Broadcasters push radical shake-up of Super Rugby, Rugby Championship

Super Rugby would take a leaf out of the Champions League and NFL's book and sell off the Super Rugby final to the highest bidder under a broadcasters' wishlist obtained by the Herald.

The proposal would see the final played at a neutral venue from 2021 instead of the home ground of the highest-ranked team in the final, a format used by the peak professional competitions in European and American football.

Super overhaul: the final of the southern hemisphere's premier competition could be played at a neutral venue in future.

Super overhaul: the final of the southern hemisphere's premier competition could be played at a neutral venue in future.Credit:Mark Nolan/Getty Images

It was one of a number of big changes outlined in a summary of a presentation to SANZAAR by the southern hemisphere's top pay television broadcasters, Fox Sports (Australia), Super Sport (South Africa), Sky Sport (New Zealand) and UK broadcaster Sky Sports in London on March 9.

The broadcasters also proposed moving the Rugby Championship to a tour-based itinerary with midweek games.


And at Super Rugby level it argues for a pool of 'marquee players' be able to move across the SANZAAR nations without it impacting their Test eligibility, as well as all Super Rugby teams featuring their home city or region in their names.

There would also be themed rounds across the competition, a single sponsor for Super Rugby and consistent time slots in each nation.

Neither Rugby Australia nor SANZAAR would comment when contacted by the Herald. The proposed changes are for 2021 and beyond, and a new format may not be announced for some time.

While there are still hopes World Rugby secures support for its annual global competition proposal – the Nations Championship – the southern-hemisphere nations have been hard at work on their plan B.

Central to that is the Rugby Championship, the four-nation Test competition run over three two-Test blocks between the Wallabies, Pumas, All Blacks and Springboks in August and September.

Once considered the best Test championship in the world in its Tri Nations days, its star has fallen as its northern rival the Six Nations has risen.

The broadcasters are proposing an overhaul, including scrapping the two-week blocks in favour of moving to a "tours focused calendar, akin to the June series" that would run from August to October.

The Springboks would tour Australia for two Tests in a row, for example, bringing across an expanded squad to make possible midweek games againRead More – Source

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