Cape Town – Former Springbok coach Jake White has lauded the decision to scrap the Sunwolves from Super Rugby.
SANZAAR, rugby’s governing body in the southern hemisphere, announced last Friday that the Sunwolves would not play Super Rugby from 2021, with the competition reverting back to a 14-team event played on a round-robin basis.
“It’s encouraging that SANZAAR has seen that the current model isn’t working and they’ve had the guts to reverse the changes to bring a round-robin format back to Super Rugby,” White wrote via a column for the All Out Rugby website.
White added that the Sunwolves’ addition to Super Rugby was due to organisers thinking there was money to be made.
“Rugby was chasing a foothold in the Asian market and now, six months before the first rugby World Cup in Asia, we’ve got the announced termination of the only Super Rugby side on the continent.
“Because of the size of the potential market, rugby has been clamouring to get into Asia to sell jerseys and memorabilia, just like Toulon tried to do by signing Japan fullback Ayumu Goromaru a few years ago.
“But what the Sunwolves model has shown is that it doesn’t work like that. The Japanese need to develop their own regional rugby market and produce more home-grown heroes before trying to step up to Super Rugby.”
White also said that the Sunwolves’ demise should raise a red flag for World Rugby, who plans to launch a global league.
“If they go ahead with the global league, rugby will end up with a soccer model where players earn most of their money playing club rugby for private owners all over the world at the expense of the integrity, intensity and mystique of Test rugby.”