That's Not Expansion. This is Expansion

Another year another round of handwringing, head shaking and navel probing as Australian and World Rugby look to solve all their woes by adding more token teams and more token matches to an already underperforming global Rugby calendar. Last year it was all talk of adding a third tier to Australian Rugby, a poor argument never solved, certainly not by the euthanised Australian Rugby Championship and certainly not when the long neglected 11th and 12th tiers are crying out for funding and recognition.

The half hearted efforts to make the Super 14 more Super by adding a token team in Western Australia or, now, Western Sydney are never going to work when the heart and soul of the game is neglected and running around suburban grounds (and even some in Melbourne) without any proper support. For this reason The Rolling Maul, again, heeds the cries of the Rugby community and comes to the rescue with an idea so obvious that it took only 4 glasses of red wine and 6 overcooked sausages to see it. Expand Super 14 to Super 104.

It's completely absurd to be talking about inventing new teams when perfectly good ones are already playing the game on a weekly basis in front of crowds of friends and family and the occasional pet, yet they are prevented from taking on the best that the world has to offer. When the Penrith Emus take on and defeat the Auckland Blues, the world will truly understand the universal appeal of a game that enables thousands of participants to play at the highest level.

104 teams across the Southern Hemisphere naturally lends itself to a proper year long season of 52 weeks with each team playing two matches a week. No more off season, no more letting cricket and tennis hog the limelight, and no more trial matches. Every match counts. Every player will be expected to play every match of course.

A promotion and relegation system would be required to ensure quality and provide added motivation, so that the bottom, say, 35 teams of Division 1 drop down to Division 2 which of course consists of another 104 teams, the top 35 of which would be promoted to Division 1 and so on.

With the local subbies teams assured of quality competition week in and week out crowds will flock back to the games and playing rosters will swell as everyone realises they have a chance of playing internationally. TV audiences will grow just as fast as quality live matches are broadcast hundreds of times a week.

The limited international reach of AFL and Rugby League will ensure that they couldn't hope to compete against the people's game that will be Rugby Union. Meanwhile soccer will be tolerated as those Rugby players not talented enough to compete in the various skill disciplines of Super 104 (ie they can't catch, throw or run) need somewhere to go show off their only remaining skill, falling down for no reason.

As we embark on another Rugby season it would be worthwhile if the powers that be, or the ARU, seriously consider these proposals. The Rolling Maul has reasonable consulting rates if they require implementation.

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