South Africa short on Super 15: O'Neill - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

South Africa short on Super 15: O'Neill

By Darren Walton 20/04/2009 07:14:44 PM Comments (0)

ARU chief John O'Neill is growing increasingly frustrated with South Africa's unwillingness to commit to an expanded Super rugby tournament and hasn't ruled out going it alone with New Zealand.

Despite the South Africa Rugby Union reportedly planning to push back the starting date of their domestic competition, the Currie Cup, from early to late July, O'Neill remains unconvinced the SARU is any closer to agreeing to a Super 15 from 2011.

"Look, it's very ambiguous at the moment. That's the best comment I can make," O'Neill said on Monday.

"I think all the moving so far has been by Australia and New Zealand. That's the truth of it.

"And I think you get to the point where you can't move any more.

"We - Australia and new Zealand - have shifted. At this stage, all we have out of South Africa is the press release that came out, which I've held up to the light and I still don't understand it.

"So I'm sure we'll hear more this week, but it's a very difficult negotiation."

O'Neill is eager for the inclusion of a Japanese or Pacific Island franchise in a 24-week Super series running from March to early August, a tournament enabling rugby to compete with Australia's AFL and NRL competitions.

But, if South Africa don't come to the party, O'Neill said the ARU would have to consider other options.

"Inevitably, you always have to have a plan B," he said.

"Our preference is still very much a Super 15 - a round and a half, what we call the perfect outcome. We've been absolutely consistent about that.

"If you end up in a complete impasse, well then we've got a game in Australia and New Zealand which requires a big chunk of mass entertainment product.

"And if it can't include South Africa, then trans-Tasman-Asia Pacific options have to be looked at."

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