Campese slams new Super Rugby format

BY MARC JACOBSON - JANUARY 26, 2016

Former Wallaby winger, David Campese, has described the new 2016 Super Rugby format as an absolute disaster.

Campese told Planet Rugby that it is ridiculous, because they are trying to create something that is not really viable.

“Realistically it’s just going to be an absolute nightmare. There doesn’t seem to be any thought going into the players’ welfare about the travelling. No one seems to know. It’s an absolute mess,” said Campese.

This comes at the backdrop that the format does not allow each and every single team to play each other throughout the league phase. This forces the format to be staggered with regards to the correlation between log points, where a team stands on the log and the different oppositions that the teams play from one another.  

For instance, at certain viewpoints it may seem that a certain team does not deserve to be placed at a high position, because they had played ‘weaker’ teams throughout the competition than others. At the same time, different travel schedules may seem to hinder certain teams more than others with regards to jet lag, lethargy and the conception of inconsistency. This had crossed with Campese’s question of the inclusion of the three new sides, Sunwolves from Japan, Jaguars from Argentina and the Southern Kings from the Eastern Cape.

“Money’s great, but on the other hand if you want to increase the competition, why not bring in the Pacific Islands as well? Why have you got to go to Japan? It’s a total mess and I think something major is going to happen to make them change their mind,” added Campese.

With regards to travelling, Campese makes a valid point as the Pacific Islands are neighbouring islands to Australia and New Zealand, whilst Japan is situated far North and Argentina far West.  However, for an expansive game, the inclusion of Japan and Argentina could be necessary. Campese also disagrees with the inclusion of the Southern Kings, as he feels the Kings are too much like a club entity and not a franchise, which questions their ability to compete in the tournament.

Schedule from Southern Kings point of view

The Kings are in the South African conference alongside the Sharks, Lions and Jaguars from Argentina.  They would play each of those three teams twice each (home and away) which marks six games. They would then either only play Australian teams or only New Zealand teams, of which the Kings only play the New Zealanders, which marks another five games.

The Kings will then play one game against each of the four teams in the other South African conference, which is another four games – two of them away and two at home. The six, five and four categorical fixture formula get integrated within one another and do not follow on from each other consecutively as explained.

The Kings will play a total of 15 matches (same as every other team) while nine of them are at home. Only three matches are being played outside of South Africa, while three away matches are being played locally in Bloemforntein, Johannesburg and Durban respectively. Thereafter, each of the four conference leaders, plus four wildcard positions will make up quarter-finalists for the knock-out stage of the competition.

The Southern Kings kick off their Super Rugby campaign on 27th February against the Sharks at the NMB Stadium in Port Elizabeth.