Cheetahs and Kings must go says Stransky

Tue, 04 Apr 2017 06:29

INTERVIEW: Springbok great Joel Stransky on Tuesday urged SANZAAR to stop delaying and unveil its revamped Super Rugby format, saying the governing body needed to make tough decisions and stand by them.

Stransky said uncertainty had engulfed the Southern Hemisphere competition since the governing body announced early last month that a shake-up was imminent without providing any details.

"I think they need to make that announcement and be up front and say 'that's how it is, here are the reasons, like it or lump it'," he told New Zealand's Radio Sport.

"To be frank, it's the only way."

In the absence of solid information, speculation has been rife that SANZAAR will cut three teams - two South African and one Australian - from the competition.

Stransky said he hoped the Bloemfontein-based Cheetahs and Port Elizabeth's Southern Kings would be axed, leaving four strong South African teams.

"Financially they are not sustainable. They have very low supporter bases during Super Rugby," he said of the Kings and Cheetahs.

"They're in the middle of the country, they churn out great young talents, but they are not places that can economically sustain a team."

He believed four South African teams, rather than six, would also help the ailing Springboks.

"We need a smaller pool of professional players that we can pay more," he said.

"We need four Super Rugby teams that are strong, willing and highly competitive, so we can breed a winning culture and that can go right the way up, hopefully, to Springbok level."

Super Rugby expanded from 15 teams to 18 in 2016 with the introduction of Japan's Sunwolves, Argentina's Jaguares and South Africa's Kings.

It resulted in an unwieldy competition that straddles 17 time zones and four continents, featuring lopsided contests, taxing travel times and a fragmented conference system that confuses fans.

Stransky was scathing about the Sunwolves, who won only one match last season and have lost all five of their matches this year.

"The Sunwolves add absolutely no value to Super Rugby, it'd be great if we could get rid of them as well," he said.

However, indications are that the Sunwolves will survive in light of the 2019 World Cup being hosted by Japan and one of Australia's five teams will join the Cheetahs and Kings on the chopping block.

Reports in Australia say players could go on strike early next year if that takes place.

Agence France-Presse

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