Super Rugby expansions created a monster admits Marinos

SANZAAR chief executive Andy Marinos has conceded that the decisions to expand the Super Rugby competition proved to be overly ambitious.

Marinos admitted Super Rugby had strayed from the original formula that saw it hailed as the best rugby competition in the world. Conceding the tournament was at its best when it was contested between ten to a dozen teams.

Super Rugby expansions created a monster

Super Rugby began in 1993 with three South African provinces (Natal, Transvaal and Northern Transvaal), competing alongside two Australian state team (New South Wales and Queensland), four teams from New Zealand (Auckland, North Harbour, Otago and Waikato) and Western Samoa.

The tournament was then a reward for performance in the Currie Cup for South African sides and the NPC in New Zealand, as such the cast of ten changed from year to year.

The merit elements fell away with the franchise era as ten became 12 and then 14. The tournament reached its peak with 18 teams taking part in 2016.

Super 10 Rugby began with a two pool system and was a short impactful tournament that preceded the domestic campaigns for the three Southern Hemisphere powers.

Marinos conceded that Super Rugby morphed into a long-winded and convoluted event that dominates the calendar in the Southern Hemisphere. 

“That (original formula) was to provide a blockbuster top-end, very quick, short and impactful competition structure, that complemented the domestic structure in each of the countries, not took over the domestic structures,” he told stuff.co.nz.

“That (original formula) was to provide a blockbuster top-end, very quick, short and impactful competition structure, that complemented the domestic structure in each of the countries, not took over the domestic structures,” he told stuff.co.nz.

Marinos expects the 2021 Super Rugby season to be affected by the fallout of the pandemic and continued restriction on global travel.

“We are getting very strong indications that borders are not going to be open, or as freely accessible, in the first quarter of next year,” he said.

New Zealand Rugby have made it very clear that they don’t envision continuing the Super Rugby relationship with South Africa and Argentina.

SANZAAR split?

Marinos, however, remains committed to holding SANZAAR together at least for the time being.

“It is like most things, we are living in an unpredictable environment and there is a lot of speculation,” he said.

“I am really focused on keeping the SANZAAR alliance and getting some normality back into our competition structures at this stage.”

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