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ARU a step closer to 'Super B' Rugby tournament

ARU Boss Bill Pulver wants a new Super B Rugby tournament

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Article Published: Monday 15 July 2013|


The Australian Rugby Union are a step closer to former a new "Super B" Rugby tournament that will run alongside the current Super Rugby tournament.

The ARU disbanded the youth academy on Monday just two years after it was set up by former ARU high performance director David Nucifora who left the organisation earlier this year.

Australia's elite young players were told on Monday that they would no longer be training under the ARU's academy and that they would revert to the previous system run by each of Australia's five Super Rugby franchises.

The Australian Rugby Union want to set up a third tier tournament that will involve home and away games between the Waratahs, Reds, Brumbies, Rebels and Force.

According to reports in the Daily Telegraph the the controversial national academy was dropped after complaints about it's functionality within the game's various levels, from club rugby to Super teams and the Wallabies.

Australia's most talented players were drafted into two academy bases - in Sydney and Brisbane - and trained for three days a week while also training with their club or Super Rugby franchise.

Franchises will take the academy players they want and other players will have to play their game in club rugby and hope they are spotted.

The major criticism of the academy was that it was "out of sight, out of mind" and Super Rugby coaches were reluctant to use the players as they had been training under different systems and they were unfamiliar with game plans.

It now seems that each Australian Super Rugby franchise will have a "B team" in the new third-tier tournament which will be ranked above Sydney's Shute Shield and Queensland's Premier Rugby.

While the paths for Super B Rugby are already being opened up the franchises and the ARU have so far not been able to agree on who will back the new eight-round competition financially.

Ealier this year in April Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver said that if a "Super B" tournament was former it could be played under different rules to attract more live and television viewers.

"There's multiple issues at play," Pulver said in April.

"One is to accelerate the development of elite players, another is to create more content available for television and a third is to get more people attending the games live."

"So a traditional curtain-raiser game - a 40-10-40 game - where you've got to start at five o'clock is a tough sell. It's hard to get people there at five o'clock.

"We're exploring a few innovative concepts of a one-hour curtain-raiser with a few rule changes such as no penalty goals, maybe a lot of short-arm penalties.

"A real focus on creating an environment for smart, creative running rugby; 25 minutes each way and designed to really show the Australian public, who are a little bit frustrated with stoppages in the game, that here's a great chance to showcase Australia's young talent in a one-hour curtain-raiser."

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