The Super solution
OPINION: @rugby365com contributor Angus Opperman believes he has a solution to SANZAAR’s Super Rugby conundrum.
There was a time when the Super 12 was the premier franchise and club competition in the world.
It consisted of teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
As the years rolled by more teams were added from existing and new regions – such as Asia and South America – in order to grow the competition.
However, it backfired badly.
Two South African teams (the Southern Kings and Cheetahs) were cut and sent to the European-based Pro14 competition and the Western Force ended up in a newly founded Indo Pacific Rugby Championship competition funded by Australian businessman Andrew Forrest.
Fast forward to 2020 and the competition finds itself in a unique situation, where it has been brought to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There were talks that the season could be scrapped if not resumed by May, and most recently, SANZAAR boss Andy Marinos proposed that Super Rugby should run concurrently with the Rugby Championship.
This would effectively mean Super Rugby will be played without its top internationals and we will basically see Currie Cup teams from our local sides playing in an international competition.
I have done some research and there is another way to make up for lost time.
At this stage, after seven rounds of Super Rugby, 21 inter-conference matches have been played across all conferences.
These sides are scheduled to play each other twice during the season.
Some have faced each other just once and some have not faced each other at all.
There are still 21 return fixtures and 20 home and away fixtures that should still take place, which amount to 41 games in total.
Played fixtures that still have to have a return match
How about these return fixtures get scrapped and those who are scheduled to play each other twice now play each other once – be it home or away.
It would let the competition keep its integrity, as everyone has faced each other as they were scheduled to, and save a couple of weeks that has been lost.
If one needs an extra week, the Super 12/14 rule for play-offs can be implemented and let the top four qualify and battle it out in semifinals to determine the finalists.
The final would be played the following week, the champion would be crowned, and another rugby week would be saved for future scheduled internationals and domestic competitions.
Home and away inter-conference fixtures that should still be played
By Angus Opperman