Sanzaar has denied rumours that a trans-Tasman tournament between New Zealand and Australian teams could replace Vodacom Super Rugby in the future.
Rugby Australia chairman Paul McLean and New Zealand Rugby counterpart Brett Impey were reported to be in talks last week over the future of Super Rugby.
This came after both nations had launched reviews into their respective rugby structures, following the halting of the season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In an interview with The Australian, McClean made a groundbreaking claim that an initial pandemic-enforced tournament between New Zealand and Australian sides in 2020 may become permanent due to concerns over virus-related travel activities and expenses.
‘I can’t see and they [NZR] can’t see South Africa and Argentina being involved anywhere in the short term along the way,’ McLean was reported to have said.
However, Sanzaar has moved to rebuff talk of a potential breakaway tournament, reassuring that all stakeholders had already committed to a joint venture through to 2030.
The governing body added that it had already sold the concept of the 14-team Super Rugby tournament – set to take place from 2021 – as well as the Rugby Championship to broadcasters.
‘Having spoken with my Sanzaar board members I can confirm that none of the suggested models or structures that have been commented on recently, such as standalone Trans-Tasman formats, have been agreed by any of the Sanzaar unions individually or collectively,’ Sanzaar chief executive Andy Marinos said. ‘All such reports are merely speculative and have no basis to them.
‘This is not to say that we are not having realistic discussions on what may have to eventuate should Covid-19 restrictions continue beyond 2020. We are presently looking in detail at various competition formats, but any agreed format will include teams from all four stakeholder national unions.
‘Due to uncertainty over what various government restrictions, if any, may look like next year including international travel, no date has been set yet as to when a decision will be made on 2021 and beyond,’ Marinos added.
‘A major consideration is that we also have an obligation to discuss any contingencies with our broadcast partners in the first instance after which we will make public comment.’
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