International Rugby Rugby Super Rugby The Wallabies

The 2022 Super Rugby season is about to begin….Did you know that?

It’s been a while since Super Rugby in Australia left the Foxtel/ Free to air television market and began to become an irrelevant sport in Australia. And as a former Club Rugby player and fan of Rugby in general, the demise of the code in Australia has been hard to deal with. The Dominance of the All Blacks in the Bledisloe cup over the last 15 years has certainly contributed it, most of the blame has to fall at the feet of the Board and former CEO Raelene Castle, who oversaw Rugby’s fall from grace.

Under Raelene, Rugby left its TV home of many many years, Fox Sports for new Australian Based Streaming site Stan. A move that the A-League has recently done, although it seems to have been far more successful. The move to Stan in 2020 was an interesting one to say the least. Rugby had already be dropping in interest before they made the move to Stan, it was likely the reason they mad the move to Stan. The offer from Fox Sports, much like the offer to the APL for the A-League TV rights.

The decrease in interest is all due to Raelene Castle and the Boards miss management of the code. Prioritising the Professional game while neglecting the grass roots level leading to a vacuum of talent to the NRL. Something that in the early to mid-2000’s would’ve been unthinkable. While NRL players were leaving for the big money in Rugby the NRL was frantically trying to figure out how to stop the bleeding of top talent. Well now the tables have turned, Rugby has fallen from grace hard and fast over the last 5 years and now top youth talent in Australia are switching to Rugby League to chase the money.

Photo Courtesy of FijiVillage.com

But I didn’t want this blog to be solely a hit piece. We have Rugby returning in 2022 after a few season of interruptions thanks to Covid. This year’s competition will feature 5 teams from both New Zealand and Australia as well as 2 new franchises from the Pacific region. Moana Pasifika and Fijian Drua will become part of a new 12 team competition surrounding the pacific due to the travel restrictions around the South African teams travel to NZ and Australia. The exciting competition is set to revitalise rugby in the region and hopefully bring the Audience back to the game.

Photo Credit: ANDREW CORNAGA/PHOTOSPORT

Each week 6 games of rugby will be streamed live on Stan Sport with 1 game a week shown live across the nine network. Meaning Rugby will be once again on free to air tv. This is a strong move for Rugby as part of the new push to bring the code back into the mainstream market. New Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos who took over in February 2021, it is another great move in the right direction for Rugby Australia. Hopefully over the next decade, Rugby in Australia can once again rise to the levels we enjoyed during the Wallabies dominance in the late 90’s and 2000’s. The Wallabies were the best team in the world during this period and rugby in Australia was strong.

I for one am absolutely looking forward to this rugby season. Not just for the new and improved Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition, but for the Shute Shield, formerly only available for one game a week on ABC. I just hope that the Wallabies can hopefully return to being a competitive team in the World Cup and actually put up a challenge to the All Blacks in the Bledisloe. As we’ve seen with Football in Australia, when the Socceroos are successful, the Domestic game flourishes.

Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

The first game of the new Super Rugby Season kicks off on Friday the 18th of February with the defending Champions the Blues taking on new franchise Moana Pasifika in Dunedin. Followed by the Waratahs taking on the other new franchise Fijian Drua later that night in Sydney. Get your free trial for Stan Sport now so you can get a taste of the new(and hopefully improved) Super Rugby competition.  

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