The Write Profile wrote:
The Sunwolves are worse than the Force or Rebels and the Jaguars are barely competitive, and the PI will not be given a look in by Australia and New Zealand for some reason.
Rugby in the SH is dying on its arse outside New Zealand, but in rude health up here with expansion in Europe with sides like Georgia and Romania becoming almost as good as Italy, Samoa and Fiji.
I agree, and will say that New Zealand (and to a lesser extent Australia) has been shameful in its treatment of the Pacific Islands. While it is often exaggerated as to how much talent they bring to the ABs (by sheer fact that many were actually born in New Zealand, but have PI heritage), there's no denying that the NZRU has scarcely given much back in return. It took a very vocal campaign for the NZRU to host a test match in Samoa, for Christ sake. A combined PI Super team would have been far more appealing than yet another South African or Australian side or a Japanese team, but a PI team wouldn't necessarily bring in the money. SANZAR's thinking has been at once short-sighted and craven, and the further they try to "expand" the competition, the less interesting it becomes.
It needs a complete overhaul. I enjoy the NZ derbies but that's not enough. Then again, as a Highlanders' supporter, I should be pleased they're actually competitive, god knows I went through many years cursing how rubbish they were.
Accusing New Zealand of poaching is rubbish they don't need to poach, PI families naturally gravitate there because it is the nearest major "Western" country, their children are New Zealanders by any criteria.
It is like complaining about second generation Black sportsmen and women not being British back in the 80s and 90s.
I think the All Blacks have only capped 30 odd players who weren't born in New Zealand, they don't need to poach PI players, the largest PI cities are already in New Zealand. New Zealand cap huge numbers of people of Samoan, Fijian and Tongan descent but very few who were born on those islands.
But as you say the reward for this has been to largely ignore the PI teams, probably out of self interest as they have no interest in strong PI teams holding onto players or even enticing back those the ABs wish to cap to play for them by right of parent or grand parent.
Outside of world cups New Zealand practically never plays these sides.
The only thing still bringing in the money to SANZAR is the SA Super Sport TV contracts, if SA goes belly up or if they become part of the NH circuit because of time zones then rugby down there will go belly up.
The Super Rugby system needs a major over haul to make it competitive and to deal with the travelling that the teams, especially the Japanese and Argentinian teams, are expected to do, where that is leagues or conferences or a travelling rugby circus that visits countries in turn. They also need to slim down the Australian and SA teams, but that is very difficult in SA due to politics.
It is worrying.
Looks like the games today were damp squibs for the neutral.
Home advantage is so important in the competition it rarely goes against, and handful of times down the years.
But I really thought that Toulouse and Wasps, especially Wasps, had the stellar teams to test the Irish sides in the fortresses, but no.
Munster and Leinster are so strong at home, so they win the battle to go out to Clermont and Sarries in the next round, where home advantage is more nominal and upsets slightly more common.