Super 14 Rugby

ARU looking at Super 16




A Super 14 expansion side of Australians, Argentinians and Pacific Islanders playing out of Melbourne could be the key to getting the Pumas into the southern hemisphere’s elite competitions, the Australian Rugby Union said Friday.


ARU deputy chief executive Matt Carroll said SANZAR partners Australia, New Zealand and South Africa were looking at ways of “refreshing” the Super 14 and Tri Nations competitions ahead of a new SANZAR broadcast deal in 2010.

Carroll said he met officials from World Cup semi-finalists Argentina, who sit on the sidelines of both the Six Nations and Tri Nations, at the IRB conference in England earlier this month.

“Their initial solution was to play in Europe but they’ve been rebuffed,” he told reporters.

“Does the Tri Nations need freshening up? Yes it does. Could Argentina provide that freshness? Quite possibly yes. What have we got to do? Make sure that the Argentineans have their best players so we’ve got to find a solution for that.

“You want Argentina to come into the Tri Nations, you’ve got to get Argentinean players somehow, whether it’s with additional teams which could be the key, into the Super 14,” Carroll said.

“Then they’re playing at the same time as us and their players can be released to play for Argentina when we’re playing the Tri Nations.

“I don’t think Australian rugby at the moment could tolerate an extra (Super 14) team out of our resources. Four teams seems to be where we’re at at the moment.

“But that doesn’t mean we can’t have other teams come into the competition.” Carroll said that could mean some Australians, Argentineans and Pacific Islanders representing a new Melbourne franchise.

“There’s all sorts of opportunities there so that’s where we’ve really got to start to open our minds to a few possibilities,” he said.

“Australians could be marquee players in other Super 14 teams so you start to look at it competition wide as distinct from narrowly in your own backyard.” A move to 16 teams, pool matches to reduce travel and a top five or six finals system would also be considered, Carroll said.


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