Every Tom, Dick and Harry are speculating on the outcome of the SANZAAR meeting last weekend in London to decide on what format Super Rugby will take for the 2018 season.

So it is only fitting that I shoot my two bobs worth in even though I am sure the outcome will remain unchanged as I don’t think they will want to upset the status quo.

The big question for Australian Rugby is do we really need five teams?

There has been a raging argument ever since the Rebels and Force were introduced into the Super format with the main point being that Australia doesn’t have enough quality players to sustain five teams.

Stats will tell you that the three major teams, the Reds, Waratahs and the Brumbies have been thereabouts at the pointy end of the season and although the Rebels and Force have had their moments, how realistic are their chances of taking out the competition?

I know people will be screaming that that is the same for a couple of the South African teams but that will be up to them to defend.

Having less teams playing at a higher intensity is really what we need so SANZAAR will have to make some hard decisions not only here but with South Africa, Japan and Argentina as well.

Whilst it might have seemed a good idea at the time to expand the competition with these teams and countries, it has turned this once great competition into a confused mess.

It is my opinion that Australia can only sustain four teams.

With five we are definitely diluting our teams with players that are really not up to Super Rugby standards.

I know cutting down to four teams is a tough call as people will say that for Australian Rugby to get stronger, we need a larger group of players at a level that can assist the Wallabies in terms of depth.

Point taken.

To counter that I am sure four strong teams will easy supply enough backup the Wallaby coach needs when required.

Remember, for years Australia have only had the three states to rely on and during that period we managed to win two RWC’s, Bledisloe Cups and Tri Nations with limited playing numbers.

So if we do cut down to four teams, who faces the axe?

It is easy to look at the Rebels and Force as they were the last in so they should be the first to go, but the ARU are trying to expand our code nationally and I get that.

I think that having a presence in the west is very important as they are starting to inject local players into their systems and are very competitive at schoolboy levels that suggests things are on the right track.

Having been to Perth on many occasions I am aware of their large rugby community with expats from New Zealand, South Africa and Britain plus Aussies who will turn up when they get a better playing roster.

Their coach Dave Wessels seems to be a good young coach and with better players could create a winning atmosphere like when they had the likes of Giteau, Sharpe, Pocock and the Honey Badger in their mist.

So after some serious thought I am advocating for a merger with the Brumbies and Rebels.

This is not because of the Rebels recent form, or maybe a little, but they are struggling to get decent crowds and sponsors unless they start winning games consistently.

It was always going to be hard to compete against the AFL in their states, but it is becoming increasingly hard everywhere to compete against this animal.

Melbourne is the second biggest city after Sydney, hence they should still be able to attract larger crowds and sponsors, even with AFL on their backs.

In the nation’s capital, the Brumbies only attracted a small crowd when they played their Semi Final at Bruce Stadium last year and have struggled with crowd numbers ever since their glory days when they were the trend setters in Australian Rugby.

Combining these two franchises into one team will certainly make the others take notice, not only here but in the other SANZAAR countries as well.

This team could then alternate their home games between Melbourne and Canberra as they will be much more competitive.

The leftover players could then be used to bolster the Force and create four legitimate contenders in Super Rugby.

At the end of the day, rugby supporters just want to see their team being able to contest at the highest level against quality teams.

We need to make the hard decisions now for that happen.

Melbourne Brumbies for 2018.

Glen Ella, exclusively for Sportsta.

Glen Ella Contributor

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