Any chance of South Africa returning to Super Rugby in the foreseeable future is slim to none.
That’s the view of new Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos, who cannot see the relationship between Australia, New Zealand and South Africa repairing any time soon.
South Africa are going in a different direction to Australia and New Zealand.Credit:AP
South Africa felt short changed by Australia and New Zealand’s insistence on moving forward with a trans-Tasman competition. The Springboks then pulled out of The Rugby Championship at the 11th hour, causing further friction.
That friction will likely lead to the inclusion of a Pasifika or Japanese team – not South African sides – in any expansion of the current competitions.
“That’s part of the agenda. We had [Japan’s] participation in the last iteration of Super Rugby and I think that really served Japanese rugby well,” Marinos said. “They’ve now upgraded their competition and have a more professional look and feel. We will certainly be engaging with them because I think there is a lot of value.
“It’s exactly the same with the Pacific Islands. The Drua came into the NRC over the last couple of years, they really played well. They won it one of those years.
“There is no question about their high performance capability. It’s about making sure we can move between the different countries and get the right competition model that makes sense for fans and all of our commercial partners and players.”
On the field, Marinos will make sure referees are held accountable in applying new rules aimed at a new breed of rugby fans.
“A ref is like a conductor in an orchestra. We have to make sure, and I think the guys really understand, that this is an entertainment product,” he said.
“And we have to make it entertaining for the fans. We don’t want to get bogged down too much in overmanaging certain situations.
“The referees have been really good. They’ve been brought in and are part of the process. Let’s wait and see what happens.”
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