Rugby

Earlier start to Super Rugby?

2012-08-31 11:37
SANZAR boss Greg Peters (File)
Cape Town - SANZAR are preparing to stage an exclusive Super Rugby round for Australian teams ahead of next year's British and Irish Lions tour.

Because the Lions will play nine matches in Australia between June 5 and July 6, SANZAR are expected to start the competition a week earlier so two Australian derby matches can be played.

This will allow the Australians to break early ahead of the Test window and grab an extra week's preparation for their three-Test series.

The disruption for the 10 New Zealand and South African teams should be minimal.

A preliminary draw has been issued to franchises and broadcasters, but has yet to be officially confirmed.

The Lions will play all five Australian franchises and a combined mid-week team in addition to the Tests.

The Super Rugby competition was halted for three weeks this season to allow Australia, New Zealand and South Africa to play June Test matches. Regular season games were suspended between June 2 and June 29.

The All Blacks and Springboks will play domestic Tests next year against opposition yet to be confirmed.

Despite dissatisfaction with the unconventional draw, which means not all teams face each other, it will not be stretched.

"The issue is there are simply not enough weeks in the year with the conference structure and the desire to start the competition earlier is certainly not strong in any territory, especially not in New Zealand," SANZAR boss Greg Peters said.

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