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Hurricanes have empathy for cut teams

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/04/2017 Daniel Gilhooly

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd feels for those most affected by the looming changes to Super Rugby, saying tweaks to the New Zealand Conference are insignificant by comparison.

The 18-team competition will be reduced to a more robust 15 teams from next year, with two from South Africa and one from Australia to make way.

Boyd believes it will have been a difficult decision for governing body SANZAAR and the impact will be considerable.

"I feel some sympathy for the management, clubs and players in South Africa and Australia," he said.

"They'll all be worrying about whether they have a job next year."

Either the Western Force or Melbourne Rebels will make way in Australia while the Kings and Cheetahs are reportedly on the South African chopping block.

The biggest change for Kiwi teams will be an increase in the number of local derby matches per season, up from six to eight for each team.

Such matches are held up as the toughest in Super Rugby, given the strength and depth of the five New Zealand sides in recent years.

However, Boyd isn't complaining about the outcome and suggests New Zealand fans who do are being self-centred.

"You go from six derbies to eight derbies in a season, that's not a massive difference," he said.

"Yes, those are tough games but we found the game against the Waratahs over the weekend physically tough (won 38-28) and I'm sure the Chiefs found the Stormers physically tough (lost 34-26).

"We're not the only people who play football in the world."

Boyd is unsure what the best number of teams and structure of Super Rugby is but says it is important South Africa remains involved.

A former assistant coach at the Sharks for three seasons, Boyd expects it will be a fraught affair reducing South Africa's six-team contingent to four.

"I don't think any decisions in South Africa are cut and dried.

"There will be a rugby component in that and a political component in that."

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