Super Rugby to be cut from 18 to 15 teams next year

Super Rugby to be cut from 18 to 15 teams next year

Super Rugby to be cut from 18 to 15 teams next year

Luke Burton of Australia's Western Force is tackled during a Super Rugby match against South Africa's Southern Kings in Perth on April 9, 2017.

"It just simply wasn't working".

But Clyne emphasised on Monday the decision to cut one of the five Australian sides was taken by the ARU, not Super Rugby governing body SANZAAR.

A 69th minute try from Takaaki Nakazuru and a Yu Tamura penalty five minutes later gave the Sunwolves their first win of the year - and only their second since making their Super Rugby debut last season - with a thrilling comeback victory over the three-times champion Bulls.

In a 16-match regular season, teams will play eight crossover matches, before an eight-team finals series, the three conference winners and the next best wildcard teams.

Pulver said the ARU had been under intense pressure from South Africa - who wield greater broadcasting funding influence than Australia - to approve the expansion from 15 teams to 18 two years ago - a situation that is now being reversed. "We want to see an engaging, vibrant and competitive competition that delivers a strong high performance pathway in all markets that will have a positive flow into the worldwide game".

New Zealand administrators reportedly also have little respect for their Australian counterparts, with sources revealing as much to Greg Growden, but Clyne on Monday publicly backed chief executive Bill Pulver - saying he'd done a fine job in rebuilding several previously burned relationships at the worldwide level.

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"From a New Zealand perspective, the strength of all teams is essential to ensure that New Zealand clubs can be successful on and off the field, while providing a fantastic platform for the best players in the world to be on display". In addition, while our global players and All Blacks in particular have to do a lot of travel, and towards the end of the year that becomes quite a challenge. a vast majority of our players really look forward to getting on the road with their team.

How does it affect South Africa?

"I'm not however convinced it's the 18-team competition that has led us to losing a team today".

Said Marinos, a South African: "It's been a very emotive process".

There was an eight to one split on the board to cut a team, with long-time chairman of Rugby WA Geoffrey Stooke expressing his disagreement at the move. We're very confident where we stand. our rugby program, finances, facilities, support have always been stronger than anywhere else in Australia. The Sunwolves and Jaguares are guaranteed their places in the three-conference system competition.

Although the men from Port Elizabeth have failed to capitalize on their undoubted potential over the past few seasons and now lie second from bottom on the combined South African conference - a point above the Sunwolves with a single win from six matches - the franchise is seen as the champion of transformation in rugby and hail from the heartland of black rugby.

Stormers skipper Siya Kolisi and Pulu then exchanged tries, before the home side retook the lead on the stroke of half-time when fly-half Robert du Preez crashed his way over from close range to bring down the curtain on an absorbing half of rugby.