The world’s rugby times they are a chang­ing

Pretoria News - - SPORT & RACING -

CAPE TOWN: Rugby Aus­tralia’s new col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ment an­nounced this week has reignited spec­u­la­tion that San­zaar could soon be set for a shake-up.

The sig­nif­i­cant changes in Aus­tralia have seen their over­all Su­per Rugby salary cap ad­justed to a to­tal of R53-mil­lion, with the av­er­age player re­ceiv­ing R2.2-mil­lion) in 2018.

Be­sides the 10% pay in­crease for play­ers, squad sizes have been ex­panded to up to 40 play­ers. This change is re­lated to the Force’s ax­ing from Su­per Rugby, which has seen the num­ber of pro­fes­sional play­ers in Su­per Rugby in Aus­tralia de­crease from 175 to 160.

Fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment, English news­pa­per, the Guardian, raises the ques­tion whether the new col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ment is sus­tain­able over the long term.

The cur­rent broad­cast agree­ment with the San­zaar part­ners (South Africa, New Zealand, Aus­tralia and Ar­gentina) comes to an end in 2020, and there has been plenty of talk in rugby cir­cles that a global rugby cal­en­dar will take shape af­ter that.

Be­sides com­pe­ti­tions po­ten­tially be­ing aligned along sim­i­lar time zones, there could be a drive for them to be played at sim­i­lar times of the year, while new cross-hemi­sphere games could come into play. Al­ready, South African rugby has taken its first foray into north­ern hemi­sphere com­pe­ti­tion, with the Chee­tahs and Kings hav­ing en­tered the Pro14 last year.

Should the San­zaar part­ners go their sep­a­rate ways af­ter 2020, it’s ex­pected that Aus­tralia and New Zealand will cre­ate a trans-Tas­man com­pe­ti­tion, while more South African Su­per Rugby teams could head to Europe. – ANA

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