Cape Town – Stormers coach John Dobson says rugby bosses need to grasp the concept of “less is more” and consider a return to Super 12.
“Rugby, as a product, is in a very bad state. The crowds for Super Rugby matches between the Bulls and Stormers have drastically decreased,” Dobson said, as quoted by Netwerk24.
Dobson added that watching a PRO14 match was enough to put any rugby fan to sleep.
“In the Western Cape the heartbeat of the game was always between April and October. Now we have to finish the Currie Cup at the end of August to so that PRO14 matches can be broadcast and then Super Rugby starts on February 1.”
The Stormers mentor added that the expansion of Super Rugby over the years has damaged the product.
Twelve teams contested Super Rugby at the start of professionalism in 1996, before the tournament became Super 14 in 2006 with the addition of the Cheetahs and Australia’s Western Force.
The Melbourne Rebels’ addition made it a 15-team competition in 2011, before it became an 18-team event for two seasons in 2016-17 with the addition of the Southern Kings, Argentina’s Jaguares and Japan’s Sunwolves.
Super Rugby was again cut to 15 teams in 2018, with the Cheetahs, Kings and Force dropping out and will again become Super 14 in 2021 with the Sunwolves making way.
However, if Dobson had his way, there would be a move back to the old Super 12
“There’s a simple solution. We have to return to a Super 12 series where every team faces the other one. Sorry then to whoever falls out.”
Dobson believes less rugby would attract bigger crowds and generate more interest from fans.
“I have no doubt that rugby will have to return to its old values of less is more. It’s a tragedy that a match between the Springboks and All Blacks has to be moved to Albany because the crowd would not be big enough to fill Eden Park.”
He feels the fact that the Springboks and All Blacks face each other every year home and away in the Rugby Championship has seen interest wane.
“The Six Nations is the biggest competition in the world and England would for example only play once every two years against Scotland at Murrayfield.”
– Compiled by Herman Mostert