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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Looking Into My Crystal Rugby Balls 

So it seems that rugby in the Southern Hemisphere may be in for another huge shakeup in the next 1-10 years. I'd like to be more specific but in this day and age who the fuck knows?!

The latest is a 2nd tier type competition involving their four Super 12 teams (minus Wallabies) plus Samoa, Fiji, Tonga and Japan called the wonderfully imaginative 'Super 8'. And word has it that it's almost certain to be rubber stamped very shortly. This has come about the same time that South Africa has been rumoured to be courting Northern hemisphere nations in order to get them to vote for their bid for the 2011 World Cup. Their selling points are a possible move to join their regional club competition once their Super 14 deal expires and moving the World Cup to July-August which would suit the Northern Hemisphere sides more than the current September-October plans which would suit our climate more!.

To be honest if that comes true I'll be elated (them joining the North rather than them winning the 2011 World Cup). South Africa has always been and will always be a non-entity in the Super 14. It's too far for them to travel and they don't win on the road. The competition is all about money and not actually about... competition. However money could well save us because the South Africans will make more playing in the lucrative European market and they will also not have to travel so far, not have to change time zones and not have to get their arses whipped every year.

Once that happens (and I believe it's inevitable) there will be two choices facing New Zealand and Australia. One is to allow the Pacific nations plus Japan to join the Super 14 as replacements though I would like to see the competition split into two pools to avoid it becoming this long drawn out stale competition. Let's have this as a fast, hard-fought competition that is all over in 8-9 weeks. The other option is to cut it down to a Super 9 with just NZ and Australian teams but that would be about as appealing as a dinner engagement with Stephen 'living in an imagined future' Jones and Sir Clive 'dreaming of the past' Live.

A third option and one which I have favoured in the past but is unlikely to eventuate is the New Zealand sides break away completely and play each other home and away giving an eight match round robin followed by the top two teams playing a straight final or two plays three to meet the top side away in the final.

As a possible extension Australia could have the comp with the Pacific nations running at the same time and at the end of it the two winners meet in a 'SUPER' final. I can't see that happening though as the Pacific sides would want to be at full strength meaning the NZ teams would be missing some of their Pacific players. Which they fucking well should but that's moves me on to the next issue...


Steve Tew, who is on random-spit-out-anything-damage-control today has come out and said that they are worried about this proposed Super 8 competition because New zealand NPC teams will lose their good Pacific players. And then he goes and talks about there being a lot of issues to talk over for that comp to work, such as arrangements for the Northern Hemisphere based Pacific players to be released by their clubs.

Kind of contradicts himself there a tiny bit.

But their latest effort at being stupid sees Tew and the NZRFU counter-proposing a New Zealand 'Junior' (what the fucks that name all about?!) and Australia A side playing an annual competition against the Pacific Nations + Japan.

So what does that mean Steve? Not only will the NPC sides be missing their All Blacks a lot of the time but they'll also be missing the next 25 players as well? That's the top 40-50 players who will miss at least the first round of the NPC. And they have also mentioned including New Zealand Maori as well so you could amp that up to 70+ players missing from the first half of the NPC.

Let's face it, that comp is going to be a shambles. Sides like Auckland and Canterbury will be fielding straight B teams in the first round and struggling like crap. I'm sure the crowds will be pouring in to see 15 no names straight from club football who will all be replaced in two months.

What should really happen is the Tri-Nations get's shoved up it's arse and we expand to include the Pacific sides plus Argentina and possibly Japan. Playing our b teams against them is insulting. We know for a fact that Samoa is definately capable of competing with any side in the world as long as it has it's full side on the park and has a chance to prepare and play at the top level consistently. Fiji and Tonga have also shown at times in the past that they would be much more competitive units with the same opportunities.

Instead of 6 games v Australia and South Africa each year (yawn) we split the 8 teams into two groups with the top side from each playing in a final. Each year it get's re-graded.

For example we are in a pool with Argentina(A), Samoa(H) and Japan(A) with the other pool having Australia, South Africa, Tonga and Fiji. At the end of each year it get's regraded so it's not the same sides meeting each year.

Each year we play one Pacific nation anyway, so what difference is playing two crap sides instead of one going to make?

Early March - Mid May: 'Super 5' 9-10 weeks or Super 14 with the Pacific nations plus Japan and Argentina over the same number of weeks split into 2 pools

Late May - Early July: Pacific Cup (or whatever the hell involving a minimum of three games for each side plus final for the top two teams)

Mid July - Late October: NPC (12 teams not 14 with a full round robin plus top four playoffs)

* Northern Hemisphere sides can tour during the first half of the NPC.

Late November - Late December: Northern Hemisphere tours (3-5 games)

And for something random. Obviously it would get rejigged in World Cup years which already happens anyway, but every 3-4 years or thereabouts the Pacific Cup gets put aside and teams go touring all over the world. New Zealand hosts South Africa for 6 weeks or we tour their country or whatever. Bear in mind we would only be playing them once a year (or not at all some years) and we won't be playing their Super 14 teams at all.

A bit of romance and intrigue back in the game. I'm horny just thinking about it. Where are those crystal balls?

In the meantime feel free to comment and come up with your own ideas at the discussion board that has been suffering a slow inhumane death recently.

Who knew one man could care so deeply about rugby union?
Well I was in need of a break from jobs around the house so that seemed a likely target.

Now I have to start thinking about who I would cull from the Warriors.

Though I see one of my targets (Karl Tomato Temata) manager has started suggesting Bradford are interested. Well if they are mate they must be fucking desperate. Surely they have backrowers as decent as him coming through their own ranks.

He's a reserve grader with the ability to do a reasonable fillin job if required. He'd be about the 50th best backrower in the NRL maybe.

could you please send send a short email at julien(AT)expat-blog(DOT)com ?

I would like to send you a presentation of my project, . I didn't find your email address on your blog.

Kind regards,

Julien, is it a current ex-pat thing or expats of the past?

I'm back living in NZ and so is dc_red.

If you still need to correspond try emailing bloggingitreal at


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