SANZAR CHIEF executive Greg Peters says commercial arrangements won’t allow for Super Rugby expansion until the end of 2015.
That announcement will be a bitter blow to South Africa, who is looking to increase the competition to 16 teams to accommodate the Southern Kings’ entry into the tournament next year without having to axe one of its five current sides.
“SANZAR has sold the current structure of Super Rugby to broadcasters and commercial partners for the period ending December 31 2015, so until that time expansion of the competition is not possible,” Peters told SportLive in South Africa.
It means that the South African Rugby Union is likely going to have cut one of its five sides – the Bulls, Sharks, Lions, Stormers or Cheetahs – to allow the Kings to take part next year.
SARU deputy president Mark Alexander has not given up hope of competition expansion.
“We still have to meet with our partners in SANZAR. Greg Peters cannot decide there won't be any expansion of the tournament,” he says.
“That was an irresponsible statement to make. There is a window of opportunity with our partners in SANZAR.
“We are currently preparing a 16-team schedule so that we can go and debate with them.”
Super Rugby kicks off on February 24, when the Blues host the Crusaders at Eden Park.« Back to Archives
With the series level, expect both teams to put it all on the line as they seek to win the deciding test in Sydney on Saturday night.