URC vs Super Rugby two years on, are you you hooked yet?

Forum » Rugby » URC vs Super Rugby two years on, are you you hooked yet?

Apr 21, 2023, 13:48

Okay, so SA finally took the big plunge after several mermerings over the years that they are ready to hitch their wagon to the Northern hemisphere teams. We saw that when the cheetahs and queens got booted and had some success in the URC, mainly the cheetahs that is. 

So here are some of the critical things that I have observed vs playing the URC

  1. Do you know the players from the other teams and could you put a fantasy league team together?
  2. How many matches have you actually watched? 
  3. How do we know we are playing the best teams vs the worst team
  4. What is up with the crowds, one day it is a man and his dog and the next it is maximum of 2000 people. Ireland and SA have consistently put in high numbers but what was up with the Lions stadium with hardly anyone showing. Probably because knew that it would a bunch of no names showing up on match day. 

Right, so this is my take on the above questions. 

Most of us on here played the fantasy rugby and we got obsessed with who to pick and how we would score. Those who actually read the instructions did the best and found ways to game the system. But it was a lot of fun. 

I could tell you almost all the best players from every super rugby team and we would know who to look out for. It also helped given that we had the Try-nations and we could follow the opposition's player development. I remember making a friend from New Zealand and we could just sit all night, knocking back a few beers and complimenting each other about the quality of the other teams players as well talking about the new young and up and coming talent and good they were. 

Every game was near test like quality, I think some of the SA teams put their 2nd team out while on tour to try and figure out how to deal with the jet lag but in the end we even the stormers and bulls win all their games in New Zealand. 

In comparison, I honestly don't really know who the players are in the URC, who plays for Wales, Scotland or Ireland. Because I don't know, the games becomes less interesting and I don't know if our boks are being tested against the best of Ireland

I know that Leinster packed full Irish players but I don't really care about Ireland, I'm more interested in New Zealand and Australia. Less Australia these days. 

Then, because I don't know these players, I have no idea if the games are even worth it, especially when our teams tour as in the Bulls case, teams put weaker teams

Then, in Super rugby each country teams had to put the best teams out at all times. Most of our top players and not even boks are playing abroad. So we know that we are spread very thin and we got a couple of big names, but what we saw with the Saarks, with out Even they really fall flat even though they have a bunch of the black brother boks. 

So yea,

In short, I still haven't completely gotten in the URC

Have you?

Apr 21, 2023, 14:18

It's been in our DNA...but divorce is never easy...tye kicked us out/called our bluff...nothing we can do about it now...it is what it is...we moved on and it's the second season and the SA teams hang in there.

"Every game was near test like quality (Nonsense!), I think some of the SA teams put their 2nd team out while on tour to try and figure out how to deal with the jet lag but in the end we even the stormers and bulls win all their games in New Zealand

Not in my time-line. :D

Apr 21, 2023, 18:59

Well the top 2 Teams in the World is from Europe, so maybe it’s good for us to be there ??? But Super Rugby was Tougher….and that is what SA, AB and OZ needs back I would say…for me SR was more exciting.

Apr 21, 2023, 19:16

"But Super Rugby was Tougher"

Well, maybe. :angel:

Apr 21, 2023, 20:52

There was nothing better than the old Super 12 or 15. Perhaps 12 was the best for selfish reasons being the most simple and entertaining and 15 was probably the better in sharing with Argentina and Japan which on merit deserve to have representation as well.

When things work well why try to fix it...I, and many, miss New Zealand and Australia very much.

Perhaps less, franchise and club rugby which is overplayed and more international rugby in balance is far more entertaining but I guess the sad reality is that money talks first.

Apr 21, 2023, 21:55

I'm skoon verlore ..................... living in NZ, there's zero coverage on radio tv or newspapers.

DbD doesn't help with his updates, never gives the score:ermm:  bravo vipbox or rugbystreams.

The NZ/Oz comp is a revelation with all their top players on show although the kiwis have a rest & rotation policy for their international group.

How our lot perform after returning from the rugby diaspora gawd alone knows

Apr 21, 2023, 22:04

I battled to understand how the teams played two comps with some players disappearing for international games up there. Now we travel back and forth, it's a circus. 

Otherwise enjoying the change, venues, styles play, conditions. 

Apr 21, 2023, 23:10

I preferred Super rugby in the old days and you can’t beat playing against the Oz and Kiwi sides but I’m enjoy the difference playing against NH sides brings

I don’t like the fact that out domestic game is suffering in terms of player drain

I don’t like seeing so many 35 year plus players littering our sides

I’d love to see us playing the NH sides with the majority of the 80 players I mentioned the other day that are plying their trade outside SA

Apr 22, 2023, 06:10

Super 14 Suited the SA sides best...it started going down hill with the S15 conference BS...S18 even worse.

Apr 22, 2023, 08:06

Ja, Super 12 was the best ever rugby. SA took a while to catch due provincialism and lack of professionalism. New Zealand was smart in creating franchises and centrally contracting their players. So no stupid player agents hence why so many SA players have become mercenaries. 

I just don’t get it, we made the same amount as Aus / Nz for broadcast rights but couldn’t pay our players enough to get them to stay.

What I did notice is that SA rugby is still paying a lot of provinces and clubs, SA rugby is governed by all of the provinces. So all the small ones voted for what will give them money and the administration guarantees a pay check. 

I don’t know, playing 25 games a season may be one step too far.

Japan top league looks really interest Now that they restructured it. They start in December and finishes in May, 6 months and that’s it. Don’t hear issues with money   

Apr 22, 2023, 08:40

Super 12 was the last of the quality domestic rugby competitions in the SH. After 2008 it began to water down substantially. We now find ourselves in place where we are trying to find our way in a newly evolving order. Europe is now seizing power in the game, like soccer. It isn't perfect, and we'll see how it settles in time. It's clear that we can never go back to once was. Super rugby has been very damaging to the profile of players we produce. Generic runners with limited utility. 

Apr 22, 2023, 09:28

Stuck inna middle

Apr 22, 2023, 21:15

We just saw Leinster getting hammered by the Booools today. It was their youth team.

Don't see the entertainment or quality in a game like that. 

Last week Zebre go hammered by the Saarks. 

Some of the games have been competitive but at least in the super rugby days you knew that your bottom team could beat the number 1 team

Apr 22, 2023, 22:10

We just saw Leinster getting hammered by the Booools today. It was their youth team.

Don't see the entertainment or quality in a game like that.

Can't blame Leinster, they have knock out rugby against Toulouse next week. Why risk sending the A team on a long haul flight to South Africa for two dead rubber game with nothing on the line. Why not give game time to the younger guys to see if they can make the step up.

Last week Zebre go hammered by the Saarks.

It was the Bulls who hammered them. Zebre actually almost beat the Sharks in round 2.

Some of the games have been competitive but at least in the super rugby days you knew that your bottom team could beat the number 1 team

Most of the games have been competitive and Zebre only lost to Leinster in round one by 4 points.

Apr 23, 2023, 06:56

Super rugby had it's fair share of hopeless match-ups.

Apr 23, 2023, 10:18

True Mr Draad. That's why there were so many complaints to remove the South African teams from the competition. We were essentially the Italy of Super rugby from 1999 onwards until 2007.

Apr 23, 2023, 13:10

I just question whether we should have these games and whether less is more. 

Yes, young players need to get game time but what is the point facing a springbok laden bulls team and then having your arses handed to you. The fans lost out. Also, the game had absolutely no meaning. 

But Leinster did it last year too. They know how to win and get ahead. As long as they are in the top 2 they know they are okay and can have a good run with both Euro and URC finals at home. So Leinster will have all their playoff games at home this year. 

I vote for less games in the URC. That all the internationals should be available and that the absolute best players play. 

Apr 24, 2023, 12:50

Why are you comparing the URC to Super Rugby???

European rugby champions cup is the comparable competition.  They made a mess of the qualification rounds in the last 2-3 years because of the Covid and made it very confusing but they are reverting to the original format next year I think.  

Apr 24, 2023, 12:53

BTW:  They have adjusted the URC so that there should not be an overlap with international matches (match cancellations excluded) for the NH.   They need to look at your calendar also and make adjustments also

Apr 24, 2023, 13:39

Looks it is still early days then. Probably around 2024 before we see a better schedule 

Apr 24, 2023, 13:55

There is several imbalances in the URC that I would like to see addressed.

The Shield system is a load of bolllocks. Primarily the concepts of the shield was driven by the Welsh fearing correctly that with the SA teams in the league Champions Cup qualification would become a lot harder. The Scots may have also supported the idea.

This is why the as it stands the Sharks are missing out on Champions Cup qualification as the Welsh Shield winner takes one the Champions Cup qualification spots.

Then there is the concept of having an additional round of derby games, now part of it is down to money making reasons as derby games bring in the cash at the gates but its not a fair system either. As a Connacht fan the system annoys the hell out of me as we have the most difficult shield having to play Leinster, Ulster and Munster twice, mean while the likes of Glasgow get to almost a free extra win getting to play Zebre twice. If you where to take out the worst Welsh region the dragons, Connacht could probably beat all 3 of the better Welsh teams home and away.

The extra derby games should go as should the shield system. 3 less games in the regular season which should making scheduling easier. Top 8 qualify for the plays off and for Europe unless a spot is taken my Champion/Challenge Cup winner from the same league. 

As well as that the Champions Cup format should come back. 6 pools of 4 teams, meaning two extra pool games.

Apr 24, 2023, 13:57

URC now do not have matches in the Autumn Internationals window or the 6 nations window.

However Sharks, Lions and Stormers had matches in the 6 nations window to play those delayed in week 1 and 6.  

AND the Currie cup is NOT taken into consideration.  This will be a problem that will need to be ironed out over the next couple of years..  I think they could consider having the SA teams play against each other during the 6 nations windows and not scheduled during the Currie cup.  Then we got to think about matches during Christmas period.

Apr 24, 2023, 14:13

I agree the Shield is very unfair to Connacht and I think they were going to revisit this in the next year or two.   However I would not be surprised if it will be kept on.  It generates a lot of money for the clubs and keeps interest in Wales.  Wales rugby is a disaster and this would just make it worse.   Hopefully but not expectantly they will re-organize as they are hitting rock bottom.  Not a lot of confidence in they WRFU.   

btw Still VERY bitter they didn't support us in the World cup bid, that and their delusional view they should join the English league (English don't want them) my sympathy for them is very tempered. 

Apr 24, 2023, 14:49

Yeah, Welsh shafted us in the world cup bidding process.

The funny thing is the English did propose a Anglo Welsh league before the Celtic Cup was formed and the Welsh themselves shot it down. Now the English wouldn't touch them with a barge pole.

For years now we have heard nothing but gripping and moaning about the league from the Welsh. First the league was beneath them, with them have to play the likes of lowly Connacht and Benetton both of whom have since surpassed them. Then it was they shouldn't have killed the club rugby game in Wales in favor of of the regions, ignoring the fact the attendance figures where declining sharply at club matches. Then it was the like ah the regions are made up entities unlike Ireland who had historically defined provinces ignoring the fact that in Ireland too there was an initial resistance to the focus been put on the provinces at the expenses of the club. We hear that its too hard for the public to attend matches on in the evening as people can't get public transport back home, an issue that doesn't affect the other countries for some reason.

Even if there was an Anglo-Welsh league Dragons would likely be relegated to the 2nd tier straight way and the other 3 teams would struggle to maintain top tier status.

But really what it comes down to is a lack of success. They just haven't been successfully enough to build up a fan base.

Apr 24, 2023, 16:01

Agree with all of the above. 

The shield / conference is nonsense that came from when they destroyed super Rugby. Trying to copy the NFL, thinking it would generate more money. 

We need to realise that rugby is not as big, that it is one of the most physical demanding sports and that long term injuries occur often, meaning that you could waste half if not more of your budget on star players who can't play all season. 

Definitely get rid of the conference system, it should just be excluded and franchises in that country can organise their own derbies if they want to. Perhaps the league takes a break and each country can do what they want. Not play, have and invitational etc. 

Christmas is only 1 week, max 2 weeks. So you can't play 6 games in that space. 

The Welsh are the biggest moaners. They should either follow Scotland or at least drop 1 team. The real problem is that they are still harping on the days from way back when, back in the 70s when they had a golden generation. 

They had some decent success under Gatland too. 

But, it comes back to my point, if we drop these extra games, strength Vs strength at all times. 

So for that too happen, it can only be done over 6 months, probably 5 months. Thinking 

5 months for URC

6 weeks for Euro

3 months for internationals 

Players get a 3 month break, we don't get saturated with non stop rugby and we can follow on comp at a time 

They do stop for the 6 nations anyway 

Apr 25, 2023, 07:08

They killed Super Rugby many, many years ago already when the Japanese and cannon fodder regional sides were brought in to expand the numbers. More than half the games you didn't even care about, and it started looking like the sides playing didn't care about more than half the games either.

Apr 25, 2023, 08:07

Agree pakie, as I said before, back in Super 12 you could have the 12th ranked team beat the 1st ranked team after 8 rounds. The games only started in March and players had a good break over Christmas and the summer. 

Then you would have the NPC / Currie Cup which allowed players to go back to their unions. New Zealand players could also play at their club which is another tier down .

But Australia messed it up because they never had a proper provincial system. Only clubs. So they wanted to extend the super rugby season to get more games. 

I do think Australia rugby back then produced some of the best rugby ever. So I'm not taking a digg at them, just the Australian administrators that got greedy. 

I enjoyed watching the Currie cup, looking who could be a super rugby players, only then to be completely exposed against foreign teams. So it was a good gauge to see which players are world class. 

The Tri Nations was magical and I actually enjoy having Argentina in the comp as well. 

But we tried to solve all of these countries domestic rugby problems. 

Australia could have easily send their players to Europe on short term contracts which would give their players plenty of experience and extra money.

But the big problem is that there are too many players that pick money over personal welfare and the money is to great for any player to turn it down.

I remember reading an interview with Breyton Paulse about the amount of rugby they played in France and that players hated playing away from home and that they would immediately withdraw themselves with the slightest injury niggle. Makes sense if you play for 11 months and some of the games are in the back waters of France which you can only get to by bus.

So the rugby players themselves should take account for that too. I know there careers are short, but I believe that the the money would have come eventually.

I really like to format of the Japanese new League, the fact that they have relegation and that the season is from December until May. 

The other problem with most European teams in the past was that they hardly ever send their best team. It was only last year that we saw Ireland and England send a full strength team done south. 

France left a lot of good players at home and played against Japan. 

My point is, that the top you always want to see the best players and that each match should have a meaning. 

I think that is why Football is is so successful. Every team have to fight for survival. If you the bottom 3 teams you are not going to roll over facing an Man City or Arsenal. 

So yes, money and administrator's greed ruined the game.

Apr 25, 2023, 08:12

Super 12 rugby was much better than anything we have now. Even after they stuffed it up by adding too many teams and introducing conferences it was still more interesting to me than this URC stuff.

By the way kingcorn, Superbru does have a URC fantasy comp that I still play but it's not the same. I don't know the NH players nearly as well and I tend to pick South Africans along with the few NH stars that I do know. Not a patch on the old Super Rugby fantasy we used to play.

I still watch Super Rugby Pacifika or whatever they call it and while I don't have nearly the same vested interest in terms of support, it's a better quality of rugby than URC and much more entertaining.

Apr 25, 2023, 19:50

Super rugby wasn't merely compromised by scheduling and bloated fixture lists. It was a breeding ground for tampering with the laws to police aesthetic, and SANZAR (Australia in particular) pushed it so far, that the NH spoke of breaking away into a separate code. From the ELVs, teams became more generic, and the fundamentals deteriorated. My main gripe about Super rugby in its prime was that I felt it should have stayed strictly a league format, without knockout rounds. 

Apr 27, 2023, 06:24

"It seems to me that the main issue you find difficult to accept is the man is actually doing a good job which you find that extremely suspicious."

Yes the convenient solution to the problem to put Russia in it's place it's almost like a fairytale...when something is too good to be true, it usually is.

Apr 27, 2023, 06:31


Apr 27, 2023, 06:36

Looks like the Squeaky Toy started dopping around 6am this morning.

Apr 27, 2023, 11:15

I get a "the"...mmm. Sorry for responding on the wrong thread...I need new glasses...and Rooi, I very rarely open a beer before 8AM, and today wasn't an exception. 

Apr 27, 2023, 21:33

Yes the convenient solution to the problem to put Russia in it's place it's almost like a fairytale...when something is too good to be true, it usually is.

Hmm is Russia some analogy to Leinster Rugby?

Apr 28, 2023, 06:15

LOL!!! No, I don't dislike Leinster that much.

Apr 28, 2023, 07:13

The other 3 provinces in Ireland do! :D

Apr 29, 2023, 14:24

Hate is earned...we'll get there eventually. :D

Apr 30, 2023, 23:41


Gods truth…

I don’t watch rugby anymore. Not because I don’t love the game, but because I don’t know who the players from the NH are.

I could name just about every starting 15 in SXV. Now I barely know the team names.

It’s just that there is no X factor anymore.

I used to love missing work on a Friday morning to watch the Lions play in NZ or Oz.

Now what?

Sorry gents. Now I just catch up just before the Boks play so I can learn about the ew players.

Shoot me if you wanna.

May 01, 2023, 00:47

I'm in a similar position, but find the Boks very hard to watch. I can't see myself following the game much longer. 

May 01, 2023, 10:29

I don’t watch rugby anymore. Not because I don’t love the game, but because I don’t know who the players from the NH are.

Is this not a case of the horse before the cart?

I mean if you don't watch the games how are you going learn who the NH players are?

I mean I had little knowledge of South African players before they joined the URC but I do now.

May 01, 2023, 10:37

Chippo, just play Fantasy Rugby. Keeps you on your toes with the players.

Superbru has a URC Fantasy and a Pacific Fantasy. I'm playing in both and I know which players are doing well without having to watch all the matches. 

Playing Fantasy gives me more interest in the matches which makes me watch a lot more games, especially on Saturday mornings. That used to be my favourite thing about being part of Super Rugby, some days you could watch rugby for literally the whole day.

May 01, 2023, 10:40

" I can't see myself following the game much longer. "

We can but hope that this happens sooner rather than later.

No offence intended.

May 01, 2023, 11:34

Well, I'm enjoying it. The NH fans that I know mostly like that we're involved because it's added spice to their competition.

And to date I have still not watched a game where I see the opposition actively trying to cheat as was continually the case in Super Rugby.

From the flying kicks, to creeping offside behind the refs back and taking advantage of the chaos to make illegals plays...the endless cheating in SR made a joke of the game and I despised it towards the end.

The NH teams respect themselves and the game as much as the Saffa teams do and that's a big win in my book.

I know a lot here don't support our move up there but I do and I hope we never look back.

May 01, 2023, 11:38

Also, we should stop being so negative about the Boks and their coach.

If we're not gonna be positive when we hold the highest award there is, then when will we be?

We have our gripes, and nobody is ever completely happy with all the selections, but let's also remember that we do support our team and we do love the game. Things are never perfect so just try to smile one in a while, even if it's forced.

May 01, 2023, 12:28

I've seen a lot of garbage with the Boks, but this is unfathomable. I've never seen the Boks look so ragged like they did last season. I've never struggled to ensure video analysis like I did last year, and the year before. It's awful. As per the URC? I have watched one game, it was okay. I don't really have an opinion on it overall, I do know that Super rugby was boring and the quality wasn't there. There's a lot of rugby to watch and only so much time available. I don't feel like following provincial rugby. 

May 01, 2023, 16:09

Thanks Plum...how soon we forget...2016 and 2017 wrre horrible years.

May 01, 2023, 23:46

And I still stand by what I said at the time, Draad...they should have just made that entire Lions team Boks back then and transplanted their game plan into the Boks dressing room.

The Boks lose to Los Pumas while the Lions thrash the same team in SR...and then some here claim that the Pumas are a different team when they play for their country. Clark Kent style...the jersey gives one superpowers.

I think anyone that has played any sport knows that even in a friendly game you give at least 90%. Some guys here actually believed, or pretended to believe, that the Pumas were cruising in SR but were suddenly a new team and so much better when they played the Boks. Only against the Boks though because they were still shit against everybody else haha.

Truth is, that Lions team would have thrashed most international sides and probably beaten the ABs too...if you consider how easily they beat the best Kiwi SR sides, while those Kiwi SR sides often had better synergy than the ABs.

The fact that we never took lessons from what that Lions team did is still the biggest tragedy in SA sports history as far as I'm concerned. Especially when you look at the types of players coming to the fore now...like in your Stormers side.

The good news is that with every new Willemse and Libbok that comes on the scene, we're organically being pushed into the direction of playing the type of rugby that fits the talent available...which is more attacking and creative. I just wish the current Stormers could really drive the nail home because then people would actually sit up and pay attention to the transition that we should be making, that we should have made almost a decade ago.

May 02, 2023, 05:05

The attacking rugby requires intelligent players. Willemse is as intelligent as Damian, and not much more skillful. Libbok looks like one of those feely type players. We aren't producing the Jeans, Frans, Du Preezs, Butch James, Fouries, Habanas of the rugby world. Last year was an embarrassing showcase of how far we are from that.

May 02, 2023, 05:17

Apart from being the top SA franchise for two years the Lions achieved vokall .......... no titles...niks .... nothing that matches vrotPlum's adoring eulogy .

May 02, 2023, 07:45

I was just thinking the same thing Blob.What have the Lions actually ever won? Certainly no Super Rugby titles.

And Plum, is there a special storage cupboard in each SA franchise changing facility to store the halos of the team  members?

You know, the ones that never cheat….

May 02, 2023, 09:14

They won the first Super 10 in 1993.:D

May 02, 2023, 09:53

A recent success then Draad if Transvaal is now the Lions!

I can’t even actually remember the details of that comp. Maybe because my Waikato team did so crap in it!

May 02, 2023, 10:37


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