Stormers players split over possible move to Europe

Stormers coach John Dobson says members of his squad are split over the prospect of playing in Europe.

The future of South Africa's Super Rugby franchises is in doubt after New Zealand Rugby outlined its plans to launch a cross-border tournament featuring Kiwi teams, those from Australia and a Pacific Islands outfit.

Mixed reaction from players

With no clear plan to resume the 2020 season of the southern hemisphere's premier franchise competition, this means that the Stormers – along with their compatriots – may have played their last game in the tournament already.

Dobson said not all of his players are keen on a possible move to Europe.

"I have been having one on ones with the players for the last three days and they seem quite split themselves," Dobson said at a virtual press conference earlier in the week.
"A senior Springbok said for too many years we have been chasing New Zealand and trying to play their rugby and that the northern hemisphere would actually suit us. Another Springbok told me he liked playing New Zealand teams because we know we are testing ourselves against the best.
"There might be a bit of opportunism to use the travel restrictions to throw Super Rugby out being used by New Zealand and Australia, but it's a reality for 2021. Personally, it would be sad to see it go.
"They can punish you so hard, so quickly if you aren't on top of your game. In the northern hemisphere, you can grind it out. All of us are probably following New Zealand."John Dobson, Stormers coach

Dobson said it was up for coaches to find ways to adapts to the different styles of play across hemispheres.

"The change in the breakdown is staggering in their domestic competition and it is going to change how we coach the breakdown… if we aren't playing, we have to be disciplined enough to learn because they are ahead in terms of that stuff.

Where to next for SA Rugby?

Eight South African rugby teams – including all Super Rugby franchises – returned to non-contact training last month, with a view to participate in a domestic competition ahead of the start of the international rugby season.

Responding to the news that New Zealand was looking to launch a competition without South African and Argentinian teams, SA Rugby chief executive said there was a binding legal agreement in the Sanzaar alliance.

"New Zealand has every right to determine its immediate future, but there is a very legal and binding agreement with the Sanzaar alliance, and anyone in breach of that would put themselves in a position to be held liable."Jurie Roux, SA Rugby CEO