Sean Fitzpatrick's Super solution
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW - PART ONE: Legendary former All Black captain Sean Fitzpatrick, in a one-on-one interview with Jan de Koning, explains what he believes the best remedy for the ailing Super Rugby tournament is.
Fitzpatrick, who was a member if the Auckland team that played in the first Super Rugby competition upon South Africa's return from isolation in 1993, suggested that 'less is better' for the tournament.
He made it clear 18 teams were too many and even next year's 15-team Super Rugby competition may be too voluminous and unworkable.
"There were just too many mismatches," Fitzpatrick told rugby365.
"The most competitive games is when you have the best teams playing against each other."
He suggested that a two-tier system - where the top teams play each other and the lesser teams play each other - with a promotion-relegation aspect will be the best for the competition going forward.
"We need to make sure we have competitive games going forward," he said, adding: "I am not sure reducing it by three teams is going to make a real difference.
"I would have two divisions of 12 teams each. I think back to the Super 12, that was the best rugby I was involved in - when everyone played everyone.
"I know there's an issue with trying to find those other six teams, on top of the 18 teams there was.
"We need to have a more competitive environment.
"If you look at the New Zealand franchises, those were hugely competitive games."
He suggested that the play-offs were all very competitive, but that the season was too long and the fact that everybody did not play all the other teams was problematic.
He added that while the Southern Hemisphere has some good players and teams, they are coming up from the Northern Hemisphere - who are "upping the ante".
"The Lions tour showed they have some world class players.
"In terms of a global game, it is looking very good."
By Jan de Koning
* Don't miss parts two and three when Fitzpatrick gives his thoughts on the upcoming Rugby Championship and explains why New Zealand is so far ahead of the rest of the world.