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South Africa want 16 teams in Super Rugby

Date

Duncan Johnstone

Six into five does not go. South Africa wants to expand Super Rugby.

Six into five does not go. South Africa wants to expand Super Rugby. Photo: Getty Images

South Africa wants Super Rugby expanded to 16 teams and will lobby SANZAR partners New Zealand and Australia to make the change.

While they believe the expansion would benefit everyone, it is clearly designed to alleviate political considerations in their own back yard.

South Africa want a sixth team. Currently, all three countries have five teams playing in the conference-style championship.

But South Africa yesterday confirmed that the Southern Kings, a Port Elizabeth-based franchise built from the hotbed of coloured rugby, would come into the championship next year.

At the moment that means one of the Bulls, Sharks, Stormers, Lions or Cheetahs will have to make way for the Kings.

Who that might be could be known after the South African national body's annual meeting in March.

There is plenty at stake and it promises to be a fiery meeting.

But SA Rugby deputy president Mark Alexander suggested the best way out of the complex problem would be to lobby for a sixth side to be included in a new 16-team competition.

"We've got the five franchises looking at the model, but first prize, we are still lobbying our partners, we want to get a sixth franchise in. We believe it will be good for rugby and we don't want to see anybody go down," Alexander said yesterday.

"The last thing we want to do is to make a choice to push one of the franchises out.

"We understand if one drops out it is very difficult to come back and compete again the following year, it makes it almost impossible."

Timing will be an issue though with the Super Rugby broadcasting deal which covers the 15 teams set to be renegotiated in 2016.

"There is a window of opportunity with our partners, we are currently preparing a 16-team schedule so that we can go and debate with them," he said.

"I think our relationship with SANZAR has improved tremendously, we are very close to our partners in Australia and we work very closely with New Zealand and our relationship has changed.

"I think there is a window of opportunity provided we sell a workable solution about 16 franchises playing in the competition."

It seems the South African proposal is based around a simple round-robin format where all teams play each other, meaning 15 games for each side.

They are also suggesting a return to a four-team finals series to reduce the need to expand the length of the season.

But that is unlikely to meet with much support from their Australasian partners after the current move to six teams finals to keep more teams involved at the business end.

Fairfax NZ News

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
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Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
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Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
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Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
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Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
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Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
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Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
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Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
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Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG vs AUS 01:30Twic
WAL vs RSA 01:30MilS
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