The League One final breaks to think about the Japanese links with Super Rugby

It really looks like the weekend has started right in the rugby world finals, the European Cup has been decided and Japan’s inaugural League One champions have also been crowned.

The Super Rugby and United Rugby Championships advance to the quarterfinals this weekend and the Major League Rugby will follow this weekend. The English Premiership and the French Top 14 start their final series the same weekend.

In Tokyo, Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights won 18-12 against Tokyo Santori Sangoliath, giving Robbie Deans the fifth Japanese title he had won with the Crusaders.

Wallabis center Samu Kerevi, playing for Santori for 13, and All Blacks fullback Damien Mackenzie were the center of the attack, and Mackenzie refused to try just before halftime when the ball went one meter away from the grip from the try line. But the Wild Knights had such a strong defense that Santori didn’t have much of a chance to make a shot.

Samu Crayfish

Samuel Kerevy. (Picture of Kenta Harada / Getty Images)

Two attempts to zero were the story of the tape, his burnstorming best for scoring the first goal in Wallabis winger Marika Coroibe, and he would have got the second one very soon after if there had not been a tidy knock-on in the lead-up. . Former Brisbane City and Australian Under-20 center Dylan Riley won seven minutes from time.

Although Kerevi was strong if reasonably contained, Coriobet’s display would have brought a smile to Dave Rennie’s face, with only a few weeks left now with his first proper Wallabis squad of the season.

He carries firmly, regularly blows tackles and finishes the opportunities he finds, even if one is overturned on close inspection. Walabis fans should have no worries about his selection in his current form.

And while Robbie Deans was delighted to reach the League One final last week, he was adamant that Wallace and the All Blacks were being regularly selected from League One clubs for Test responsibilities and that the big issue was when. And there is no need for rest.

“The game’s field of communication is unknown since I first came here [in 2014]”Dennis told Paul Cooley Last week.

“Two of last year’s nominees (Samu Kerevi and Michael Hooper) have dropped out of League One.

“People usually suggest that the better the company you come from, the better. All right, we can’t all be bad. “

Surely, the form that Hooper showed after returning from his season with Toyota Verblitz with Kieran Reid in the last half of 2021 will underline that point. Jed Holloway was on the Verblitz squad at the same time, and he is one of the super rugby Pacific form players this season.

Michael Hooper of Varatas charges the field during a Round 14 Super Rugby Pacific match between Highlander and NSW Varatah at the Forsyth Bar Stadium in Dunedin, New Zealand on May 22, 2022.  (Photo by Joe Allison / Getty Images)

Michael Hooper. (Photo by Joe Allison / Getty Images)

And while Australia has used a few iterations of what will be known as the Gitau rule forever since 2015, New Zealand has remained steadfast in selecting only contracted players for the national body, even taking their star players over time, despite numerous and fully sanctioned Japanese seasons.

“It’s inevitable, and essential,” Dean said of New Zealand Rugby adopting a foreign policy at some point.

“At the governance and administrative level, they will just go beyond themselves and get up around the table and start working together. Because especially in the South, we all face the same challenge.

“The fact that they no longer meet with South African players – most of whom are here in Japan – has affected the game and the coaching group experience.

“Over time, this will make a difference if it does not already exist. So it is inevitable that they will eventually find some cross-border that will involve Japan. They will have to overcome all political obstacles.”

The former Wallabies and Queensland scrumhalf Will Genia are much on the same page.

“The big picture is obviously trying to take a team to Super Rugby, because it’s the same time zone,” he told us in The Roar Rugby podcast last week.

“And not just a team like the Sanolvs, a team like Santori or Panasonic, where they have a club that already has a base of supporters.

Paul Cooley, coincidentally enough, echoed similar sentiments in a podcast in mid-April that Rugby Australia, New Zealand Rugby and the Japanese Rugby Football Union have teamed up to form a kind of cross-border competition, exactly what Robbie Deans is calling for.

Of course, the format of this type of competition would be an interesting one, and my own view is that it needs to be some kind of ambitious series so that teams qualify without having to be a set, ring-funded competition with the same team. Years

As a guide, there are 24 teams in the Champions Cup Tournament, including the top eight clubs and the top 14 in each of the Premiership and then eight URC teams from the more complex qualifying system.

As best I can summarize, the method involves four distinct shield winners – namely, the Irish, South African and Welsh teams, the two best Scottish and two Italian teams with the highest competition points each season. Then, it is the top four teams in the table that have not already qualified.

So for next season, Leinster, Stormers, Osprey and Edinburgh Shield winners as well as the next four best teams: Ulster, Bulls, Sharks and Munster.

Munster rugby

(Photo by Sam Burns / Sportsfile via Getty Images)

This is somewhat protracted, but it ensures that teams from all over Europe and now South Africa will be represented in the Champions Cup, and therefore maximizes interest and trade opportunities in more countries than some countries if not represented. Obviously, the next level Challenge Cup helps in this section as well.

But that URC method of qualification probably provides a template for this cross-border – I’m going to call it JANZPac, for the sake of a name – tournament, where you want to give Fijian Drua and Moana Pacific a chance. As much as you want the best teams from Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

A 12-team JANZPac competition at this time of year before the July Test will open the door for Super Rugby Pacific to return to the old 11-game-plus-final format that Super 12 used quite successfully from the start.

How you get into that 12-team split is a matter of creativity, and I’m sure there are plenty of ideas out there.

The top four in League One, as well as the top three Australian teams and the top three NZ teams, as well as the best ranked team in Drua or Moana, and the next best Super Rugby Pacific team, whatever, came to me as an idea at the time of writing this article.

But whatever the format, it needs to be fair and ambitious for everyone involved.

And that would require a proper, European professional club rugby (EPCR) type governing body, not the current country rugby committee set-up that seems to run Super Rugby Pacific.

But with things like this, it’s not a big deal to see Wallabis and All Blacks being selected to play for their country from Japanese clubs, as Robbie Deans suggests.

And from a local point of view, it is better to work and build a relationship with Japan than to continue this charade of paddling against the tide of the king in the most futile effort of working and competing with Japan from which everyone can benefit.

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