‘Super Rugby format favours SA sides’ – Rennie

Date published: May 28 2016

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Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie has criticised Super Rugby’s finals format and said the current model needs to be tweaked.

Although he wouldn’t say the current set-up is unfair on teams from New Zealand – who are dominating this year’s tournament – Rennie feels it favoured South African sides.

“There’s going to be four quarter-finals and two of them are going to be in Africa,” Rennie told AAP after his side’s 45-25 loss to the Waratahs in Sydney on Friday.

“Considering they’ve got six teams and half those games are going to be there… I guess they put a lot of money into it, so that’s the way it is.

“In the end, we’ve known about the comp – it is what it is. It means if you don’t win your conference, you’re travelling.”

Under the tournament’s new format, 18 teams are grouped geographically with two regional groups, which each consists of two conferences.

The Australasian Group has five sides in the Australian Conference and the same number of teams in the New Zealand Conference.

The South African Group consists of six South African teams, one Japanese team and one Argentinean team divided into a four-team Africa 1 Conference and a four-team Africa 2 Conference.

The top team in each of the four conferences qualify to the quarter-finals automatically, with the next three ranked teams in the Australasian Group and next best team in the South African group qualifying for the quarter-finals as wildcards.

As it currently stands, three New Zealand sides will claim wildcard spots ahead of SANZAAR’s review of the format.

“It’s difficult this many teams in,” added Rennie.

“I even look at the Jaguares (from Argentina) and obviously they’ve really battled but, gee, they’ve had some travel.

“Their pool games are predominantly in Africa. They had a three-week tour of New Zealand and went to Japan and then went home.

“We’ve done a bit of travel too but that’s what happens when you get this many teams involved.”

Rennie feels a 16-team tournament, where each side played each other once before a four or six-team finals series, would be better.

“That’s a fairer system, isn’t it?” he said.

“There’s been a bit of talk about the fact that maybe the Stormers, Bulls – they play 15 round robin games and they don’t have to play a Kiwi side.┬áThat’s not a bad draw is it?”

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