x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Sorry, with 15 teams it's just not Super rugby any more

On a television show, the narrator explaining the new format had to ask, upon reaching the knockout stage: "Are you still with me?"

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Sorry, with 15 teams it's just not Super any more

This idea that growth for growth's sake is a good thing in sport is really starting to grate. In fact, it is ruining everything.

At present, cricket fans are sitting through a thousand matches, or thereabouts, waiting for a competition which marks the "pinnacle" of the sport to offer up just one game of significance.

At least the penny has dropped: the International Cricket Council have decided, after 36 years of trying, there is no point in expanding the World Cup after all.

It is a shame Sanzar, the ruling body of Southern Hemisphere rugby, did not heed the warning. Now Super Rugby has 15 teams, and an unwieldy format, it is not especially super anymore.

On the television magazine show, Total Rugby, the narrator explaining the new format had to ask, upon reaching the knockout stage: "Are you still with me?" He had lost me at hello.

There are more "local derbies" - most of which are nothing of the sort. When the Perth-based Force met the Queensland's Reds in Brisbane, we were supposed to be excited by it being a derby. They are 3,600kms apart!

Super 12 was the perfect competition. Eleven weeks, a semi-final, a final, done. Easy to follow, and all the best players compressed into naturally occurring franchises who could support them more than adequately.

National rivalry played out between sides made up almost exclusively of the best players in each country used to be super.

Now the competition is a mere shadow of its old self.