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Thread: SANZAR's Super 14 Quick Fix: Too Little Too Late...................But,

  1. #1
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    Arrow SANZAR's Super 14 Quick Fix: Too Little Too Late...................But,

    What is the leadership of SANZAR thinking by announcing a proposed expansion of the Super 14 finals to a Top Six playoffs series next year?

    This certainly does not fix the tournament.

    The problem starts with the Super 14, whose charisma and television allure, started in 1996, has fast waned over the years and is now out of step and irrelevant to contemporary rugby tournaments in Europe and no amount of re-jiggling the top 6 teams in the Super 14 will fix that, as the tournament rewards mediocrity amongst the bottom 8.

    The Super 14 comprises of Five Teams from each South Africa and New Zealand and 4 from Australia and was created to grow the game in all three countries.

    Instead the Super 14 has developed into an incestuous and ordinary rugby product, its television audiences have plummeted as have gate attendances, as the fans are voting with their feet and staying away from the stadiums. New Zealand have already discussed adding a sixth franchise by splitting the Auckland Blues into two teams and Australia are talking about introducing Melbourne as their fifth franchise. New Zealands players are leaving the National Provincial Competition in droves and Australia has suspended their local competition, because they are out of money.

    Right here in South Africa we had, or rather have, a sixth franchise in the creation of the Southern Spears, going back to June 2005, that has cost SA Rugby tens of millions and then some, for excluding an entire rugby region and there are more financial liabilities to follow. But this residual investment can be turned into an asset.

    Ironically, if feelings, sentiments and ridicule can be put aside, this past acrimonious experience that SA Rugby Pty Ltd has had with the Southern Spears, can actually deliver a master stroke solution, that remedies the problems in South Africa, as well as the ills of SANZAR and inject new life and excitement back into Super 14 rugby in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

    It will have fans clamouring to get back into the stadiums, by introducing an exciting new formatted Super 14 rugby product, that can be offered to National Broadcasters to attract new streams of revenue into the game, to grow it for future generations.

    Today's announcement by SANZAR, clearly signals a desperate attempt to salvage the Super 14. The next phase that they will be talking are suggesting that Tokyo and Los Angeles as franchise contenders, which is an ill conceived blue sky notion that will make a mockery of the Super 14.

    The answer to all of this, believe it or not, is that the solution is here at home and has always been since 2005.

    SA Rugby's President Hoskins, is under siege from the 14 Unions to generate revenue, from government to meet transformation timetables and for the Unions to develop a potent rugby inventory that can be commercially marketed to television and sponsors. SABC with 20 million viewers, broadcasts no live international games of rugby, as SuperSport with 1 million Pay Per View Susbscribers has this locked up.

    So now Regan Hoskins is in the unique position of siezing the initiative by presenting to his SANZAR partners, as well as the 14 SA Rugby Union Presidents Council, an innovative holistic strategic rugby solution, that is capable of remedying these enormous financial and political challenges they all face.

    The soon to be dissolved SA Rugby Pty Ltd and its directors, is on the skids with its directors having recklessly exposed the SA Rugby Union and its 14 Presidents Council, to enormous financial liabilities. This has resulted in Hoskins commissioning a forensic audit to investigate mismanagement of funds, travel and dubious authorisations, by its Chairman Tshume and MD Jonathan Stones, who are currently in Perth with their wives on a R1m junket spree to New Zealand and Australia. This is a smart move by Hoskins, as while the forensic auditors are in the corridors of SA Rugby this week, calling for documentation, travel authorisations and financial reports of dubious expenditure, they are in Perth.

    Hoskins' master stroke can deliver a solution to all 3 rugby unions of SANZAR, and heal deep divisions within SA Rugby and make the Super 14 rugby inventory an attractive rugby spectacle by introducing new Super 14 competition format and commercial sponsorships to a much greater television audience. Not in 2010, but in 2008.

    The way forward for the Super 14 should be as follows:

    1. South Africa to have 6 (5 + 1) franchises with the 5th placed South African franchise in the Super 14, to play the 6th franchise in a in a relegation and promotion Tri-Game Series (Home, Away & Neutral Territory)

    2. New Zealand to have 6 (5 + 1) franchises with the 5th placed New Zealand franchise in the Super 14, to play the 6th franchise in a relegation and promotion Tri-Game Series (Home, Away & Neutral Territory)

    3. Australia to have 5 (4 + 1) franchises with the 4th placed Australian franchise in the Super 14, to play their 5th franchise in a relegation and promotion Tri-Game Series (Home, Away & Neutral Territory)

    4. The three SANZAR franchises not competing in the Super 14, play a round robin against a wild card Northern Hemisphere and wild card Southern Hemisphere side which, tournament, is offered to free to air national broadcasters and sponsors.

    This has the net effect of immediately slowing the migration of players to Europe by retaining each country's player asset base and ensuring that the Super 14 rugby product is the optimum television viewing and commercial property in the world, the way it was in 1996. Only now it is a new remodelled commercially viable product.

    In one fell swoop Regan Hoskins can deliver an elixir to rugby in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

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    Last edited by TonyM; 19-07-08 at 13:30. Reason: typo correction

  2. #2
    Veteran BLR's Avatar
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    In South Africa the Lions and Cheetahs are most of the time constant cellar dwellers, the Highlanders are close to collapsing and who knows if the Reds will get on their feet like they used to be. Expansion will be disasterous and should not happen with the current player depth. Once all teams start playing consistently at a high level and make the competition more of a toss up, expansion in the SANZAR unions will be warranted. Until then SANZAR need to get their teams playing attractive, high quality rugby to bring back the crowds.

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    EXPAND BELOW THE SUPER 14

    BLR -

    The Lions are serial losers being the last placed South African S14 side for the past 3 years. That should never be tolerated.

    The Super 14 remains with 14 teams. So no expansion there.

    However one has to introduce Relegation & Promotion to maintain the teams competitiveness, so there is an expansion in a level below the S14 and the problem then becomes what to do with each of the 3 teams sitting out.

    That is overcome with a new competition attracting new players, more television coverage and additional sponsors.

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    Veteran BLR's Avatar
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    Yet the Super rugby franchises are a combination of provinces/clubs at the current moment. If relegation was to be added in Super rugbys current form once a team got relegated the promoted club would be much smaller then their other teams based on franchises and they will be severely undercooked. A different option is if the franchises were cut back into their club zones. This is the most viable in my mind(I drew a basic idea of this earlier this year) but the most unlikely as it could potentially cause the playing standard to go down significantly and cut out a lot of revenue from changing loyalties with the split of franchises.

    The franchise system has effectively tied the hands of SANZAR and adds limited expansion opportunities in the current system. I'm a big fan of relegation etc. as I said earlier I drew up a basic idea of splitting the provinces into clubs and integrating the national competitions into Super rugby, but I think that SANZAR will not do it as the various costs will outweigh the benefits unless some of the Non-SANZAR nations are added as a cash cow.

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    The promotion and relegation debate always comes up and noone is ever going to change their minds on it. How can Australia who has no 3rd tier competition ever, ever consider relegation? The prospect of an under tournament involving potentially northerners or Japan or the Pacific islands or whatever is innovative and I like that but lets be realistic they probably wouldn't broadcast it and it would end up running at a loss.

    What would probably end up happening is the quality players would look at teams that struggle and think 'I won't go there in case they get relegated' or leave the ones that have been. The the 'secure' teams just get more and more talent and an even bigger gap forms between the top and the bottom. In the English Premier League its only ever the same four teams in the top 4: Man U, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal. The only reason the EPL doesn't struggle with the same old, same old is because most are either die-hard fans (like the Geordies for Newcaslte) or just generally idiots.

    With the massive player exodus hitting New Zealand and soon South Africa we'll see a much more evened out competition and hopefully a few new faces in the finals. Expect to see teams like the Force, Stormers and Chiefs in the next few years and that'll at least mix it up a bit.

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    A revamp of the Super 14 which doesn't involve extending the Television product will do nothing to save the game Tony.

    These discussions have nothing to do with improving the competitiveness of the teams or saving the provincial unions, or even providing equity in the game, It's all about funding the game. we need to come up with a product which is more attractive to the guys in the tv stations who have the chequebooks.

    I don't believe we'll make a single cent out of a promise to gradually improve the standard of the rugby over the next three years. TV executives want more games and more teams, with a wider audience so they can sell more advertising. That's what drives the constant attempts to inject Japan (and also what drives the attempt to inject America) if this can be done, there's a whole new TV rights contract to inject into the income column, with only minimal costs in the expense column, since the clubs will handle their own travel arrangements.

    While your idea has merit from a "good of rugby" perspective, it'll never fly from a "ever going to happen in the real world" perspective.

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    Arrow UPDATE

    GIGS20 & JAMES

    This is how it would work.

    Australia would have 5 (4 + 1) franchises, with only 4 Australian franchises playing in the Super 14, with the 4th placed or last placed Australian franchise in the Super 14, to play their 5th franchise in a relegation and promotion Tri-Game Series (Home, Away & Neutral Territory)

    One adds a team to Australia's existing 4 franchises and this would be good to include Melbourne and Victoria.

    This is an inclusive action and a pathway to earn Super 14 franchise status.

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  8. #8
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    Expansion should be Tokyo and Victoria , with a top 6 play off

    Over in 20 weeks


    Then in August we play the 4 Irish Provences over a month , as the ML kicks off in the 2nd week of August

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    Arrow No room for too much democracy in rugby world

    A perspective from New Zealand.

    No room for too much democracy in rugby world
    By DAVID MOFFETT - The Press | Saturday, 19 July 2008

    No surprises then with the latest document out of the Kremlin.


    The New Zealand Rugby Union hates being referred to as the Kremlin but unfortunately it will have to get used to it if it continues to peddle its centralist strategies. Someone ought to remind them that communism doesn't work and trying to make everyone equal is a recipe for disaster.

    It's easy to see the hand of Steve Tew behind this latest offering and yet again brings his management style into question.

    On the one hand he trumpets the success of the All Blacks and the franchises, especially the super-successful Crusaders, and on the other says there are problems with distributing financial surpluses, Canterbury's advantages in the Air NZ Cup, and its ability to attract and retain the best players.

    Well, wake up and smell the roses, Steve, for these are the very reasons that the All Blacks have been so successful.

    It is no coincidence that the All Blacks are strong when a franchise is strong look, no further than the Crusaders and Blues as proof of that. If Tew has his way though, that success will be a thing of the past as he attempts to dumb down the elite in search of the lowest common denominator.

    He makes great play of the subsidies paid to the Super 14 franchises. What he fails to explain is that the subsidy is appropriate as the NZRU earns all the revenue from the centralised sale of the broadcasting rights and most of the sponsorships. To make it sound like they are doing the franchises a favour, when they are entitled to the revenue, is disingenuous.

    Of greatest concern though is the self-serving tripe that suggests that the franchises should change their governance to allow for a majority of independent directors. If there is any organisation in NZ Rugby that would benefit from an increase in the number of independent directors, the first cab off the rank would have to be the NZRU itself.

    I would back the performance of the majority of franchises over the union any day of the week. This is doubly so when you take into account the constraints that the union puts on the franchises and host unions which affect their ability to become self-sufficient. Big Brother is alive and well and living in Wellington.

    The major talking point in the UK this week has been the extraordinary claim by John O'Neill that rugby is in danger of being split into two hemispheres playing two different versions of the game. Essentially he was saying to the rugby world fall into line with Australia's vision of the future of the game or risk a damaging split.

    Even by O'Neill's standards this was an outrageous claim. The anger in the UK was palpable as a result of O'Neill making his claims in the media and not through the proper IRB forum. Unfortunately O'Neill seems to think Australia is at the centre of the rugby universe.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. Rugby in Australia is in trouble, lagging behind Aussie rules, rugby league and soccer in popularity. They have had to turn to a Kiwi in Robbie Deans as coach and many people believe the talent pool in Australia is diminishing.

    His comments certainly seemed to bind NZ and South Africa into the same position. I hope NZ rugby distances itself from his views. Just when Australian rugby needs as many friends as it can muster, O'Neill alienates the rugby world with his desire for another headline.

    David Moffett is a former CEO of the New Zealand and New South Wales rugby unions and the National Rugby League.

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  10. #10
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    Got a little TV to watch now.

    May the best team win!

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyM View Post
    The major talking point in the UK this week has been the extraordinary claim by John O'Neill that rugby is in danger of being split into two hemispheres playing two different versions of the game. Essentially he was saying to the rugby world fall into line with Australia's vision of the future of the game or risk a damaging split.

    Even by O'Neill's standards this was an outrageous claim. The anger in the UK was palpable as a result of O'Neill making his claims in the media and not through the proper IRB forum. Unfortunately O'Neill seems to think Australia is at the centre of the rugby universe.
    I don't love JO'N but he is getting criticised for all the wrong reasons here. The Northern Unions agreed to the ELVs albeit begrudgingly but now they are all umming and ahhhing and stalling and moaning and showing an absolute lack of leadership. Make up your minds guys either get on board or use the considerable power you wield to completely bar it. I doubt JO'N thinks Australia is the centre of the universe- his job is making sure Aussie rugby stays healthy. And it's unhealthy for the Southern unions to be chopping and changing between rule sets while those in the North sit on the fence. Does it really matter though? I mean either way the English team will be mostly shitty.

    Quote Originally Posted by TonyM View Post
    Nothing could be further from the truth. Rugby in Australia is in trouble, lagging behind Aussie rules, rugby league and soccer in popularity. They have had to turn to a Kiwi in Robbie Deans as coach and many people believe the talent pool in Australia is diminishing.
    Does anyone actually think the Aussie talent pool is diminishing? We have a lot of great young future stars although I don't doubt we've had a brief drought.

    Quote Originally Posted by TonyM View Post
    His comments certainly seemed to bind NZ and South Africa into the same position. I hope NZ rugby distances itself from his views. Just when Australian rugby needs as many friends as it can muster, O'Neill alienates the rugby world with his desire for another headline.
    So what are NZ rugby going to start sitting on the fence too? How can they think they are any less at risk than the ARU? They have lost unbelieveable amounts of talent to the northern hemisphere and their 3rd tier competition is becoming less and less sustainable. All this while the fans are showing more and more apathy toward Graham Henry and the All Blacks.

    JO'N is in the unfortunate situation that rugby administrators in New Zealand are useless and you could write an 800 page essay on the ineptitude of the SARU. Give the man a pat on the back for at least saying something.

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    Senior Player waratahjesus's Avatar
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    we should have six teams in each country, every country plays the other five in there country home and away, 10 weeks.

    then the top two from each country play for the super crown
    the next two the cup
    and the bottom two for the plate ala sevens tourny.

    just play five more games for a total of 5 more weeks, then the top two in each play off.

    16 weeks, you could do semis if you wanted to ad another week, but it gives every country reason to watch untill the last week and gives every team hope of playing in a final!

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  13. #13
    Veteran laura's Avatar
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    If you'r fishing then:

    If you aren't just fishing then:
    I dont think Australia has enough players to field 2 extra teams.
    I think that the Super14 players being able to travel around that much, gets them used to playing in other countries and having to deal with travel schedules.
    No offence but I dont like your idea, IMHO I think it detracts from what Super14 is all about.

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    Last edited by laura; 21-07-08 at 12:01.

  14. #14
    Veteran BLR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laura View Post
    WJ??
    It's a pretty good idea.

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    Senior Player waratahjesus's Avatar
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    i think its a solid plan, you get ten home and away games in each country, australia might have to make a japan or pacific islands team its sixth franchise though, dont think we can sustain more than five, but we could have players playing along side islanders or something.

    each country has ten weeks of good t.v ratings, then it breaks down into three seperate tournaments that will be pretty evenly matched, each team will have a chance of making a final even if they lose ten games in a row!

    i vote number 1 waratahjesus idea, and whoever i stole it off that i cant remember now!

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