Come on Sanzaar, convince me this latest edition of Super Rugby has plenty going for it, that it is the way forward and makes sense from most of the rugby and commercial aspects.

Drum roll please and welcome to the rostrum Andy Marinos, chief executive of the organising group.

"I do tend to get the feeling especially in this market [Australia] and New Zealand and probably in South Africa to a degree, people think this whole thing is broken but it's not," he said.

Those were some of the bon mots which cascaded from Marinos' lips as he spoke after a meeting of Sanzaar executives, coaches and commercial partners in Sydney.


The foundation audiences think Super Rugby is defective while Japan and Argentina are content and give daily thanks at the rugby altar that Sanzaar picked them up and ran with them into an expanded conference-style 18-team competition.

Then in the next breath, he was telling us about ideas to expand further into North America.

Let's call that brainstorming, blue-sky thinking or a moment when he got a touch off-point in his delivery. Those schemes are for the hallucinogenic coffee group meeting in a soundproof room, not for tackling the growing Super Rugby schisms.

Marinos' personal market research tells him the competition is flawed. He's had that reinforced in his travels through the foundation countries but says those viewpoints are not right.

Super Rugby is not broken. Fair enough - I'd expect Marinos to peddle that point of view, as his salary depends to a large extent on promoting the series and forging new ground and commercial arrangements. Silly to toss away his job just yet.

Marinos will point to things like rising television audiences as evidence of the competition's popularity while we wonder how many of those hits are recorded rather than live audiences or were eyeball curiosity in year one of the Sunwolves , Jaguares and Kings.

If widespread public opinion - not the voices of that other tribe who gathered for the Sydney summit and whose jobs depend on Sanzaar - tells Marinos the format is a dud, why isn't Sanzaar recognising that with new ideas?

Conferences are for businesses looking to justify their existence or devotees
of all sports Stateside but not for rugby followers in the Southern Hemisphere.

We like equality, level playing fields and all those quaint equal opportunity round-robin systems.

We have confusion in the national provincial championship because New Zealand Rugby decided to use crossover matches not to mention the ghastly new ruck laws they are trialling. Separate divisions would have made better sense.

And that same logic was pushed by former All Black skipper Sean Fitzpatrick
when he was quizzed about everyone getting better bang for their buck out of Super Rugby.

He suggested a couple of layers in the series, a structure which would allow round-robin games and certainly a stronger competitive emphasis with the prospect of home and away games in the same season.

Teams should make the playoffs on merit rather than geographical or conference affiliations.

There was a 20-year battle through tweaks and variations.

At times, it felt like incremental progress and we yearned for more pizzazz and an unbroken calendar. Officials canvassed a horde of interest groups, collated the majority wishes and charted the future.

Expansion and conferences delivered rising confusion and sent satisfaction into reverse. As George Gregan once said: "Four more years."