Kiwi boss asks for 'patience' on changes

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 08:13
Large super rugby trophy with team logos 2 800

NEWS: New Zealand Rugby boss Steve Tew acknowledged frustration at delays in announcing Super Rugby's revamped format, but said implementing tough decisions took time.

The Southern Hemisphere competition's governing body SANZAAR announced almost two weeks ago that a shake-up was imminent, but since then has been mute on the issue.

In the meantime, players at teams potentially facing the axe cannot plan their futures and rugby fans are in the dark about how the competition will look.

"It's a little bit frustrating, I can understand that," Tew told reporters.

"Some tough decisions have been taken but they require consultation and sign-off by a variety of parties and that work is underway."

The competition straddles 16 time zones and four continents, resulting in complaints of lopsided contests, taxing travel times and a fragmented conference system seen as too confusing for fans.

Problems intensified in 2016 when Super Rugby expanded from 15 teams to 18 with the introduction of Japan's Sunwolves, Argentina's Jaguares and South Africa's Southern Kings.

It is widely expected that the number of teams will be trimmed back to 15, with South Africa losing two of its six teams and Australia cutting one of five.

However, speculation has run rife in the absence of any concrete information from SANZAAR, with suggestions of mergers and questions about the competition's long-term viability.

Australian Rugby Players' Association President Dean Mumm said his members had been left in "limbo" and Tew said he felt sorry for those whose futures were under a cloud.

"We would all have empathy for anyone that's subject to a change process... that's why we're working very, very hard to get it done as fast as we can," Tew said.

He was unable to give a timeframe on when SANZAAR would release details of the shake-up.

Agence France-Presse

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