July 14, 2024

The United Rugby Championship (URC) is down to just two teams as the Bulls and Glasgow Warriors remain in the quest for glory as a fresh champion is set to be crowned.Home ground advantage to boost SA teams | SA Rugby

Instead of praising the two sides that punched their ticket in the Grand Final, the rugby fraternity transcended into a debate loaded with complaints as to how South Africa’s involvement in the URC has caused a travel block for fans, particularly around the showpiece game that has been in the Rainbow Nation for three consecutive years.

Essentially the argument is that it is very difficult for fans to successfully organise travel between the northern hemisphere and South Africa within one week, especially since the venue of the final is confirmed after the semi-finals. The argument certainly goes the other way as well with South African fans extremely unlikely to get a visa for the north let alone travel within one week.

With arguments on social media exploding and getting more and more polarised, we decided to explore the options further and allow you the chance to vote below.

Option 1: Drop South African sides

Already off the bat, it sounds ridiculous but it technically is an option considering they are teams causing the travel issues.

But dropping the South African sides is objectively a bold decision as the URC has improved significantly since its inception and is seemingly constantly breaking attendance and viewership records.

Option 2: Venues for finals to be in a neutral geographic location

Immediately the option of the Middle East comes to mind especially considering the interest from that part of the world in the game. However, partnering with locations that are renowned for human rights violations amongst other unethical practices goes directly against rugby and human values.

Somewhere in central or northern Africa could also be an option for achieving a geographic split but may not make sense if two teams from a similar region qualify for the final.

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Option 3: Neutral venues changing every year

Much like the Champions Cup this option would have the finals pre-set in a different location each season. This could be across Europe and South Africa with the massive advantage being that it gives fans time to plan ahead.

The downside is that home advantage is taken away for the final meaning there could be less emphasis on the table position a team finishes in. Also similar to the issue at hand now, one can’t be certain until after the semi-finals whether or not their team makes it through, meaning some chances might have to be taken by fans.

Option 4: Leave it as is

The very nature of securing a home final means that it suits one team and their fans more than others. Now of course in an ideal world, it would be possible for fans to have enough time to organise their trips and make the travel but unfortunately, it is not.

Everything has its tax and the inclusion of the South African sides comes with travel issues but so too does it come with a massive rugby audience and some of the world’s best players.

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