Friday, May 22nd, 2009...8:29 am

Super 15: The downside ..

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Source: Is this Sanzar’s biggest error? – Danny Stephens

POINT1..”the whole lot appears to be such a half-measured set of improvisations that it is doubtful whether anyone is truly happy. “….

POINT2..”a fifth franchise in Australia despite some of his finest coaches and figures in the game warning Australia does not have the playing stocks. His solution to that? Have a ‘hybrid’ franchise; a franchise consisting of players from the Pacific Islands, South Africa, New Zealand. What a lovely concept for the new host city. I bet Melbourne can’t wait to have a team of locals from South Africa, New Zealand and Tonga to identify with.”..”There are also 16 NRL teams with players with the required skills. We are not without a reasonable pool from which to fish”..

POINT3..”It also means that, in spite of all the positive noises and the repeated calls from fans and governing body alike, Argentina are set to be shut out of any possible SH competition for some time to come, as are the Pacific Islands”…

POINT4..”there’s the structure itself. In a flawless act of genius, the Super 15 will take a three-week break, right at the most critical point of the season, in order to accommodate the June Tests. Just as interest in a tournament should be peaking, along come the internationals to break up the momentum and – let’s not kid ourselves – plague the business end of the tournament with fatigue and injuries. “…

POINT5..”The peculiar wild-card play-off system and qualification thereto, the fact that some teams will play other weaker teams more than others while playing two other teams not at all during the conference period. The drawn-out play-off system that will see a number of internationals head back to domestic rugby for two or three weeks while it is all concluded before heading into the marathon Tri-Nations. “..

POINT6..”But most of all, it is the selling out of the provincial tournaments in South Africa and New Zealand that disturbs the most. “…

…”There must be an awful lot of money involved for anyone other than John O’Neill to be happy about that. I wonder which part of rugby’s soul will next fall foul of a deal so unswervingly self-serving in nature. “…

COMMENTS: Is John O’Neill the most destructive man off the field in world rugby? Not for Aussie rugby maybe, but how as he effected NZ and SA rugby structures, for better or worse. Not so long ago Aussie rugby had no internal competitions of note, SA and NZ had strong stable domestic competitions the world respected. Today, if not in the near future, NZ NPC and SA Currie Cup will nothing more than second tear amateur tournaments, ARU 2 steps forward, NZ an SA three steps backwards. So who’s winning then, who do ya think, ARU ! At least the Australasian Cup Idea would have had 8 teams from NZ and 6 from Aussie, that keeps the exposure very high in NZ, but the super rugby idea limits exposure to only 5 teams in NZ. Power to the super rugby few. Its about the money honey, CEO NZRU Mr Tew has proved that !

So whats instore for the future:
1) 3 x Bledisloe Cups games every year, the first game in Aussie each year. WTF !
2) The same long Tri Nations, playing each other three times.
3) Super rugby ‘its on’ and ‘its off’ again momentum.
4) Super rugby play off series, with different levels of involvement from international players (due to injury and planned rest periods (eg sabbaticals in contracts).
5) June test matches that will most likely continue with weaken sides from the north.
6) More loss of interest in NPC (what’s that again, Hawkes Bay vs who, who cares !)
7) More players going to the northern rugby competitions as they have there act together !
8 ) And after all the above is played, the November International tour.

If you are an All Black and your team makes the Super 15 finals each year, with the internationals as well, then you are in for a lot of rugby! I suggest that you get written into your contract a maxmium number of games per year, otherwise your life as a rugby player will get shorter. I see players trying the ‘Luke MacAlister Game’, two years off somewhere else, and come back for years prior world cup!

Na, I dont think NZRU are smart enough to know what they have agreed too, and the NZ rugby public wont know until its too late. I prefer the Australasian cup idea better. Wynne Gray where are you when we need you ???

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