Aus and NZ waiting to hear from SA on Super15 expansion plans




Australia and New Zealand are said to be waiting for a response from South Africa on a proposal to expand the Super 14 which could be prevented by the Currie Cup.

The Currie Cup is the world’s oldest running rugby tournament and expanding or extending the Super14 could present a problem as the Currie Cup would have move or fall away.

According to the Australian the three SANZAR nations have agreed in principle to expand the Super Rugby series from a 14 week to a a 24-week competition.

The preferred kick off date for the tournament is in March which means that an expanded Super Rugby competition would push the Tri-Nations tournament into August/September/October.

This conflicts with the Air New Zealand Cup and Currie Cup provincial competitions that generally run after the Tri Nations.

In New Zealand the Air New Zealand Cup is run by the the NZRU but in SA the Currie Cup clubs are privately owned.

It is understood by the Australian that the club owners are unhappy about the prospect of Springbok players being unavailable for the Currie Cup.

A compromise solution would be to start the expanded Super Rugby series at the beginning of February but this is not favoured by Australia and New Zealand as crowds do not support rugby in summer.

Crowds in New Zealand for the opening round of the Super14 last weekend were disappointing, especially in Dunedin where only 4000 turned up to watch the Brumbies beat the Highlanders.

SANZAR is looking to increase the number of games from the current 94 to 140 by playing 1 1/2 rounds which they hope will generate extra income and create a more valuable broadcast product.

How the broadcaster views the SANZAR expansion proposal will determine whether another team is added to make Super Rugby a 15-team competition and therefore the Super15.

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