South African Rugby Union Allowed To Field Sixth Team For 2016 Super Rugby Competition
South Africa "will be able to field a sixth team in the Super Rugby competition" from '16, according to Brad Morgan of ALL AFRICA. The decision, which was reached at a meeting of SANZAR (South Africa, New Zealand and Australia Rugby) in Sydney on Tuesday, "will bring to an end a nightmare for the South African Rugby Union." Deciding which of South Africa's six Super Rugby teams would miss out on the "lucrative southern hemisphere tournament had become a political hot potato" for SARU and led to a lot of criticism and dissatisfaction. South Africa will field the Southern Kings, Lions, Bulls, Stormers, Cheetahs and Sharks for the '16 competition, while both New Zealand (Chiefs, Blues, Highlanders, Hurricanes and Crusaders) and Australia (Brumbies, Reds, Waratahs, Force and Rebels) "will have five teams." While a team from Argentina has not been included, "indications are that a move would be made in that direction in future because the Pumas are part of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship." Some in New Zealand would like a sixth franchise, "while teams from the Pacific Islands and Japan have also been mooted" (ALL AFRICA, 9/4). In Sydney, Iain Payten wrote SANZAR CEO Greg Peters said getting a sixth team had been a "long-held desire" by SARU, for both rugby and political reasons. The difficulty now "comes in settling on a new tournament structure to accommodate the sixth African side." Super Rugby "currently has three pools of five teams from each SANZAR nation." Sources said that SANZAR members and broadcasters "have been locked in challenging discussions to come up with a suitable format," with two conferences of Australia-New Zealand and South Africa-Argentina -- and a joint finals series -- the likely end point (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 9/4).