Monday, April 02, 2007

Moffett wants to shake Boks loose

October 28, 2006

Via NZH:

Call to ditch Super 14 and Tri-Nations

Tuesday October 24, 2006

Former New Zealand rugby boss David Moffett says it is time for New Zealand and Australia to discard South Africa as regular opponents, believing the Super 14 and Tri-Nations tournaments are past their use-by date.

Moffett, a former chief executive of both the New Zealand and Wales unions, was also the first boss of Sanzar, the body which has run the two southern hemisphere provincial tournaments for 11 years.

He said it was time for South Africa's involvement to end and believed Australian sides should be part of an expanded New Zealand provincial championship.

That would be a logical replacement for the over-sized Super 14 while the obvious alternative to the Tri-Nations was an annual three-match Bledisloe Cup series, he told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

Moffett, who finished his term in Wales last December because of ill health, said the Super 12, as it then was, and Tri-Nations competitions were crucial for the sport when it turned professional.

"It brought in a truckload of money but times have changed," he said.

"These competitions have a lifespan. I could not understand them [this year] going to a Super 14 or the Tri-Nations extended by another round.

"I know it has to do with money but you have to be careful you don't kill the golden goose. After 10 years of professional rugby people really have to take a step back and say 'Where to next?"'

Moffett said the establishment of an eight-team national club competition in Australia, scheduled to kick off next year, was a mistake.

He said traditional rivalries, rather than contrived competitions, were what attracted an audience.

Crowds at this year's South African Currie Cup were far greater and more animated than those who watched Super 14 games, he noted.

Australia should field its own established state teams in New Zealand's long-standing provincial competition.

"You would have the main provinces in Australia playing the main provinces in New Zealand, and the smaller states in Australia playing the smaller unions in New Zealand," Moffett said. "You would not have all that humungous travel which is part of the Super 14.

"Professional rugby has interfered with the natural tribalism of the game. It is forcing changes to domestic and grassroots rugby which I don't think are going to work."

Moffett said South Africans weren't interested in the Super 14 and had never been particularly competitive.

He said Bledisloe Cup tests attracted enormous interest and the focus should switch to an annual three-test series.


  • The New Zealand Herald also solicited readers comments and they got a truckload of responses -- you can read them here.

    Post a Comment

    Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

    << Home