It is difficult to be a globally-minded, parochial New Zealander.
Aotearoa Super Rugby is the best rugby competition in the world. For New Zealand to remain a world rugby force we must retain this domestic competition. It’s the best thing for the growth of rugby in New Zealand and the global game.
In a perfect world the New Zealand rugby players and coaches who travel as professionals, would love to play in a lucrative competition involving New Zealand teams and retain eligibility to be selected as an All Black coach or player. Let’s embrace this reality.
Here is my solution which will capture a far greater TV audience and grow the game rapidly in the four countries involved.
The regional team concept in New Zealand should be scrapped. This domestic and commercially valuable format should be retained through an elite provincial competition like the Mitre 10 Cup.
Other countries like Australia, Japan, Argentina and the USA should, and are, doing the same. This will grow their recruitment, internal development andcompetitive edge.
The best of these respective domestic teams should then compete in an international competition called Super Rugby. This should comprise eight teams and include semi-finals, a final and a promotion-relegation series for the bottom four teams.
The breakdown would be the two best sides from New Zealand, Australian and Japanese domestic competitions and one team from Argentina andUSA (based in Hawaii). The top four would play semis and a final. The bottom four would play the next-best team from each of the four domestic competitions.
This composition reflects rugby and financial strength because the volume of the economies of Japan, USA and Argentina will ensure commercial viability.