Super Rugby split on the cards?
- 27 Jul 2013
Secret plans are being discussed whereby the Australasians would form their own competition and South Africa would break away to form a new tournament with Argentina in 2016 and beyond.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, three proposals are being discussed by Sanzar. In one of those, South Africa would split from the current format and form its own competition with at least six teams and possibly an Argentinian side. The Australian and New Zealand teams would form a second grouping and may welcome an Asian side to their competition.
If the proposal were to be given the green light, it would be implemented when new broadcasting deals come into effect in 2016. However, it's believed that Sanzar wants the decision finalised by the end of the current season so that the respective parties have time to plan ahead.
The Sydney Morning Herald states that the push has been engineered by Saru. In the current format, only five of the six South African franchises can be accommodated. The Lions were excluded in 2013, and suffered major financial and personnel losses as a result. It's believed that Saru wants to ensure that all six teams are guaranteed a place, and are willing to form a new competition to satisfy all six franchises.
The Australasian model would see more derbies. With South Africa no longer in the mix, travel would be less extensive and thus less taxing on the players, and this is believed to be a big drawcard of the format.
Other alternatives to the current model include further expansion, with more teams from the United States, Canada, and Asia joining the competition.
The newspaper also said that none of the proposed formats would affect the Rugby Championship.
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