There will be six teams from South Africa
SANZAR CEO Greg Peters has assured SARU boss Jurie Roux that South Africa will have six Super Rugby teams from 2016.
Peters was speaking in Sydney where talks are underway about the expansion of the competition when the current contract runs out in 2015.
"We are very keen on making sure that we retain Super Rugby as the Southern Hemisphere's pre-eminent international provincial rugby competition.
"By doing that it has to be one competition. We have yet to determine the structure beneath that and the number of conferences involved but what I can assure you of though is that there will be six teams from South Africa," he said.
Roux said that it is something of a relief to have the assurance from SANZAR that all six South African teams will play in the new structure no matter what form it eventually takes.
"We have got the six teams entrenched now, that is a given. All models will be built around six teams so we are very happy about getting that out of the way as it has always been a bone of contention.
"That causes a number of other logistical issues and those are the things that we have to go through. We have to work a model that will work not only for us but also for our partners in this relationship," he said.
All three SANZAR countries are interested in expanding the competition when the current broadcast agreement expires, but differ on how exactly that will be done.
Peters is intent on finalising a blueprint for how the competition could be expanded by the end of the year so that it can be pitched to broadcasters, and is busy canvassing opinion from the three respective rugby unions.
The addition of teams from Argentina, Japan and the Pacific Islands have been suggested, and Peters said that all options would be carefully considered.
"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.
"There are certainly some elements in New Zealand that would like to see a sixth franchise in New Zealand. We should also explore moving into Asia.
"At the moment all of those things are sort of in the melting pot and we haven't come to a final resolution on it yet," said Peters.