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McCaw backs Super14 expansion to Super15

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All Blacks and Crusaders captain Richie McCaw has endorsed SANZAR’s proposed expansion of the Super 14, saying changes are “inevitable”.


SANZAR (South Africa,Australia & New Zealand) met in Dubai and agreed to work together to form a working party to investigate increasing the competition to 15 teams by 2011, along with reviewing the Tri-Nations structure.


“I think it’s inevitable that something needs to be done,” McCaw told The Press.


“If we can get something that works better than we have got at the moment, you have to go for it and try and work out the best thing that is going to suit southern hemisphere rugby, not just New Zealand but everywhere.”


The new Super 15 is likely to include geographically-based conferences and and expanded finals series. This means that there would be more local derbies cutting down on the travel before progressing to cross-conference fixtures.


The expanded format will however have a knock on effect on the Air New Zealand Cup and Currie Cup. McCaw however pointed out that All Blacks already have a limited involvement in the series.


This 2009 final has been scheduled for November 7 when the All Blacks will be on the end-of-season tour.


“That’s already been stated that the expectation is that you won’t see many All Blacks playing in the Air NZ Cup.”


McCaw did add that it was important to ensure the right decisions were made during the latest restructure.


“From everyone’s point of view, you don’t want to see two competitions that are half-cocked really because you just haven’t got the right guys for the right times.


“If we can make something that’s really enjoyable for everyone watching and playing, that’s what we have got to be after. I don’t know what the magic answer is and that’s what everyone is trying to find at the moment.”


Once significant change is that the Super 15 start a month later in March and end in August and not May as it does now.


McCaw welcomed an extended format, noting the “short” Super 14 format was ruthless for teams that made a slow start.


“It will give teams a chance to work their way into things.” he said.


“You will be able to start a bit later as well and that will give a window for guys to be really raring to go and I think it will up the interest with a few extra teams.”


A fight within SANZAR is inevitable though as all of the participating nations have expressed an interest in having the extra team.


Australia appear to be in the driving seat for the 15th team though as they only have four teams while their partners have five each. A South African or New Zealand team playing in the Australian Geographical conference would not be logical.


“We can’t get this wrong really because it’s a pretty important time for rugby worldwide,” McCaw said on the revamp.


Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder gave the nod to Sanzar’s plans and said Super rugby could be played during the Tri-Nations, rather than taking a break during the test schedule.


“We have got large squads and we should still play during that.”

 

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