New twist to Super Rugby

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 07:48
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NEWS: Not only does the complicated, unpopular and confusing Super Rugby format stay in place for 2017, it has a new twist to it.

Thursday matches have been introduced to the already lengthy and cumbersome schedule.

With an alarming drop in attendance figures - despite SANZAAR best efforts to put a positive spin on the ridiculous format - Thursday matches are unlikely to drive up the numbers at the stadium turnstiles.

The competition will kick off on Thursday, February 23, when the Melbourne Rebels host the Blues.

The Sharks will be the first South African side in action when they take on the Reds in Brisbane a day later.
 
The Thursday kick-off is a first for Super Rugby and is followed a week later by another Thursday match between the Western Force and the Reds in Perth.
 
The opening round of action will see two South African derbies - both on Saturday, 25 February - when 2016 runners-up, the Lions, travel to Bloemfontein to face the Cheetahs, while the Stormers will host the Bulls in Cape Town.
 
The Hurricanes will start off their title defence in Tokyo against the Sunwolves, while 2016 Australian conference winners, the Brumbies, will play the Crusaders in Christchurch.
 
It will be the second season for the 17-round, four-conference tournament structure that sees each team play 15 matches and have two byes.

As in 2016, each team will play six matches within its own conference and nine matches against other conference teams.
 
SANZAAR, in an effort to convince themselves that the discombobulated and cumbrous format is actually working, suggested analysis of the new bonus point system showed it provided an "increased level of competitiveness" and rewarded those teams with an attacking mind-set.

Despite the increase in the number of matches compared to previous years the average number of points scored per match increased from 45.3 to 52.0 while tries were up from 5.1 to 6.4 per match.

SANZAAR, conveniently, forgot to mention that the increased in average points per match could be contributed to the higher number of blow-outs - the result of a diluted system with more teams unable to be competitive throughout the season.

The 2017 June Test window, and in particular the British & Irish Lions series in New Zealand, has an impact on the match schedule.

Fixtures in early June and July have therefore been scheduled around the various June Tests and the matches between the British & Irish Lions and the five New Zealand Vodacom Super Rugby teams.

Of course, there is the usual spin-doctoring from SANZAAR, who may as well add a few more As to their name to make themselves feel good.

"The new season is set to be another enthralling, action-packed one as we enter the second year of the 18-team conference-style tournament," said SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos.
 
"We saw some fantastic rugby earlier this year and we look forward in particular to the continued development of the new franchises that added exciting new territories and colour to the tournament
 
"The schedule will see four Sunwolves matches played in Tokyo and three matches in Singapore, while eight matches will be hosted by the Jaguares in Buenos Aires. Both these teams made their Super Rugby debuts in 2016, with the Southern Kings from South Africa returning after their brief spell in 2013.
 
"It is anticipated that all three teams will be better for the experience of 2016 as we look forward to seeing their continued improvement. Super Rugby continues to be the toughest rugby tournament in the world given the high level, week-to-week competition and the travelling that is undertaken.
 
"We enjoyed a global audience of just over 50 million viewers for the 20th edition of Super Rugby with just over 2 million fans attending the matches. I would like to say a big thank you to all the fans and supporters for their support through 2016 and look forward to having our competition entertain and entice you through 2017," added Marinos.
 
* For the 2017 schedule CLICK HERE!

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 24 November 2017
Cheetahs v Edinburgh 17h30 Bloemfontein
Ulster v Treviso 19h05 Kingspan Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Connacht 19h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Leinster v Dragons 19h35 RDS Stadium
Newcastle Falcons v Gloucester 19h45 Kingston Park
Sat, 25 November 2017
Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors 12h45 Welford Road
Bath v Harlequins 12h45 Recreation Ground
Italy v South Africa 13h00 Rome
Scotland v Australia 14h30 Edinburgh
England v Samoa 15h00 Twickenham
Wales v New Zealand 17h15 Cardiff
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 17h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Ireland v Argentina 17h30 Aviva Stadium
France v Japan 19h00 Paris
Sun, 26 November 2017
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Liberty Stadium
Kings v Scarlets 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Zebre v Munster 13h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Saracens v Exeter Chiefs 15h00 Allianz Park
London Irish v Wasps 15h00 Madejski Stadium
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28