Super 14 Rugby

Super 14 expansion on hold for now


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The proposed expansion of the Super 14 to a 26-week tournament will be delayed until at least 2010, but the first step – a six-team finals series – could go ahead as early as next year.

Australian Rugby Union chief executive and SANZAR board member John O’Neill said on Wednesday that there was probably too little time for a revamped Super 14 including extra rounds, more local derbies and new teams to be put in place by next year.

Finding and setting up the new teams will take time and they in turn will need to put infrastructure in place for the expanded tournament.

The Force for example were a completely new team and were told on the 10th of December 2004 that they would play in the 2006 season of the Super 14.

That gave them just over one year to set up their entire infrastructure and recruit players and coaches as the first match of the Super 14 kicked off on the 10 of February 2006.

O’Neill said that SANZAR have taken notice of the groundswell of support from coaches that the finals series should be expanded from four teams as of 2009.

“There may be an opportunity to expand the finals series next year,” O’Neill told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“That hasn’t been ruled out, and it’s still a possibility. But the major structural change [to the Super 14] will occur in 2010 and beyond.”

Most of the coaches who were involved this year voiced their support for an expanded Super 14 finals phase that would see six (or eight) teams qualify for the play offs.

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