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UK rugby commentator's take on Super Rugby Aotearoa sparks fascinating north versus south debate

By Online Editors
Crusaders stars Will Jordan, David Havili, Sevu Reece and Richie Mo'unga. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

A tweet from rugby commentator James Gemmell has kick-started a fascinating debate on the quality of rugby in the southern hemisphere compared to the north. Gemmell, who works for Sky Sports, took to Twitter to offer his opinion that New Zealand’s Super Rugby Aotearoa competition is on another level to anything he has seen before.

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Gemmell wrote: “Having lived in the UK for 12 years now, and having covered every major club rugby competition in the world, I firmly believe #SuperRugbyAotearoa 2020 has produced consistently the highest quality rugby I’ve ever seen.”

It didn’t take long for Gemmell’s tweet to take-off, with All Blacks legend Sean Fitzpatrick and former Ireland international Jamie Heaslip among those adding their voice to the discussion.

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Heaslip questioned whether the European Champions Cup winners would ‘stand a chance’, others argued that the lack of relegation in Super Rugby Aotearoa invited more open, attacking play, while some felt the competition lacks the atmosphere seen across the Champions Cup.

Super Rugby Aotearoa concludes this weekend, with the Crusaders wrapping up the title with a game to spare thanks to a thrilling 32-22 win over the Highlanders.

The competition has produced a number of brilliant games, and Gemmell wasn’t alone in his belief that the it has been unmatched in terms of consistent, high quality games.

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