Sanzaar is reportedly contemplating adding a fourth conference, made up of American teams, to Super Rugby.
The Sydney Morning Herald has obtained a high-level Sanzaar strategy paper, revealing that the governing body is weighing up five options for Super Rugby (retaining the status quo, contraction or three types of expansion scenarios), a major shake-up of the Rugby Championship, an All Star-style Fans’ Championship match and a southern hemisphere Lions team.
The leaked document, titled ‘Sanzaar 2030 Strategy’, is set to be presented to broadcasters after the current TV deal comes to an end in 2020.
The paper states that despite a recently canned two-year experiment with an 18-team format that was ‘confusing, lacked integrity and was ultimately not supported by fans, stakeholders and commercial partners’, a new 20-team, four-conference Super Rugby format – made up of new teams or teams from an existing competition – is on the cards.
It is unclear who Sanzaar is likely to line up for a fixture against the southern hemisphere Lions-like side, but it has outlined that the All Star match would be made up of two teams selected by fans from the best players and coaches not playing in the final and will be played as a curtain-raiser for the title-deciding game.
The plan for the Rugby Championship is to have home double-header matches against a single nation (i.e. the Springboks hosting two Tests against the All Blacks and two away against the Wallabies in one year) before swapping the next year.
The only other major proposal is the start-up of a women’s Super Rugby competition, to run concurrently with the men’s tournament.
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