The expansion of Super Rugby is a step closer, after the Executive Committee of SANZAR (South Africa, New Zealand and Australian Rugby) held what they called “constructive and robust” discussions in Dubai on Wednesday.
Following the meeting, which centred around the future of SANZAR competition structures for 2011 and beyond, the Southern Hemisphere group said they remain confident that they will be in a position to present a compelling offer to its broadcast partners by the end of June.
At the meeting in Dubai, SANZAR decided to appoint a dedicated project manager to refine the competition structures for Super Rugby and the Tri-Nations.
“This will see an expansion in the format of Super Rugby with geographically based conferences and expanded finals,” SANZAR said in a statement.
“The Executive Committee also considered a further report from Argentina and has asked the Working Party to perform further analysis on the viability of Argentina joining the Tri-Nations.”
New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew said the expanded Super Rugby tournament could become a reality by 2011.
“The basis of that is that we will put teams into conferences, play more home and away games in terms of local derbies and then play cross-conference games and then have a more in-depth finals series than we currently have,” Tew said.
Tew added that “a lot of work remained to be done” before Super Rugby and the Tri-Nations could be expanded.
“These things are all bookended by fixtures you can’t move – the June internationals, [South Africa's] Currie Cup, the Tri-Nations, the northern hemisphere tours in November.”
Argentina has been seeking entry to an elite tournament but has so far been unsuccessful in its inquiries toward joining Europe’s Six Nations or the Tri-Nations.
The Pumas are ranked fourth in the world standings and finished third at the 2007 World Cup, but say they have been held back by their lack of regular top-flight competition.Tweet