Reports dismissed as mere speculation

Andy Marinos
Andy Marinos
Sanzaar has played a straight bat as to how Super Rugby is going to look under the next broadcasting deal.

Speculation has been swirling about what form of competition will come about when the new broadcasting draw comes into existence in 2021.

The latest to emerge was a report from Australia that there is a proposal circulating that would lead to the Sunwolves being axed and the competition dropping to 14 teams.

That would allow a full round robin, like the old Super 14 which was played from 2006-11.

One of the complaints about the current state of competition is that not every team plays every other team in the season which leads to mismatches and uneven playing fixtures.

But Sanzaar came out yesterday and said nothing had been decided and any speculation was exactly that.

Sanzaar chief executive Andy Marinos was dismissive of the recent suggestions.

''The recent reports in the media around the next iteration of the Super Rugby tournament are nothing more than speculative. 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,'' he said.

''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.''

The 18-team format, which included an expansion into Argentina and Japan, was dumped after the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Australia's Western Force as well as South Africa's Cheetahs and Kings lost their spots.

While Argentina's Jaguares have thrived in their three seasons in Super Rugby and qualified for the playoffs this year, the Sunwolves have finished bottom, second-bottom and bottom in their three campaigns to date.

The Sunwolves will be coached next season by Tony Brown, assisted by his brother, Cory Brown.

Meanwhile, the Crusaders will be looking for a new assistant coach with Brad Mooar taking over as head coach of the Llanelli Scarlets.

Mooar will move to the Scarlets club after the next Super Rugby season.

He replaces Wayne Pivac, who is taking over from Warren Gatland as coach of the Welsh national side.


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