• Sanzaar set for major shake-up?

    New Zealand’s draft review of the Vodacom Super Rugby model reportedly includes recommendations for drastic change from 2021, which could exclude South Africa.

    According to an exclusive article on Newshub, New Zealand Rugby’s review – named Aratipu – contains a number of bombshell suggestions.

    Newshub reports that Sanzaar could disband altogether, with one of the review recommendations a trans-Tasman competition to come into place with the addition of a team from the Pacific.

    As it is, rumours have been swirling for some time to suggest that more South African sides could head north to join the PRO14.

    In the midst of the pandemic, many competitions have come under review, and it’s no surprise that the PRO14 continues to explore the option of expansion.

    According to an article in Rapport this past Sunday, if the Vodacom Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers all opted to join the European tournament, the Cheetahs and Kings could in fact stand to lose their places.

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    Plenty of discussions and different options continue to be considered, while the future of Super Rugby would certainly influence any consideration for South Africa to switch allegiances to another competition altogether.

    On 3 July, New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson hailed the completion of the Super Rugby model review, which is now with a cross-section of rugby’s wider family stakeholders for further consultation.

    ‘We have been heartened by the fantastic collaboration we have had with our wider rugby family to date on Aratipu, including our Super Rugby clubs, Provincial Unions, investors, SKY and the NZRPA, and we look forward to their continued input as we develop final options.

    ‘A draft Aratipu report is now with the Decision Executive and, while no final decisions have been made, the draft report provides a whole range of options across many areas, including how we keep our fans excited and involved in Super Rugby, possible competition structures and how Super Rugby is run.

    ‘We are going through further consultation across rugby before a final report and recommendations are presented to the NZR Board later this month and then announced publicly.’

    About Aratipu:  The review of New Zealand’s Super Rugby model, known as Aratipu (growing, regeneration and invigoration), was launched by New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and the five NZ Super Rugby clubs in April 2020 with the aim of finalising a model to ensure the future success for the clubs and competition both on and off the field.  The project includes input from several working groups and independent parties and is overseen by a Decision Executive made up of the Chairs of the five Super Rugby clubs, Don Mackinnon (Blues), Tonia Cawood (Chiefs), Iain Potter (Hurricanes), Grant Jarrold (Crusaders) and Doug Harvie (Highlanders), as well as Canterbury RFU Chairman and provincial union representative Peter Winchester, private investor representative Liz Dawson and NZR Chair Brent Impey and Chief Executive Mark Robinson.

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