Super Rugby set for a shake-up
While there is still a way to go, there is a possibility the number of SA Super Rugby teams will again be reduced from six to five in 2018.
Australia could also see a reduction of one team.
No final decision has been made yet, but this is what could happen after coaches, administrators and players gathered in Sydney last week for a Sanzar meeting over the future of Super Rugby.
Three recommendations, which are still being kept secret, were put on the table after the conference.
The SA Rugby Union (Saru) has not yet had an opportunity to meet about the recommendation. But a big possibility exists that South Africa will lose its sixth team after next year, which is regarded as the major reason for this year’s clumsy format.
Various scenarios could be used to determine which local team would lose its franchise. This includes:
. The team that was last in could be first out;
. A promotion or relegation match; or
. If the Southern Kings have to remain part of the series because of South Africa’s political landscape, the franchise with the worst record could miss out.
If the decision is made purely on a rugby basis, then the Kings will be the unlucky team if the decision is made to reduce the number of South African teams.
This year’s clumsy format can, however, only be altered in 2018 because of agreements with broadcasters that were signed last year.
According to New Zealand Rugby Union CEO Steve Tew, New Zealand had wanted to change the format of the finals with one eye on 2017, but didn’t get the necessary support from South Africa and Australia.
The Kiwis wanted a simple top-eight determined according to league points for the knock-out rounds.