First the Super 15 then the Super18

If Super Rugby fans were concerned that the Super 15 was going to run players into the ground the Super 18 will surely finish them off for good.

Over the past few months high-level discussions have been conducted in recent months aimed at further expanding the Super Rugby tournament from 2013, revolving around three six-team conferences and the introduction of two Japanese teams.

From 2011 the Super14 will become the Super 15 and will (if the broadcasters like the idea) run between February and August but SANZAR officials have said that there is scope for further expansion.

Officials have confirmed to the Sydney Morning Herald that plans for a Super 18 had been devised and the plan has the support of the Australian Rugby Union Players’ Association.

RUPA chief executive Tony Dempsey said yesterday there was “a terrific opportunity to bolt on in 2013, two Japanese teams and an extra South Africa team, which would take it to a Super 18”.

“Through this, you are able to placate South Africa, who are after a sixth team (the Southern Kings) , and as well you are accessing new commercial markets in Japan,” he said.

“You are also creating further development in a country which has the potential to become a Super Rugby force. We’re keen to explore it. New commercial markets in Japan cannot be ignored.”

With the new Super 15, which involves three conferences of five teams, teams in the same conference play each other on a home-and-away basis. They also play four of the five teams in each of the other two conferences.

The Super 18 plan will also use the conference system with teams playing each other on a home-and-away basis, while also playing three of the six teams in each of the other two conferences. This will mean the Super 18 season runs for a similar time as the Super 15.

RUPA, which was involved in the planning of the Super 15, said an expanded season would not lead to player burnout.


This is largely because RUPA is an Australian agency and does not consider the matches that the South African and New Zealand players will still have to play in the Currie Cup and the Air New Zealand Cup.

“Despite the increased number of games, the revised competition will not necessarily mean a substantially bigger workload for the players,” Dempsey said.

“Currently, when not playing, players are subjected to numerous intensive physical training sessions to maintain fitness. With the increase in the number of matches this competition brings, players will be playing more games but training less to compensate.”

“Players have frequently made it clear they would much rather play games than continuously train.”

NSW Rugby Union chief executive Jim L’Estrange was pleased the Super 15 was close to fruition, realising the extra home games would boost the Waratahs’ revenue stream.

“We’ve been looking for a longer season, so 2011 sounds very exciting because it will provide a better and more robust product,” L’Estrange said yesterday.

“Being able to play in a conference, and regularly against the other Australian provinces, is a great offering both for the supporters and sponsors. It gives us extra games at home.”

Average home crowd attendances, through more home derbies, are also expected to rise dramatically. “The local derbies are generally our biggest c

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.