Chiefs coach Dave Rennie has criticized Super Rugby’s controversial finals format saying that it favours the South African teams.
Rennie has stopped short of calling the current format as unfair on New Zealand teams but has made it clear that South African teams are getting a better deal.
“There’s going to be four quarterfinals and two of them are going to be in Africa,” Rennie told AAP.
“Considering they’ve got six teams and half those games are going to be there … I guess they put a lot of money into it, so that’s the way it is.”
“In the end, we’ve known about the comp – it is what it is. It means if you don’t win your conference, you’re traveling.”
Super Rugby’s 18 team format has already come in for much criticism and as the play offs get nearer the criticism grows louder.
The 18 teams are grouped geographically with two regional groups, each consisting of two conferences.
The Australasian Group has five teams in the Australian Conference and five teams in the New Zealand Conference.
The South African Group has six South African teams, one Argentine team and one Japanese team split into a four-team Africa 1 Conference and a four-team Africa 2 Conference.
Each of the Conference leaders will have a home play off or quarter final and the next best three ranked teams in the Australasian Group and next best South African group team qualify for the play offs as wildcards.
As it currently stands three of the New Zealand teams will occupy wildcard spots even though they have more points than the higher ranked teams.
“It’s difficult this many teams in,” Rennie told AAP.
“I even look at the Jaguares (from Argentina) and obviously they’ve really battled but, gee, they’ve had some travel.
“Their pool games are predominantly in Africa. They had a three-week tour of New Zealand and went to Japan and then went home.
“We’ve done a bit of travel too but that’s what happens when you get this many teams involved.”
Rennie said that he would prefer a competition with 16 teams in it where every team plays the other team once and then progressed to a four or six-team finals series.
“That’s a fairer system, isn’t it?” he said.
“There’s been a bit of talk about the fact that maybe the Stormers, Bulls – they play 15 round-robin games and they don’t have to play a Kiwi side.”
“That’s not a bad draw is it?”
Super Rugby’s organisers Sanzaar have signalled that they are looking at ways to improve the Super Rugby format in the future although changes or additional teams are unlikely before 2018.