Updated News Around the World

Super Rugby Pacific 2022: What we learned

The Crusaders finals win capped off a rough inaugural season for Super Rugby without South Africa – so what did we make of Super Rugby Pacific, and what could change?

Hoskins Sotutu of the Blues wins the ball in the lineout.
Photo: Photosport

Congratulations to the Crusaders! They lifted the Super Rugby Pacific trophy last night in what, admittedly, wasn’t the greatest game of rugby.

Their new bit of silverware may look like something you’d win in a claw machine at Time Zone, but it’s unlikely anyone in red and black country will be complaining. Because, really, is anyone that surprised they won?

Despite the numbers favouring the Blues, this was a vintage Crusaders party-pooping effort, one that seems like it was won before they even ran on the field, thanks to some shockingly effective homework at line-out time.

It was there that the Blues literally threw the game away. 10 line-outs lost is an appalling stat in a schoolboy game, let alone a Super Rugby final.

But the game capped off what has been a very rough inaugural season for Super Rugby sans South Africa.

In fact, it’s actually almost tempting to give a rare round of applause to the governing bodies for even making it to the start line, plus the teams themselves for putting up with the constant disruption to their lives.

But it got underway, so what did we make of Super Rugby Pacific?

It always needs a big final in a big stadium: Last night, actually all of last week, showed just how important the showpiece event needs to be for this competition. Eden Park being able to say it is sold out shows just how readily rugby union can flex its muscles as the main show in town, which not only Super Rugby, but all other forms of the game will benefit from. So really, the Christchurch situation is a real problem that needs solving fast.

Blues fans and supporters at the Super Rugby Pacific Final at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand on Saturday 18 June 2022.

Blues supporters at the final at Eden Park
Photo: Photosport

It’s been fundamentally good for the All Blacks: Part of why the Blues have been so good this year has been that they have had virtually all of their All Blacks fighting for spots in the test side. This is more accident than design, but the form of the likes of Dalton Papalii, Hoskins Sotutu, the Ioane brothers etc. is something Ian Foster should be very thankful for.

It’s been even better for the Aussies: No one gave the Australian sides a hope, however the Brumbies not only fully deserved their spot in the semifinal, but almost ended up winning it.

The surprise package that was that the young Waratahs side has thrown a fair few names up for Wallaby selection, and while the Reds were disappointing and the other two sides were about where we thought they were, the signs are there that Super Rugby Pacific will be far more competitive than a lot of people thought.

Which is why the rumblings out of Rugby Australia that they want to leave already seem a little far-fetched.

Although given they are hosting a World Cup in 2027 it is understandable that they would want to engage in some posturing with NZ Rugby right now.

We should just accept that cards are part of the game now: If you connect with someone’s head, you’re gone (except in finals, it seems). The Crusaders found that out the hard way four times and still made the final, so coaching teams to play short-handed is clearly a thing that can be done effectively.

Which begs the question: why don’t they just coach them to tackle properly instead?

But we should not accept contradictory judicial rulings: Refs need to make tough calls, and while they’re not always going to get them right, it’d be nice for the judiciary not to throw them under the bus.

Pablo Matera’s legal defence team certainly earned their money this season, with the big Argentinean escaping punishment for what looked like clear cut suspensions twice.

The playoffs should probably be cut to six teams: Eight teams out of 12 is a lot, though since everyone made so many sacrifices just to play this season it is understandable. But next year it’s time to get a bit more ruthless, and maybe even introduce a bye week for the top seeds.

The Fijian Drua performing the Na Bole before a Super Rugby Pacific clash.

Fijian Drua had their first home game against the Highlanders in front of a sold out stadium
Photo: AAP / www.photosport.nz

Pacific Island rugby should be played in the Pacific Islands: The Fijian Drua’s return home resulted in the two best crowd experiences of the season, plus two near-upsets of New Zealand teams.

Moana Pasifika are tethered to Mt Smart Stadium, but it is likely they will take a game to Apia or Nuku’alofa as soon as they can.

And so should the Super Round: A package deal to Suva in March – there you go NZ Rugby, you can have that idea for free.

The Blues are going to be good for a while, so get used to it: Despite the loss, they are young, hungry and determined. The rivalry with the Crusaders represents all the best things about Super Rugby, with a core group of Blues players likely to go at their southern foes for years to come.

If it’s marketed properly, Super Rugby Pacific can get us back to the glory days: Rivalries breed passion. Passion breeds engagement. Engagement means full stadiums and eyes on TVs.

For too long, the focus has been on the standard of rugby, when really it should be on the efforts made to make it a proper game-day experience. Someone needs to open the wallet and their minds to new ideas.

For all the latest Sports News Click Here 

 For the latest news and updates, follow us on Google News

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! NewsUpdate is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.