S Africa to 'suffer in SANZAR break-up' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

S Africa to 'suffer in SANZAR break-up'

By Doug Conway 06/05/2009 04:58:41 PM Comments (0)

South African rugby could suffer badly if its brinkmanship led to the break-up of its partnership with Australia and New Zealand, Australia has warned.

Australian Rugby Union (ARU) boss John O'Neill on Wednesday reiterated that he wanted a three-nation provincial Super rugby competition to continue but had no problem switching to a streamlined trans-Tasman competition with NZ.

O'Neill said the current Super expansion impasse, ahead of the June 30 start of negotiations for a new broadcast deal to begin in 2011, was largely due to South Africa's tactics.

"The joint venture must remain intact," he said. "I have dealt with the South Africans for years in business and sport.

"Part of their DNA is to take it to the brink.

"There's a moment when they will realise they have taken it far enough.

"Usually it's on the steps of the court," he added, raising laughter from fellow administrators at a televised discussion involving officials from Australian rugby, league, AFL, soccer and cricket.

"If Australia and New Zealand go their own way in a competition with five teams each, and then bring in two teams from Japan, we will live well off that," O'Neill said.

"But it will be a bad state of affairs for the South Africans.

"They could run the risk of losing players."

O'Neill said it was time South Africa's rugby bosses realised Australia and New Zealand had already given all they could at the negotiating table.

They would "look in the mirror" and see that, he predicted, adding: "We will all be one big happy family again."

SANZAR rugby chiefs from the three countries have twice previously agreed upon plans for an expanded Super 15 to be played over 22 weeks with a six-team finals format and more local derbies but O'Neill said South Africa have backflipped.

The ARU and NZRU have called for a meeting with South African officials in Dublin on May 14 to sort out their differences and move ahead with Super 15 plans.

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