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2905 Topic: South Africa may feel Euro fallout
allblacknblue

Status: Baby Bok
Posts: 233
South Africa may feel Euro fallout
November 04, 2012, 18:36:36

South Africa may feel Euro fallout

 

 

French and English clubs eye South Africa as a possible Heineken Cup breakaway threatens, writes Gregor Paul

English and French clubs believe the current Heineken Cup format unfairly favours Celtic sides such as Leinster, who have won the competition three of the last four years. Photo / Getty
English and French clubs believe the current Heineken Cup format unfairly favours Celtic sides such as Leinster, who have won the competition three of the last four years. Photo / Getty

A European power struggle to restructure the Heineken Cup is being watched closely by Sanzar as there are rumblings that the leading English and French clubs are ready to lure South Africa's provinces out of Super Rugby.

A scrap has broken out in Europe with the usual ingredients of money, control and pride at the centre of the dispute. There are veiled threats of a breakaway looming.

Similar threats have been around before and Sanzar chief executive Greg Peters says he's aware that there has been informal discussion between some English clubs and South African provinces. But he doesn't have any sense that Super Rugby is in any imminent danger.

The possibility of the South Africans defecting and jumping into a new alliance with the English and French is, to his mind, not something for which there is currently any burning desire.

But he accepts the pot is boiling in Europe and the situation fluid. Talks that are informal now may not be in a few months if the warring factions in Europe fail to agree on a new way forward for the cross-border Heineken Cup.

The English and French clubs have tendered their resignation from the tournament and won't play in it from 2014 unless they get the changes they are after. Currently the tournament has 24 teams - six from the French Top 14, six from England's Aviva Premiership, three Irish provinces, three Welsh regions, Edinburgh and Glasgow from Scotland, two teams from Italy, the reigning champions and the winners of the second tier competition, the Amlin Cup.

The criteria has been in place for an age but has started to bother both the English and French, who argue it unfairly penalises them. While the likes of Leinster, Munster, Cardiff and Edinburgh can afford to rotate their players - resting top men in their domestic league and focus on the Heineken Cup because they know qualification the following year is guaranteed - the English and French clubs have to fight on two fronts.

Not only are they trying to do well in the Heineken Cup, they also have to remain in the top six places of their domestic league - a huge task in itself - to ensure Heineken qualification for the following year.

Last year, five Celtic teams were in the quarter-finals and Leinster won it for the third time in four years, while Celtic teams have won five of the last seven finals.

The English and French want the tournament to be cut to 20 teams: with six from the Aviva Premiership, six from the Top 14, six from the RaboDirectPro12 (former Celtic League) and the reigning champions and Amlin Cup winners.

The Scots and Italians would be the big losers in that scenario but others feel the tournament would suffer as a whole because the key to its success has been the involvement of teams from all six nations.

Buried in this is a sub-plot worthy of mention because it may in fact be the real reason the English and French are pulling out. They have a long-held belief that they are the financial powerhouses of the European game and largely responsible for the Heineken Cup being the world's richest tournament.

The English and French believe they have to share too much of the revenue with the Celts, hence the talks with the Africans. If agreement can't be reached over the future structure of the Heineken Cup, then the English and French want leverage and there is none better than to have an alternative plan with the Africans in mind.

Imagine a cross-border competition featuring the best English, French and South African sides; the three biggest domestic markets in the world could build a tournament with major commercial clout.

"I'm aware that some English clubs have been talking to South African franchises," says Peters. "But we have absolutely no indication that they (South Africans) want to go down that route. When we speak to the franchises, we get no indication they are unhappy with Super Rugby and the revenue streams from that competition are substantial."

The danger for Sanzar will rise if the English and French begin to put some details on the table. Super Rugby is lucrative for the South Africans but nor is it perfect in its current form.

There was widespread player dissatisfaction this year with the mid-competition break - not so much in the way it broke the momentum but because it required significant numbers of individuals to play at close to maximum intensity for 10 consecutive weeks.

The travel burden has been a perennial bugbear as well and Sanzar will be nervous if a serious, detailed proposal eventuates forcing the Africans to evaluate just how committed they are to Super Rugby.


allblacknblue

Status: Baby Bok
Posts: 233
RE: South Africa may feel Euro fallout
November 04, 2012, 18:42:43

What you saffa lads think? IMO It'd be sad to see you guys go, but can't help but feel that it may suit your clubs better and not to mention probably more profitable for the Saffa clubs aswell.


Sharkbok

Status: Senior player
Posts: 3603
RE: South Africa may feel Euro fallout
November 04, 2012, 19:03:41

 South Africa make up 70% of the revenue earnings of SANZAR/Super XV. If France, England and South Africa created a tournament this would take most of the revenue out of the Heineken Cup and SuperXV. England, France and South Africa make up most of the revenue in world rugby.

The Lions are in talks, but we do not have the depth to compete in this tournament without taking some of the teams out of the SuperXV- and then it would not be the XV anymore. 

The travel schedule would be lighter and the timezones are the same with France/England and South Africa so it could also push up the revenue from viewership figures as the matches will be shown at the best time in the late afternoons of the weekend. Maybe the SuperXV should be reduced to the Super9- the top 3 teams from each country, and then have the remaining 3 SA teams in the Europe/SA tournament. It could also create an opening for Japanese teams in the SuperXV. They also have some money to grab!


Sharkbok

Status: Senior player
Posts: 3603
RE: South Africa may feel Euro fallout
November 04, 2012, 19:42:00

 Apparently Australia get 33% of the profit in the SuperXV, this was agreed with the update to 15 teams. Really stupid by South Africa as the profit should be allocated based on regional viewership figures. South Africa also has a massive ex-pat community in England and this would help with viewership.


carpetmuncher

Status: Bok regular
Posts: 1396
RE: South Africa may feel Euro fallout
November 05, 2012, 07:11:44

i have a post around the beginning of the year about this and be fair SA is getting the wrong side of the stich for a while now in regards to the commercial money and travelinig involved in the super rugby comp. in the 3 party alliance it seems that we always are being treated like the 3 wheel on the wheelbarrow as to speak. that plus a new NH alliance would also open up our coaches to all our overseas based players and way bigger commercial contracts and better future growth prospects.  its less to travel ext ext so in short it would make way more sense.

 

competing in a NH club comp and still being part of the rugby champs with NZ Aus And the pumas will put us in a great position seeing that we get exposed to the best sides in the world. in my view looking forward it will really hurt the super rugby comp in the long run if SA pulls out of the sanzar but for SARU and sa rugby itself it will be a massive changed ensuring not only for better commercial rights ext but long term growth and infrastructure building.  in short this deal could really put SA on the forefront of world rugby couple.

 

the intensity of the NH is not much different that the super comp so we wont lose in terms of the competition stakes but the commercial rights will boost not only our unions but will allow us to build better infrastructures and stop the player drain. If i was saru i will take this offer.


Beeno1

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 11707
RE: South Africa may feel Euro fallout
November 05, 2012, 08:54:54

The biggest benefit would be that we would no longer lose players to the NH hemisphere to anything like the current extent. Big increase in revenues and no down under bent refs like BL not giving us a fair deal!!! NH refs are usually more fair by some way. No mcchat to dea lwithe tc etc etc.

On the other hand it would be a pity as I was looking forward to us whipping the Kiwis on a regualr basis as we have a very rich vien of talent coming through.

It would spell the end on nz rugby as we are paying their salaries etc - not a bad thing I suppose as they never want to clan up their rugby. Oz would also suffer which is also not a bad thing as they can get very arrogant sportswise.  But on the other hand disengaging with these guys down under to a large extent would limit our abilty to bring the necessasrt reform. Bwahahhahahaha

Could be huge financial rewards but would the rugby be as interesting. Probably not. The answere folks is simple. Get an enticing offer from the NH and use it to beat up the ab abd Oz oaks. If we produce 70% of the revenue we get say 65 % of said revenue - Beeno as always generous to a fault -  and oz and nz fight over the scaps - perhaps Oz with its larger population gets say 25% and abs get say 10%.  We use extra revenue to keep our top players in thje country and centrally contract them. Result  - Boks rule world rugby with monotonous regularity.

Beeno calling for a fair deal for all.


carpetmuncher

Status: Bok regular
Posts: 1396
RE: South Africa may feel Euro fallout
November 05, 2012, 10:53:02

SARU really need to get on board with this i feel this will benefit South africa in the long wrong way more than a SANZAR agreement where i feel we are getting the short end of the stick on most fronts


Beeno1

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 11707
RE: South Africa may feel Euro fallout
November 05, 2012, 12:55:06

Muncher we are definitely getting the short end of the stick on about all fronts but who wouyld you prefer to watch - NH sides or Super 15 sides. 

What price for seeing the Mighty Stormers whipping brycy's wee chiefies?


Arthur John

Status: Squad member
Posts: 597
RE: South Africa may feel Euro fallout
November 05, 2012, 16:29:27

Well besides the travel and money issues it would allow the EP Queens to at least lose a few games in the single digit range as opossed to what is about to take place in 2013.

 

Money, money, money and more money will rule at the end.


polyboy

Status: Squad member
Posts: 506
RE: South Africa may feel Euro fallout
November 06, 2012, 03:15:04

Yeah, take it then maybe you guys will win consistently....just kidding. Playing in Europe will not strengthen the Bok game, to beat the best you play the best.... somehow the European comps don't offer that, they're more rugby retirement plans for SH players who have outlived their use by date, and some even make the English, Scottish, Welsh National Teams. But hey, money makes the world go round.


carpetmuncher

Status: Bok regular
Posts: 1396
RE: South Africa may feel Euro fallout
November 07, 2012, 16:02:08

i think the best solution would be if SARU can mange to seal a NH clubs comp and still be able to be part of the castle rugby champs. thus giving us 2 bites of the cherry so to speak.


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