Super Rugby to cut three sides for 15-team format from 2018

Posted April 13, 2017

The Cheetahs and Kings are the two South African teams in the firing line as Super Rugby reverts back to a 15-team competition from next year.

The South African Rugby Union have agreed to reduce their participation from six teams to four with Australia due to lose one of its franchises as well.

Japan as is, are not on the competitive scale with the likes of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina and as a result are not involved in the Rugby Championship, so why is their representing franchise involved with the aforementioned countries' in Super Rugby?

The Brumbies "met all the criteria: financial, governance, high performance outcomes, future sponsorships, a range of issues that indicated they would be a sustainable presence and therefore would not need to be considered for elimination at this point", Clyne said.

"The goal of the analysis was to assess each of those teams on their financial sustainability, high performance and commercial factors...with a view to identifying which of those three teams to remove from the competition".

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The winners of the New Zealand, Australian and South African conferences will automatically qualify, followed by the five next-best teams, regardless of geography.

Mortlock scored more than 1,000 points in his Super Rugby career, twice winning the title with the Brumbies, and has been both a player and a board member at the Rebels. It was expanded to 14 teams from 2006 and 15 in 2011 after the Melbourne Rebels were added.

Hopefully the Franchise Committee will talk about the players at those franchises who're going to be cut from Super Rugby and where they might play from next year, because there are certainly players in those franchises who are better than at some other teams.

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While explaining why the ARU had to make the tough decision to cull one of Australia's five Super Rugby teams, Clyne revealed his organisation was lobbying New Zealand to support a trans-Tasman conference.

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The axings come after widespread criticism of the first season of the 18-team format, which was introduced in 2016 after the Jaguares and the Sunwolves joined the competition and the Kings returned. "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 global game".

"Fans, media and broadcasters have spoken and we have listened to them", South Africa Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux said.

While the Kiwi outfits continue to dominate the competition, Tew said viewer numbers in Australia and South Africa had "plummeted" this season.

Super Rugby in Australia is about to undergo a fairly drastic case of shrinkage, with the ARU today announcing its intentions to bring the axe down on one of two current Super Rugby franchises by the end of the week. "The potential for growth of the sport in Asia off the back of the establishment of the Sunwolves and the impending Rugby World Cup in 2019 is significant". That immediately injects an integrity that the 18-team competition has lacked.

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