Ex-NZRU boss blames Super Rugby for Wallaby woes

Date published: August 23 2016

1022.6666666666666x767__origin__0x0_Israel_Folau_Australia_Rugby_Championship_20161

The Wallabies' problems at Test level can be attributed to Super Rugby's new 18-team tournament which was formed earlier this year.

That is the word of former New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive David Moffett who believes taking Super Rugby back to a 12-team competition will help to rebuild the struggling Wallabies, who suffered a 42-8 loss to New Zealand in their Rugby Championship opener at the weekend.

This follows their 3-0 series defeat to England in Australia in June.

Moffett, who also had a stint as chief executive of SANZAAR during the 1990s, would axe Melbourne Rebels or Western Force to consolidate Australia's depth into four clubs.

"It's not just about one shocking loss to the All Blacks but a shake-up for the whole code to better address what is important," he told the Courier Mail.

Saturday's Test between the Wallabies and All Blacks at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney had 65,328 spectators in attendance which was almost 20,000 people short of the ground's capacity.

"I was gobsmacked by the small crowd, which reflects a whole lot of reasons including the disconnect from the new Super Rugby format, an overcomplicated rule book, fans being judicious on their sports spend and the series loss to England," said Moffett.

Moffett's first step would be the restructuring of Super Rugby as he feels SANZAAR has gone off course.

"SANZAAR has taken the view it is for them to develop rugby outside Europe and that's not its role," he added.

"The pursuit of quantity over quality is a nightmare with Japan, other weaker teams involved and talk of 20 and 24 teams in the future.

"Fans switched off from the ludicrous four-conference format this year when all they want to turn them on again is a competition they understand and quality.

"I'd return the competition to 12 teams and play home-and-away with four each from Australia, NZ and South Africa.

"Getting rid of the Rebels or Force would be tough on them but why are we paying journeyman players big money to pad out five teams when we only have the strength for four.

"The Super Rugby set-up is part of the Wallabies' downfall."

COMMENTS