Andrew Gourdie: Australian Rugby needs our help

Instead of cutting ties with Australian Rugby, perhaps we should ask if they want our help, writes Andrew Gourdie.
Instead of cutting ties with Australian Rugby, perhaps we should ask if they want our help, writes Andrew Gourdie. Photo credit: AAP

OPINION: 38-0.

It's the sort of scoreline any New Zealand Rugby fan would ordinarily be happy with, but it's not one I can celebrate.

After the Blues' extended the winning run of kiwi Super Rugby franchises over our Aussie counterparts to 38 straight matches with a hard-fought win over the Waratahs last night, the situation is dire.

There are suggestions that New Zealand should look to drop our neighbours from Super Rugby. I know a few rugby fans reading this will be thinking they could do without sitting through any more boring, one-sided contests. We should be careful what we wish for.

Maybe instead of asking whether we want them, perhaps we should ask if they want our help?

Andrew Gourdie: Australian Rugby needs our help
Photo credit: Getty Images

For New Zealand Rugby to cut ties with Australia at Super Rugby level would be a kamikaze move. We would have to develop our own, revamped domestic competition, and the time zone would make it an incredibly hard sell for broadcasters. The drop in broadcast revenue would make it harder to retain our best players, and the European player drain would ramp up to levels that would ultimately have a major detrimental effect on the All Blacks.

That's why in this funny little corner of the world, we really need to look after each other. Consistent poor performance is something that needs to be addressed, not ridiculed.

Football's experiencing the flip side at the moment. The Wellington Phoenix are on the end of calls to be kicked out of the A-League. More accurately, they're the target of a smear campaign orchestrated by Football Federation Australia and supported by Australian broadcasters and journalists peddling misinformation about why the kiwi club should be turfed from the competition.  But I digress. Ultimately, the aussies think the underperforming Phoenix are a bad look for the competition, and they'd be better off without them.

They're dreaming. They're financially unstable, and where the league is heading is unsustainable.

Andrew Gourdie: Australian Rugby needs our help

It's a reminder for us to avoid the same attitude when it comes to rugby. To sit on our sporting high-horse and curse the existence of Australian Super Rugby teams would be short-sighted and dangerous.

The Australian market is important for us, so it might be worth looking at ways we can support Rugby Australia in dealing with some of the challenges they face in a crowded Aussie sporting scene that sees the sport losing badly to AFL and NRL. We are a fine exporter of coaching and playing talent, so why not find homes for more of them in Australia? Daryl Gibson is already at the Waratahs, Brad Thorn at the Reds (he's ours), but perhaps NZR could actively put forward more of our coaches to assistant roles? What about seeing if Wayne Smith might be available on a top-level consultancy role, offering advice to all Australian Super franchises? Pointing some of our players towards Bondi or Brisbane wouldn't be bad either. It may not necessarily help produce a better Wallabies team, but it could certainly help deepen the player pool at franchise level and end this concerning run of defeats.

The odd loss to an Australian team would be tough to swallow, but losing Australian rugby altogether should be unpalatable to even the staunchest New Zealand rugby fan.

Andrew Gourdie is a Newshub sports reporter/presenter and host of RadioLIVE's Sunday Sport from 2pm.