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New Super Rugby draw will be critical

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Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson says that the Super Rugby draw under the new format will play a bigger role than ever before.

Super Rugby expands by three teams to 18 teams in 2016 with the inclusion of a team from Japan, Argentina while South Africa get a sixth team.

Super Rugby will also have matches being played in new territories such as Tokyo, Fiji and Singapore. In all Super Rugby will be played in seven countries in 2016.

Under the new format Australian teams will play two less derbies but they will get to play all five of the New Zealand teams.

“I think the draw probably more so than ever is going to have a bigger factor on who qualifies,” said Gibson.

“Everyone will say `you’ve got to win each game’ and you do.

“But I’m sure there are some teams looking around scratching their head going around (saying) `man we’ve got a tough schedule.”

Reds coach Richard Graham feels that the expansion is a good concept but he is reserving his full judgement until the end of the Super Rugby season.

“Probably the only thing that’s disappointing for us as a franchise is we’re not playing every Australian side twice,” Graham told AAP.

“That’s now become a traditional and important part of our rugby calendar and that’s probably the one thing I think we’ll miss.”

Western Force coach Michael Foley says he is excited about the draw for the first time in several years due to the increase of matches against New Zealand sides.

“The area of the competition we’re in, against the Australian-New Zealand teams is a very exciting one; very challenging,” Foley said.

Reds prop and team captain James Slipper doubts that the new format will create too many problems.

“It doesn’t bother me, you turn up to play each weekend, and if that means you travel halfway across the world then you do it,” Slipper said.

“I don’t think it will have much of an affect on the Australian teams.”

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