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Super Rugby set to return to 12 teams – but no SA sides

Crusaders flyhalf Richie Mounga on the charge against the Bues in Christchurch on 11 June 2020.

Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images

  • Super Rugby looks set to return to a 12-team competition from 2022, the New Zealand Herald reports.
  • The tournament is likely to feature five teams each from New Zealand and Australia, with the other two coming from Pasifika Moana and Fiji.
  • SA Rugby has already stated its desire to field teams in an expanded PRO Rugby event in Europe.

The Super Rugby competition looks set to return to a 12-team tournament in 2022, with five teams each from New Zealand and Australia.

According to the New Zealand Herald, the relationship between New Zealand Rugby and Rugby Australia has improved to the point that a plan for the future of Super Rugby has been agreed.

The two other teams are expected to come from from Pasifika Moana and Fiji.

This 12-team tournament will be without South African teams though, with SA Rugby recently announcing that its Super Rugby franchises – the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers – would be playing in an expanded PRO Rugby event in Europe.

In 2021, New Zealand will continue with its Super Rugby Aotearoa event, while Australia will hold a second season of Super Rugby AU.

NZR earlier this year announced that it was effectively breaking up Super Rugby as it opted to form its own tournament and invited Australian teams to tender expressions of interest.

However, the Australian teams refused, citing NZR’s actions as arrogant and unfounded, leading to tensions between the two unions.

NZR’s major concerns at the time were that Australian rugby did not have a broadcast deal from 2021 and whether they had the player depth to sustain five franchises.

The new plan for Super Rugby is, according to the New Zealand Herald report, still subject to wider travel restrictions as well as certain financial criteria being met, with certain teams proving their sustainability.

– Compiled by Sport24 staff

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