Waratahs coach urges Super Rugby format changes

Sydney (AFP) –


NSW Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson has urged Super Rugby chiefs to make sweeping changes to the competition's format and a return to a round-robin system where all teams play each other once.

The 15-team tournament is currently split into New Zealand, South African and Australian conferences, but it has come under increasing criticism this season.

It was introduced in a bid to reduce travel and boost the number of local derbies, but critics say it is too complex and not exciting enough for fans.

New Zealand officials have also raised concerns about the number of Kiwi derbies, which they say rival Test matches in intensity and take a toll on players.

"I will only echo what most coaches are saying," Gibson told the Sydney Morning Herald Monday after the Waratahs lost their weekend semi-final in Johannesburg to the Golden Lions 44-26.

"We haven't got the competition right in terms of its format and we need to do something to make it more exciting for all countries that are participating in Super Rugby.

"Going back to a round-robin format where everyone plays each other is certainly one way we can achieve that."

Super Rugby's governing body SANZAAR is undertaking a review to determine the sport's future up to 2030, which could involve expanding into new markets that are seen as key to boosting television revenue.

NSW Rugby chief executive Andrew Hore last week implored SANZAAR to "keep it simple".

"Our first responsibility is to create a wonderful competition that connects our rugby people with the international game," he told reporters.

"Don't waste this opportunity, don't let it get caught up in higher political issues. Just try to keep it simple, and try to make it the best competition we can."