No mergers of SA franchises in Super Rugby, says SA Rugby

The future of the Super Rugby competition is still undecided more than a month after the ruling body SANZAAR announced that three teams would be cut. The Rebels are threatening legal action and it’s believed that one of the two SA teams under the axe, the Cheetahs, has taken legal advice. SA Rugby President Mark Alexander says plans are being made to accommodate the discarded Super Rugby teams in other international competition. He hasn’t elaborated but one option is for those clubs to join an expanded PRO12 tournament which comprises teams from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. A drawback is that the competition clashes with the Currie Cup. Alexander is adamant that SA franchises will not be merged as was the case in the days of the Super 12. – David O’Sullivan

From Sport24

SA Rugby is not considering the possibility of merging franchises for next year’s Super Rugby competition.

SANZAAR recently announced that the Super Rugby competition will be reduced from 18 to 15 teams from next year, with South Africa to lose two teams and Australia one.

This has left SA Rugby in a predicament in determining which two franchises will be scrapped from the competition.

There have been talks in some quarters for some of the South African teams to merge, as was the case in the old Super 12 when the Lions and Cheetahs played together as the Cats and Eastern Province (Kings) formed part of the Sharks franchise.

That is however not a current option, SA Rugby president Mark Alexander has said.

“In the past there were teams that merged. It never worked. It didn’t work for the Cats. They performed poorly. It’s not an option we’re currently investigating,” Alexander told Netwerk24.

According to Alexander, South Africa will keep its six franchises, with the two who are dropped from Super Rugby to possibly join other international tournaments.

Read also: Super Rugby changes will rebuild SA rugby, says Jake White

There were also reports last week that SANZAAR may be forced to abandon its plans to cut three teams from Super Rugby, with the Melbourne Rebels taking the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) to court over the matter.

The Rebels, who are privately owned, are trying to prevent the ARU from “buying back their licence from them.”

Alexander though does not expect much to come of the Rebels attempts – or any franchise for that matter.

“We received no summons from the Cheetahs. I also know that SANZAAR has received legal advice on the matter. I don’t know how any attempt to sue will be successful. The plan is that there will only be four South African teams in Super Rugby next year.” – Sport24

Source: http://www.sport24.co.za/Rugby/SuperRugby/sa-rugby-rules-out-merging-of-franchises-20170517

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