New Super 14 expansion plans revealed

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :In the news, Super 14 on 29 Sep 2008 at 09:08
Tagged with :

The promise of the Super 14′s expansion is thought to be behind the New Zealand Rugby Union’s announcement to keep the Air New Zealand Cup at 14 teams but a new development in the works could make the Super 14 more competitive than it has ever been.

ARU Boss John O’Neill has spoken many times about increasing the tournament to a Super 15 in 2010 and then a Super 18 three years later in 2013, according to

Adding teams that are not up to the playing standard of the current teams in the Super 14 will only harm the tournament as the overall standard of rugby will be reduced until the new teams are up to the same level. That could take years with four new teams.

While nothing to do with the expansion of the Super 14 has been finalised, we can reveal that a proposal for a new “feeder” tournament along with a promotion/relegation system has been put forward by SARugby to their broadcaster  and has received crucial backing from the broadcaster.

The new plan keeps the Super 14 at 14 teams but includes teams from seven nations by creating a promotion and relegation system.

The new plan will continue with the existing SANZAR countries (South Africa, New Zealand and Australia) but will also help develop players and teams from Argentina, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa making it a true Southern Hemisphere tournament as it includes Seven countries.

All the major Southern Hemisphere rugby playing nations will be included, much to the IRB’s delight and as teams will be rewarded for playing well and demoted for sub-standard play, the tournament will become more competitive increasing the general standard of play AND as a bonus, the tournament will be refreshed every year with a new set of teams.

Each country will need greater depth, the product will be more exciting and the flow of Southern Hemisphere players to the Northern Hemisphere will be slowed.

Sources in South Africa have told us that the president of SA Rugby, Oregan Hoskins has already made contact with their SANZAR partners outlining the tournament plan and that he is set to table the initiative at the next Sanzar meeting to be held in Sydney on the 15th October.

The new format has been designed to make Southern Hemisphere and Super Rugby an attractive rugby spectacle by introducing a coherent rugby inventory that compliments the existing domestic and international tournaments and makes the Super 14 stronger.

Here is how it works.

SA Rugby (Hoskins) will propose to Sanzar that the way forward to expand rugby in the southern hemisphere will be that each of the Sanzar countries have an extra Super Rugby franchise based around the Super 14, still with 14 teams and will be as follows:

1. South Africa to have six (five plus one) franchises with the fifth-placed South African franchise in the Super 14 to play the sixth franchise in a relegation and promotion Tri-Game Series (Home, Away & Neutral territory). This is played in the last month of the Super 14 each year when the Super 14 semis and finals are played, as the last placed side is well known. This becomes the South African Domestic Tri-Game Series of relegation and promotion.

South Africa then will have the following teams – Bulls, Cheetahs, Lions, Sharks, Stormers and an Eastern Cape franchise.

2. New Zealand to have six (five plus one) franchises with the fifth- or last-placed New Zealand franchise in the Super 14 to play the sixth franchise in a relegation and promotion Tri-Game Series (Home, Away & Neutral territory). This is played in the last month of the Super 14 each year when the Super 14 semis and finals are played, as the last-placed side is well known. This becomes the New Zealand Domestic Tri-Game Series of relegation and promotion.

New Zealand will then have the following teams – Blues, Chiefs, Crusaders, Highlanders, Hurricanes and a Northland/Tasman or even second Blues team.

3. Australia to have five (four plus one) franchises with the fourth- or last-placed Australian franchise in the Super 14 to play the fifth franchise in a relegation and promotion Tri-Game Series (Home, Away & Neutral Territory). This is played in the last month of the Super 14 each year when the Super 14 semis and finals are played, as the last-placed side is well known. This becomes the Australian Domestic Tri-Game Series of relegation and promotion.

Australia then will have the following teams – Brumbies, Force, Lions, Reds, Waratahs and a team from Melbourne.

4. Argentina to have two (Buenos Aires and Montevideo) franchises to play each other in a relegation and promotion Tri-Game Series (Home, Away & Neutral Territory). This is played in the year before the southern hemisphere Super Rugby tournament is played, and the winner participates in the new Super 14 tournament.

Argentina then would have a team from Buenos Aires and a Montevideo team.

5. The three Sanzar franchises that drop out from the Super 14 and therefore will not be competing in the Super 14 from February to May each year, will play a round-robin southern hemisphere Super Rugby tournament (a “B” series) against an Argentine franchise (Buenos Aires or Montevideo) and a composite Pacific Islands (Tonga, Fiji & Samoa) side.

This component expands rugby in the Southern Hemisphere and includes the tier 2 & 3 nations and establishes a tournament for the franchises not making the Super 14 cut, plus benefits each country’s players, broadcasters and sponsors with an additional rugby inventory.

This has the net effect of immediately slowing the migration of Southern Hemisphere players to Europe by retaining each country’s player asset base, and introducing a premium television product by linking 7 iconic Southern Hemisphere rugby playing nations in a Super Rugby tournament.
The current format in the Super 14 does not punish teams for sub-standard play and towards the end of the tournament teams have little to play for once they have failed to qualify for the play offs.

The plan to include six teams for the play offs looks set to go ahead from next year which will provide excitement for those top six teams.

In the above format, the remaining eight teams would still have something to play for – their places in the next tournament.

Sanzar will meet on the 15th October in Sydney to decide on the proposal.


  • thanx to rayn at KEO:
    Posted in Currie Cup by Ryan

    Just who is going to stop the rampant Sharks from breaking their 12-year Absa Currie Cup drought?

    The Durban side swept to comprehensive 34-20 win over the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday to set up a home semi-final.

    With the Griquas at Kings Park in their final match of the league phase, they’ll surely finish top of the pile, paving the way for a home final. It would take a brave man to bet against them winning there – or anywhere for that matter.

    They have a formidable record at the ground (they’ve lost just twice in 14 Currie Cup matches and went unbeaten in the 2008 Super 14), but this is certainly not the sole reason turning over John Plumtree’s charges looks a near impossible task at present.

    Under Plumtree they’ve evolved their approach – which with former head coach Dick Muir at the helm used to rely too heavily on instinctive; unstructured play – to a style which emphasises directness but does not compromise the talented players in their back division. This has given them an unpredictable edge which opposition teams have simply had no answer to.

    Notably they also have immense depth, which allows them to sustain their charge with high quality players throughout the 80 minutes. No union boasts the calibre of players they are able to introduce off the wood. On Saturday their bench featured the Springbok captain John Smit as well as Waylon Murray, Brad Barritt, Rory Kockott, Deon Carstens, Keegan Daniel and Steven Sykes, who cheered on a run-on side that featured 15 Springboks.

    When you are able to replace Bismarck du Plessis with Smit or Frans Steyn with Barritt, for example, you can be pretty confident you’ve built an impressive squad.

    The balance of this squad is also as close as you’ll get to perfect. Old hands stand side-by-side with the young bucks, which is crucial for the development and success of any side.

    However, the major difference between this current squad and last year’s one who crashed out in the semi-final is their mental fortitude. In 2007 they were an undeniably talented but mentally fragile unit. A year on and a number of the squad have felt the pressure of a World Cup and emerged better players with winners’ medals dangling from their necks. The benefits of this can not be overstated.

    So who them will stop the march of the Sharks? They will face either Western Province or the Lions in the semi-final at Kings Park in a fortnight and will be heavy favourites to beat either.

    At this stage the Bulls (in a final) are the most likely, but they were comprehensively outplayed in Durban a fortnight ago, and while they to have looked impressive, one just cannot see them winning away against a side who have swept all before them at the ground.

    It seems then that the Sharks are their own worst enemies. They’ve capitulated under pressure countless times in the past, but there’s something different about this current squad. They’ve got champions written all over them.

  • Comment 1, posted at 29.09.08 09:44:02 by barend Reply
    barendVodacom Cup player
  • I don’t understand. How will the non SA/NZ/Aus teams get into the comp?

  • Comment 2, posted at 29.09.08 09:51:06 by McLovin Reply
    McLovinAssistant coach
  • @McLovin (Comment 2) :

    All the relegated SANZAR franchises would play in a ‘B-series’ against Argies and PI’s.

    Let’s assume that the SA, SEC franchise, the new Melbourne (Aussie franchise) and new NZ franchise dont make it in the first year, they will all play in the B-series against the Islanders and Argies.

    So the Super 14 A-series will still be all the teams we now have, and the B-series will include the added franchises and the Argies and Islanders.

    Assume the SEC (SA franchise) wins their promotion/relegation against the lowest ending SA franchise for that year, let’s assume the Sharks :) , then the Sharks will compete in the B-series the following year with the SEC in the Super 14 A-series.

    Same with Aus and NZ, they will also play promotion/relegation matches between their lowest ending franchise with the winner going to the A-series.

  • Comment 3, posted at 29.09.08 10:00:46 by MorneN Reply
    MornéTeam captain
  • @MorneN (Comment 3) : So the Argies & PI teams won’t get to play in the ‘A series’ then?

  • Comment 4, posted at 29.09.08 10:05:52 by McLovin Reply

    McLovinAssistant coach
  • @McLovin (Comment 4) :

    Nope, in the B-series.

    Which I reckon is more than good enough looking at their depth.

    After a couple of years, we can expand it to a Super 16 or something.

    It will also help them holding onto players and start some form of profesional setup in their own countries.

  • Comment 5, posted at 29.09.08 10:10:17 by MorneN Reply
    MornéTeam captain
  • Where will this B series matches being played?

    Myself is worried about our own CC compo. ONeil and Aus dont give a damn about our seriesse and myself think we have to look first from the bottom in stead of the top.

    What about our smaller provinces, will we do away with the Vodakak compo, exct

  • Comment 6, posted at 29.09.08 11:56:59 by PaarlBok Reply

    PaarlBokCurrie Cup player
  • @PaarlBok (Comment 6) : agreed. there shouldn’t be a play off game to ascertain which team plays in the s14. it should go on cc results and in the case of nz on the new zealand cup. this means more attention is paid on cc victory as a slip up could cost you a lucrative s14 spot. also nz aus and sa need to drop one team making space for three more teams. we cannot add more teams as the fixture list is already stretching players too far.

  • Comment 7, posted at 29.09.08 12:30:45 by try time Reply

    Super Rugby player
  • Must say, as complicated as it is, it all makes alot of sense. Well done SA Rugby! Seems they are finally getting their shit together!

  • Comment 8, posted at 30.09.08 09:20:26 by klempie Reply

    klempieTeam captain

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