While local people were over the moon with the news confirmed by Sanzar CEO Greg Peters, pictured, this week that South Africa will be guaranteed a sixth team when the competition is expanded in 2016, it doesn’t mean only a Super 16, it could even mean a Super 18.
“Argentina have expressed their aspirations to be part of it and they have played in the Rugby Championship so it would be logical for them to be included,” said Peters. “There are certainly some elements in New Zealand that would like to see a sixth franchise in New Zealand, while we should also explore moving into Asia.”
The current contract comes to a conclusion at the end of 2015 and while there had been reports that South Africa could break away from the current deal to form new alliances with French and England clubs, Saru have continued to deny this.
And while the Lions will play in next year’s competition, the promotion-relegation format will continue, which could see them back in 2015 with a guaranteed spot the following year. “At the moment all of those (the new expanded format) are sort of in the melting pot and we haven’t come to a final resolution on it yet,” said Peters.
It does however mean the entire competition could get a drastic overhaul with the current three-conference system being reviewed and probably replaced. Saru CEO Jurie Roux is currently Down Under to take part in the new negotiations with Peters adding that a suggested blueprint would be ready by the end of this year.