The divide that exists between the hemispheres (or doesn’t exist, depending on who you ask) has been a huge topic the past few weeks following the Southern Hemisphere’s dominance at this year’s Rugby World Cup.
The European Champions Cup recently replaced the Heineken Cup due to ongoing conflict and so far has been a topic of scrutiny by many people. Each countries governing body impose different transfer policies with no apparent salary cap in France, England subject to two marquee players and Ireland, Scotland and Wales seemingly left in the dark due to strict national policies and inability to compete financially due the PRO12 not having the same draw and importance that both the Aviva Premiership and Top 14 seem to have.
The Super 15 has grown and grown the past few years, constantly expanding with it’s biggest expansion yet coming in next year adding three new teams including brand new Argentinian and Japanese franchises. The Super 15 allows for the very best of talent in the Southern Hemisphere to compete against each other at the highest level week in week out for an entire season.
I myself come from an Irish background and can see that watching a PRO12 game with an Irish side and watching a European game is like watching different teams. The competitiveness is simply not there. Even watching the Top 14 and the Aviva Premiership the rugby can be very sluggish at times and lacks that European intensity. Imagine all these sides were playing at European level every week. The standard of rugby would dramatically improve, I have no doubt.
The problem is would it work? I say why wouldn’t it? Of course considering the amount of teams that exist there would have to be maybe three tiers with promotion and relegation existing, but wouldn’t that just increase the stakes and better these teams in the long run? Every side would then operate under one set of rules when it comes to transfer policy. A draft system could even be introduced in the long-term? The question is how would we decide who begins in what league? One of our followers over on Facebook, Alan Conlon put together some useful statistics for us yesterday to try and assemble the a potential top tier European Super 15.
He picked the top 5 teams from Top 14, PRO 12 and Aviva Premiership based on their performances in the last five years then put their previous results together. If they didn’t play he put it as a draw. This is what he came up with.
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Now I know there is a lot more to discuss on the topic, with many pros and cons but what do you think? Would a European Super 15 work?