The message is loud and clear to SA Rugby as they plan to lobby their cause to include the Kings in next year’s SupeRugby competition with their SANZAR partners.
What is it about South African rugby officials?
SARU is intent on expanding the Super rugby series into a 16-team competition next year and want to meet their New Zealand and Australian counterparts to explain in more detail their rationale.
How about NO THANKS.
New Zealand and Australia have been peppered with repeat requests from SARU to change their minds even though the current format has been sold to television networks, sponsors, unions and investors as a 15-team deal until 2015.
Somehow, someone connected to the South African hierarchy, apparently promised the Southern Kings a place in the tournament.
But the Bulls, Stormers, Sharks, Lions and Cheetahs have made it clear in a unified letter to SARU they will not compromise their places in favour of the Kings.
SARU has climbed in with arguments like there is a wider television audience in South Africa so the series deserves and can cope with an additional side.
Maybe but not now. The series is already unwieldy.
It has a major weakness because each team does not play every other side, therefore it is iniquitous.
Time zones and travel make Super rugby an awkward beast, one far more conducive to recorded viewings offshore unless you have insomnia, money on the result or relatives involved.
South Africa are bleating on again though about adding another side next season and remain determined to send a delegation this way to persuade their antipodean cousins of the merits of that argument.
New Zealand and Australia should memo their Sanzar buddies quick smart. Something along the lines of NO. You made the mess, you fix it.
Sanzar has seen how difficult it was for the Rebels in their debut last season while the Force were last in their 2006 start and the Lions have struggled in South Africa. Adding more teams will not raise the standards – the reverse is far more likely.
If more teams are involved, the series should be played within each nation’s borders before a rotating hosting playoffs programme is held in one country.
But that’s all a bit messy.
Perhaps the plan should be transtasman footy – similar time frame, better programmes. Maybe that’s something for administrators to wish for in 2016.