Martin Devlin: Super Rugby comes to an end - so what next?

Author
Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Thu, 1 Oct 2020, 12:52PM

Martin Devlin: Super Rugby comes to an end - so what next?

Author
Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Thu, 1 Oct 2020, 12:52PM

It's the end of Super Rugby as we know it. The greatest professional rugby franchise comp in the world is dead. Well the SANZAAR version of it anyway.

Official confirmation yesterday from SARU that they'll be taking their teams north into an expanded Pro16 comp, Covid restrictions compliant of course.

And that's a huge part of the problem with all the uncertainty around future international travel and quarantines bound to affect the comings and goings of everyone not just professional athletes.

Super Rugby's international attraction has also always been its achilles heel. The physical, not social, distances have been prohibitive from the off with the Saffir sides routinely citing travel as the reason for average results away from home.

Yes we lose the exoticness of the international aspects but be honest, how many SA or Ozzie sides of late have been consistently competitive?

Maybe one of each each year at best? Fact is NZ has dominated this comp forever.

It has absolutely suited us and our playing strengths mainly because our best are commanded to stay here or else forfeit the chance to wear a black jersey.

South Africa on the other hand have hundreds of players, including many of their very best, playing their franchise rugby in Europe. Consequently their Super sidesĀ over a period of years got progressively weaker to the point where six was ridiculous, even four was too many.

The writing has been on the wall for a decade or more, we all knew it was going to end sometime and even though no-one foresaw a pandemic as doing so, it probably spares us all the public acrimony of a long and bitter breakup.

The way the world is right now a combined comp next year just isn't feasible, the long term future nigh impossible.

So this decision not only seems sensible, in many ways it was also inevitable. In the end it comes down to one simple question - will you really miss your favourite team playing the Stormers and Sharks?

I rest my case.

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