South Africa dig Currie Cup heels in - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

South Africa dig Currie Cup heels in

By Jim Morton 16/03/2009 08:18:01 PM Comments (0)

The gloves have come off in the Super rugby expansion battle with South Africa refusing to move their second-tier Currie Cup to accommodate an extended 15-team competition in 2011.

At a special weekend meeting, SA Rugby decided it would not allow the Currie Cup to be devalued in any manner in a move which is at odds with Australian and New Zealand plans for a later Super competition kick-off.

Afrikaans newspaper Sondag reported the decision was made by SARU in consultation with SA's five Super franchises, players' union and broadcaster Supersport before an important SANZAR meeting this week.

SA Rugby has sold its television rights for the Currie Cup from 2011 until 2015 and agreed to refuse any proposal which waters down the competition.

In another example the brinkmanship has started in negotiations for an expanded 22-week Super 15, Sondag revealed South Africa is also preparing a radical plan-B by forming their own competition with Argentina, the USA and sides from Scotland and Ireland.

The left-field plan was reportedly struck in response to trans-Tasman suggestions of a Pacific Super 12 including Japan and the South Sea Islands if South Africa continued to oppose a longer Super 15 which would end in August, after the Currie Cup kicks off.

Australia and New Zealand argue February is too hot to be playing rugby while crowds don't get truly interested in football until autumn.

Australian Rugby Union boss John O'Neill last week said while a 22-week Super 15 remained the first preference, other options, such as the Asia-Pacific model, have been worked on "just in case".

The ARU on Monday would not comment on the latest reports out of South Africa, where rugby chiefs are also resolutely determined to see a sixth South African franchise - from the highly-populated Eastern Cape - given the 15th licence.

Melbourne looms as the favourite to be admitted if SANZAR decides the best option would be a fifth Australian side to play in a competition which would have three five-team conferences from each country.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

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