Monday D-Day for Cheetahs, Kings future?

    2017-04-07 14:41

    Cape Town - SANZAAR is expected to announce that three teams will be culled from Super Rugby on Monday, April 10.

    According to respected New Zealand columnist Liam Napier, more than a month after a meeting in London where SANZAAR partners agreed in principle to push ahead with a 15-team competition, a decision is finally ready to be made.

    The last time the tournament had a 15-team structure was back in 2015 when the Highlanders beat the Hurricanes 21-14 in the final.

    Meetings took place in South Africa this week, but no official word regarding Super Rugby has emerged.

    But with broadcast and attendances dwindling, the rand being further downgraded and financial pressures biting the six franchises, the South African Rugby Union is expected to cut two teams, likely to be the Kings and Cheetahs.

    The Australian Rugby Union is expected to meet this weekend and the Force remain the most vulnerable team.

    While SANZAAR is hopeful of announcing the number of teams set to compete next year, by Monday, the respective national unions may take more time to confirm which sides will be axed - and there is sure to be major resistance from those franchises.

    According to the Stuff website article, a 15-team competition would in all likelihood see the format revert to three conferences, with Japan's Sunwolves joining the Australian Conference and Argentina's Jaguares in the South African group.

    The dominant New Zealand Conference will remain the same.

    Under the 15-team structure last used in 2015, teams played two rounds of local derbies - eight matches in total - followed by four games against sides from each of the other two conferences - total of four home and four away - meaning 16 matches in total ahead of the playoffs - one more match than the current 2017 system in use.

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