Rugby Union Players’ Association president Damien Fitzpatrick has called on Sanzaar to think outside the box to save Super Rugby.
With Australia’s 192 professional players having finally settled on an average 60% pay cut until September – following almost a month of discussions with Rugby Australia –Rupa’s focus has shifted to the future structure of Super Rugby.
Fitzpatrick says the competition as it stands is likely a thing of the past and the sobering reality of empty stands in rugby-mad Pretoria is proof that the current format has lost its appeal and that the entire tournament needs an overhaul.
‘I can tell you one thing: if the airports are not going to open, it’s going to be difficult to run that comp,’ Fitzpatrick stated.
‘You know there’s a problem with your product if you go to South Africa on a Saturday afternoon at Loftus and they can’t seem to put bums on seats. Sanzaar is probably having a really strong look at how the competition can engage fans.’
As it stands, Super Rugby will revert back to a 14-team competition in 2021, with five franchises from New Zealand, four each from Australia and South Africa and one from Argentina. But Fitzpatrick says he doubts that specific make-up will be sustainable in this competition.
‘I think the situation has shown that right now anything is possible. I don’t exactly know what is able to be changed and what’s not able to be changed,’ Fitzpatrick explained.
‘Everything would be on the table, not just from Australia but I’m sure all the Sanzaar partners are looking at ways to get the best result and best product out there for the fans.’
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