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Can we put another team in Super Rugby?

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Super Rugby

Super Rugby 2015 is nearing the end of yet another season which will also see the end of the current structure with three more teams added in next year’s competition.

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By: Jacques Nortier

 

 

Supporters are worried about the extra team that will be competing next year from South Africa and with so many players leaving South Africa to play in Europe or Japan many are worried that we will not be able to field a strong enough team with the Kings next year.

The first the question we need to ask though are South African teams (who failed to get a team into the semi and only on in the top 6) really that poor, or are we just seeing a competition where the top 8 teams are close together when it comes to form?

Let’s look at the final stand of teams on the table after sixteen rounds.

Only the Hurricanes from New Zealand stand out from the rest of the teams on winning and losing games during the season, with fourteen wins and only two losses. The Waratahs who ended second overall and the Highlanders who ended fourth both had 11 wins with 5 losses.

The Stormers finish third ended up with ten wins five loses and one draw. The Chiefs had also ten wins with 6 losses and ended fifth on the log. The last team that qualified for the play-offs ended with nine wins and seven loses, this was the same as the Crusaders and the Lions who missed out on a play-off spot with the only difference of the Lions having only had six losses with one draw.

The Bulls, Rebels and Sharks all had seven wins and nine losses in their regular season.

Between the second team on the log (Waratahs) and the eighth team (Lions) there is only a difference of two extra losses by the Lions. The difference of course between any team’s position on the log have been the bonus points that they got for either four tries scored or losing within seven points.

Except for the Hurricanes who was by far the best team in the competition, any team from second on the log to eleventh could have been playing in the play-offs which means they are actually closer than many would want to believe.

Now looking towards next year were the Kings will join the likes of the Stormers, Lions, Bulls, Sharks and Cheetahs in the competition we started to think if we have enough players to supply these teams?

The answer is yes we do, if one look at the structures that we have in place and the feeding competitions we have that supply South African teams with new young talent. With the constant supply of players from the Varsity Cup and the great support SARU has put on our club system we have so many undiscovered talent in our country that just need the opportunity to show that they can make the step-up.

Supporters are quick to point to New Zealand and Australians who give many of their youngster’s opportunities in Super Rugby and it is about time we change our own conservative approach and see what these guys can do at the top level.

We are hearing great noises being made about our club system and developing the talent in our so called smaller unions who are playing in the Currie Cup first division. A healthy junior and club structure will ensure a constant supply of talented players to the unions and give them the opportunity for the step up to professional rugby.

Another aspect that has been working in the past few years which many of the Super Rugby franchises have used is the loaned player system from non-Super Rugby teams. A greater working relationship between all the unions in South Africa will ensure that we can tap more into this pool of players that can develop in superstars if given the change.

The success of six competitive teams in South African conference will depend on the cooperation between all our unions clubs and SARU which is possible if we all work towards the same goal in making South African rugby strong.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Agreed and in all honesty we cannot have the same ridiculous situation we had at the Sharks a few years back where two Bok hookers and three Bok props played in the same squad…

    SARU MUST step into situations like that and force a more even distribution of talent through SR. After all the SR salaries are paid by SARU so why not?

    At one stage also at the Stormers we had tgree Bok centers… and at the momentt yet again we have three Bok centers.

    A few years ago the Bulls had three Bok locks.

    The New Zealanders and Aussies would never permit such a misaplication of talent and for two reasons

    First it distorts competitiveness because you may have one regional side super competitive and another humiliated.

    Second it will ensure that players of more or less equal talent are given an equal opportunity to compete for psotitions in the more important national set up.

    And if you think this is sour grapes… there is a very real possibility the Lions could end up with Warwick Tecklenburg, Derrick Minnie, Warren Whitely and Jaco Kriel vying for three positions whilst all four may be Boks at some point in the future.

    How SARU does this is their own business but I know that players in SR receive the bulk of their salary from SARU whilst a top-up is paid by the union to “keep” the player.

  2. @DavidS: Maybe we need to accept that SR is not provincial rugby and must market it such….

    It is the mindset of people that believe Bulls is Blue Bulls, Stormers are WP and so on. Like you said David in Aus and NZ they do not do this.

    Different entity and also management if I am correct…

  3. @Jacques:

    NZRU appoints the coaches and more or less make the teams select the top 120 players but “hogging” players like we do is not allowed.

    I would not propose changing too much in our structure, just give SARU a right to send a player to a different union if required….

    E.g it is 2007 and we have Jannie Du Plessis, John Smit, Bis Dup, Tendia and BJ Botha at the Sharks.

    SARU says Stormers has a Light 5 (which they did) and makes the Sharks release say Botha and Bismarck to the Stormers.

    Bingo all five get game time, Stormers are strengthened, SA challenge is strengthened, Bok coach gets to see his top competitors challenge each other.

    Fast Forward 2007…
    Bulls have Flip Vd Merwe (very young), Bakkies and Vic and Danie Rossouw… at that stage Cheetahs are struggling at lineouts (they always do in any case) so SARU sends Daniesaurus to Bloem to play SR there.

    Instructions are that he plays as often as required by SARU. Cheetahs get to pay his “top up” and Bulls released from paying him.

    Same in 2005…

    Stormers centers are De Wet Barry, Marius Joubert and Jean De Villiers… JDV is the new boy and the Lions short a partner in midfield for the axis of Andre Pretorius and Jacque Fourie… BINGO. The Boks want JDV at center, Stormers decide to play him at wing… SARU vetoes and sends him to Jhb with instructions he should be allowed to play center.

    SARU does not need to change a whole mindset around SR vs CC… the present competitiveness and alliances is good.

    However SARU needs to be able to dictate in the interests of local rugby.

    We could this year very well have had a situation where Juan De Jingh, Jean De Villiers and Damian De Allende were vying for two spots. In all honesty the Sharks and Cheetahs were desperate for a midfield and allocating De Alende to the Sharks or Cheetahs would have given HM a better idea of where his three best centers stood.

  4. Totally –
    Spread them around! Handy Pollard should have been Fun – N – Gunning with the Cheetahs all year.
    Think of how much further he’d a been if he had!
    Not to mention Adrian Strauss could rot fruit just by looking at it

  5. Yes Americano, but handy wouldn’t have been at the Cheetahs as he was Bulls first choice. But I agree fully with Davids. Just also a question, should SARU then allocate these players to different problems, what if injury happens at the union he comes from, does he go back to his original union? I like the idea but can see potential pitfalls with such a move.

  6. @Aldo:

    Aldo –
    That’s a ” let’s burn that bridge once we get over it” sort of thing.
    Main goal is competitive product & nat side optimization I’d think. Dave’s right – look at Stormers with all those guys going for the same spot – circular firing squad anyone?

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