It's a real shame.

Don't worry, this is not another Trump opinion piece - if you're anything like me you have seen, read and heard more than enough about him in the last couple of weeks.

I'm referring to the decision by the Chiefs to not play any Super Rugby matches in the Bay of Plenty next year.

Granted, Tauranga does not have a suitable stadium. But Rotorua does. The Rotorua International Stadium is generally regarded as one of the best in the country. This year it hosted one pre-season game against the Waratahs, drawing a big crowd of Chiefs fans from around the region.


As reported yesterday, the Chiefs organisation have not yet given any explanation for the Bay snub - saying its chief executive was overseas and he was the one to answer that question.

Read more:
Chiefs' Rotorua snub a disgrace, says councillor

No doubt there were numerous considerations to take into account, with commercial factors high among them.

So there may have been a very good reason for the decision and perhaps they are planning on returning to the Bay in 2018 to make up for it.

Even so, it means a large chunk of the franchise's fan base will next year miss out on a chance to watch 'their' team in person.

No disrespect to the Steamers, but it's the superstars in Super Rugby most of our young kids recognise and look up to.

Seeing the Aaron Crudens, Sam Canes and Brodie Retallicks up close and personal is what excites kids and inspires them to not only support the team longer-term but aspire to one day pull on the Chiefs jersey themselves.

The Chiefs cover a wide geographic area, and it's not possible to play in all the towns every year. But for a province the size of the Bay of Plenty, with a stadium and fans ready and waiting, to not even get a pre-season match - well, it's no surprise some are upset.