Super Rugby: Why Pacific team should follow Read's captain's call

Kieran Read Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images

The Super Rugby model is well and truly broken and it was great to see All Blacks captain Kieran Read come out and represent a view that the players are feeling it, too.

It was quite obvious from what he was saying that they're not happy. I know how they feel.

Having a break just before the end of the competition for the June Test series has to be hard on the players when they return. You build up to a peak in the Super Rugby season, you get rewarded with higher honours and go and play for your national side; for those guys playing for the All Blacks, it's their moment and they want more of it. Then they've got to step back down to Super Rugby a week later.

I think fans feel exactly the same thing. The whole season is building up to the point where suddenly the All Blacks are performing in the French series. We know that beyond that the Rugby Championship is just around the corner but you've got to go back to Super Rugby first.

Eighteen years ago when I left New Zealand it was because I was over Super Rugby. It was becoming monotonous; it was a case of same old, same old. I had only been playing it for five years, so I can only imagine what it is like for those who have been going for 10 seasons or more.

I'm pretty sure nothing has changed. The players will be looking at this competition and saying it is getting tired. It needs something a little bit different, something to keep their interest.

If you play the same teams in a conference system, it's not really a competition. Every player who is involved in competitions wants to play everybody in it, that's only natural. Apart from anything else it is the fairest measure of finding out who is the best.

You play everyone else once and where you finish you go into the playoffs. They've tried the conference system, it hasn't worked. It's clearly broken and it's time for a change.

It was especially pleasing that the All Blacks captain came out and spoke his mind. Good on him.

The reality is the fans are not stupid. They want the truth and when you regurgitate rhetoric you can see through it. In that closed environment surrounding professional rugby teams nowadays, the players are answerable to the paymasters in the unions and are guarded in their comments.

It's not until you get away from that you realise it for what it is.

Really, you just need to be honest because you're not going to get into trouble for being honest and nine times out of ten the public's already worked that part out anyway. But at the same time it's nice to hear the fans' opinions were pretty align with what Read said.

You can see as players get older, and more used to the way the media work that they are much more comfortable in dealing with them. But the new guys are much harder to get a handle on which is a shame because we have to wait so long for the characters to emerge.

It's not helped by the fact the players these days are straight into academies and then professional rugby whereas back in the day they were dragged in off construction sites, or farms, and police forces or whatever where they had a bit of history having been in the work force and the community.

One aspect of last weekend's round of games that highlighted a major issue for the game was the sight of 20,000 people at the Highlanders- Chiefs game in Suva. It wasn't even a home game for the Fijians but it highlights how much hunger there is for rugby to be played over there.

So far as I am concerned it has to happen - the three island nations have to come together to create a Pacific Nations team. We can look back to 2002 when the Pacific Islanders played the All Blacks and Sione Lauaki was an absolute wrecking ball. It was a fantastic game of rugby and one that I still remember to this day.

To be able to bring that into Super Rugby would reinvigorate the tournament and bring in so much more interest. Look at the way the Tongans reacted in the rugby league in last year's World Cup, or the way they got hyped up for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in Auckland. They were parading the streets and waving the flags; that's the essence of what fans should be.

They're crying out for some sort of level of involvement.

The Pacific Islands have been left out. They've never had a stake in a tournament or competition to be able to create revenue, get a business model behind it and begin looking after their own.

And until that happens they will always be playing catch-up so far as rugby is concerned; they will only be good for exporting players to every other country around the world.

If a Pacific Nations team came about, every Pacific island player around the world would want to be involved at some point in their career because it would be a huge honour. And I believe the Pacific nations are a gateway to the United States market.

There is something to be said for a bit of charity and it will come back tenfold for SANZAAR if they did the right thing. You only have to look at the way the Pacific nations spread into Hawaii and the west coast of the USA, and then there's the number of Pacific players involved in professional sports in the States in basketball and gridiron. The governing body would be mad not to try and target that market.

A team from the Pacific Islands will pay dividends off the field, I guarantee it. New markets will open and for a competition that is growing wearier by the day that can only be a good thing.