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    Force or Rebels face Super Rugby axe

    2017-04-10 07:26

    Sydney - The Australian Rugby Union said on Monday either the Rebels or Force face the axe from next year's Super Rugby competition, with talks underway to decide which one survives.

    Governing body SANZAAR announced on Sunday that two South African teams and one from Australia would be culled from the revamped 2018 southern hemisphere tournament.

    "It is important for me to clarify firstly that the decision to remove a Super Rugby team from Australia was a decision made by the ARU, not by SANZAAR," ARU chairperson Cameron Clyne told a media conference.

    "This outcome however was only made possible by a consensus vote by the four SANZAAR partners and has been a complex process involving the many stakeholders in the competition across the globe."

    Clyne said a decision would be made after talks with the Force and Rebels, meaning the Brumbies, Waratahs and Reds will be in the 2018 competition.

    The Brumbies had initially been among three teams under threat but after an analysis of financial sustainability, performance and commercial factors, their future is now safe.

    "We don't anticipate this final consultation period being a drawn-out process and expect to be able to deliver an outcome in the very near future," he said, adding that his union had come under increasing financial pressure from the demands of Super Rugby.

    "Super Rugby has placed an increasingly heavy burden on the ARU business in recent years and the acceleration of revenue declines in our Super Rugby businesses has placed the game under extreme financial pressure," he said.

    "The additional funding provided by the ARU to offset Super Rugby losses has severely limited our capacity to invest further in our grassroots and high performance areas such as player and coach development."

    Clyne said in addition to revenue declines, the changing global rugby market place had posed challenges for the southern hemisphere competition.

    "Since the ARU expanded to five Super Rugby teams in 2010, the economy we operate in globally has changed dramatically," he said.

    "With the incentives on offer in Europe, the player exodus has been significant in Australia and indeed across our SANZAAR partners.

    "Based on recent performance trends, it is evident that we do not currently have the playing depth in Australia to service five teams in Super Rugby."

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