Campese slams new Super Rugby format

David Campese says the Super Rugby format is a total mess

Former Wallabies winger David Campese has slammed SANZAR’s revised format for Super Rugby which begins next month and is scheduled to be used for the next five years.

SANZAR have increased Super Rugby to 18 teams and have placed the teams in uneven Groups and Conferences.

The addition of a teams from Japan, Argentina and a sixth South African team has increased the number of matches from 125 to 142 and there are concerns about player welfare.

Teams will now get two byes in a season but some of the teams will have an extraordinary amount of travel such as Japan’s Sunwolves who have been grouped in an African Conference.

Campese who now works as a TV pundit for South Africa’s Super Rugby broadcaster says that SANZAR have created a “nightmare” format.

“It’s ridiculous. They’re trying to create something that’s not really viable,” Campese told Planet Rugby.

“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.

“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.”

Campese says that the weakest part of the new tournament will be in South Africa where a combination of stretching their player base to include the Kings coupled with the weak Rand will only increase the exodus of players to overseas.

The former winger believes that SANZAR have overreached with the new format and that players are not being rewarded financially as they should be.

“A couple of teams in Australia are running out of money and are up against it with other major sports. You have to win, but you have to win with a bit of style to get people to come back and watch, which is frustrating,” Campese explained.

“In South Africa you’ve got six teams – two of them are basically club teams. It’s a disaster.”

“That’s why players go to Europe, because obviously the Rand isn’t great. They’re all in Europe and I wonder why…”

“(The organisers) maybe should have had a year off to get the best players and formats in place. The Japanese team are going to have, I think, half a team of foreigners – how is that good for Japanese rugby?

He added: “It’s the professional era and they’re trying to play a bit like football but they haven’t got the wages to pay them like footballers have they? It’s a total mess.”

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