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Super Rugby home & away derbies could be cut

The Chiefs and Crusaders could be playing fewer matches in 2016

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Article Published: Monday 11 November 2013|

The home and away Super Rugby derby matches could be dropped in favour of playing every team when the tournament format is restructured in 2016.

The current Super Rugby format has split teams into three conference of five teams each and the teams in the conferences play opposition teams on a home and away basis.

However due to the home and away domestic format the teams cannot play all of the other teams in the other conferences and they play four out of the five teams from the other conferences.

SANZAR who manage the Super Rugby tournament have signed a broadcast agreement for the current format which runs through to the end of the 2015 season and changes are expected in 2016.

New Zealand Rugby Players association boss Rob Nichol has revealed that players would prefer to drop the home and away local derbies and rather play all of the other teams once.

"If you just look at the home-and-away local derbies in one year within New Zealand, it might be coming from the spectators' point of view at the moment," Nichol told NewstalkZB.

"We talk about serving up dessert twice and people losing potentially focus on the main meal."

Nichol says that while the home derby matches are still popular with fans the integrity of playing every other team in the tournament once is important.

"The message from the players at the moment is we'd take the travel to South Africa if the reward was a competition of integrity, where everyone plays everyone and perhaps a round robin.

"So it becomes a series of trade-offs."

Nichol said that the players want to play every other team in the Super Rugby tournament.

"The message we're getting from the players and the feedback that we've given the NZRU and the administration is that they would take a full round robin and the opportunity to play everyone, and manage the travel, and take the extra travel with that.

"It's something that players have given us a really strong message around."

South Africa have demanded a sixth Super Rugby team which would mean that if the conferences were to be kept and balanced another two teams would have to be added making the tournament an 18 team one.

There has been much speculation over who the other teams could be but Nichol said that the time is not right to include Argentine and Japanese teams in the next tournament expansion.

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