It looks like SA will get 6 Super 15 franchises
January 18, 2013, 09:27:13
SANZAR CEO Greg Peters on Thursday expressed confidence that the Super Rugby series would continue to serve as a stronghold in the southern hemisphere post-2015 despite suggestions in certain quarters in South Africa that a new competition might spark more interest once the existing Super Rugby broadcast deal expires.
Sanzar is the governing body of Super Rugby and the Rugby Championship. Such was Peters’s confidence in the future of the tournament, he said they hoped to agree on the series format from 2016 with the South African, New Zealand and Australian rugby unions by the end of the year.
With the Lions being dropped from Super Rugby to accommodate the Southern Kings this year, the Johannesburg-based union formed its own breakaway series of matches as a substitute for Super Rugby.
This features games against a few international teams, including Samoa and Namibia, as well as clashes against French and American clubs — a concept Golden Lions Rugby Union president Kevin de Klerk and many fans believe could offer a fresh alternative in future to the established southern hemisphere series.
Peters, however, was confident that this would have no influence on the future of Super Rugby and said: "We don’t see the Lions’ matches as being a threat. Obviously the union did well to arrange a series of fixtures for the next few months, but I am sure that was with the view to getting back into Super Rugby.
"They play two promotion-relegation fixtures later this year against the last-placed South African franchise and if they come out on top after those matches, they will be back in Super Rugby next season."
Asked when Sanzar planned to discuss any possible changes to the competition and the new broadcast deal with its member unions, Peters said it had already started the process.
"We have been and will continue to work closely with our members to determine what the future (series) will look like," said Peters. "I have already stated that we will consider including new territories such as the Americas, Asia and Argentina, but hopefully we can agree later in the year on the format of the series, after which we have to sell the concept (to the broadcasters). "
In line with this, Peters was aware South Africa would require six franchises in future to alleviate the problem of trying to squeeze six teams into five spots and to ensure Sanzar’s transformation objectives were met by accommodating the Southern and Eastern Cape franchise on a long-term basis.
"We don’t have a closed mind to another South African franchise," he said.
"We know that it is imperative to South Africa to have six teams and we are giving that consideration."
Do we have the depth to have 6 teams given the exodus of players to the NH? Also how manysides will there eventually be in the Super Comp?