Super Rugby

Moffett : Sanzaar’s pursuit of quantity over quality is a nightmare




Former Rugby Boss David Moffett has said that he believes that Super Rugby bosses Sanzaar need to cut the 18-team competition back to 12 teams.

Sanzaar have expanded Super Rugby with every re-negotiation of the TV deal but the latest 18 team format appears to have pushed too far as fans have turned away in their millions.

TV figures and attendances are well down for the Super 18 format and teams across the board are struggling financially.

Australian Rugby is at a low point as only one team reached the play offs and the Wallabies have lost their last five Tests and Moffett says Super Rugby expansion is to blame.

Moffett, who helped to create Super Rugby 21 years ago as Sanzar boss, says that he would cut either Melbourne Rebels or Western Force as losing a team would help consolidate Australia’s depth into four clubs.

“It’s not just about one shocking loss to the All Blacks but a shake-up for the whole code to better address what is important,” Moffett told The Courier-Mail.

Moffett said that the crowd of 65,328 for the Rugby Championship / Bledisloe Cup opener in Sydney concerned him almost as much as the “42-8” scoreline.

“I was gobsmacked by the small crowd, which reflects a whole lot of reasons including the disconnect from the new Super Rugby format, an overcomplicated rule book, fans being judicious on their sports spend and the series loss to England,” Moffett said.

The former chief executive of the New Zealand Rugby Union and the NSWRU says his first call would be to give Super Rugby a brutal overhaul of Super Rugby as Sanzaar have veered off course.

“SANZAAR has taken the view it is for them to develop rugby outside Europe and that’s not its role,” Moffett said.

“The pursuit of quantity over quality is a nightmare with Japan, other weaker teams involved and talk of 20 and 24 teams in the future.”

“Fans switched off from the ludicrous four-conference format this year when all they want to turn them on again is a competition they understand and quality.

“I’d return the competition to 12 teams and play home-and-away with four each from Australia, NZ and South Africa.”

“Getting rid of the Rebels or Force would be tough on them but why are we paying journeyman players big money to pad out five teams when we only have the strength for four.”

“The Super Rugby set-up is part of the Wallabies’ downfall.”

Moffett said that the savings that could be made by cutting struggling teams could be used to get more rugby into schools, development and keeping players at home instead of losing them to Europe.

Moffett is also a former chief executive of the NRL between 1999-2001.

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