Stormers split over Super future, possible move north
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CAPE TOWN – Stormers coach John Dobson says his player group is split on the possibility of a move up north should South African teams not take part in Super Rugby in future.
While SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux said that New Zealand Rugby can’t just axe SA from the southern hemisphere competition due to legal agreements and that their absence in 2021 would be as a result of travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Kiwis have outlined plans to include a Pacific team (in addition to the Australian sides) and exclude any SA teams as well as Argentina’s Jaguares.
The topic of SA teams joining a northern hemisphere competition has been a talking point for some time now, and given the uncertainty regarding future ties to Sanzaar, South African teams’ next move has become an even bigger focus.
During a digital engagement with the media yesterday, Dobson said that it would be sad to see SA part from Super Rugby. “I have been having one on ones with the players for the last three days and they seem quite split themselves,” Dobson said.
“A senior Springbok said for too many years we have been chasing New Zealand and trying to play their rugby and that the northern hemisphere would actually suit us. Another Springbok told me he liked playing New Zealand teams because we know we are testing ourselves against the best.
“There might be a bit of opportunism to use the travel restrictions to throw Super Rugby out being used by New Zealand and Australia, but it’s a reality for 2021. Personally, it would be sad to see it go.
“They (New Zealand) can punish you so hard, so quickly if you aren’t on top of your game. In the northern hemisphere you can grind it out. All of us are probably following New Zealand. So, it’s up to us as coaches to be disciplined enough to learn.”
“The change in the breakdown is staggering in their domestic competition and it is going to change how we coach the breakdown... if we aren’t playing, we have to be disciplined enough to learn because they are ahead in terms of that stuff.
It’s one thing watching videos and another knowing you have to play them on Saturday. That is probably an element that we could be missing out on because I think you have to be on the sharp end of rugby the whole time.”