heno wrote: ↑June 23rd, 2022, 1:51 pm
Maybe this is the start of a new era of domination by the South African's across all fronts but if they hadnt just had both teams in the final of the URC we wouldnt be having this conversation. And if one SF was 5 mins longer and the other 5 mins shorter, we could have had a Leinster Ulster final. So they didnt exactly dominate the URC just gone.
But should they have dominated it? With the Covid cancellations before christmas, we ended up with a distorted league, where the trips to SA were cancelled, so they had a lot more travel than planned before christmas, which in effect means harder games for them, and thus they were abnormally towards the bottom half of the table at christmas (cue lots of talk of whats to be done about the shite SA teams). But then from christmas to now, they had the reverse, an abnormal amount of home games, no distraction from the 6 nations, no distraction from Europe, the other teams having to travel in the busy part of the season so somewhat weakened squads being sent, so they had every thing in their favour to go on a run of victories. Which they did and they moved up the table and fair play to them.
But its not going to be like that every year. Next year hopefully there wont be any cancellations etc, so the travel will be more equalised, so you might see teams tackling them in SA with stronger squads, and in the autumn when they will be missing more players due to the RC. They will be in europe, so will have to tackle that with the whole question of what do you priotise, they will have less free weekends to catch up from their christmas/summer break, ie the 6 nation weekends, so will have more continuous weeks of rugby. So lets see how it pans out.
Im not saying they definitely wont dominate the URC going forward, but there are plenty of reasons to withhold putting your house on it.
Assuming that at the very least they go on to do very well in the URC. Does that in itself support the overall arguement? They have been in Super rugby for 25 years, which a lot of people put forward as the best league in the world. At the very least with the NZ teams, they were playing against some of the best players and possibly some of the strongest club teams. For the reasons we know, thats been traded in for the URC which is widely regarded (unfairly if you ask me) as the worst of the professional leagues (or top 4 leagues). From a rugby point of view, that doesnt support the arugement that something seismic has happened. OK the improvement in the TV timings and the money and the fan attention hopefully will improve things financially for them, but is that more about offsetting the poor Rand and trying to hold players in the country rather than world domination?
If they do join the 6N (which is a huge if), that will use up the free weekends that they have now for catching up for their missed games during the christmas/summer break. And these games are the local derby games. So they will end up playing them during christmas, midweek, start of the season during the RC or the same weekends as the 6Ns. All of which will have the effect of doing down the importance of the derby games, which damages the URC brand for them.
Them joining the 6N deserves a thread in itself, but you have the issues with will it be 7 teams which will mean bye weekends for one country who will then have their local club derby games that weekend, which damages the 6N brand. Are all the nations going to agree to that? Will be a 6 team competition, ie throw italy out, which will sh!t all over the supposed primary goal of World Rugby of growing the game.
If they dont leave the RC, that again throws up huge questions. Will they continue in the summer / autumn tours? If so that means they will essentially be on a 12 month calendar, their Sprinboks will hardly ever be released back to to the clubs, further harming their ability to attract attention from the fanbase and be successful in the URC. When will they have their off season? Maybe we should just have a worldwide season long international competition and be done with it?
A lot of the other points (ie schools, currie cup, overseas boks) will be no different next year than they have been last year, so I dont see how they are evidence of a step change. They are evidence of SA being a strong rugby country, which they have been for some time, and hopefully will continue to be - we cant afford any of the top 10 countries falling away. I see their joining the URC as a good reorganisation of their setup and hopefully will yield good results to them and the rest of the URC even if that means the rest winning it less (but not never).
The changes to the 6N/RC if they happen will be huge to the world game and will unbalance everything for everybody, so I wouldnt be in favour of those. If they do come to pass, it wont be because CVC want it, it will be because everyone has agreed to it. So we will have to see. But if they do happen, everything will be different so I would see those changes as discreet items on their own, and not part of an overall journey that has started with SA winning their first URC.
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