Rennie not ready for expansion

Sun, 23 Feb 2014 09:24
Large dave rennie

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie heads the chorus of disapproval in the wake of the revelation that Super Rugby is set to expand in 2016.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie heads the chorus of disapproval in the wake of the revelation that Super Rugby is set to expand to 17 or 18 teams in 2016.

The expansion was approved at a meeting of SANZAR's Executive Committee in Sydney last Thursday.

The meeting was described as "another important step in deciding the future of Super Rugby" and the new model involves six teams from South Africa and a new team from Argentina.

However, it was met with strong opposition, rather than approval, from within the three SANZAR countries - South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

The Aussies, in particular, are keen to retain the current three-tier system where they have plenty of local derbies that attract spectators.

In his first comments on the proposal, the Chiefs coach said he was forcefully opposed to the changes, citing fears for player welfare and major concerns the integrity of the competition would be severely compromised.
Advertisement

Former All Blacks captain Taine Randell, ex-NZRU boss David Moffett and national players' association boss Rob Nichol also spoke out against SANZAR's proposal.

Rennie clearly felt blindsided by the announcement, and that his and the views of other Kiwi Super Rugby coaches had been ignored.

''While we've been consulted I'm not sure we're being listened to,'' Rennie said in an interview published in the Sydney Morning Herald.

He revealed the Kiwi coaches' suggestion of a 14-game round-robin competition between the existing 15 teams - a format that would shorten the season by two weeks - appeared to have been shelved.

''The New Zealand coaches wanted a legitimate competition where everyone plays everyone,'' Rennie said.

''All the other scenarios include more teams, more travel and more time away from home.

''Their proposal has the same amount of games, but it's not necessarily in the best interests of player welfare for our players.''

Rennie felt SANZAR's proposal was compromised by the politics inherent in three-nation coalition.

''Another South African side may generate more money but is it in the best interests of our players and the competition?'' he asked.

''I'm not sure how the public will take to their proposed format. Some of the punters would find that hard to follow.''

Rennie was also concerned about the competitiveness of an Argentinian team, feeling it could quickly join the Western Force and Melbourne Rebels as examples of overseas franchises that need propping up by South African and New Zealand players.

''I'm not sure where they're going to get their players from. Most of them play in Europe,'' he said.

''The worry is if there's not the quality in Argentina, maybe they'll start grabbing from New Zealand which further thins out the pool here.''

Randell described SANZAR's plans as ''defying logic''.

He felt South Africa's Super Rugby record did not justify an additional team and was bemused the Pacific Island nations continued to be snubbed

Moffett said SANZAR had bowed to political pressure and threats of a European walkout from South Africa who seem destined to get a sixth franchise despite their teams finishing last 13 times in 18 years of Super Rugby.

The former boss of the National Rugby League, as well as Welsh and NZ rugby, labelled the expansion to a 17-team competition as ''insanity''.

Moffett said that in promoting ''quantity over quality'', SANZAR risked turning fans off.

''It's absolute insanity. People will get fed up. The quality of rugby will just go down further,'' said Moffett, currently seeking chairmanship of the Wales Rugby Union.

''The extra South African team is purely political. There certainly aren't enough quality players in South Africa for six professional teams.''

Source: SMH

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 06 May 2016
Crusaders v Reds 07h35 Christchurch
Brumbies v Bulls 09h40 Canberra
Griffons v Eagles 15h00 Welkom
EP Kings v Blue Bulls 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Sat, 07 May 2016
Sunwolves v Force 05h15 Tokyo
Chiefs v Highlanders 07h35 Hamilton
Waratahs v Cheetahs 09h40 Sydney
Leopards v Boland 12h30 Potchefstroom
Griquas v Border 13h00 Kimberley
Sharks v Hurricanes 13h00 Durban
Pumas v Namibia 13h00 Mpumalanga
Golden Lions v Free State Cheetahs 13h00 Randburg
Wasps v London Irish 14h30 Ricoh Arena
Worcester Warriors v Saracens 14h30 Sixways
Bath v Leicester Tigers 14h30 Recreation Ground
Gloucester v Northampton Saints 14h30 Kingsholm
Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs 14h30 Twickenham
Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks 14h30 Kingston Park
Zebre v Dragons 15h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Munster v Scarlets 15h00 Thomond Park
Ospreys v Ulster 15h00 Liberty Stadium
Connacht v Glasgow Warriors 15h00 Sportsground
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 15h00 BT Murrayfield
Leinster v Treviso 15h00 RDS
Kings v Blues 15h05 Port Elizabeth
Sharks v Western Province 15h30 Durban
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 9 5 0 4 23
Brumbies 9 5 0 4 21
Waratahs 8 4 0 4 21
Reds 9 2 1 6 12
Force 9 1 0 8 6
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Chiefs 9 8 0 1 37
Crusaders 8 7 0 1 32
Hurricanes 9 6 0 3 31
Highlanders 9 6 0 3 28
Blues 8 4 1 3 20
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 9 6 0 3 29
Bulls 8 6 1 1 28
Cheetahs 9 2 0 7 12
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 27
Sharks 9 4 1 4 23
Jaguares 8 1 0 7 7
Kings 7 1 0 6 4