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ARU slammed for culling Super Rugby team

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/04/2017

Ross Xenos. © Matt King/Getty Images for RUPA Ross Xenos. Players' union boss Ross Xenos says the "short-sighted" decision to cull an Australian Super Rugby team will limit the growth of the game in this country for generations.

Xenos did not mince words as he slammed the announcement that Super Rugby will lose one team from Australia and two from South Africa to revert to a 15-team, three conference format.

"Australia's professional rugby players are incredibly frustrated and deeply disappointed by today's confirmation that the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has voted to axe an Australian team from Super Rugby in 2018 and beyond," said the RUPA CEO.

"Having signed Australian rugby up to a competition which reduced local content, diluted tribalism and disrespected fans with its lack of integrity, ARU have now agreed to a new model which has protected the expansion teams in Argentina and Japan at the cost of one of our own.

"Despite receiving $30 million of additional annual broadcast revenue from 2016, the financial challenges of Australian rugby will likely be used to justify today's short-sighted and ill-conceived decision which will limit the growth of rugby in Australia for generations to come.

"It is tomorrow's players, coaches and fans who will now pay the price for this strategic mismanagement.

"This decision will be the catalyst for an irresponsible human cost without any genuine remedies to the real strategic issues that the game faces."

RUPA promised to work hard to ensure that the contractual rights and wellbeing of all contracted players are met and their families are supported amidst the ongoing uncertainty about which four Australian teams will continue in the competition.

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