SANZAAR boss Andy Marinos says Super Rugby needs to regain it’s competitiveness but the hotly debated conference system which made its debut in 2016 is here to stay, by SMH
The first year of the conference format drew plenty of criticism, especially around the draw with some sides not playing New Zealand teams and some teams hosting finals against sides which accumulated less points.
Conferences to stay: The Super Rugby conference system will not be scrapped despite criticism in its first year.
Conferences to stay: The Super Rugby conference system will not be scrapped despite criticism in its first year. Photo: Atsushi Tomura
“The format is going to stay in conferences for the foreseeable future given our geographical challenges we’ve got, so it’s more how do we get the competitiveness in the teams,” Marinos said in Sydney on Monday.
Marinos confirmed that while there would be no change to the 18-team format for the 2017 season, discussions were being had to possibly reduce that number from 2018 onwards.
He believed the current structure needed to be solid enough before even considering an expansion of teams.
“There has been that conversation [of reducing teams, however] it’s really important we have a strong base from which you can have an expansionary model, if that’s what we’re looking at,” Marinos said. ” We’ve looked at all options. We’ve gone from a Super 12 to a Super 14, then 15, 16 [teams in the competition]. 20, 24 [team options]; we’ve looked at all of those as part of our work and put that in front of the stakeholder. If you want to be responsible about it you’ve got to have a proper look at the landscape and totality.”
Marinos said he was concerned a lack of depth among some times but defended the Jaguares and Sunwolves in their first year of Super Rugby.
” It is a concern, it’s been a concern for a while but again that’s a national union objective around their high performance plans and how they’re getting their squads together,” Marinos said.
” I think everyone was happy that the Sunwolves were as competitive as they were and then with the Argies, they came out of the blocks really quick. They had an expansive and flamboyant game in the first three, four weeks but the reality of the competition set in for them again. Every team that has come into the comp has had a difficult first year.”