Two teams from South Africa and one from Australia will be dropped in SANZAAR’s new structure of Super Rugby announced on Sunday.
SANZAAR has announced that the Super Rugby tournament has been restructured and will kick-off in 2018 with a three conference, 15-team format: five teams from New Zealand, four from Australia, four from South Africa, one from Japan and one from Argentina.
This restructuring by SANZAAR represents a crucial step in its strategic planning process that has included a comprehensive assessment of the economic and sporting environment under which its tournaments (Super Rugby and The Rugby Championship) are currently operating.
This assessment highlighted a need to adjust and strengthen Super Rugby in the short-term to ensure a robust and sustainable tournament meets the requirements of all stakeholders in terms of high performance pathways, game development, commercial revenue and fan engagement.
The change sees an overall reduction of three teams from the current 18-team format, two from South Africa and one from Australia. The Sunwolves will move into the Australian Conference. The teams from Australia and South Africa that will compete in Super Rugby will be confirmed in due course by the respective National Unions.
The Conferences will be :
New Zealand Conference:
Blues, Chiefs, Crusaders, Highlanders, Hurricanes
Four Australian teams (TBC), Sunwolves
South Africa Conference:
Four South Africa teams (TBC), Jaguares
SANZAAR Chairman, Brent Impey stated: “The decision to revert to a 15-team format reflects a consensus view of the mandated SANZAAR Executive Committee that met in London recently. It was not the determination of any one Union or stakeholder and follows a thorough assessment and review of the tournament over the last nine months.”
“SANZAAR is delighted that its major broadcast partners have after due consideration agreed to the restructured format within the existing broadcast agreements. Our broadcast partners are an important stakeholder and their vision for Super Rugby moving forward is the same as ours.”