Wrong teams got the Super Rugby chop‚ says Johan Ackermann
Outgoing Lions coach Johan Ackermann believes the wrong teams have been excluded from Super Rugby for the 2018 season.
The competition format is yet to be finalised but the Southern Kings and the Cheetahs‚ it has already been confirmed‚ will no longer participate in the competition.
They are likely to take up spots in an extended version of the European based Pro12.
Ackermann‚ however‚ is of the opinion that if the competition was going to be strengthened organisers should have looked to cull elsewhere.
“If you ask me maybe we should have gone back to the old way and cut the teams from Argentina and Japan‚" Ackermann said when probed on the matter after his side’s 27-10 win over the Sharks in Durban.
"Why must they get a freebie after just one or two seasons?
"That’s just my view and maybe I’m biased towards South African teams.”
He could speak from experience.
“When the Lions got cut from Super Rugby we had to stand in the cold‚ nobody worried about creating a competition for us‚" he said.
"At least SA Rugby sought to find a quality competition for them to play in‚ in the Pro12.
"That can be massive for them as players to learn about the northern hemisphere and to challenge themselves.
“They are better off than we were. There is a lot talent. The Kings showed what they can do as a bunch of guys together.
"Hopefully this Pro 12 or Pro14 will keep them together as a group and make us proud as South Africans.”
While the Kings and the Cheetahs can broaden their horizons in Europe‚ their exit from Super Rugby will still be felt.
“It is a sad day for those teams.
"They’ve played quality rugby‚ especially the Kings. They’ve had some tremendous wins this year. They’ve got quality players.
"They’ve developed all over. I had the privilege to work with Andisa (Ntsila) and Makazole Mapimpi at the SA A side and I truly believe they’ve got the potential to go all the way to Springbok rugby.
"It would have been great to still see those players in Super Rugby. The reality is the competition is changing. There was a committee and decisions were made.”