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Pienaar against Super Rugby expansion in 2016

1995 Rugby World Cup winning Captain Francois Pienaar

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Article Published: Wednesday 5 March 2014|

South Africa's Rugby World Cup winning captain Francois Pienaar says that there is too much Super Rugby and rather than expanding the tournament he would prefer to see it down-sized.

Pienaar said that he felt that there is too much rugby being played currently and rather than expanding Super Rugby and the Currie Cup he would rather see them reduced in size.

"I haven't quite applied my mind yet when it comes to the Currie Cup. I would like to see less (Super Rugby), not more," Pienaar told Business Day.

"If I can use Varsity Cup as an example, it is so short and compact - therein lies the success. If you make it longer it will fizzle."

"It (Super Rugby) is just too much. The guys are playing too much rugby; there is too much rugby to watch."

The South African Rugby Union recently announced plans to increase the Currie Cup to six teams and Pienaar said however that having eight teams in the top tier of the Currie Cup and the same number in the same number in the First Division, with promotion-relegation play-offs, would be a good idea.

The 1995 Rugby World Cup winning captain said he had enjoyed watching how he South African sides had performed in this year's Super Rugby tournament, particularly his former team, the Lions.

"The surprise element for me, a wonderful team to watch, is the Lions. Everybody thought they would be the whipping boys and they are playing superb rugby," Pienaar said.

Pienaar did however caution that it was still too early in the season for Lions fans to get too excited.

"It was a great start from the Lions - a real Cinderella story. They played some phenomenal rugby. The Sharks have been very strong. The other three teams (Bulls, Cheetahs and Stormers) are finding their feet.

"It's still too early to say (how they will finish). It's a long competition and everyone will be jostling for positions. The conference will heat up later on. Normally, it is always a slow start."

Pienaar also praised his former team-mate and now Lions coach Johan Ackermann by saying, "I was privileged enough to be his captain on tour to New Zealand in 1996. He's done a phenomenal job. "

"The entire team and staff at the Lions, the revival is amazing. I really hope they go from strength to strength."

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