Rugby Thoughts EP4 – Super Rugby Format

There has been a lot of talk about the Super Rugby format and how it is not “fair” so I sat down in front of the camera to give my thoughts.

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2 Comments

  1. Two of the issues are how the introduction of new teams waters down the competition and how those teams aren’t quite ready to be all that competitive. So what about introducing a premiership/championship promotion/relegation model like the NPC in New Zealand? What’s interesting about it is every team from each division plays all the other teams in their own division, plus four games against teams from the other division. That keeps the competitiveness generally high in both divisions, so the games are better, and by playing across divisions, you still get some out-of-conference games. Besides, not every team in Super Rugby is playing every other team anyway.

    A structure like that might not seem the fairest to some of the Aussie or South African teams — the Force and the Southern Kings, and maybe the Cheetahs, the Jaguares and the Wolfpuppies would be spending quite a bit of time in the championship. But if they’re competitive against each other and get the chance to improve without being blown out every week, is that a problem? They might stand a better chance at improving if they have a chance to find ways to score.

    Such a structure might also allow for more flexible expansion. New teams could enter at the championship level and earn their way to the premiership level while still getting some premiership-level competition. Plus, if they want to add more Asian and North American teams, you could divide the two divisions into conferences — two championship conferences, two premiership conferences (or maybe only one premiership conference until there are enough teams for two).

    Anyway, just some thoughts.

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    1. This is the most sensible 2 tier structure I have heard so far. The only way that the Jags, Sunwolves and any other expansion teams to become competitive is to play at this level. My main concern is about the travel. For example the Blues over the last couple of years could have been the only NZ team at the championship level. This would mean that all their away games were overseas (except an inter premiership game). That amount of travel would be a killer. I know that is the situation for the Jags and Sunwolves now but that should be temporary until Super Rugby expands in their countries.

      It’s a cultural issue, the countries involved aren’t used to a conference style system like you get in the USA. Also this is at least partially driven by the TV companies. They need to make a bigger effort at selling the format and not bagging something that they have helped setup. I know they can’t just be fan boys but constantly saying things like “an unearned home semifinal as they had less points” doesn’t help.

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