Bryan Habana has thrown his support behind a global calendar, but questioned the practicality and feasibility of SA Rugby’s prospective move away from Sanzaar to join northern-hemisphere competitions.
Various reports are doing the rounds that South Africa are set to leave Sanzaar, with New Zealand and Australia supposedly eager for the drastic move to take place.
However, Habana is not sold on the idea of South African rugby going north despite there being several benefits to the prospective move.
‘There’s been a lot of debate about South Africa joining the northern hemisphere but right now nobody even knows when rugby will be back in South Africa,’ Habana said on Wednesday.
‘Probably the one thing most needed by rugby is a global season, but I suppose the one question is whether Sanzaar needs SA Rugby. They have been an important part of Sanzaar for the last 25 years.
‘Sanzaar needs South Africa to survive, given the time zones and television audiences/viewership, particularly coming from the northern hemisphere. For those in the UK and Europe it’s much easier to watch games in South Africa than those in New Zealand or Australia, but it’s important to see where the Springboks and Super Rugby teams could fit in and they would have to fit in with the northern-hemisphere schedule.
‘I don’t see our guys enjoying playing in five degrees [temperature] in December and January, and how are our rugby fans going to enjoy watching rugby over Christmas when they’re on holiday?
‘I want to say there are pros and cons both ways, having that overnight travel, potentially being able to be at home a lot more but where would we fit in the schedule is the biggest debate for me and one that will be ongoing.
‘If we were to go to the northern hemisphere, yes, it’s easy to travel, you don’t have jet lag, you don’t have time differences, where do you fit in competition-wise? There have been mixed reviews of South African teams in the PRO14,’ he said.
‘Where in the Six Nations do they fit in? Is there now promotion and relegation? Then why can’t Japan be included in the Six Nations?’ Habana asked.
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