Sanzar chief executive Andy Marinos admits the Vodacom Super Rugby competition has lost its appeal and may not be back in future.
Following the break in play due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there is already a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the form or structure of any future Super Rugby tournament. There’s also been talk that the competition could be dissolved with New Zealand and Australia starting a trans-Tasman tournament and South Africa joining an expanded PRO16.
And Marinos has now all but confirmed that Super Rugby could be a thing of the past. The Sanzar boss says the competition has gradually drifted away from what made it great because the participating nations mistakenly tried to use it to replace their domestic rugby tournaments.
‘First of all, it does remain a critical element of the player development and high-performance pathways, and it is inextricably linked to the success of the national teams,’ Marinos told Stuff New Zealand.
‘But I guess my view on this is that I think over time we have tended to try and make Super Rugby the solution for domestic rugby in our markets, as opposed as to what it was initially set out to be.
‘That was to provide a blockbuster top-end, very quick, short and impactful competition structure, that complemented the domestic structure in each of the countries, not take over the domestic structures.
‘I still believe our best solution was in the 10-12 team competition structure,’ Marinos said, referring to the competition’s halcyon years. ‘And I think Super Rugby would really resonate and appeal if that was a consideration going forward.
‘We co-ordinate on behalf of the unions and there are different views among the Sanzaar partners around what could be possible going forward.’
Meanwhile, Marinos has rubbished claims that the Boks could play in the Eight Nations instead of the Rugby Championship later this year, after Frence rugby boss Bernard Laporte confirmed that SA Rugby is in advanced talks to join the eight-team tournament.
Marinos rejected Laporte’s claim as ‘speculation’.