Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Move north a bold but potentially rewarding step forward for SA Rugby

Move north a bold but potentially rewarding step forward for SA Rugby

Lukhanyo Am of the Cell C Sharks

Shaun Goosen gives his views on South Africa's Super Rugby franchises' potential move north.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

All indications are that the Sharks, Stormers, Bulls and Lions will join an expanded Pro14 competition ahead of next season and finally leave behind a Super Rugby tournament well past its prime. Despite some dismay amongst many groups of local supporters, the benefits of such a move could be hugely rewarding in the long run.

The winds of change are here. Following the knock-on effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the rugby landscape will undergo unprecedented alterations ahead of the next season. About damn time, too.

For years, many South Africans have implored Saru to ditch Super Rugby and link up with the Celtic league and, judging by recent events, their wish may soon be granted. The Sanzaar-run competition lost its appeal a long time ago and it’s no secret that SA teams have always held the short end of the stick in terms of its travel demands and time zone differences.

Additionally, fixtures like the Rebels vs Crusaders, Lions vs Reds and Waratahs vs Blues just don’t live up to their billing anymore. Super Rugby is a tired, repetitive and predictable affair.

By joining the Cheetahs and Southern Kings in a revised Pro14, South Africa’s four premier franchises could experience a revitalised rugby calendar that would finally breathe new life into the local game after so much tedium.

While some reports claim this new development will come at the expense of the former teams’ continued inclusion in the competition, this would be a savage blow. Despite their struggles in the tournament, they are deserving of their place; the Cheetahs in particular.

Rugby Australia permitting, New Zealand Rugby seems to be gearing up for a new trans-Tasman competition that includes a Pacific Island team. Although this would bring an end to Super Rugby, the Sunwolves’ time in the tournament is already up while the Jaguares’ future remains in doubt. It just makes sense.

That said, the Sanzaar alliance is set to remain intact meaning the Rugby Championship could survive the shake-up going forward. Annual Springbok clashes with the All Blacks don’t seem likely to go anywhere.

For South Africa, these changes may be for the best. The possibility of entering a new market will serve the local game well and encourage fans to return to stadiums in numbers as clashes with the likes of traditional European powerhouses Leinster, Munster and Ospreys loom large.

No matter what happens over the next few months, rugby won’t ever be the same again and we should be eternally grateful.

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