Francois Pienaar Photo: Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix

PERTH  – Esteemed World Cup-winning captain, Francois Pienaar, has suggested, at a skills coaching clinic in Perth, that SANZAAR should think progressively to accommodate teams, rather than cutting them from Super Rugby.

He criticised SANZAAR (SA, New Zealand, Australi and Argentina Rugby) for dropping three teams from Super Rugby for 2018.

He proposed a two-tier system, in which teams could be promoted and relegated, thereby maintaining the strength-versus-strength element, which many fans argue is missing from the current format.

Pienaar said: “I don’t think they’re nearly as progressive as they can be in their thinking.”

“Taking out three teams – is that going to radically change the game? I think there should be two sections.

“I’ve given this quite a bit of thought – there should be a small “A” section and a small “B” section, with promotion and relegation and playoff systems.

“All of the teams would be accommodated, you would still get your big matches and the game is going to grow.

“By culling teams, you’re not going to grow the game.”

SANZAAR confirmed on Sunday that 2018 Super Rugby will feature 15 teams, down from the current 18-team format.
He was sympathetic to his Perth audience, especially with the city’s Super Rugby franchise under threat of being cut from the tournament.

“It’s great to see the youngsters out here today because this is where rugby starts,” Pienaar said.

“Children want heroes because that’s what they aspire to. That is the ultimate. They watch them play on the weekend – a phenomenal match against the Kings – and now they get an opportunity to actually be coached by the players that played in that game.

“It’s all about creating heroes and that aspiration for them to one day want to wear the Force jersey. If you don’t have that, it will peter away and (fewer) kids will play rugby and participate in sport.”