Rugby Championship tournament

With the new Rugby Championship tournament having officially launched, I could not help but think where the hell we are going to fit in all this rugby? My feeling could possibly be based on an exhausting 2011 schedule which included the Rugby World Cup where I currently feel a little rugby’d out.

Even so, when I look at the fixtures for 2012 I can only assume that supporters and the viewing audience will either lose interest, or the divorce rate is going to skyrocket.

The Southern Hemisphere season kicks off in February with the now even more extended Super Rugby tournament.  The first leg of this tournament will run for little over 3 months where it will take a 3 week break in June (for incoming tours to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand) and then resume again with the final scheduled to be played in early August.

Following this, the Springboks, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand will play in the new ‘Rugby Championship’ starting on the 18th August with the last game being played on the 6th October.

In November, the Springboks will embark on a 3-match tour to the North playing France, Italy and Ireland.

And that is just your international fixtures.

The Varsity Cup will start in February next year with the finals played in early April.  During the same time you have the Vodacom Cup competition running where each team plays a minimum of 8 games.  A more compact version of the Currie Cup where only 6 teams will compete in the premier division (and the remaining 8 in the first division) is said to run somewhere end July or beginning of August until the end of October.

Apart from that we can expect to be entertained by a Craven Week and a Club Championship which runs for a week each respectively.  Also, do not forget that for the die-hard rugby fan the Rugby Sevens Series starts the end of November and concludes somewhere in May next year.

If this is not enough for you, you can look forward to some AVIVA Premiership, the French Top 14, the Heineken Cup , some ITM Cup action and of course, the 6 Nations.

So just when is it going to be enough?  How much can the viewing public absorb before they reach the tipping point where the quantity of product becomes too much?

It is well documented that players feel over-extended and believe they play too much rugby.  Evidence of this can easily be seen in the amount of injuries our top players sustain for playing too much rugby and having no decent recovery periods in-between.

We can criticise the rugby authorities as much as we want, but they are only giving us what we ask for.  Because it does not matter what I say now, come 2012, I will probably watch 70% of these games and at the end of it, complain some more.

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