Super Rugby: Search for 18th team starts

Super Rugby will expand into at least one new continent from 2016 and include a sixth South African team.

Super Rugby will expand into at least one new continent from 2016 and include a sixth South African team. Picture: Facebook.com.

JOHANNESBURG - SANZAR has commenced a global search for an 18th Super Rugby team in the wake of its National Unions formally announcing the four conference, two group model that will drive the competition into a bold new era from 2016.

The new format is an evolution of the conference structure that was introduced in 2011, allowing for adaptation and expansion to deliver Super Rugby to new markets, fans and audiences as the world's premier provincial competition.

SANZAR CEO Greg Peters said the process was taken after an immense growth was recorded in previous years.

"In 2011, the foundations were put in place for the continued growth and evolution of Super Rugby. The competition grew to 15 teams, along with an all-new conference structure to deliver the best of local and international rivalries, pitting the stars of world rugby against each other on a weekly basis.

"In 2016, this evolution continues with three new sides introduced to an expanded conference model that boosts the rivalry and passion of previous seasons, driving Super Rugby into a rousing new era.

"We are delighted to welcome a sixth team from South Africa and a new team from Argentina; both of which have been cornerstones of this new structure from the outset, in addition to an 18th team that we will be determined via a tender process in the coming weeks and months."

Peters said SANZAR has already received strong initial enquiries from a number of regions that are keen to stake their claim for a place in Super Rugby.