New Zealand’s rugby team might be too good for their rivalry

New Zealand’s predominance in the rugby could be having an impact on the health of rugby around the world .
Image: Anthony Au-Yeung/ Getty Images

Another year, and the other painful, crushing defeat for Australia at the hands of New Zealand’s rugby team. But in this athletic, being too good has become something of a worry.

Kiwis have always been amongst the strongest competitors in the game of rugby union and their national team, the All Blacks, are the world’s current number one. They’ve taken out the Bledisloe Cup for the fourteenth year straight.

The last five years( bar 2014) have also find New Zealand teams become champions in “super rugby, ” the highest level of rivalry in the southern hemisphere.

The Hurricanes celebrate after winning the 2016 Super Rugby Final.

Image: Simon Watts/ Getty Images

There are sporting competitions out there that aren’t too fussed about a large gap in quality. Take soccer, where behemoth squads like Barcelona and Real Madrid can exist and win relentlessly in La Liga.

However, New Zealand Rugby Union CEO Steve Tew expressed concern when he spoke to reporters lately, reflecting on the state of the game in neighbouring nations.

“We want Australia, South Africa, Argentina and Japan, who are currently very important partners of ours, to be in good financial shape and performing on the paddock, ” Tew said, according to stuff.co.nz.

In Australia at least, rugby union has faced rivalry from challenger football codes, particularly in its home states of New South Wales and Queensland. The those who are interested in the local -ALeague soccer competition has grown, while Australian rules football continues to invest significantly in order to win hearts and minds around the country.

In South Africa, attendance and television figures for super rugby have taken a serious hit in 2016. The addition of an Argentine and Japanese team this year hasn’t helped to increase television viewership across the five competing nations, which is at 24.9 million compared to 29.3 million in 2012.

Recent murmurings of financial problems within super rugby clubs and the risk of being downsizing the competitor does little to instil confidence in fans. The fret of one-sided rivalry doesn’t help.

“No one wants an inevitable outcome in sport.”

“Clearly it’s not in our best interests to lose our fans. We’ve worked really hard to re-engage, and this year during super rugby all the metrics were trending in the right direction from that point of view, despite the fact most people said our squads were dominant in that competition too, ” Tew added.

“No one wants an inevitable outcome in sport. That’s the beauty of the game, and why integrity is so important … but we also construct no apology for having an All Blacks side[ that is] as good as it perhaps can be.”

The All Blacks are currently on a 13 test winning streak( exams are what matches between national squads are referred to in rugby ), within touching distance of a 17 test record, last achieved in 2014.

They’re only that good, but whether that is to the detriment of others, merely period will tell.

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