'Super Rugby not so Super'

2011-05-27 07:36

Stephen Nell

Cape Town – The new format of Super Rugby is not so super from the perspective of South African teams.

That is the view of Stormers chief executive and WP Rugby (Pty) Ltd managing director Rob Wagner, who has written to SANZAR about the issue.

And, in an interview with Sport24, Sharks and Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis has raised some points on how South African teams are being disadvantaged.

Wagner is worried about the bye in week one for South African teams in the new format. He also does not believe the new format is necessarily fair, as every team does not play every other one in the league phase. Each one misses out on two opponents.

“We are discovering that it’s a very demanding competition, particularly among the South African franchises with the double headers as there is a greater intensity in the matches between them,” said Wagner.

Du Plessis also believes that leading Australian teams have it much easier than South African and New Zealand sides, writes Christo Buchner.

“That inequality in the tournament definitely needs attention because as things stand now, the playing field is definitely not level for all the teams,” said Du Plessis.

“It’s much easier for a team like the Reds to play the Rebels and Force twice than it is for us to play in tough derby matches every week.

The notion of an easy game simply doesn’t exist when you play against a South African team. It’s even a tough match against the Lions, even if their position on the points table is not good.

“That is why I believe this tournament is not balanced. It’s so much easier for the Australian teams because in their derbies you don’t find the intensity of our derbies and those in New Zealand.”

Du Plessis believes the matter should be addressed so that the tournament can be contested on an equal footing.

“The other problem is that you don’t play against all the teams. You miss one or two of the teams and if everybody does not play everybody then it can’t be a fair tournament to determine the best side.”

Wagner raises the point that a bye in the first round is not really a bye – it simply means that a team starts the tournament a week later than the others.

“It has been reported that a South African team will always have a bye in week one. When you put all that in the pot again – a bye in week one, derbies and the intensity of it, South African teams are at a disadvantage,” said Wagner.

The Sharks also finish their campaign with three tough away derbies against the Cheetahs, Lions and Bulls.

“The competition needs to be re-looked at to see where we can make it fairer so that the playing field can be level for teams from South Africa, New Zealand and Australia,” said Wagner.

“The other thing that concerns me – and I have also gone on record to SANZAR about this – is that I don’t think we have brought anything new to Super Rugby. Compare it to the razzmatazz you find in the Varsity Cup.

“The Super 12 was a breath of fresh air in 1999 because it was different to the domestic tournaments. We have not done anything new except expand.”

As of next year, Super Rugby will also be played over a longer time frame. The teams will now take a break in June to allow for an international window so that Test teams from the Northern Hemisphere can come and tour. Once the Test window is over, Super Rugby will continue.

“Your top players are going to play in Tests and not get rest, while the others will,” said Wagner.

“How will it affect spectators’ interest if Super Rugby stops for a while and then starts again after the Tests?”


  • jontheb - 2011-05-27 07:55

    super rugby will be the death of our currie cup - we hold the big money and the in-demand broadcasting, yet we end up with the bum deal...

  • MB1810 - 2011-05-27 07:59

    The only advantage the new format holds is that the travelling is not so hard on the players. And this is more beneficial to the SA sides than that of NZ & Aus, it might not be perfectly fair but SA sides just need to make up their mind on what they prefer. Previous years they were complaining about all the travelling, this year the travelling is much less, but the competition is not fair. You'll never find a compromise that gives you both fairness and the limited travelling. SA sides just have to stop the b!tching and decide what they want - a fair competition or a couple more weeks at home.

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-05-27 08:02

      NZ are also whinging about this format mate.....The only happy campers are the Aussies.

      geoffrey.stokker - 2011-05-27 08:29

      The travelling is exactly the same. I don't know if suddenly because it's now called SupeRugby a four week tour suddenly becomes shorter. SA teams toured for 4 weeks last year and they toured for 4 weeks this year and they'll tour for 4 weeks next year. SA teams have to play 2 teams in Aus and 2 teams in NZ and the rest will be in SA. Economically it's cheaper for the teams to only make the long haul flight once. If you look at the Aus conference, the Brumbies, Force and Rebels are almost guaranteed 5 pointers and the Reds and Waratahs play them twice. This means they have 30 points in the bag. There is no team in the NZ and SA conferences who roll over for their countrymen and there are no guaranteed 5 pointers to the top teams. Therefore... the top teams have it easier in SupeRugby.

      Marx - 2011-05-27 08:52

      In short, the format sucks, it's all about the money, not rugby !!

      Jason - 2011-05-27 16:59

      @geoffrey you've got it spot on! The Reds and Tahs are smiling.

      Paul - 2011-05-28 09:12

      Rubbish the travel is still 4 games away in a row for SA teams where as the Aussies and NZ teams only play 2 games here ... in S14 atleast every second year they had to play 3 games here ... and that was the difference that leveled the playing field in SA teams favour and the Bulls Sharks and Stormers made it into the final in S14 because Aus/NZ teams were not just coming here for a quick 2 games but were subjected to a bit more of a fair contest ..... but SARU has let our boys down once more by agreeing to this format ... you guys a SARU should get a backbone and negoiate a fair deal for our teams !!!!

  • Ricksta - 2011-05-27 08:01

    I would not agree that SA teams are at a disadvantage, but I totally agree that the new format is simply dumb. In any tournament in any sport all the teams MUST play against each other otherwise how will it be fair to determine a deserving winner ? Whoever thought of the new S15 format must have been smoking some bad s**t.

      FearoPhobia - 2011-05-27 08:58

      Or some good s**t

      GHT - 2011-05-27 09:01

      I agree. You have to play all the teams! Look at the 2007 RWC. You still get those bad losers who will say SA are not deserved winners because we did not beat NZ or AUS.

      kenroid - 2011-05-27 09:59

      Agreed! What if an Aussie team, say the Reds, doesnt have to play the Crusaders and Bulls/Sharks in a season....

  • isak.dippenaar - 2011-05-27 08:05

    the longer season is already taken me away from the sport. not that much interest as the season is to long. the players must feel it also. the only benefit is the 3 test nations bank accounts and that only on the tv rights. we put the tv on and go and work in the garden or do something else and every now and then pop in to see the score. but that is a false impression for the broadcasters.

  • crazydude - 2011-05-27 08:07

    And people are only realising this now? Super Rugby has a very simple reason for its current form; giving Australia a domestic rugby (union) competition. John O' Neil said it himself; he wants Super Rugby to be a product which can take on the AFL and NRL. Those leagues are not a problem for SA or even New Zealand. Because in Aus they dominate the sporting landscape, Super Rugby is being tailored to suit Australia. That's why 1 team per conference gets a place in the play offs, to keep up interest. That's why we play in conferences, despite SA and NZ having domestic competitions. The system of giving teams 4 points for a bye comes straight out of the NRL. O' Neil even suggested neutral finals, and I don't think it will be too long before we see the Australian 'finals series' added to Super Rugby, as has happened in the IPL. For South Africa, this format should ensure that a Springbok will never again play Currie Cup rugby.

      john - 2011-05-27 08:28

      That is the way of the world. The IPL is taking many players away from their provincial duties in their home countries. Provincial competitions everywhere are becoming breeding grounds for players to show their talents so that they can join the national or professional squad in other competitions. The idea that provincial competitions feature the country's best players is outmoded. When last did you see our Proteas and IPL players turn out for their provinces? The local limited overs competition is for those who aren't involved at higher levels elsewhere.

      Rob van den Heuvel - 2011-05-27 10:49

      Perhaps someone should suggest to John O' Neil that the Ozzies should stick with AFL and NRL.Looking at their approach to the scrum quickly reveals their weakness in this area. Ozzie front rows are trained to collapse on the engage if they failed to attain dominance on the hit.

  • ae.remote - 2011-05-27 08:08

    I am Province/Stormers through and through and have to say that this is highly embarrassing since it emanates from the Newlands boardroom! Surely having a competitive group can only help raise the level of the game in the country? Surely having a competitive group means more interest, higher attendances (Joburg/Bloem excepted of course!!), more revenue to feed back and ultimately a healthier game! I do agree that a bye in Week 1 is a farce although with 15 teams this always going to happen. Why it will always be a SA team, don't know. But I really am sick and tired of the unions/players constantly arguing that this competition is unfair. The long tours are 'unfair'!! Yet, when the British Lions go on tour (or any test nation a few decades ago), they seem to gel and bond more as the tour goes on! It's purely the mental attitude that you take with you when you go and get your passport out the draw! If we didn't like the tournament format, then we shouldn't have agreed to it! But to complain that it's unfair because the Aussies only have one decent team is laughable!

      René Müller - 2011-05-27 09:34

      ae.remote, fully agreed with everything you said. I will only raise the level of games as well as players and that will roll over to the Springboks. I must admit not really a fan of the current format simply because one have to play all of the teams. I doubt anything will be done now since all relevant parties agreed to the format, to go and whine about it now is simply not on!!

  • Dicey - 2011-05-27 08:14

    That bye in week 1 the Stormers are moaning about was a stroke of luck for them. If you remember correctly, they had some key players injured in pre-season warm-up games & needed that extra week to get them fit. As for the Aus teams being weaker ... stats don't lie, & the Lions & Cheetahs have traditionally been the weakest teams in Super Rugby. Not playing every team is a problem. Effectively some teams will be playing the Crusaders / Blues / Reds & not Lions / Force / Rebels. Clearly some teams are harder than others. The most ridiculous thing about the Super 15 is the 4 points for sitting on your ass during a bye. Trying to follow the logs over a weekend is difficult coz those 4 points are randomly added ad some point during the weekend. I've seen the log change on a Sunday when no games were played ... after looking at it for about an hour after all games where finished on the Sat & trying to work out who could be doing what.

  • john - 2011-05-27 08:15

    So SA teams were previously disadvantaged because they had to do more travelling than Aus/NZ teams, and now SA teams are disadvantaged because they have to play derbies. And, of course, SA derbies are much intense than Aus derbies. Because we are previously disadvantaged. Or something. What a load of rubbish. The moment the Bulls can't field a B team against the Stormers to ensure that two Saffie teams play home semis, the locals moan that it isn't fair. Derbies are intense wherever they are played. If you think a Waratahs/Reds meeting is any less intense than Stormers/Sharks or Sharks/Bulls, think again. Claiming that "there is no easy SA game" is equally rubbish. Traditionally, the Lions is the easiest game in Super Rugby - and the Cheetahs game isn't far behind. They are perennial log bottom-dwellers. The fact that teams don't play every other team is irrelevant. The NFL in America has followed this format for decades. And if they did schedule matches against everybody, the SA teams would moan that it means more travel for them and that the longer schedule tires out our players more than others. Because we're previously disadvantaged. Or something. So this is why the Boks aren't number one and the ABs and Wallabies are cheating, wah.

      David - 2011-05-27 11:07

      Waratahs vs Reds yes definately...maybe even the Brumbies but to say that there is the same intensity when playing the Force or the Rebels is can there be...those Teams didn't exist a few years ago and there is no History or Community honour ro play for (just like the Cats a few years ago) and as a result the games lack the intensity of a true derby game. Yes, the Cheetahs and Lions traditionally have been weak teams but it is the intensity of the game and the hits that we are talking about and not the game result. SA and NZ Unions despise each other and as a result go all out in a Derby game while how can a Force vs Rebels have the same intensity..the teams are scratch teams made up by administrators and all the players came from the other 3 Unions and most are journeymen at the end of their careers playing for a final pay check.

      Jason - 2011-05-27 17:34

      Are you talking about the same Cheetahs who have won five games so far this season including beating the Crusaders and the Waratahs? Yup ... def guaranteed 5 pointer against them ... idiot! Rebels, Force, Brumbie ... 3 USELESS Aussie teams, I WISH the Sharks could play them all twice!

  • Kieran - 2011-05-27 08:15

    So I don't get it. SA want the Super Competition to end before their precious Currie Cup starts but they still want to play every team in the competition? You can't have your cake and eat it too. As the competition expands then it's going to become more and more likley that each team might not see each other for a couple of years. SA are insisting on the Southern Kings inclusion, that's another week on top of the two you're complaining about above. Look at the NFL, they compete quite reasonably every year with years inbetween teams not playing each other. We have a brilliant professional rugby competition, embrace it and stop whining.

      Witsand local - 2011-05-27 11:42

      I love the NFL but you can't compare the two. In NFL there's a draft system which pretty much evens everything out- meaning that all the teams are more or less of equal strength. Not so in Super rugby.

      Jason - 2011-05-27 17:11

      Boet why should we aspire to something as lame as NFL? Its Rugby we want and a fair competition too. Why would we want to play the SA sides more than the other sides!? Thats not a fair comp! And why are we the only ones to complain about it? ... because playing SA teams is TOUGH! Even if its an easy win like the Lions, you're gonna get battered and bruised. And as to your point about the comp being too long if we play all teams - We are playing FOUR extra games because of the extra Derbies!! If we play local teams once and ALL the foriegn teams once thats still 2 weeks less rugby. Dumbass.

  • Carl Muller - 2011-05-27 08:18

    The only guys winning here are the administrators....

  • Rian - 2011-05-27 08:21

    The Super 12 was a better setup as one of our teams had to qualify and this will again be the case for the other two countries have four teams with a fith competing for the qulifying teams for the comp. that way you get some competition going locally and ensure the strongest teams for the comp. Rather get the "razzmatazz" back in the Curry Cup thats what buils strong Springbok teams You could also considerr a longer Super rugby season but then Play the Curry Cup at the same time ,so the local debies counts for both Super Rugby log points and Curry Cup Logg points and that way we "shorten" the playing season ...just a thought

      GHT - 2011-05-27 09:11

      Agree with the Currie Cup thought. But the qulifying thing will not work. We can't go back to that in this professional era. Take NZ for instance. Say for instance the Hurricanes or Chiefs do not qualify for the following years super tournament. That means guys like Jane, Smith, Nonu, Gear, Weepu, Hore and Schwalger or Messam, Leonard, Sivivatu, Donald, Kahui and Muliaina to name a few would have to go a season without super rugby. That would destroy their chances of making the squad for the Tri nations (soon to be 4 nations).

  • Brandon96end - 2011-05-27 08:22

    old format was better. this is too long. period.

  • Tank24 - 2011-05-27 08:26

    Did they not agree to this format in the first place? Why weren't their concerns raised before the tournament got underway? It is hardly as if they started the tournament and then all of a sudden were given a list of the fixtures. It seems to be the case year in and year out. SARFU agrees to a tournament, Tri-Nations, super rugby etc, and then they start complaining about how it isn't fair, as if they had no idea about it in the first place. Maybe you lot should read the contracts before letting your eyes glaze over with $$$$$ signs. Bunch of Muppets, you sound like the Poms now, all you can do is whinge. Is that the new South African way? Decide to do something and then when it doesn't work out you blame something else?

      FearoPhobia - 2011-05-27 09:00

      I was thinking the same thing - why are we always complaining AFTERWARDS when we're not doing so well. If it's not the refs it's the media or the rules or the format. But we're always moaning and pointing fingers.

  • Pienk Zuit - 2011-05-27 08:28

    Fark, you're only thinking of this now? Why didn't you complain when Marinos sold SA Rugby up the creek when the deal was made?

      henco.swart - 2011-05-27 13:10

      As far as I can remember, many spectators and fans did say that the new format would be a bad thing, but SA Rugby just went ahead in any case. And Australian Rugby are the only party that benefitted from this, as they don't have a national championship. But what does the SA fans know about Rugby? Apparently not too much...

  • Fired-up - 2011-05-27 08:28

    I have found that I am supporting anyone who plays against the other SA teams. The reason being is that a loss against an Aus or NZ team means that my team will do better on the local log. Surely this is not good for local supporters to be doing this? We should all be supporting each other when we play the foreign teams. For example, I was bleak that the Stormers pulled of a last minute win against the Blues as this ultimately put my team in a worse position. I appeal to anyone with sway with in SANZAR to consider this point. All three nations will be slowly divided apart with the unions working independently, as unions supporting (Providing technical info etc) their fellow teams could be detrimental to the outcome of their union’s team and ultimately cost a finals berth.

      FearoPhobia - 2011-05-27 09:06

      I'm not so sure about your logic there. Aren't local teams also doing you a favor by winning their games and keeping the overseas teams points to a minimum?

      David - 2011-05-27 12:54

      I sort of understand what you're saying (except for the last paragraph which I have no idea) but I believe that eventually (after experiancing S15s 1st year) worrying about the local log will become mute...the team finishing top of the local log is more than likely in the top 3 it will become a clamour for the next 3 places on the Log...just like it used to be for the top 4 in the past. As a result you will end up supporting any team that is playing against a team above you on the Log. This is a 15 team competition and not an Aussie vs SA vs NZ competition after all and so no competing team should expect us to support it and nor shoule we be expected to. Of course the Team you support 2nd and 3rd (everyone has them) are most likely to come from your own country and so you will support them against others.

  • Kok - 2011-05-27 08:30

    I agree Rob. This new system is brought in to give SA teams at least 8 points on the log with the 2 byes; instead of the normal 0 or 3 points at the end of the season. On the other hand, it automatically put a team in the play-offs if it tops it's conference, even if it's fifth on the overall log. I appeal to SANZAR to review this system and give it the boot.

      Airborne68 - 2011-05-27 08:46

      Well Kok, how do you expect the Lions to get any log points without the bye system?

  • Draconian - 2011-05-27 08:35

    Another good reason to hate the Aussies! Not that you really need any reason! Hahahaha......

  • vdwjasper - 2011-05-27 08:41

    We performed best of the three countries when it was the Super 14. Three won. Two of the finals was all South African and our top teams performed consistently well, but even then we were always complaining. Bring back the S14. All teams play each other once. Semis. Finals. Finished. Leave the rest of the season for the CC and internationals. In my humble opinion the domestic competition should be played first, the semi final 4 teams of each domestic competition gets entry and the best team from either Samoa, Fiji or Tonga and the best of either Kenya, Zim or Namibia to compete for the 13th and 14th spots respectively. You get all round quality games to sustain SH dominance and also make it lucrative for those second tier countries who are the most eager to develop their game.

      vdwjasper - 2011-05-27 08:46

      ...although it might not be beneficial for NZ and Aus to make the game financially lucrative in Samoa, Fiji, etc.

  • John - 2011-05-27 08:44

    The format is ridiculously long but there is still huge interest from the same people that enjoy Super rugby year in & year out. The difference for me is I watch less games where my team is not involved. When the Stormers play nothing short of death will stop me watching the game.

  • JJRR - 2011-05-27 08:55

    Ons speel klaar al die SA spanne teen mekaar in die S15, dus hoekom speel die 2 spanne wat bo eindig nie teen mekaar na die S15 Final vir die Currycup uit nie! Curry cup reeks is net nog n reeks waar spelers maklik seerkry om rede dit LOCAL Derbies is! OF scrap die Tri-Nations?

      Kleinboet - 2011-05-27 23:34

      Nee, Jurr, skrap die super 15 en laat ons weer Currey Cuprugby speel. Dan sal ons mense weer sien wie die beste span in die land is; nie wie die rykste is met die vermoë om diepte te koop nie. Ons sal weer sien hoe ons Springbokke opweeg teen hulle uitdagers. Ons sal ook weer uitsien na toetsrugby omdat ons nie week-in-week-uit teen NZ en Aus se toetsspelers speel nie. Die Superrugbyreeks is uitgedink deur Austalië se televisiemense met die doel om geld te maak, nie om rugby te bevorder nie. Ek sê weer: ek is eerstens 'n WP-man, dan 'n Springbokman en laastens 'n Stormersman. Die ander spanne bestaan nie eens in my woordeskat nie. Ek is soos my pa: Hy en sy groot vrien het van Worcester af Nuweland toe gery om WP teen Vrystaat te gaan kyk. Toe skree sy vriend vir Vrystaat om my pa te verpes. Die gevolg? My pa ry sonder hom huistoe en sy vrou moes hom in die Kaap gaan haal! Daai dae was Curreybekerrugby alles en Springbokrugby sterk.

  • Urban_Frog - 2011-05-27 08:56

    Super 14 was way better!!

      Grunk - 2011-05-27 09:08

      Super 12 was even better

      Noitol - 2011-05-27 10:00

      Super 10 was the best. (A Saffa team won!)

      john - 2011-05-27 12:08

      Bah, Super Six all the way. Or whatever it was when Transvaal won the inaugural tournament under Francois Pienaar, beating Sean Fitzpatrick's Auckland side in the final. ;)

  • powachair - 2011-05-27 08:58

    All teams must play against each other. Aussies are smiling all the way while SA gets screwed.

  • Kieran - 2011-05-27 08:59

    In response to Fired-Up. This competition was enhanced over the last decade to increase the tribalism of supporting your local team, hence more of the domestic derbys. This isn't SA v NZ v Aus, this is all about 15 teams vs each other, regardless of their country. Leave the Tri-Nations to sort out bragging rights. I'm from NZ and I would much rather have, say the Cheetahs win the competition than the Hurricanes. Let go of your loyalty to your country, leave that for another time. Wish harm onto your conference rivals and barrack for your one and only franchise because this is what Super Rugby is all about.

      ae.remote - 2011-05-27 09:28

      100% agree... down here we hate the Bulls above all others. Yet you still find blokes supporting them simply because they are playing a Aus or NZ team. I was cheering the Chiefs a couple of years back, in vain of course, simply because I couldn't bear the thought of facing relocated Vaalies at the office on Monday morning!

      Nico Rette - 2011-05-27 09:47

      Well said Kieran. I'm a 100% Bok supporter but the Blues have always been my Super Rugby team. Leave the national pride stuff for when we play internationals. As was shown last year, Super Rugby dominance does not translate into international dominance.

      ae.remote - 2011-05-27 10:28

      Nico... so who do you support in the CC then?? You don't sound like a Maori wannabee Capie?

      Nico Rette - 2011-05-27 11:15

      @ae. WP then Lions. and in Super Rugby Stormers after Blues.

      ae.remote - 2011-05-27 11:27

      Sorry Nico, thats just weird! you either support a team or you don't!

      Nico Rette - 2011-05-27 11:38

      So if the Blues get knocked out I am not allowed to want the Stormers to do well? Sorry I didn't know that was the rule

  • Met Uysh! - 2011-05-27 09:05

    Just look at the European competitions. Its a mess! Heineken Cup, and inbetween English Premiership, and then a litte bit of tests and then some Heineken Cup again and then some Magners...Really tough to keep interested. I quit watching it as it all becomes too much. Here we will have some Super Rugby, then some tests then Supe Rugby and Currie Cup battling for the same crowds, and then we have a little VOdacom Cup in between... Nah, this sucks.

  • H&P - 2011-05-27 09:06

    We have been saying this for ages, this format is: • too long and repetitive • has too many local derbies (we have the CC for that) • benefits only the aussies. • the 2 byes are not fair for all teams. • the 4 points for a bye is confusing the failure of this format is evident in the SA TV viewership decline of about 40% vs last year

      rugby - 2011-05-27 09:23

      I agree the 4 point for a bye is stupid, but where do you get your figures from that the viewers declined by 40%, Please be specific so that I can take it up

  • Gordon - 2011-05-27 09:12

    One understands the players point of view but the other aspects of all of these derby matches is how many can the public endure every year? Sure its great to see the Stormers, Sharks, Bulls, Lions and Cheetahs playing against one another but, with Currie Cup we are going to see these combinations play against one another 3 times per year. This has surely got to effect attendences at games as well as TV viewership

  • ae.remote - 2011-05-27 09:24

    Many people on here are saying that we have the Currie Cup for the local derbies! Whilst technically correct, the Currie Cup is only a small step up from Vodacom Cup and does not represent the true strength of the teams and provinces playing. How can it be considered the premier domestic competition when it is essentially a B team tournament. Super Rugby has superseded it so lets do away with it altogether, let the teams lose their 'alter egos' (or not, up to the fans really) and all move on and embrace what is an excellent rugby competition.

  • LloydSix - 2011-05-27 09:25

    I say take it back to the Super 12 - some might say that's going backwards but it was the best format in my opinion. Just the 4 best teams from each country. Then use the local cups as a promotion/relegation system. Bottom team in super 12 from each country gets replaced by top team from each local competition (in SA's case The Currie Cup). That will keep it fresh in terms of new teams coming in and is more incentive for teams to perform.

      ae.remote - 2011-05-27 09:40

      despite my comments about the CC, I have also been arguing this for years. But would only work if each province has ALL their best players available for the Currie Cup..

      LloydSix - 2011-05-27 09:46

      That's true but if it were 12 teams instead of 15 that would free up alot of time for the players to rejoin their respective CC teams. I would far rather watch the 12 best teams play eachother than what we have now. And there are still talks of expanding to 18 teams. Then teams like the EP kings could earn a place in super rugby rather than demand one.

      ae.remote - 2011-05-27 10:08

      Lloyd... assuming the CC is played outside of the 3N (4N) which takes nearly three months already. If a province loses its best players to the Boks, then the prize can't be a S12 berth the following year. It would be counter productive, provinces keeping players back etc. It worked before, but the 3N was shorter and the SRugby far less rewarding financially I am sure. However, they manage it in Europe, would just have to realign the season

      LloydSix - 2011-05-27 11:21

      Sure. It think the problem is that there is just too much Rugby being played. Tournaments need to be shorter order to fit them all in and utilise all the best players.

      ae.remote - 2011-05-27 11:28

      Think the majority of us commenting here agree on that.. just too much!

      kosie - 2011-05-27 13:46

      @ ae remote: even if the top players are gone for Springbok duty, the bottom of the log S15 team will still have all their players and can still play renegation with a full team.

  • Kevin - 2011-05-27 09:26

    The format sucks...plain and simple!!! This tournament started as a competition between 3 nations top franchises.We have our CC to determine the top Franchise in SA its not neccessary for them to play this local conference setup.We the spectators enjoy the overseas fixtures as they're a breath of fresh air.Please restructure so that each Frabnchise plays against each other.

  • jannie.debeer - 2011-05-27 09:27

    Go back to S12. The season is too long. All the teams need to play each other at home and away. If we were winning more we would be whinging less. Alternatively two top teams from every country need to go through, after a local knockout, to a full blown Super competition.

  • big cheese - 2011-05-27 09:33

    Australia do not need 5 teams ( In fact three would be enough ) and South Africa as well as NZ could each have four ( Just look at the crowds at the NZ games, dismal compared to a few years ago ). Bring the comp back to 14 teams with one from Fiji / Tonga / Samoa and one from Argentina. The recent Pampas success in the Vodacom cup shows they can compete at a high level and after all they are going to be part of the tri nations next year.

      Rob van den Heuvel - 2011-05-27 13:10

      This could work. Why not include a team from the USA too, awake the sleeping giant!

  • Gazza69 - 2011-05-27 09:37

    The new format is crap. In the past we could support all the SA you support the Aussie and NZ teams so your franchise can finish top of the log. Bring back the old Super 12 and get rid of the excess teams who are clearly out of their depth.

      ae.remote - 2011-05-27 10:26

      Hold on though.. lets say it was S14 and, say, the Stormers need the Brumbies to beat, say the Sharks, so the Stormers have a better chance of coming fourth and getting to the semi final... surely as a Stormers fan you'd be cheering the Brumbies.... what exactly has changed?

      David - 2011-05-27 13:30

      I agree...I don't understand this having to support the SA Teams..I support the Sharks, my 2nd team is the Bulls...I don't ever recall supporting the Stormers for eg (esp as I live in CT) unless it is some way benifited the above 2 teams. Of course once my 2 teams have been eliminated I then look for a 3rd Team to support...fortunately this has not happened in a while.

  • Will99 - 2011-05-27 09:41

    This is what we as the public have been saying since we first heard about the Super 15.

  • htiek - 2011-05-27 09:44

    Sounds like sour grapes after the Sharks loss to the Bulls - Each year we hear how the SA teams have been disadvantaged. How many times have the Bulls won the series in the last few years? If the SA teams focus on the games and stop mentally talking themselves down, as Bismark has, perhaps we’ll have more SA teams winning the series. We will have a big problem at the World Cup if we start believing we’re disadvantaged because the cup is in NZ…or we have the more difficult pool etc etc. Just focus on the damn rugby and give it 100% all the time and stop whining!

  • JOHN - 2011-05-27 09:47

    I think we as rugby supporter are being done in,too much of one thing over and over again. Will we ever see a test nation touring here with matches against our provincial sides and five tests against the Bokke?Will that not be better than watching Super rugby year in and year out.

      ae.remote - 2011-05-27 10:24

      agree agree agree.. answer - every 12 years when the Lions come to town!

  • Met Uysh! - 2011-05-27 09:52

    Not only do SA teams have the bye in week 1, they also have the bye after their last game. The Lions will have their bye after they played their last match. That is also not a Bye, I mean, really! What's the use of a bye in the first and the last round? Bring in the EP Kings so that we have 16 teams and have the byes spread evely.

      David - 2011-05-27 13:38

      It could of course benifit them if they were competitive and in playoffs. A bye just before the 3rd to 6th playoffs would be the Stormers wished they had that.

      Schaun - 2011-05-27 16:41

      lmao... really comeon dude, the more bye the lions got the better for them, they save broadcasting and me a lot of time and money,.. if they play super rugby they must atleast play rugby first

  • Marius Swart - 2011-05-27 09:55

    Dit is nie baie wat ek saam met WP man stem nie maar moet se hy het n' punt.Was die nuwe formaat nie eintlik ontwerp om die spelers minder te laat speel nie maar nou speel hulle meer.

  • Superdude - 2011-05-27 10:02

    This view was lamented when the format was first proposed, that SA teams would kill each other in the local derbies while the Australian teams would have a cake walk. The new zealand must be in a similar boat to SA...and so its proven to be true. How many SA injuries have we had this season already despite not having to travel as much...

      Karl - 2011-05-28 03:33

      I had no idea your injuries came from travelling. Did they have to swim?

  • kenroid - 2011-05-27 10:11

    While it does seem extreme having to play local teams twice - I think the reason for this was to help grow Rugby Union in Rugby League is absolutely massive over there as well as in NZ (Sonny Bill only plays Union because he wants to win the World Cup...League paid him a LOT more apparently) Please correct me if I am wrong- I don't think Aussie has a local tournament like the Currie Cup or even Varsity Cup due to the lack of support...SuperRugby is all they have. Hopefully the new format will mean that their teams will grow in strength and gather more support in the future. To be the best you need to play against the best - with the likes of Bulls, Sharks and Stormers playing each other twice...our players and teams will only get better. Good luck to the Aussie players come World Cup - they will need it if they are testing themselves against the Rebels, Brumbies and Force...

      Karl - 2011-05-28 03:44

      Sonny Bill was not paid a lot more to play with Cant/Bankstown Bulldogs. He broke his contract to go to France for far more than RL could pay. He was in the position where the weekly grind (26 rounds) in the NRL found him injured and unable to play for about 60% of the games. It has taken him a while to recover and now he seems to be killing it. Aus has city based local comps and then jump straight to Supers. Surely playing against the best teams means SA has an advantage come finals time? Garbage format though and all for John O'Neil. Union is up against it here in Aus. Ratings for Supers often falls below that of the NRL U/20s comp.

  • Jason - 2011-05-27 10:13

    Ag don't worry too much about it really... most of it is great rugby, enjoy it and who cares someone will always have an advantage.

  • Merle - 2011-05-27 10:20

    They need to go back to Super 12 - four from each country, and because the SA teams are "on the road" for 4 weeks at a time, the same should apply to the Aus and NZ teams, even although the hop across from Aus to NZ and visa versa is a lot easier. The Aus and NZ teams should also endure the stresses of being away freom home for 5 weeks at a time, if you take travel time into consideration. The current system is grossly unfair to the SA sides. The franchises should also be made to use a squad system, where each player is restricted to a maximum number of games in the competition. So if there are 11 games for each team in a Super 12 competition, each player can only play a maximum of 8 games, and so on. I think that our (SA) representatives on the SANZAR committee don't have the negotiating ability nto fight for the best competition conditions for our franchises - we just accept what AUS and NZ throw at them. Fix that and the competition will be better. The should also be a "promotion / relegation playoff system within each country at the eand of each season. It is also madness to have Super 15, Tri-Nations, World Cup, other internationals and currie cup in the same year. Something has to implode somewhere, and we can see this in the large number of injuries we are experiencing.

  • Totman - 2011-05-27 10:25

    This all happens when money start deciding for the game how it must be played. I suggest that we co back having a very strong cur. cup series. The winner and runner up are allowed to use 7 or so players out of the losing teams and than compete in a super six competition against A & NZ. We than can have our 3 nation afterwards and can even consider having a SA 15 [ B team ] playing the other two in the same time or even earlier on the same day. Out of those two teams we can than send an end of year team to Europe if needed. If we feel it is not enough rugby we can have earlier in the year a varsity and club championship that get fully broadcast. They can be the place where curry cup teams look for new talent. This current system create jobs and superstars that stay superstars, even if they not in form. Look at current players playing in the top competition while not on form while Div hopes they reach it before world cup. This is supposed to be a team system where positional play counts 1st and than you jell it into a team. We currently following a superstar-players system and touch it up with filler players. That is why we can lose on a day when 1 mr. superstar is not on form. This system is proved in America to be driven by money. A team sport with as many as 22 players in a match can't be played like those with smaller teams, loaded with superstars. You must be more jelled with positional play than superstars. We will change the rules every year, mostly in vein.

      Totman - 2011-05-27 10:28

      According to me this is how e create deepness in a much stronger competitions, with less grantees for staying on top. We will have these new stars flowing through from the bottom to top like water.

  • DeKlerkRSA - 2011-05-27 10:27

    Dumb point of view, "team like the Reds to play the Rebels and Force twice" nobody knew that the Force was going to be bad! the point is to pick yourself out og the gutter at every club and become a winner! and there are more games at your home, much better - Go Stormers!!

  • Dal2000 - 2011-05-27 10:29

    Heres to hoping they change it next year. Damn I never thought I would get bored of Rugby, Super 14 rugby that is.

  • Agile - 2011-05-27 10:35

    I agree with Rob Wagner. The Australasians lovingly concocted this S15 idea that us physical South African teams take ourselves out of the competition, and SARU bent over to allow this somehow...again!

      Rob van den Heuvel - 2011-05-27 13:07

      Advance Australia fair....

  • Matt - 2011-05-27 10:37

    The new format is a money-spinning tactic... Everyone makes more money out of derby matches, the stadiums are full and demand for advertising space is increased as there is greater exposer to the local target market. It's shyte for spectators though, it ruins the Currie Cup!!!

  • Rob van den Heuvel - 2011-05-27 10:43

    Dear Mr. Rob Wagner, While you are addressing Sanzar please also find out what they plan to do to fix their ineffective citing process. Week in and week out we seem to be on the receiving end of poor decisions which are too easily blamed on "The Process", fix it! Each year that goes by we grow more and more restless as fans with regard the administration of aspects around the game, so why exactly are we part of Sanzar? Should we not be looking up north for competitions which better suit our talents and efforts which are also played at more reasonable times. Many SA players seem quite happy to apply their trade up north already!

  • Noitol - 2011-05-27 10:44

    A typical case of over-zealous administration pushing things beyond the bounds of sanity.

  • King Solomon - 2011-05-27 10:48

    Very well put Rob.

  • DJJ - 2011-05-27 11:04

    Yes, SA may be disadvantage. But does tougher club/region competitions not bleed better national players? Everybody was saying that Argentina would be so much better if they had a good local competition. We have the best, toughest competition in the world so surely the boks must benefit from that? Its up the the clubs to rotate players to prevent fatigue when it comes to the international games. 2007 We had two SA teams in the final. Lets see if the super rugby will predict this years WC outcome as well.