Super Rugby changes a 'catch 22' for Australia

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies legend Glen Ella says Australian rugby is in a ‘catch 22’ situation when it comes to its Super Rugby future.

Though he believes four teams is the ideal number for success in Australian Super Rugby, Ella said the difficulty came when asking to eliminate any of the existing sides.

“I think four teams is enough but who do you drop, who do you penalise?,” he asked.

“That’s always an issue of contention.

“But at the same time we need to develop as many players as we can to make it at the highest level, so it’s a bit of a catch 22.

“Do we take a team away or do we want to give exposure to more players? That’s the question you have to ask.

“You just want to make sure that the quality of rugby is good enough to that it’s going to attract people to watch it or kids to play it.”

The Force have done their best to ensure they are not the team facing the axe and a win over the star-studded Reds on Thursday night made the debate all that more complicated, after the franchise’s moves to grow support off-field.

“(Many people) say the Force should be kicked out but you look at that (result) - the Reds probably have the best roster in the whole competition and they got rolled so what do you do?,” Ella said.

The answer will hopefully emerge after next week’s SANZAAR meeting, where each country is set to take a series of options for its ideal format, though there is no certainty a long-term solution will be found.

Ella was travelling to Coffs Harbour on Friday for the 10th Ella Sevens - the marquee tournament for Indigenous Sevens Rugby.

 The event was set up by the Ellas and the ARU’s Tom Evans as a way to help Indigenous players get more exposure, with the location giving it a strong community feel.

“I was with the Wallabies at that stage and said because we were based at Coffs Harbour around the Lions series and world cup, we thought Coffs Harbour as good a place as any,” he said.

“There’s plenty of accommodation, beaches and a good community.”

The 10th tournamemt kicked off on Friday, with eight women’s and 20 men’s teams competing for the major prize.

Players are selected from the tournament to feature in the national Sevens championships later this year.