Super 14 Rugby

Super 14 play off could expand to Six Teams



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Rugby’s Super 14 tournament could expand to a six-team playoff series next year from the current four-team semifinals setup.

ACT Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan said on Monday the Australian Rugby Union was supportive of their proposal for two more teams being rewarded with playoff places.

The Super 14’s top-four finals system makes it among professional sport’s most cutthroat tournament. In Australia, the Australian Football League and National Rugby League both offer playoff places to eight of their 16 teams.

Fagan said he would prefer to see all six teams play off on the first week of finals. That would see the two lowest-ranked losers knocked out and the rest seeded as per the current system – 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3.

“I know that John O’Neill from the ARU perspective is talking to SANZAR about all those possibilities at the moment with a particular push of expanding the Super 14 competition overall,” Fagan said.

“But if that’s going to become a 2010 or 2011 potential start point I think there’s some things we should do in the mean time to freshen up the competition and ensure we can maintain some interest.”

“And in the event that’s not on the cards, a middle-ground of expanding (for 2009) is a six-team finals series.”

The Brumbies have a special reason for wanting a six-team playoff setup -over the past two seasons, they have finished fifth and sixth.

Both times, they have won more matches than some teams in the top four, but didn’t pick up as many bonus points or have a better points differential.

“I think a top six in a 14-team competition is appropriate,” Fagan said.

“It would allow an evening out of some factors that can influence such a short competition.”

Sapa-AP –   

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