Force deny they face Super axe
Perth - The Force on Tuesday dismissed concerns they face the axe from the troubled
Super Rugby competition after a report suggested they will be scrapped
in a revamped format.
Organisers SANZAAR are grappling with a way forward for the confusing
18-team, five-nation southern hemisphere championship and announced
some three weeks ago that a shake-up was imminent.
Since then it has been mute on the issue.
In the absence of any decisions, speculation has been rife that it
will be trimmed back to 15 clubs, with South Africa losing two of its
six teams and Australia cutting one of five.
Sydney's Daily Telegraph stated on Tuesday that Force, which was
founded in 2005, would be chopped rather than the Brumbies or Rebels. The Waratahs and Reds are widely
But Force chief executive Mark Sinderberry rejected this.
"The reports that are coming out of Sydney at the moment are totally false," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
"Two-and-a-half weeks ago we had a telephone link up with the
Australian Rugby Union and at that time made very clear that there was a
number of factors to be considered and there hadn't been any decisions
made and we've had no further correspondence since then."
Sinderberry was adamant Force was not facing the axe.
"It's not a case of whether they should or not, at all. They will survive," he said.
Australian Rugby Union chief Bill Pulver said no decisions had been taken.
"At this point, there has been no determination on the future
competition format or the teams involved in the competition," he said in
"We also wish to confirm for the public record that no decision has
been taken on the removal of one of Australia’s Super Rugby teams."
The competition currently straddles 17 time zones and four
continents, resulting in complaints of lopsided contests, taxing travel
times and a fragmented conference system seen as too confusing for fans.
Problems intensified in 2016, when Super Rugby expanded from 15 teams
to 18 with the introduction of Japan's Sunwolves, Argentina's Jaguares
and South Africa's Southern Kings.