I know it's been spoken about for a long, long time and there's been different South African consortiums coming together investigating a move to the Premiership or the PRO 14, but with what happened last year you have got to wonder: what is happening behind the scenes for Super Rugby's future?
SANZAAR has come out and denied South Africa will remove its teams from Super Rugby, but the reality is there are forces out there who will be pushing the northern agenda for their own reasons and the financial incentives. We have to ask: Is Sanzaar starting to turn into a bit of a toothless beast or is the alliance simply past its use-by date?
Furthermore, the discussion about South Africa's future has thrown open the whole topic of whether Super Rugby is really working: has the competition run its course?
From where we started back in 1996 to where we are now, you can honestly say that the number of fans attending games has long been on the decline and supporter interest has gone backwards. Does anyone get up in Australia or New Zealand to watch games at 3am from South Africa anymore? If they are, it's in small numbers.
I know SANZAAR have said it is starting with a clean sheet in its review, but it doesn't look that way. Because if they had a clean sheet you would go right back to Rupert Murdoch in 1995 when he called out the World Rugby Corporation.
There's even been recent talk of New Zealand looking at the USA. Well, what a surprise, that should have happened back in 1995 when they had that clean sheet.
Geographically, there's New Zealand, Australia, Asia, the United States, and then there are these countries sitting in the middle, the Pacific Islands, who just seem to be forgotten the whole time. The natural mix is to include Hawaii and the Pacific nations, who can mix with the USA in what would be a franchise. USA Rugby could potentially bankroll a team; they could have their best players but also bring in some star power from across the globe.
That kind of competition wouldn't be any different from South Africa flying all the way to the United Kingdom and Ireland to play in the Guinness PRO14.
The fact that World Series Rugby has started up in Australia, based out of Perth, shows that SANZAAR IS not necessarily the be-all and end-all when it comes to rugby. If the governing body doesn't pull its finger out and say, 'yes, we will look at all the issues', they will leave themselves at the mercy of South African administrators who are looking around for other opportunities. SANZAAR could end up having its lunch cut by someone else.
The cold hard fact is the general public are bored with Super Rugby.