Word coming out from NZRU headquarters is that there will be a change to criteria for teams playing in Super Rugby come 2017. I have it on good authority that they will be bringing in Performance based criteria for teams playing in the Super XV rugby competition. The criteria apparently pertain to levels of excellence on and off the field and fostering the talent pool that exists in this country. I believe these may be some of those criteria:
1. A New Zealand Super Rugby Franchise MUST finish in the top ten on the table for three consecutive years. If it fails to meet this criteria the NZRU will disband that team and seek a franchise from other parts of the country.
2. The NZRU will identify with a team that fails to make the criteria after two years and implement change within the franchise to get performances up and consistent instead of leaving it up to franchise management.
So if one was to judge performances across the board and average those four years results, you'd have the Canes averaging 7th place, the Chiefs averaging 3rd place, the Crusaders averaging 4th place, the Landers averaging 8th place and the Blues last in 11th place.
Obviously from these results, if NZRU were to look at their criteria there is clearly a case for the
Auckland Blues to be disbanded and a new franchise formed to take it's place. Sad for New Zealand Rugby I guess with their long history in the game, but today there is no romanticism in seeing a franchise struggle continually. If the NZRU were to place their second criteria above in place, the whole management structure would be gone now, and new blood put in place, so that 2016 is a resurgent year for that franchise.
Sure that leaves Northland, North Harbour and Auckland without representation but so what? They have been robbing the rest of the country for years, their turn to be robbed.
There was a song from long go by Bachman Turner Overdrive - Don't Let The Blues Get You Down. Same could be said for New Zealand Super Rugby.