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South Africa given a sixth Super Rugby team

South African Rugby Union Chief Executive Officer Jurie Roux

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Article Published: Tuesday 3 September 2013|

South Africa have been guaranteed a sixth Super Rugby team when the new broadcast deal comes into force from 2016.

SANZAR are meeting in Sydney this week to discuss the next format for Super Rugby after the current broadcast deal expires.

South Africa have insisted that they be allowed to play six Super Rugby teams as they want to include the Southern Kings on a permanent basis.

The Kings played in the 2013 Super Rugby tournament but that was at the expense of the Lions who have since regained their place in Super Rugby for 2014 through a series of promotion relegation matches.

South African Rugby Boss Jurie Roux and Sanzar chief executive Greg Peters have confirmed that they have reached an agreement that a sixth team from South Africa will play in Super Rugby from 2016.

"We want to retain Super Rugby as the pre-eminent regional tournament in the southern hemisphere, and we want to keep it as one competition, and there are various options we are looking at to ensure that, but I can confirm that a sixth team from South Africa has been accepted," said Peters SuperSport Blitz.

Peters and Roux did not say whether the sixth South African team would come at the expense of one of the New Zealand or Australian teams and neither did they say whether the tournament would be expanded to 18 teams so that the three current geographic conferences could be retained but increased to six teams each instead of the current five.

Roux accepted that the adding a sixth team would present logistical problems but he was relieved that the battle to have the Southern Kings in Super Rugby was finally over.

"We have a sixth team in the competition, and that is a given," said Roux.

"All the models that are being discussed work around a sixth team from South Africa being included."

"Obviously there are things that need to be sorted out and of course we want all our partners to be happy with the product, but at least the sixth team is guaranteed," said Roux.

Peters said that the inclusion of a Super Rugby team from Argentina "is logical, and if it is possible we would like to accommodate them".

Argentina have joined the Rugby Championship (formerly the TriNations) but SANZAR are not obliged to include them in Super Rugby.

Peters said that there was interest from within New Zealand for a sixth Super Rugby team and there is interest in including an Asian team but the new format needs to be agreed upon first.

Eastern Province rugby CEO, Charl Crous said that the gaurantee of his region being included in Super Rugby from 2016 makes the Southern Kings franchise a lot more viable.

"The inclusion of a sixth team from South Africa into the Super Rugby tournament from 2016 has always been on the cards, and is not something new, but it great to hear that these issues are already being discussed at top level," Crous told Sport24.

"We have always maintained that there is a hunger for top flight rugby in the region and through our inclusion in Super Rugby this year, we have been able to show the world that this is the case."

"We will continue to work on strengthening our internal structures, focus on talent identification and development, and build on the foundations which were put in place in order to take part in Super Rugby this year," he said.

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