Sun, 17 Jan 2021

Southern hemisphere governing body

The New Zealand Rugby board on Thursday met to discuss a review of Super Rugby, which has long been criticised as unwieldy, expensive to run, exhausting for elite players and difficult for fans to follow.

The review, called Aratipu, the indigenous Maori word for "growth", has not been released but reportedly focuses on a trans-Tasman competition without South African teams and the Jaguares.

New Zealand media say the review proposes an eight-team competition, comprising five Kiwi Super Rugby teams and two or three from Australia, depending on whether a Pacific islands team is included.

The prospect has caused consternation in Australia, which would like to see five teams participate, including the Perth-based Western Force, who were cut from Super Rugby in 2017.

Rugby Australia chairperson Hamish McLennan last week said the relationship between the two unions was "a bit master-servant", with New Zealand holding the whip hand.

All Blacks coach Ian Foster countered by questioning the depth of Australian rugby, saying weak teams would detract from the quality of a revamped competition.

"This is not a charity," he told

"We've got to actually make sure they're feasible, they're financially viable and the public are going to really get in behind them."

New Zealand Rugby said it was unsure when the results of the Aratipu review would be made public.

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