Super 14 Rugby

SA progressing with Super 14

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Sarfu president Brian van Rooyen says that huge strides have been made by Sarfu to form the fifth South African franchise in what will become the Super 14 in 2006, and that the decision on the new union could be made as early as the end of next month.

This extra franchise is in line with the Sanzar agreement (between SA, New Zealand and Australia) made earlier this month to expand the Super 12 tournament to a Super 14 and to revise the trinations to include a third round of matches in 2006 .

Van Rooyen said yesterday two regions had shown interest in becoming the fifth franchise, namely the central region consisting of the Griqualand West and Free State rugby unions, and the Eastern Cape region consisting of the Border, South Western Districts and Eastern Province unions.

“The Cheetahs submitted a proposal for the fifth franchise on Monday, and we are now waiting for a proposal from the Eastern Cape region,” Van Rooyen said.

“These regions will then have to make presentations to Sarfu on why they deserve the franchise.”

He said Sarfu would like to be in a position to decide on the fifth franchise by the end of next month, and that external evaluators would be brought in to ensure that the decision was fair.

This would give the new franchise enough time to do all the necessary planning, find sponsors and form a team before 2006.

Van Rooyen also said that in future the major cities within their rugby unions might have to bid to host incoming internationals.

“It is important for us (Sarfu) to assist our metropolitan unions” (the larger unions that have been hosting tests until now), he said. “But in order to bring rugby back to the communities, we will in future consider the cities’ involvement in hosting tests. The result could be that they would have to bid for them.”

Van Rooyen said taking tests to other cities would help “grow” the rugby-playing public and that it would serve as a way to take rugby into black communities and areas where the sport had been less favoured in the past.

“The Rustenburg municipality, together with the Leopards and sponsors Impala Platinum, could well stage a test at the International Rugby Board -accredited Royal Bafokeng stadium,” said Van Rooyen.

“Likewise, the East London or Buffalo City municipality together with Border, as well as the Nelson Mandela Metro and Eastern Province could also host an international,” he said.

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