SANZAAR dismisses Super 14 talks as ‘speculative’
Cape Town - Southern hemisphere governing body SANZAAR has dismissed reports of possible changes to the Super Rugby structure as mere speculation.
It was reported on Monday that SANZAAR was considering reverting back to a 14-team Super Rugby competition and doing away with the tournament's conference system from 2021.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the Sunwolves were the team in the firing line as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina battle to reach consensus about a tournament format which suits all unions.
However, SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos hit back at the report in a press statement on Tuesday:
"The recent reports in the media around the next iteration of the Super Rugby tournament are nothing more than speculative. As a business we are presently looking at our future competition structures from 2021 onwards, a matter that has been widely reported in the media. We have not reached any definitive decisions around our future competition including the number of teams that will participate in the future structure.
"We will continue to engage with our stakeholders specifically the national unions (Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa) and our broadcasters, as we plan ahead for the future and the next broadcast cycle that commences in 2021. If there are any changes to our structure we will communicate this at the appropriate time."
Marinos said earlier this year that all options were on the table as the organisation seeked a vision to take Super Rugby to 2030.
No details were released but one possibility was reportedly a 20-team, four-conference format featuring at least one US side.
There is also a push among some rugby fans to include a composite Pacific islands team featuring players from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.
A common suggestion from players and coaches this year has been to dump the conference system in favour of a simple round-robin, where teams play each other once.
Super Rugby began as the Super Six in 1986, then became Super 10 when South Africa re-entered the rugby world in 1993.
When the newly formed SANZAR (without Argentina) took control in 1996 it became Super 12, then a decade later it was Super 14, and Super 15 in 2011.
It featured 18 teams and a conference system in 2016 and 2017 before being scaled back to 15 sides this year.