South Africa not feeling so super

The SANZAR Super 14 could be forced to make dramatic changes to its structure after South Africa mooted the possibility of withdrawing it teams from the competition after 2010.

Things fetting tangled in the SANZAR offices
Things fetting tangled in the SANZAR offices

Support is flagging for the competition in South Africa and one option to prop up the competition could be the introduction of club teams from Japan.

“Australian officials know that their South African counterparts  are gradually losing interest in the Super 14, and for some time  have been keen to align with European competitions — especially as  it is in virtually the same time zone and involves less travel,” the  report said.

South Africans officials have complained of the extensive travel required to be involved in the competition and claim their players struggle to stay motivated for the duration.

Local interest has also been waning with few of the sides competitive. 

Prior to the competitions latest expansion, there were reports that South Africa would depart from the Super 12 for Europe.

“South African officials have told me they’re not keen on the Super 14, because the provinces see better value going up north,” one Australian Rugby Union official told the Australian newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald.

However despite their indifference to the Super 14 competition, the Africans remain keen on the Tri-Nations which reflects their intense traditional rivalry with the All Blacks.

Some argue that the Tri-Nations is also in need of a make over and the inclusion of Argentina has been raised as a possible solution.

Should the South Americans become involved they would base themselves in South Africa to cut back on the need for travel, but just what effect this would have on crowds remains to be seen.

Australia has improved its rugby relations with Japan, with officials believing it has real potential in terms of development and financially.

Key ARU officials have been invited to Tokyo next month for celebrations for the Japan Rugby Union’s 80th anniversary, including a match between the Australian Prime Minister’s XV, involving six Wallabies, and Japan in Tokyo on November 4.

Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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