Time for NZ to ditch SA?

ANDREW MEHRTENS, writing for Fairfax, wonders if the time has come for the Australasians to form a competition that excludes South African teams.

The former All Blacks flyhalf is of the belief that the structure of the Super Rugby tournament needs to change. Mehrtens wrote that New Zealanders might have lost interest in watching matches involving South African Super Rugby teams, and that the time difference is a major reason for the decline.

'Ultimately the future of this competition might be more localised round time zones,' he said. 'The [New Zealand] provincial championship still has a pretty strong following, and if you're looking at what Australia and New Zealand needs, maybe it's that parochialism, that tribalism which is very important.

'The logistics of involving South Africa are problematic – the travel and time difference – and maybe it would be better for all concerned just to play within our time zone and include teams from the Pacific Islands and Japan.

'You could look at extending the number of New Zealand teams and move away from the regional concept, and back to provincial lines. That's the logical progression.'

Read the full column here

Photo: Chris Symes/Photosport

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