It has been officially announced that there will be a new Super Rugby format. The current 18-team structure will be reduced to a 15-team league from 2018 forward. South Africa will lose two teams, and Australia will drop a team. Meanwhile, New Zealand-based teams will not be affected, and the country's number of league teams with remain at five.
There have been some reports that Australia wanted South Africa out of Super Rugby altogether, but SANZAAR, the league's governing body, has stated that will not be the case. In a Q&A by Sport 24, South Africa Rugby stated, "The decision will start with the six current teams themselves as part of SA Rugby's new franchise sub-committee which meets on Tuesday. All six Super Rugby teams are members of the committee. They will determine the criteria to be applicable to determine the four teams and from there a recommendation will be made to the Executive Council (Exco) for final approval by the General Council."
Everyone will know the status of teams well before the August 2 general council meeting.
There has also been a decision not to disband the Sunwolves or Jaguares. In the same Q&A, SA Rugby said, "The decision has to be put in context. This was part of a broader 10-year strategic plan for SANZAAR -- not just a knee-jerk reaction to a short-term issue. Argentina are now a full partner of SANZAAR, and their inclusion in the Rugby Championship and Super Rugby has added value to both competitions."
We will await the sub-committee's recommendation to the executive council and then the final approval by the general council to find out the fate of the South African Super Rugby teams.
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