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Thread: Super Rugby solutions likely to resist change

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    Super Rugby solutions likely to resist change

    Super Rugby solutions likely to resist change

    The Australian12:00AM July 3, 2018

    WAYNE SMITH
    Senior Sport WriterBrisbane
    @WayneKeithSmith

    SANZAAR will hold its last meeting in Singapore today before assembling in September to make the tough calls on the future of Super Rugby but all indications are that “more of the same” can be expected.

    Rugby Australia, which will be represented today by CEO Raelene Castle and deputy chairman Brett Robinson, have done months of war-gaming ahead of the crucial meeting in September, including polling 800 fans, but when push comes to shove in SANZAAR politics, it’s clear that the Australians are not masters of their own destiny.

    For all the talk of South Africa exiting Super Rugby to go into Europe, bolstering their former Super Rugby sides the Cheetahs and Southern Kings in the Pro14 competition, there is no real evidence that this is seriously being considered. Short term, at least, South Africa look wedded to both Super Rugby and The Rugby Championship.

    The only change being pushed by New Zealand is the abolition of the conference system which was put in place to ensure that foundation joint venturers, Australia and South Africa, would each host at least one Super Rugby quarter-final.

    The fact that All Black captain Kieran Read came out with a call for the conferences to be axed just two days before the meeting makes it unmistakably clear that abolishing it is New Zealand Rugby’s policy.

    It is understandable that the Kiwis would object to their teams, who currently occupy four of the top five places on the Super Rugby table, having to travel to Australia or, worse, the republic for quarter-finals against lower-ranked sides.

    A solution might be to give New Zealand two automatic home finals and yet one only has to track back to 2014 — when the Waratahs, Crusaders, Sharks and Brumbies filled the top four placings — to find an example of the Kiwis not dominating the competition. It is irrefutable that New Zealand have dominated Super Rugby but even they are subject to cyclical variations.

    Whether Japan maintain their place in Super Rugby remains to be seen, although the recent surge of the Sunwolves is certainly timely. At present, everything in Japanese rugby is being done to ensure the success of the Japanese side in next year’s World Cup but thereafter all bets are off.

    Certainly SANZAAR will need to be convinced the major corporations that compete in Japan’s domestic rugby competition, the Top League, will continue to support Super Rugby. Otherwise, the claims of a Pacific Islands team will be hard to refute.

    Australia are likely to raise at the meeting the subject of match officials and inconsistent rulings both on the field and at SANZAAR judiciaries. There have, however, been strong suggestions that SANZAAR will cut the current cohort of 17 match officials back to 10 senior referees who will be appointed to all major Super Rugby games. There is likely to be a further panel of five developmental referees for lesser matches.

    Both Wallabies fullback Israel Folau and All Black five-eighth Beauden Barrett yesterday called on officials, at SANZAAR and World Rugby levels, to clarify aerial contests for the ball. Barrett was concussed in such a contest against France while Folau was suspended for a week for an incident in the Irish Test when he was deemed to have caused Ireland captain Peter O’Mahony to fall heavily.

    Folau insisted he would continue to leap for ball in the air. “I won’t change anything around my game,” he said.

    “I understand the dangers of being in the air. The last thing you want for yourself or the opposing player is to get any serious injury. It’s up to World Rugby to clear it up and hopefully they can do it sooner rather than later.”

    Meanwhile, lawyers representing Wallaby Karmichael Hunt have requested their client be allowed back to work for the Queensland Reds, who have made him persona non grata since his arrest for drug possession in December.

    Seemingly the Reds cannot prevent him and have devised a reconditioning program for him, though it is highly unlikely he will play in either of their two remaining Super Rugby matches over the next fortnight.

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/spo...57e3f5ab720448

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    Sorry, just saw it already posted in another thread

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