Saru to lobby Sanzar for 16th team

2012-02-25 00:00

SANZAR CEO Greg Peters has said often enough that a sixth South African team will not be able to join Super Rugby before 2015, but Saru officials are refusing to take his word.

Saru announced yesterday that leading officials from SA’s franchises, including Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl, will join a delegation on their travels to Australia and New Zealand to argue with their Sanzar partners for expanding Super Rugby to 16 teams in 2013.

The Southern Kings have been promised a place in Super Rugby next year and one of the existing five South African franchises will be relegated unless Sanzar accept an expanded competition.

The SA delegation is Brand de Villiers (Bulls), Kevin de Klerk (Lions), Cheeky Watson (Southern Kings) and Brian van Zyl (Sharks) and they will join Saru president Oregan Hoskins, deputy president Mark Alexander and CEO Jurie Roux on their trip in mid-March. The delegation was finalised during a meeting between Saru’s leadership and the franchises in Johannesburg yesterday.

“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 yesterday.

“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.”

Sanzar CEO Peters has been adamant that the 15-team competition cannot be changed until the end of 2015 because of the broadcast contract. Indeed, it would be a massive surprise if officials Down Under agreed to any change to the new format after just one year of competition and this March 17 trip seems certain to be a waste of time, effort and seven return air fares to Australia and New Zealand.

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