SANZAR CEO Greg Peters has again ruled out the possibility of South Africa having their wish to field six Super Rugby teams in the near future.
The South African Rugby Union have promised the Southern Kings that they will be included in Super Rugby from next season but one of the existing South African teams will have to drop out to make space for them.
SARU has been lobbying SANZAR to increase the number of teams in Super Rugby from 15 to 16 but this can’t be done as the broadcast right have been pre-sold.
Expanding the teams from 15 to 16 would force organisers to change the format and it would create an imbalance in the geographic conferences.
A South African delegation was expected to travel to Sydney to discuss the expansion but they had to postpone the meeting and Peters has told Die Burger that SARU is yet to approach them.
“South Africa asked for a postponement (of the meeting with its SANZAR partners) so that they could look at possible alternatives for the structure. That’s the last we’ve heard from them.
“We were informed that the Kings will play in the tournament next year. But a structural change is highly unlikely,” said Peters.
SANZAR developed the current format during the five year run of the Super 14 format and they see the current format as a successful one and it must stay as it is until 31 December 2011 at least.
“It’s too early to consider a change to a format that’s currently successful,” said Peters.
“There’s also not enough time to consider a change in the format for next year. ”
“It’s a big discussion to have when the new structure is only 18 months old. ”
“We did, however, say that we’ll be prepared to listen to any realistic and constructive plans that South Africa has,” said Peters.
Peters also said SANZAR are eager for the issue with SARU and the Southern Kings to be resolved.
“It will take big planning even to include the Kings. ”
“It is fine for one team to replace another and that’s what we expect will happen because only five South African teams can play,” said Peters.