The unwieldy division structure, the issues of teams scattered across disparate time zones, but most importantly, declining revenues and the struggle to remain relevant have dictated that Super Rugby will shrink for next year’s competition.
The tournament will drop for 18 to 15 teams, although which three will get the axe and when has yet to be determined. SANZAAR will punt that uncomfortable decision to the respective unions of Australia and South Africa.
The future is not rosy; it seems, for the Toyota Cheetahs, the Southern Kings and the Western Force.
There apparently will be some shifting amongst the conferences, but the end product apparently will see about 100 players, support and administration staff left to seek other avenues of gainful employment.
One of the biggest drivers of the Super League constriction was dwindling attendance at the games and a lack of engagement by TV viewers, which as everyone knows, ultimately determines success or failure in a world driven by advert revenues.
The talented rugby players will eventually find new jobs; they are the least vulnerable. Talent was spread thinly in Australia and south Africa, too thinly to support the number of teams under the past system, but it would be logical to question having Argentina and Japan in the competition, as simply getting to those places is a difficult proposition.