Gold slams new ‘absurd’ Super Rugby format

Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold says parts of the new format are absurd

Sharks Director of Rugby Garry Gold has slammed the 18 team Super Rugby format saying that it is not an even playing field for teams.

Gold’s Sharks team have been drawn in the Africa 2 Conference in the South African Group so they will play all of the New Zealand teams but none of the Australian teams.

In comparison the Stormers are in Africa 1 and they will play all of the Australian teams but none of the New Zealand teams.

If the New Zealand teams retain their form from 2015 the Sharks be in for a tough time. On the positive side the Sharks do get play two (Kings and Jaguars) of the three new teams while the Stormers get to play one (Sunwolves).

Super Rugby’s organizers does not look fondly on team officials knocking their tournament so Gold was careful with his words but while some parts of the format are “absurd” they will just have to accept the format.

“The only thing I will say about it is that when you play sports at the highest level, all you really want is a level playing field and this competition does not provide you with that,” said Gold

“It is a little bit absurd, but in saying that it is what it is and there are some exciting things.”

Gold is also not terribly fond of the draw in the middle of the season as the Sharks will tour New Zealand and play the Blues, Highlanders and Chiefs and then jump back on the plane to Durban where they will host the Hurricanes. Once that group of New Zealand teams has been completed the Sharks fly out to Argentina to play the Jaguars – all without a bye.

“I don’t think you understand the toll it has on the bodies when you fly east to west, recover from jet lag, play a game and then fly east to west again for another game.

“We have to plan for that and we are going to plan for that. It’s a big challenge, but next year will be a different kettle of fish. ”

“Next year we will play the Australian group and we will have eight games at home and seven games away – next year we will be sitting where the other guys are,” Gold told Rugby365.

If history repeats itself the three new teams will struggle in their debut season but Gold says that the Jaguars could challenge for the title this year.

“The Japanese team is going to be slightly different because it is not going to be their full national team,” said Gold.

“The Argentinean team I think will have about 12 guys who played in the World Cup. They are going to be ferocious. That is going to be a proper rugby team. ”

“They are well-drilled and Augustin Creevy is a fantastic captain and they got a good coaching staff. They are going to be formidable. They are going to shock some people and I think they are going to be potential contenders.

“I’m not sure the Sunwolves are going to be that formidable at this moment in time, only because of the lateness of the planning, but we will see how the competition progress.”

The Sharks begin their Super Rugby season on Saturday 27 February in Port Elizabeth against the Southern Kings.

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