Super 14 Rugby

Monday night games tipped for Super 14



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Monday night rugby is on the cards for the sport in the southern hemisphere when the Super 12 competition is expanded to Super 14 next year, if a leaked draw circulating in New Zealand is to be believed.

The draw shows the Otago Highlanders playing two Monday night games — against the ACT Brumbies on April 3 in Canberra and the Queensland Reds on April 10 in Dunedin.

New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew denied a genuine draft draw existed, but he confirmed to the Sunday Star-Times that Monday matches were an option to be considered.

“Clearly it’s a very popular part of the mix in other sports around the world and it may one day fit into ours and we haven’t dismissed it for 2006 and beyond,” he said.

Monday night football has been exceptionally popular in the United States, attracting huge crowds and television audiences, and has been experimented with by rugby union’s rival code rugby league.

The main logistical problem for Monday matches in a competition involving teams from South Africa, New Zealand and Australia (Sanzar) is how it would affect the following weekend’s draw as team’s playing on a Monday would not want to be playing again the following Friday.

Tew said the system could work if the Monday teams had a bye in the next round.

While he denied the authenticity of the draft draw he expected a flurry of leaked programmes over the next few weeks as Sanzar officials worked on their new five-year plan.

“The aim is to publish the whole five years in one hit, but once that work gets under way there will be a multitude of draws in circulation,” he said.

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