Spain Seeks Inclusion In Expanded Super Rugby For 2016, But Australian Clubs Opposed
Spain "has emerged as the country seeking inclusion in an expanded Super Rugby competition" in '16, but Australia’s five franchises "have told the Australian Rugby Union bluntly to veto any move into Europe," according to Wayne Smith of THE AUSTRALIAN. The Australian players’ union, the Rugby Union Players Association, "has gone even further," claiming any expansion, be it to 17 or 18 teams, “would place considerable doubt over the sustainability of Australian Super Rugby." Rumors of a European country seeking admission in '16 "have been circulating for some time, with Italy initially nominated and then discounted." The mystery nation was identified as Spain when ARU CEO Bill Pulver "raised it as an expansion option" in a meeting with Super Rugby franchise CEOs on Tuesday. South Africa "is most inclined to consider Spain’s admission while New Zealand is open-minded on the subject." Australia is "strongly pushing for a move into Asia, not just because of time zone preferences but because the timing is right," with Japan "having been confirmed as the host nation " for the 2019 Rugby World Cup (THE AUSTRALIAN, 3/6).