Super Rugby
South Africa confirm six Super Rugby places
ESPN Staff
August 30, 2013
South African Rugby Union chief executive Jurie Roux has confirmed his country will have six Super Rugby places from 2016 © Getty Images

The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has confirmed that they will have six sides in the Super Rugby competition from 2016.

Organisers SANZAR revealed earlier this month that they are considering a major re-vamp of the competition that could see an increase to 18 teams from the current 15 with changes set to be introduced following the conclusion of the current broadcast rights deal.

Reports suggest that a number of formats are being considered with one a variation of the three-conference system currently used and another based on two-conference set-up. Another reportedly also under consideration would see three extra teams - one each from South Africa, Argentina and either the Pacific Islands or Japan - join the current team in an 18-team competition that would see every team play each other once and the conference system removed.

All the proposals were thought to include capacity for six sides from South Africa and SARU chief executive Jurie Roux has now revealed that all six of his country's sides - the Bulls, Cheetahs, Kings, Lions, Sharks and Stormers will all feature no matter what option is adopted. The current format currently only allows for five South African sides with the Lions recently beating the Kings in a play-off to decide the fifth entrant for 2014.

Roux told the Cape Times that talks would continue at a SANZAR meeting next week. "There are two basic options on the table - one for a two-conference system and the other a three-conference model. They will be discussed next week, but there are a number of considerations to be taken into account before any final decisions will be taken," he said.

"What is for certain though is that South Africa will have at least six teams in whatever format is agreed - we have that confirmed already with our partners in Australia and New Zealand."

Australian Rugby Union chief executive Bill Pulver told the Sydney Morning Herald this week that a two-conference system - which would see the six South African teams be joined by two teams from Argentina in one conference, and the 10 existing New Zealand and Australian teams playing in the other - would be a "good option". The top four teams from each conference would then contest the play-offs.

"The current model is acceptable, but the other option is not a bad outcome for us either," Pulver said. "Both are workable from an Australian perspective … If it did evolve to an Australasian conference, that would be a good option."

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