Thoughts on Steve Hansen’s latest suggestion with merging both the ACT Brumbies & Melbourne Rebels for the betterment of Rugby Union in Australia

by Sports Benches

Just saw an extract from Code Sports and also The Roar earlier today about Steve Hansen wanting to help out a review of the state Rugby Union is in right now across Australia which is clearly worse and worser as it gets. I agreed with Stephen Hoiles the other day and Steve Hansen that we should cut an Australian Super Rugby side, but it’s even better if they cut two sides in order to go back to the things that made them once successful of having just three good quality teams (Brumbies, Reds & Waratahs) at the highest level. There is something he suggested a bit differently though to this is that the ACT Brumbies should merge with the Melbourne Rebels. He understands that Rugby is an International sport while more games would help gather revenue when it comes to showing Super Rugby across TV & attendances in-person at Stadiums, but then Brumbies fans don’t like this idea at all where it has been revisited several times throughout their 27-year existence.

Okay, they’re best Super Rugby side here for a long time where they won two trophies (2001 & 2004) plus the 2020 Super Rugby AU trophy. Plus, they’re the only side who made the semis every year since 2019 and these are all true. It would’ve also been better if the Wallabies squad was full of Brumbies players rather than a mixture of players being selected from other states which is impossible. But at the same time, they’re small commercially where the Brumbies were under threat at one point several years ago while still thriving on the pitch despite its small geographical population & an incompetent board.

Plus, we still don’t know if the ACT Government will commit building a new 30,000 seater Canberra Stadium over in the Civic area that would probably be the end of GIO Stadium currently located in the Bruce region.

It’s hard to say when you look back at the club’s history but even though people here don’t like this, the merged Brumbies side will still play half of the home games in Canberra while the other half will see them play at AAMI Park in Melbourne. That way, the Brumbies will get a metro following while Canberra still retains some existence like the NSW Waratahs, Queensland Reds & Western Force as well as the other five NZ Super Rugby teams. Also, the squad would get somewhat better where only a handful of good talented players from Melbourne (Imagine Carter Gordon playing with Ryan Lonergan or Harrison Goddard at No.10) will be rewarded to play alongside most of the Canberra & Southern NSW based team-mates. Not only they can learn from these players through the senior and its academy squad, but it could also help them win more regular-season games as well as make the big Final every 1-2 years which is almost certainly a guarantee in Australian Super Rugby history. 

Aussie sports fans would love seeing this happen in the hope of winning the Super Rugby trophy that would definitely translate into Wallabies success as well as us rugby fans here and of course, Melbournians, who love seeing their favourite team and/or sport thrive at home whether if it’s AFL (Aussie Rules) or the Melbourne Storm in Rugby League (NRL).

All in all, things would be better if the Rebels and Force play either in a revived National Tier 2 comp or the Top League in Japan so that the Brumbies can continue its own identity out of just Canberra and Southern NSW & continue playing Super Rugby alongside just the NSW Waratahs & Queensland Reds. But if both options aren’t possible, then maybe the Brumbies-Rebels merger would be Rugby Australia’s last resort if they really do intend to cut a Super Rugby side. The competition right now in Melbourne is far too inferior for RA when trying to pit Rugby against other winter Football codes where most boys will want to pick up a Sherrin over a Gilbert ball as we can’t keep on being mediocre at best.

And as said, I don’t have anything against the Western Force which doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be playing Rugby out of Perth, Western Australia. If they survive the axe, we’ll have to wait & see if they do help the Wallabies get back to their best again when it comes to on-field results but then we’ve been there twice before with four teams and it doesn’t seem to have helped the cause that much. Instead, their best bet is for them (Western Force) to play elsewhere where they either revive their own comp (Global Rapid Rugby between 2018-early 2020) or join the Japanese Top League. The level of Rugby they play as well as the same day time zone fits the Force perfectly amongst the other Japanese Top League or Asian-based teams there.

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