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Thread: Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver reveals Super Rugby expansion plans

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    Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver reveals Super Rugby expansion plans

    Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver reveals Super Rugby expansion plans

    DateApril 30, 2014 - 3:53PM

    Jim Morton



    Change in the air: Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver has backed plans for an expanded Super Rugby competition. Photo: Getty Images
    Super Rugby is poised to move forward with a four-conference model in 2016 - with two based in South Africa.
    Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver has revealed the announcement of an expanded and restructured model to take to broadcasters is only a fortnight away.
    On the eve of an important meeting with provincial chief executives, Pulver has backed a Super 18 model for 2016 where Australian and New Zealand conferences would remain the same.
    Australia's five teams would play two less "local derby" matches in a 15-game regular season but would strengthen their Anzac ties by increasing their four matches against Kiwi rivals to five.
    Significant changes will be made in South Africa with their six teams, including the recalled Southern Kings, put in two pools with a new Argentine team and a final side, which the ARU hopes will be based in the Asian market.
    Those two four-team conferences - including an overseas expansion team in each - will only face one of the two Australasian conferences each year, which reduces fears of an increase in travel.
    "It's likely to be a four-conference model and this will be finalised in the next couple of weeks to be announced," Pulver said.
    While the ARU chief executive is supporting SANZAR's in-principle expansion plans, they're unlikely to be applauded by his provincial counterparts.
    Pulver has been under pressure from the franchises and the players' association to pull Australia out of South Africa-driven plans to increase Super Rugby from 15 teams to 17 or 18.
    Political pressure for more black participation saw SARU demand the Port Elizabeth-based Kings, who were relegated last season, be reinstated for good.
    With South Africa providing almost half of the broadcast revenue, governing body SANZAR has listened to their powerful voice, and New Zealand are opposed to breaking the partnership.
    Plans for less local derbies in Australia - dropping from eight to six, and meaning one less home game every second year - has upset state officials who believe it will see them go bust.
    Pulver said he understood the concerns but backed the proposed changes as the best model to improve the competition and importantly boost broadcasting revenue.
    "I'm more than happy to go along with it," he said. "I think it will be a terrific structure for the game."
    Queensland Rugby Union chief executive Jim Carmichael hoped Australian officials remained open-minded about expansion plans to ensure the best result for the cash-strapped code.
    "We don't have a preferred model, as yet. We have a preferred position, and that is not to prejudice Australian interests in the competition moving forward," Carmichael said.
    "I'm okay to come to the table and hear alternative views as long as we are able to review those and ensure it ultimately delivers for Australian rugby."
    While the Reds, NSW Waratahs and Brumbies are unhappy about the loss of derby matches, Pulver said less was more for the Melbourne Rebels and Western Force.
    "In Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra they work very well," he said. "In Melbourne and Perth those two franchises aren't too excited in home derbies."



    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/un...#ixzz30LbQuOPx

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    Last edited by travelling_gerry; 30-04-14 at 14:17.

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    NFL-styled Super Rugby?

    Brenden Nel,
    SuperSport

    Johannesburg - SANZAR will consider a radical proposal to re-align the Super Rugby competition along the lines of the NFL, splitting the competition into four conferences with less travel for most of the teams.

    According to the supersport.com website, the proposal, which was presented to the South African Rugby Union (SARU) Exco on Thursday, still needs to travel a long way before it becomes the new format of the competition, but is being discussed by all three countries at the moment with a possible report back to SANZAR in the next few months.


    The new proposal will see an upswing in revenue for the SARU as well as the virtual guarantee of having a South African team in the final of any future Super Rugby competition.

    With the current Vodacom Super Rugby format not that popular among players and fans, with complaints about travel, fatigue and injuries over the 19-week competition, no agreement has yet been reached on how a new format should look after 2015 when the current SANZAR contract ends.

    SARU are known to be in discussions with several European bodies at the moment, looking at alternative competitions, but it is unlikely that South African teams would join the Heineken Cup in its current format.


    However, a new competition may well be on the cards involving European teams if no agreement in the Super Rugby question is reached.

    Gone is the 18-team format idea, the proposal that gives three franchises of six teams and mooted involvement from Japan and the USA.


    What has been underlined is the importance of admitting an Argentinean franchise into the Super Rugby fold, and the new proposal will see less travelling while keeping the same cross-continent games that have been a hallmark of the competition.

    Under the radical proposal now being considered, SANZAR will split the Super Rugby into two major conferences – East and West, as is done in American Football. These two conferences will then be split into two again: Africa getting two separate conferences, Australia and New Zealand one each.

    In other words, the proposal sees Super Rugby working as follows:

    • Four conferences - Africa 1 and 2, Australia and New Zealand.

    • Australia and New Zealand would each consist of their five current Super Rugby franchises

    • The two African conferences would have four teams each. The five current Super Rugby franchises plus the Southern Kings would be South Africa’s compliment with Argentina providing a seventh franchise.

    • The eighth franchise is still to be decided, but could either be another South African team, an African franchise, or even a European franchise team such as Italy.

    • According to the proposal, teams would then would play a double round against each other within their conferences, ie home and away.

    • They would also play a single round against their neighbouring conference – ie, the Africa franchises would play each other, while Australia would play the New Zealand franchises.

    • The competition would also add international spice with West and East facing each other, ie Africa 1 would play New Zealand teams while Africa 2 would face Australian teams and be swopped around every year.

    After the round robin aspect of the conferences is played, the East and West conferences will have their own quarter- and semi-finals to determine a finalist.


    The final would then be played between the Africa winner and the Australia/New Zealand winner.

    A massive plus of the complicated proposal would see each country keeping its host broadcasting revenue, as opposed to the current system where South Africa contributes 45% of the money and only receives 33% share of the income.

    The proposals still have to be accepted by each country, but are now on the table. Once accepted, they will then head back to SANZAR, who will then have a mandate to discuss further with the broadcast partners and negotiate a new five-year contract for Super Rugby.

    But even if it is complicated, it would mean a win-win situation for franchises who would still have derby matches as well as an international flavour, with South African interest all but guaranteed until the end of the tournament.

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    Geez, and I thought the current system was convoluted.

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    Champion andrewM's Avatar
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    Messy. I'd like to see some more detail. For anzac teams I can understand less travel as a result but for the arg and other team surely it will mean quite a lot?

    It suprises me..or maybe it shouldn't but local aussie derbies at NIB hardly draw any crowds for the touring team whilst touring Kiwi and saffa teams tend to have quite a lot of local support - just look at the games against the Chiefs and Bulls. Or is it because the aussie supporters don't tend to congregate or be as loud?

    Losing one game to me is a big drawback. How can the game grow its exposure in Aussie if we are playing less? I can't see the NRC having the same appeal to potential fans who want to see the 'Best Provincial Rugby competition in the world'

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    Veteran SNOB's Avatar
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    And it guarantees an African team in the final! Is this another motion passed by the SA government?
    I'm not impressed. If your not playing each other how the hell can you decide who's the best?
    It is a big motion if you ask me!

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    May the FORCE be with you!

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    Dear South Africa where I assume most of this idea has come from,


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    the idea is coming from tv network executives

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    Quote Originally Posted by Happy View Post
    the idea is coming from tv network executives
    Well then the video is directed at them as well

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    Veteran SNOB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Happy View Post
    the idea is coming from tv network executives
    And what do they know about rugby? They don't know much about TV with half the crap they put on. Maybe they can make a program called " Super Rugby 18 The Reality Show".
    Might have to jack the whole thing in and start watching the new European Rugby Championship!

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    May the FORCE be with you!

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    Champion chibi's Avatar
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    I wonder if Ross Turnbull and Geoff Levy from the old World Rugby Corporation are having a giggle at this?

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    Sounds a fine idea to me, less travel is good for players and reduces sponsors budget spent on flights, more teams/games means more rugby, greater exposure ... bringint an Argie team in is fantasic for their rugby, but the Asian franchise suggestion could be hijacked becoming another Toulon.
    However, an Italian franchise ... loses a bit of credibility.

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    Player Kept One's Avatar
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    For me we need to see a lot more detail. I would not like to see us loose a game. Any new contract with the TV moguls needs to ensure that it is about Super Rugby first and growing rugby in the individual areas participating. I know the broadcasters need to make a dollar but not to the detriment of the competition or to please the political needs of a government. This new deal should not devalue the rugby we watch, it needs to enhance it.

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    What Jargs said.....

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    "Remember lads, rugby is a team game; all 14 of you make sure you pass the ball to ..........."

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    If that is how it goes, so be it. With one priviso. Don't bother with the final. It is pointless if they don't play through the season. Look into adding a PI and/or a Japanese/Asian region franchise. Play our own finals series and have our own winner. Then they could have a world club championship, if anyone was interested and willing to stump up the costs.

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    So let me understand this proposal
    South Africa get the six teams into the comp as they wanted
    South Africa get the only guaranteed spot in a final
    South Africa get the two overseas teams playing in their conference (both a financial and a points scoring benefit)

    And for all of this we PAY THEM FOR THE PRIVILEGE by allowing them to keep their TV revenue at 45% rather than the 33% it is now?


    Which genius thought this deal up?

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    C'mon the

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