News24

Connolly: New format unfair

2011-06-28 10:33

Sydney - Former Australia and Reds coach John Connolly has called on SANZAR to eliminate the "unfairness" in the current Super Rugby format.

SANZAR, the governing body for southern hemisphere rugby tournaments involving South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, expanded their premier domestic event this year to include 15 teams and changed it from a round-robin to a three-conference competition. This meant teams played more derbies within their own country and each side only played 12 of the other franchises in the tournament.

"I don't like the format, it means every team misses out on playing two of the other sides and I worry that it's not an even playing field as a result," Connolly said in a telephonic interview from Rustenburg, where he is coaching at the Investec International Rugby Academy.

"The format also definitely favours the Australian teams. If you look at the standings, Australia have three of the bottom teams, which makes it easier in the conference system for their top teams to go through.

"The whole thing is unfair and it needs to be looked at," Connolly said.

The Reds finished at the top of the standings and will host a semi-final against the Blues, who beat the Waratahs in a playoff in Brisbane last Friday. The Stormers play the Crusaders at Newlands in Saturday's other semi-final.

While Connolly said the Stormers had an excellent chance of being South Africa's third successive southern hemisphere champions (the Blue Bulls won in 2009 and 2010), he said the Crusaders had been the best team in the tournament because of the exceptional circumstances they had to overcome after earthquakes devastated their Christchurch base earlier this year.

“The Crusaders have overcome a massive challenge in that they have had to play every game away, even travelling to England to play the Sharks. Plus they had injuries to Israel Dagg, Sean Maitland and Richie McCaw, and yet they still managed to finish third. They probably would have finished second if their first game after the earthquake wasn’t called off as a draw.

“So the Crusaders have produced the best performance, to overcome all those emotional issues, they’ve been the best side.

“But the best side doesn’t always win. They have to win twice on the road now as well,” Connolly said.

Australia's 2007 Rugby World Cup coach said this year's rugby showpiece will be a shootout between the three SANZAR nations and England.

"I think four teams are pretty certain for the semi-finals - New Zealand versus the Springboks and Australia against England.

"You can argue that the World Cup is easier to win than Super Rugby and I expect the major teams to win their pools quickly without much sweat and their quarter-finals. Unless Ireland beat Australia - they've given us problems in the past - and throw the Wallabies into another pool, or South Africa drop a game they're not meant to. That would mean an Australia v South Africa quarter-final.

"The northern hemisphere sides will show a lot of improvement because they have a lot more time to prepare for the World Cup, and England are a fine side.

"Australia can't afford any injuries, their big question will be whether they can replace key players. New Zealand and South Africa can handle injuries better, but if the All Blacks don't have Dan Carter, that could quickly derail them.

"For the Springboks, a lot depends on who will play flyhalf - Morne Steyn, Pat Lambie or Butch James. We could get bad weather and then Steyn will come into his own. But if the weather is fine, then it could be James they turn to. They've also got (scrumhalf) Fourie du Preez of course to get their backline going," Connolly said.

Reuters

Comments
  • rugby_guru - 2011-06-28 10:41

    Agreed to a point, nicely said, but I feel the Stormers are the stronger team...

      Chris - 2011-06-28 12:16

      HA HA HA HA HA , HELLOOOO STORMERS LOST TO BOTH CRUSADERS AND REDS!!!!!!!

      Chris - 2011-06-28 12:25

      GURU THOSE DEFEATS WERE SUFFERED BY YOUR TEAM AT NEW-LANDS! JIP YOUVE GEUSSED IT, THE REDS AND THE CRUSADERS HAD TO TRAVEL HALFWAY ARROUND THE WORLD TO COME AND BEAT YOU AND BEAT YOU THEY DID, NOW THE SADERS WILL DO IT AGAIN. STOP HOPING FOR JET-LAG TO FAVOUR YOU, IT AINT GONNA HAPPEN.

      Nico Rette - 2011-06-28 13:50

      CAPS LOCK is cOoL

      Frik - 2011-06-28 14:02

      Nes die Sharks...

      yagyah rabin - 2011-06-28 15:45

      SHOUTING LOUDLY!!!

      BlueRaven - 2011-06-28 16:09

      @rugby-guru the Crusaders aren't the real thread, though they are a great team and it will be no walk in the park for the Stormers to beat them, the Reds are the real thread. No matter the outcome of this match, the Reds will be crowned Super15 champions 2011. So if I am you, I will start praying for a Blues win, which I do not believe will happen.

      flat bier - 2011-06-28 18:10

      I dont think the Crusaders had much competition against the Sharks. When Alberts left the field its almost as if the Sharks left the field. After Saturday all of us will be proud to be South African. EVEN YOU CHRIS!!!!!

      GraemeBB - 2011-06-28 23:41

      Reality check for the Stormers: Even though some people here can make a man bitter, and dont promote goodwill, I cant help wishing the Stormers on. There is no doubt that the Stormers can win the whole thing. If one looks at their team on paper, one fears their potential. They do have the problem of winning the important games. One needs look no further than the Bulls, Crusaders and Redds games that they lost at home. The Bulls game, the Stormers were their own biggest enemy. They looked better than the Saders, but they just seemed to lack self-belief. They never even threatened the Redds, and couldve just stayed away. "BMT" and "chockers" are terms used losely on this site, but the Stormers need to get past that. They have the players, and they owe their fans!! Good luck Stormers, it may be your time, but that is all in your hands.

      Chris - 2011-06-29 07:24

      @flat bier, my buddy I will always be proud of any S.A. team no matter what, the thorn in my flesh is the stormer supporters cursing my bulls team the whole season, never once did they say goodluck or well played , yet now they cry to mommy for the bull supporters to support them, the arrogance that they have is beyond me and that makes me sick. to be truthfull i would love to cheer on the stormers on saterday but when i think of their fans and teir attitudes towards the bulls supporters............... eish!!!!!!

  • Spike1977@24.com - 2011-06-28 10:53

    Butch James??

      ck - 2011-06-28 11:09

      Yes. Butch James. He creates options hence he will be in the RWC final squad.

      Makutu - 2011-06-28 11:40

      Butch James...? How so...! What an ovverated player. Peter de Villiers needs medication for his obsession with the 2007 RWC winners. Seriously!

      DeonL - 2011-06-28 12:11

      Butch played brilliantly against the Sharks for 60 minutes, but his yellow card cost the Lions a deserving win. We don't need this in the RWC, rather keep him home.

      Chris - 2011-06-28 12:29

      @CK. GIVES OPTIONS FOR THE BOKS TO PLAY WITH 14 MEN. THE GUY IS A PLANK, CANT TACKLE AND IS MORE OFF A RISK TO THE BOKS THAN STEGMANN IS FOR THE BULLS. HE SOULD HOWEVER BE ALLOWED TO BE THE WATERBOY, DOUBT IF HE WILL BE ABLE TO DO A N0-ARM TACKE OR A HI TACKLE FROM THAT POSITION.

      ck - 2011-06-28 14:45

      @Chris. One can't deny risks associated with Butch but fact remains that he occupies the attention of more opponents than any other flyhalf(both on attack and defense) in world rugby. Hence he gives a coach options.

  • theprodigy - 2011-06-28 11:29

    pleeese not James, hell gift too many points to the opposition.

      mursebul - 2011-06-28 11:43

      give dude, gift is something you hand over to keep as an act of goodwill, Butch don't wanna do that, he will justgive them easy points and game time with 14 against 15. Damn auto correct . . . eeheheeh

      Chris - 2011-06-28 12:40

      AGREED! BUTCH IS A POINT SCORING MACHINE.................. FOR THE OPPOSITION

      yagyah rabin - 2011-06-28 15:49

      James should play 23 in south africa. while the boks play in NZ

  • Jackool - 2011-06-28 11:53

    The way it is now is simply not as interesting as it could be. Super Rugby is loosing its appeal...and loosing viewers. I've already decided not to watch next years extended series (with a break). It just gets boring...especially when watching domestic sides knocking the shift out of each other all the time. Biased refs, unfair competition, crazy schedules...it's all just really stupid and unprofessional from SANZAR. Those guys only think of how to line their pockets with bling and don't give a shift for the fans, the players or the game.

      Rob van den Heuvel - 2011-06-28 12:13

      Summed up my sentiments exactly, super comp has become very boring thanks in part to the Ozzies, Sanzar and SARU.

      MAC - 2011-06-28 14:20

      Oh ,We of short memories, one year ago the teams that ended 13 and 14 were ......... ?and still both of those teams remain in the bottom 5 with 3 aussie teams.only the NZ'ers can really complain that the competition was unfair.

  • biobot - 2011-06-28 12:48

    Precisely why the Blues will win on Saturday.

      Rob van den Heuvel - 2011-06-28 14:18

      Go Blues!

  • Gazza69 - 2011-06-28 13:02

    Bring back Super 12..................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • StormBergBok - 2011-06-28 14:45

    Yes, John. I would agree that in certain ways the new format is slightly unfair, in that some of the sides don't get an opportunity to play the 'guaranteed 5 points' teams. I'm sure you'd agree this is not a bad compromise, however, considering the otherwise over strenuous alternative. I'm just a bit surprised that you don't make mention of the other 'unfairness' which is so heavily stacked in the South African franchise's favour, given that they get to play four, and in the past sometimes five games on the road. Often this entails the joy of alternating between Oz and Kiwi weekly, in a five or six week tour. This obviously places them at a huge advantage over the Antipodean franchises, who either have to suffer the inconvenience of having to swim across to the other side of the pond to play in each others countries, or who only get to enjoy the famed South African the hospitality for a short ten days, when they are callously limited to only two tour games. Man, life's tough for you guys !

  • BlueRaven - 2011-06-28 16:05

    REDS to be crowned Super15 champions 2011.

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