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Mehrtens: Time right to ditch SA

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Andrew Mehrtens (Getty Images)
Cape Town - Former All Black and Crusaders flyhalf Andrew Mehrtens feels the time is right for New Zealand and Australia to exclude South Africa and form their own Southern Hemisphere competition.

Mehrtens, writing a column on the Stuff.co.nzwebsite, outlined the difference in time zones as the biggest problem.

"I can't help thinking we might have lost a little interest in playing South African teams, and that ultimately the future of this competition might be more localised round time zones," wrote Mehrtens.

"The provincial championship still has a pretty strong following, and if you're looking at what Australia and New Zealand needs, maybe it's that parochialism, that tribalism which is very important.

"The logistics of involving South Africa are problematic - the travel and time difference - and maybe it would be better for all concerned just to play within our time zone and include teams from the Pacific Islands and Japan.

"You could look at extending the number of New Zealand teams and move away from the regional concept, and back to provincial lines. That's the logical progression.

"Maybe there could still be post-season involvement with South Africa, but their natural alignment is more with the UK and Europe, in the same time zone."

The 40-year-old played 70 Tests for the All Blacks between 1995 and 2004.
 
 
 

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FIFO. Fit in or fuck off. It is nobody's fault that he is sitting on the other side of the world and has to watch the games at kak hours.

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I think what has happened is there was once a time when NZ would struggle to get a win in SA so the interest was there, now they are not only winning regularly in SA but they are winning big...Chiefs had 2 come back draws and the Saders have had 2 wins and one was a massive win. MThe All Blacks have become comfortable winning in SA.

Who knows, all i know is I would like to see SA Rugby take it's place back and become dominant like we used to

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Guest fr1dg3

I think what has happened is there was once a time when NZ would struggle to get a win in SA so the interest was there, now they are not only winning regularly in SA but they are winning big...Chiefs had 2 come back draws and the Saders have had 2 wins and one was a massive win. MThe All Blacks have become comfortable winning in SA.

Who knows, all i know is I would like to see SA Rugby take it's place back and become dominant like we used to

 

When exactly was this dominance?  Apart from the Bulls and maybe the Sharks who have pretty decent home records.

 

The Boks home record vs All Blacks has always been "shit" when compared to other nations.

 

Since half the worlds players play in France it might not be the worst idea to play against them.

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Im sure we've spoken about this before and if I recall correctly quite a few of us agreed that it would make sense to have a new comp with NH teams.

So why get on your high horse when one if them suggest it?

Anyway, at least a SA team would win every year if that happens. NH teams are only Vodacom Cup level........ask Vlag's buddy.

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I agree, A NH competition would certainly mean more money for the players and less stress on them. The entire logoistics of it would suit us. I am not sure why Mehrtens would even go there because having SA withdraw could lose them a lot of money,

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Merhtens is obviously speaking from a rugby point of view I.e logistics, time zones etc and not the financial side of things.

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I wonder if NZ are not looking to push more for a Japanese league, they seem to have a lot of money and rugby I can only assume is growing steadily in Japan.

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I am all for finding a way to join the NH. It would make much more sense for us to have to travel through those time zones etc. I am just pissed off at this clown who wants his bread buttered on both sides and the  he wants some jam included.

 

If you look closely, he still wants to play us on the odd occasion but only when it suits them.

 

 

Maybe there could still be post-season involvement with South Africa......

 Fuck him. If they want to roll themselves in their  own  little cocoon in their little corner of the earth and play with their  mates, then so be it. Our teams have been  having a bit of an uphill battle a bit down there so far this year, but overall I think that the NZ teams  are not that threatening either.

 

The "oh so mighty" Chiefs have come over here and  went away with two draws against a stuffed  up Bulls side that they should by all accounts have demolished. The other one was against the Cheetahs who  have a battle to drag themselves away from the bottom of the log. They battled to beat the Rebels by a 6 point margin at home and the lost to  the Force. They beat the Highlanders by only 2 points also at home. Their other "prime" franchise, the Crusaders are pretty average as well.

 

I have a feeling that we could  well beat them this year. I am not one who  like to say "Jaaa maar", but the fact that we had the BS with Poite last year and were more or less forced to go for  broke at Ellis  Park, was the only difference last year. We were better than  them last year. The Ellis  Park  test was nowhere near our best game and by no means our normal game and we still gave them  a hell  of a run for their money, despite that.

 

So, Mr Mehrtens, like I said:" FIFO". Go play with your "maatjies" and see  where it gets you.

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I wonder if NZ are not looking to push more for a Japanese league, they seem to have a lot of money and rugby I can only assume is growing steadily in Japan.

 

Exactly. If you look at the entire article, it is all about the money. He speaks about the money that they can generate by concentrating on Australia and the money that they can generate by exploiting the Japanese game. There so-called market value means fokol. They cannot generate the money by themselves. They  have to go sell themselves to  somebody with a big purse. There own purse is full of emptiness.

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With all due respect Vlag I think youre reading more into it than it should be. Most of what he says makes sense. The post season comment could also refer to what a lot of people have suggested as well........a type of grand final between the winners of both comps to see whos the best in the world.

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Fuck Them, I think a NH series would be great and it would be great for the NH.

 

With regards to this years RC, I think NZ could possibly come third, Oz I think will be a threat this year. But NZ have a way to save face and they showed us that with their 2 draws, as much as we say The Bulls and Cheetahs should have been thrashed, those 2 sides should have finished the Chiefs off, they played at altitude and that should have worked in our favour. The Chiefs need to be commended for those draws,.

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With all due respect Vlag I think youre reading more into it than it should be. Most of what he says makes sense. The post season comment could also refer to what a lot of people have suggested as well........a type of grand final between the winners of both comps to see whos the best in the world.

 

The time zones issue does make sense. I have not disagreed about it. It has always been part of my argument that there are a number of advantages to us joining the NH.

 

Having said that, have you read his entire lamentation, not only the small part on Spor24?

 

http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/sport/9942858/Mehrtens-Time-to-ditch-South-Africa

OPINION: As Super Rugby nears its 20th year, I wonder if it's time to shake things up and maybe take a step back from South Africa.

I got up in the early hours of the morning at the weekend and watched my old Crusaders team battle the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein – but I'm sure I was in the minority.

I can't help thinking we might have lost a little interest in playing South African teams, and that ultimately the future of this competition might be more localised round time zones.

The provincial championship still has a pretty strong following, and if you're looking at what Australia and New Zealand needs, maybe it's that parochialism, that tribalism which is very important.

The logistics of involving South Africa are problematic – the travel and time difference – and maybe it would be better for all concerned just to play within our time zone and include teams from the Pacific Islands and Japan.

You could look at extending the number of New Zealand teams and move away from the regional concept, and back to provincial lines. That's the logical progression.

Maybe there could still be post-season involvement with South Africa, but their natural alignment is more with the UK and Europe, in the same time zone.

Any re-alignment, though, would need to be led by the IRB. If there's to be any form of consensus or consistency with a global international window, it has to come from them.

The New Zealand union supports continued involvement with South Africa but I wonder if money drives that. Where it's going to end up in 20 years' time is having competitions within time zones, and the sooner we get to that point the better for the development of the game.

New Zealand needs to align with a couple of big economies. It can't be the UK or France, so we have to look at helping grow the game in Australia. It's a biggish economy and there's a lot of money to be tapped into if it's done well.

Japan would be the other natural alignment that could help with the finances.

You might have 20 teams in our time-zone – eight or so from New Zealand, maybe six in Australia and the rest from the islands and Japan. (So, he wants the money from the Japs and for their efforts they - together with the "Islanders"- could have a few (six between them?) teams in the competition.

Australia has a lot of potential for growth, especially with broadcasting revenue, and New Zealand needs to recognise this. At the moment rugby is the poor cousin of the winter codes but that could easily change.

I'd also like to see more full-scale tours. Agree, as long as they are organised in such a way that the it does not compromise the Rugby Championship (minus SA?) See below. Lions tours are runaway successes and rugby needs to tap into the demand for these sort of events.

Again the IRB would need to lead the way, and maybe tours could alternate each year with the Rugby Championship. See my remark  above. That would mean every four years a country could host a major tour, whether it's by the Springboks, Wallabies, All Blacks or Lions. So, is he saying that in 2015 one of them, i.e. NZ host a major tour. Then in 2019, it is the turn of the Wallabies, 2024 SA, 2028 England, etc? I naddition, the Lions has  never hosted a major tour and never will.

The upshot would be New Zealand aligning closely with Australia and Japan, yet retaining links with South Africa and the UK through the touring structure and test matches. Bread..... butter.... both sides....

Granted, greater minds than mine might need to hammer out the detail, but that's the way I see the game heading over the next couple of decades.

On a more immediate note, what a couple of cracking contests we have in store this week in Super Rugby with the Hurricanes hosting the Blues and the Crusaders visiting the Chiefs.

The Blues will have benefited from their week off. Sometimes it can be counter-productive if you've got good momentum, but with the Blues on a bit of a rollercoaster ride, the chance to reset and take stock would have been valuable.

Both teams need more consistency and need to manage the down times in games better. The Hurricanes have been starting well but once through that initial ferocity, they can go off the boil a little.

When you make a mistake you need to tighten up and not make another. The French call it a "cascade of errors", and the Canes and Blues have both been guilty of that at times this season.

It's not often we see the Crusaders go in as underdogs, but this week in Hamilton on the back of that big trip back from Africa they go in with nothing to lose.

To me that makes them a dangerous beast. This is the Crusaders' chance to make a real statement and they've got everything to play for.

The Chiefs certainly aren't invincible. They're confident but they haven't found that consistency in their game yet.

The key for the Crusaders will be how they manage their week. If they get that part of the formula right – less is best after the big flight home – then they will fancy their chances of an upset.

Edited by vlagman

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Thanks for the whole article.

Regarding tapping into Aussie money......he will have a problem. Wasn't there an article last week about the very poor crowds in Australia?

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Personally I would scrap the RC as well.

 

Agreed. What I would  have suggested as well but as I said, he wants his bread buttered on both sides.

 

The bottom line is that modern NZ rugby is dependent on money from elsewhere. Obviously the same goes for us as well and that "elsewhere" lies in media and broadcasting rights and for that to happen you need a strong competition that is appealing to the public. I think that a future European competition involving the new European structure, and SA, would in all  probability be more appealing than a NZ/Aus/PI/Japan competition. The viewers for the first one would be from the UK and Ireland, France, Italy, SA, etc with money coming from big European  sponsors. The  viewers for their competition would be from NZ, Aus, the PIs and Japan, with the money coming mostly from Aus and Japan.

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Aus have no real rugby money.

And the crowds have been crap in all 3 countries.

I would like to see the numbers for this year. I wouldn't be surprised if the top three crowds were all in South Africa.......Ellis Park, Newlands and Kings Park. Edited by Stu

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SA crowds have declined in the last 2 years, i remember reading an article, but some bright spark who wrote the article even suggested that the upseide was that TV viewing is up, no shit, if they are not at the ground, they are watching on TV.

 

I say bring back good old rugby tours, rugby has bedome kind of boring, it is the same ol' games year in and year out. We play each other so often that most teams are familiar with each other, too familiar.

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