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O’Neill pushes Super 15 from 2010

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Australian Rugby boss John O’Neill has talked up the possibility of the Super 14 being expanded from the Super 14 to becoming a Super 15 by 2010.


Sanzar chiefs are debating the merits of widespread reform for the 2011 season, including the introduction of teams from the Pacific, Asia, North America and Argentina.

Sanzar’s current broadcasting deal is in effect until 2010 and includes the Tri Nations and the Super 14.


Samoa’s recent collapse against the All Blacks however shows that the standard of Island rugby is a way off that of the current Tri Nations and Super 14 standard.


O’Neill, speaking at a luncheon in Sydney, said that considerable change was expected as early as 2010, with the probability of the introduction of a fifth Australian-based team.


Possible locations in Australia are thought to be Melbourne and the Gold Coast who have both expressed an interest in joining an expanded tournament.


“I think in 2010 we’ll have Super 15 and with an extra team in Australia. I don’t know where yet,” O’Neill told Yahoo!Xtra Sport.


O’Neill then went further and said that the competition could be increased from its present 15-week duration to up to 26 weeks.


“You will see everyone play each other once, and then the South African conference, the Australian conference, the New Zealand conference will all play each other.”


The new format could include a six-week finals series.


The move would however force Northern Hemisphere teams to tour in August bringing their season a month forward something they will not take kindly to at all.


Northern Hemisphere bosses and the IRB recently voted against change to the rugby season and it is unlikely that the Six Nations teams would be prepared to start their season a month early so that Australia could have a fifth ‘Super 14’ team.

 

Melbourne did have a rugby team last year when Australia had the Australian Rugby Challenge but O’Neill cancelled the tournament when he returned to rugby from soccer.

 

If however O’Neill did get his way and the Northern Hemisphere teams did tour in August it would mean that the Tri Nations would be played through September and October.


“That is not a bad season,” O’Neill said about what would be a new calendar for Australian Rugby.


“It means for the Tahs, the Brumbies, the Reds, the Force and wherever the fifth team goes, they will all have a home-and-away against each other so they can become more viable financially.”

 

Super14.com

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