It is fair to say no one is currently chuffed with New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and their handling of their Sanzaar partners South Africa, Australia and Argentina.
On Tuesday, SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux declared the current crisis southern hemisphere rugby finds itself in was squarely the blame of the Kiwis, stating that “we would not have been taking this decision but for actions elsewhere”.
That decision is, of course, NZR’s determination to ditch the current Super Rugby model, go it alone, and force Rugby Australia to consent to their vision, all the while leaving Argentina and South Africa out in the cold. SA Rugby has therefore had to look to Europe and the Pro14 to secure its future.
It is true that the pandemic forced all the constituents of Sanzaar to find the best possible way to protect their game, but it is blatantly obvious that NZR have overplayed their hand.
The major casualty of this exceptionalism is Super Rugby for although the tournament was cumbersome, it was nevertheless a solid competition that had many moments of brilliance.
If New Zealand hadn’t pulled the trigger with their unilateral decisions, then who is to say that a workable agreement would not have been reached to fix the perceived problems.
NZR’s options are now limited, and Australia will undoubtedly be the biggest winners in whatever intra-political discussion takes place between them.
For SA, a new chapter begins – an exciting one in which financial and logistical rewards will far outweigh any other positives that Super Rugby, and Sanzaar for that matter, offered.
So, here’s to Super Rugby – thanks for the memories…