Andrew Mehrtens slams Super Rugby for not including Pacific Islands

  • Andrew Mehrtens slams Super Rugby for not including Pacific Islands

Andrew Mehrtens slams Super Rugby for not including Pacific Islands

Australia's five Super Rugby franchises have shut up shop over the possibility that at least one of their teams will be culled in a proposed restructuring of the competition. Despite the optimism, the future of Super Rugby is still now up in the air after a meeting of SANZAAR last week in London to discuss its strategic direction and address criticism of the unwieldy 18-team format.

New Zealand and Australia Rugby have welcomed the introduction of a new global calendar from 2020 that will eliminate the temporary shutdown of Super Rugby each year.

Three Australian teams - Western Force, the Brumbies and the Melbourne Rebels - are believed to be in the firing line.

It means the current June window for inbound Test tours will move to the first three weeks of July, allowing Super Rugby to run uninterrupted from February to the end of June.

What it also means is that Australian Super Rugby clubs - whichever are left after SANZAAR's expected announcement next month - will have a fighting chance to make a buck.

Melbourne skipper Nic Stirzaker says close enough won't be good enough for the remainder of the Super Rugby season.

The southern hemisphere nations have maintained the status quo of an inbound three-Test series every year except a World Cup year, despite agitations from England that the northern hemisphere nations not tour the year after a World Cup. That will effect revenue for the southern hemisphere unions, but not drastically so. The rising nations of Europe, Georgia and Romania, will come somewhat out of the cold too by hosting games against the Six Nations countries in the July windows.

Getting to this point has taken more than a year of work.

The former England captain, who has made reform of the world calendar a key objective of his time at the head of rugby union's global governing body, added: "But more than that, this agreement has player welfare and equity at heart, driving certainty and opportunities for emerging rugby powers and laying the foundations for a more compelling and competitive worldwide game, which is great for unions, players and fans".

World Rugby chairperson Bill Beaumont commented: "Agreement on an optimised global calendar that provides certainty and sustainability over the decade beyond Rugby World Cup 2019 represents an historic milestone for the global game". "Compromise has been achieved by all stakeholders in the spirit of collaboration and I would like to thank my union and professional league colleagues for their full contribution and commitment to reaching an agreement that ultimately benefits the whole game".

There will be a record number (110) of matches between Tier One and Tier Two nations during the period (2020-2032) an increase of 39 per cent.