Thursday, January 24, 2013

Super Rugby Expansion to include Argentina, Canada, Japan and USA?

Following the IRB´s confirmation that Canada and the USA will compete in the Pacific Nations Cup in 2013 and beyond SANZAR boss Greg Peters has made it clear  in Canada and the US, nations on the shortlist for an expanded Super Rugby competition in 2016. SANZAR´s three permanent members - Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are to schedule a meeting later on in 2013 to determine whether to add additional countries into Super Rugby. It would mean that the tournament would seize to be about the Southern Hemisphere (minus Argentina) and instead turn global. Should changes happen it would see new teams added for the 2016 competition as the current broadcasting deal lasts until then. 

Additional Super Rugby franchises could come from any or from all of Canada, the USA, Japan and Argentina. Peters has made it known that all these options are currently under investigation by SANZAR at present. The addition of Canada and the USA to the IRB Pacific Nations Cup will open new doors for North American rugby. Both Canada and the USA have not been abel to play as much test rugby as they would like but now their situation will change for the better. Contact with Japan, Fiji and Tonga means added exposure to the Australian and New Zealand markets. Argentina´s involvement in Super Rugby is all but suire to happen due to Los Pampas XV being a franchise in the making. 

Peters: "We are considering whether or not we will include new territories in Super Rugby and one of the factors we'll be weighing up is their competitiveness. Super Rugby in its present form is a pretty successful model ... and we are not going to water it down. But we'd be derelict in our duty if we didn't consider expanding into areas. The United States is a very big market and so is Japan and Asia generally. Ultimately it all comes down to what is in the best interests of the three SANZAR parties. "Player welfare is a big consideration. That said, the conference system does provide us with a degree of flexibility, either in terms of adding new conferences or adding new teams to existing conferences."

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