SANZAAR boss hits back at revamp rumours
REACTION: SANZAAR Chief Executive Andy Marinos has hit back at the latest rumours surrounding a Super Rugby revamp.
Marinos, reacting to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald – which suggested the competition will cull more teams – said the dismissed the newspaper article as “speculation”.
“The recent reports in the media around the next iteration of the Super Rugby tournament are nothing more than speculative,” Marinos said in a formal statement.
“As a business, we are presently looking at our future competition structures from 2021 onwards, a matter that has been widely reported in the media.
“We have not reached any definitive decisions around our future competition including the number of teams that will participate in the future structure.
“We will continue to engage with our stakeholders specifically the national unions [Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa] and our broadcasters, as we plan ahead for the future and the next broadcast cycle that commences in 2021.
“If there are any changes to our structure we will communicate this at the appropriate time.”
Just last month Marinos stressed in an interview with Fairfax the need to ‘get the right mix’ to drive the competition forward.
“What we’ve got to realise is that Super Rugby was established originally in order to slip that one level below test matches and the yield that it’s given is being able to deliver three and now four countries that are seriously competitive on the international stage and have dominated the World Cup since its formation,” Marinos said.
“That value can’t be underestimated as a breeding ground for international rugby, which does drive a fair portion of revenue in the game.
“The essence of the product is very strong and we still get the best players in the world playing in that comp. Our big challenge is to get the right mix together to use it as a platform to drive forward.”
The Sydney Morning Herald report proposed a 14-team revamp is one of several models discussed by the SANZAAR unions following recent World Rugby meetings in Dublin last month.
The Japan-based Sunwolves – who have won just five matches across their first three seasons – are believed to be at risk should the competition return to 14 teams. SANZAAR’s international competition – The Rugby Championship – includes Argentina which suggests it would be foolish to take away their Super Rugby team, the Jaguares.
The Sunwolves could be saved should another South African side follow in the footsteps of the Cheetahs and Southern Kings in joining the northern hemisphere’s Pro14 competition.