England coach Eddie Jones believes Super Rugby Aotearoa is pointing the way forward for any potential new southern-hemisphere franchise competition.
New Zealand is pushing for a new Super Rugby competition that would exclude South Africa and Argentina but include a Pacific Islands team and an undetermined number of Australian teams.
A statement from New Zealand Rugby indicated it will break away from Super Rugby’s existing structure to establish a new eight-to-10-team tournament next year, with rumours circulating that South Africa could soon align with Europe.
In a wide-ranging interview with with Sky Sports Rugby, Jones said whatever form, shape or structure the any future southern-hemisphere competition takes on, a format similar to Super Rugby Aotearoa is what organisers should strive for.
‘The main thing is, and I think it’s shown, is that people want a strong domestic competition. And it’s probably fallen away a little bit,’ Jones told Sky Sports UK.
‘The difference between cricket and rugby, I think – and in a lot of ways the economic models are fairly similar in that international sport is the part which creates most value – is that in rugby you need to have a stronger domestic competition that can still drive fans through the gate.
‘New Zealand’s Super Rugby Aotearoa has shown that people want to see the best against the best, which was always what Super Rugby was.
‘If you remember back to Super 12, it was the best against the best, the best players playing against each other.
‘And over a period of time that has been diluted because of players moving overseas, the number of teams increasing and it’s lost that really competitive edge.
‘I think the task for each country is to make sure their domestic league is the best against the best and highest level of competition, and if you can do that, fans will come and watch it.’
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