Super Rugby set for another revamp in 2020
SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: Super Rugby followers could be forgiven for feeling a tad uneasy at news that SANZAAR will release a strategic review this week into the competition's format for 2020 and beyond.
The New Zealand Herald reports that the review will consider a range of options including - wait for it - expanding Super Rugby to 18 teams.
Admittedly, such a move appears unlikely, but the very fact it's being discussed is startling after the pain endured culling three teams to create this year's 15-team format.
Last year SANZAAR gave the Cheetahs, Southern Kings and the Western Force the boot after the 18-team competition proved to be largely unpopular.
Given the incessant tinkering of recent years, fans probably deserve a few seasons of stability so the conference system can bed in and newcomers the Sunwolves and Jaguares have a chance to establish themselves.
The Jaguares and the Sunwolves have struggled in Super Rugby so far and there will be questions asked about their participation in the future. There is also a prospect of a Pacific Islands team being introduced.
Other options SANZAAR are considering is playing matches at neutral venues.
The long-awaited report is believed to have ruled out any prospect of Super Rugby returning to a straight round-robin format as it was between 1996 and 2010.
From 2020 some games may be played in the USA, Canada and parts of Asia in an attempt to showcase the tournament in the same way the NFL has been playing games in London.
Agence France-Presse & New Zealand Herald