Cape Town - There is no doubting last weekend’s Currie Cup action was entertaining.
The physicality of yesteryear was there for everyone to see and even more exciting was the lift in skills on display.
One swallow doesn’t make a summer!
The Currie Cup, like almost all rugby competitions is under tremendous pressure. Attendances are down, TV viewership is down and there are just so many other options fighting for people’s attention (think football).
If memory serves me correctly, the only fixtures that are commanding full stadiums are local school derbies - especially the Afrikaans ones as the English speaking (read southern suburbs) schools tend to be fickle depending on the current teams' success and the weather, World Rugby Sevens and a few of the European Leagues (in 5 000 - 10 000 seater stadiums). Oh, and Varsity Cup.
What drives the success of the above?
The sense of community-based sport and rivalries that haven’t been diluted over the years. These are still “annual fixtures” and the teams don’t play against each other every other weekend in whatever format people can think of. In other words - scarcity is driving the hype!
Sometimes, less is more!
Super Rugby’s Conferencing structure is killing the rivalry of our teams. That old North v South or Western Province v Sharks is almost a weekly occurrence. It’s just too exhausting to get excited about these each time.
World Rugby Sevens & Varsity Cup: Sport-tainment
“Are you not entertained?” - Maximus Decimus Meridius.
Times have changed. Both the Sevens and Varsity Cup are enjoying success because of the entertainment that surround the actual rugby.
Music, competitions, beach balls and booze are all contributing to drawing full stadiums. Convenience also plays a roll, the Cape Town Sevens is a world class event, at a world class stadium, leveraging great infrastructure and transport logistics. Newlands, not so much.
Know your place. Small stadiums give a sense of a full house and help create a great atmosphere.
Any reason why the Currie Cup final can’t be played at Athlone Stadium or the Danie Craven Stadium?
*** While I have your attention! ***
This is the only hope/solution for Super Rugby to survive:
20 teams, 2 Divisions
Super Rugby - Premier Division
4 New Zealand teams, 3 South African teams, 2 Australian teams and the Jaguares
1 round robin (scrap home & away), top 4 teams make the semi-finals, final etc
Worst ranked team = relegated
Second-lowest team = playoff (at home) against loser of Division 1 final
Super Rugby - Division 1
The 10 remaining teams
Same round robin structure + playoffs as Premier Division
Winner automatically promoted
Loser in the final = playoff with second-lowest team from Premier Division away from home.
Agree with Myles? Agree to disagree? Either way, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org