SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux says they are still committed to Sanzaar despite recent reports linking South African teams with a move to the northern-hemisphere competitions.
As it is, the future of the southern-hemisphere Sanzaar partnership has been questioned more than ever.
The latest rumours suggest that South Africa’s Vodacom Super Rugby franchises could be set to join the PRO14. According to Sunday newspaper Rapport, the move could even happen as early as next year.
This comes after renewed talks of Australia and New Zealand forming a trans-Tasman Super Rugby tournament, which has been backed by former – such as Andrew Mehrtens – and current players.
The suspension in the rugby calendar caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent closing of international borders have further fuelled these rumours.
In a digital media conference on Monday, Roux said a decision would be based on the post-coronavirus world as well as the commercial implications thereof.
‘The very politically-correct answer is that we are committed to Sanzaar and we are negotiating in good faith,’ Roux said.
‘I am not to fazed about what players, ex-players and the media are saying. The only people that I am interested in is the people sitting around the negotiation table with us. They have a completely different view to what the ex-players and some of their current players have.
‘There are a few narratives currently there that will influence our decisions. The biggest influence will be whether New Zealand and Australia keep their borders closed to foreigners until June next year. That will have a fundamental impact on 2021 Super Rugby season.
‘The reality is that the current format of competition that we have is too tight commercially for everybody involved. And because of that we’re now looking at two to three different Sanzaar options, which we are currently discussing.
‘The committee that looks after the structure of those competitions is hard at work. Once the rugby decision is made on what competition works best, we will look at the commercial side.’
Photo: EPA/Jan Touzeau