Saturday , February 27 2021

Chris Rattue: The New World Rugby competition is a life-and-death moment for the All Blacks


Los Angeles is known as the City of Broken Dreams, the perfect place for a rugby match.

Few things are more broken in the sport world than the Super Rugby, a provincial competition that is destroying the game in Australia and turning it into a yawn in New Zealand.

South Africa, meanwhile, is so disillusioned or confused that some are getting in the way of buying a van for Europe.

Super Rugby started so brilliantly in the mid-1990s, but somehow went wrong. No wonder teenagers are leaving the game en masse, with so many other entertainment options available in the digital age.

In the absence of a successful professional club / provincial competition, a World League is the potential of rugby if it is an imperfect savior in this part of the world.

Rugby leaders met in a chic Los Angeles hotel this week, and good luck for them in reorganizing their sport on a dramatic level.

[[[[Read more: World Cup no more? The week that could end rugby as we know it]

It is the Northern Hemisphere that has the most to lose with the League of Nations concept, because its Six Nations are a great winter win between power and the profile of European football.

Southern hemisphere rugby is in trouble, where the game is a more dominant game code that needs a major overhaul.

The CEO of NZ Rugby, Steve Tew. Photo / Photosport
The CEO of NZ Rugby, Steve Tew. Photo / Photosport

In addition to a rugby test, the game is something you know what in this part of the world, and completely unprepared for a future in which it competes with glamorous sports and great stars of world and American football. Basketball.

The level of excitement and drama surrounding the Super Rugby is close to zero by world sports standards. Super Rugby starts in February, test games have already been played and yet you will hardly know it's near kick-off now.

The Rugby Championship – involving the All Blacks, Wallabies, Springboks and Pumas – does great competitions, but as a competition it's a drug.

World Rugby vice president Agustin Pichot is pushing for a world league with a competition from 12 countries apparently being debated at the Los Angeles meetings.

It's rugby time to dream big and dare to win. The biggest risk for the southern hemisphere is doing nothing.

What the LA summit suggests is that even greater concentration on the rugby test is coming. In a perfect world, this is not how it should be. But rugby is far, far away from being a perfect world.

The only thing that works on a large scale in New Zealand rugby is the obsession of the World Cup. But mid-year tests are often reduced.

And European money will wipe out the power of the All Blacks when players are more likely to follow the trend started by Charles Piutau and Steven Luatua who have moved north yet young.

World League? Absolutely, because rugby in the southern hemisphere needs a big injection of money to keep players here and glamor to attract future generations.

And a new league, it seems, will harness the power and potential of rugby in the Pacific, something SANZAAR has shamelessly ignored.

As for the odds, though, of discordant hemispheres and superpower of rugby joining in something so big, small, is my guess.

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