Marinos: Super Rugby 'strategic review' under way
Singapore - Super Rugby's governing body said Wednesday it is conducting a "strategic review" of the competition's current format amid complaints of punishing travel schedules that have affected team performances.
The competition straddles 16 time zones and four continents, resulting in complaints of lopsided contests, taxing travel times and a fragmented four-conference system seen as too complex.
SANZAAR chief executive Andy Marinos said team schedules would be managed better this year to address the concerns.
"I am busy conducting with my team a strategic review of SANZAAR and we're going to look ahead for the next ten years as to what we want this competition to look like," he told reporters in Singapore.
"Our biggest challenge is obviously the geographical expanse we've got to cover in this competition," he said.
"We've had some key learnings out of 2016 that we can implement into 2017 around how we manage the players during the week and how we work the travel schedule."
SANZAAR introduced conferences in 2016 to allow Super Rugby's expansion to 18 teams, including Japan's Sunwolves, Argentina's Jaguares and South Africa's Southern Kings.
The new teams struggled, particularly Sunwolves who managed just one win from 15 matches.
Marinos said he was pleased with the Sunwolves' showing last season but that it would take "two to three years" for them to get used to the Super Rugby competition.
Marinos said organisers would not be looking at further expansion for the time being.
The new season kicks off with the Melbourne Rebels playing the Blues at home on February 23 and culminates in the competition final on August 5.