The Super Rugby Saga: Why The Force Will Live to Fight Another Day

Well there’s still no start to the second half of the Australian Super Rugby saga – and it’s not because referee Hugh Creasy has lost the pea from his whistle. Rather, it’s because the ARU hasn’t re-appeared from the sheds yet. In fact, given the deathly silence, we might have to send someone to check they’re still in there…

So while we pause to reflect on what has happened since in the ARU announced its intention to cull either the Rebels or the Force from Super Rugby, your columnist is going to make a bold call. The Force will still be playing Super Rugby next season.

Here’s why. The only date that appears to be set in stone in this saga is May 10. That’s when the board of SANZAAR is scheduled to reconvene in Tokyo to finalise moves to cut one Australia Super Rugby team and a couple from South Africa, thus shrinking the competition to Super 15 in 2018.

But given the events which have occurred over the past couple of weeks, what chance is there of that actually happening?

Consider what the sheepish ARU delegates will have to say when they front up to the pre-SANZAAR sake cocktails in Tokyo in a fortnight? Here’s how the conversation might go: “We gave it a shot guys, like we promised we would, but it blew up in our faces. We clearly underestimated the passion of the rugby fraternity out west – and they have a QC on their team who is frightening the sh..t out of all our tight five. We’re sorry, but we don’t have a Plan B.”

This might prompt the South African delegates to nervously chip in: “While we’re on the topic gentlemen, we haven’t made a lot of progress culling two teams either.”
So where does it go from there? One of two ways. The first is that SANZAAR bulldozes ahead with its plan for a Super 15 competition in 2018. Consider the chaos from such a decision, not to mention the legal fall-out. Who knows, SANZAAR might even find itself in the frame for bringing rugby’s reputation into disrepute.
The other option available to SANZAAR would be to put its plans to reduce Super Rugby to a 15 team competition on hold for another season to have a think about it.
And sniffing the liniment in the breeze, that, rugby followers, is where I think things are headed.
A couple of quick things to sign off on. 1 Listen out for Alan Jones on 6PR at 3pm this arvo. 2. Get along to nib Stadium tomorrow night to watch the Force take on the Lions.
For me, I’m looking forward to dragging the gear bag down to Britannia in the morning for the opening round of junior rugby, which is, after all, what this Super Rugby stuff is all about. Roo Dogs will be hard to beat in under-13s!