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What if the remaing South African franchises were to join the Pro 14....

  • 15-04-2018 9:35am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 654 ✭✭✭ KevinK


    With the PRO 14 announcement that Jurie Roux and Rassie Erasmus are joining the board  it seems South Africa is moving ever closer to the Northern Hemisphere.

    This post is to explore the (entirely hypothetical) idea of South Africa's remaining four franchises joining the Pro 14. I hope it is ok to post this as a new thread, I am not a regular poster here but am someone who reads the rugby forum almost every day and highly value the opinions of many insightful posters.

    The current format provides two pools of 7 and the simplest expansion would be to add two teams to each pool making two pools of 9, however I cannot see how this would work. Following the current format of home and away against pool rivals and home or way against teams from the other pool this would mean 25 regular season games which I think would just be too much (and that is not even counting the two extra derby games)

    Two pools of 8 would definitely work (22 games + optional derbies)  but that would involve dropping two of the teams. There  have been calls to omit the Italians but considering the improvements this season that wouldn't make too much sense. Another option would be to only accept two of the extra South African teams but I can't see them wanting to continue in two different hemispheres over the long term. Maybe I am wrong about this as I have seen rumors of the Sharks and Bulls only moving. Also would this lead to a 24 game season or possibly the dropping of the derbies?

    Two approaches which could work to provide 22 game regular seasons, preserve home and away derbies and be as fair as possible.

    Option A
     One pool of 18, everybody plays each team either home or away (alternate years).
    This provides 17 games, then 5 more games allocated as follows. 

    South African teams - 5 derby games
    Ireland - 3 derby games plus two random fixtures v Welsh, Scottish or Italian opposition.
    Wales - as above
    Scotland - 1 derby game plus four random fixtures v Wesh, Irish or Italian opposition.
    Italy as above

    The fixtures would rotate - meaning each Irish team would play all of the 8 Welsh, Scottish Italy teams over the 4 year period. (in addition to the one regular season game).

    Personally I am not a huge fan of different teams having different fixtures but it is used in many leagues around the world and this is not a particularly extreme example of it.

    Option B
    Another possibility would be three groups of 6 teams

    Group 1: 6 South African Teams
    Group 2: 4 Irish teams and 2 Scottish teams
    Group 3: 4 Welsh teams and 2 Italian teams.

    With Scottish and Italian teams switching each year or every second year.

    10 home and away matches against the teams in your group, and 12 home or away matches against the other teams.

    Benefits of this would be maintaining national derbies within the structure of the tournament and the hope that these domestic rivalries would increase interest in the pool tables - i think provincial fans like to know where they are in relation to the other.

    Top2 in each pool into the quarters along with the two best third place teams.

    The benefit of this format is that teams would have the same fixtures as their pool rivals

    Both of these formats mean that teams would only have 3 away games in South Africa each year (A minimal increase considering the increase to 6 total teams) 

    [font=Bell Gothic Std Light, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Both would also give South African teams only 6 trips to Europe which isn't too bad would also help minimize travel costs ( Versus 9 trips for the Kings and Cheetahs this year)[/font]

    [font=Bell Gothic Std Light, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Of course none of this may ever happen and it might seems like a strange topic at this time of year but I would be interested to hear any thoughts on this. Which format would be better? Or is there another simpler solution I have overlooked?[/font]


Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 501 ✭✭ squawker


    I would love if they brought in a relegation place and allow a team from say Georgia's domestic league to compete

    and then maybe a playoff against the team being relegated from Pro 14 to see who gets into the league


  • Subscribers Posts: 36,258 ✭✭✭✭ sydthebeat


    The three conference system of 18 teams has already been tried in super rugby in 2016 + 2017 and failed miserably to be honest. It's was a non competition where teams could go through as whole season without playing the best teams. The play off systems would have to be weighted as the Irish teams wouldn't accept a situation where only 2 of the 6 Irish and Scottish teams could be guaranteed a play off place, when "easier" groups would be more likely to fill the third place spots.

    We shouldn't replicate a system that has already been shown to fail.


  • Registered Users Posts: 654 ✭✭✭ KevinK


    sydthebeat wrote: »
    The three conference system of 18 teams has already been tried in super rugby in 2016 + 2017 and failed miserably to be honest. It's was a non competition where teams could go through as whole season without playing the best teams. The play off systems would have to be weighted as the Irish teams wouldn't accept a situation where only 2 of the 6 Irish and Scottish teams could be guaranteed a play off place, when "easier" groups would be more likely to fill the third place spots.

    We shouldn't replicate a system that has already been shown to fail.

    I think that the Super Rugby format was quite different though - It had a ludicrous format whereby half of the south african teams did not play any New Zealand teams at all for a whole season and half did not play any Australian teams. This resulted in the Lions being top seed despite not beating the best 
    The Super rugby format for this this year is much more similar to my proposal - it has each team playing eight in conference games home and away and then 8 of the other ten (why not all 10!) and I think it is a much improved product this year.
    I see what you are saying about "easier" groups filling the third place spots but think because only 10 of the 22 games are "in" pool games this factor would be negated somewhat. To compare with Super Rugby (again with an inferior/less transparent format), the New Zealand sides in the hardest pool still managed to garner the most points by and large. In fact it could be argued that limiting it to three irish and Scottish qualifying could be the biggest limitation of this format but I suppose there is nothing to stop a tweaking of the rules to state that the two non qualifiers with the highest points totals would qualify for the finals i.e 3rd and 4th in the same pool could qualify if merited.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,016 ✭✭✭ Blut2


    I don't think SARU will be in any rush to completely pull out of the Southern Hemisphere. Theres enough interest in rugby in the country to sustain 6 teams (just about, with a bit of work) which is too many for either individual league option currently. So it would make sense for them to keep a toe in both hemispheres.

    I could see them moving 2 more teams North however soon-ish if the financials are right for it. That'd be good for both South African rugby and for the quality in the Pro14, hopefully. Not so good for the Kiwis and Australians however.

    Expanding to a Pro16 with the current set-up would also be just-about doable, without breaking the format. It'd put off any more major need for restructuring for a few years after that. I think the question is just which two teams join next out of the rumours of an American team, a German team or one or two SA teams.


  • Registered Users Posts: 654 ✭✭✭ KevinK


    Blut2 wrote: »


    Expanding to a Pro16 with the current set-up would also be just-about doable, without breaking the format. It'd put off any more major need for restructuring for a few years after that. I think the question is just which two teams join next out of the rumours of an American team, a German team or one or two SA teams.

    Out of interest how do u think this would work - adding one team to each pool gives a perfect 22 games with the current format - but means we would miss out on two derbies which I can't see being allowed happen. Any chance we go to a 24 game season?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 37,978 irishbucsfan


    KevinK wrote: »
    Out of interest how do u think this would work - adding one team to each pool gives a perfect 22 games with the current format - but means we would miss out on two derbies which I can't see being allowed happen. Any chance we go to a 24 game season?

    I can't see us going near a 24 game season. If anything I could see them pushing for a 20 game season.

    I'd say they'll be analysis their finances very closely this season, looking at what the loss of a home game for some teams actually led to.

    For a 16 team format, we could do 4 conferences of 4, home and away against your own conference (6 games), every other conference home or away (12 games) and then alternate adding in an away game against every team in one conference on a rolling basis (4 games). That'd be 22.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭ LeinsterDub


    Rumours on twitter the Sharks coming north soon.


  • Registered Users Posts: 45,433 ✭✭✭✭ thomond2006


    Isn't their a SANZAAR deal in place for Super Rugby for the next few years? I assumed the remaining SA teams (Sharks, Stormers, Lions, Bulls) were locked in for the forseeable future.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭ LeinsterDub


    Isn't their a SANZAAR deal in place for Super Rugby for the next few years? I assumed the remaining SA teams (Sharks, Stormers, Lions, Bulls) were locked in for the forseeable future.

    Possible swapping out for the Kings? Just to be clear this is me guessing I've not seen it anywhere.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,184 ✭✭✭ Burkie1203


    Possible swapping out for the Kings? Just to be clear this is me guessing I've not seen it anywhere.

    Kings have significant political importance so they will be retained IMO


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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭ LeinsterDub


    Burkie1203 wrote: »
    Kings have significant political importance so they will be retained IMO

    I meant switching them back into the super rugby set up


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,016 ✭✭✭✭ Mc Love


    Could we see the South Africans joining the six nations if they are more interested in the Northern Hemisphere?


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,303 ✭✭✭ Dubinusa


    An American team makes no sense yet. They would not be competitive , unless they were allowed to spend freely. Which imo, would be bad for the league. The game is developing over here now and they are starting their own league.
    I would wait to see how that goes before they get into the pro 14.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,641 Dog Botherer


    Mc Love wrote: »
    Could we see the South Africans joining the six nations if they are more interested in the Northern Hemisphere?

    No


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭ LeinsterDub


    Dubinusa wrote: »
    An American team makes no sense yet. They would not be competitive , unless they were allowed to spend freely. Which imo, would be bad for the league. The game is developing over here now and they are starting their own league.
    I would wait to see how that goes before they get into the pro 14.
    Also the weather and time zones are major concerns too.


  • Registered Users Posts: 484 ✭✭ durthacht


    Isn't their a SANZAAR deal in place for Super Rugby for the next few years? I assumed the remaining SA teams (Sharks, Stormers, Lions, Bulls) were locked in for the forseeable future.

    Yes there was a ten year strategy signed in 2016 by SANZAAR when they downsized participation from Australia and SA. So I doubt any other big change would be imminent, but if they can't make the plan work then who knows.


  • Registered Users Posts: 654 ✭✭✭ KevinK


    Thanks for all the replies guys, very interesting


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,070 ✭✭✭ Boscoirl


    Talking to one of the logistics people for Munster rugby, pro14 need to review the travel set up for the trips down south. Of all the pro14 teams that travelled only Leinster were able send all their players down business class(apparently Cardiff all travelled economy), as they had most time to plan due to fixture releases. Munster even had 2 of the academy guys fly back on the next plane capacity issues.

    By the time the fixtures were confirmed, prices had risen and space was an issue.

    Munster decided to bus it from Bloemfontein to Johannesburg to allow more players travel in business


  • Registered Users Posts: 37,978 irishbucsfan


    They could easily reach an agreement with airlines where the league sources the travel arrangements in advance of fixtures/teams being announced, but this was a very last minute thing this season to be fair.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,230 ✭✭✭✭ Venjur


    It might be impossible to avoid, but I don't think it's entirely reasonable that teams should be taking on an 8000 mile trips at this stage of the season right before a European semi final. I know first hand how tiring it can be to travel long distance and compete, can really take the bounce out of your step for a week or two, it's not ideal.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 654 ✭✭✭ KevinK


    Ya, I can't see this being as big an issue in the future. An increase to 6 South African teams would mean 3 games for each team in South Africa each season. I wonder would/could they be played as a three game tour would be great for fans. Especially if one of the games was against the Stormers in Cape Town


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭ LeinsterDub


    Boscoirl wrote: »
    Talking to one of the logistics people for Munster rugby, pro14 need to review the travel set up for the trips down south. Of all the pro14 teams that travelled only Leinster were able send all their players down business class(apparently Cardiff all travelled economy), as they had most time to plan due to fixture releases. Munster even had 2 of the academy guys fly back on the next plane capacity issues.

    By the time the fixtures were confirmed, prices had risen and space was an issue.

    Munster decided to bus it from Bloemfontein to Johannesburg to allow more players travel in business

    I though Turkish Airlines were proving the flights free of charge


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,170 ✭✭✭✭ Akrasia


    squawker wrote: »
    I would love if they brought in a relegation place and allow a team from say Georgia's domestic league to compete

    and then maybe a playoff against the team being relegated from Pro 14 to see who gets into the league

    Nope

    adding and removing entire countries from a league makes absolutely no financial sense


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,070 ✭✭✭ Boscoirl


    I though Turkish Airlines were proving the flights free of charge

    Could that be for the European games?

    Munster flew Emirates.

    The way I picked it up. The teams are given a budget of 30players X €x fare. Which only works if you get in early or there is a flat fare system(which doesn’t exist)

    One solution would be to fix the games in SA much earlier so teams can plan, but I am sure the kings and cheetahs are having the same issues coming up here.

    Munsters flight from Joburg to Dubai was completely fully. Our tour was on it, but as we were flying business we were on the later flights with the stranded players( They were still in economy). From leaving the hotel
    In Bloemfontein to getting home it was 39hrs.


  • Registered Users Posts: 408 ✭✭ Defunkd


    I think the leagues have been reorganised enough in the last few years to prevent any further rejigging for another few seasons. Any extra travelling wouldn't be welcomed by the clubs and unions.

    I can't imagine too many of the Bok teams wanting to travel North when they believe they are facing better quality opposition out East. The status of beating kiwi teams would be better than beating European teams imo.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,433 ✭✭✭✭ Cookiemunster


    Defunkd wrote: »
    I think the leagues have been reorganised enough in the last few years to prevent any further rejigging for another few seasons. Any extra travelling wouldn't be welcomed by the clubs and unions.

    I can't imagine too many of the Bok teams wanting to travel North when they believe they are facing better quality opposition out East. The status of beating kiwi teams would be better than beating European teams imo.

    It's about the cash, not the prestige. If they think they'd be financially better of in the NH, then that's where they'll eventually end up.


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