Super Rugby to Add Sixth South African Franchise

September 4, 2013

Super Rugby is set to have a sixth South African franchise for the 2016 edition, governing body SANZAR (South Africa, New Zealand and Australia Rugby) and the South African Rugby Union (SARU) has announced.

SARU CEO Jurie Roux, in Sydney for a meeting of the Sanzar executive, acknowledged the logistical problems the decision would cause but said he was relieved the union’s long battle for the inclusion of a sixth team had reached a successful conclusion.

“We have a sixth team in the competition, and that is a given,” he said. “All the models that are being discussed work around a sixth team from South Africa being included. Obviously there are issues that need to be sorted out and of course we want all our partners to be happy with the product, but at least the sixth team is guaranteed.”

Sanzar chief executive Greg Peters, meanwhile, said in an interview run on SuperSport Blitz: “We want to retain Super Rugby as the pre-eminent regional tournament in the southern hemisphere, and we want to keep it as one competition, and there are various options we are looking at to ensure that, but I can confirm that a sixth team from South Africa has been accepted.”

Peters acknowledged the “logical” argument to include a team from Argentina, in order to help the Pumas become more competitive in the Rugby Championship. He said that “if it is possible we would like to accommodate them” but added that New Zealand was also lobbying for a sixth team, and the long-standing desire to add an Asian team remained constant.

Super Rugby currently has five teams from each of New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.