Super Rugby to be cut to 16 teams

  • Super Rugby to be cut to 16 teams

Super Rugby to be cut to 16 teams

A source out of South Africa today told 1 NEWS that two teams from the republic, including the Port Elizabeth-based Kings, and one from Australia will be axed.

"All I can say is that we are safe", chief executive Verster reportedly said.

Sanzaar said an announcement would be made in a couple of days, but Verster has jumped the gun by saying Super Rugby will be cut from 18 teams to 16 next year. "I keep my ear to the ground", he said.

14 August 2004, Andrew Mehrtens during the Tri-Nations Rugby match between South Africa and New Zealand at Ellispark in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The majority of South African and Australian sides have struggled financially and underperformed on the pitch, while the current conference system was confusing for fans.

That leaves the Melbourne Rebels, Perth-based Western Force and Canberra's ACT Brumbies competing in administrative purgatory while the backroom bargaining plays out.

The struggling Western Force have been under the ARU's management since falling into financial strife past year.

The Force have never made the playoffs but are showing some signs of life this season under bright new coach Dave Wessels.

The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) held a conference call with the CEO's of the five Australian teams on the same day but no news emerged.

Former Wallaby Glen Ella, meanwhile, has argued in favour of a reduction to four Australian teams, with the Brumbies and Rebels then merging.

Either a 15-team model or a 18-team model was seen as the two most workable solutions but if these reports are true that a 16-team proposal will get the green light, the make-up of the competition could be equally as confusing.

"SANZAAR will make a formal statement on the future of the organisation, Super Rugby and the tournament format in the coming days once these further meetings have been concluded".

According to the report, the Australian and South African rugby unions are deliberating about which teams to drop, taking into consideration possible mergers.

The Kings finished only above the Sunwolves in the competition last season and had to be bailed out by South Africa Rugby after a financial crisis.