The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Kiwis confirm 18-team Super Rugby format; adds new teams from Africa, Argentina and maybe Asia

  • Print

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - An expanded 18-team Super Rugby competition will increase South Africa's involvement and bring in teams from Argentina and possibly Asia by 2016, according to details revealed by the sport's officials in Australia and New Zealand.

SANZAR — the group representing South Africa, New Zealand and Australia Rugby that organizes the Super Rugby and Four Nations tournaments — has not confirmed the expansion plan but the executives in charge of the Australian and New Zealand unions have released the proposed new structure.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew on Thursday said the plan was to divide the competition into two regional groups, with two conferences in each, backing up what Australian Rugby Union chief Bill Pulver outlined late Wednesday.

The Australia and New Zealand national conferences would each continue with their existing five teams. South Africa will host two conferences, with the five existing clubs joined by the Southern Kings and the two new teams from outside of the SANZAR nations. The two Africa conferences would each contain three South African and one foreign team and would alternate matches against the Australasian conferences each season.

The playoff series would involve eight teams: all four conference winners, then the next three highest-ranked teams in the Australasia group and the next highest team in the South Africa region.

"This is the best option to evolve what is already a fantastic competition," Tew said. "We needed a platform that ensured our best players could continue to perform at their peak. Equally keeping South Africa in the regular competition was an important part of what makes Super Rugby ... we believe we have got the balance right."

Tew said the new structure had been approved and confirmed by all SANZAR nations and Argentina, and would form the basis for negotiations over TV rights.

Japan is the most likely base for an Asian team. The country already competes in tournaments against second-string teams from Australia and New Zealand, as well as opposition from the Pacific islands, is hosting the 2019 World Cup, and has a growing domestic competition and a large sponsorship base.

"Our strong preference is for the 18th team to come from Asia as we believe this will attract significant commercial opportunities for us in the future," Pulver said. "It's already one of the world's most exciting provincial rugby competitions, and with the changes announced today, it has the potential to become a truly global competition."

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Weather for final Fringing weekend

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Two baby tigers were unveiled at the Assiniboine Park Zoo this morning, October 3rd, 2011. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • STDUP ‚Äì Beautiful West End  begins it's summer of bloom with boulevard s, front yards  and even back lane gardens ,  coming alive with flowers , daisies and poppies  dress up a backyard lane on Camden St near Wolseley Ave  KEN GIGLIOTTI  / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS  /  June 26 2012

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who are the real Bombers?

View Results

Ads by Google