NZ report may spell doom for Cheetahs
Cape Town - A New Zealand news agency claims that three - and not two - teams will be scrapped from the Super Rugby competition.
SANZAAR bosses met in London over the weekend to discuss the future of the tournament’s format which has come under fire since it was expanded last year.
Initial reports indicated that the competition would be reduced from 18 to 15 teams, with an Australian team and two South African teams axed.
The two South African teams mentioned were the Southern Kings and Cheetahs.
But on Tuesday the Cheetahs’ managing director, Harold Verster, claimed that only two teams - one each from South Africa and Australia - would be eliminated in what would become a 16-team competition.
However on Wednesday, 1 NEWS in New Zealand insisted that Verster is wrong.
The report, which is headlined as an exclusive on their website, states: “Yesterday, following a SANZAAR meeting in London last week, the Free State Cheetahs CEO Harold Verster declared his side was safe, and that the competition would be reduced to 16 teams. But the 1 NEWS source today confirmed three teams would be cut.”
The source is said to be locally-based.
"A source out of South Africa today told 1 NEWS that two teams from the republic, including the Port Elizabeth-based Kings, and one from Australia will be axed," the report continued.
According to the report, the Australian and South African rugby unions are deliberating about which teams to drop, taking into consideration possible mergers.
SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos commented on the situation following last weekend’s meeting in London:
"Following two days of robust discussion there are a number of tournament considerations that now require further discussion and consultation. This includes final consultation within the national unions and discussion with key stakeholders that would allow the adoption of changes proposed by the strategic plan,” Marinos said via a press statement.
"SANZAAR will make a formal statement on the future of the organisation, Super Rugby and the tournament format in the coming days once these further meetings have been concluded," added Marinos.
SANZAAR has reportedly put a May deadline to finalise which teams will be cut from the competition and to finalise the format for 2018.