ARU tight-lipped on Super Rugby options
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Australian Rugby Union has "considered a range of proposals and potential competition models" for the much-maligned Super Rugby tournament.
The ARU Board met in Sydney on Monday in its first meeting of 2017 and a range of topics were tabled and discussed at the meeting including the current review of the Australian Rugby Strategic Plan 2016-2020 and 2017 Budget.
The primary focus of the meeting was the ongoing review into the Super Rugby competition structure for the 2018 season and beyond, which is currently being undertaken by SANZAAR.
A 15-team tournament has been mooted for the much-criticised competition with South Africa possibly cutting two teams and Australia one.
Speaking on Super Rugby specifically, ARU Chairman Cameron Clyne said: "The future of the Super Rugby competition is one of the key strategic and financial issues to be resolved by the ARU.
"A lot of work has gone into the review of the Super Rugby competition structure at both ARU level and through the SANZAAR working group over the past several months.
"This has been an enormous body of work and will guide the four Unions of SANZAAR towards a resolution on the future of the competition.
"We know the current Super Rugby format has some challenges, and the competition has received some criticism.
"The ARU Board has considered a range of proposals and potential competition models put before it by ARU management and the SANZAAR working group.
"It is important to note that, as a joint venture partnership, any changes to a SANZAAR competition must be ratified by the four national member Unions.
"This places the ARU in a position where it must have options available to it, in the event SANZAAR approves any changes to the competition structure moving forward.
"We have settled on the options available to us and will move towards the SANZAAR Board meeting in March with confidence that, in any event, we can deliver an outcome that will be in the best interests of Australian Rugby.
"Ultimately there will be a choice for us to make and whenever you have a choice there is going to be the potential for positive and negative consequences of that choice.
"We will not make a choice that is going to endanger the health and vitality of our game and the path we choose will be taken with a balanced view of the short term financial requirements and long-term strategic objectives of Australian Rugby."
Sources: ARU & @rugbycomau