Former Springboks assistant coach and current United States head coach Gary Gold has made a startling comparison between Super Rugby and Major League Rugby.
After the final of the States’ domestic competition, in which the Seattle Seawolves beat the San Diego Legion at the Torero Stadium, Gold said that the crowd was “more impressive than any crowd at Super rugby this year”, also saying that the great game is growing.
— Gary Gold (@GaryGoldrugbyiq) June 16, 2019
While it was played in a smaller stadium than many of the Super Rugby games, it was packed to capacity, which is far more than can be said about the southern hemisphere competition.
One of the most noticeable things about Super Rugby this year has been the swathes of empty seats at almost every match being played, with South African and Australian stadiums looking close to empty at times.
This is certainly an encouraging observation in terms of the global growth of rugby, but it nonetheless highlights a concern with what was once deemed the premiere club competition in world rugby.
Whether it is the drop in standard, the dominance of New Zealand teams or the increase in participants, the number of fans in stadiums has dropped year on year seemingly in Super Rugby, even for some of the biggest games.
Of course, this was a final in the United States, meaning the crowd number was always going to be high. However, with the Super Rugby playoffs commencing next weekend, the crowds may not increase by much. Even the Hurricanes, who have been one of the highest performers over the past few years, will probably struggle to fill up the Westpac Stadium in their quarter-final against the Bulls.
Gold, who has been the USA’s coach for over a year now, has experience of coaching Super Rugby with the Sharks, and would have noticed this decline even in the short time since he departed from the role in 2016.
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