Christian Cullen: Threat of Super-sizing

8 comments
I understand what New Zealand Rugby boss Steve Tew is saying about the need to expand. Photo / Brett Phibbs
I understand what New Zealand Rugby boss Steve Tew is saying about the need to expand. Photo / Brett Phibbs

It seems inevitable Super Rugby will expand again but I wonder where the extra teams will come from and what it will do to the game in New Zealand at provincial level.

The All Blacks will always be strong and the desire to wear the black jersey will always be there. But I can see a swathe of young twentysomethings below current Super Rugby level being picked up to help fill these new sides, wherever they will be.

That's not necessarily a good thing for the game here.

I understand what New Zealand Rugby boss Steve Tew is saying about the need to expand. After all, money makes the world go round and New Zealand is a small market. If they were somehow able to crack into America, that would be huge because there's no bigger market.

But we already have 18 teams and some of the games this season have been pretty average. What would a Super 24 or a Super 30 look like? Could it even one day include sides from Europe?

The Chiefs had a pretty arduous travel schedule earlier this season, when they went from South Africa to Argentina to New Zealand and then Australia in four weeks. Somehow they won all four but they have since had a series of injuries, many to key players, and are scrapping to keep their position on the table.

Player welfare needs to be a consideration.

If the competition adds more new teams, how long will it take for people to understand whatever new format they come up with? It has taken a while for people to get their head around it this year, given you could have the second-highest number of points but sit fifth on the table.

There has been talk for many years about a global rugby season and I remember the idea of the best Super Rugby side taking on the European champions when I was playing. They have never been able to make it work.

There is merit in a global calendar, which would see internationals played on dates that work for both hemispheres. It would make more sense for the Northern Hemisphere to switch to playing in summer because the winters up there can be pretty ordinary. Although, if the new competition made enough money, they could build indoor stadiums and avoid the weather.

Much as it's a cool story, I can't see Jarryd Hayne making it to the Rio Olympics with the Fiji sevens team.

It's just too hard to go from league to American football then sevens in a short space of time. It's a different skill-set and a totally different type of fitness - just ask Sonny Bill Williams and Liam Messam.

You could probably find several club players in Fiji who would be better options. It would also be a kick in the teeth for the Fijian player who missed out to accommodate Hayne.

Debate on this article is now closed.

- Herald on Sunday

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