SA Rugby approves Super Rugby option

SA Rugby finalised their preferred option for Super Rugby  expansion at a meeting of the board of directors on Thursday.

The board accepted a recommendation from Andy Marinos, the acting managing director of SA Rugby, on South Africa’s approach to the season structure of a planned new Super 15 competition to be introduced in 2011.

“This has been a long process with all partners having to compromise in some directions,” said Dr Jan Marias, the chairman of the board.

“We are prepared to extend the Super Rugby competition into July for instance but the integrity of the Absa Currie Cup competition is not something that we can throw away.

“Major matches in the Currie Cup attract audiences that are larger than the equivalent Super Rugby matches and the tournament is the lifeblood of our 14 provinces.

“It is also very important to South African rugby that we secure a Super Rugby franchise for the Eastern Cape and we will be tendering for a sixth team if we reach agreement on future structures.”

The details of South Africa’s position will now be communicated to Australia and New Zealand as part of an on-going series of discussions and workshops in the search for an agreed position.

The board also received an explanation on the Legacy project for the Port Elizabeth region as an outcome of the Castle South Africa 2009 Lions Series.

A total of R2m has been earmarked for the region to uplift rugby at grassroots level, although the specific project has not yet been finalised.

“SA Rugby is putting R1m of the profits from the tour into the project and other money is being invested into other legacy projects around the country,” said Dr Marais.

“Another R1m is being invested by the British and Irish Lions, into the Port Elizabeth project as part of an agreement we reached with government.

“This was all done amicably and as part of a negotiation around SA Rugby being granted special dispensation to be allowed to play the match between the Coastal XV and the Lions on Youth Day, June 16.”

The Lions series kicks off in Rustenburg on May 30 with a match between the tourists and a Highveld XV.

Sapa Super Rugby

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