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SA teams refuse to give up on Super16 concept

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Article Published: Friday 24 February 2012

South Africa's Super Rugby franchises will join delegates from the South Africa Rugby Union to lobby SANZAR to expand Super Rugby from next year to accomodate the Southern Kings.

SANZAR have signed a five year agreement on the current format which includes 15 teams and an agreed number of matches.

South African Rugby officials however announced last month that they will include the Southern Kings in Super Rugby from next year and have since then being trying to get SANZAR to effectively break the agreement and change the format.

SANZAR CEO Greg Peters has repeatedly explained that expansion is not possible until after the current deal has served it's term.

Peters has explained that the format that was sold for five years is structured around three conferences of five pools each.

Adding another team is not possible as 16 cannot be divided by 3 so the entire format would have to be changed and the number of matches altered even though the broadcaster have agreed on a set number of matches each year and pay accordingly.

The South African Super Rugby franchises are however not happy with Peters' explanation and representatives of the Bulls, Lions, Southern Kings, and Sharks will accompany SARU's SANZAR representatives on visits to their counterparts in New Zealand and Australia in mid-March.

The delegation was formulated during a meeting between SARU's leadership and franchises in Johannesburg on Thursday. SARU will argue for the expansion of the competition to 16 teams to accommodate all six of our South Africa's franchises.

"We had a very good conversation on the future where we discussed the options on achieving a solution that is in the interest of South African and southern hemisphere rugby," said Jurie Roux, CEO of SARU.

"We would like to workshop our position with our SANZAR colleagues and have included representatives of our franchises to underline the seriousness of our appeal."

The South African delegation will include Brand de Villiers (Bulls), Kevin de Klerk (Lions), Cheeky Watson (Southern Kings) and Brian van Zyl (Sharks).

They will accompany SARU president Mr Oregan Hoskins, deputy president Mark Alexander and Roux and all will leave for Sydney on March the 17th.

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