The bigwigs of South African rugby, including embattled Saru chief executive Jurie Roux, gathered at the SuperSport Studios in Randburg yesterday to usher in a new era in the long and illustrious history of the coveted franchise competition.
While Roux’s future with rugby’s mother body hangs in the balance with allegations of financial mismanagement during his time at the University of Stellenbosch, yesterday saw all six South African franchises and the Argentinian franchise, the Jaguares, take a giant leap into the uncharted waters of the new format of Super Rugby.
The format has been a major talking point since it was announced over 15 months ago, but the biggest challenge for the South African franchises will be how they cope with playing two pools – within their conference, and the new additions of the Southern Kings, the Jaguares and the Japanese franchise the Sunwolves.
Furthermore, the likes of the Stormers, Bulls, Cheetahs and Kings will see new coaches take on the challenges of Super Rugby, along with many new faces from players taking over from some of the many stalwarts who have left the country in search of greener pastures.
The biggest spotlight, though, will be on the Kings, who make a return to the competition after a two year hiatus and they will already be on the back foot after all the boardroom shenanigans.
Kings coach Deon Davids conceded that they had had a less than ideal start to their preparations to the competition, and said it was adversity that they would use to make them a competitive side.
“When I got in at the beginning of the year we started working on creating the correct culture.
“We worked hard discussing the challenges that lie ahead, and we have grown tremendously since then.
“We see this as a huge opportunity, and it will be important for us to set performance goals and keep on working as a family,” Davids said. - The Mercury
Original source: Super Rugby enters unchartered waters