JOHANNESBURG: The South African Rugby Union and its Super Rugby teams have agreed on "a number of options" to solve the dilemma of having six sides fighting for five places in next year's competition.
SARU says that after a "positive meeting" on Monday, the possible solutions will be considered by its executive committee before a decision by its general council in July. SARU didn't say what the options were.
SARU is scrambling to avoid having to sacrifice one of its current outfits after it promised the new Southern Kings a place in 2013, only for organiser SANZAR to refuse to expand the tournament from the current 15 teams split between South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.
Options are to relegate their lowest-placed team, currently the Johannesburg-based Lions, or get two teams to merge, with the Kings guaranteed their place next year.
The Lions and the Cheetahs, from the central city of Bloemfontein, are the likeliest candidates, having previously competed together as the Cats between 1998 and 2006.
Last week SARU chief exectuvie Jourie Roux meet with the fivefranchises.
"Everyone was agreed that we must secure a solution that does not damage any of the existing franchises," Roux said after the meeting.
"It is a complex issue with no easy answers and we are determined to leave no stone unturned in finding that answer."
SARU's general council comprises two representatives from each of South Africa's 14 rugby provinces - each with one vote.
The meeting chairman, SARU's president or deputy president, also has a vote and a majority is required to make change.