It’s time to move on from Super Rugby

January 24, 2013
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When will SA Rugby realise that our future lies north, and not in an expanded Super Rugby tournament?

Talk in the media this morning centred around plans to expand the Southern Hemisphere showpiece in 2016 to 18, or even 20 teams.  SANZAR CEO, Greg Peters confirmed that a possible expansion is on the cards where the untapped markets of the USA and Japan are most likely to be included as it offers the best possible commercial or monetary returns to SANZAR’s current three partners, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Although we must accept that money is what ultimately drives the game, SA Rugby has to realise that the current, and even expanded version of Super Rugby is just not sustainable in the long term not only on our players, but also from a monetary point of view.

It has become very apparent in recent years that players opt to leave South Africa not only for a bigger pay-cheque, but also as a means of self-preservation or extending their careers.

The issue is not solely the amount of rugby being played, but the enormous geological area Super Rugby covers resulting in thousands of miles being clocked up by players annually travelling from one continent to the next.  Apart from time-zones that are crossed, travel time and jetlag eats into recovery time for players between games which is not spent on physio tables or swimming pools but sitting upright for 12 to 16 hours in airplane seats.  Physically and psychologically our players pounded into the ground, and decisions by players like Bryan Habana, Jaque Fourie, Fourie du Preez and many more will soon become the norm leaving for foreign shores in the interest of self-preservation.

The problem of course with losing these high calibre players is that local structures eventually suffers.  Jurie Roux was recently quoted in saying that they do not particularly see this as a problem because for every Habana that leaves, a new one can take his place locally.  It is a strange statement.  Players like Habana, Du Preez and Fourie are not simply plucked out of nowhere, it take years for players to be developed and coached to that level and if we start losing these star players quicker than what we produce them, the scales will eventually tip and a breaking point will be reached.  This also does not even take into account the intellectual and financial investment made into these players which is now lost to SA Rugby and brings in millions of Rands to foreign clubs leeching off the hard work and hours put in by our local coaches and unions.

The only real benefit Super Rugby brings to South African rugby is the constant exposure to the best players in the world between three countries consistently ranked in the top 5 in the world rankings.  But there is nothing to suggest that the introduction of South Africa, and possibly Argentina (who is treated like the orphaned cousin by rugby powers) to Northern Hemisphere competitions won’t strengthen these leagues tremendously and bring a lot of intensity (not like it does not exist already in competitions like the Heineken Cup of course).

Other benefits of considering rather looking north includes the obvious financial benefit and exchange rates, the competition and games being played in premier timeslots thanks to the time zone problems becoming a thing of the past, and of course the ease of movement for players between teams in a centralised competition structure between north and south where those players will not be ‘lost’ to South African rugby.

It does mean that seasons both north and south of the equator will need to be adjusted slightly but given we already play rugby for 11 out of 12 months, these changes should be minimal.

This will not go down well with our SANZAR partners who will be left with Japanese and US markets to fill the commercial gap South Africa would have left, but it is time to be selfish and ensure decisions we make now is for the benefit of SA Rugby’s future.

In any event, we could always resume the SANZAR partnership for tests following the conclusion of the international provincial competitions.

Super Rugby has come to its natural end in its current form, and while it assisted South African and its SANZAR partners well since the late 90’s, it is time to move on.

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74 Comments

  1. avatar The Year of the Cheetah says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Have to agree. And mostly because I like trees and Super rugby fucks up the planet with its footprint taking teams to empty stadiums.

  2. avatar biltongbek says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    In a sense I agree.

    I often think about what would be best for our domestic game, and someone mentioned last year that SA should be able to fill many more teams than just the 5 current Super rugby Frnachises.

    Whilst it may be true from a talent point of view, the money simply isn’t there.

    Even if you just look from a current perspective the money all flow to only three Franchises really.

    I would love to know how much money SARU as a whole (including the franchises) make in a calendar year as it stands now.

    Then I would like to compare that with us doing no Super XV and just Currie Cup with no sharing of revenue.

    And then lastly if we do join Europe, what will the increase in revenue be?

    Will we then be able to retain players at higher salaries, and also will be be able to run more Fracnhises/Provinces at a full comparative professional model?

  3. avatar biltongbek says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    What I also wonder about is: Will we really lose out playing Australian and NZ teams?

    Half of them are kak anyway, and by losing our talent to overseas reduces our domestic teams anyway, so you should make up what you lose on hand hand and replace it with the other.

    Besides, it isn’t like we are poor and need upliftment, is it?

    Sure the pace of the game there is faster, but then looking at our Currie Cup it isn’t exactly going at snails pace.

  4. avatar Timeo says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    I agree with everything in this article but SARU needs to be absolutely sure that the NH countries will want to play with us. What would be in it for them?

    And while they are courting the NH, they must be careful about antagonizing their current partners. Aus and NZ is in a unified market and share a time-zone with Japan. Japan would be much more eager to join them, than the NH would be to welcome SA.

  5. avatar Morné says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Reply to biltongbek @ 2:27 pm:

    The Heineken Cup is worth more commercially than the Super Rugby championship.

    SA is the biggest commercial contributer to SANZAR in Super Rugby (70% of viewers).

    Profits are split evenly between Oz, NZ and SA.

    ERC (north’s equivalent of SANZAR) is having some issues of late. They need to revive their competition and inject some spive into it. UK teams have already threatened to pull out of the ERC in 2015.

  6. avatar Morné says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    Reply to Timeo @ 2:36 pm:

    SA brings 70% of the current SANZAR viewing market to NH rugby is the simple one I would imagine.

    Those are a couple of million viewers every year extra to what they have now.

    From a marketing perspective, bringing in one of the top 3 countries into a NH environment is any marketing agent’s dream I would imagine. Will give the ERC just the spice they need to revive Heineken Cup which is also simmering but never hot.

  7. avatar biltongbek says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Reply to Morné @ 2:38 pm: Morne, yes theoretically there will be more revenue, but how much more, I am tired of wondering and not having any clue as to what the actual numbers are.

  8. avatar Morné says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Reply to biltongbek @ 2:42 pm:

    Oh if you dig around the internet you will get the SANZAR deal, it was published at some stage. ERC? I don’t know.

  9. avatar biltongbek says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    I did that, but doesn’t help much, if you look at Europe for ezample, there they tell you the salary cap for a club, say 4.5 Million pounds for a club, do you have any idea what t is here that is spent on player salaries?

  10. avatar biltongbek says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    The reason for me asking is, if we join the ERC, we at least need to be able to match their salary capsl otherwise what’s the point of joining?

  11. avatar Morné says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Reply to biltongbek @ 2:59 pm:

    NZ and Oz have salary caps in place, SA does not. This suggests to me that caps is not really a tournament rule, but rather up to each country.

  12. avatar biltongbek says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Reply to Morné @ 3:01 pm: Understood, the problem is if we can’t roll out 4.5 Million pounds for salaries, we will still lose players.

  13. avatar Morné says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Reply to biltongbek @ 2:59 pm:

    What will be vitally important to know is how the profit share or distribution works with the ERC – is it all equal? Is it based on contribution?

  14. avatar biltongbek says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Reply to Morné @ 3:02 pm: I will find it for you, there was a thread qbout it the other day on another forum.

    It goes percentage wise by participation and number of teams per country. By memory the population or viewership numbers play a role as well.

  15. avatar biltongbek says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Morne this was in the Irish times today.

    ………………………………………..

    While there will invariably have to be some compromise, the Anglo-French demands for a new 20-team competition, comprising the top six from the top three leagues (thereby reducing the Celtic/Italian representation from 10 to six) while keeping theirs the same, are grossly inequitable.

    Taken at face value, the French argument for change appears more rugby-orientated than the English who, by comparison, are not as financially well off. This is the first year of a five-year deal between the French pay-TV channel Canal Plus and the French National Rugby League (LNR) for the broadcast rights to the Top 14, with Canal Plus paying a minimum of €30 million a year to €35 million, depending on viewership and subscriber numbers. The Celts and Italians receive a comparative pittance for TV rights to the Rabo Pro12. Furthermore, the French clubs have backing of local councils and mayors (Stade Toulon, uniquely, to the tune of €4 million apparently) as well as more lucrative sponsorship.

    Primarily the French want to reduce the number of H Cup weekends so as to bring forward the final from May and thereby not interfere with their own Top 14 knockout jamboree, which was ridiculously expanded to incorporate the teams finishing fifth and sixth in an additional knockout round. Now, they say, the H Cup has to suffer for their expansionism.

    At the core of the Anglo-French argument for change is their customary “might is right” argument. The English clubs incurred a loss of €18.7 million the season before last, hence their desperation for their vexed deal with BT Vision. Were the new format to come into place, the English and the French would see their share of the ERC participation monies increase from last season’s estimated share of €10 million each to roughly €13.3 million apiece. This would be at the expense of the celts, whose share would be reduced from the estimated €5.3 million of last year to €3.5 million, while the Italians would receive approximately €3 million instead of €4 million.

    Thus, already blessed with bigger populations, economies, playing numbers and television deals, the English and French now want a bigger share of the ERC revenue streams as well. Socialists or Europhiles they ain’t. Self-interested, Europhobe capitalists they assuredly are.

  16. avatar biltongbek says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sport/2012/0915/1224324046581.html

    The H-cup Pot seams to be split into two seperate payments to the unions, one for taking part and another one for performance (after group stages)

    Currently the participation split

    “The would leave about €40 million or thereabouts in basic distributions, of which the IRFU, along with their Welsh and Scottish counterparts, receive about 13 per cent. This equates to approximately €5.2 million each. The Italians are understood to receive marginally less, around 11-12 per cent , equating to roughly €4.4 million.

    Roughly half of the basic distribution is divided between the French and English, amounting to approximately €10 million each. On the premise that might is right, as well as having 12 and 14 clubs to share, the English and French will argue for a bigger basic share.”

    breaking this pot down is appears that currently each Union recieves:
    RFU = 25%
    FRU = 25%
    IRFU = 13%
    WRU = 13%
    SRU = 13%
    FIR = 11%

    The way I see it the French and English, will be wanting this changed from a Union based divide to a League based divide (6 teams from each league + H-cup and Almin winners). Currently the Pro 12 unions recieve 50% of the participation pot, I believe that the French and English will want to change this to 33.33%,

    RFU = 33%
    FRU = 33%
    IRFU/WRU/SRU/FIR = 33% (and leave it to the Unions to decide how to divide this between themselves)

  17. avatar Morné says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Reply to biltongbek @ 3:02 pm:

    Found this;

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sport/2013/0119/1224329046459.html

    It seems each participating country earns an equal base share of the income which is around 10-mil Euros as part of the participation agreement.

    Over and above this, they receive meritocracy or ‘merit’ payments if their teams reach quarter finals, semi-finals and finals.

    IN 2011/2012 Ireland earned an additional 3.1-million Euros over an above their base payment.

    If I read correctly (I just quickly scanned through) the figures for SA Rugby will look like this:

    Base participation payment: R 126 000 000

    Divided up into 6 teams: R 21 000 000

    Divided into 5: R 25 200 000

    Divided into 4: R 31 500 000

    From recollection, an SA franchise currently needs around 30 million to operate.

    It is unlikely that ERC would want 6 SA franchises to join (which will probably see SA stay SANZAR because of the Kings).

    The above excludes merit payments and gate takings you will see in the article.

    I don’t know if I am reading this correctly, will take more time with it later, but at least we now have some idea.

  18. avatar Morné says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Reply to biltongbek @ 3:16 pm:

    Aaahhh so its not equal, it did look funny to me that it would be considering the Italians contribute shit.

  19. avatar biltongbek says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Morne, this broadcst deal applies to the HC only, so if you look at the Aviva Premiership the RFU will split the money to all 12 clubs, however performance bonuses are obviously not available to the clubs that don’t qualify for the HC.

    the aviva then has a seperate broadcasting deal.

    How does SARU split the SANZAR revenue? Does it go equally to all 14 provinces?

  20. avatar Morné says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Reply to biltongbek @ 3:41 pm:

    All 14 unions gets a share, but not equal as far as I know.

  21. avatar Timeo says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Reply to Morné @ 2:41 pm:

    Has there ever been any proposals, hints, articles or ideas about this coming from up north? Any evidence that they may be interested?

    As it is right now, they get to watch the best SA players, without having to share any of the revenue or the long distance travel.

  22. avatar Morné says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Reply to Timeo @ 5:59 pm:

    Nothing substantial from the North inviting us really. But ERC is in a spot of bother as England is actually very serious about pulling out.

    SA has hinted at this since 2009…

  23. avatar Timeo says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 1:07 am

    In that case I think SA should work on fixing the shortcomings of the CC and aim sustainability with just that.

  24. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 6:40 am

    The NH will never include one RSA team into their current competitions let alone 5… that’s the reality…

  25. avatar Craven says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 7:33 am

    “In any event, we could always resume the SANZAR partnership for tests following the conclusion of the international provincial competitions.”

    Why on earth would SANZAR let us pull out of their cash cow (Superugby) but let us back into the Championship? For shits and giggles? We won’t be able to enter the six nations and will be out of the championship.

    What good would that do our rugby? How many players will stick around in SA if they only play for the Boks during the June window and the end of year tours, meaning they will maybe get to play Aus or NZ every other year? This whole idea of slotting into nothern hemisphere competition is flawed. There is no way they would accomodate us, for instance, why would they want to come and play rugby in 30+C temperatures on the highveld?

  26. avatar Morné says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Reply to Craven @ 7:33 am:

    You think Oz and NZ will play with themselves? Or find it appealing to play tests against Japan and the USA?

    Good luck selling those tests to not only their viewing public, but broadcasters in Africa and Europe who will have to watch this 23:00 at night or 6:00 in the morning.

  27. avatar Morné says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Reply to Craven @ 7:33 am:

    Oh so to answer both your questions (RC and NH interest) – simple – money.

  28. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Reply to Craven @ 7:33 am:

    Yep and travel being just another of many reasons it’s super-flawed…

    Currently all teams are a short bus ride or el cheapo, quick flight away from each other… not even the need for accommodation in most cases…

    Now add the logistical, cost and drain nightmare of flying to the tip of Africa an back every odd weekend…

    Not going to happen…

  29. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Reply to Morné @ 9:00 am:

    OZ and NZ do play themselves… it’s called the Bledisloe and is the highlight of the test season for both countries and a sell-out…

    Argentina has now joined the current comp and will only get better…

  30. avatar Morné says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 9:05 am:

    You know as well as I do selling out a stadium does not make tests successful these days. Selling the product to broadcasters does.

    NZ and Oz could never afford to isolate themselves in the test arena, their already struggling unions will go bankrupt.

    In a provincial competition the Asian and American markets will offer them a very good deal commercially – and they have money.

    For tests however that is a different story, timezones are their first problem, and the second one is 2nd tier test status’ of these markets.

    As for SA and the ERC…

    SA brings a huge market to the table which will increase the commercial value of the ERC massively. I cannot see the ERC brush off the potential to include 70% of the Super Rugby viewing market into their competition.

    Where I do agree, there is not ways in hell SA can bring 6 teams to the north, hell 4 is a push. And it is for that reason that they will stay with SANZAR who will allow them 6 franchises in 2016.

  31. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 9:17 am

    I very much doubt there will be another RSA team permitted in the S15… they do not have the players nor the talent for a 6th team… and as the Lions have shown cannot even be competitive with a 5th team… not going to happen…

  32. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 9:17 am

    There will be an Argie team before any others…

  33. avatar Morné says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 9:17 am:

    With SARU there are not many things I will put my cock on a block for, but I can guarantee you negotiations for the expansion of Super Rugby after the current deal expires in 2015 will be based on SA including 6 franchises before anything else.

  34. avatar Morné says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 9:17 am:

    Argies don’t bring the money.

    Go read Greg Peters’ interview in the Australian of yesterday.

    They are going to whoo Japan and America – they are not interested in an Islands representative team even just next door to them. And he makes no secret of the fact that it is about money for them.

    Speculation is Oz and NZ will stay at 5 teams each, SA will get the 6th team they want. And they will add two Japanese and two US teams.

    It will become the Super 20 with two conferences split into 10 teams each.

  35. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 9:26 am

    “there is not ways in hell SA can bring 6 teams to the north, hell 4 is a push.”

    So what you’re saying is that 2 or more teams are going to be left playing CC and lose the Super money (their lifeline)?

    Nup the more the topic is debated… the less it becomes feasible of ever being a reality…

    Obvious costs aside… you really think players are going to leave home for months at a time?

  36. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Reply to Morné @ 9:20 am:

    The only way RSA will ever get a 6th team is if both NZ and Aus got another too… totally diluting the competition…

  37. avatar Morné says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 9:26 am:

    In reality if SA is looking to join ERC teams will have to qualify through a qualifying system of sorts – eg. the Currie Cup.

    Top 4 goes through, 2 miss out. For that to become a reality is all about money and if SA can financially sustain such a model.

    Firstly, the Currie Cup (if that is the qualifying tournament) will take on a completely different complexion, the competition in itself will inrease in commercial value given its importance.

    Secondly, distribution of ERC participation funds will include 2 teams that did not qualify.

    I don’t quite get your comment on players leaving home for months at a time? If anything, travelling in terms of an ERC based competition should be much better than travelling currently in Super Rugby, and when it expands in 2016. Players are already away for a month at a time flying over timezones.

    Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 9:28 am:

    RSA can motivate a 6th franchise, NZ and Oz cannot. And no, it has nothing to do with motivating it by teams being competitive, it has everything to do with motivating it by being the commercial hub of the competition.

  38. avatar out wide says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Have to agree with Bryce and Craven’s views on this one. Why would the NH sides want to introduce travel fatigue and play away games in SA when they travel no more than 2 hours at present – you are after all using travel fatigue to argue against competing in Superugby, Morne.

    Looking at the latest IRB national standings, SA sides will no longer prop up the bottom of the table as they do year after year in Superugby because they will be playing weaker opposition. Great, but do you improve the quality of teams feeding into the Boks by winning against weaker opposition?
    At best we will be playing teams from # 4,5 & 6 ranked nations for crying out aloud so our pampered players can travel 10 hrs instead of 14 to 17 hrs to away games. They travel in Business Class on flatbeds remember.

    IRB Rankings – 21 January 2013
    Position (last week) Rating Point
    1(1) NEW ZEALAND 90.08
    2(2) SOUTH AFRICA 86.94
    3(3) AUSTRALIA 86.87
    4(4) FRANCE 85.07
    5(5) ENGLAND 83.90
    6(6) IRELAND 80.22
    7(7) SAMOA 78.71
    8(8) ARGENTINA 78.71
    9(9) WALES 78.39
    10(10)ITALY 76.24

  39. avatar Morné says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Reply to out wide @ 10:18 am:

    Simple answer – money – that is why they would do it.

    And how do you reckon NH ERC teams are ‘weaker’? They are loaded with internationals from all corners of the globe already.

    Didn’t Sarries klap the Boks dirt trackers about 2 or so years ago?

    The argument (which many seem to miss here) is SA player welfare in the current Super Rugby competition (which I have to read every year how stale and boring it is), and how this will get even worse when it gets expanded. This will have an impact on our local rugby structures in the future.

    If we are in Super Rugby for the money, I believe there are equal, if not better commercial opportunities up north.

    I certainly don’t buy the ‘North is weaker’ argument.

  40. avatar out wide says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 10:37 am

    About time there was a winner of top NH comp plays top SH side to settle that one Morne. And yes Sarries beat the Boks but look at how bad that EOY Bok record was.

    They are loaded with internationals from all over the globe as you say but many of these are guys in the twilight of their careers making a quick pound or euro for their retirement.

    As for money being the biggest motivator, maybe true but it is not going to help the Boks win another RWC.

  41. avatar Morné says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Reply to out wide @ 10:37 am:

    If that is the main argument (that it will be bad for our rugby) I simply cannot buy into it sorry.

    I think we oversell the SH package and underestimate the NH club competitions.

  42. avatar out wide says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Morne you might be right about the relative rugby strengths of the two comps but we can’t be sure when they don’t play one another. The indisputable fact is that the best NH national side lies at #4 and if you want to go play in their competition for monetary reasons fine. But if you want to be the best then play the teams from the countries that are best. The SH rules the roost!

  43. avatar Methos The French Stormer says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Reply to Morné @ 10:40 am: Reply to out wide @ 10:49 am:

    Morne – Agree with you that the SH package is being oversold and the NH being undersold.

    outwide.

    Last night I watched A Top 14 game – Take a look at the starting 15′s for Bayonne:

    Bayonne: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Sam Gerber, 13 Joe Rokocoko, 12 Gabiriele Lovobalavu, 11 Marvin O’Connor, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgeiter, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Dwayne Haare, 7 Julien Puricelli, 6 Jean Joseph Marmouyet, 5 Mark David Chisholm, 4 Dewald Senekal, 3 Nemiah Tialata, 2 David Roumieu, 1 Aretz Iguiniz.

    Almost reads like a bloody barbarians side. A lot of these guys doesn’t play international rugby anymore – and they are the guys who are keeping up the standards. Yes the Top NH side is only at No4. But half of the bloody SH is playing in the NH leauge.

    Why would a Kings-Force game be better than this one?

    I would rather go for a 20 club International tournament. Or even 30 clubs in 2 pools where you only play each team once – home or away- depening on the draw. Now that will be pretty cool.

    Cheers

  44. avatar JT_BOKBEFOK! says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 11:13 am

    ERC is just THAT! EUROPEAN Rugby Chapionship and I can’t see it changing.
    only workable solution IMO is when a Team like the Lions (not part of S15) basis it self in Spain or Portugal and plays in the European competitions.
    HOWEVER – if you want to play in the HC or Amlin cup you have to qualify and that means you have to play in the Top14, Aviva Premiership or Rabo direct Pro12 comp.

    So I expect a a complete ban on guns in the US before I see a Saffa side in the ERC comps.

    PS: Saffercens do not count as a saffa side ;-)

    on expanding the Super rugby – wrong way to go IMO. If anything it should be reduced to 9 or 12 teams to make it a shorter comp. S15 still grabs my interest but I am a rugby nut, others will lose interest… mine is not as it was 5 to 10 years ago!

  45. avatar Morné says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Reply to out wide @ 10:49 am:

    Strengths of national sides is not necessarily relative to the provincial structures.

    Look at Australia. Super shit in Super Rugby last year yet they ended above the Boks in the Rugby Championship.

    Wales – 6N champions, ranked 9th in the world.

    Ireland – ruled the Heineken Cup, easily dispatched at test level in the tours recently.

    English clubs – piss-poor Heineken Cup last year, beat New Zealand at Twickers.

  46. avatar biltongbek says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 11:16 am

    How sure are we that the quality will drop?

    I am not saying it won’t have an effect, we ave seen some of our players come back slower, slightly overwiehgt and not in the best of nick.

    But then consider Frans Louw who has not lost anything playing in europe, he played very well for us.

    I beleive the biggest danger we need to guard against is to continue to evolve our gameplan, and not get stuck in a rut.

    Ultimately for me, if I am very honest, I would like to see us go it alone. Make our Curry Cup top again, expand to 8 teams, for premier division, get the omeny spread more even amongst these top eight.

    Rather than playing Super rugby or European rugby, have an all star event at the end of the season.

    Put together 3 teams of the best in the country, and have exhibition matches. It will be the best players and should draw as many crowds.

  47. avatar Morné says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Reply to JT_BOKBEFOK! @ 11:13 am:

    Rugby needs a global season – we need to work towards that. This could help – nothing is impossible.

  48. avatar JT_BOKBEFOK! says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Reply to Methos The French Stormer @ 11:06 am:

    agree – I often have the choice between some Top14, S15 or Rabo direct ganmes all at the same time and it is not always that I choose the S15 game…

    to be honest I sometimes switch over to test cricket instead! :oops: not to mention the IPL :pot:

  49. avatar JT_BOKBEFOK! says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Reply to biltongbek @ 11:16 am:

    agree on the CC – that is our traditional comp, that should have 1st priority!

    France for example – most teams make the top priority the Top14 and the HC is a side show!

  50. avatar Methos The French Stormer says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    JT

    I went to the HC game in Nantes earlier this month between Saracens and Racing Metro. My boet organised me a ticket and a ride to the stadium with the Saracens Supporters bus. Afterwards I went down to the dressing romm with the players and met most of them – was pretty cool. Schalck Brits is a very cool dude – so is Erenst Joubert and Matt Stevens. Niel de Kock as well. I understand why Borthwick is captain – very impressive gentleman. Kelly Brown is a very nice guy as well.

    Had dinnder with all the players at the reception as well before they all left and only my boet stayed. We had a few beers around town and then went to an Irish pub where we had a few beers with the touch judges as well before going to a nightclub. AWESOME evening.

    Not so awesome though when the next day after lunch we made our way to the airport. Got there 2 hours before my flight – had a beer and shot the bull for a while – got in line 5 minutes late for teh flight and was refused on to the flight!!! With 4 other people as well. Gave them a piece of my mind. Had to wait another day in an hotel for aanother flight – 200€ later… Ryan Air can go screw themselves…

    Cheers

  51. avatar JT_BOKBEFOK! says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Reply to Methos The French Stormer @ 12:35 pm:

    sounds like a great experience – You think Sarries could go all the way?

  52. avatar Methos The French Stormer says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Certainly hoping so. No reason why not. They’ve got a settled side with loads of expierience. A never say die attitude, a great kicker, great leadership with Borthwick, Joubert, de Kock, Hodgson, Smit, Brown etc all in there. Depends on where they play in the semi’s if they can beat Ulster in the qf. Away from home in France is very hard. Espescially Toulon and Clermont.

    Cheers

  53. avatar Timeo says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Pretty funny Morne.
    You are talking about rugby in professional terms: Market size, revenues, audience, costs and time-zones, and the arguments against are all as if the game was still amateur: Team quality and player resources.

  54. avatar Timeo says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Reply to out wide @ 10:18 am:

    If the Chiefs had to travel three times over the ocean just before the final, the Sharks would be SR champions right now. Furthermore, by the time the Boks lost to Aus and NZ in the RC, they had just completed another three transoceanic trips and many time-zones, whilst their opponents have been in home territory for months.

    I think, lightening the travel load on our players will actually result in an quality improvement of the Bok team.

  55. avatar Vetgesmeerde Blits says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    I am all for joining the Heineken Cup. Top South African sides joining will raise the status of the European Competitions tremendously. I just cant see them turn down something that will improve the quality of their product and bring a 70% of Superrugby’s audience to them.

    For me, like some mentioned above, the Currie Cup must become our premier competition again(Like Premiership and Top 14) with the Heineken Cup as our international Provincial competition.

    Superrugby has become stale and boring and the system favours the Australasian teams to the SA teams. It is also way too long, the different pools in the Heineken Cup is way more appealing.

    Some mentioned above that Sanzar will kick the Boks out of RC if they leave Superrugby.
    They will cut their own throats if they do that. If the Boks leave Superrugby NZ and AUS will be desperate not to loose SA in the RC as this will have huge further financial implications.

  56. avatar Boertjie says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    Ek sal nie een traan stort as die SS
    sy gat sien nie.

    Maar ek wil hierdie jaar nog sien hoe
    die Kings hul gatte sien.

  57. avatar DavidS says:
    January 26th, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Reply to Vetgesmeerde Blits @ 3:56 pm: And 67% of SR’s advertizing revenue too.

    That makes for a fat wad of value to sell to Canal Plus or BSkyB…

    Without our contribution to SR and TRC NZ and AR will shrivel into Samoa like quality… because they will lack the cash to contribute effectively maintain a pro competition and all the associated costs whilst we will be earning in Euros… which equate to a 11-1 exchange rate…

  58. avatar Timeo says:
    January 26th, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    From from reading the roar, it seems that the only real advantage rugby in Aus has over league and aussie rules is the international component. Take that away, and they don’t just lose their share of the SA generated SR revenue, they will also lose may local fans to the rival codes.

    And with Aus goes New Zealand.

    And it be quite a sea change when the big shots at SARU do something that will hurt their friends in New Zealand.

  59. avatar DavidS says:
    January 26th, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Reply to Timeo @ 3:41 pm:

    And they have the power but are too stupid to start throwing their weight about. Boxing inside themselves.

  60. avatar Boertjie says:
    January 26th, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Reply to DavidS @ 4:48 pm:

    Wil jy Andries Kalkoen by Saru die vraag vra
    en ‘n artikel skryf?
    AndyC@sarugby.co.za.

  61. avatar DavidS says:
    January 26th, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    SARU are like the bumbling gentle giant kid in the playground who has no idea how strong he or how big he is and gets bullied by two precocious little fuckers without realizing what his true abilities are…

    Needless to say ARU and NZRU are the two precocious little fuckers who, in their deepest heart of hearts, sincerely pray every night that the day doesn’t come when SARU realizes how powerful it is…

  62. avatar DavidS says:
    January 26th, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Even the name sponsors of TRC in NZ and Aus is Investec… a South African company who does it to get exposure to rugby in its biggest market…. South Africa…

    Take South Africa out of the equation and Investec will spend their cash elsewhere too.

    In effect NZRU and ARU are in a dangerously precarious position re SARU and should be fellating us instead of looking down on the “dumb ugly boers”

  63. avatar DavidS says:
    January 26th, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    The last time they would hold our dicks if we went for a piss and lick it clean was when Louis Luyt was in charge…

    We need to re-establish that the power that gave us that strength still exists.

    Do what the Anglo-French do to HC… our way or the highway…

  64. avatar DavidS says:
    January 26th, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    So can we read anything into the Lions’ 33-17 win over the Cheetahs?

  65. avatar Timeo says:
    January 26th, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    Reply to Morné @ 3:20 pm:

    This is an interesting statement:

    “It is unlikely that ERC would want 6 SA franchises to join (which will probably see SA stay SANZAR because of the Kings).”

    What you are saying is that SARU would reject a good deal for SA rugby for the sake of the Kings.
    ie. The continued existence of the Kings is bad for SA rugby.

    Most fans were convinced that S15 was a bad idea before it even commenced. They were correct. S16 or 18 would be even worse. Yet SARU continues to push for expansion, why? To accommodate the Kings.

    No wonder then, that most fans are so virulently anti Kings.

  66. avatar Vetgesmeerde Blits says:
    January 26th, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    Reply to DavidS @ 7:48 pm: A lot of people will say that this was not the Cheetahs strongest side. But to be fair, it was not the Lions strongest team either, with players on loan ect.

    I thought the Lions showed a lot of fight to come back and win the match comfortably. Stokkies Hanekom impressed again, as did Bondesio. Ruan Nel looks like he could be the next outside back star for the Lions in the footsteps of Taute, Coetzee and Combrinck. I am also starting to enjoy watching Willie Brits play. I cant believe he was playing at the Griffons only a few months ago. The Cheetahs missed out on signing him, appart from Brussouw and mabe Lappies Labuchagne there is no better loose forwards at the Cheetahs than him.

    Looking at the Lions players attitude and JC’s speach at the end, being relegated was not only a bad thing. This could be the start of something special with what the team is going through together. They certainly will not take playing Superrugby for granted again.

  67. avatar DavidS says:
    January 26th, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    Reply to Boertjie @ 5:05 pm:

    Man so nice ‘n ou as wat hy is het hy deedae ‘n verpligting teenoor ‘n werkgewer. Sy werkgewer het ook geen ballas nie… as jy verstaan wat ek bedoel.

    Ek het al ‘n paar keer aan hom kontroversiele vrae gestel of gevra vir kommentaar dan het hy my baie wel gemanierd laat weet dat hy nie mag kommentaar lewer nie of dat SARU verkies om nie kommentaar te lewer nie.

  68. avatar Boertjie says:
    January 27th, 2013 at 1:23 am

    Reply to DavidS @ 10:47 pm:

    Dus mag hy nie die vraag aan Jurie voorlê nie?
    Kan jy of Morne Jurie nie in ‘n hoek druk nie – op ‘n
    perskonferensie?
    Ek en Deon het ‘n paar jaar gelede ons eie afspraak met
    Saru se kitaarslaner gehad – die een wat so bietjie anders was.

    Dit help nie almal bitch nie, ons moet hoor wat Saru voel.
    Dit sal ‘n wêreldschoop wees vir RW!

  69. avatar Morné says:
    January 27th, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Reply to Timeo @ 8:58 pm:

    I know you are desperate to bring the two arguments together. But the one argument about the Kings inclusion in the current structures which does not allow for a qualifying tournament into Super Rugby is quite different to the second debate above about SARU dropping the current structure completely and joining the ERC.

    Joining the ERC would put massive importance back on the Currie Cup as the qualifying tournament for participation. Everyone will then get what they want – fair representation through qualification.

    What SARU’s feelings on the Kings will be following this years events I can only guess – maybe the Kings embarrass them enough to can the franchise for good even? Maybe they are looking for ammo for government to go say; “See, they are kak”?

    (For the record, never said I had a problem with play-off match scenario – even McKeever pleaded for it a couple of years ago).

  70. avatar Boertjie says:
    January 27th, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Saru sal waarskynlik druk op die ander SA
    spanne plaas om van hul “reserwes” aan die
    Kings te leen om die verleentheid minder
    erg te maak.

  71. avatar Timeo says:
    January 27th, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Reply to Morné @ 8:33 am:

    I’m all for the Kings’ current inclusion. I’ve said so a few times on the other thread last week. I think it should be made permanent and the P/R match scrapped. That is the only way to operate inside the current SR system.

    With the ERC, a qualifying tournament would be feasible because that is their model already. The EC issue could be resolved for the benefit of all and the CC could be improved.

    Let’s hope then that if the offer ever come that SARU not decline for the sake of the Kings as you suggested they would.

  72. avatar Morné says:
    January 27th, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Reply to Timeo @ 5:55 pm:

    Agree, 100%

  73. avatar Craven says:
    January 28th, 2013 at 6:46 am

    Reply to DavidS @ 7:48 pm:

    “So can we read anything into the Lions’ 33-17 win over the Cheetahs?”

    Nope, nothing new. Year after year the Lions always managed to trip up SOuth African teams in Superugby only to roll over and expose their backsides when they come up against Aus or NZ teams. Why would this year have been any different?

  74. avatar DavidS says:
    January 28th, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Reply to Craven @ 6:46 am:

    Not really.

    They’d stsart off with a desperate win against the Cheetahs and go to worse from there.

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