10 Feb 2012

Australian teams claim Super Rugby handicap

5:05 pm on 10 February 2012

Two leading coaches of Australian teams have claimed the Super Rugby competition isn't operating on a level playing field.

Ewen McKenzie and Jake White say Australian teams must overcome enormous disadvantage if they're to consistently succeed.

Speaking at the season launch for the Australian conference, former Springboks coach and new Brumbies boss White said he's now seeing first hand how far Australian teams are behind Super Rugby's powerhouse franchises in his native South Africa and New Zealand.

While Australian teams are restricted by a salary cap and to a squad of about 35 players, South African clubs like the Bulls, Stormers and Sharks are unlimited in the size of their numbers and how much they can pay players.

White, who is attempting to rebuild the Brumbies and return them to their glory days, said it was "phenomenal" that teams like the Waratahs and Reds have found a way to be consistently competitive given their comparative lack of resources.

Queensland coach Ewen McKenzie said it's a common misconception that the SANZAR organised tournament is even for all 15 teams.

McKenzie says money was the main thing holding Australian teams back but urged the game to strive towards consistency across each of the three countries.

ARU chief executive John O'Neill says Australian teams have always had to punch above their weight with the Brumbies and Reds having to claim titles by being innovative and intelligent.