NZ Rugby comfirms Kings will play Super Rugby in 2016

The new Super Rugby structure, which will be announced in the coming weeks, will mean less travel and less rugby for players, after New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew gave his first public comments on the proposed model which was signed off by the NZ Rugby board.

Photo: Stan Blumberg
Photo: Stan Blumberg

Contrary to recent reports, the season will not be extended and will feature one less match.

Tew reiterated the announcement last week that South Africa would have six Super Rugby teams, and that Argentina would be included in the competition.

This paves the way back to Super Rugby for the Southern Kings, who will play in Currie Cup in 2014 and 2015 in a build up to playing top flight rugby again.

The Kings lasted just one season in Super Rugby before losing their place in 2014 to the Lions.

Tew said that New Zealand’s objectives had been largely met – with the above mentioned goal of seeing the season shrink ever so slightly achieved.

“In the end there is always some compromise, even within New Zealand balancing the wants amongst our own stakeholders is not straight forward.”

The inclusion of a sixth South African franchise has been balanced with the importance of the relationship with rugby in the Republic.

“New Zealand Rugby has decided on balance that South Africa is important to us in this competition,” he said.

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“The money they bring to the table is important…if we took the cost of South Africa out and netted it against the income we would be seriously worse off.”

However it was the preparation that it provided for young rugby players that was vital.

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“But equally important anyone we talk to in coaching and high performance believe that our young athletes need to play South African teams before they start playing test matches,” he said.

“So we think they are vitally important from a rugby perspective too.”

South Africa made their stance quite clear, as have other countries, which will alter how the competition is run.

“They say they want to be here but there are two prerequisites and they are non-negotiable,” Tew said.

“One is the sixth team; the other is that they won’t travel for five weeks.”