New Zealand dump South Africa from Super show
BREAKING NEWS: New Zealand Rugby revealed plans to drop South African and Argentinean teams from Super Rugby next year.
It heralds a major shake-up for the struggling competition.
The Kiwis’ decision to move forward with the much-publicised Trans-Tasman-Pacific tournament also means SA teams will almost certainly join up with the European-based competition next year – most likely an expanded version of the Pro14.
There has been much talk of a Pro16 or Pro18 competition involving teams from SA, Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Italy.
NZ Rugby said the planned revamp of the flagship Southern Hemisphere tournament would contain New Zealand’s five existing teams, one from the Pacific and two to four from Australia.
“We want teams that are competitive and that fans will want to watch go head-to-head, week-in, week-out,” Chief Executive Mark Robinson said.
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Robinson blamed the COVID-19 pandemic for the decision to axe South Africa and Argentina from its plans, saying the virus meant long-distance travel was impossible.
He said decisions made around the new competition were “extremely tough”.
“We have a huge amount of sympathy for what’s happening to rugby in Argentina and South Africa and their inability to play at the moment and the uncertainty that’s creating,” he said.
Robinson was unable to provide details of whether governing body SANZAAR would oversee the new competition, the ownership structure for clubs or even whether it would be called Super Rugby.
The pandemic halted this year’s Super Rugby season in March, forcing New Zealand and Australia to set up domestic versions of the competition.