What is a Super Club?
A super club would be one that has a large number of world-class players on one team. I would deem it as players to cover the bench all of which have an international pedigree and not just the starting fifteen.
In the last 5 years or so there has been the emergence of super clubs particularly in France due to the lager salary cap but also I feel in New Zealand and England. In England I feel that Saracens are a club who have stockpiled a large number of players, which allows for a squad rotation system to be used. In New Zealand I believe that the Chiefs have the strongest squad after the signing of Robbie Freuan despite the centres they already have in addition to the proposed return of one Sonny Bill Williams.
The most obvious team that would come to mind would be Toulon. They have international players starting in every position and more often then not they can have a full bench o internationals, adding in the additions of James O’Connor, Leigh Halfpenny and Mamuka Gorgodze. The Toulon owner states that the club itself covers it wage bill and costs and is actually turning a profit without any financial input on his behalf. The question arises of how these clubs can manage such squads with players that we as the rugby public expect have quite large salaries.
Stade Francais would have been the earliest formation of international players with Sergio Parisse, Agustin Pichot and Juan Hernandez. However this abruptly ended due to the loss of financing. Racing Metro is a similar club who has stockpiled international players with Juan Martin Hernandez, Johnny Sexton and Dan Lydiate. With regards to the Irish and Welsh sides, due to their regional status they naturally receive and stockpile international players as part of their homegrown sides with 1 or 2 overseas players. In comparison to Toulon where they have very few French players representing the first team week in week out, there is growing concern.
With the mounting concern over the international exodus from the Southern Hemisphere teams, is it something that the IRB or perhaps the European Committee or even National Governing Bodies should be looking into to sustain the youth system and national team hopes?