No changes to the Super 14 for three years – at least

The free player market in the Super 14 rugby competition, suggested by Crusaders coach Robbie Deans, won’t happen for at least three years according to New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew.


The move to allow New Zealanders to pay out of New Zealand or to let foreigners play in New Zealand will come against strong opposition as the competition is seen as crucial to player development and the success of the All Blacks.


Things in the Super 14 may look different after the end of Sanzar’s current contract which still has three seasons to run but the difficulty for Australia is that their partners have more product to sell whereas Australia has just cancelled their equivalent to the Currie Cup and Air New Zealand Cup.


To fill their season more the ARU wants the Super 14 to be increased to two rounds (home & away) but their partners won’t have the time available to play in a second round of matches because they already have other tournaments in these windows.


Former All Blacks coach Laurie Mains is backing Tew and says that the idea of allowing players to play wherever they want won’t help New Zealand Rugby and said New Zealand Super 14 teams should be for New Zealand players.


“I personally believe that the Super 14 should be for New Zealand players and the development of New Zealand players to make stronger All Blacks teams,” Mains told NZPA.


Tew said that there were several other changes being considered such as an introduction of a Pacific Island team and Argentina’s inclusion.


“We’ve said all along that at the end of this broadcasting contract, which is three years away, Super rugby may well look very different to the way it looks a now,” he told Radio Sport.


“We’ve discussed in previous years whether it would be worth bringing some of northern hemisphere stars in (to the Super 14).


“Our view currently, and this is the way we have operated – we want to have as many New Zealand eligible players in the competition as we can because these are the guys we choose the All Blacks from and ultimately we want to be able to pick the most competitive All Blacks side we possibly can.


“We have had the odd overseas player play here. We clearly have a more liberal view right now than the Australians do on Pacific Island players, for example.”


“South Africa and New Zealand have very strong domestic competitions, the Aussies have really struggled to get a domestic competition going,” he said.


“They have just recently canned their own version of the Air New Zealand Cup, so they want more rugby.


“Arguably we would probably like a little bit less, but we’ve got to make sure it’s the right rugby that attract us to the fans, is enjoyable and appropriate for our players and to their development.”


“We do hold concerns that if we started picking All Blacks from outside of New Zealand then our own domestic competition, the Air New Zealand Cup, which many observers would argue as being the foundation for the success of the All Blacks over a long period of time would be seriously threatened. It would be a very big call.”

 

Super14.com

 

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