Is it a fair statement or have I just become cynical when I say that I truly believe there’s more legitimacy and intrigue in club rugby than Super Rugby?
Let’s start with the legitimacy . . . the premier Christchurch club competition has 12 teams which play each other once. The competition is then split into a top and bottom six. The top six sides play each other once more to decide seedlings for the finals. Your team’s regular season consists of 16 rounds played across 15 weeks . . .
Super Rugby used to work on a formula very similar to this and it went off without a hitch.
However, the powers that be enhanced the competition by increasing the number of teams (currently 15 teams), which are split across three unevenly balanced conferences. This allowed the Brumbies to secure a home play-off berth in 2017 by finishing the season with six wins and nine losses . . . let’s not even mention the Crusaders travelling to South Africa for the final.
In terms of regular season your team also plays 16 rounds but is spread across 22 weeks.
Now let’s move to intrigue . . . the balance of power in the Christchurch competition tends to fluctuate from year to year and other than a couple of championship candidate v table-dweller meetings it can be hard to predict.
The only predictable downfall in recent years is the knowledge that Lincoln University are likely to be the team to beat – you can also thank Super Rugby for that, but that’s a conversation for another day.
We should also mention the Canterbury country competition, which goes into the final round-robin this weekend, has the top four in one section separated by just two points, while the other section has five teams battling for the two final play-off spots.
Super Rugby has plenty of intrigue. However, this is going on the basis you’re watching a New Zealand derby. Once again we find ourselves looking perplexed about the Hurricanes being fourth in the overall standings with 14 more points than the Waratahs in third.
Of the 10 teams outside of the New Zealand conference just three teams have a better win to loss ratio.
Is it just me or is time wearing thin on how long I can take the conference system seriously?