South Africa want a sixth Super 15 team

New Zealand rugby boss Steve Tew has calmed fears that South Africa could leave SANZAR by saying that the only reason they are looking at other options is because they want another Super 15  Rugby team.

Tew was attending the All Blacks captain’s run before the All Blacks TriNations match against the Springboks and said that there was no appetite for SARU to break away from SANZAR – South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

Tew says that South Africa’s main issue is that they want another (a sixth) Super Rugby team. When the Super 15 kicks off in 2011 each of the three SANZAR nations will have an equal five teams.

The inclusion of the Southern Kings in the Eastern Cape is a huge political issue for South African rugby as SA Rugby bosses backed SA’s Rugby World cup bids and built a stadium in Port Elizabeth for the World cup and for the Southern Kings to play in.

The Melbourne Rebels however won the right to play in the Super 15 leaving the Southern Kings out in the cold.

Tew says that rather than considering walking away from SANZAR, South Africa are wondering about how to fit in the Kings.

“There’s no truth that they want to leave,” Tew told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“The biggest pressing issue for South African rugby is that they have a sixth team they’d like to have involved in a professional rugby competition.”

“We’re currently doing some work to see if that might be possible in Super Rugby , but they’re also looking at other options and that’s where the basis of this comment came from, we understand.

“There are more rugby players registered in that province than there are in New Zealand,” Tew said.

“So it’s a big rugby area and it’s currently not got a foothold.”

The Southern Kings were formed in 2009 to play in the Super 15 but have only played one match which they lost against the British and Irish Lions.

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