That's what I thought - another possibility is that the Welsh have repeatedly talked about going to three teams, so 5 saffers would make a Pro16, which would give a nice simple two conference format, play every one in your group home and away, everyone in the other group once to give 22 games.clydecloggie wrote:Surely it won't make sense to have a Pro17 - would be harsh on the Cheetahs to axe them.Alba wrote:My understanding was that one or both of the current teams would be scrapped in exchange for the SR teams. I think the Cheetahs, as you said, were decent. If only one was kept from those two, the cheetahs is the preference.robmatic wrote:I think being in the same time zone-ish is is a big structural advantage over the Super Rugby set up.clydecloggie wrote:I'm worried - Super Rugby essentially killed itself going to 18, although that had the problems of geography with teams having to travel half the planet on a weekly basis and outposts in Japan and Argentina.Alba wrote:To try and spark some rugby chat, any views on a) the likelihood of and b) the desire to have a Pro18 including the South African Super Rugby sides?
For me there are pluses and minuses. On the plus side SA will bring additional revenues (though possibly not large given the relative strength of the rand) with their large population, prestige from their excellent teams and an improvement in the overall level of the league.
On the negative side, the need to travel to SA for 5 games per season (minimum) is not great despite the similar timezones. I'm also not sure how the league would be organised.
Overall I think this would be an improvement. The league would contain 10 sides I think most would agree have decent to excellent pedigree in Leinster, Munster, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Ulster, Scarlets, Sharks, Bulls, Stormers and Lions. The real weak teams would be limited to Ospreys, Zebre and Dragons with Connacht, Cardiff and Benneton all decent to good. I don't particularly buy into the narrative that the Pro18 is weak, but the general view outside of those who actually watch it is that it is a weak league. If this change could shift that narrative then we might see improvements in future TV deals and sponsorship opportunities.
In your list, add the Kings to the shite group and Cheetahs to the Connacht group.
I'd much prefer a return to the Pro12 in a one league system, but I guess that's wishful thinking.
As good as it would be to have all the top Saffer teams coming to Scotstoun, it would be at the expense of what made the league good in the first place.
I suppose it depends on how much you think the current SA additions to the league has worked. The teams probably aren't allowed to grumble about the additional travel, but they seem to be managing it well enough as a mini-tour. The biggest issue for me so far has been that Kings are terrible and the away games down there aren't much of a spectacle on TV due to the small crowds.
Con of that is the Irish in particular losing the home and away games vs all other Irish teams. But they may be convinced that home games against the Sharks, Bulls or WP make up for that.