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Thread: Australian team likely to get nod in expanded Super 15

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    Post Australian team likely to get nod in expanded Super 15

    Australian team likely to get nod in expanded Super 15
    BY JIM MORTON 6/03/2009 1:00:00 AM


    Melbourne, Gold Coast and Western Sydney loom as the most serious contenders for a new Australian Super rugby franchise after the sport's bosses called for a 15-team competition from 2011.
    A SANZAR board meeting in Dubai on Wednesday resolved the preferred structure of the expanded competition would include three five-team conferences South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

    Expressions of interest for a fifth Australian team to play in an expanded 22-week competition, are expected to follow shortly. The three Australian locations appear the most obvious candidates to battle it out for a new team, although South Africa and New Zealand may also make bids for their own sixth sides.

    In other SANZAR developments:

    New Zealander Cameron Good will work as project manager to refine the preferred structures for the Super Rugby and Tri-Nations to present to broadcast partners by June 30

    the Super 15 would start later, probably early March

    it would contain one full round plus an extra round of local derbies between teams in each conference.

    finals would be extended to six teams, with the ARU keen to road-test a new play-off structure in 2010

    the chances of a Japan-based team have faded with 2015-2016 looking as the next stage of expansion

    an intent for Argentina to join the Tri-Nations from 2012

    ARU boss John O'Neill, who attended the ''constructive and robust'' meeting, believed the Gold Coast, Melbourne and West Sydney boasted the necessary prerequisites.

    O'Neill said a decision on the 15th franchise needed to be made well before the end of this year, and talked up the possibility of a ''hybrid team'' including Pacific Islanders, Australian expats and league converts.

    Melbourne missed out when Perth was preferred four years ago but has the added advantage this time of a new rectangular stadium which is due to open in mid-2010.

    Australia won't have it all its own way with South Africa and New Zealand keen to throw more hats in to the ring.

    South African officials, who denied any truth in rumours they were looking to ditch Super rugby and link with Europe, desire a team the Southern Kings from Eastern Cape to play in the Australian conference.

    O'Neill reported the NZRU said some of its provinces may also nominate but believed it should be the domain of Australia.

    ''The thing I keep coming back to is that the fifth team will play in the Australian conference,'' he said.

    ''It really doesn't make sense for an Eastern Cape to fit into an Australian conference.

    ''It may come to look like a Melbourne Cup field ... but it might be one of two or maybe three horses that can win it.''

    While Australian rugby talent appears to be stretched at present with four sides, O'Neill believed a fifth team could work, and not at the expense of NSW, the Force, the Brumbies or the Reds.

    He said another Australian side could see the ARU revisit its stringent foreign player policy, opening the doors to Tongan, Samoan and Fijian players who would otherwise head to Japan or Europe.

    ''I think a hybrid team with with Australians, Pacific Islanders and the odd rugby league player, and that could provide a very competitive team,'' he said. ''We would have to be careful to ensure the existing four franchises would not be diminished in any way.'' AAP

    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news...px?storypage=0

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    Fantastic news all round and may save the Brumbies from having to move to Melbourne...Gits may even have to sell his new Melbourne Penthouse!

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    Veteran TOCC's Avatar
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    Melbourne definetly!!

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    Will we lose Ox ? It's closer to SA

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    Melbourne would only be viable if the new system started after the 2011 World Cup. Otherwise the ARU may need to get them to recruit a few from Argentina, Japan and the PIs in order to make up the numbers.

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    Senior Player tic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TOCC View Post
    Melbourne definetly!!
    TOCC I hope you're happy to see all of Phil Mooney's good work unravel with this proposal. Be prepared for the Reds to suffer for another decade.

    It is rubbish to think that existing provinces won't be smashed to pieces by this.

    John O'Neil and his meglomania rule again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tic View Post
    John O'Neil and his meglomania rule again.
    Good

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    I'm not going to criticise the expansion hopefully to Melbourne (hard choice for our Mexican Frequent Flyer ). Expanding the S14 and bringing in "conferences" are imperatives if SANZAR are going to maximise the dividend from pay TV. Plenty of people said there was not the talent to fill 4 professional rosters in OZ. After 3 years that's been shown to be completely wrong with all 4 provinces in reasonable shape, albeit after a bit of a struggle for WA & Qld. The Cheetahs, Lions & Highlanders continue to struggle. Hopefully there are still plenty of players in Oceania who can be discovered when they get access to professional systems.

    I'll take the glass half full view and look forward with anticipation to a longer season where players won't have to be taken to hospital to recover from a match.

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    Any expansion is good but if it was anywhere other than melbourne it would not work. It will give the younger players more opportunities and give us a wider base of players which can only strenghten australian rugby

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    Quote Originally Posted by tic View Post
    TOCC I hope you're happy to see all of Phil Mooney's good work unravel with this proposal. Be prepared for the Reds to suffer for another decade.
    I also think that Melbourne is the only sensible option, but tic certainly has a valid concern. However, I am pleased to see that JO'N appears to have recognised this and has said that they will be looking to learn some lessons from the mistakes made in setting up the Force. Initially at least joint venture teams would be the obvious answer, with Argies/PIs/Japan and perhaps an Aus/NZ mix given that both want expansion.

    The biggest problem I see with any joint team will be an understanding of the mix. Ultimately I would want to see an Australian based team transition into an Australian team, but that would displace the JV partner/s. That won't be popular without some other commitment to add additional teams or the like...

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    Senior Player BaldCunus's Avatar
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    I tend to agree with TIC on this one. I think it is still too early to be looking at another team in OZ. Not only will Queensland suffer but what about the Force. We have built a fairly strong team on the back of fringe/ academy Eastern State players who given the choice would more then likely go to a Melbourne side closer to home then across the other side of the country.

    I would much prefer a PI/Argie/Japan side or whatever mix from these areas. Not only do you already have a ready mix of players and countries looking for better competitions to improve their rugby you also open up the possibility of more sponsor markets and TV audiences.

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    In reality the broadcaster will have the final say on where the 15th team goes in OZ it will come down to marketing appeal. As they will have to pay more for the next games therefore a lot of the new teams costs via the ARU. A Super Conference sounds good but OZ will have Super 15 cellar dwellers for a while after start up....

    Bring it on at least it will help grow the game.... there could also be a little free to air coverage which would be good...

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    In reality the ARU wil decide were the franchise goes.

    As much as I hate to say it, I think the only viable alternative is to go to Melbourne, to an established and successfully run Union (VRU, take note of RWA's strengths and weaknesses...).

    They would surely get better bums on seats support than the other options, especially considering the Waratahs (poor) example.

    Also agree that it is a couple of years too early and we should have developing the next level for several years before taking this step.

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