Brumbies back extended Super 14

Brumbies boss Andrew Fagan says that the Brumbies would support an expanded Super 14 tournament once the current contract agreement with broadcasters expires in 2010.

The Super 14 was expanded from being the Super 12 and the Super 10 before that and it almost seems that everytime the TV contract in renewed then an expansion takes place.

Sometimes it’s best to leave things as they are but the Super14 looks set to undergo another transformation. A couple of ideas are being touted at present one of which is to extend the competition to allow the top six teams into a quarter final series after the scheduled matches have taken place.

Another idea is to play the Super 14 on a home and away basis much like the Heineken Cup is played. This means that the season will lengthen to 26 home-and-away matches instead of the current 13. This would however clash with the current Test season.

What the Brumbies find appealing about the option of expanding the tournament is the possibility of playing domestic and international rugby simultaneously if the current Southern Hemisphere Test schedule remained the same because the profile of rugby in Australia would be increased.

“We’d love an expanded season. All the Australian franchises are in favour of it. We just need to get our SANZAR [the tournament’s governing body] partners on board,” Brumbies boss Andrew Fagan told the Canberra Times this week.

Lengthening the season would put the Super 14 in a better position in Australia to rival the National Rugby League (NRL) and Australian Football League (AFL) seasons.

“A longer season would improve the quantity of elite rugby that’s needed to compete effectively with the other football codes in this country. It would provide more home games for our members and would increase clubs’ financial positions,” said Fagan.

Fagan feels that an extended Super 14 clashing with the current Test schedule of June and July wouldn’t pose a problem for SANZAR.

“If you weigh up the benefits of an extended Super rugby season against losing a couple of players for a few Tests during the season, I think that outweighs it easily,” Fagan said.

“Like with State of Origin, players could back up or sit the odd game out during that representative period.

“We’d be entirely comfortable with that. There’s a really strong appetite for a longer season with a more appropriately-structured finals series and we support it,” said Fagan.

An added bonus for Australian teams would be that if the Brumbies for example played 14 matches at Canberra Stadium each year they could afford to expand interest in the team by taking it on the road and play some matches to other cities lile Melbourne.

“However, if the Super 14 was lengthened to 22, 24, 26 rounds, if a structure existed that had us playing 11 or 12 or 13 home games, it might make sense to take one game, two maximum, to a venue that would be of financial gain to the club,” added Fagan.   


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