Super Rugby could learn from the NFL and NRL about showcasing their pinnacle event.

Did you hear there's a rugby game this weekend?

And not one involving everyone associated with the Chiefs racing their way to the moralistic bottom?

Yes, it's true, tonight in Wellington, the tournament that has occupied our sporting attention for the last six months will reach its thrilling climax. Apparently.

In fairness to most casual fans, it would be easy to have forgotten all about the Super Rugby final, after a week in which the All Blacks entered camp, yet another short-form tournament was launched and one of the competition's most well-regarded franchises steadily imploded.


Given all that's transpired in the seven days since the Hurricanes and Lions booked their final berths, it's been understandably difficult for Super Rugby to snatch a sliver of publicity. But the competition has hardly helped itself.

Super Bowl week, this ain't. Hell, the hype ahead of what should be the biggest non-international in this country is incomparable to NRL grand final week.

We can - often justifiably - scoff at the contrivance of the pre-match histrionics in those leagues, but both know they're in the entertainment business and both know how to make the most of their annual close-up.

Our national sport should take note from the way those oval-ball games build momentum before their showpieces.

Where rugby seems satisfied as soon as the the sold-out sign is attached to the gate, other codes seize their opportunity to gain undivided attention, setting their sights on much more than ticket revenue.

Like, for example, drawing new fans and keeping in thrall the regulars. Like providing a memorable experience to those who weren't lucky enough to snare a ticket. Like creating a bit of anticipation for the last game of the season.

Part of Super Rugby's problem has been beyond the competition's control, at least since the first Chief bombed his way into a Waikato hot pool. No one could have foreseen a seemingly model outfit turning into a team version of Tiger Woods. But has the competition attempted anything to switch the focus from one of rugby's darkest elements to ostensibly its brightest?

And that wouldn't have been about scrambling for ideas once the Chiefs started unravelling. It would have been about planning a series of events long before Michael Allardice showed the LGBT awareness of Mike Pence.

Yes, the NFL and NRL have the advantage of knowing in advance which city will host their final, but Super Rugby's theoretical festivities never needed a city-wide shut-down and a street parade. (Save that for next week in Johannesburg.)

Look at something as simplistic as the NRL's grand final breakfast, a beloved tradition in which the teams and coaches gather to break bread a few days before the match. Or perhaps replicate the fan engagement activities hosted at Darling Harbour in the days leading up to kickoff.

Or how about stealing the Super Bowl's media day, when every single player is made available to reporters ranging from the serious to the silly. New Zealand might be a little small for Lions reserve prop Corne Fourie to field too many requests, but a scaled-down version would be a damn sight better than what happened on Wednesday, when both teams turned silent three days before the final.

How can the competition possibly grow through that approach? Maybe it's content with its lot; a full house at the Cake Tin and prominent coverage in the 48 hours around the game.

But in a world in which Super Bowl Sunday stops a nation and the NRL grand final does the same to at least two states, Super Rugby's denouement remains merely a blip on the rugby-filled radar.