Super Rugby eyeing 2018 change
Wellington - Super Rugby will keep its
unloved current format until the end of next year but change could happen in
2018, a report said ON Wednesday citing the chief of governing body SANZAAR.
The competition expanded to 18 teams this
season with the addition of Japan's Sunwolves, Argentina's Jaguares and South
Africa's Southern Kings, but it has not been plain sailing.
Critics have complained of the lacklustre
standard of games, lopsided contests, exhausting travel schedules and a
fragmented, four-conference system watched by smaller crowds.
While the New Zealand conference is
fiercely competitive with three co-leaders among its five teams, the other
three conferences in Australia and South Africa are considerably weaker.
Fairfax New Zealand's stuff.co.nz reported
that SANZAAR has hired a consultancy firm and over the next six months will map
out a 10-year strategic vision.
It said expressions of interest for
potential new teams would then be sought, with possible bids from South
America, North America, the Pacific, Europe and other parts of Asia.
"You've got to be open-minded when you
go into a process," the governing body's chief executive Andy Marinos was
quoted as saying.
"Is it a continual expansion? Is it an
expansion in two conferences? Is it a reduction and creating a two-tier system?
There's a whole lot of different permutations one has to consider as you go through
a process like this if you want to get the best result.
"Certain countries may reduce and some
may retain or expand."
He added that "2018 for me is more
achievable should we look to expand".
"To try put a new team up in 2017
you're not giving them enough time to prepare," he said.
"You need at least 12 to 18 months to
identify the opportunity and then make sure the high performance and commercial
models can underpin it."