If it were puppies under discussion, Super Rugby would be the runt of the litter.
Hardly a day passes without another emerging crisis in the code that seems destined for oblivion.
New Zealand know the important thing is international rugby, so they restrict playing time for any All Blacks players who play union football.
They refer to the policy of preventing diehard fans from seeing the top players as “load management.”
Loads do need to be managed. Most rugby players, the good ones at least, play club football, rep football and all the spread out one-offs that come along in the course of this or that cup.
Super Rugby gets short shrift. Game attendance is dismal. Many fixtures are played on grounds that would be cause for a player rebellion were it attempted to play NRL or AFL footy on them.
Australia’s struggles with the code no one loves are well known. New Zealand has similar challenges and if you cannot make a healthy profit playing rugby in New Zealand, that could be viewed as further writing on the wall.
Chiefs’ coach Warren Gatland and Highlanders assistant Tony Brown are on the side of the divide that feel that the NZR policy is excessive from the perspective of costing Super Rugby clubs a predictable chance of winning on a regular basis.
New Zealand Super Rugby mandates that All Blacks players have their minutes restricted during the first three rounds of Super Rugby.
The key restriction is that current All Black players must be rested for at least two full matches during the Super Rugby competition.
It should be adequate challenge to put together a winning side with all uninjured players available.
Imagine telling a club from another professional league how to manage its list.
Try telling a NBA club that they cannot use a star when a playoff berth is on the line. Imagine MLB telling clubs that starting pitchers can only pitch every sixth or seventh game.
How about telling Richmond Tigers that they cannot use Dusty Martin for a key game with one of the top four clubs?