England head coach Eddie Jones thinks Australia should reduce their Super Rugby representation down to three teams in the near future.
The former Brumbies boss, who led the Canberra-based side from 1998 to 2001, thinks the Rebels and Force should be the pair cut loose.
“For me, Australian rugby was at its strongest when there were three Super Rugby teams – the Brumbies, the NSW Waratahs and [Queensland] Reds,” the 57-year-old revealed to Fairfax Media as rumours continue to circulate about which franchises will be axed from Super Rugby.
“There was enough opportunity for players and those three places have always been rugby cities.
“To think about cutting the Brumbies is so shortsighted. If the ARU are serious about it, they’re really missing the point.
“The problem has been the two expansion teams, the Rebels and the Force.
“Unfortunately both of those teams take all of their players from Sydney, Brisbane or Canberra because they’re not rugby strongholds.
“To think about axing the Brumbies … that would be cutting off your nose to spite your face.”
He added on how things were during his time in Canberra: “As the Brumbies became more successful, we were the biggest sporting team in Canberra.
“In my last season there, we were averaging [crowds of] 18,000 per home game.
“We changed the way rugby was played for a while. The Brumbies were the team that set a different style around the world, and to say you’re going to cut a team that’s had that much influence in rugby … it’s crazy.”
Jones was in agreement when asked if Super Rugby needed to make changes to its structure, saying increasing the number of teams hasn’t helped the competition.
“I think it’s lost its way,” he said.
“It’s become too diluted. The great thing about Super Rugby when it was ‘Super 12’ was that it was the best players against the best players and the quality was so high.
“Now because there are extra teams – Argentina, Japan, Australia has five and South Africa has six – it has diluted the standard of play.
“It has definitely affected rugby’s popularity. Back then anyone could beat anyone, but now there are too many games you know the result of before the kick-off.
“The introduction of the Force and the Rebels was designed to increase the depth of the Wallabies. You’d have to say that objective has been marginal in success.
“Yes, more players have had opportunities. But I don’t know whether it’s discovered more Wallabies.
“I believe Australian rugby should go back to three teams and if they want to keep Perth going, then set up the next level to keep developing players.”