Rugby-Super Rugby may expand outside southern hemisphere
By Greg Stutchbury
WELLINGTON May 1 (Reuters) - Super Rugby's latest plans for realignment are likely to see it expand outside the southern hemisphere and could potentially lay the groundwork for a global competition one day, New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew has said.
SANZAR, the sport's governing body in the southern hemisphere, has signed off on a new 18-team competition with a sixth South African side, one from Argentina and an as yet un-named team to join the current 15 sides in 2016.
Tew said the 18th team would be subject to a formal bid process similar to that undergone by the Melbourne Rebels before the competition expanded to 15 sides in 2011.
"We are going to go to market," Tew told reporters at the New Zealand Rugby Union headquarters in central Wellington on Thursday, a day after his Australian counterpart Bill Pulver revealed the new format without informing his SANZAR partners.
"We think that's a great opportunity for rugby and for our competition to explore the possibilities."
Potential sites for the team could include Asia, North America or even southern Europe, he said, adding that SANZAR had an open mind as to where it was based.
"It has to work from a draw and travel perspective so there will be some geographies that can count themselves out," he added.
"I don't think we will see a team from eastern Europe but the west coast of the States, Asia, Southern Europe. Continuación...