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Monday, May 05, 2008

My 10 yen's worth 

So a Conference system has been suggested for the Super 18? in a year or two.

I wouldn't say I'm totally against the idea, but really I'm actually for the idea that South Africa leaves altogether and joins Europe which is in their time zone and probably a touch closer. They have struggled year in and year out and the Sharks played the Bulls in last years final purely and simply because the Crusaders and Blues couldn't click without their All Blacks and just barely missed home semi spots which would have seen the demise of the Sharks and Bulls rather than the other way round.

Take a look at this year where once again we are back to the norm with the Cheetahs, Bulls and Lions combining for a 6 win, 1 draw and 26 loss record with the Lions one and only win coming against the Cheetahs, the Bulls wins against the Stormers, the Lions, the Highlanders, and the Waratahs, while the Cheetahs only win was against the Reds.

Utterly hopeless in other words.

And it's not like the Lions get big crowds. Just 5,000 showing up to one game.

Where the conference idea works with me is that you will get more 'home country' matches which is what tends to get the media and fans going a bit more. You will get a lot more interest and certainly more spectators at a Blues - Chiefs game than a Blues - Lions game especially given 45 bus loads of Hamiltonians can drive up for it.

Where it falls over though is the idea of teams representing an area that are based outside that area.

There are two main reasons, firstly, the teams will have to be selected on eligibility lines which restricts them somewhat. You can't have a 'PI team' where half of them are whites from Taranaki or an 'Argentinian team' where half of them are from coloured otherwise whats the point? The idea chucked out there recently with AB defections was that we should allow ABs to be able to play for any team in the Super 14, NZ based or not. But then how could we turn around and say that we can have NZers playing in any team EXCEPT the PI team, the Japanese team and the Argentinian team? You can't have two separate rules for different teams. It's a professional competition. It would be like the English Premier League saying non London based teams are allowed 6 imports but London teams are allowed 11.

The second reason is that the suggested idea that Argentina is based in South Africa, and the Pacific Island team is based in NZ will mean that those teams get very little support.

Where would you put an Argentinian team? In a main city with an existing team filled with Springboks? In a far flung outpost with a low population with sod all money? At the Lions ground where they get 5,000 people along to watch their team?

It simply wouldn't work. It's all well and good saying it will rate well on the tellie but what would have to be a very strong Argentinian team does not deserve to be playing such shit teams that the South Africans regularly turn out and base itself on foreign soil in front of piss poor crowds. What would they do? Make them play every single game away from home? They'd need a squad of 50 to cope. And people soon get suspicious of professional sport that is generally well attended that suddenly isn't. When I watch the EPL I expect the grounds to be sold out and when I see big blocks of empty seats at some games I immediately say to myself if this game isn't important to them then I think I'll find something else to watch.

The same goes in NZ. The PI team would surely be based in Auckland and I'd guess they would line up Mt Smart Stadium as the home as it's in South Auckland. Home to a couple of brown people. Unfortunately they don't typically make up much of a paying crowd at a Blues game in a team crowded with PI players. They'd get more along there but how many? 10,000 average? Less if they weren't going well I imagine. At the very least they would have to play one game a year in each of Nuku'alofa, Suva and Apia. But even that probably wouldn't be enough, leaving at least 8 games in Auckland. I say spend some money upgrading the facilities at the PI grounds and make prices affordable (after all it's TV ratings that generate the money we are always told so gate takings should be solely for the local union to profit from). And stick the whole lot of their games there. In fact why not set ticket prices based on the existing crowds. If a team gets 8,000 along like the Highlanders then make adult tickets 5-20 dollars. If Eden Park is less than half full then make ticket prices 15-25 dollars. Get these places full and be prepared to lose a little money in the short term. If people see full houses on the tellie they will want to get involved and want to tune in. Long term you can then increase prices to a money making level. And I'm sure 20,000 paying 10 dollars at Carisbrook, generating 200,000 is enought to cover expenses and make some money. It's better than average prices of 20 dollars with 7,500 there.

I think what I would do if I had a magic wand that I could wave over it all is....

NZ (Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders, Highlanders, PI team based in the islands, Force, Waratahs, Reds, Brumbies, Japan, and the USA based in either Hawaii or LA OR Canada based in Vancouver).

Twelve teams. Ditch the South Africans.

Play each other home and away meaning 22 games and then have a 6 team playoff system. Teams 1 and 2 get a bye. Teams 3 v 6 and 4 v 5. Losers are gone. Winners play teams 1 and 2 for a spot in the final.

Ultimately I think the goal has to be to spread to at least two other cities so they need to allow a bit of room for expansion and shouldn't figure on the one or two expansion teams being it forever. There needs to be a serious push to get a team based in China. The Super 14 needs to go in there on free to air TV. Believe me, nobody will pay money there to watch it know. The rocket scientists there recently made people pay something like 50 US dollars to get the EPL games and guess what. After the season had kicked off they had something like 25,000 people sign up in a country of 1.3 billion and admitted it was a disastrous ballsup. They should also look at allowing either the USA or Canada in but not both at once. One straight away and the other one needs to develop a bit of penis envy and allow the competition to bed in.

I think a far better option that conferences (which are going to disadvantage some teams far more than others due to travel) is to have teams play each other based on previous years finishing position. ie, 1 v 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14 while teams 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13 play each other twice. Meaning 19 games followed by top 8 playoffs lasting 3 weeks. that's basically what they do in the NRL right now and I'd say nobody notices because it's done fairly quietly and eficiently and makes sense in terms of fairness.

and I reserve the right to change my mind once a week for the next ten years on all that.


So why aren’t you making that any more then J?
Sadly, J is no longer with us. He made so many spam comments he imploded.
You guys are speaking a language completely unknown to me.
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