The SARU must seize this opportunity to create a strong domestic competition

Watching the five-part documentary ‘Chasing the Sun’ – reliving the moments of frustration, hope and redemption, culminating in another Rugby World Cup win – was a truly emotional ride for myself and, I’m sure, many South Africans. While COVID-19 has interfered with many aspects of day to day life, it has also impacted rugby, to […]

The SARU must seize this opportunity to create a strong domestic competition

Watching the five-part documentary ‘Chasing the Sun’ – reliving the moments of frustration, hope and redemption, culminating in another Rugby World Cup win – was a truly emotional ride for myself and, I’m sure, many South Africans.

While COVID-19 has interfered with many aspects of day to day life, it has also impacted rugby, to such an extent that Super Rugby as we know it is over and, by the sounds of it, the SANZAAR alliance is teetering on the edge.

South African is at a crossroads and I am sure nobody is more aware of that than the SARU themselves.

The general public in South Africa should always be the reason we play rugby – our teams represent each and everyone no matter who they are. While I don’t want to get political, it is important that the path forward must first and foremost be for them.

I know the Pro14 is on the radar, I know CVC Capital Partners owns 28 per cent of the Pro14, and while I am unfamiliar with exactly what that means in terms of who has what say about what, it is a concern that a South African product of our people might be sold off to foreign owners.

SA rugby and the sum of its parts needs to remain South African.

Over the past 12 months, there has been talk of maintaining the World Cup momentum, the same talk we heard in 1995 and, to a lesser extent, 2007.

The question is how?

Realistically, SARU cannot change the world, or in this case South Africa, but they can change rugby.

Coronavirus has provided a unique opportunity for a domestic rugby season, with no international rugby or cross-border franchise rugby.

We can focus solely on rugby in South Africa.

Our rugby is in a transformative state right now, socially, metaphorically and literally, and we have the opportunity to embrace that transformation. We need coaches from all walks of life – competent, astute and motivational coaches.

We need our development system to produce players from all walks of life.

There is no better opportunity than right now to forget about any overseas partnership as far as domestic rugby is concerned. By keeping our domestic rugby at home, there are no limitations in regards to transformation, every team is on equal footing, we can go nuts.

Imagine how strong our rugby can be if we use the next decade to focus internally, searching for answers, rather than trying to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?

We have eight franchises, surely it is worth exploring an eight-team premiership Currie Cup with a salary cap. Getting corporate partners to buy into a tournament will not only provide the opportunity for transformation on equal footing, in both players and coaches, but ultimately a product of high quality.

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A Champions Cup should be explored. It seems New Zealand and Australia are looking at options for Super Rugby, hopefully the relationship with our SANZAAR partners are not that far gone that a Cup-style tournament isn’t possible.

As for Test rugby, we have to remain in the Rugby Championship, that shouldn’t even be debated. We are a southern hemisphere nation, our season does not align with the north – should we sell our tradition, culture and structures for the sake of a few pounds?

OK, it isn’t a few pounds, but the Pro14 is dominated by Ireland, the Welsh supporters are in discontent, the Scots have two teams as it’s all they can afford, and – let’s be honest – Italy isn’t all that big on rugby.

We are strongest together.

Source : The Roar More   

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The statistics that prove Australian rugby is not dead!

I get it, it’s the end of rugby in Australia as the Wallabies managed to suffer a wet-weather thrashing to *checks notes* the All Blacks!? Yes, I know this was a team we used to compete against, but can we all please take a deep breath and remember that in the world of international rugby, […]

The statistics that prove Australian rugby is not dead!

I get it, it’s the end of rugby in Australia as the Wallabies managed to suffer a wet-weather thrashing to *checks notes* the All Blacks!?

Yes, I know this was a team we used to compete against, but can we all please take a deep breath and remember that in the world of international rugby, losing to the All Blacks isn’t actually unusual.

At the very least, rugby fans in other countries wouldn’t be declaring the death of their sport if they lost to an Kiwi side playing like they did on Saturday.

The problem we have is we lose to the All Blacks a lot.

The media has a simple standard to declare if Australian rugby is alive again: winning back the Bledisloe. And I get it, surely we can just beat that team we used to beat like old times?

But if every other nation had a Bledisloe Cup with New Zealand, requiring at least two victories in a single year, how many would actually get close to getting their hands on the trophy?

Since 2010, no team has beaten the All Blacks more than the Wallabies. Let that sink in.

Now, there is the awkward accompanying fact is that no team has been beaten by the All Blacks as much, but let’s dig a bit deeper into the stats.

From 2010 to the end of 2019, Australia played the All Blacks 30 times. We won five of those games and lost 23, with two draws. But keep in mind, 13 of those losses came in New Zealand, where they are incredibly hard to beat. In fact, the Kiwis only lost five games at home over these ten years and two of those were to the Wallabies.

Overall, our average match score for that period is 31-19, an equal deficit to South Africa’s average of 29-17, and better than every other nation except England, who average 23-20. However it is relevant to note that of England’s nine games, only three were played in New Zealand.

(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

It is also worth a mention that the graveyard of Eden Park, where New Zealand have only lost ten times since 1921 and are undefeated since 1994, is usually where the Wallabies are forced to try their luck. Over the last decade, the Wallabies played at Eden Park more than any other team (eight times). South Africa only had to enter the cauldron twice!

The fact is we should aim to beat the All Blacks every game and we should be disappointed if we don’t, but let’s not lose our understanding of where we are in the game because we don’t get to play regularly against Six Nations teams on our home turf.

During that decade, when our ranking fell to its lowest point, the Wallabies only lost seven home games to Six Nations teams, with ten victories, a win rate of just under 59 per cent.

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There are few teams across any sport with the consistent ability to win like the rugby-obsessed nation of New Zealand.

We are blooding a young team, with most in their first year of professional rugby. Writing off our sport because they failed to win back the Bledisloe on their first go is ludicrous.

Please, let’s keep perspective. Australia has been doing OK and a lot of us have a good feeling that things are about to get a lot better.

Source : The Roar More   

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