Published: Thu, April 13, 2017
Sport | By Noel Norman

Teams to be axed from Super Rugby in 2018

Teams to be axed from Super Rugby in 2018

The other relegated team will be from Australia. Now several teams remain in limbo.

But Sanzaar would not confirm the identities of the axed franchises.

Pulver admitted that agreeing to an 18-team competition, that has been scrapped after just 18 months, was a "mistake", with the warnings there about the future of Australian teams, but it was one that South African politics forced.

Two of the teams introduced a year ago, Argentina's Jaguares and the Sunwolves of Japan, will remain.

Broadcasters have agreed not to reduce rights payments despite the downsizing of the tournament.

The fall-out from Super Rugby's decision to cull three teams and restructure the competition has begun.

"We're down to two and we are very confident in terms of our organisation", he said.

"More important to that, I go back to when I first came over, doing rugby clinics for young kids and now I'm playing alongside them".

The Sunwolves have since been generally uncompetitive, finishing last with only one win in 2016 and posting their first win in seven matches on Saturday.

Japanese Super Rugby franchise the Sunwolves edged former champions the Bulls 21-20 at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo yesterday.

Fullback Malcolm Jaer grabbed a hat-trick as the visitors, marshalled superbly by flyhalf Lionel Cronje, gave a masterclass in counter-attacking rugby in a thrill-a-minute second half.

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Watford have not conceded in the last two games - their first consecutive clean sheets in the Premier League since October 2016. Son nearly got his hat-trick in the 84th minute, but saw his volley hit the cross bar.

"The decision to retain the Sunwolves is linked directly to SANZAAR's strategic plan for the future", Impey said.

But the most spectacular moment of the match belonged to Kings flyhalf Lionel Cronje, who did his best Harlem Globetrotter impersonation by manoeuvring the ball 360 degrees around his body to confuse the Force defence, before dribbling a flawless ball for Jaer to collect for his third try.

SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos said: "This has been a long and complex piece of work and we make no apology for that".

"We call rugby the global game".

Lafaele thought the bench had proved the difference as Sunwolves overturned a 20-10 deficit and hoped the victory might give them a boost before they head off on a tough four-week tour of New Zealand and Argentina.

The Australian Rugby Union's bid to go it alone with their New Zealand counterparts in a separate "Super" competition was always doomed to failure.

South Africa, the most heavily-affected Super Rugby member, supported the tournament changes. I'm not however convinced it is the 18-team competition that has led us to losing a team today. "The integrity of the format and the lack of competitiveness in too many matches were major issues that needed addressing".

"The additional funding provided by the Australian Rugby Union to offset Super Rugby losses has severely limited our capacity to invest further in our grassroots and high performance areas such as player and coach development", he said.

But that option would have left both South Africa and Argentina in the cold, and ARU chairman Cameron Clyne said "there was no appetite from New Zealand to pursue that competition".

Super Rugby has to turn a buck and new territories means a greater number of eyeballs that can have advertising fed to them.

The Force has been in the heat of speculation since SANZAAR first announced a competition review previous year and though the Perth community has shown a groundswell of support in recent months, even up to the SANZAAR announcement on Sunday night, that might count for little.

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