There are rumblings coming from South Africa that the Super Rugby competition is going to be reduced by two teams. Hallelujah, you hear me say. Hallelujah!
Harrold Vester, the man in charge of the Free State Cheetahs may have let slip part of the outcome of a SANZAAR meeting held in London last Friday. He has been quoted on the Afrikaans language website Netwerk24 that, “the Cheetahs are safe”.
the Cheetahs are safe
This in itself is not big news from a Kiwi point of view, but it is an interesting development. Further to this, he has come out with more information around proposed culling of teams and possible structures. “There was even speculation that we would return to a Super 12, but my information is that we are going to be reduced from the current 18 to 16 teams, which means the Cheetahs are safe.” From this, we can probably deduce that SANZAAR will announce in the coming weeks that there will be two teams leaving the (not so) Super setup.
From the discussion around The Shed here at The 1014 we believe that the culling will most likely be from South Africa and Australia. Vester supports this theory with some of his other insights, and in any case, it would be an enormous step to take away the Jaguares and/or The Sunwolves given the desire to grow the game globally.
If you look at the Australian Conference the most likely candidates are the Force and the Rebels, which is backed up by both of them asking for a Super Rugby Commission to be set up, as reported in The Australian. They are also the only two Australian sides not to have won the trophy and were not deemed necessary at the inception all those years ago.
With the Cheetahs apparently being safe in South Africa then the spotlight has to fall on the Southern Kings, but stranger things have happened over there in the past.
The fact that two teams seem to be on the way out is a good start, but it is not going to dramatically improve the competition. We all have our opinions on what the competition should look like, but that discussion is for another day. For the time being, we have to keep our fingers crossed that this goes through. And just as importantly, it goes through in a way that does not detrimentally impact teams who are in line for the chop as that could lead to some very embarrassing scorelines.
Author: Steven Prescott
I am a total sports fanatic; it is as simple as that. I love all sports, and when I’m not sitting at my computer living my dream with The 1014, I am planning adventures. The last time I did this I ended up convincing my wife to cycle 26,125km across three continents, and 22 countries with me as part of the Pedalling Prescotts.