Sharks

Sharks boss Gold slams new Super Rugby format

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Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold has slammed the 18 team Super Rugby format
saying that it is not an even playing field for teams.

Gold’s Sharks team have been drawn in the Africa 2 Conference in the South
African Group so they will play all of the New Zealand teams but none of the
Australian teams.

In comparison the Stormers are in Africa 1 and they will play all of the Australian
teams but none of the New Zealand teams.

If the New Zealand teams retain their form from 2015 the Sharks be in for a
tough time. On the positive side the Sharks do get play two (Kings and Jaguars)
of the three new teams while the Stormers get to play one (Sunwolves).

Super Rugby’s organizers does not look fondly on team officials knocking their
tournament so Gold was careful with his words but while some parts of the format
are “absurd” they will just have to accept the format.

“The only thing I will say about it is that when you play sports at the
highest level, all you really want is a level playing field and this competition
does not provide you with that,” said Gold

“It is a little bit absurd, but in saying that it is what it is and there
are some exciting things.”

Gold is also not terribly fond of the Sharks’ draw in the middle of the season as the
Sharks will tour New Zealand and play the Blues, Highlanders and Chiefs and
then jump back on the plane to Durban where they will host the Hurricanes. Once
that group of New Zealand teams has been completed the Sharks fly out to Argentina
to play the Jaguars – all without a bye.

“I don’t think you understand the toll it has on the bodies when you fly
east to west, recover from jet-lag, play a game and then fly east to west again
for another game.

“We have to plan for that and we are going to plan for that. It’s a big
challenge, but next year will be a different kettle of fish. “

“Next year we will play the Australian group and we will have eight games
at home and seven games away – next year we will be sitting where the other
guys are,” Gold told Rugby365.

If history repeats itself the three new teams will struggle in their debut
season but Gold says that the Jaguars could challenge for the title this year.

“The Japanese team is going to be slightly different because it is not
going to be their full national team,” said Gold.

“The Argentinian team I think will have about 12 guys who played in the
World Cup. They are going to be ferocious. That is going to be a proper rugby
team. “

“They are well-drilled and Augustin Creevy is a fantastic captain and
they got a good coaching staff. They are going to be formidable. They are going
to shock some people and I think they are going to be potential contenders.

“I’m not sure the Sunwolves are going to be that formidable at this moment
in time, only because of the lateness of the planning, but we will see how the
competition progress.”

The Sharks begin their Super Rugby season on Saturday 27 February in Port Elizabeth
against the Southern Kings.

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