Who died and left SANZAAR in charge of deciding whether or not a Super Rugby franchise can field a “suitable” team?
To be eligible for the playoffs, a player must be either included in four match-day squads during the season, or be registered as a player before April 30.
Only in “exceptional team circumstances” may a player who does not qualify for the above criteria be considered for a playoff.
So based on that, out go Sharks captain Pat Lambie and Chiefs legend Liam Messam.
Lambie is injured so it was a non-issue, but the troops in Waikato really do have their panties in a twist about the Messam call. And perhaps rightfully so.
"Special dispensation hasn't been granted because SANZAAR are satisfied that the Chiefs can field a normal, full-strength side of 23 players for the following match,” said media and communications manager Greg Thomas.
How can they possibly make that call?
I am not sure there is a team in the world that would not be bolstered by the addition of a 43-cap All Black. Even the Chiefs.
Let’s remember that this self-same body OK’d the Lions team that took on the Jaguares last Saturday as “normal” and “full-strength”. Not via press release, but given that every team is obligated to play their strongest team in every fixture, and there was no objection, that team was obviously deemed fine.
Yes I know they are trying to bin the club hoppers and mid-season purchases, but basing dispensation on their call as to whether a side can field a “normal” 23 is dangerous ground.
Speaking of the Messam free Chiefs... given the broken tournament structure, they are the first New Zealand side to take on the Stormers this year... in a quarter final... at Newlands... on a Saturday... how legendary is that?
At 19:00... disappointing!! (Said in my best Fish Called Wanda voice)
Just last week I was “Gaaning aan” about how we need to improve the match-day experience - with a return to the more fan friendly 15:00 kick-off being one of the key suggestions - when boom, we are asked to head to deepest, darkest, wettest Newlands at 7 o’clock on a Saturday night!
Sure we have two SA-based quarter finals to stage, so we need some sort of compromise. A 15:00 Ellis Park kick-off and a 17:00 Newlands kick-off would have been OK. Or rather have the 19:00 kick-off on a Friday evening for a post-work celebration, and stage the games on separate days?
But what about those poor Kiwi fans I hear SANZAAR and the all-important TV networks asking? A 15:00 kick-off in SA sees those poor buggers having to either stay up, or get up, for a 01:00 kick-off. As it is, they will need to be up at 02:30 for the Crusaders game.
Get a bloody PVR I say!
Super Rugby is broadcast on paid TV networks requiring set top boxes, most of which come with a PVR included these days, so encourage fans to make use of them!
I love me a little “koffie en beskuit” time with the PVR on a Sunday morning. Up at 5, I can have 4 games watched by 09:00, including the scrums, which SuperSport refuse to include in their highlights packages.
But minus the ads of course, and no doubt being excluded from the AMPS numbers used to sell those ads, thus making the TV guys pretty grumpy.
And TV money makes the Super Rugby wheel turn - not always in the right direction it has to be said, hence this year’s 18 team horror show - so 19:00 on Saturday it is.
Anyone for a braai at my place?
Tank Lanning is a former Western Province prop and vociferous tweeter from @frontrowgrunt.Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.