2 May 2014

Super Rugby plan to go to broadcasters

9:03 am on 2 May 2014

Super Rugby's plan to expand to a four-conference, 18 team competition is being taken to potential broadcasters for key rights negotiations.

Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver revealed on Wednesday the announcement of an expanded and restructured model to take to broadcasters is only a fortnight away.

The Stormers' Daniel Vermeulen tackled by Matt Todd (back) and Tom Taylor of the Crusaders.

The Stormers' Daniel Vermeulen tackled by Matt Todd (back) and Tom Taylor of the Crusaders. Photo: AFP

From 2016 the competition would include new teams from South Africa and Argentina and a yet to be confirmed franchise.

New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew said there had been interest for that final spot from as far afield as Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and the west coast of the United States.

Mr Pulver is backing a Super 18 model under which the New Zealand and Australian conferences would remain the same but three new teams would be added.

The major changes will be made in South Africa with their six teams put in two pools with a new Argentine team and another side based in Asia.

The competition would run for a total of 20 weeks, one fewer than current Super Rugby competition. All teams would play 15 games, one fewer than now, eight home and seven away.

It appears the New Zealand teams would play two fewer local derby matches in a 15-game regular season, but increase games against Australian teams from four to five.

All Black captain Richie McCaw is in favour of reducing in the number of derby games under the new format, saying the eight matches take their toll on players.

Former rugby commentator Keith Quinn said changes to the competition are being made for financial reasons.

Mr Quinn told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme the changes are being made to help rugby finances, particularly those of the Australian Rugby Union, and are aimed at keeping South Africa in the competition.