SA’s ‘S16’ hopes fading fast?

2012-02-14 11:15

Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town – Latest official and media noises from the terrain of South African rugby’s SANZAR partners suggest any hopes of an expansion of Super Rugby to 16 teams to accommodate the problematic Southern Kings are increasingly forlorn.

The message to SA Rugby seems clear from Australia, in particular, and probably also New Zealand: if you want to fit in the Kings next year, it will still have to be as part of a five-team conference.

SANZAR’s Sydney-based but NZ-hailing chief executive Greg Peters is quoted on the website on Tuesday as saying: “How the Kings are accommodated is a domestic issue for South Africa.

“While we are always open to dialogue ...   it is incumbent on them (SARU) to make the necessary adjustments to facilitate the Kings’ inclusion.”

His words come shortly after weekend media reports in South Africa that the existing SA franchises in Super Rugby would consider boycotting the event if one of them gets the chop to make room for the Eastern Cape-based Kings.

Meanwhile Australian press sentiment seems unfavourably disposed also toward the idea of an expansion of the tournament from 2013 to a Super 16, with the big structural changes to the three-conference, 15-team format that would require.

Columnist Greg Growden, in the influential Sydney Morning Herald, on Tuesday penned a piece under a headline “Sulking South Africans stand no chance of adding to Super quota”.

Perhaps a little unfairly -- considering that one of the current five SA franchises clearly has much to lose if the Kings do end up elbowing them out of the lucrative mix – he chose to add it to a perceived catalogue of South African “whinges” about Super Rugby.

“It’s February, the Super Rugby season is about to start and – shock, horror – the South African provinces are having an almighty whinge.

“So what’s new? One year, they are complaining that the tournament scheduling is unfair because, they argue, it favours the Australian and New Zealand teams.

“The next, they are moaning about wanting to head to Europe because they play in the same time zone.

“Now they are complaining that they don’t have enough teams in the tournament – and that if the tournament isn’t expanded from a Super 15 to Super 16, they will boycott the event.

“Forget about it. It’s not going to happen. It is just the latest in a long line of the type of political bluster of which SA rugby officials are the masters.”

Growden said SARU would keep lobbying their Australian and New Zealand partners to get an extra team, but they have no hope of success.

“The Super 15 will remain the Super 15 until at least 2016 (when the latest television rights deal ends). One SA province will have to go to allow the Kings to come in. End of story.”

If some of Growden’s comments seem a tad crude and unscientific about South Africa’s dilemma, they do at least appear to hint at strong Antipodean sentiment not to meddle with the status quo for the time being.

The Kings’ “ball” could be very much in a South African court ...


  • Lionel - 2012-02-14 11:20

    If SARU really want the Kings to play Super rugby there is only one option: 1)Bottom SA side drops out!!

  • Dhirshan - 2012-02-14 11:22

    just add teams from argentina and japan make it a super 20 lol, grow the game . . .

  • Jason - 2012-02-14 11:23

    Its not a simple as just dropping the bottom team out for the Kings to join. There would need to be some relegation games put in place. Not to mention major sponsorship problems!

  • Ian - 2012-02-14 11:34

    What about the Kings not even being able to get to the currie cup premier division?? and now they wanna go to S15 guaranteed wooden spoon imo.

  • Romeo - 2012-02-14 11:43

    Hahahaha!! I can understand why Aus and NZ must be thinking we are mad!!! The Kings to play S15/S16??? bwahahahahahaha!!!!!! You got to earn your right Kings! Win at least the Currie Cup and then we talk again!

  • Jimmy - 2012-02-14 11:44

    It's a total cock-up !!! Already too much rugby and just wait until the SA boys are flogged by their coaches, because no team is going to want to come last in their home conference !!! Not gonna help the Bokke much either... :(

  • Christie - 2012-02-14 11:48

    Good. By introducing these second and third stringers the series will be demerited. Do it on merit alternatively.

  • meyr.cruywagen - 2012-02-14 11:52

    I say 1 team max per province. Done.

  • Paul - 2012-02-14 11:58

    Go back to the Super 14 format, leave the Kings out of it until they prove that they can compete at super rugby level.

  • Doc - 2012-02-14 11:59

    This is not SARU's ideal, though they endorse it, it is Cheeky's idea and we all know how ego driven his ideas are. Non the less, screw Super 15 anyway. Would much rather watch Currie Cup contended with all the top local talent anyway, super rugby has and always will be controlled by the Antipodeans (started by Murdoch remember) because they do not have enough local competition to draw big crowds and as such they have for the most part at least set up structures favouring them, then when we complain we are whingers. F@1k them.

  • johanspokie.rossouw - 2012-02-14 12:09

    the kings must 1st win the currie cup before they can join the super rugby, they are a disgrace to rugby

  • Peet - 2012-02-14 12:12

    Let them play a game against the bottom SA Super rugby team and if they beat them, they can play the next year, like in the currie cup!! They'll never get there if they have to play for it.

  • ross.paitaki - 2012-02-14 12:22

    i have to agree with the Aussies here as much as i dont want to. the only way to accomodate teh kings is that they have to play off against the weakest team each year and have a releagation system like football.

  • roboman1 - 2012-02-14 12:30

    Play 16 teams in 2 conferences, and the top 4 in each conference go through to a super 8. Play home and away in the super 8, and the top top play a final

  • Brian - 2012-02-14 12:32

    y do the reporter say problamatic southtern kings does he regard them as problems

  • coolshoesouthafrica - 2012-02-14 12:37

    Go on the Kings!!!! How can you expect the Kings to be as good as one of the Super Teams without being paid the massive amounts the Super Teams are being paid. Lions - crap at Super Rugby and Super Bankrupt

  • Skhona Skratchy-l Luswazi - 2012-02-14 12:55

    This Aussies are so full of themselves

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