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    SA Rugby rules out merging of franchises

    2017-05-17 20:33

    Cape Town - SA Rugby is not considering the possibility of merging franchises for next year’s Super Rugby competition.

    SANZAAR recently announced that the Super Rugby competition will be reduced from 18 to 15 teams from next year, with South Africa to lose two teams and Australia one.

    This has left SA Rugby in a predicament in determining which two franchises will be scrapped from the competition.

    There have been talks in some quarters for some of the South African teams to merge, as was the case in the old Super 12 when the Lions and Cheetahs played together as the Cats and Eastern Province (Kings) formed part of the Sharks franchise.

    That is however not a current option, SA Rugby president Mark Alexander has said.

    “In the past there were teams that merged. It never worked. It didn’t work for the Cats. They performed poorly. It’s not an option we’re currently investigating,” Alexander told Netwerk24.

    According to Alexander, South Africa will keep its six franchises, with the two who are dropped from Super Rugby to possibly join other international tournaments.

    There were also reports last week that SANZAAR may be forced to abandon its plans to cut three teams from Super Rugby, with the Melbourne Rebels taking the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) to court over the matter.

    The Rebels, who are privately owned, are trying to prevent the ARU from “buying back their licence from them.”

    Alexander though does not expect much to come of the Rebels attempts - or any franchise for that matter.

    “We received no summons from the Cheetahs. I also know that SANZAAR has received legal advice on the matter. I don’t know how any attempt to sue will be successful. The plan is that there will only be four South African teams in Super Rugby next year.”

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