Calls for revamp of Super Rugby format
NEWS: More All Blacks stars are urging SANZAAR to change the Super Rugby format because of the huge number of brutal and intense New Zealand derbies.
The latest player to voice his discontent with the current Super Rugby format is All Blacks and Highlanders fullback, Ben Smith.
According to Stuff, Smith conceded that SANZAAR must change the format of Super Rugby as the Dunedin side embark on a horror schedule of brutal Kiwi derbies.
Aside from their 22-25 defeat to the Hurricanes last weekend, the team will take part in five New Zealand derbies in the next six weeks – including the Crusaders and Hurricanes twice, and a hungry Blues side in the other two encounters.
“The format and how it is now is just what we’ve got to roll with because that’s what it is for this year,’ Smith told Stuff.
“But going forward I think there probably does need to be a change.
“Maybe it is the round-robin scenario but I think there needs to be a change with how that’s going at the moment,”
Smith’s sentiments echo comments made last year All Blacks captain Kieran Read, who told RadioLIVE that the conference system was unsustainable.
“I like the idea of a full round robin where you play everyone once, but we can’t continue with this conference system moving forward,” Read said.
While Chiefs loose forward Sam Cane also lamented the toll Super Rugby was taking on its players following prop Aidan Ross’s serious leg injury during the Chiefs’ match against the Hurricanes.
It has been reported that SANZAAR is due to meet in the UK to discuss Super Rugby’s future and there have been reports that the Sunwolves could be cut and the competition returned a 14-team format.
It wouldn’t be the first time SANZAAR has cut teams from Super Rugby.
After expanding from 15 to 18 teams in 2016 under a new broadcast deal, the tournament was reverted back to a 15-team structure last year during the current deal following a vast array of lopsided results and a decreased quality of competition.
The Southern Kings and the Cheetahs of South Africa and the Western Force of Australia were the victims of that culling, with the South African franchises transferring to the Pro14 competition in Europe, while the Force were taken over by billionaire Andrew Forrest, who formed his own league – Global Rapid Rugby – for the Perth-based club to\take part in.