Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Wynne Gray: Super 15 system needs review so every team plays one another

The Chiefs perform their own haka as they celebrate the win in the Investec Super Rugby final. Photo / AP.
The Chiefs perform their own haka as they celebrate the win in the Investec Super Rugby final. Photo / AP.

Can Sanzar please return my Super rugby series?

One with clout and purpose, rather than this extended, protracted hybrid that Sanzar has delivered, which they trumpet with all sorts of promotional statistics.

Naturally those figures are impressive because there is diddly-squat to compare them against.

For starters, two fundamental flaws mar the series.

There is no complete round-robin play and the June break for internationals against Northern Hemisphere teams is rugby interruptus.

Sanzar give themselves a pat on the back for a spectacle which has fewer penalties and the ball in play for much longer.

They lauded the closeness of the quest to find the Australian conference winner.

They would be better asking themselves why sixth is now the new third and why a sixth placed finisher like the Reds can host a quarterfinal.

Now we have more dramas on the horizon.

The Lions have been replaced by the southern Kings - coached by Matt Sexton - on a one-year deal, depending on results.

Out west in Oz, the Force are floundering as staff and players disappear.

In New Zealand, the Blues were a disgrace and did not earn any super description at all.

Cut throat. That is professional sport, top-level competition which has a promotion and relegation component instead of a nanny-state baby-sitting service.

Trim the excess, tighten the competition, give the series some sting at both ends of the table.

It meandered this season, it went on in the early hours of the morning in South Africa although at least games were played in normal viewing time either side of the Tasman trench.

Sky and their viewers love it. Why not? Subscriptions continue, ratings are strong so advertising is attracted.

Record and fast-forward are superb tools to assist viewing while there is a delete option if other reports indicate some real dross.

Reduce the number of sides, have a draw where they all play each other and that is the Super rugby champion.

Then if you want all three nations involved in a super finals format, make some arrangement.

The wicked travel schedule endured by the Sharks in this year's finals was daft.

When Sanzar wanted athletes at their peak for the tournament crescendo, they got a planeload of exhausted blokes against a fresh and hungry Chiefs side.

Good idea? Ask yourself Sanzar? Mark down must do better for your end of year reviews.

- NZ Herald

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Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

The latest commentary and analysis from senior rugby writer Wynne Gray. Wynne has been covering the All Blacks for more than 27 years and has attended more than 230 All Blacks tests live for the Herald.

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