Sir John Kirwan's idea to save Super Rugby

Discussion in 'Super Rugby' started by Jabby, Oct 26, 2018.

  1. Jabby

    Jabby Senior Member

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  3. smartcooky

    smartcooky Referee Coach and Advisor

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    There are, of course, massive stumbling blocks to this idea.

    With the current Super Rugby system, our top 150+ professional rugby players are ALL exposed to the top level of domestic rugby, and with very rare exceptions, the All Blacks are chosen from that base of players. If we were to return to a 1990's style "South Pacific Championship" style of competition (which is what Kirwan's idea basically is) where only the top four or five Provincial sides make it to Super Rugby, then two things will happen;

    1. The players who aren't playing for the top four or five sides will be denied access and exposure to Super Rugby. Imagine what would happen if Wellington and Otago were to fail to make it into Super Rugby? Absent from Super Rugby would be Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Ardie Savea, Jordie Barrett, Ben Smith, Ngani Laumape, Ben Lam, Vaea Fifta, Dane Coles, Liam Coltman, Matt Faddes & Michael Collins... and many more.

    2. Players will migrate to play for those top few sides, which will severely damage (and IMO, eventually kill off) rugby in the Provinces.

    There is only one possible way I could see anything like this working.

    1. At the end of the National Provincial Championship, the All Black selectors would choose our top 150 players from all Provinces

    2. Any players in the 150 who were not in the squads if the top four/five teams that made it so Super Rugby will go into a draft.

    3. The five teams selectors pick players from the draft to add to their squads, lowest ranked team gets first pick etc.

    This way, no matter which five teams get to Super Rugby, all of our top players will play.
     
  4. Jabby

    Jabby Senior Member

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    i see what you're saying SC but the draft system defeats the goal of provincial rivalry, guys arent exactly going to bust a nut for a team thats going to drop them for an AB as soon as they secure a "Cup" spot and fans potentially having half the team they've been cheering for swapped out for guys that were playing against them last week.

    i see it this way, players seem to think there is too much rugby at the moment, so much so most AB's dont turn out for Mitre 10 teams anymore, this fixes it for some. Players might have to accept they need to do all their shining in the domestic comp and not assume they'll get to play super rugby.

    I've said it before, i watch more domestic rugby every year than international and so i'd rather domestic rugby was better

    i know this is a radical thought but id happily loose a few AB's games if it meant rugby had a more solid future in general and be so far ahead of the next international contender that international rugby went the way of League
     
  5. TRF_heineken

    TRF_heineken RIP #J9

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    I think we all like the idea that Kirwan is proposing, it's something that South Africans have been wanting for a long time now.

    Basically take away the Franchises and go back to the unions and their players. I think in this regard, South Africa are pretty much on track, it's basically just the Stormers who will have to revert back to being Western Province. And just like now, players from the "lesser" unions are being drafted into the "bigger" teams, albeit not in a drafting system, but more in a sense of a franchise "purchasing" the player for the tournament.
     
  6. smartcooky

    smartcooky Referee Coach and Advisor

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    The problem with that is, even now, the Provincial teams aren't "tribal" the way you think they are. If everyone played for the Provinces they grew up in, Auckland would have the largest number of players. They could put four teams in the National Championship. Do we really want to return to a situation where Auckland wins everything and holds the Ranfurly Shield for five years? I certainly do not - I would hate to see a National Championship reduced to something like the English Premier League where in 26 years it has been won 24 times by the same four teams (92% won by 20% of the teams).

    In any case, I find Super Rugby tribal enough for my liking. The competition has been going for 22 years; that's more than 1/3 of my lifespan. I am a Tasman supporter, and a Crusaders supporter, both teams I support represent the Top of the South. More than half the teams currently competing in it have won it.

    I can see where Kirwan is coming from though, he's an Aucklander, and his suggested system would pretty much ensure Auckland dominance.
     
  7. TRF_heineken

    TRF_heineken RIP #J9

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    Not when he's the coach though...
     
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  8. Jabby

    Jabby Senior Member

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    That’s exactly what he’s saying and I agree with...they’re NOT tribal...but if we make them so we might rev up the support a bit

    He’s not saying you have to play for where you’re born, Otago will still have students propping us up for example

    Just move some of he power the Franchises have to the unions, let them recruit from 1stxv’s
     
  9. Amiga500

    Amiga500 Senior Member

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    They aren't invoking the same passion because they haven't been around as long, and because the game is now professional.

    In 30 years time, most will know no different and they will be pretty tribal. In as far as you can be in a professional environment where players move between clubs.

    If players cannot move between clubs, it becomes very tribal. You represent where you come from and only where you come from and your going to war with your neighbour at your side against that lot from "over there". But then a big-population centre will always have the advantage if they can get it right.
     
  10. smartcooky

    smartcooky Referee Coach and Advisor

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    We've just had an example of why it won't work... Auckland opened the gates of Eden Park for the final - free admission for anyone who wanted to come. The crowd size, only about 20,000. FFS, its the FINAL OF THE PREMIERSHIP, against the old foe from the Village of the Damned, in NZ's biggest city - 1.7 million people, over 1/3 of the entire population of the country, and you can't even GIVE THE BLOODY TICKETS AWAY!
     
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  11. Jabby

    Jabby Senior Member

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    You really are missing the point, that’s just more evidence FOR it, we need to grow some more passion in the local unions and the best way to do that is to make them the premier comp again, more people might have turned out if there were some abs playing

    Your making the argument for it
     
  12. smartcooky

    smartcooky Referee Coach and Advisor

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    You can't create passion, it comes naturally with tradition.

    The NPC, much as I love it, has been relegated to the status of a feeder competition for professional rugby; its too late to resurrect it back to where it was in the 1980s and 90s. If we try to implement Kirwan's idea without a draft to make sure our all top players are all playing at the fully professional, pointy end of the game, we will be shooting ourselves in the foot.

    You might be prepared to sacrifice the All Blacks for some airy fairy Idea of Provincial tribalism, I'm not. The REALITY is the the most important component of keeping the NZRU fiscally sound is All Blacks.
     
  13. mdaclarke

    mdaclarke Senior Member

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    One issue is that the Kiwi's and the Australians's need the money the South African's bring. A NZ/AUS competition won't bring in the funds.
    If they go down this road then there is a big risk the South African's will go North.
    Also what happens to the Argentinian's
     
  14. Jabby

    Jabby Senior Member

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    It’s thinking like that that will result in the all blacks fading into obscurity SC, nothing thrives without a foundation and we’ve ignored ours for too long
     
  15. smartcooky

    smartcooky Referee Coach and Advisor

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    You haven't caught up with reality.

    CLUB RUGBY and HEARTLAND RUGBY are the foundations, they hold up the floor base.
    The floor base is the NPC, it holds up the superstructure.
    The superstructure is Super Rugby
    It took us a while, but this setup is key in making the All Blacks the pre-eminent team in world rugby

    If you don't think there is a passion for Super Rugby outside of the five centres of the franchises, you have never been to a Super Rugby match in Nelson, or Timaru or Palmerston North, or New Plymouth.

    Trying to make the NPC into a fully professional competition to compete in a Heineken Cup style cross-borders competition may seem like a nice idea on paper, but in reality, its fool's gold.
     
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  16. Jabby

    Jabby Senior Member

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    The reality is the highlanders had the highest average attendance this year...that should worry people, smallest population base getting the largest average crowds?!

    You are the meme of someone sitting in a burning room saying everything is fine

    I think the nzru and world rugby agree with you though so I don’t expect anything to change

    Expecting the abs to carry the whole sport is nieave, will just end up being an exhibition and not a true sport
     
  17. higgik

    higgik Senior Member

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    Agree, the whole system is based around creating ABs. As mentioned earlier, Super Rugby give 150 or so players experience of higher level rugby and international travel. Then there will be some that thrive and some that will survive and some will struggle. Provincial rugby is where the next Super Rugby and ABs will come from. Part of the role of this level is to give younger players experience against ‘gnarly, old’ players, who will harden them up.
     
  18. smartcooky

    smartcooky Referee Coach and Advisor

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    I still think Kirwans ideas have a lot of merit, but IMO, he's just aiming it at the wrong level of the game. Like it or not, the Super Rugby Franchise system is here to stay because it is too much of a key factor as a foundation for the All Blacks to be built on. So, the question I ask is, how do we incorporate some of Kirwan's ideas about tribalism and pride, without trying to fix something that isn't broken, so that we keep in place the system that works so well? The answer, IMO, is that we build that pride in the Franchises themselves... and here are some ideas for a start.

    1. Stop calling them Franchises.
    A franchise sounds too might like a business setup (and yes, I know rugby IS a business now). Start calling them what they really are... Provincial Super Regions.

    2. Stop allowing NPC players to routinely play outside their Provincial Super Regions.
    I get annoyed seeing players who play for Tasman in the NPC going off and playing for other Regions such as Otago, Waikato and Auckland. Each Provincial Super Region should have first call on all players that play NPC or Heartland Champion for a team in their Regional catchment (for example the Crusaders' catchment is Canterbury and Tasman in the NPC; South Canterbury, Mid-Canterbury, Buller and West Coast in the Heartland Championship). Each Region has a squad of 32; they must pick at least their first, say, 26 players from their own Region. Once all five Regional selectors have picked their squads, any non-selected players are then free to negotiate with other Regions for a place in their squad.

    3. More Regional Home games in Provincial towns and cities
    Its hard for fans in the Heartland and in areas outside the five centres to get passionate about their team. It would be a lot easier if they actually got to see their team play in their stadium. Each Super Rugby region is scheduled for eight home games. At least two of these home games every season should be played "on the road" in Provincial towns and cities (and perhaps the NZRU could offer a financial incentive to the Region if they take a third game on the road). My suggestion would be that one of those games goes to a fixed place every year, and the other one or two move around the other cities and towns in the Region's catchment area, on a rotation basis.

    IMO, if these things were done, and properly marketed, you would get a greater "sense of ownership" of Super Rugby teams from the fans in the Regions,. and generate a greater passion for those teams.
     
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  19. Jabby

    Jabby Senior Member

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    i cant get behind point 2 because it basically screws the highlanders for ever, we have the smallest population base and have to pick the majority of our squad from two championship teams, one of which has lost 20 in a row...crusaders on the other hand get to pick from two premiership finalists and are getting the government to pay half of a new stadium to attract even more people
     
  20. smartcooky

    smartcooky Referee Coach and Advisor

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    Firstly, you appear prepared to sacrifice the All Blacks on the altar of Provincial passion and tribalism, but not your own team, the Highlanders.

    Secondly, has it occurred to you that under under Kirwan's proposal, Otago would not make it to next year's "Heineken Cup Style" Super Rugby competition at all, and would not have done so for the last 13 years?

    2005 - 4th
    2006 - 6th
    2007 - 7th
    2008 - 10th
    2009 - 10th
    2010 - 14th - relegated
    2011 - 10th (3rd in Championship)
    2012 - 9th (2nd in Championship)
    2013 - 9th (2nd in Championship)
    2014 - 13th 9th (6rd in Championship)
    2015 - 10th (3rd in Championship)
    2016 - 8th (2nd in Championship (Ranked 1st but lost the final)
    2017 - 10th (3rd in Championship)
    2018 - 8th (2nd in Championship (Ranked 1st but lost the final)
     
  21. Jabby

    Jabby Senior Member

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    firstly there is a difference between possibly closing the gab between the AB's and the rest of the world, unproven and definitely limiting a teams selection pool

    I have considered that Otago wouldnt be in the Cup comp, but by making the Mitre 10 cup the premier comp again teams in the championship would have more power to attract players like otago have always done before and in the early years of super rugby, I love seeing seven or eight former Otago Boys guys running out for otago but we struggle to bring in that key player we might need to fill a hole.

    a more interesting list for me is the different unions that would have played in the cup comp over the years, there havent been the same 5 teams for ages, moves the excitement of the cup comp around the country a little, the only really constant teams are canterbury, counties and recently tasman.

    in the last decade we would have had teams like BoP, Naki, Hawkes Bay and Southland all hosting RSA and Aussie teams as well as the more predictable wellington, waikato, cant, auck etc...thats exciting

    where did you get that list? we weren't ranked first this year, Waikato finished the round robin on top
     
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