so to be in with a chance to win they started with franchises in year 3 of super rugby.

  • Comment 4, posted at 03.12.13 12:26:21 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
  • I really like your proposal, and think that the current set up is uneccesarily complicated to try an please everyone, and in the end harldly pleasing anyone.

    Use the local competitions, to qualify for Super Rugby, creating a Champions League for southern hemisphere rugby if you would.

  • Comment 5, posted at 03.12.13 13:41:15 by stevovo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • This franchise system has only worked for NZ. It doesn’t really matter to the Aussies whether the conference system is our version of the Currie Cup or ITM as they will play their conference much the same. The NZ A Div is 7 Teams as well as their B Div. We have 14 unions as well so 7 in the A Div and 7 in the B Div should not confuse too many rugby administrators. The Assies will be a problem with only 5 teams. If they remain at 5, the top 2 each automatically qualify for the play offs plus 3rd from NZ and SA. Quater Final then Semis and Final. The season could be structured to accommodate the Currie Cup and ITM semis and finals and if the Aussies want to as well. That will combine the competitions, reducing the wear and tear on the players and ensure at all times the top players are playing. The money people won’t like it because it probably means less revenue as a result of fewer games. And when did the money people think about the players welfare.

  • Comment 6, posted at 03.12.13 16:28:48 by markp Reply

  • Aussies need to start their own domestic competition. Dont they realise the value it will give their rugby? Hell now they beat some pretty lacklustre NH sides on their EOY tour, they’ll think they’re invincible again.

  • Comment 7, posted at 03.12.13 18:06:10 by Caratacus Reply

  • @markp (Comment 6) :

    Not really sure how you think it has only worked for NZ.

    SA has the top 5 (historical) provinces at its heart, draft in other players and end up with the top, say, 150 players playing every year.

    If you take away the Crusaders dominance then it has been pretty even results-wise between NZ and SA.

    Currently the ITM Cup has 2 divisions with 7 teams each. How is that any different to what we have in the Currie Cup?

  • Comment 8, posted at 03.12.13 19:19:53 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 8) :It has been well documented. In New Zealand at the start of the Franchise Super Rugby nearby “provincial” teams in the ITM cup joined together to form Super Rugby Franshises e.g. North Harbour and Auckland became the Blues. They managed to integrate their franchises, fans and players, and then return to the “provincial” ITM Cup set up. We tried and failed the Cats being the most obvious failure and ended up with the biggest unions becoming the Super Rugby Franchises as opposed to a number of unions making up a franchise. Even the Eastern Cape aka Southern Kings were supposed to be part of the Sharks Franchise in the original blue print.
    In conclusion the Franchise idea did not work in SA while it worked well in NZ. In SA we fell back to provincial unions and required the expansion of the Super 12 to accommodate them.
    Yes the ITM cup is very similar to the Currie Cup I never said anything that could make you think different. In fact I said how similar they were.

  • Comment 9, posted at 03.12.13 20:57:39 by markp Reply

  • My feeling is the Franchise system fell apart in SA because of rugby politics. Provincialism in this country over rides everything and that is part of our history unfortunately. Saru wields little power over the unions and depends on the bigger unions to support it in many areas. This is wrong.

  • Comment 10, posted at 04.12.13 07:24:46 by Caratacus Reply

  • @Caratacus (Comment 10) : yes agree, saru should run the show, if they stuff-up, the union presidents can vote them out every two years or so. Maybe the saru president should automatically fall out every three years or so. At the moment he’s to scared to upset any union because he wants to be reelected. If the saru president knows he can’t be reelected, he can make some bold decisions…..

  • Comment 11, posted at 04.12.13 09:45:57 by KingsArmy Reply

  • Maybe using the Auckland, North Harbour example was a bad idea as North Harbour, once a competitive Kiwi outfit are languishing at the bottom of their B Div. Northland also part of the Blues franchise were 2nd to last in their B Div. Also interesting to note that Otago, the home of the Highlanders only came second in their B Div much like the EP Kings home of the Kings coming second in our B Div.

  • Comment 12, posted at 04.12.13 10:27:02 by markp Reply

  • @markp (Comment 12) : Don’t kick us when we down….lol! Do remember that when the Bdiv started the Kings 1st team was still playing in s15 and pro/rel games. The first half of Bdiv we played with our Bteam [our depth is not that great yet]. Take nothing away from the Pumas they played well this year…..even beat griekwas, didn’t see that coming.

  • Comment 13, posted at 04.12.13 11:13:24 by KingsArmy Reply

  • @Caratacus (Comment 10) : the biggest challenge thus remains NZ. We rule the roost in terms of income generated, but the. NZ has the most successfulconference system. Surely there must be some politics which Oregan can focus on to swing this his way…

  • Comment 14, posted at 04.12.13 11:32:43 by catfish Reply
  • @markp (Comment 12) :

    Lol, Was about to skin you for bringing up Auckland/North Harbour as an example to support your argument.

    You do realise they hate each other?

    I can appreciate your argument, but my feeling is South Africa, and specifically South African politics, ruined the conference idea.

    The Lions/Cats were just a fuckup from the beginning. Politics has rules Gauteng rugby since the days of Louis Luyt and its pretty much continued from there. Financial mismanagement, inept administrators etc has been the downfall of that union.

    WP, on the other hand, has absorbed Boland, Border etc and its worked really well.

  • Comment 15, posted at 04.12.13 12:19:13 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 15) : lol, Border is far away from wp

  • Comment 16, posted at 04.12.13 15:27:38 by KingsArmy Reply

  • In the beginning boland and SWD was with wp; EP and border was with the Coastal Sharks.

  • Comment 17, posted at 04.12.13 15:30:50 by KingsArmy Reply

  • @KingsArmy (Comment 16) : 😆 By now you should know that Vinny has as much licence to radical free thought around here as WP rugby do to colonising all matters of SA rugby.

  • Comment 18, posted at 04.12.13 15:34:03 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @KingsArmy (Comment 17) : seargal is looking for a sr franchise for sr2014.been in negotiations with stormers,cheetahs and sharks.hope the sharks can pull this one off.this guy is a little gem.

  • Comment 19, posted at 04.12.13 15:58:36 by 50shadesofblackandwhite Reply

  • @50shadesofblackandwhite (Comment 19) : Naah, I’d rather have the Sharks invest in our own talent – unless of course Sergeal wants to make his move permanent, then he’s more than welcome. 😀

  • Comment 20, posted at 04.12.13 16:05:01 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 20) : it will be a permanent move for 2014 sr season.good enough for me 😀

  • Comment 21, posted at 04.12.13 16:11:30 by 50shadesofblackandwhite Reply

  • Nobody has absorbed Border. Border has fokken absorbed itself.

  • Comment 22, posted at 04.12.13 17:22:34 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Bit agro Rob? Long week/year?

  • Comment 23, posted at 04.12.13 19:26:19 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
  • @JD (Comment 23) : haha – sorry boss. Yes, I guess so.

    Border pisses me off…. they took away a lot of boys who had dreams of playing for the Sharks and just pissed their careers into the gutter.

  • Comment 24, posted at 04.12.13 19:36:27 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 24) : it’s ok I know how you feel, 24 December can’t come quick enough, but then again there’s so much to do before then. When you coming down south again?

  • Comment 25, posted at 04.12.13 21:10:46 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 18) : lol

  • Comment 26, posted at 05.12.13 12:27:27 by KingsArmy Reply

  • @50shadesofblackandwhite (Comment 19) : Yip he does look special. Not the tallest wing around, but fast and strongly build. Steps nicely aswell. Hope he gets a spot somewhere

  • Comment 27, posted at 05.12.13 12:31:04 by KingsArmy Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 22) : Can say that again…..their junior rugby plays in the A section, their coach has been let go cause his team was too white, awhile back some of their players were paid in food parcels…..the shit at border never ends!

  • Comment 28, posted at 05.12.13 12:38:19 by KingsArmy Reply

  • If any junior player at border sign with another union he’s not allowed to represent border at craven week

  • Comment 29, posted at 05.12.13 12:48:01 by KingsArmy Reply

  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 18) :

    Hehe, why ruin a good argument with facts?

    Anyway, the only province i can identify with reasonable certainty is Boland. I dont even know is SWD and Border still exist to be honest.

  • Comment 30, posted at 05.12.13 14:18:23 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 30) :
    Seriously?! You pretty outspoken on all things SA rugby yet don’t know that they exist? Telling markp that the franchise system has worked for SA as well…..

  • Comment 31, posted at 05.12.13 16:25:55 by JustPlainSHARK Reply

  • @JustPlainSHARK (Comment 31) :

    Show me the objectibve veidence that it hasnt worked.

    Are there players not getting gaem time? Are our teams propping up the log?
    In what way has the conference system failed South Africa?

  • Comment 32, posted at 05.12.13 17:11:19 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 32) : For me it’s probably not “failed” as much as redundant – the biggest winners in S.A. with the franchise system are the smaller unions.

    They’re on the receiving end of some really unwarranted financial incentives from the big name “franchise” they fall under. Sharks were pretty smart to buy EP out of their franchise.

  • Comment 33, posted at 05.12.13 17:32:44 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 33) :

    Fair play – but thats a bit of a different statement to make.

  • Comment 34, posted at 05.12.13 18:35:28 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • Remember willie played for Boland, then to Griekwas, then got game time at the tahs and is now one of the bokke’s more exiting players. Smaller unions are a feeder system to the bigger unions. Without that financial assistance they will close there doors and it will hurt SA

  • Comment 35, posted at 06.12.13 10:03:33 by KingsArmy Reply

  • @KingsArmy (Comment 35) : Not the Sharks though, we just get them straight from the big unions, or develop them ourselves 😈

  • Comment 36, posted at 06.12.13 10:33:54 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @KingsArmy (Comment 35) : Im not confessing to knowing the financial structures of the smaller unions but I do have a feeling that they say they need more money as the administrators want higher pay packets to do their jobs. If its the case of the players wanting more they must be made to realise what level of player they are. U cant be paid like a Bok if your Vodacom Cup quality. But like I said im just speculating but have a feeling that these Unions want a bigger piece of the pie with being able to offer anything more in return

  • Comment 37, posted at 06.12.13 12:43:34 by SheldonK Reply

  • So CC expansion has been shelved.

    What will the tjietas do for SR, they’ll be forced to stop relying on the kwas player. Maybe somehow the Pumas has to be integrated with them.

  • Comment 38, posted at 06.12.13 15:06:08 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 36) : Remember the sharks new FB SP Marais comes from EP….

  • Comment 39, posted at 06.12.13 16:11:36 by KingsArmy Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 37) : Yes its hard to say where all the money go. They got the same amount of people working at the small unions as at the big unions. The players get less than at the big unions, but they have to compete with 2nd and 3rd division overseas clubs. Craven week rugby needs money aswell. Then there’s still the local clubs that want their cut or they vote u out of the presidents chair. Running a small union is no dream job…..

  • Comment 40, posted at 06.12.13 16:24:54 by KingsArmy Reply


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