Force deny they face Super axe

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 06:38

NEWS: Western Force on Tuesday dismissed concerns they face the axe from the troubled Super Rugby competition after a report suggested they will be scrapped in a revamped format.

Organisers SANZAAR are grappling with a way forward for the confusing 18-team, five-nation Southern Hemisphere championship and announced some three weeks ago that a shake-up was imminent.

Since then it has been mute on the issue.

In the absence of any decisions, speculation has been rife that it will be trimmed back to 15 teams, with South Africa losing two of its six teams and Australia cutting one of five.

Sydney's Daily Telegraph stated Tuesday that Western Force, which was founded in 2005, would be chopped rather than the Brumbies or Melbourne Rebels. The Waratahs and Reds are widely considered safe.

But Force Chief Executive Mark Sinderberry rejected this.

"The reports that are coming out of Sydney at the moment are totally false," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"Two-and-a-half weeks ago we had a telephone link up with the Australian Rugby Union and at that time made very clear that there was a number of factors to be considered and there hadn't been any decisions made and we've had no further correspondence since then."

Sinderberry was adamant Western Force was not facing the axe.

"It's not a case of whether they should or not, at all. They will survive," he said.

Australian Rugby Union chief Bill Pulver said no decisions had been taken.

"At this point, there has been no determination on the future competition format or the teams involved in the competition," he said in a statement.

"We also wish to confirm for the public record that no decision has been taken on the removal of one of Australia's Super Rugby teams."

The competition currently straddles 17 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.

Agence France-Presse

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 26 May 2017
Blues v Chiefs 07h45 Auckland
Reds v Force 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Sat, 27 May 2017
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 05h15 Tokyo
Highlanders v Waratahs 07h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Crusaders 09h45 Melbourne
Bulls v Hurricanes 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 13h30 London
Sharks v Stormers 15h15 Kings Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h15 Dublin
Jaguares v Brumbies 21h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 12h30 Ellis Park Stadium
Wed, 31 May 2017
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
SUPER RUGBY
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 11 4 0 7 23
Waratahs 11 4 0 7 19
Reds 11 3 0 8 16
Force 11 3 0 8 13
Rebels 11 1 1 9 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 12 0 0 54
Hurricanes 11 9 0 2 43
Chiefs 11 9 0 2 43
Highlanders 12 9 0 3 41
Blues 12 6 0 6 31
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 11 7 0 4 30
Bulls 11 3 0 8 15
Cheetahs 12 2 0 10 11
Sunwolves 11 1 0 10 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 11 0 1 51
Sharks 12 8 1 3 38
Jaguares 11 5 0 6 24
Kings 11 4 0 7 19