More teams could be added to the Super Rugby tournament in 2018.
Super Rugby expanded from 15 to 18 teams in 2016, with the addition of the Kings, Jaguares and Sunwolves resulting in a confusing, heavily criticised four-conference, two-group format.
According to Stuff.co.nz, Sanzaar has hired a consultancy firm and over the next six months will map out a 10-year strategic vision for the tournament. It said expressions of interest for potential new teams would then be sought, with possible bids from South America, North America, the Pacific, Europe and other parts of Asia.
'You've got to be open-minded when you go into a process,' Sanzaar CEO Andy Marinos said. 'Is it a continual expansion? Is it an expansion in two conferences? Is it a reduction and creating a two-tier system? There's a whole lot of different permutations one has to consider as you go through a process like this if you want to get the best result. Certain countries may reduce and some may retain or expand.'
He added that '2018 for me is more achievable should we look to expand. To try put a new team up in 2017 you're not giving them enough time to prepare.
'You need at least 12 to 18 months to identify the opportunity and then make sure the high performance and commercial models can underpin it.'