O'Neill calls for flawed Super series to dump teams

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 07:51
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REACTION: Former Australian Rugby Chief John O'Neill has called for Argentina and Japan to be dumped from the troubled Super Rugby competition, along with a South African side.

As the SANZAAR organisers grapple with a way forward for the confusing 18-team, five-nation championship, former Australian Rugby Union Chairman O'Neill says they must return to a 15-team format.

O'Neill said he fears the far-flung competition, beset with problems over its unwieldy conference structure and exhausting travel schedules, is losing its tribalism.

He has accused the organisers of trying to please everyone, including World Rugby.

"It will take some very bold decision-making," O'Neill told the Daily Telegraph on Friday, imploring Australian administrators to stand strong against calls to axe one of their own five teams.

"Am I suggesting it's an easy solution? No, it's not. But you cannot continue with an 18-team competition, which isn't even a genuine competition."

O'Neill was referring to the competition's convoluted four-conference structure and fixture schedule that means the Lions and the Southern Kings of South Africa will not play against any team from New Zealand during this regular season

O'Neill said it was time for a serious rethink.

"What is the best competition structure that is ultimately and unambiguously in the best interests of Australian rugby?" he asked.

"Personally, I would not have agreed with South Africa going to six teams. That's a domestic issue that they should have been told to sort out."

And he was vehemently against the suggestion that Australia should lose a franchise.

"I can't possibly agree with that. It is not the fault of the five Australian franchises that this Super 18 competition is a disaster.

"You can ask questions how the hell this 18-team competition came into existence, but the hard cold question now is 'what's the solution?'."

He said the current format across five countries and 17 times zones with matches being played from Thursday to Sunday was flawed.

"Latitudinal competitions — east/west competitions — do not work," he said, suggesting Australia should even look at a better trans-Tasman option while including Pacific and Asian teams.

The new season kicked off on Thursday with the Blues thrashing the Melbourne Rebels 56-18 in Melbourne.

Agence France-Presse

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 23 February 2018
Highlanders v Blues 06h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Reds 08h45 Melbourne
Munster v Glasgow Warriors 19h00 Irish Independent Park
Dragons v Edinburgh 19h30 Rodney Parade
Leinster v Kings 19h35 RDS
Scarlets v Ulster 19h35 Parc y Scarlets
France v Italy 20h00 Paris
Sat, 24 February 2018
Sunwolves v Brumbies 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Chiefs 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Stormers 08h45 Allianz Park
Treviso v Connacht 12h00 Stadio Monigo
Bath v Sale Sharks 12h30 Recreation Ground
Lions v Jaguares 13h05 Johannesburg
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Ireland v Wales 14h15 Aviva Stadium
Gloucester v Wasps 14h30 Kingsholm
Harlequins v Newcastle Falcons 15h00 Twickenham Stoop
Bulls v Hurricanes 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Scotland v England 16h45 BT Murrayfield
Ospreys v Cheetahs 17h30 Liberty Stadium
Sun, 25 February 2018
Zebre v Cardiff Blues 13h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
London Irish v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Leicester Tigers 15h30 Allianz Park
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MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0
Reds 0 0 0 0 0
Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0
Sunwolves 0 0 0 0 0
Rebels 0 0 0 0 0
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0
Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0
Blues 0 0 0 0 0
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 1 1 0 0 4
Lions 1 1 0 0 4
Sharks 1 0 0 1 1
Bulls 0 0 0 0 0
Jaguares 1 0 0 1 0