FORMER All Blacks five-eighth Andrew Mehrtens has slammed the Super Rugby competition as ‘stupid’ as uncertainty continues to swirl around its future composition and rumours fly of the imminent dumping of an Australian team.
Teams and players were seemingly left on tenterhooks on Tuesday, when Australian Rugby Union officials briefed the CEOs of the five Australian franchises about the meeting of governing body SANZAAR in London last week.
Neither the ARU or SANZAAR has made any announcement about the competition structure for next year.
However, Harold Verster, CEO of South African team the Cheetahs, told media he understood one Australian team and one of South Africa’s six teams will go, with the competition to be reduced from 18 teams to 16 for next season.
If an Australian side is axed, the Force, Rebels and Brumbies are considered to be the ones most in danger.
Pundits and fans are becomingly increasingly frustrated with the patchy standard of play and the unwieldy and convoluted conference structure.
“I think the competition is stupid at the moment,” Mehrtens said on Fox Sports’ Super Rugby: Kick & Chase.
“There’s no way, in 10 years’ time, that we’re going to be looking at a competition that covers three massively distinct time zones.
“Our best thing is to go just within this time zone here. It makes it a lot more logistically easy to manage for the teams and players.
“You fly overnight, a 10-hour flight to Japan, you can handle that because the time difference is not massive.
“In Asia and Australia and New Zealand and the (Pacific) Islands is where the future of this competition lies for us.
“The sooner we can get there the quicker we can develop it and the better.”
Speaking on the same program, former Wallabies captain and hooker Phil Kearns felt an independent commission was needed to regulate the competition.
“Whenever anyone’s got a vested interest they are not going to do what’s in the best interests of the game, they are going to do what’s in the best interests of their province,” he said.
Fellow panellist and former Wallaby back-rower Stephen Hoiles said while there were probably too many teams in the competition, the much-criticised conference system wasn’t working.
“We can’t have a conference system between five countries, everyone has to play everyone once, it’s the only way it’s going to be fair,” Hoiles said.